Monday, August 30, 2021

Last Summer Trip

We had another adventurous weekend!  

But, before that, let's pick up where we last left off, shall we? The second day of school went swimmingly for the girls. 

While they were away, I finally solved the problem with the switch I had purchased to make my screens/mouse/headset/keyboard switch back and forth between the two computers I need for work. 

Me. I was the problem, because apparently I thought two of the cords were optional. After spending more time than I care to admit googling solutions, I looked at the hardware again and 8 cords later I can check both email accounts without sitting on the floor. This was a big win people. 

That night the girls had their first art class and play practice, which went well and we came home to quickly make dinner - Asian glazed chicken thighs, rice, and a quick cucumber and onion salad. 

The next day began like every other - bible study/prayer time, a little computer time, then a LexiJ workout (lower body!) and a 3(ish) mile walk. After years of my mornings being a mess, I finally have a morning routine I love. 

That walking view doesn't hurt. 

(I finished also finished The Midnight Library. I heard mixed reviews on this book, and although I can't say I loved the first half, the second half was quite beautiful and I am thankful to have stuck with it.)

I spent Wednesday evening packing for our trip, baking cookies, and then unsuccessfully putting the girls to bed. Dan usually lays with them until they fall asleep, but he wasn't home, and I don't lay still well. 

We left for Branson on Thursday evening as soon as the girls finished their play practice/auditions. Ina auditioned for a singing role and even though she didn't get the part I was so proud of her for practicing the song all on her own and auditioning with confidence around girls and teachers she doesn't know very well. Side note: we made the incredibly difficult decision to stop competitive dance. Although we loved the teachers, the girls, and the studio, we decided to prioritize our family's resources differently. I know some might consider this decision minor, but it might be the most difficult one I have made as a parent to date. 

End side note.

We arrived to our pitch black condo (at Stillwater Resort <--recommend) with one cart full of bags, two coolers, three children, up four floors...only to realize we went to the wrong building. The second time, however, was a success and we were excited to meet with our friends. 

I woke up bright and early Friday morning to work from the balcony of our condo the next day, so I could shut my laptop around 2 and join everyone at the pool. 

We hung around there until dinner time and hit the food trucks for some shrimp tacos and s'mores. 

We came back to the room to celebrate our friend Keely's birthday and then finished the night watching football and playing Phase 10. 

Ina has quickly earned the nickname "Card Shark" around here. I have no idea where she gets it from...

The next morning I was the first to wake up, so I did some meal planning, then Ryann and McKenzie joined me for a walk that included a nature trail, which is really just a fancy way of saying "lots of spider webs." We then headed down to the lake where we spent the majority of the day.

We paddle boarded,




jet-skied, and water-biked (?) our way through the day. 

This little cove was part of the resort (everything was free) and just perfect for families of elementary aged children. It is relatively small, but large enough to have fun and feel adventurous. Watching the kids try new things on their own was just the coolest. 

We had a brief intermission for lunch, and Dan and I came back to the pool near our room to start dinner. Just in case you are trying to feed a large crowd on the go, may I recommend fajitas? 

We made the rice and beans at home and heated them up in the oven while Dan cooked the shrimp, chicken, chorizo, and veggies on the grill. 

We ended the evening playing Catch Phrase and laughing way too loudly for a hotel room. 

We packed up yesterday morning and drove home to unpack, throw laundry all over the house, draft a fantasy football team, and watch a movie. 

What a weekend! What a summer! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day all three of our girls went to school. 

(Plus our bonus daughter Kayleigh who hangs out with us before school!)

Also, for the first time, Dan and I were able to take the girls to school and pick them up from school together, which was such a great family memory. Dan stopped working his previous job a few months ago and has stated a food prep business. You better believe I am slightly (not slightly?) jealous, but tamper that feeling by assisting in the planning aspects. 

This change in Dan's schedule has been LIFE CHANGING for me, because I have help in the mornings, which were previously the most stressful time of my day. Now, Dan makes the signs. (The best part is "Leave mom alone. Ask Dad for everything in the morning." While this doesn't completely happen, it is so nice to be able to focus on work when I need to.)

Never mind that only 1/3 of our daughters can read. He points to the sign and they do what it says. 

Back to the first day of school - 

Ina is now in 3rd grade and started the day with the same high level of confidence and excitement that bursts from her body every other day of the year.

When I asked her how her day went she was excited to tell us about who was in her class and what order her specials were in. 

Cora started kindergarten with just as many sparkles as one body could handle. 

She has Ina's previous kindergarten teacher, who sweetly sent me a few pictures of Cora during the day, as parents weren't able to go into the school. 

Cora hopped in the van and quickly reported that she saw two kids slapping each other, so she had to "slap them both" in order to make them stop. After suppressing a giggle we had a talk about when to get a teacher for help and to keep your hands to yourself. 

Mira started a new in-home preschool and absolutely loved it. As soon as we walked down to the classroom, all of the girls wanted to stay and play.

