Summer in Review

As summer comes to a close, I thought I would share what in the world our family did with the past three months.  Since I was in my first trimester with Baby #3, our poor children didn't get 110% of mom everyday.  My body was just in rest-take-it-easy-get-through-the-day mode.  I'm sure I will make up for it this fall.  Vala's Pumpkin Patch anyone?

Here is our summer in review:

We planted a pumpkin patch as well as tomatoes and carrots.  The pumpkin patch is a little out of control at this point.

We ate lots of yummy strawberries from the garden.

We spent lots and lots of evenings going on adventures.  There were lots of tractor rides, lots of toads, lots of time spent on the swings, and lots of nights without clothes.

We had many opportunities to get together with friends that live close and friends that live not so close.

The four of us drove out to Denver to see the mountains (and the Big Boy train).

We read lots of books.

We experienced a few different kinds of parades: the ones on country roads and the ones on city roads.

Luke is a big boy...he is potty trained!

We celebrated David and Katie's birthdays with a party and a trip on the Boone train.

Kevin and I were able to get out for a few dates.  We love grandparents!

We picked and froze lots of sweet corn.  (But not as much as Grandpa Gary would have liked.)

We made it to the Iowa State Fair with these goofballs.  

Grandpa Gary and Grandma Diane put in a new driveway and we got in on the fun.

We spent all summer dreaming about our new babe that will join our family in February.  We can't wait!

Now, bring on the fall!


Sunny Saturday

Back to school is everywhere...in the Target aisles, all over my Facebook feed, even at my house where no one is going back to school.  There is something about this time of year that has me giddy...maybe it's the cooler weather, maybe it's the deserted zoo we can finally frequent again, or maybe it's that everyone is going back to school and I don't have to.  I'm just being honest. #sorryallmyteacherfriends

But, we couldn't breeze through this time of year without doing a little back-to-schooling ourselves.  Luke and I are going to try out this homeschooling thing this year with three year old preschool.  My goal is to make it as fun and stress-free, easy-peezy as possible.  And with my personality, that is a lofty goal.  But with enough prayer and M&Ms, I'm sure it can be achieved.

Today I'm sharing some of my favorite back to school finds for this fall with my Luke.  These are some items we have discovered and picked up the last few weeks to make our homeschooling transition a bit more fun.

First up is this Melissa and Doug Alphabet Stamp Set.  Luke is learning his letters and sounds and loves to stamp.  I love that this set has both uppercase and lowercase letters.  In the past, Luke used my letter stamp set, but he is pretty stoked to have his own.

Have you tried these Nature Valley nut bars?  Kevin's mom had them at her place last week and I took one bite and fell hard.  The kids gobble them up and I don't blame them.  They can be a bit messy, but, let's be honest, everything with my kids is messy.  These are perfect for part of a lunch on the go at the zoo or an afternoon snack at home.

We are part of a Parents as Teachers program in our area, mainly because it's awesome, but also because a MOPS friend teaches it.  She comes to our home once or twice a month and brings an activity to complete with Luke and Lily.  Last time she was here she brought these colored pencils and the kids both loved them.  They are fatter, so easier to grasp and both kids liked the change from markers and crayons.  These will definitely be utilized this fall.

Kraft macaroni and cheese is what kept Kevin and I alive and fed in those early-20s-we-are-dirt-poor-stage.  I'm pretty sure we ate that and chicken breasts 'grilled' on one of those mini George Foreman grills our entire first year of marriage.  After having kids, we switched to Annie's brand because of the artificial flavors and colors in Kraft.  Even though Annie's is great, I have missed Kraft so so much these last few years. BUT, have you heard?  Kraft finally took their artificial stuff out. #bestdayever  Luke spotted these Star Wars boxes of macaroni and cheese at Target the other day and I couldn't help but stock up.  We might have eaten an entire box in about five minutes and I'm pretty sure Luke was confused when I kept asking him 'isn't it good?' like one hundred times as his mouth is stuffed.  Back to the good 'ole days.  

We are home this weekend and enjoying our local town festival...Donia' Days.  I hope you have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be and get to enjoy this last weekend of August!


...and then there were three...


It's true.  If you follow me on social media, you already know that our family is growing by one babe come February.  We just can't believe we are being granted another little one to hold and care for and love.  We feel so incredibly blessed and nervous and grateful.  Another chapter in our story is unfolding and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us as our family expands.

Luke and Lily are exactly two years and one week apart.  Lily and Baby #3 will be roughly two years and three months apart.  A bit bigger gap and that might be okay this time around.  Miss Lily is going to love this baby to pieces, but she might have a tough time adjusting to sharing mom's lap and attention. We never had that problem with Luke because he has always been a Daddy's boy. Heaven knows we will figure it out and by May I'm sure we will be in a groove. Or that's what I keep telling myself.

