Friday, January 27, 2017

TGIF - Five things


I'm back with some random stuff and happenings from the past week!  I'm going to try to get back to regularly scheduled blogging because I MISS it!!  But here's some stuff for now that's just for fun!


If you are going to Wendy's and looking for a more healthy (meaning WAY more healthy than the double stack + fries that I actually wanted to get), you should try their Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad.  I did and was pleasantly surprised.  While I did sneak a couple of french fries from my kids, I'm for sure getting this again if we make a fast food stop.  I loved it!!!


Last weekend was BUSY.  Like we were here to there and then another there constantly.  This weekend is not much different (unfortunately), but the weekends are always fun when we are celebrating with family and friends (it just takes the weekdays to catch up which is easier said than done). 

But last Saturday afternoon, we celebrated my grandmother and granddaddy's 84 and 85 (respectively) birthday's!  They have the same birthday DATE, just a different year, which I think is so cute.  These two love birds have had quite the life journey and what a special thing it was to have all FOUR of their kids in town for this celebration - not to mention a lot of their grandkids that are in KC and even great grandkids. 

The whole family

The great grandkids in attendance!

My sister had just with Maddie and the party favors!

Oh and we busted out the mouth game - which didn't quite fit on Charlie's mouth, but kind of.  HA


Right after the birthday party, Jimmy and I left our kids with my parents (who then shuttled them back to our house where my MIL and Jimmy's grandma babysat them!), to head to his work holiday party.  Seems weird that it's in January, right?  But it's actually pretty awesome because December weekends are always so packed, that it's nice that it's pushed to mid-January every year.

This year they did a murder mystery dinner - which I was SO excited about.  We have never done one of these (and always talked about it) and it was even better when Jimmy was assigned the role of the butler.  Needless to say, Jimmy was disappointed in our table's overall participation (not enough sleuthing going on in his opinion), but he did win the best actor of the night award. Which is NO surprise at all.  He took it very seriously.

And if that wasn't enough entertainment - they busted out karaoke.  Which, as you know, can be a complete flop if no one wants to do it.  Well, his work is full of super fun/brave/drunk people and when the CEO was the second one to go, it kicked off the night just fine.  Jimmy literally sang like 15 songs - some buy himself and some with a group.  And some he wasn't invited to sing but butted in, because he couldn't handle that people were "butchering it".  Haha.  Here he was stealing the microphone when these two guys were singing Frozen's love is an open door. It's his favorite (seriously), so these actions are not surprising at all to me.

Let's just say he might have had a little bit too much fun - as in, he doesn't remember the end of the night at all and almost threw up on the way home.  But I'm an awesome wife and provided him no sympathy and dragged him to 9:30 church.  #adultingsucks


The Instant Pot.  My new love.  We have been trying so many yummy recipes with this baby.  Including this awesome Chicken Fajita Soup one.  Not kidding - so good.

However, on Monday night this week, we had scheduled to have our neighbors over for dinner, that was long overdue.  I planned to make the easy and delicious crockpot Pork Carnitas (I shared it as one of my family's top 10 freezer meals here).  Easy enough right.  I got everything ready and put it in the crock pot and went to work.  Minor detail - it doesn't actually cook unless you turn it on.

BLAH!  Worst thing ever.  And so embarrassing.  Our neighbors were so sweet about it, but still. AHHHH I hate that.

So yeah, I had a frozen pork butt in the freezer to use, but only had an hour to cook it.  So I attempted the same recipe in the Instant Pot in hopes that it would truly work magic and cook a 3.5lb frozen pork butt in an hour.  Well, it kind of did.  We finally got it (after 2 hours and hungry stomach's) to be safe to eat per the temperature, but it for sure wasn't fall apart pork goodness like it is after spending the day in the crock pot.  Another reason why I really think that the Instant Pot will NEVER replace my multiple crock pots.  Both awesome but different uses!!!