The teacher sent me updates and pictures throughout the day, which was reassuring to know what she was up to. 

When we asked Mira if she wanted to go back tomorrow she told me no...which worried me...but then she said, "I want to stay there today. I don't want to leave!" Ha! 

After we had a van full of Kendricks we decided to grab ice cream in celebration of a great first day before heading home to finish up work and cook dinner. 

I think this is a wise first day of school tradition.

While we were cooking dinner Ina read to Cora and Mira did a puzzle - academics are in the air!

Now I am off to scroll through FB and look at everyone else's kids smiling for their first of school. It is the best!

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Week -1

Hello! Happy first week of school! 

But before we get to that, let's talk about the week before, what some might call Week -1.

Friday night Ms. Amy (our incredible nanny) came over to hang out with the girls so Dan and I could go on a double date to JalapeƱos with our friends Luke and Amy. 

Double dates are just so fun. Afterwards I tried to stay up and watch The Mysterious Benedict Society with Dan and the girls, but just couldn't hold my eyelids open. (BUT, I will say we have watched a few episodes since and it is so good - on Disney Plus - recommend. We read the majority of the first book together as a family a few years ago, but Ina has no memory of it, so I think this will be on our list once we finish Harry Potter - so close!)

Saturday morning I was wide awake  at 3:30 am and couldn't sleep, so I decided to document our summer in blog form. While I was quickly typing and sifting through tons of pictures, I realized I missed this act and space and hoped to write a little more often. Changes in our priorities and schedules have opened a few more time windows, so I am hoping I can make this can go a little higher on the list. 

At some point Lola and I left for a walk around a nearby lake, which is quickly becoming my favorite part of the day. I listen to my books and look at the beauty around me and move my body. It is the best.

I am finishing up Malibu Rising on audio and although I loved the narration (Julia Whalen is fantastic) and the character development/family story, I could have done without all of the party details. Yes, I am a 36 year old clinical pharmacologist/pharmacist who is squeamish when hearing/seeing any details of drug abuse.

After working for a bit, we all loaded up the van and headed to a nearby park for Ina and Cora's preschool class reunion. 

With the pandemic stealing Cora's graduation (and basically any other event during which we would normally see the other kids in Cora's class and their families), this celebration was everything we didn't know we needed. When Cora saw her teachers and friends she cried their names and ran to give them the biggest hug. It was the absolute sweetest. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon preparing to have our friends The Kellogs over for dinner and games. We ate BLTs (or spiced chicken with cucumber salad), swam, played Phase 10, Nerts, and Fruit Basket, and finished up the evening with ice cream sundaes curtesy of Miss Stephanie. 

Summer hours have really worn our kids out. Mira fell asleep on the couch, but her friends wanted to make sure she was comfortable and had plenty of company.

We spent Sunday morning at church and the afternoon hanging around the house, cleaning out the garage (aren't we always?), preparing for the week, swimming, and eating dinner together as a family. Dan fried some pork chops and the girls couldn't get enough. At some point Cora and Mira got into the winter gear and have been wearing these accessories since. 

Monday started our last week before school is back in session. The girls spent with day with Dan while I worked, and then I met some old co-workers for happy hour (where I smoothly spilled my water)  and then hurried home to have our friends the Dowdys over for dinner. Dan made these turkey burgers, which ended up being a very wise decision. If you like your taste buds, please make those burgers.

Tuesday we showed up to art class/play practice precisely one week early and after disappointing a very-excited-for-her-first-class-ever, backpack-wearing Mira that she in fact did NOT have art class that day even though I have told her for weeks that she did, we had no choice but to go to the park. 

She quickly got over it.

Grandma Frankie came over on Wednesday morning to take the girls on a few outings and then my aunt, uncle, and cousins came over for a few hours to play games, eat, and snuggle. Ina was in absolute heaven having four new adults to show her card tricks to and play games with. We played Phase 10, Ticket to Ride, and Play Nine. I lost all of them. To my 8 year old daughter. Sigh. 

Thursday was back to school night! We found out their girls' teachers the day before and both are so excited! Cora has the same kindergarten teacher Ina had (and loved) and Ina has the same teacher Cora had for summer school this year! 

Cora temporarily worried I was going to leave her in the classroom that evening, but quickly forgot her worries when she saw a few of her friends were in her class. Ina loved meeting her teacher, but the highlight for her was certainly all of the books in her classroom's library. "Mom! We have all of the Wings of Fire AND Harry Potter!"

This was the first time I have been inside Ina's school in a year and a half and I have to admit I was a little teary eyed. I worked hard to fight back the thankful tears when I met Ina's 2nd grade teacher who lovingly guided her class through a year of unknown. These teachers are just the best. 

I dropped the girls off with Dan and met a few friends at Danielle's to catch up. 