We haven't told either child at this point.  We are waiting because we know Luke will totally get it and we don't want to rock his world just yet.  And as soon as we tell Lily we will hear nothing else come from her mouth but 'baby' as she points to my belly or lifts up my shirt.  (She already does this a lot to see my belly button.)  Kevin and I think we will break the news to them in a week or two, giving enough time to prepare for finding out if they are getting a brother or sister.  We have our 20 week ultrasound in a little less than a month and we I can't wait to start prepping and planning for this sweet babe. I always thought I wouldn't find out what we were having after we had a boy and a girl, but I just can't imagine NOT finding out.  It's happening.

This babe hasn't made his or her presence known much, yet, but I'm sure it's coming.  I will feel a little nudge or movement from time to time, but nothing substantial like Miss Lily.  That girl was moving all. the. time.  (That might explain her personality a little.)  Those little kicks are just one of the best things about being pregnant.  A little miracle that moves and pushes and grows inside my body.  A small slice of heaven.

As we prepare to meet this little one, we have lots of transitions and changes that will be happening in our lives and home and I'm excited to embark on this journey with the ones I love.  Babies have a way of making life so much sweeter.


Books and Treats

This week was a slow one, and boy did we need it.  We hung out at home, read lots of books, and played in the dirt at Grandma's until our fingernails were black.  

Home feels so good, especially when you have so many things rotating through your brain that you feel like a spinning top that won't stop twirling.  This week allowed us all to recenter, reconnect, and get back to a little bit of everyday life.

Here are some things that made my week just a bit sunnier...

Since we spent a lot of time at home this week, I had some extra moments to pick up a book and read.  Good thing, because I received this beauty, Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (weird), in the mail last week.  I have been anticipating this book for months and it is everything I thought it would be and of course more, because that is just Shauna.  If you are a woman and you read one book this fall, read this one.  It is just what I need to read and process and internalize in this season of my life with littles.

Does anyone else read multiple books at one time?  I never used to (except in college of course), but I love having options of what to pick up and read depending on my mood.  Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith was sitting on my parent's bookshelf collecting dust, so I brought it home and gave it a spot on my coffee table.  I have been reading it off and on and like his other books, it is thought provoking and pulls at the heartstrings.  If you haven't read it yet, definitely put it on your to-read list.

Okay, let's get serious.  Oreo thins anyone?  I mean really, have you tried these?  Nabisco is always coming up with some different kind of Oreo and I never get into them, but these....these are thin, crispy cookies you can crunch in your mouth in just one bite.  No milk needed (but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt).  Trust me on this, try them.

Let's go from packaged-processed goodness to from-the-garden goodness.  It's all about balance.  These cherry orange tomatoes are making my garden the perfect place to go for a snack.  They bring a pop of color to our landscape and are so sweet and perfect for popping into your mouth on the go or cutting up for a salad.  My mother-in-law gave us the plant and has one of her own and told me she is roasting them with garlic to put on pizza or slices of toasted baguette.  I'm sure we will try that after we get tired of eating them fresh. When I can walk to my backyard for these beauties, it definitely makes gardening worth it.

I hope you have a Sunny Saturday wherever you are today and you're soaking up the dog days of summer!


Sleeping babes

Kevin whispers from the hall, 'you have to see this' as I am sprawled out on the couch, trying to catch a quick snooze before my babes are up and the house turns from a quiet retreat to a loud, messy playground.  Reluctantly, I rise and walk towards the hallway.  He has Luke's door opened and is taking a picture.  I walk in and see my sweet boy snuggled up, still dreaming away, with his two new trucks...on his face.  Yes, trucks, on his face.

Just hours before, he picked out those trucks at the Iowa State Fair and brought them home, treasures that he wasn't willing to part with at nap time. He loved them so much, they were granted a special spot right on his face where he wouldn't be even an inch away from them.

I am so glad I pulled myself off the couch and was able to watch my firstborn sleep peacefully for a few moments.  It's not often I get the opportunity to gaze at him when he sleeps, as he puts himself to sleep on his own and almost never falls asleep at random times or in random places.  

It's such a gift, watching a child sleep.  It reminds me of the soft, gentle spirit that lives inside that little body that is breathing deeply, eyes closed and legs curled up in a ball.  I believe it's one of God's most simple, powerful, moving gifts to parents everywhere.  It reminds us that these wild, unpredictable, sometimes frustrating children are also sweet and beautiful and lovely and good, so very good.

As I stood there watching him sleep with those ridiculous trucks on his face, I silently thanked God for allowing me to experience the simple, deep joy of watching my sweet baby boy toddler rest his body and soul.  Sleeping babies simply are the best.


Sunny Saturday

It's funny how things change.  Pre-kids when I was teaching first grade and living in the city, I adored summer.  I lived for it even.  I would count down the days until it was here, get in a few extra work-outs to get swimsuit-ready, and convince myself August would never come.  

I now have two littles, teach my babes instead of seven year olds, and live on a gravel road.  Summer is not my jam anymore.  Summer brings lots of work to be done around the farm, lots of dust when it doesn't rain, and 90 degrees just isn't fun when you're chasing two toddlers around.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the sunshine and coat, hat, glove-free errands with my babes, but fall is my new season.

