Saturday, April 24, 2021


Buckle up for a huge word and photo dump. 

I am a little disappointed in my past two months self, because although I can cover the highlights of the last two months, one of my favorite things is reading old blog posts with tiny details about the girls from a few years ago. I look at these pictures and try to remember specific details, because I know the girls said something funny or did something cute, however, nothing specific comes to mind. 

This serves as a great reminder as to why I keep this space updated. Know better, do better. 


Jesus. Candy. Cousins. Not much else to report.


My sweet Grandma Beverly died last week at the age of 92. I wrote a separate post about her here.  

Dan's Memaw also died last month after fighting cancer for years. Knowing they spent the last years of their lives mostly inside their houses because of a pandemic breaks my heart and makes me want to spend as much time as possible with our grandparents that are still living. 

Thankfully, my Grandma June and Grandpa Ed are fully vaccinated and are able to leave their long term care facility, after being restricted for a year. We have had them over for dinner and taken them to get ice cream and hope to see them at least once a week. The logistics are sometimes hard and the emotions are heavy, but this is a huge priority for me. 

Dan's Grandma Frankie now watches the girls every Monday, so we are so excited to get to see her more often. She has a special appreciation for things they say or do and I love listening to her recount their time together.

Spring Break: 

The girls spent spring break in Texas with my aunt and uncle and cousins and appeared to have the time of their lives. 

I had a part of a blog post written that said this. There are many partial blog posts in my blogger account. Ha! 

Happy Easter weekend!

Dan and I are in Oklahoma waiting to meet my uncle who is driving back the girls, plus 3 of their cousins, after a week of spring break fun in Texas.

I have been without them for an entire week and I can't wait to squeeze them all and listen to stories of their adventures. So far I know they swam their hearts out, had a spa day, tea party, consumed many slushies, celebrated Christmas (!!!), and went to the zoo.  

Although I missed the girls terribly, I admit having a kid-free week was a little indulgent. I finished our taxes, organized multiple closets, visited all of my grandparents, had dinner with friends, and enjoyed longer walks each morning.  While doing our taxes I managed to misplace both Dan and my drivers licenses and have searched my house high and low without success. I think we have a date to the DMV planned in our near future.

A month later and I still haven't located our drivers licenses... 


The girls have had two dance competitions and I think my dance mom skills are slowly improving. 

The first competition went well, but the second competition was on a Friday night after I had a busy day at work and I went straight from a high stress client call to doing hair and make up and I just about lost my mind when Ina and Cora were play wrestling (thanks Dan) and Cora fell, tore her tights, and cried her make up off. In case you were wondering, yelling "Stop crying!" to a 5 year old tender hearted red head does not produce the desired result. But doesn't she make an adorable cat? 

I suppose the fact that being a dance mom remains the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life says a whole lot about me. 


You guys, work is so good. I learn something new every single day. I actually feel my brain growing. The mentorship is excellent and one of my former colleagues/friends from my previous job joined my new company! The work weeks fly by and every Friday afternoon I am totally squeezed out in the best possible way. Although there are days where the constant mental challenge is taxing, I am embracing this as a season of growth and trying to stay positive through the moments of stress, frustration, and doubt.


A few recipes we have been loving lately.

Sourdough bread. Do it. I eat avocado toast

The LA Chop Salad (with sourdough bread). 

Shrimp tacos with the best cream sauce. 

Turkey Meatballs

BBQ salmon with mango avocado salsa.

More to come! <3

Grandma Beverly

Last week my sweet Grandma Beverly died at the age of 92. She loved Jesus, pictures, coffee, sports, game shows, and her family. 

That picture was taken at her and my grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary. He died shortly after, so Grandma lived the last 20+years of her life as a widow. 

I have so many wonderful memories of Grandma Beverly as a child. When we were kids, I remember going on walks. Just around the block after dinner, to the library for story time, or to the post office to pick up her mail. Once she took my siblings and I on a longer walk to the school and we somehow were followed by the asphalt truck, which left us no choice but to walk back home on the edge of a street freshly covered in asphalt. She was a trooper through that and dragging home three kids with shoes covered in black chunks didn't even appear to phase her.

Grandma always told me she was a "worrier." She particularly didn't like for anyone to be sick. I remember being sick at her house once when I was a kid and she was at my side constantly and checked on me throughout the night. Since then she has always called to check on me, and later, my kids if she heard that anyone had the slightest cough.

Grandma used to take us shopping for our birthdays. We got to pick the store and she set a spending limit. It started in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, but then one year, trying to be as strategic as possible and make my gift last longer than plastic toys, I thought to move to the fish section. I still remember the globe shaped fish tank and the sucker fish that seemed to survive being cared for by a third grader. The next year we were dragging Grandma to Wayside Waifs to adopt a cat and she was there for it.