That brings us to the weekend again. I really wish I had more pictures. Friday night we had fun with friends at Hair Cut Happy Hour. Saturday morning we had a blast at our church's annual Water Wars for the kids. I made superhero muffins and a double batch of sourdough. Sunday we went to church, served at church, and then spent the rest of the day preparing for the start of school. 

Mira was not feeling the best on Friday night, but after sleeping for 14 hours on Saturday night, she was good to go. She fell asleep while we were swimming on Saturday at 5 PM. 

See you again soon for the first day of school recap!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Sumer 2021

Oh what a summer it has been. 

Things are happening around here. Good things are ending to make room for bigger, better things. We have hosted too many dinners with friends to count, and yet we are always hoping for one more. We started book clubs. We camped - mostly in the rain. We rode roller coasters. We swam and swam and swam. We have stayed up past our bedtime to watch TV (and by we I mean Dan and the girls - momma goes to bed at 9). We have eaten a lot of hamburgers and watermelon. Ina has learned many card tricks. Mira has learned to swim. Cora has learned to quietly sneak up to my office for one more hug.

School starts next week after which 66.67% of my children will be in elementary school. How? 

Related (and picking up since my last post) Cora graduated from preschool in May. The graduation was virtual, but the teachers sent out the cutest video and we watched it as a family while celebrating this milestone with our favorite redhead. Video or in person, you better believe I cried. I cried bittersweet tears for my tender-hearted baby growing up and thankful tears for the three amazing women who have loved on her (and Ina before her) for the past two years. 

She was more than prepared to start her first day of summer school kindergarten. Despite carrying in a stuffed animal, she owned the place like the big girl she is. 

Having an older sister who was more than happy to show her the ropes certainly helped.

Backing up to the week before, we went on our second camping trip of the year to Knob Noster State Park with Dan's parents and sister. 

Favorite memories include hiking in the rain and wading through puddles. Specifically, while hiking on the morning of our last day, Ina fell in the water while trying to cross on a log, and while there was a bit of drama involved, I don't know if I have ever laughed as hard as I did when she kicked her leg up and a gush of water came out of her rain boot.

I also loved seeing the girls play with their baby cousin. I am so looking forward to watching them grow up together.

Over Memorial weekend, we made a super quick trip to my aunt and uncle's lake house where we were spoiled, as always, with great food, company, and boat rides.

The following weekend the girls had their dance recital,

and then Dan and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary! 

The next day I had an absolute blast (and sweat my butt off) at Lexi's one year anniversary event.

Lexi had a live workout and encouraged the kids to go up to the front with her to lead. You better believe Ina and Cora were game. 

Being there with 100+ women I workout "with" every morning was just the best. I can't wait to see what next year brings. 

The last week of June we drove to Wisconsin for Ina's dance competition and Brooke and Holland were so sweet to join us. 

It was a great girls trip with many fond memories. I woke up early each morning to work for a few  hours, then walk around the hotel property, which was absolutely beautiful and full of deer, before the rest of the room woke up. Then we would schedule the rest of our activities around the dances and awards. This was my first mother daughter girls trip and I see many many more in my future. 

We drove home in the rain, just in time to pack up the camper and go to Gigi Sherri's birthday party! They hired a band and made great food and the girls lived their best glow stick and tambourine lives. 

The next weekend was 4th of July, which we started at my sister's lake house.

Jessie and Cody were so sweet to invite us to join them over the holiday weekend and you better believe we soaked up every single second of fun.

The kids played with their cousins non-stop and my family loving heart couldn't get enough. We drove home just in time for church and then headed to our friends' house to finish out the celebration. 

The next week Ina and I each started a book club. I have been talking about starting one for years and when Ina came to me saying she wanted to start one, I finally had the motivation I needed to start my own.

Ina's was first - they read Flora and Ulysses and watching those girls sit around and discuss a book was just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. 

My book club has met twice - we have read The Almost Sisters and The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek - both of which I absolutely loved. But what I loved more was the chance to have some friends sit around the table and chat while eating snacks and drinking wine.

The next week we loaded up the camper and drove to Roaring River State Park - probably my favorite in Missouri so far! 

The trip was full of memories I know I will never forget with people I love with my whole heart, but my favorite was watching Chessa's baptism (through tear-filled eyes). 

Having families that your family just blends right into is a precious gift I hope I never take for granted.

The next week we celebrated Cora's 6th birthday!

I made this cake, but instead of having a party we invited some family over for dinner and it was amazing. 

Don't feel too bad for her though, because instead of having a party we packed the camper back up and drove to Branson for yet another trip and Silver Doller City, where both Cora and Ina rode their first roller coasters (thanks to a very convincing Mr. Kyle)!

We hoped from ride to ride and coaster to coaster and had just about the best day you could. 

It would appear from this post that all I have done the past 3 months is play, but I promise there was a lot of work in between - as I flip through my planner I have pages and pages of notes to prove that this summer was also full of learning and growing at work.

Also work-related - Dan has started a business(ish), and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Next time! <3

I hope you squeeze all the fun that the rest of the summer has to offer. Muah!

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