Fall is leggings and sweatshirts and bonfires and football and no lines at the zoo because school is in session.  It's soup and crusty bread and hay rack rides and pumpkin patches and work winding down on the farm.  Fall is bubbling hot coffee and cozy blankets and being able to wear my hair down because the humidity has finally lifted.  Yep, fall is my jam.  

August means the glorious days of fall are right around the corner and I am counting down, just like I used to count down the days to summer. 

Today I am sharing a few random things that might not be fall related, but sure made my week a bit sunnier.

This pillow.  I am pretty sure it will go from summer to fall with ease.  It coordinates with the blues I have in the living room and kitchen and it's perfect to prop myself up with when watching Netflix with Kevin.

Last week I admitted my obsession with Shauna Niequist.  This devotional, Savor, came in the mail this week and it is splendid.  It's short, sweet, to the point, and gets me to take a minute to think deep and pray everyday.

Since fall is coming, most of our flowers are done blooming for the year. There are a few that are still trying to hold on a bit longer, but most of them have said their goodbyes until next year.  I even have mums blooming already!  These stargazer lilies are close to being gone, but Kevin picked some for me and I have been enjoying them inside all week long.  One thing I will miss about summer is fresh flowers readily available in the garden.

Something else I have embraced this week is rest.  It was a tough week in some ways and I let myself take some extra time to get the rest I needed and craved. Sometimes as a mom it's difficult to take time away from the things I 'should' be doing and instead do the things that fills me up and energizes me.  This week was a good reminder to slow down, take a deep breath, and spend some time resting my body and soul.

I hope you have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today and take time to dream about fall and put your feet up!


Momma's Cooking Club

I hear the garage door open, he is home.  He is a few minutes late, but bless his heart, he is home.  He heads up the stairs, and I literally give him a kiss and a high five. I tell him dinner is in the fridge and our youngest has been a bit crabby and might need some extra cuddles; I then triumphantly head down the stairs carrying my pan of Thai salmon. 

It is Cooking Club night.  Praise the Lord it is Cooking Club night.

The second Tuesday of the month is a night out with my mom tribe.  We all come together at one of our homes dressed up or dressed down with something homemade or something picked up and we share a meal together.

We are in our third year of Cooking Club.  We all met in a small group at church.  We were all married and a few of us had littles.  After a few years gathering as a couples’ group, my good friend decided us girls needed some time to connect beyond couples’ time.  This is how our Cooking Club was born.  It was something we all desperately wanted and needed.  In our three years together we have gone from three babies to twelve.  Twelve, with at least one more on the way.  One could say we are in the baby making season of life.  In this season, more than ever before, we need each other and we need Cooking Club.

I drive over to my dear friend’s house, listening to a podcast and feeling a bit of freedom and excitement for the night.  I walk in and hear my girlfriends chatting and chopping away in the kitchen.  After some catching up and throwing my salmon in the oven, I pull up a stool and take it all in.  The yummy smelling mushrooms sautéing on the stovetop, my friend’s newborn baby asleep on her chest, the chattering of these women I love; connecting and loving one another.  Loving one another well. 

At Cooking Club there are no expectations except to show up when you can, and bring a dish to share.  No one expects Top Chef style cooking (although if you are on that level, let me know and you can join us) or fancy table settings or the perfect ambience.  Sometimes a dish turns out to be a Pinterest fail, sometimes one of us gets an SOS text from dad to hurry home, sometimes there is literally a crying baby in the bedroom next to the kitchen.  Those interruptions are all a part of this season and we all relate and none of it matters.  We are there simply to be together…as women, as moms.

The dishes are all smelling ready, so we put them on the long, worn, wooden table along with our glasses and we each find a seat.  This is a magical time.  Sitting at the table with my people, my mom tribe.  We talk about one mom’s struggle to get more than two hours of sleep at night and why we should or shouldn’t wax and what in the world Kelly was thinking when Michael walked away.  We talk about vacations and our kids and what we are reading.  We talk about how much grace we receive every single day.  We are doing life together, at this table, at Cooking Club.

As we sit across the table, we know each other, we listen to each other, we are heard and understood; we are real with one another.  Sometimes as a mom, all I want is to be seen and heard.  At Cooking Club, I feel seen and heard and known and don’t feel the need to hide anything.  One night there may be a mom who is going through troubles and needs to vent and to be heard and seen…it may be all we talk about.  On other nights we all are sharing and listening as the conversation bounces around the table like a ping pong ball.  Each month is different and unique as we are all going through our seasons of motherhood.

After our bellies hurt from all the food and laughs we had, we clean up the kitchen, say our good-byes and head home.  I journey home with a smile on my face and a full heart; I find my journey home at least as triumphant as my first escape. I might be a few minutes late, but I arrive home as a better me.

The funny thing about my tribe is that we are all doing this mom thing differently.  One mom is staying home, loves Aldi’s and took her ten month old to London last year, another mom is running a hair salon and is a hands-on mom, and yet another is managing a heart condition all while raising two incredible babies at home.  We are all oh so different, but we have something bigger in common than if we work or stay at home, if we eat organic or processed mac and cheese…we are moms trying to love and raise our babies the best we know how.  And, lucky for me, I get to raise my babies with these women, my tribe, side by side.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...