Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas Star

 A groggy good morning to you!

I woke up at midnight last night to the sound of Mira laughing and followed it down to the living room where she had turned on Netflix and built a blanket fort. I forced her back upstairs and eventually got her back to sleep. She has dropped her nap, but the past few weeks has occasionally fallen asleep in the late afternoon, which makes her not tired at night, so she doesn't sleep well, and then she falls asleep late afternoon again. I know from experience with Ina and Cora that this stage doesn't last forever, but it isn't so fun while we are in it. The coffee just doesn't seem strong enough this morning.

Last night Dan walked in the door from work and told everyone to put on a coat and shoes and we walked about a mile from our house to place with better views to see the Christmas star. Usually I am the one rallying the family for a walk, so I loved following him out the door. 



While our view wasn't amazing, this picture is so cool! I can't wait to show Ina when she wakes up this morning. 


Source

Cora spent half of the walk home on my shoulders and the other half pretending she was a lion cub getting ready to pounce on Ina. We made it home in time to eat a delicious dinner made by Nonnie (sausage, potatoes, and cabbage!). 

I am hoping for an incredibly efficient work day today and thankful that the sun will start shining a bit more each day. 

Have a great one! <3

Monday, December 21, 2020

Ring Pop Lessons

 Good morning there! 

(Group hug turned selfie)

I hope you had a great weekend before Christmas! Ours' was pretty darn good. Friday night we had a gift exchange with some friends that involved all I could ask for - great food, better company, and card playing. The kids do a sock exchange and I made the mistake of sticking a ring pop in Cora's recipient's bag which of course made Cora expect a ring pop in her bag. Many lessons were learned.

The next morning Ina had a basketball game and Cora had basketball camp, so Dan and I divided and Mira and I had the pleasure of watching Ina's team win their 3rd game in a row! Ina scored two baskets and is continuing to improve her skills and overall understanding of the game. 


After lunch the girls went to Grandma Frankie's to stay the night and Brooke and I went shopping. You might think we were crazy for going out the weekend before Christmas, but it is truly amazing how efficient two moms with no kids can be. We were in and out of stores very quickly and checked many people off our list. 

That evening Dan and I went out to dinner and then came home and watched a holiday romantic comedy. My idea of a perfect evening. 

We woke up Sunday and leisurely got ready for church. Dan made breakfast. I curled my hair. Three services later we were ready to pick up the girls and hang around the rest of the evening. We put away laundry, wrapped a few presents, and watched the Chiefs win another game. 

I am working the beginning of the week, but then hope to take the next 1.5 weeks off and am so looking forward to some concentrated family time. Have a great week! 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Cindy Lou Who

Happy Friday!

Yesterday was a wonderful day that began with a 1.5 mile jog plus a should/ab burner. Just when I think there is no way that 10 pound dumbbells will challenge my shoulders, I do another LexiJ workout and she has me wishing I had grabbed the 5 pounders. (Just in case anyone is wondering, 15 pound dumbbells are on my Christmas list. Ha!)

The girls actually slept in a bit, which would have normally been fine except that Ina had her heart set on Cindy Lou Who hair for "Dress like your favorite Christmas movie character" day at school. 


Ina was a champ and remained calm through the entire experience. Mira, however, picked yesterday to re-decide that none of the panties she owns fit her the way she would like. The extra crying had me on edge, but we still pulled through.

The workday flew by and before I knew it, Ina was off the bus and we had 15 minutes to change into dance clothes and wrap the girls' buddy gifts for their dance Christmas party. Dan went to dinner with the small group guys, so that left me and Mira free to do whatever we wanted.

We stopped by the grocery store where Mira decided she wanted every single thing and then came home to throw a quick dinner together (roasted sausage, potatoes, onions, peppers, and cabbage - not much to look at but so delicious!). 


Brooke stopped to try a new cocktail recipe with me (<-so good!) and I picked up the girls from dance where they excitedly told me that Cora almost won a game of freeze dance and Ina's buddy gave her the mother load of gifts. Cora told me she loved her ornaments so much she wanted to sleep with them. 

