A Snapshot of Summer

7.18.2018

The problem with not blogging as often as I used to is that I get backed up on events and photos to edit and share about. And that's less annoying for you than it is for me, truly, because I actually do enjoy editing a few of the hundreds of pictures I take and making sure some of them see the light of day. Because there are so.many.pictures.

Does anyone else get overwhelmed with pictures? I find a daily struggle with trying to enjoy the moment without feeling the need to capture it while also wanting to capture it because it's so cute and hello I can't rely on my memory to hold everything in. I am 32 now, after all ;)

R is turning 3 in just about 3 weeks, and I am finally at a stage in my parenting journey where holidays and events are fun. Like, actual fun not just "let's take our 9-month-old baby to this thing they don't care about at all and pretend like they will actually remember whether or not they had a good time." 

I don't mean that to say you shouldn't take your 9-month-old baby to stuff. But what I'm saying is, whenever I see someone post on Facebook about what they should get their infant for Christmas, I want to say WHATEVER YOU WANT BECAUSE THEY DON'T CARE. I wouldn't shout, of course. But you get the idea.

Anyway, my actual point here is that R has been totally aware of and into the recent holidays and it's been awesome. Seeing life through a child's eyes and all of that. On Valentine's day, Jordan took her to the store to get groceries, and she helped him pick out some flowers for me. They came home, and she raced in holding red roses, shouted "Happy Valentine's Day!" and threw them at me. Half the flowers lost all their petals, and Jordan and I laughed about it all night.
This summer has been so fun because she is excited about everything. During the first of June, I took her to swimming lessons at our community pool. I bought her a coverup to wear, and she's been obsessed with it all summer so far. We also had such a better experience than last year. Last year was a struggle to get through the entire half-hour lesson without her waving her arms and widely signing "all done" through tears. This year she asked every day, "Are we going to swimming lessons today?" and then talked all about how she was learning to kick and blow bubbles and practiced wearing a life jacket. I didn't think she'd enjoy it that much or I would have signed her up for a second session.

I don't have a ton of days off this year because our trip to Europe this fall is taking most of them (such a rough life, I know), but I did take off a half day on J's birthday. I left R at daycare and picked him up at lunch so we could spend the afternoon together. And I know what you're thinking. I just ranted about how infants don't care about things like this, but that afternoon was 100% not for him. It was for me. We went home and I held him for a nap because I don't get to usually. When he woke up we went out on the back porch to play in the kiddie pool before going back to daycare to get R early and head home to cook dinner. It wasn't fancy, but it was special for me and I'm thankful I was able to do it.

My great-aunt and uncle live in Oklahoma City and have the best backyard I've ever seen. Last weekend we went over there to swim on Sunday afternoon. It's been so hot here lately, but that afternoon was one I didn't want to end. The wind chimes sounded like a musical, the pool was the perfect temperature, and there were popsicles and homemade banana nut cake. It was one of those days where you're just thankful to be alive, and you don't even care if that sounds cliche or not.

At this point I've given up thinking I'm ever going to write a separate blog post about my cousin's wedding we went to in June, so I'll just share some pictures. I found J an adorable pair of jeans and suspenders from H&M off someone on Kidizen, and R and J had a matching bowtie/pigtail combo. Of course, I couldn't get them to sit still for a picture together, but I've (sort of) made my peace with the fact that getting an almost 3-year-old and a 1-year-old to sit still for a picture just isn't going to happen.

There weren't a ton of small kids at the wedding, and it's not an exaggeration to say that R put on quite a show. She was dancing to the beat of her own music while the adults got drinks and took pictures, and I got a few comments like, "Well she certainly isn't shy..." My girl loves to sing and dance! We didn't plan on staying until the end, but we ended up waving the bride and groom off with glowsticks around 10:30. J was a trooper but couldn't hang and eventually passed out around 9:45. My grandma held him while we danced and chased R around and took silly pictures in the photo booth.
The next day we played all afternoon at my aunt's pool and left for home around 5:00. We were worried the timing would be terrible for the kids, arriving home in time to put them to bed again, but they were so tired from our weekend festivities that they both fell asleep within 5 minutes of being in the car, slept the entire 3 hours back to Oklahoma, transferred from the carseat to bed, and slept all night until 7 the next morning!
A couple of weekends ago, Jordan and I went to another wedding, this time for friends of ours. Jordan was a groomsman, and I wore my new StitchFix dress that randomly matched his tie perfectly. For so long I was a little skeptical of StitchFix, and while I still think it can be a bit pricy, it is really fun to do every few months. Glad I kept the dress!
Between all of that, J of course turned 1 and had his birthday party and we also celebrated my brother's birthday in Texas at a fun waterpark. Then were was 4th of July, which R was SUPER excited about. Girlfriend could not get enough of the fireworks or of waving her mini American flag. Maybe I'll post some pictures of that soon!

Basically even though I'm working, it's been such a fantastic summer for us so far, and I feel so blessed and so thankful for it all.