This is so random - but SERIOUSLY.  Can we have this couch??  Please.  Does this not look so comfy and it's huge and looks like it's like down in the floor.  I love Erin Condren planners, but this takes the cake!!

And can I add a sixth one??  My kids.  I love them and I love even more how much they love each other.  Nothing makes a momma's heart explode than seeing your kids love each other.

Speaking of - one LAST thing.  I'm sharing today on the KCMB all about being outnumbered.  No like life changing secrets, just some funny perspectives!

Cheers to the WEEKEND!

Linking up with:

Sept Farm | Oh hey Friday!
Smidge of This | Five on Friday
Momfessionals | Friday Favorite

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy half birthday to MIKEY!!!

Seriously in shock.  How is it already January.  And SIX months (and one week - oops, mom is behind!) ago was when we were welcoming you into this world sweet boy.  A whole half a year.  It's nuts how time flies, but you are the best most snuggly little guy and we are loving our days with you.  You are changing and growing and learning new skills before our eyes!!!

Length: 27.5 in (84%)
Weight: 17lbs 12oz (54%) 
Head: 17.5 in (81%)

  • SITTING UP!!  You are still working on your core strength, but for sure are sitting.  You keep getting better and better by the day and I'm praying that once you learn to sit really good - you don't turn around and start crawling/moving.  I'm not ready for that.
  • You do continue to roll all over the place and here and there, so while you're not on the move officially - we do have to watch you carefully when you're on the floor because you end up across the room if we walk away!
  • Still sleep in the dock a tot in your crib.  Not sure when I'll take you out of that - probably need to think about it - you are rolling over to sleep on your tummy at Ms Marie's house and love that, but are quite content at night and naps at home in there.
  • Size 2 diapers still but getting ready to move to size 3, they are getting a little tight.
  • mostly in 6 month clothes, but wearing 9 month PJs (so long!) and some pants because I don't do laundry as often as I should.
  • Your little cooing is awesome.
  • You're still loving days with Ms Marie and all the girls and still taking 6-7 ounces in a bottle three times a day, which is nuts.  I'm still pumping 3 x a day at work to keep up with you, kid!
  • Love your highchair and FOOD.  We have made our way through all the veggies and you love them mixed with a little bit of breastmilk for sure.  We moved on to fruits and you are so funny and like squint your face up because they are so sweet.  But you love pears.  
  • Took your first bath in the big kid tub with your siblings on Christmas night (you hung in the bumbo and did great!).  We will see when we start doing that regularly!

Things you like:
  • Milk, milk and more milk.  Give you breastmilk from the boob, bottle, mixed in with food and you are happy.
  • Bouncing and playing with your siblings.  It's probably the most adorable thing because Maddie likes to sit down and "teach" you things when you're in the bouncer in the morning.
  • Being tickled - it's the BEST.  And hearing you laugh is just amazing
  • Like to still be carried and now you're solid on my hip!
  • Snuggles.  Oh man, you're a snuggler and I love it.
Things you don't like:
  • when Maddie high pitch screams - which is WAY too much.  We all feel that way sweet boy!

Special memories:
  • Your first Christmas!!!  So many fun things happened then.  First Christmas Eve candlelight service too.  Love having you as a part of all of this special time of year.

  • Your first New Year.  We are officially out of your birth year and you spent NYE with Nana and Papa!!  First time they watched you overnight and it was a success!!
  • You also attended your first NYE party (at noon) and were quite the helper when mom was manning the bowling lanes!
  • Also made your second trip to urgent care/after hours ---- for nothing.  Yep, the first time you went it was because of "something" on your head that mom couldn't shake and it was nothing.  This time, you did legit have a cough for two weeks, but took you in and they said you were all good - so I'm hoping your healthiness continues (please!!)
  • You survived the first KC "ice storm" haha - aka nothing happened but we had a fun weekend inside!
  • First time the KC Chiefs let you down - I'm sure if you're a sports fan like your dad, it unfortunately will not be your last
  • You also went the church nursery for the first time and did GREAT!