I am so looking forward to this weekend. I hope you all have a great one! 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw

Good morning!  I hope things are great on your side of the internet! 

Our family from Texas sent an Advent activity for the girls to do everyday which was so sweet and they look forward to every morning while I am getting their breakfast together.

Yesterday the bag included these fun glasses.

Mira was happy about the glasses until they fell off her face and then she promptly refused to wear them.

Will Mira ever smile in pictures with her sisters? Only time will tell. 

I snagged a pair that evening for my work virtual holiday happy hour and looked quite professional with all of my Christmas purchases piled in background. 


After Ina came home from basketball practice, we had burgers, roasted beets (wrapped in foil like a potato) and sautéed kale for dinner - so easy and a meal I know all of my family will eat. 

The evening ended with us taking the sorting hat quiz to find out what house in Hogwarts we would be placed in. I was Hufflepuff and Dan and Ina were Ravenclaw. Ina had so much fun that we will probably all find out what shape our patronus would take tonight. 

Have a good one! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

December Catch Up

 Hello there and happy middle of December! 

(Dan and I on one of our very romantic moving trips to the dump.)

I hated to stop my blogging routine, but the combination of busier work plus a busier life plus not knowing what to say in this weird time when so much judgement of what people say or do is occurring. But instead of writing and documenting my life, I have spent extra time reading more of that judgment, which wasn't healthy for anyone. 

So, here I am, happy to open a blank blogging screen after a month of walking down the stairs, pouring a cup of coffee, spending time in study and prayer to fill my cup up, and then immediately draining my cup by scrolling Facebook for 30 minutes. 

We had an amazing Thanksgiving! We celebrated at my sister's house where she mastered her first charcuterie board. 

We hung out all day, cooking, drinking Old Fashioneds, and playing lots and lots of cards. Memorable moments include Dan accidentally shattering my sister's crockpot minutes after we arrived and our dog Lola eating an ENTIRE turkey. 

We spent the rest of the weekend and following week moving Nonnie out of our rental house and into our basement. The timeline was rushed because our amazing and talented realtor friend sold our house faster than we could get it on the market. We are beyond thankful to have the house sold and the responsibility of owning multiple homes out from under us. We are also enjoying having Nonnie so close and look forward to when her living quarters are completely finished so she can feel more settled and at home. 

The next week Ina turned eighteen, I mean, eight. We celebrated as a family by drinking warm butter beer and watching the Harry Potter movie of the book we had finished the weekend before. 

The following weekend Brooke and I took a few of her friends to Build-a-Bear, which was just about as cute as can be.


Watching Ina walk with her friends in the mall (albeit with stuffed animals on their backs) made me realize just how grown up she is. 

Ina has also had a few basketball games, which I just love to watch. She currently is more interested in cheering her team on than going after the ball, but how can you fault her heart for that?

Mira continues to closely resemble a wild animal, complete with marled hair and growls. Due to the colder weather and social distancing, she leaves the house approximately once a week to go to church and otherwise looks like this: 



Her current dress of choice is the one she wore to my sister's house at Thanksgiving and found a pair of scissors and cut holes in it. She has reminded me how interesting rationalizing with a three year old can be and one battle I choose not to fight every morning is over what Mira is wearing. I certainly experienced this with three year old Ina, but Cora sort of skipped that stage, or maybe I just didn't notice? Bless her middle child heart. 

Cora has also started a camp type basketball, which I have yet to witness due to the divide and conquer activity strategy that Dan and I currently have. However, Dan said that she is fast and makes baskets and surprisingly reported that "she is actually kind of athletic." Cora came home excited to tell me, "Mom! I have a coach! I have never had a coach before!"

Ina and Cora also continue to love dance and recorded a Christmas show at the studio. I am looking forward to seeing how that turns out.

I am continuing my morning jog plus my LJW workout. If you are a lady looking for a new workout routine, I would strongly recommend joining our virtual group of amazing women. Ina occasionally joins me to run or do core work, but just as often lays on the couch and watches me exercise.

