Monday, August 31, 2020

Just in Case

 Good morning and Happy Monday!

(Mira and Cora dressed themselves for daycare on Friday. If you are wondering what was in Mira's purse, it was $15 that I had no idea she had and a spare pair of panties - just in case. Ha!)

I must admit that I am not nearly prepared for the week as I was last Monday, but we are going to make it work. 

Before I closed my laptop for the weekend, I could hear friends start to trickle in from my upstairs office. A few families came over for swimming, talking, playing, and a baked potato bar that was created by everyone other than me. I provided bacon only, but it was absolutely delicious and so fun and I was thankful for these friends that know I was not capable of thinking about such things during the first week of my new job. 

Some of our other friends had a problem with their housing situation during moving from one house to the next, so they stayed in our basement over the weekend. As soon as Dan got home from work he had to clean the toilet and pick up all the dress up clothes all over the ground, because although I wish this were the case, our house is far from guest room ready at all times. 

Saturday I walked with Lola, made a few patient phone calls, and then drove Ina to dance. We returned to hang out for a little bit until Grandma Frankie came to pick up the girls for a sleepover. Dan watched political YouTube videos and I went for a run and then listened to Midnight Sun (sorry not sorry. I feel like I am 21 again), while folding and putting away 7 loads of laundry. Then we went on a date for the third weekend in a row. Who are we?!?

Sunday I went on another long walk and then chatted with our guests until it was time for church. After church we went out to eat with some friends (look at us!) and then pulled in the driveway just after Grandma Frankie, who had nothing but fun to report. 

The girls had so much fun that they were a little on the cranky side, so after a failed attempt at playing cards and then swimming, we had them all take showers, put on pajamas, and turned on a movie. This is my strategy for fixing all bad moods.

We ended the weekend by making dinner and chatting with our house guests. 

Dan did most of the cooking this weekend, so I don't have many recipes to share. I did make this chopped salad last night that I love and think is the perfect side dish. 

I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Marine Biologist

 Good morning and Happy Friday! 

This week has been incredibly stimulating, to say the least. My work days have been full of (virtually) meeting new people, learning new ideas, and working on new projects, which are all great and exciting things. Even so, my brain hasn't had this level of stimulation, combined with the constant stimulation of three children, in quite some time, if ever. By the end of the day, I sit in sort of a trance while we listen to Harry Potter.

Another exciting thing I discovered is that Ina's teacher has been posting about her work on an app I sort of forgot about. 

(She wants to be a marine biologist.)

I opened it last night to see all sorts of stuff she has been working on and learning. Have I mentioned how incredibly thankful I am for the girls' teachers? They are true stars. 

Yesterday's shoulder workout left me sore, yet searching for heavier weights on Amazon. #Goals. Ina got off the bus and left for dance before I even ended work for the day. I played with Mira and Cora for a bit and then made dinner (eggroll in a bowl).

How much longer do you think my core strength can keep both of them on my back? 

This weekend is looking pretty chill, and I am here for it! Have a good one!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

New Morning Timeline

Hello there! Happy almost-Friday! Yesterday was full and flew quickly by and I wasn't even done cleaning up dinner (tacos with braised kale and carrots) when small group started to trickle in.  

A new job plus a new school year is the perfect opportunity to iron out a morning schedule/routine. I am naturally more energetic in the morning, so I need to make the most of every minute before I sit down at my laptop to work. Here is the schedule that has been working for me the past few days:

  • 4:45 - wake up! I will have hopefully remembered to set the coffee pot the evening before (I usually do this as I am cleaning up dinner)
  • 4:45 to 5:15-  bible study and prayer. I usually read one chapter of the bible, write down my impression, then go through my prayer list I keep in the same notebook.
  • 5:15 to 5:30 - internet surfing - Gmail check, social media, YNAB update, etc.
  • 5:30 to 6:00 - blog writing time. I just love that I have worked this time back into my day. 
  • 6 to 6:50 - workout! I am currently loving LexiJ Wellness videos plus a quick 1ish mile run. I have to be super strict on that 6 am start time, or else I look up and it is 6:45 and I am still in my PJs sipping on my coffee.
  • 6:50 to 7: 15 - shower/hair/make up. I have been on a lot of video calls this week, so this step has been more necessary than usual. 
  • 7:15 to 7:45 - get the girls ready for school/daycare. I lay out their clothes for the week on Sunday, but even so, they require a lot of direction and help with the clothes/hair/teeth/shoes process. If the girls wake up before 7:15 (which happens about half of the time), they are allowed to watch cartoons until it is time to get ready. 
  • 7:45 to 8:30: Breakfast and hangout time. Pack lunches (if I didn't the night before). Maybe read a book to the girls? This would also be the time that I start a load of laundry, do anything I can to prep for dinner, and/or load/unload the dishwasher.
  • 8:30 - Nonny here for the little girls, Ina to school, then work time starts. I have tried to make this "official" by marking work starting with pouring a second cup of coffee and shutting my office door.