A note to our sweet boy:

Six months have literally flown by.  We couldn't be more smitten with you.  Your laugh and smile are infectious and when you're happy, everyone at our house is happy.  And when you're sad, everyone is usually so concerned as to why you are sad we all are sad too!!!  You are learning so much and I know you'll be on the move in no time, so I want time to slow down.  But at the same time, you have such a fun personality, it's going to be awesome to see you start interacting and communicating with us more in the next few months.  It's crazy to think in just six more months you will be ONE.  AHHHH.  Don't even talk about that.

You continue to just be so wonderful and funny and handsome and adorable and keep it up!!

Your mom (and dad)


Just for fun - here is Charlie and Maddie's five month side by side picture.

Looks at all three of my cuties!!!!!!!

Some fun from the last month:

Bath time selfie with mom - I'm not ready to give up our solo bath time so you can play with Charlie and Maddie - it's my favorite and so calming to me at night!

Pulling Santa's beard!

Workout selfie with mom on Christmas day during nap time

Haha love this Chiefs outfit!

Mom survived a quick day trip to Chicago for work and back home with you hooligans

SITTING!!  Such a big big boy!  Can't wait for next month!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Why me?

Have you ever said "why me"? When something doesn't go your way?  Your day doesn't turn out like you think it should?  If you believe in God, maybe you've even demanded from him - "WHY ME?!".

I have done it and I'm sure you have too.

But ever since I saw this sweet momma post about her baby boy yesterday in need of extra prayers - the concept of "why me" has been weighing on my heart.  And she has.  And this sweet boy.  The whole situation.  Now I don't know Annie personally, but she was at K-State the same time that I was and we have lots of mutual friends.  I have been following her journey for awhile now with her sweet son Jonah.  Stories like this in general tug at my heart, but the fact that Jonah is a five year old boy...and I have an almost five-year-old boy...and Annie is my age and went to college with me, when I see her posts about him, I read them all.  I read them hard.  Every word she posts, I read with thought and compassion.  It sounds kind of weird and maybe even more weird that I'm posting this because I don't know them personally - but their family is one that I cannot get out of my mind lately with the recent turn of events.  She had been able to finally post better news lately.  That his treatment was seeming to work and was getting better.  I was so thankful.  For her, for him, for his whole family.  I prayed to God and thanked him many times because as a fellow mom, my heart aches for her. 

And then I saw this post yesterday.

The full message from Jonah's mom, Annie:

You are not going to believe our night. Well, you will because it's us and I'm only telling you because Jonah is better now. Jonah got a biopsy of his neck yesterday and he did not recover well. I'm not sure what happened but the disturbance of the cancer cells somehow ignited an infection(?)/ I don't get it/ some how caused his blood pressure to go too low, and create a significant need for oxygen, and make him breathe harder and run a fever and need a blood transfusion. The team of docs and nurses that rushed to our room did as much for him as they could on the oncology floor before the PICU docs came up and decided he was better off THERE. Once there, literally once we got in the PICU room, Jonah woke up and started talking and being Jonah to the relief of everyone. Blood pressure normal, holding oxygen. He continued to stay up all night watching the Disney Channel.

In addition, the second scan he had yesterday showed more cancer than we knew about. Jonah lit up in several small places all over is body(even his legs) and his bone marrow too.

So, last night we were prepared to accept that this was Jonah's time. Aaron called for the priest and told the family they better get down here to FW. But God didn't take Jonah and he could have easily; the cancer has spread and is in his bone marrow and he's facing more treatment ahead. All God had to do was stop Jonah's overworking heart. But, he didn't.

I've been very angry at God for not saving us from this relentless nightmare. But I wonder today if I've been wrong about him, that he is helping. Did God urge me to look at Jonah's neck? If not, we wouldn't have known for weeks the cancer had spread and wouldn't be starting treatment so soon. And, did God save Jonah last night? He had to of, right?

