Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my little turkeys!

For this week's Thankful Thursday, I asked the kids what they are thankful for this year. 

Jackson: My blankie, Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee, and lastly lasagna because it's my favorite food! 

Belle: Pink,  I love pink!
Me: Are their any people who are you favorite that you are thankful for?
Belle: No. I don't like anybody. 

 Ha. She clearly wasn't interested in contributing to this post. Later in the day, she did mention that she was thankful for Grammy. 

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday and that you are able to find many things to be thankful for today. Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Simple Perfection

Our weekend was simply fabulous. In fact, the fabulousness has bled into the beginning of this week! Tomorrow is Derek's last day of the work week and so the fabulousness will just continue! I love it. :)

On Friday, the kids picked out little Christmas trees and little decorations for their rooms. We also put up Christmas lights in their rooms and they just love them. I promise that we respect the turkey around here... this is the only decorating we've done! :)

On Saturday, we had a wonderful family day. We didn't have anything particularly special planned, but it was low-key, productive, and fun to spend time together at home! Words don't do it justice. It was simply the kind of weekend that I used dreamed about having a family. 

That night, Derek and I went on a date. We haven't been eating out hardly at all lately and so our eating out budget had been growing and growing. At one point, we realized that we had enough to visit this restaurant that I have been waiting YEARS to visit. It was so fun to go try something new and it was absolutely delicious. We visited a Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian restaurant on The Plaza. There's no menu-- just a bunch of waiters carrying around swords of meat and you pick which ones you want. Or all of them ;) 

Both Saturday and Sunday, we spent all afternoon camped out on the floor in front of the fire. It's my most favorite thing ever. We watched the Chiefs game on Sunday afternoon (I'm still grumpy about it and I don't want to talk about it) and then we had a Thanksgiving dinner at church. Brad and Mary came over later that night and we played board games... in front of the fire, of course!

Yesterday, we dropped off our  Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and had another simple day at home. I ventured out to book club last night and enjoyed visiting with my friends.

Today was another really great day. I've been putting off the van inspection because I didn't really want to deal with kids waiting around the auto shop, but we did that this morning. Before we left, one of the men at the shop said that the kids were the best behaved kids he's ever seen. I am sure it was an exaggeration, but it was a wonderful compliment and helped me realize how great my kids really are. The kids helped me clean the house for company tonight earning a penny for every task and they was NO whining and they were actually helpful. We had friends come over tonight and we played MORE games. :) 

Nothing super exciting nor particularly blog-worthy has happened over the past few days, but it's the simplicity of it all that has just felt so good. I don't know how else to explain, other than... it's simple perfection. More than anything else we do as a family-- the fun adventures, celebrating holidays-- these simple moments are my favorite.

I have spent the last few days just letting them soak in, not wanting to miss out on the moment just to try to document it for the future. Spending time with family and friends-- this is the best part of life and I'm looking forward to getting to visit with more family and friends over the next few days as we celebrate Thanksgiving! 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Five on Friday

I'm linking up with Five on Friday today!

1. I didn't get around to my Thankful Thursday post yesterday because I wanted to read my book instead of blog... so, I'll go ahead and just say that I'm thankful for good books!

2. Speaking of books, I started reading some chapter books with Jackson this week. After asking for recommendations on facebook, I started with the Magic Tree House series. Well, in 3 days we finished two books and Jackson is eager to find what happens to Jack and Annie on their next adventure!

3. Derek and I took the kids to a high school basketball game last night. After the kids went to bed, we both brought up how doing things as a family is so much easier these days. At the game, we were able to spend time with the kids and also visit with some friends-- we didn't spend the entire time chasing down and worrying about them running into the court. It's so nice to be able to take the kids and do things... and it's so enjoyable too! I love our family. :)

4. Speaking of kids, they do and say funny things. Here are a few funnies from the week:
  • Jackson, while he loves being 5, is really bummed that he's not old enough to watch the "TG-13" version of Transformers.
  • Derek was having the kids pick up and Belle starts crying, "It hurts!" He rushes to her aid to see how she has likely hurt herself and when he inquires about what hurts she sobs, "my feelings!!" 
  • I bought some mini-cinnamon rolls from a bakery last week. Jackson rationed them out because he wanted to make sure they lasted several days. He insisted that we each only at one each morning. Since when does a 5 year old have that much will-power? I may have eaten some behind his back. 
  • Belle missed out on most of the cinnamon rolls because she was up at Grammy's, but after she ate one for a snack, she walked in the kitchen and said, "that made my tummy VERY happy." 
5. Despite the cinnamon rolls, Derek reached a huge weight loss milestone this week-- 30 pounds! Since September! I, myself, have reached 24 pounds in twelve weeks. It's unbelievable... especially because I haven't exercised in weeks and have been enjoying cinnamon rolls (a treat from a "clean" bakery) and occasional daily dark chocolate. The pounds just keep coming off as we make sure to eat the foods that our bodies were created to consume. And I haven't counted a single calorie or carb or anything equally as annoying... just ingredients! :)

Happy Friday everyone!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Soccer Stud

Soccer season ended several weeks ago. Tonight, Jackson happened to be playing with his soccer medal and it reminded me to post about it!