Because I am a morning person, for some time I was trying to start work earlier, however that just didn't work with the girls' schedule and not only did I get very little done, I also felt much more overwhelmed. Starting later makes everything more peaceful, but I will admit that working until 5 PM is not something I am used to (I know, pathetic!). 

This could all change with meetings and or client needs (or school closings!), but for now I am loving it. 

Have a great day! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Social Media Limits

 Hello there!


I just love that Ina and Cora's teachers post pictures of the girls so we can get a peek into their days. 

Yesterday was pretty standard and included a 1 mile jog plus arm workout, working with meetings from 8:30 to 5, rounding up the girls, driving Ina to dance, grocery shopping, and eating a late dinner (Yankee Pot Roast), and then reading before bed. Whew. 

Looking at Cora's picture from school reminded me that while last school year I was able to view her teacher's posts during the workday, this year I am not. This is due to my self imposed social media limits. And you know what? It is OK. 

While I LOVE social media and think its benefits of communicating with others are amazing, I can also be easily distracted, sucking large chunks of time out of my day scrolling, chatting, etc. Awhile ago I found a solution of balance that has worked well for me, so I thought I would share it. 

I make a few simple rules:

  • Less than 30 minutes per day on Facebook and Instagram combined (these are the time sucks for me)
  • No social media in bed (I want to read more!)
  • No social media during the workday (other than one check while eating lunch)
These rules are easily implemented on an iPhone through the Screen Time feature in Settings. 

Do you have any strategies? I would love to hear them! I understand that this isn't even a challenge for some people with greater self control than myself. My cousin told me she completely deleted the Facebook App from her phone, but that is how I currently view my daily workouts, so that wouldn't work for me, but I think is a great idea! 

I hope you have a great Wednesday! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Don't be Bossy

 I went to bed yesterday feeling all sorts of thankful. The girls and I thrive on structure which was mostly removed from our lives in March. I know I am not alone when I say that transition was difficult. Very difficult. We were fortunate enough to find ways to add routine and activity outside of school (Nonny's house! Summer camp!), but there is something about going back to school that makes everything seem right again. I recognize that everything is actually not "right" and that there is always the chance the schools will have to close again, but I am choosing to be thankful for yesterday and the sense of normalcy that came with it.

The day started with a doozy of a HIIT workout and then getting ready for school and work! The girls each had strong opinions about their outfit choices, hair styles, and sequin layout on their shoes. Ina begged for "straightened" hair and Cora wanted braids with watermelon clips. Mira asked for her usual "Jasmine hair." 

As they were eating breakfast, Cora asked Ina, "Do you remember that time at One More Scoop when you ate a bug?"

Ina laughed, then her face turned serious and she said, "Don't tell that to anyone in your class," then paused and said, "Also, don't be bossy."

I couldn't help but giggle at that last piece of advice that may have been given to Ina a time or two. 

I dropped the younger girls off at Nonny's and then Lola and I walked Ina to the school bus where she wore her mask and had her temperature checked as she walked in the door. 

Then I rushed back home where I started my first day of my new job. After an hour of working with IT, I was fully in business, with every monitor, drive, and application connected and functional. I chatted with my new manager for about an hour and he gave me an idea of what the next few weeks should look like. I am so looking forward to (virtually) meeting new co-workers and mentors and learning new things. Thanks for the well wishes!

Lunch was prepped chicken breast, leftover roasted sweet potatoes, kale, walnuts, and raisins with olive oil and vinegar. So simple yet so, so good!

I was wrapping up the work day when the rest of my family started to trickle in the house and tell me about how amazing their days were. Cora and Ina both had huge smiles on their faces when they talked about how much they adore their teachers and how much they can't wait to go back tomorrow. We FaceTimed with cousins and G, Brooke and Holland came over, and the girls and Dan swam while I cooked dinner (air fryer chicken thighs, cucumber salad, tomatoes, and cottage cheese - nothing special, but everyone loved it). 

Cora even fell asleep while listening to Harry Potter, which is perfect evidence that she was worn out. I pray that today is just as fulfilling. Have a good one! 

Monday, August 24, 2020


Good morning!

(Cora, busting out of her unicorn Happy Napper, wearing a unicorn bow, unicorn dress, and unicorn slippers.