As I grew older Grandma took me to every orthodontist appointment I can remember, and most of the time we stopped by Quick Trip afterwards so I could pick a treat and she could get a coffee. My treat eventually became a cappuccino - so I can thank Grandma for initiating my strong caffeine addiction. 

Grandma supporting our sporting endeavors (or in my case, bench sitting endeavors) by coming to a lot of our games, but as a retired teaching coming from a family of teachers, she prioritized education. She was always excited to talk about my report card or how my classes were going. Her attention was one of the strong motivators I had to do well in school. 

Grandma loved taking, collecting, and looking at pictures. She single handedly captured her grandchildren's childhoods through photos and mementos into an album she gave us when we graduated high school. I loved looking at "my book" when I would visit Grandma as a kid and now I get mine out often to show my girls different pictures. What a precious gift to give someone. This has re-invigorated my desire to do a better job of collecting these memories for my kids.

The last few months of her life weren't easy to watch - a woman who had been active and vibrant for years, suddenly wasn't. While it was sad to watch her body fail her while her mind was still very much in tact, she seemed as peaceful as possible and ready to be done with this life and meet Jesus. What an example. <3

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Camping in Numbers

 Hellloooo there...

(The echo is to recognize the lack of blog posts in...months...)

I seriously hope to catch this space up on the past few months of our lives at some point...but for today I want to document the adventures of this past weekend.

First of all...we are the proud owners of a camper. Yes, we already had a camper, but it didn't comfortably fit our family of five and required installation of a fifth wheel hitch. Combine that with the pandemic, some extra hard family stuff, and Dan constantly scrolling Facebook Marketplace and wearing me down with night after night of "Hey Racheal! Come look at this one!"...and I finally caved.

Our maiden voyage was to Watkin's Mill - a Missouri state park an hour from our house. The rest of the weekend will be summarized in numbers: 

Seven loads of laundry...and counting. The mud was inescapable.

Six kids. Because Dan and I are always up for a challenge, we decided to add my niece and nephews to our first weekend in the camper, equaling a total of six kids. Their parents were busy running a half marathon...I don't know who had the more challenging task. Ha!

(The only picture I have of them all together is blurry, of them watching a movie and eating popcorn.)

I have zero regrets about this and while of course there were some logistical challenges (six showers to keep six sets of clean clothes dry with only one bottle of shampoo) they were amazing kids and they had an absolute blast together. 

Five meals to plan. I knew that getting meals together would be crazy with all of the kids, so I decided to be very easy on myself. Past versions of me would have scoffed at this processed food, easy meal plan. Current me is beaming with success. 

  • Friday dinner: take and bake pizzas and a veggie tray
  • Saturday breakfast: sausage, scrambled eggs, sourdough toast (so much more to say about sourdough)
  • Saturday lunch: sandwiches, chips, grapes, veggie tray
  • Saturday dinner: chili (Dan made this at home on Thursday night, so we just warmed it up in the crock pot) and s'mores
  • Sunday breakfast: same as Saturday, except I cooked because Dan took a brief camping intermission to go to church on Sunday for baptisms
Four miles walked/biked. 

The state park has a lake with a 3.75 mile paved trail around it, which I thought sounded like the perfect way to spend the morning. 

Others...who shall not be named...perhaps did not...but were troopers and tagged along anyways. Despite losing the big kids for a few minutes while waiting on the little kids to catch up, the first half was quite pleasant. Then, we found a creek with a stream and little water fall and the kids had so much fun playing in the water.

Maybe too much fun, because they didn't believe me when I warned them they would regret having wet shoes and clothes for the last two miles. 

I really don't like being right, especially when poor Cora face planted on a slippery rock and was so thankful her sweet cousin Hallaway donated her fleece to keep her warm. The second half of the walk involved a lot of (understandable) whining and me carrying a sleeping Mira. 

We made it back just in time for lunch and shelter to stay out of the afternoon rain. Then the kids found a creek behind our camper (that didn't require 4 miles of hiking) to play in for a few hours. They rounded off the night scootering/biking with some friends from church...who just happened to reserve the campsite next to us!

Three movies watched. I know we were camping and should have been enjoying the great outdoors the entire time...but it rained. There were six kids. We were tired.

The Boy Scouts camping in the tents next to us informed us the next morning that there were speakers on the outside of our camper too, blasting the sound of our movie. (I felt really bad about not realizing that feature.)

Two baby wipes, which Mira insisted on using as a shoe substitute after all three of the pairs we brought were unacceptably muddy and wet. She would grab the wipes with her toes and walk about the campsite. It was too hysterical to stop her from doing it. 

One fire built without matches or lighter fluid - just a flint stick (<-- great Father's Day gift!), wood shavings, and lots of blowing. In between the rain and the mud we found a window of time to build a fire and enjoy a few s'mores and the extra warmth. 

We came home in time to clean all the mud off and pack the camper up for our next weekend of fun. Currently researching our next destination.

Talk to you (hopefully very!) soon!
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