Jackson really had a fun time playing soccer this fall! I hate to be the parent who just thinks my kid is perfect at everything, but I do have to say that he's got some talent. Jackson played with 3-4 year olds, though by the end of the season he was just about 5. This is clearly an advantage. Jackson would almost always be the first to get to the ball at the start of each play. He played aggressively and he stayed active near the ball.

It's not that he's better than all of the other kids, it's just that he gets very into competitive sports and takes the game seriously. He wouldn't have "stood out" quite as much if he was playing with several other players who wanted to play hard like him.

During soccer practices, the coaches encouraged "short kicks" to stay in control of the ball. Jackson was never a fan of this to the point to where he'd never actually try to kick it short. He always made long, power kicks. I tried to practice with him at home one time, but he said to me, "I want to play grown up soccer! I want to do LONG kicks." Turns out, he always thought the coaches telling the kids to do short kids was baby soccer and not grown up soccer. 

Most importantly, Jackson had a lot of fun. He liked practices and he liked scrimmaging.

And he LOVES his medal.

Belle, on the other hand, isn't a fan of soccer. And honestly, I can't blame her. I remember being bored while going to all of my older brother's games and stuff. Sorry sweetie! Not only would she be bored, but near the end of the season-- it got COLD! We deserve a medal for enduring nearly freezing temps and sprinkling rain on the sideline!

 Jackson seems to have a natural thing for sports. He likes working on skills and he does well with instruction! He's big on competition too (not sure where he got that from!). As long as he's having fun, we'll keep doing sports! I think basketball comes around this winter!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Monday

I made a menu for the next two weeks AND I didn't even throw it away this time. It's the little things in life that bring me joy.

I thought I'd give a super quick run down on how I make up my menu every two weeks. First, I gather opinions and jot down a few things that sound good and/or new recipes I want to try (right column). Then, I make a list down the page of the days and include activities we might have going on. Then lastly, I pick the easiest meals for the days we have things going on and then fill in the rest! As you can see, Belle helped me with my planning.

I could do this planing in my calendar, but my list is normally full of scratching out and moving things around. I am very particular about my planner and it's only for final drafts. :) 

  • Monday: Lasagna-- Jackson's request, of course. Derek has finance meeting at church, so this needs to be ready to eat as soon as he comes home.
  • Tuesday: Cauliflower & ham casserole -- another meal that needs to be ready early. We are finishing up our Love and Logic classes and there's no time for a family dinner. :(
  • Wednesday: Chicken nuggets, homemade macaroni and cheese-- I am hoping to make extras so I can have some leftover nuggets to keep in freezer!
  • Thursday: Beef Stroganoff-- I have never attempted stroganoff... unless you count hamburger helper... and I don't. I can't believe I used to live off of that sort of fake "food like substance" in my early 20s. Bleh. 
  • Friday: Oven-baked fajitas. Yum!!
  • Saturday: Homemade pizza -- We aren't big fans of toppings on pizzas, so we pair this with a smoothie to get a good serving of fruits and veggies in this meal!
  • Sunday: Whole Fryer Chicken-- I use the leftover shredded chicken for lunches and soups!
  • Monday: Tilapia & roasted veggies -- I have book club, so I purposefully planned fish for this night!
  • Tuesday: Pork chops & baked potatoes -- basic and easy, but delicious!
  • Wednesday: Thanksgiving celebrations!
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving celebrations!
  • Friday: Bacon cheeseburger soup -- I'm hoping this is better than the last recipe I tried! :)
  • Saturday: Thanksgiving celebrations!

Lots of Thanksgiving celebrations! I can't wait. I've planned to prepare cornbread stuffing and green bean casserole, made with organic cream of mushroom and organic friend onions.

I picked up this handy dry-erase calendar thing from Target a few months ago. I love it! It's perfect for planning our week! I'd like to get a second one as I always plan our menus two weeks at a time, but one is sufficient. It's so handy to have it right by the fridge, so I can take a look and see what I need to get prepared when I'm doing breakfast or lunch (depending on how productive I am that day!).

I'm really looking forward to some pumpkin pie next week. What is your favorite thanksgiving dish?


Friday, November 15, 2013

Six week photo dump

Warning: this is a long photo dump post. I just checked and the last time I shared my latest Instagram pics was in September! We've got six weeks of pics to catch up. :)

Back in September, we enjoyed a nice evening around the firepit. These are my favorite fall moments!

"Hey, Mom.... I helped!!!!!"

Jackson on crazy hair day at school!

Belle looked in the mirror, noticed her messy bun, and excitedly proclaimed, "I'm a Mommy!!!" Apparently, I don't do my hair often enough.

Jackson and I were preparing for his firefighter birthday party!

Coloring merely on paper interferes with her artistic flare?

Storytime outfit: shorts, t-shirt snow boots, chiefs helmet. Whose kid is this?!?

It was a tad windy the afternoon that the kids went to play outside in the rain!

