Life has been seeming to be in a whirlwind since Christmas break. While it is by no means intentional, time just seems to get away from me. I think I get into the mode of keeping my head down and nose to the grindstone to get through these dark winter days and then I look up and weeks have passed. I feel like we are finally starting to see the literal light at the end of the tunnel with the sun staying out for just a teensy bit longer in the afternoons- such a lifesaver!
Here is a bit of what we've been up to lately:
We had a great weekend for ice on our pond right after Christmas. It was gorgeous, solid and we had some nice sunny days to boot. It seemed like everyone was out there enjoying it! I'm glad I finally talked Scott into getting his butt in gear and taking Michael out while it lasted...it is long gone now and it looks like we will have warmer weather for a while so I doubt it will be back.
Michael and I stopped by to visit Bunny, my sisters foster cat, after church earlier in January. She looks just like Scampy- it is so weird! She is beautiful and so fluffy.
I help Scott get the kids out the door on Tuesdays so he can get to work earlier than usual for a meeting. Technically, I am getting up earlier to help him so he can still sleep in to his normal time but details, folks. All I know is he has trouble getting places earlier than usual and I am happy to help. I get the kids all bundled up in the coats, put their breakfasts in their hands and then I am off the door. They are all usually still snoozing when I leave in the morning so I love getting to kiss them goodbye and see their little faces before school. I think Scott is lucky that he gets to take them every morning!
On Wednesdays when Scott has late hockey games, Michael and I read our book together and snuggle in my bed instead of his. It is kind of a silly little routine but I know Michael looks forward to it each week and I usually do too (mostly because then I give myself permission to fall asleep after reading at 8pm!).
I love peeking on them when they are sleeping! They still look like little babies.
I had to take the above photo because it was a cold day, about 30 degrees, but my husband who was raised in South Dakota, was outside with no coat on! I suppose 30 degrees is like a nice, normal spring day in Mitchell? :o)
We had some skating passes that were going to expire soon so Scott, Michael and I went skating downtown at the outdoor rink. It was a nice day and even mommy skated well! :o) We skated for about an hour and then had a good lunch at Zombie Burger and did some shopping at Raygun. It was a nice little afternoon out!
Then we had an ice storm in mid-January where everything was covered in ice. It was so beautiful and I enjoyed being cooped up inside with my favorite kids!
Mommy and Brynn both are fuzz heads after a long day of school!
After the ice storm, we had one weekend day where it was semi-warm and a tiny bit sunny! The sun felt so good after it being so dreary and gray that we just had to go the park for a bit. It was muddy and a little chilly but it was so worth it just to get outside for a bit. We played on the playground and then we just had fun running around. It felt so good and afterwards in the car the girls said, "that was fun!".
We also took the girls to church to try the nursery again. They usually have screaming fits but calm down and they did pretty well this time. We were feeling so brave that we all went out for lunch at HyVee afterwards. The girls did so good!
We also had some sickness in our house the end of January where both girls got a bad tummy bug and were out for the count for four days. Scott and I both took a day off of work to stay home with them and I think we watched Frozen about seven times. It is now their favorite movie and we sing the songs every night before bed! They really felt terrible and hardly ate at all. I am so glad they are feeling back to the perky selves.
Getting dinner on the table every night is one of my biggest struggles but lately Michael has been a good helper. I finally just caved and let the girls watch a short episode of Mickey Mouse so at least get the food out of the fridge and on to the table. I barely do any prep or cooking and yet even that takes too long for hungry tummies after school. I feel like I struggled with it for months- the getting home, everyone tired, cranky and crying because they were hungry and then clinging on to me while I just tried to do the bare minimum in the kitchen. Now I give them a snack in the car when I pick them up and they seem much happier just to sit for a few minutes while I get dinner on the table. As a result, we have been eating better and I have been able to actually prepare some real meals and not just grab and go stuff. It is a struggle!