The priest came today to pray with us, pray for the next treatment, and give Jonah his last rites (just incase.) I told him what I told you and he said, "God's got a plan for him. God's time isn't like our time."

Will you please add Jonah to your church prayer lists? And petition Saint Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer patients?

I don't know if we have 7 days or 70 years. But I accept either outcome.

I tear up every time I read this.  What amazing strength she has.  I have read it each time someone I now shared it on facebook.  Over and over again wondering if I was in that situation - could I do it?  But don't we all wonder that?  When we see stories on the news or social media about family's that are suffering - I often think "WHY THEM"?  One of my dear friends has a brother in law in his mid-20s that just got diagnosed with testicular cancer and is currently going through chemo - WHY THEM?  Someone's family member died too early - either from a tragic accident or a horrific disease.  WHY THEM?  A close friend lost her baby to a super rare disease- WHY THEM?

I even go the crazy mom route (I'm guessing this is normal - but just not talked about..if it's not, then just ignore I said this ;)) - but I lay in bed at night with my kids holding them or rocking them...over and over thanking God that they are healthy.  That they are at home.  And I even wonder WHY ME?  Why did I get so lucky to have these kids?  So many others either struggle to have kids or the kids that they have get stupid cancer.  So WHY ME?

It just struck me - while Annie might be wondering WHY ME all the time, she finds strength in Him through this journey she is on.  When you read her words, I can just feel when she typed them that she is confident that God had a plan for her sweet boy.  And that plan did not include leaving this place yesterday.  She doesn't know when, but He does.  And all she can do is trust and pray and hope and love.

I posted this so you will pray for Jonah.  That you will pray for Annie.  Pray for their family (she is pregnant also - so lots of prayers for that as well!).  I truly believe that every single prayer is heard, no matter if it's 10 seconds or 10 minutes.  Pray for Jonah's healing.  Pray for his comfort.  Pray for his strength.  They can use them all.

I also posted this because while I don't know this brave mama personally, I can't stop thinking how in following her journey how much I have learned from her.  A person I follow on the internet - this world is a crazy place.  What I learned from her is something I need to remember as a mom, friend, daughter, sister, wife, etc. - all I can do is trust and pray and hope and love.  Every day.  Not to wonder about the negative things and be thankful for the positive ones.  And that's exactly what I'm going to continue to do.  And even though I will allow myself a "WHY ME" every once and a while, I will push through that and focus on what I can control and leave God in control of what He controls.

Follow along Jonah's journey with the hashtag #makejonahglow

Monday, January 2, 2017

Keep Christmas going - DIY Stove Top Potpourri

Happy day 2 of 2017!!  I have such a simple and awesome DIY gift for you.  And bonus is - you'll want to make a few for yourself as well!

I always like to do something small for friends and neighbors close by.  Nothing crazy or expensive each year.  But usually, that defaults to some sort of food/sweet.  Well, being that everyone is usually inundated around the holidays with sweets in general - I decided to think outside the box and try to find something on Pinterest that was simple, easy, useful and NOT food.

Here it is folks!!  DIY Stove top potpourri!  Not kidding - this was a HUGE hit.  I did get the stuff and try it out myself to make sure it did in fact smell good before assembling and handing out to neighbors and friends.  We used it at Mikey's baptism party and it smelled delicious.

So Charlie and I went to work the week before Christmas and made some packages and then the three of us delivered to our neighbors!

I ended up ordering the cloves and cinnamon sticks on amazon in bulk because we were making 10 and it was WAY cheaper than buying at the store (holy cow, like 5 cinnamon sticks at the store is seriously like $7!).  I found buying in bulk helped cut down the price and I have leftovers to use too - which I love!

Charlie helped me assemble all the bags and measure everything out.  It was a great 4.5 year old activity and we had a good time (with minimal spillage!)

I just stuck all the ingredients in a plastic bag, hole punched the printable and used twine to tie off!  It was a cute little package and everyone loved it!