We spend many nights by the fire, watching a Christmas movie and listening to the girls play in the toy room. It is a good season. 

(When one fireplace isn't quite enough. Ha!)

After this week our schedule looks so empty and manageable and I am genuinely looking forward to celebrating Christmas with our family. The majority of our shopping is done and our Christmas cards are sent. The girls and I had planned to go to Texas to visit family over the weekend, but sadly decided it would be safer/wiser to cancel our trip and stay home. 


I hope you are all staying safe and enjoying this different holiday season. <3 

Friday, November 13, 2020

One Clicker Shoe

Last night I took Mira to Aldi with me while the older girls were enjoying dance class. When she found out about her opportunity to go out in public, she ran upstairs to get dressed and came down a few minutes later wearing the one "clicker shoe" she could find. Its mate has been lost for weeks now, but that doesn't stop her from wearing at least one...on the wrong foot. Along with her uniform of princess pajamas and accessories, she was quite the vision to behold. 


She patiently sat in the cart for most of the store, but when she eventually wanted to walk next to me, she entertained the whole store with her clicking of one shoe as she walked down the aisle. 

Yesterday started off with me finding the sweetest lost dog in our driveway at 4:30 am. Due to the power of social media, we found his owner in a matter of hours. Then, I dropped Nonnie at the hospital to have surgery for some stomach issues that have been bothering her for years. With the COVID restrictions, I wasn't allowed inside, and it felt so strange to just sit in my car as she walked into the hospital by herself. 

The surgery went well. The doctors and nurses called me throughout the day with updates and we FaceTimed her last night. Grandma Frankie came over to stay with the girls. We are so thankful for her!

The rest of the week was full of work, school, laundry and small group/dance/basketball.  I honestly feel like I have blinked and Friday is here again. Speaking of blinking, I swear that Cora grew up in the hour she was at dance class. When I dropped her off I could still see a hint of toddler lingering and when I picked up her up, her long and lean body walked out the door with her top knot and smile and she looked like a full on big kid. 

And while we are digressing - a conversation I overheard while I was working in my office upstairs:
Cora: Daddy, what is a conscience?
Dan: It is something in your head that tells you the difference between right and wrong.
Cora: Don't you mean the difference between right and left? 

A few links to share: 

I started a new book - The Stationary Shop. Good so far!

Need an easy weekend recipe? This skillet sausage and brussels sprouts and pickled red onion is delicious paired with air fryer potatoes and makes a great breakfast the next day. 


Very interesting article: The Economics of Leaning In and Out

My sister gave me these joggers for my birthday and I love them. The material is similar to leggings, but without all of the constriction. Ha!

Have a great weekend!


Monday, November 9, 2020

Mom was Confused

 Good morning and Happy Monday! 

Sorry to disappear on you last week, but every week night can be summed up like this: it was dark and I went to bed. 

Just kidding, an early bedtime wasn't possible because apparently daylight savings time doesn't suck the energy from my children like it does me. Ha!

Ina started basketball practice on Wednesday and true to her personality showed me how she played defense, which looked very similar to a dance move she had learned, moving her arms around her like a ticking clock with a beat. 

Friday we went to our friends The Dowdys' house for dinner and really enjoyed chatting with them while the kids played. 


Saturday morning started with a long walk, then work, then taking Ina to dance and Cora to basketball...except Cora's basketball doesn't start for a few more weeks. She was slightly disappointed until I told her we could play at the park until Ina's dance was over. 

Later, when Dan asked Cora how basketball was, she simply shook her head and answered, "Mom was confused."

I spent the rest of the day clearing out the storage area in the basement and made a lot of progress! We still have a long way to go to clear everything out, and even longer in the way of getting Nonnie moved in and the basement done, but....a little less than we did before. 

I tried to keep the kids outside most of the day to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. The leaves were pure entertainment. Brooke came over to chat while I made dinner (veggie sloppy joes on tater tots!). I took a bath and was in bed before 9 PM.