Dare to Serve

7.14.2018


Just popping in quickly to share a special prayer request for this coming week and also unique ministry to support. This is not at all sponsored or anything else (although I do have a family connection, as you will see).

My dad operates a nonprofit in Dallas/Fort Worth area called Dare to Serve where he works with kids at local high schools, doing Bible studies and various service projects. He has given Bibles to kids who have never had one before, visited students in jail, and had some really neat opportunities to share the Gospel with people who had never heard it before.

This coming week, he and my mom are taking four high schoolers to a local church camp. My mom said they visited the houses of each kid recently and spoke with their parents to get final forms signed, etc. The kids are from low-income areas and are SO excited to attend this camp. (My parents had to do personal background checks and everything that goes into this kind of trip, just to be clear!)

The camp costs $240 per kid, but Dare to Serve is only charging them $25 and paying for the rest. Anything you donate (tax deductible) will go directly to paying for their camp fees this week. Even $10 will help because my parents will be buying these canteen bracelets for each student to use during the week, and they are $10 each! So don't think that a little won't mean a lot to these students.

You can find out more information and donate online here. Many of these families don't know Jesus, and this is a great opportunity for the kids to go learn. Please consider supporting this ministry, and you can especially be in prayer for the students and my parents this week.

Also, if you don't already have a charity for the Amazon Smile program, consider using Dare to Serve, especially when you are shopping for Prime Day! This would be an easy way to donate without it costing you anything extra while you make purchases!

Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments. Thanks for reading! I don't feel led to make religion the focus of this blog, but my relationship with Jesus is vitally important in my life, and I am always open for questions if you would like to know more about that :)

Recent Reads

7.13.2018


What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami // 5 stars

This is a memoir, so to speak, specifically on the topic of the author's relationship with running. If you don't like running, you will definitely not like this book. I, however, loved it. I must have just been in the right mood, because I devoured this one and found it so interesting and inspiring. Being a writer and a runner, I could relate to so much of this and found it a quick, very enjoyable read. I read it start to finish  in about 2 hours while sitting in an airport.

For fans of: running marathons, being inspired to run every single day while knowing that's not actually going to happen
Should you read it? If you are a runner, yes.

32!

7.10.2018

Today is my birthday! I'm 32 and definitely settled into my 30s now... I hate to say that 32 sounded SO OLD to me at one point, but it's really not, I promise! ;)

I had J right before I turned 31 last year and spent my birthday on maternity leave at home with my babies. This year I have to work, which I avoid if I possibly can so I won't lie and tell you I'm not super bummed to spend my birthday this way. But I'm going to pick the kids up and take them to lunch with me, and then in the evening we will eat dinner and have cupcakes and sing happy birthday as a family, and really that's all I need out of life.

I love my crew and feel so blessed to spend my birthday with them! 
It's also exactly one month until R turns three! I can't even. Someone hold me. Also, please note that when I want R to take a nice photo she gives me the worst cheese face, but when we are taking a funny photo she hits us with a perfect smile. Toddlers are evil geniuses, I tell you.

Comments turned off. I'm just going to assume you are wishing me a happy birthday ;)

Toddler Toys & Activities for Road Trips (other than an iPad!)

7.07.2018


A few months ago I mentioned the idea of putting together a post of road trip activities and toys to keep toddlers entertained in the car, and I'm finally getting around to it! As most of you know by now, we travel 3 hours one way to Texas to visit my family every 6 weeks or so, sometimes more often when there's a special event. There have been a few times I've gone two weekends in a row! Although that is not my favorite because it makes for a hectic work week in between. 

Both R and J went to Texas for the first time around 6 weeks old and have been regular travelers up and down I-35 ever since. We also drove with R to Chicago when she was 11 months old, which is a 13-hour trip one way!

Waterpark Weekend in Texas

7.02.2018

I wrote last week about how summer as a working mom can be kind of a guilt trip in not being able to do all the fun summer things with the kids and not having much different about our daily routine. But we didn't let that stop us from packing our weekends full of social functions with two weddings, J's first birthday party, and two trips down to Texas! It wasn't necessarily by choice that we have 5 completely full weekends in a row, and it certainly made for a hectic start to the work/daycare week when we still had to fit in grocery shopping, laundry, and a half-hearted attempt at cleaning up after ourselves. But we had a lot of fun family time, and that is always one of my favorite things!
Two weekends ago we celebrated my brother's 30th birthday at a waterpark lake place. I honestly don't even know what to call it, but it was super neat and definitely something I would recommend if you live in the area! R had so.much.fun and didn't want to leave. That girl is fearless in the water and when it comes to going down slides and walking on her own. They had a lot of kid-friendly areas to stand and play and kid-sized slides also! I wish I would have gotten more pictures of R playing in the water, but we were having too much fun! I even jumped off the high dive, which I haven't done in many years, and R watched and cheered "Yay, Mama!" for me :)

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