Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quick trip to Chicago

We sent the boys to stay with the Wilkes. The girls to stay with the Flynns. 

And we flew to Chicago. Mark had some business meetings, so I tagged along. The Cubbies!

I read my book and it was heaven. No interruptions!

After a long morning of travel we had a strange business lunch with some clients of Marks. I am unfamiliar with the world of making small talk with people that want something from you (not ME, but you know what I mean.) This lunch felt very long. We went straight from Harry Carry's to a facility where Mark and Carl were scheduled to do a tour. I couldn't bear the thought. How do I fake fascination with cords and pipes?
I can't!  
I won't!

So I didn't. 

They were happy to let me read my book in the lobby. For TWO hours. 

I read, and then I snoozed and then I read and snoozed. I watched some political show and learned way too much about the latest awful thing that Trump said/did. 

We finally got to check into our hotel. We took off our shoes and listened to the silence. 

Highlight of the trip. 

Then we were off to the "L". 

Got to see one of our old Royals play for the Cubs. Traitor! We love you! (Actually, I don't really feel too strongly about baseball or the players....I don't know why I said that...do whatever you wanna do, Zobrist. Especially if it's helping the Cubbies win and making all of Mark's sports dreams come true.)

We had fun!

I had buyers remorse when I ordered a Chicago dog right before I saw a buffalo style dog come out all yummy with its sauce and coleslaw. AW, dang!

Not to shabby for a one-day trip!

And I finished my book.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Megan turns 11!

I love having big kids. I love it! 

It's so nice to have able-bodied streamer hangers around. Even if they aren't as concerned with the "surprise" aspect of things.... Good morning, Megan! Just hang on a bit while I finish taping up the streamers you will then run through with shock and enthusiasm!


Since it's a "Family Year", she chose to go bowling. Did you know that bowling is expensive? Like, "excuse me?" expensive?

It is.

Happy Birthday, I hope you really love bowling. REALLY really love it.

Savor those fries, girl! You are loved.

Just after this photo, Meg sunk into a funk because she is in that unfortunate time of life where your arms aren't strong enough to make that big heavy ball do much more than roll down the gutter....and you are too embarrassed to use the bumpers or the metal ramp.

Kind of a bummer to lose the game on your birthday. But there were fries! Fries are good!

Megan asked to decorate her own cake, so she got to open one present early....frosting tools!

And she made a masterpiece:

She chose Pork Barbacoa for her birthday dinner (a sophisticated choice) and she received her first ipod nano with royal blue speaker. I'm excited to see how her musical tastes develop :)

I snagged these photos from a video I took of everyone singing to her. At first I thought she was getting an early start on inhaling a giant breath for blowing out the candles....

Then I realized she was holding her breath.

The kids were enjoying the show and Mathew was utilizing his best vibrato.

Finally she had to take a breath before she passed out.

You did it!

You're halfway to 22, Megan! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

True friendship

Only a true friend can drop off a huge bag of craft supplies, including COLORED SAND, for the girls and drive away knowing that even though she has done this to you, you will forgive her.

Because she's always been there for you and she'll probably end up back at your house sweeping it up anyway. 

Thanks for that, Julia.

I really think we have a problem with naked crafts in this house.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Camping with the Clarkes

One day, while in conversation with Fred and Sheila Clarke, we mentioned we'd like to go camping sometime during the summer. Which made me nervous because we haven't had much success in the past and haven't made much of an effort in the last 15 years. 

They promptly invited us to camp with them over Memorial Day weekend.

Sounds good to me! We'll camp and I won't have to be the mastermind of all. We will have older, wiser people present. 

But as Memorial Day approached, the weather forecasts predicted rain. Lots and lots of rain. 

So we cancelled. I dropped off the watermelons I had committed to bringing and explained that I was nervous about severe weather and risking it with that many kids in my care. 

But then I looked at that Summer Bucket List and a voice inside me told me that if we didn't go now, we wouldn't go at all. Sooo....we changed our minds again! We packed our things up (except perhaps changes of underwear for the 3 youngest girls....an oversight that would come back to haunt me very soon), and headed out to Hillsdale lake.

Where we were greeted by.....no one.

We were the first ones there! We knew that rain was coming, so we hopped out and had the boys get their tent up (yay, scout campouts!) and Mark and I got ours up before the rain started up.

