Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekending

Thursday was Mr. G's birthday, so we extended the celebration into the weekend. Friday night started with a little road trip to Stephenville for supper at the original Hard 8 BBQ. The way to Mr. G's heart is definitely Texas BBQ.


It truly was the perfect Texas evening. The weather was in its late May sweet spot (not too hot, definitely not cold). A gentleman was covering all sorts of great old country on the patio, and the food was excellent. I think it checked all of the favorite things on the birthday boy's list. The only thing missing was golf, maybe?

Saturday was a day spent enjoying Fort Worth. It rained like crazy overnight, but cleared up to a beautiful day. We only got out for a little bit, preferring to stay at home and Lego build and bike ride. Saturday for lunch we checked out a pizza place that has opened up on Camp Bowie called Olivella's. The pizza is Neapolitan style, which is great, but the patio is AMAZING. It's climate controlled and has a retractable roof, along with just straight up being pretty. Its location makes it a hidden gem. If you live in Cowtown, definitely go try it. We also visited the new REI. Yep, we have an REI now! If we could only get a Nordstrom...

Sunday afternoon was church, then the guys went to Colonial while the girls went shopping. Little sister was not pleased to be stuck with me, until we ran into a random dance party in Dillards. Nothing cheers her up like a good beat!


Monday we spent the day mostly at home. I picked up filets from Roy Pope's earlier in the weekend, and we grilled corn and roasted broccoli to go alongside it. This roasted broccoli I found on Pinterest is one of my favorite veggie recipes. I've parked in on my "Food Wins" Pinterest page here, which has every successful Pinterest recipe I've tried.


I even set a patriotic table to observe Memorial Day. I found some super cute "charming check" placemats by the Pioneer Woman at Walmart (found here) and couldn't help myself. Asking "why" the table was red, white, and blue opened up a good discussion with our oldest on freedoms and the sacrifice others have made protecting those freedoms. We are grateful for our men and women who serve and have served our country.

It was a great weekend of downtime, good food, and reflection before heading into the summer!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why Weekending Is Coming Back to This Space

On Friday night, Mr. G and I were taking a little walk down memory lane and had varying recollections about a now-defunct restaurant in Fort Worth, and it hit me, "Maybe I blogged about that?" I searched the blog right then, and we spent the next 30 minutes laughing about what our life was like as DINKs back in 2007 through 2010 on a trip through this website.

All of that to say, I realized how much I have come to love this space as a diary of what's been going on with us. GROUNDBREAKING, I know.

So here's what I've been up to for the past many months that may or may not have landed here:

  • Raising two precious preschoolers and all of the fun playing, singing, and boo boo kissing that comes with it.
  • Serving on a strategic advisory team at my church.
  • Teaching a lot of Pure Barre, as well as growing my skills through additional training.
  • Taking a lot of Pure Barre, because I still enjoy it as a primary exercise.
  • Potty training a child.
  • Mentoring an awesome young lady at TCU regarding our mutual faith in Christ.
  • Reflecting on life with a child in kindergarten next year.
  • Laundering everything we own on Mondays and Fridays.
  • Leading a Ladies' gathering on Wednesday nights at church.
  • Writing for Fort Worth Moms Blog.
  • Currently finalizing the craft list and supplies for VBS 2016.
  • Reading a lot!
  • Taking time off from leading a Sunday school department, we've been part of a young adult Sunday school class since August.

  • Over the next several weeks, maybe I will find it in myself to break these down into separate blog posts, because a bullet does no credit to the amount of time I've actually dedicated to them. Especially those first and second items. When people ask how I've been, I usually say, "Busy." It feels good to list it out and see that I'm not making that up.

    {Because you can't have a blog post without a picture.}



    Am I the only one with photos like this on my roll?
    I bought this shirt a while back and love it,
    but not with a sports bra and tights. Found here.

    I had a friend comment to me about how easy it is to be a stay at home mom. Yes, it's very easy to be a stay at home mother if you have no commitments to anything except your kids and the occasional playdate. I find it harder to balance when I'm volunteering at a high capacity with a child on my hip and the other pulling at my leg. I don't have a nanny, and the children always come first. However, it's absolutely my choice to take on those commitments, and my husband and I both find it good stewardship of my time to give back so much to the Lord through service to our church. One of the nice things about staying home is choosing how to spend the available time.

    My heart--and my schedule--is full!

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    Weekending

    Ahh, weekending. So nice to meet you again.