Sunday started with another beautiful fall walk and then I headed to my dear friend Sarah's baby shower.

The decorations were beautiful and the food was amazing, but the best part was seeing some of my favorite people that I rarely get to see. I even won one of the games!


I left there with a full heart, drove to pick up my family from church, and then went to my nephew Bauer's birthday party. 


The kids played with their cousins well after the sun went down and Dan and I loved talking with Jessie and Cody. We drove home and did something we almost never do - picked up dinner from a drive through (Hawaiian Brothers- it was delicious!). 

We have a busy week ahead, so I am shutting down to get a good start. Have a great week. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

November Goals

Good morning!

Now that I am done with my bible study, prayer time, and daily online browsing but not actually purchasing, I can talk to you wonderful people. 

Last night Ina came home from school with her front tooth literally dangling from her mouth. Although she refused to pull it out, all it took was eating a few goldfish before she nearly swallowed the thing. I am a sucker for kids missing their front teeth.

When did she turn 16?

I am excited for November and everything that comes with it. I had 10 goals in October and I met 7 of them (<- I updated the post if anyone is interested in my follow-up commentary). 

Here are some goals for November. Adding a holiday section to lessen the required attention in December.

Personal

  • Drink 100 oz of water per day. Be creative in ways to make this happen. This is the one habit I am going to track this month. I will report back.
  • Close all of my rings this month. Last month I was so close! On a related note, I want to post pictures after my workout with LJW. Lexi has a jumpstart challenge to last us through the holidays and while I complete almost all of the workouts (except for Saturday abs - I need to get in this habit!), I rarely post in the group to say that I did, which is how I earn credit in the challenge. The extra accountability over the next few months will help for sure. Ina and I remembered yesterday!
  • Read 6 books, one of which is non-fiction. I originally had that at 4, but just counted my October reading and realized I read 8 books last month! I will admit that most of them were pure fluff/entertainment, so I would like to add at least one non-fiction in there to even it out. 

Family

  • Finish listening to our book and have our next Harry Potter watch party with warm butter beer and possibly pumpkin pasties. It is ridiculous how much we all look forward to this.
  • Visit my grandparents. 
  • Clean out the storage room in the basement. This is the room we have dumped everything in for the past 10 years and will soon be turned into a kitchen for Nonnie, so it needs to be completely emptied. I think this can be done in 3 to 4 hour chunks here and there, but I would like to get most of it done before December. 

Work

  • Complete 15 exercises in my R book
  • Meet one new person a week (last month's goal of two per week was a little ambitious considering my current work load)
  • Be at least 60% billable. I think I can make this happen with my current workload, but I need to take the Thanksgiving holiday and the last few weeks into account and might have to go looking for a little extra work...which would help with bullet number two. 

Holidays

  • Order Christmas cards
  • Put up outdoor Christmas lights
  • Finish 50% of Christmas shopping
  • Make a few homemade gifts

Thought for the month

Every Thursday I receive an email blast from James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. While I am generally not a fan of blasted emails, I genuinely look forward to his weekly 3-2-1 content (3 ideas, 2 quotes, 1 question). One of last week's quotes really stuck with me, so I am sharing it here. I too want to be "throughly used up" and "burn as brightly as possible."

Writer George Bernard Shaw on living a life that burns bright:

"This is the true joy in life:

being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one;

being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

Source: Epistle Dedicatory from Man and Superman via James Clear

Monday, November 2, 2020

Halloween 2020

Good morning and Happy Daylight Savings Time Monday!

Like most parents, I am not a huge fan of the time change, but I have to admit I love naturally waking up before my alarm for a few weeks. Our Halloween weekend was a good one. 

Friday night we regretfully declined three different invitations to do something fun and instead brought all the toys up from the basement (to make room for Nonnie's things) pulled all of the toys out of the toy room, and sorted through them to decide what was staying and what was going. 


This massive chore stuck around for most of the weekend, but I am happy to report that by Sunday afternoon all of the remaining toys were tucked in their new home and my living room floor was visible once again. 