I had my big solo contest last weekend at school and then we all went out to Hickory Park afterwards to celebrate me being done and the Cyclones beating KU at Phog Allen fieldhouse. We went early and it was still super busy but the kids did great. It was fun to get cheeseballs, a saucy southerner, and a sundae for dessert. The girls were entertained by all the hustle and bustle in the restaurant and we got lots of comments on how cute they were.
I feel like that is what we have been up to! Nothing too exciting, just plugging away at our daily lives. I have been trying to get up earlier in the morning to do some exercising and it has made a huge difference and my mood and energy levels the rest of the day. I love being up before anyone else in the house and it gives me a good boost of "hey, I did something just for me today already!". I usually brew my coffee before I start and then have a few minute to enjoy a cup and relax before rushing out the door. I have really enjoyed it and it is just too hard for me to try and exercise after school when I am already really tired and zapped of energy.
I also feel like our time at home from when I get the kids until bedtime is so fleeting so I have been making a good effort to keep my phone put up during the time. I love being present with my children but the downside is that I am taking lots less photos of the little moments and that is sad because then I sometimes can't remember what we did each day. I should be better about pulling about my big camera here and there.
The girls were being so cute a few weekends ago that I had to get my camera out and take some photos. They were having so much fun dancing, singing and showing off just being cute. They are at such a fun age now, I just want to eat them up!
Most of these are of Brynn (she has the two purple clips in her hair- Anna was not quite feeling it as much!)
We hosted Scott's side of the family over the New Year's weekend for our holiday gathering. We had gotten together two years ago over New Year's when it was the off year for Christmas and it worked out well so we did it again this year. Des Moines area was a good central location as it eliminated quite a few hours for Scott's sisters family from MN. I enjoyed hosting at my home and we had room for everyone to stay (Dave and Margie stayed at hotel). Next time, we will squeeze everyone in!
Everyone arrived on Friday night and we enjoyed pizza from Papa Murphy's that Scott's brothers family picked up on their way (easy for me!).
We had an easy breakfast the next morning of kolaches from Scott's mom, fruit and coffee. Everyone hung out for a bit before heading off to lunch at El Mariachi and a group showing of Rogue One at Flix. Everyone enjoyed seeing the movie at Flix and the movie. I stayed home with the girls to put them down for a nap and to prep supper.
We had lasagna, bread, salad, veggies, and wine for dinner which was nice and also easy for me to prepare. I felt a little bad it wasn't a traditional Christmas meal but I feel like a turkey and all the sides is a lot of work to prepare and plus...it wasn't technically Christmas anymore. :o) Mostly I am good at detecting my own challenges and know that meal prep is no longer a great skill I possess and so this worked out well. I also made plain noodles for kids who did not like lasagna. We moved our dining room table into the main room so we could put the leaves in it and comfortably seat 10. It was fun to have such a big table out for the weekend! The kids sat at the counter when we all sat down for meals together.
We enjoyed so many good Christmas treats, many made by Scott's sister who had lots of homemade goodies! I only made cornflake wreaths and sugar cookies (from a bag and tub) this year and even doing that was a lot. So glad I could still have the classics like chocolate crinkles and peanut butter blossoms!
We opened presents after dinner (minus the girls who had to go to bed early because they were sooo cranky!) and a hit from the stockings were these jelly belly beans that were pop flavored. It was fun trying to guess what flavor it was without looking.
I gave my nephew two pounds of Reeses peanut butter cups...because if there is one thing I know, it is what middle schoolers like (hint: the more ridiculous it is, the better).
We had sooo much fun playing games downstairs after dinner. Pie in the face was hilarious as well as heads up. I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time, mostly at the ridiculous things my husband said to get people to guess movies. It was also neat to spend time with my niece and nephew as they are getting so much older (although I miss the days when they were cute toddlers!).
Everyone left mid morning on Sunday to head back home. I was thankful everyone had safe travels to our home and it was nice to see everyone (even though it felt too short!).