As I have endlessly mentioned, today is the first day of school and the first day of my new job and we are so ready. The food is prepped (superhero muffins, chopped veggies, and roasted chicken breast), the schedule is made and prayed over,

the girls bags are packed, 

lunches assembled, 

and my desk is set up with my new equipment! 

Still looking for some motivational quote(s)/verses to hang on the wall above my desk. Those succulents on the windowsill were purchased a week ago and Mira has already dumped them out twice, so it will need to be something that is resilient. 

Saturday started with a walk with Brooke and Lola, a few patient phone calls, and then driving Ina to dance where I jogged 2 miles around a nearby track and did Lexi's Saturday ab workout on the ground. FYI, grass doesn't stay in the ground when you try to pull on it to help you with single leg suitcase crunches. Ouch. 

We came home to quickly organize the bows in the girls bathroom. I ordered the frame from Amazon and had Dan add some nails to hang the scrunchies and hair ties on. 

Then Dan made BLTs (we can't stop right now) and we had an afternoon of swimming. 

We quickly got ready to take the girls to Aunt Cindy's house (bless her for agreeing to babysit last minute) and met most of our small group for a rare adults only dinner at Marina27.

Good grief, this night was amazing. The water was beautiful, the food was as delicious as could be imagined (I had the chilean sea bass with lobster risotto), but of course the best part was talking to some of our favorite people without interruption. 

We left with full bellies and hearts to pick up the girls. Ina didn't want to leave because she was playing Phase10 with her cousins and Cora didn't want to leave because she was holding their guinea pigs, who we literally had to pry out of her hands. She just didn't understand why we couldn't take "one binny pig" home with us. Bless her heart, she just wants a small animal to hold for the rest of her life. 

I met my friend Ryann for a Sunday morning walk, made muffins, and then we headed off to church. 

(Notice the bows. Ha!)

We spent the rest of the day prepping for the week. 

Watching Ina pack her school bag was just the cutest. She told me we are going to "butt heads" because we both have "strong opinions" on organizing. 

After everything on the to-do list was checked off we swam and ate a delicious dinner of air fryer pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed cabbage. We ended the night with baths and listening to a whole chapter of Harry Potter. 

I hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Last Day of Work, Part 2

I went into my office yesterday for the first time since March and for the last time for, well...ever. While eerily empty, there were still many reminders of what used to be. The walls were still freshly painted, I had a thank you note on my desk from our last fellow, and the remnants of an herbal tea I drank in March sat in my coffee cup. 

As I had already said all of my goodbyes to my co-workers (and cried lots of tears), I didn't expect the wave of emotion that hit me as I went through the practically empty space. I walked by the conference room where I interviewed for my position, participated in weekly meetings, had Christmas parties, and baby showers. I passed by the break room where I microwaved many meals and brewed precious cups of coffee. I got off the elevator and saw the first aid room where I spent hours upon hours pumping and working at the same time and the gym where I worked out during lunches. 

I remembered conversations with my mentors about challenging concepts, the accomplished feeling when I could help someone else for the first time, and chatting with my co-workers about clothes, exercising, food, kids, and sports.  This was the place I spent a large chunk of my time for years. This was the place where I learned how to do the work I do. Saying goodbye was bittersweet.

I cleaned out all of the papers that went with the last 10 years and remembered so many different sponsors, people, and drugs I had on. I checked my email one last time before I turned my computer into IT. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that an email account I have meticulously managed for the past 10 years will just disappear. If it didn't violate policy I would screen shot my inbox for memory's sake. 

It hit me that not only am I leaving a job, but I am leaving the lifestyle associated with having a physical office and all of the built-in relationship building advantages that go with it. Being social has never been particularly challenging for me, so I am hoping my virtual chatter can carry me through these distanced times until I can (one day, hopefully) meet my coworkers face to face. 

My absolutely amazing co-workers did plan a get together to say goodbye to me last night. We sat outside and spread apart, except for taking pictures. 

I will deeply miss this group of people and will always be so thankful for them picking me, a girl who hadn't done a lick of research,  but loved math and pharmacokinetics with a passion, to be their fellow and then for hiring me on as a scientist when my fellowship was over. Both of those things had to happen if I was going to get into this field and remain living in Kansas City.

I came home to the girls and Dan watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids and eating BLTs. It was a good day.

I hope you have a great weekend! <3

Friday, August 21, 2020

Last Day of Work

Good morning and Happy Friday!