Saturday morning I worked and then took Lola on a beautiful and sunny run + walk while the girls and Dan went to dance class and then a parade.

We then packed up our things and headed to watch my nephew Kauffman win his superbowl football game. After the game we quickly changed into costumes and headed out to trick or treat around their neighborhood.

Ina was Hermione from Harry Potter and, as Hermione is my favorite character of all time, I don't think I could have been more excited.

Cora was a fox and rocked her bushy tail as it swayed from side to side as she walked.


(PSA: Easter baskets also work as Halloween buckets)

Mira wanted to be a princess, and then a spider (Spider girl or a girl spider? We never figured that one out.), and then a puppy, and after purchasing and returning two different costumes I told her if she wanted to get candy she couldn't change her mind again.

When that didn't convince her, I told her I would pretend to be a mommy puppy if she would be a baby puppy and that sealed the deal.

After the first round of houses Jessie and I dropped the dads and the kids 5 years and younger off at at the house and walked for another hour around with the older kids. Jess and I agreed that their ages of 7 to 10 were the perfect trick or treating ages. They require very little herding but still are so excited to receive their treats (full size Snickers! A box of Skittles! A package of Ramen noodles!).

We came back to Jessie and Cody's house for soup and a fire, while the kids enjoyed unmonitored access to their candy buckets. 


I enjoyed an early morning walk on Sunday, where Lola and I came as close to a coyote as I would ever like to be in my life. Then we had church and serving and watching the Chiefs win and laundry and driving to pick up Ina and Cora who had stayed the night with their cousins.

We ended the night with Ina showing off some of her new skills she is learning at acro class and teaching Cora how to make a human square.

After a chapter of Harry Potter it was lights out and we are ready to tackle this week.

I hope it is a good one! <3


Friday, October 30, 2020

Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences

Hey there and Happy Friday! 

I just ordered the girls matching Christmas pajamas, so life is good over here. 

The girls came home last night after spending the night with Grandma Frankie, with huge smiles on their faces and painted pumpkins in their arms, telling me all about the pumpkin patch they visited the night before. They didn't have school yesterday or today because of parent teacher conferences. 

The past few evenings I have had virtual conferences with Cora and Ina's teachers. Before I go any further, if you get annoyed with people bragging about their kids, you probably just want to scroll on down to the recipes today. No hard feelings. Ha!

Wednesday I had the joy of talking to all three of Cora's preschool teachers who were so excited to tell me about how Cora has blossomed this year. They described her as motherly,  the leader of the classroom, and a friend to everyone. They showed me some of her beautiful artwork. They said she was ready to go to kindergarten today. They might have even called her a "Little Ina." 

(Watching the birds in her classroom.)

Cora adores her school and her teachers and sometimes even cries when she can't go to school first thing in the morning. I am so thankful for them for loving her and providing a place for her to learn and grow. 

Last night I met Ina's teacher face to face (screen to screen?) for the first time, although we have communicated via email many times. 

She literally gushed as she told me all about how gifted Ina is in reading and math. She told me Ina is very creative, thinks outside the box, and doesn't back down from a challenge. She motivates other students to learn. Her maturity is impressive. Her default activity is reading. She said the words, "I stinking love her."

Ina obviously loves her teacher too, and I am so thankful for her to be in Ina's life this year, during a time when Ina really benefits from the extra stimulation and guidance. 

And then we have Mira, who isn't in school yet, but definitely keeps us entertained and on our toes with her 20 wardrobe changes a day.

This year has made me realize I need to be thankful for things when they are going well, and although I know that schools could close again in the future and I might not always have the easiest parent teacher conferences, right now is great, I could not ask for better teachers for the girls and I am grateful. 

Dinner has been amazing the past three evenings: 

Tuesday: grilled chicken thighs (using this Ethiopian spice mix) and Atakilt Wat (Ethiopian cabbage stew <- don't let the name fool you. This dish was simple and delicious and a great way to mix up the same vegetables we eat everyday.)

Wednesday: Teriyaki salmon with roasted broccoli (on the same pan as the salmon) and sweet potatoes. 