One of the trees in our backyard has giant leaves-- and they look like hearts! So fun. 

Cousin sleepover! 

My sister-in-law and I ventured out to explore Westport last weekend. Frozen yogurt-- yum!

This past Monday our street got repaved! Trucks were here all day. My kids were so intrigued. They watched for hours. A few of the workers even came to talk to us and explain the process and others waved at the kid each time they drove by. It was so fun!

The weather turned yucky very quickly, but it didn't stop the kids from watching from inside. This was cooler than TV!

Pink scarf day at the library!

"Mom, I'm stickering!" 

I love that cameras are so accessible these days to capture fun day-to-day moments. The bad news is that I have about a hundred kazillion photos on my phone and computer. Once I've shared them though, I can go back and delete!

Have a fun weekend everyone! :)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I'm back with another Thankful Thursday post for the month of November. Last week, I shared the wonderful things about my community that I love and that benefit our family so much. 

This week I am thankful for our babysitters!!!! Of course we are thankful for all of the people who provide care for our children and all of them are great! But we have two pretty regular babysitters (other than our family) and we just love them. The kids more than love them. 

Chelsea was our first "real" babysitter. It was almost two years ago when she started coming over each week so I could do schoolwork and stuff. Even though she would come over on Thursdays, the kids would wake up every day and and ask, "Is it a Chelsea day?" She's been a lifesaver these last few months coming over multiple times so I could squeeze in a few more hours of study time for my licensing exam! Also, she always does cute things with Belle's hair. Any cute thing I do to Belle's hair is only because Chelsea did it first.

The kids are equally fond of Chelsea as displayed by this conversation....

Belle: Mom, are you the boss?
Me: Yes. I'm the boss.
Belle: Are you the bad boss?
Me: What do you mean? 
Belle: Chelsea's the good boss. You're the bad boss.
(Mind you, Belle was just sitting and eating lunch. She wasn't in trouble or anything. This is just plain honest toddler speak)

Our other babysitter is Kenzie! On the very first night that Kenzie babysat, we came home to find Belle asleep on a pile of stuffed animals on the floor with no shirt. She apparently refused to wear anything other than her puffy vest and wouldn't let Kenzie put her to bed. Kenzie was so worried! I was in complete awe of her ability to keep cool and to not negotiate with toddler terrorists. Fortunately, the incident didn't scare her away!

I don't want to brag too much lest anyone want to snatch her up for their own kiddos, but we love her. The kids get equally excited about Kenzie coming over. She normally comes over in the evenings and so I'll tell the kids early in the day. And then I have to hear "Is Kenzie here yet?" about 567 times in a matter of a few hours! I suppose it's a small price to pay to have babysitters that we love!! 

We are so thankful for these girls who come over and love on our kids! We trust them, the kids love them. We're blessed!!


Monday, November 11, 2013

The deployment that never happened

Happy Veteran's Day! 

We made our annual visit to the Hy-Vee veteran's breakfast this morning. I am just in love with this picture. Everyone is looking, everyone is smiling-- and that hubby of mine is just so handsome. :)

At the breakfast today, a little girl named Sydney (I know this because she spelled it for me because she said it'd be "too hard" for me) asked Derek, "are you a veterinarian too?" It was so sweet. I'm glad other kids have outgoing personalities like mine!

Derek will have four years in the army in January. His unit was scheduled for deployment once. In fact, he broke the news on the day that Isabelle was born.

After this picture it should read: 9:00 pm- Baby is sleeping in hospital nursery. Derek and I squeeze onto the hospital bed and are alone for the first time in months.  He gently breaks the news that his unit is scheduled for deployment. It may seem cold-hearted, but he just wanted to tell me in person and I'm thankful. He left in July and I had Belle in February. He'd been gone all that time! The deployment was scheduled barely two months after his upcoming homecoming! I'm convinced that God gave me the easiest delivery ever with Belle just so I'd be capable of handling the information. Miraculously (seriously, miraculously) I managed amazingly and promised that we'd make it work!

Fortunately, that deployment never happened. It just kept getting pushed back and pushed back until it was finally cancelled. When I say "fortunately" it's really fortunate just for me and the kids. While Derek isn't eager to spend months away from home and our family, there is a very real part of him wanted and still wants to go. To go do the things he's trained to do, to serve on a greater scale, and to earn the privilege to wear the combat patch on his uniform. It may be hard to understand, but that's just Derek (and probably most service members).

And while he hasn't been to war, he's my hero for simply signing up and being willing to go. Our recent OEF and OIF wars are the first that have consisted of an entirely volunteer-force. Volunteers like my husband and many others who made the commitment to serve our country, not only in peacetime, but during war. 

Happy Veteran's Day to all veterans past and present! 


Friday, November 8, 2013

Why rake when you can play?

After naps today, the kids and I ventured outside to start working on the blanket of leaves covering our backyard. I love our trees... but there are soooo many leaves!!! 

I didn't make much headway because we started having too much fun playing! 

There are still tons of leaves in the backyard, but why would we want to get them all raked and bagged without Daddy? He'd be so sad. This way, we can just do it together! :)



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