Soon the Clark clan arrived. 

And arrived.

And arrived.

Which was the moment I realized we had crashed a Clarke family reunion. 

So we helped put up the hugest tents I've ever seen.  Was it bad that when it started to rain while they were doing this, I ran under there so I wouldn't get wet and watched them from the comfort of the "inside"?

I should have known that my efforts to stay dry would come to nothing.

The kids found a little baby mouse in one of the big tents. It game me warm-fuzzies and the willies all at the same time.

He's pretty adorable.

Mathew also made friends with a cool snail.

I am diggin his shell house and cute snail feelers.

Once the tents were up, we went about the business of camping....you know, eating. And then lighting a fire so we could do more eating.

Ethan, McKenzie, and Laney

Mathew holding Jacob Clarke, trying to win his bet on how long Jacob would stay clean....and Sheila Clarke.

Everly, me, Jacob and Dylan Clarke, Mark

After dinner we heard the thunder roll and we knew it was time to take shelter. But not before I gave all the girls a piggy back to the road to see the meadow full of fireflies. One at a time.

The storm hit and it was LOUD. Rain on tent material is not soothing when it's more than a pitter patter. I was fully prepared to run for one of the big tents if things got dicey.

But the storm passed and we all slept through the night.

I was very grateful that Mark insisted on bringing the air mattress. Absolutely worth jamming it through the tent door.  Sorry for doubting, hon.

We were taking a selfie when we spotted the girls behind us....

Soon we were up and about and enjoying some pretty amazing breakfast burritos. The girls ran off to find wild tracks. This one here is possibly a close relative to Scarlett, the Clarke's German Shepherd....or maybe a wolf, you know, whichever.

Sheila gave a beautiful morning devotional. She spoke about all of the unexpected things that have come to them in their marriage and family and some of the blessings that have come because of difficult circumstances.

Her son, Jeremiah, spoke about a fellow Marine that didn't live through their tour to Afghanistan. It was cool to get a glimpse of this cool, loud, rambunctious,  loving family and how they are making it through their lives together. It reminded me of my family and all of the hard things that come are way. We'll make it. We'll love each other and forgive each other and give each other a hard time. 

The devotional ended just in time for Mark to check on our "On Track" team at the Crossfit Regionals. shawew.

The guys had a pick up game of football. I love that. (alghough, Mark got a patch of poison ivy on his arm...ouch)

We spent the rest of the afternoon down at the lake.

Everly the mermaid.

Bailing out the canoe.

Mathew and McKenzie taking a turn.

It was a beautiful day and I'm so glad we went.

Let's do it again in the fall!

Friday, May 27, 2016

She's off.

Anna learned to ride her bike long ago....

But, today she figured out the bike that isn't 6 inches tall. Now she's making some progress! We could conceivably go on a bike ride together and not die from boredom, or slowness. Things are looking up! 

Let's wait till fall, though. 

It's just too dang hot.

Crossfit First Ward

One of my favorite things about Crossfit....

Sometimes you do really hard stuff together. This year's team for 'The Murph' on Memorial Day

(1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run) 

And sometimes you get to relax and have fun....probably watching stuff about Crossfit. 

These guys have become like another family for us. Grateful them all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Is there anything cuter than a little kid in goggles and a floaty?

I think not.

Let the swimming begin!

Farmer's Market and last minute addition

We thought we'd go over to the Olathe Farmer's Market, but did a u-turn when we realized it was two booths with fruity salsa's and honey sticks over there. Maybe we waited too long? 

We hit the freeway for Overland Park and used my perky mom voice to convince my kids that veggies are "AMAZING!!" 

As in, "Look! Look at those fluffy carrots! Aren't they beautiful? Amazing!"

Works like a charm. 

We bought those amazing carrots. And wore them with pride.

Then, I heard the sweet siren song of El Salvedorena a'callin my name. Just a block away and I could taste the curtido and papusas......mmmmm.....

I think it's high time my children (and Brayden) were exposed to fatty foods of all countries.

Let's start with El Salvadore!

Judging by their relatively clean plates....I think it was a success!

Except I was kind of hoping they would all hate it and I'd be force to take care of the leftovers.

I suppose I will have to be happy with my lonely little papusa.

Poor papusa.

(Not to worry, I will sneak back soon.)