We went off to deliver them to our neighbors - and totally broke the law by letting them sit in the front with me - however, you should know we only went about 1 block from our house - so I promise I wasn't being negligent!  They had so much fun taking them to everyone's houses and bringing a little Christmas cheer!  And bonus was, all my neighbors used it almost immediately and raved about how awesome it was!!

So save this idea for next holiday season OR continue Christmas a little bit longer (it's a "winter" smell too) and whip it up for this new year's holiday!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New year - 8 things!

Happy happy 2017 - hope everyone had a great time celebrating last night.  We went to an old friend's wedding and it was literally the most beautiful wedding and by far one of the most meaningful ceremony's that I have EVER been to.  It was a such a great night catching up with old friends and celebrating those two and their new family.

With a new year, there is lots of reflection too!  I found this article on pop sugar and loved it.  This morning, Jimmy and I went out to breakfast sans kids after a NYE wedding and night in a hotel downtown (so fun!) and were talking about goals.  Goals for 2017.  He said he's not a big goal guy - but I challenged him to think about where he wanted to be this time next year - welcoming in 2018.  Where did he want our family to be?  What did things could we feel better about in 2017 than we did in 2016?

I LOVE conversations like that.  I'm a weirdo - I know.   But I feel like sometimes you can just get SO wrapped up in the day to day and then that turns into the week that went by and then the month.  For me, having that conversation with someone means so much.  And I'm so thankful we got to start the new year off like that!!  Talking about our individual and family goals.  Personal and professional.  Sharing our prayers and fears for 2017 as well.

In addition to personal stuff, I'm always looking for ways to simplify my personal and our family I'm sharing 8 ways that this article mentions (you can read it there) and add a few of my own comments.