This Friday is even more unusual, because it is my last day at a company I have enjoyed working with for over 10 years. I start a new (home based) job for a new company on Monday. I have spent the last few months going through an interview process, negotiating job details, resigning from my current job, and transitioning all of my projects over. This whole process has felt so surreal. When my new laptop and work equipment arrived at my doorstep yesterday, it finally all felt real.

I am so excited for this new opportunity for career growth, but also very sad to leave my wonderful co-workers behind. I called all of them individually to tell them I was leaving, and there were many tears on my end as I thanked them for everything they have taught me. They have all be so lovely and wishing me nothing but the best. 

They had a virtual goodbye party for me last night, and then another outside one today. I have used the word "bittersweet" many times the past few weeks, but it definitely applies. Up until this point in my life, I had never quit a job for reasons other than location change, so this was a new experience for me. 

I am going to my office for the first time since March to drop off my computer and clean out my desk. Monday is the first day of school and the first day my new job, so of course I plan to use this weekend to prep and organize all of the things. I will report back. 

Last night we picked tomatoes from our completely overgrown and falling over tomato plants. 

Cora could live off of those things. 

Then we had steak (and my favorite way to cook sweet potatoes) from the cow we purchased to celebrate new beginnings. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2020


Good morning! 

I need to come up with a daily writing prompt/outline, because when I don't have direct motivation to write, I peruse Amazon deals and make random purchases. I am now the proud owner of a Happy Camper shirt

Yesterday's run plus lower body left my legs shaking. I did the workout in my entryway while Mira strung beads on a princess necklace, using the 20 second breaks to help her when she got stuck.

During the workday I found out Ina was assigned to the teacher she was hoping for. I told her when I picked her up from dance and she literally stopped walking, put her bag down, and started dancing. I know this school year is going to be so different, so I am trying to savor all of the "normal" moments we still get to share. 

We came home to finish up dinner for small group. I didn't take any pictures, but the menu was:

We went to bed too late and I am hoping the girls sleep in today. Fingers crossed! Off to workout! Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Instant Pot FTW

 Hello there! 

I have been skipping setting my alarm and instead waking up to the noise of the pre-set coffee grinder, which is a much lovelier sound to wake up to. However, this only works when I remember to press the pre-set button the night before. I suppose I needed that extra 45 minutes of sleep. 

Yesterday started with a mile run (I am loving these little short distances to get me started) then an arms + back video that left me sore today. The girls went to camp (bike day - win! forgetting to put sunscreen on Cora - loose!), and then Ina had her first dance class of the new season.

Cora (and maybe Mira!) start after Labor Day. I continue to be surprised and baffled by this dance mom life I am living. While Ina was at dance I picked up my Instacart order from Aldi, put the groceries away, and started dinner. 

We came home to Dan finishing dinner up and everything ready on the table - instant pot spaghetti sauce (<--so much flavor! I added mushrooms because I like to hear the girls complain) with roasted Brussels sprouts. The girls and Dan also had noodles and garlic bread. 

While the Instant Pot was out I hard boiled some eggs and they aren't lying when they say the shell just peels right off. I don't know if I will make them any other way. I was very hesitant to add the Instant Pot to my kitchen, but I think it is more than earning the space in my pantry. 

We watched 30 more minutes of Harry Potter before calling it a day. 

I hope you have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Quick Trip to Branson

 Good morning! 

I was sad to miss a Monday post yesterday, but Dan and I were driving home during my normal morning blogging time, exhausted (yet rested) from a fun weekend in Branson with my sister and brother-in-law.

On Wednesday Jessie called me with a last minute invitation to take advantage of the child-free situation we happened to find ourselves in and go on a little weekend getaway. I have to admit that the trip took a little convincing, as I eyed the to-do list I had for my planned weekend of kid-free productivity. However, I am so glad I skipped the bathroom organizing and pantry de-cluttering. 

Instead, we played cards, ate great food, swam, talked, laughed, shopped, drank wine, played at the arcade, took a lot of selfies and generally squeezed the most fun you can out of less than 48 hours. 

After I picked Mira up from daycare on Friday, I had big plans to take her swimming before dropping her off at Nonny's for the weekend. She, however, had other plans and fell asleep moments before we pulled in the driveway. 

Brooke and Holland still came over and swam while Mira slept through her planned one on one swim time. 

Yesterday after pulling into the driveway at 7 am, Brooke and I finished a HIIT workout and then real life started back up again. After work I drove to Nonny's house to pick up my baby who plastered me like a starfish when I picked her up. Then we drove to Jessie and Cody's house, who, while Dan and I were working, had driven to Oklahoma to meet my aunt and uncle to pick up the kids. When Ina and Cora ran into the house to hug us I could have sworn they grew up while they were away. 