Thursday: yellow chicken curry (I added a whole head of cauliflower to the recipe. I also get my curry paste from Amazon - thanks Danielle for the tip!) I will add that this was way too spicy for the girls and they ended up eating sandwiches and sliced cucumbers for dinner. 

I hope you have a great Halloween weekend! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

No Mo' Sno' Running

Starting off today with some good news: Dan fixed my treadmill! I marched downstairs with my laptop in hand determined to figure out why the incline was stuck at the highest level and sure that I could Google my way through. Unfortunately, 20 minutes later I was not any closer to figuring it out. Dan eventually took pity on me and after three minutes of inspection determined that a button was stuck. He unscrewed the top, and messed with some wires until it was fixed and I don't think I have ever loved him more. 

I will still plan on running outside when the temperature is above freezing...but I am sure thankful for a functional treadmill on snowy 28 degree mornings like today. Lola and I ran a few miles in the snow yesterday before my LJW HIIT workout and she kept stopping and giving me the "we're seriously doing this?" look.

Saturday - cookie dough dip and cards; Monday - greens and data science. Balance.

Nonnie spoiled me by making dinner (yankee pot roast) and doing the dishes while I was working, so I was able to relax after work and read a few books to the girls. It was lovely. 

After dinner Cora and Mira finally convinced us to let them go outside and play in the snow. I just didn't have it in me to get them all bundled up in clothes they would only wear for a short time but would add to our already large laundry pile. Instead, we threw coats and gloves over the dresses they already had on. 

Surprisingly, they only wanted to play in the snow for a few minutes. Ha! Eskimo Cora even made a snow angel. 

I am off to run + arms. I hope you have a great Tuesday friends! 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Moms Weekend

Good morning! I am listening to the (October!) snow coming down and hitting the window, thankful for shelter and a furnace and a big cup of hot coffee. It would appear I need to fix my treadmill today...or suck it up and try walk at a 10% incline. 

Friday afternoon I closed my laptop a few hours early and headed out to meet some friends for our annual moms weekend. On my way I stopped by my grandparents' assisted living facility to say hi. I have not seen them face to face in months, and I am so thankful their facility is allowing 15 minute visits in the entry way. This pandemic is heartbreaking in so many ways, and one of them is how isolated the elderly are during this time. My grandma did request a tiger print mask though, so I need to make that happen. 

After saying goodbye, I drove to meet a few of my dearest friends for one of my favorite weekends of the year. We set this time aside to relax, eat, drink, play cards, and chat, and that is exactly what we did. 

This year we rented an adorable cottage in downtown Lee's Summit. As soon as we unloaded our bags and changed into our matching inside joke t-shirts, we walked to dinner at 3rd Street Social then came home to play cards. 

Chessa ordered us personalized playing cards from Shutterfly, which really come in handy when playing a game that requires each player to have their own deck. We stayed up in the wee hours chatting on one bed, just like a high school sleep over.

Saturday morning Danielle and I woke up to run a few brisk miles, then we went to brunch at Neighborhood Cafe. We spent the rest of the day lounging, playing cards, and throughly enjoying the opportunity to talk without the interruption our normal craziness brings.

I made bacon brussels sprouts carbonara for dinner and we (somewhat reluctantly) showered and dressed to go to The W - a super cool speak easy. We came home to cold leftover pasta and more cards.



(I didn't even realize my mask matched my shirt!)

We slept in on Sunday, made eggs, bacon, and avocado toast for breakfast, and played one more game of cards before cleaning up, putting our mom hats back on, and heading home. 

I was so excited to see my family and hear about the fun things they did while I was away. I spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon organizing the clothes in Ina's room...which as you can see was quite the undertaking. 

Before (I wish I could blame this on her - but the changing of the seasons combined with her changing sizes and a huge volume of inflow garage sale clothes from Nonnie was the perfect storm to create a room of clothes chaos.)




I am so excited we will be able to find clothes that she can wear again. Ha! Here's to a great week!





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