  1. Keeping a well stock pantry (I'm also going to add FREEZER to this one because you know my love of freezer meals).  But I totally agree with this one and what a better time to keep this up with our new pantry that we (meaning my dad!!) made in 2016.  While I feel like you need to be aware of your pantry and freezer inventory - meaning you're not stocking up on the same thing over and over again at the store - it's so nice when I meal plan that most of the meals I already either have the stuff in my pantry or it's a full meal already prepped and ready to go in our freezer.  (Check out some freezer meals ideas here and here that are healthy on my heath and fitness blog!)  Helps relieve so much of the stress on a weekly and daily basis and we never have to ask the question "what's for dinner?"
  2. Commit to a Regularly scheduled toy purge.  Oh BOY.  We need to do this ASAP from all the Christmas toys - but this is a MUST on our quarterly to do list for 2017.  Plus when we involve the kiddos and give back to kids that don't have toys - we teach our kiddos about giving and I love that.
  3. Do a better job of budgeting.  YES.  YES.  YES.  This was on top of my list of things that I feel like Jimmy and I didn't do a good job of this year.  Do we manage our money?  Yes.  Put money into savings?  Yes.  Did we just pay off our minivan and are finally car payment FREE?  YES (seriously I'm so excited about this!).  But what I don't like is not having the visibility and feeling of knowing at any time throughout the month where our money has gone, planning to go and how we are doing towards our plan.  I have a plan in action that I talked through with Jimmy and we are SET on this one.  I just hope we can keep it up!
  4. Take the easy way out (sometimes).  Totally love this one.  We have a lot going on in our family.  I have a lot going on personally.  I don't like taking the "easy" way out, but sometimes it's just necessary.  Make my kids halloween costumes?  Not my thing - so just buy!  School parties?  Don't feel guilty about signing up to bring plates.  This means continuing to be conscious that there is not all the time in the world and sometimes it's needed to say no, keep your PJs on and just be with my family.
  5. Only make time for the people who matter.  This one is hard for me and always will be.  I have friends from forever and all stages of my life - I love them all so much.  What I learned in 2016 was something that wasn't easy. Friendships change and evolve.  People that you thought were going to be your best friend forever - might not be.  And that's OK.  It was hurting me too much to keep holding on and it took lots of reflection and conversations with people smarter than me that had been through it before to realize that is really is OK.  I'm not a bad person and those people aren't bad people - but we just aren't the same as we were and the relationship isn't benefiting either of us.  Not a fun lesson to learn - one that was filled with sadness, anxiety, tears, etc.  But I'm thankful that I went through it in 2017 and know that with the limited amount of time, it's important to focus on those that you value the relationship with AND (the key) that they value the relationship with you as well.  Easier said than done, but I know I will continue to reflect on this in the upcoming year.  On the super positive side?  As folks funnel out of your life, some amazing people come into it.  I'm so thankful for all the friendships that have grown in 2016 - those with old friends and those with people that I just met this year.  It's quite an interesting circle (friendship is), but I'm thankful for my old, dear friends and all the new ones as well.
  6. Make sure you can manage your extracurricular commitments.  Three kids.  Two old enough for activities.  Here's what I'm NOT doing in 2017.  Over scheduling.  Making our kids do things that they don't want to do.  I learned that in 2016 the hard way when I tried to be all strategic with doing indoor soccer for Charlie and Maddie in the fall.  Our Saturday mornings turned out to be WAY too stressful and just made for a horrible start to the weekend.  I'm nervous because I do have them signed up for gymnastics at 9AM (Maddie) and then basketball at 10AM (Charlie) on Saturday's - so I might already be off to a bad start on this one, but I learned that if it's too much - we can adjust and change and even quit as needed.  In addition to the activities for kids - being conscious of my involvement in things.  I manage a HyVee freezer meal group.  I like have regular girl's night.  I want to be a bible study.  I love my personal blog.  I am a health & fitness coach.  We are involved with a small group at church.  That's quite a lot.  Yes, I like busy.  I thrive on busy. But I also need time with my family to do nothing.  And be with Jimmy.  And my extended family.  I know this will just continue to get harder, but keeping this on the top of my mind is important to me!
  7. Get your schedules in sync.  I'm hoping Google Home will help with this one :)  Ha.  But in all reality, we are pretty good with this one between Jimmy and I.  We use google calendars and then I also have a planner that I write stuff in - because I like that aspect of it.    
  8. Consolidate your errands.  If only I could JUST go to Aldi, I would be one happy lady.  Haha.  I have professed my love of Aldi for grocery shopping and now that they have baby food, it is pretty much the guaranteed place you can find me on a weekly basis.  Most everything else we do subscribe and save via Amazon.  But the things I feel overwhelmed with are when I forget something for the kid's school, a birthday present, body wash (other personal items) - and I'm not able to get it off of Amazon prime.  #firstworldproblems right?  But seriously, I am trying to be mindful of sitting down each Sunday to plan this out and order from Amazon as needed and then stick to my weekly Aldi trips - because Aldi is the BOMB.

Other things I'd like to focus on in 2017:
  1. Sticking with my morning workouts - I loved getting into this routine in 2016 and plan on keeping up with that in 2017.  While the 4:45 alarm is early - the energy and endorphins I get when I kick off my day with a quick sweat session is amazing and it's my time to myself that I'm investing back in me
  2. Spiritual/reflection time - this is something I always TRY to keep up with and is one of the most important things, but I am going to be honest here - I seem to always have a reason why I can't take like 10 minutes in reflection everyday to pray, be thankful and just be with God.  It's only TEN minutes right?  I'd like to start there - maybe push my alarm 10 minutes early and reflect then?  I just need to find a time (and spot in my house - I think I have a good journal and this 3 minute devotion) and commit.
  3. My marriage - this man that I married almost 7 years ago (in April).  He is the best.  Seriously.  Even when I want to hate him, I can't.  He was gushing to me last night how much he loves me and I almost started crying.  I'm so lucky to have him and I don't want him to forget how much I love him!  

OK - whew for lots of reflection.  What are things you are looking to do in 2017?  I'm ready to crush these goals and have an amazing year!!