There have been times during this quarantine/pandemic that I have fantasized about having a few kid free days, but boy did I miss those girls over the weekend. The whole drive home Ina and Cora told us about how they played games, ate snow cones and ice cream, learned new tricks in the pool, had a field day that involved a game of real life Hungry Hungry Hippos, and so many other fun things. Of course Mira couldn't let her sister's steal the show, so she had a few stories to tell about her week as well. 

We came home to a quick dinner, trying to swim in a too-cold pool, and instead watching the first part of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and enjoying all of my little ducklings being home again. 

Dinner was amazing and so unbelievably easy. If you like salmon, make it now. 

I hope you have a great day! <3

Friday, August 14, 2020

Everyone Agrees on BLTs

Hello and Happy Friday! This week has absolutely flown by, particularly with the big girls being away. Mira is living her best only child life and is marking her territory appropriately.

She took a doll chair out of Ina's room, placed it in front of the TV, and comfortably sat there while I did my workout video.

After shoulders/core, we made the last minute decision to run the 1.2 miles to Nonny's house. This of course required me to climb to the back of the garage where the single BOB was stored, dig through the tool box to find the appropriate air hose attachment, and stumble through airing up the very flat tires.

Once I ran inside three more times for things we forgot and put Lola on her leash, we were off!

Something I learned: running with a dog on a leash is easy. Running with a stroller isn't too bad. Walking with a stroller and a dog on a leash is moderately challenging. However, running with a stroller plus a dog on a leash is exponentially more difficult, as I continued to be pulled in multiple directions, Mira spilled her water and refused to sit down, and Lola was interested in many different smells along the way.

Once Mira was at daycare, I ran back home to stare at my laptop for 8 hours, then Dan came home we argued for a few more (#reallife). We finally agreed that BLTs with our fresh garden tomatoes would make everything better...and they did.  

The night ended with me telling Dan I would be gone for 10 minutes at Brooke's house to pick up a t-shirt, and coming home an hour and a half later with a smile on my face after a nice chat with her, McKenzie, and Robby. I just love summer. I don't want it to end. 

I hope you have a great weekend! Dan and I are looking forward to a little double date getaway. <3

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Writing Things Down

Good morning! Ready for a random post?

Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day that started with a 1 mile run with Lola + a lower body workout that left my legs quite wobbly. 

(We post an after workout selfie in our Facebook group everyday, if I remember. Apologies, but this is what you are stuck with.)

I took a mid-day break from work to take Ina and Cora to meet my aunt and uncle and niece and nephews to start on their road trip to Texas.

I am so excited for the kids to have this experience together. I have distinct childhood memories of road trips to Texas to visit their family and love that this is repeated for my kids. They have sent videos and pictures, so I will be living vicariously through them for the next week.

Back at home we hosted small group where we, once again, had growing and life giving discussion and fellowship. We are currently discussing 1 Corinthians, with reading a chapter each day and then discussing our impression for the week. In preparation of discussing, I started writing down a few thoughts/notes each morning and I was shocked to see how much more information I retained by the end of the week.

This should not be a surprise to me, as I have always remembered something once I have written it down. I studied for tests in pharmacy school simply by re-writing my notes. Once I wrote them again, I basically knew the material. I often write my grocery list, only to leave it on the kitchen counter, but that doesn't really matter, because once I have written it I know what I need. When I write family memories on this blog, I remember them more clearly. When I think of Ina as a baby, the first things that come to mind are moments I have written about here. 

I singularly knew these things about myself, but hadn't put them all together until recently I had a lightbulb moment when I was struggling to focus during a meeting and thought, What if I write it down? I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing down my impression of what everyone was saying. Very quickly my focus shifted and following the meeting was no longer difficult. Since then, I have started wondering what other activities could benefit from this trick of increased engagement and participation. A few that come to mind:

  • Taking notes in the margins of the papers I am reading. I have tried for years to read papers on my computer, but the same screen that has the paper also has my email and Amazon and many other distractions. Printing the paper and reading with a pen in hand makes a huge difference.
  • When listening to an audiobook, writing down major points or thoughts when they strike a cord or the end of each chapter. (I did this while listening to Atomic Habits, and have now started Unashamed)
  • Writing down my prayers. Not just a prayer list, but full sentences and thoughts. 
  • Starting a thankfulness/gratitude journal. Perhaps it is time for a Thankful Thursday post comeback? 
What else? I realize that this is going to increase the amount of paper I use and then ultimately may want to store/keep. Just when I was starting to clear out my office and make everything electronic...ha!

I hope you have a good Friday eve!

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