    We kicked off Friday with an earlier than usual start to run my car to a body shop before they got too busy. Sadly, I was rear-ended on Thursday, but thankfully was by myself and am fine. My car needs body shop therapy, so I'm ankle deep in insurance dealings. It could be worse. The rest of the morning was spent with donuts, laundry, and legos. The house was in ship shape by the time Mr. G made it home from work. I grabbed a late afternoon PB class and headed home to get ready for...

    Date night! This past weekend was Parents' Night Out at our church, which means awesomely inexpensive childcare. Such a great ministry to parents! It was also the last one before a break for the summer, so tons of kids were at the church. A good thing, I think. We ended up at Rio Mambo (very random), then shopped for socks for the kids (very wild). We picked up the munchkins a little early to head home for an early start the next day for a...


    Road trip! Friday afternoon we were pining for Aggieland, so we grabbed up baseball tickets and headed that way Saturday morning. There was a 30% chance of rain, which I noted was a 70% chance that nothing would happen at all. I would make a poor meteorologist. The heavens opened up, and it rained like crazy. It made for fun to watch the grounds crew batten down the hatches. After we realized it would be a more than 2 hour rain delay, we dashed to Wings and More for a late lunch.

    We toured the campus a little, then as we debated whether to head back to Olsen Field, the kids both fell asleep in the backseat. It was a sign to let it go. So we did. With a stop at the Czech Stop in West on our way back home with sleepy kids.

    Sunday was an early start to church for me. We are no longer serving as directors in the 12th grade department, but I offered to help them with breakfast for Senior Sunday as I remember always feeling like I could've used another set of hands when I was leading it! I laid out everyone's clothes, and Mr. G did an awesome job getting them together on his own. After church we lunched with our Sunday school class, celebrating two families who completed their time at seminary and are departing to go out into the world beyond Cowtown to preach the Gospel.

    We ended the day with a trip to the park and snow cones. Bring on the last week of school!

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016

    Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX

    My little family of four just returned Tuesday from a fun trip to Great Wolf Lodge in nearby Grapevine, Texas thanks to a generous Christmas gift from my parents. We had a blast! It's only about 40 minutes away, but we don't spend much time over on that side of town, so it was a great get away. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was perfect for my kids at this age.

    With our bags packed before we left for worship Sunday morning, we left straightaway from the church parking lot. A quick stop for lunch and checking into our room by 1:45 had us in the waterpark by 2:30. Our oldest was tall enough to ride all but the biggest ride, and the ride range our little lady fit into was perfect for her abilities and mom's maximum comfort level! We spent hours in the water over the three day time period we were there--there was something for every age and ability.


    The waterpark was the main attraction, but we thought we'd check out the MagiQuest adventure too since we'd be there over the course of 3 days. If you've never heard of the game, you purchase magic wands and go on a scavenger hunt throughout the hotel, finding different items, completing different "quests" then graduating on to "adventures." The data is stored somewhere so you can use the same wands on subsequent visits to GWL and pick up your game right where you left off. The kids enjoyed the hunt, and it gave us something to do when we got a little too pruny from the water. In any other hotel, I would've been annoyed with children running up and down the halls, but that is what this hotel is made for! You just go with it.


    One evening we joined the pajama jammin' dance party before a bedtime story in the lobby. Wiley the Wolf helped lead the dancing and turned the storybook pages, which was a hit with all the kids. The next night we decided to close down the waterpark. It was awesome--no wait for the slides and hardly anyone in the wave pool. Lots of practicing swimming and hyping swim lessons for summer 2016.


    After completing our last quest to become master magi and another morning into afternoon at the waterpark, we let the kids pick out their last treats of the trip. For sister, it included a trip to the little girls' spa, Scoops for a full service pedicure, complete with tiara and a scoop of ice cream. Brother hit up the arcade with Dad during girl time. While our kids were a great age for the experience now, I can see where they would enjoy it even more as they are older, and I can't wait to do it again!

    Monday, April 4, 2016

    Easter 2016

    The first quarter of 2016 passed by in a blink of an eye, and I've been missing this space. I have so much to tell about what I've been up to, but today I'm easing back in with a little family holiday update.

    We had somewhat of a crazy Saturday, but it turned into a nice Easter spending time with my family in Corsicana by Sunday morning. My brother received some great news about a new job opportunity that week, and it was good to be out of town and in some sunshine since it had rained so much around here the week prior.

    Saturday morning was Pure Barre, soccer pictures, followed by a soccer game, then handing off the kiddos so we could attend a wedding Saturday evening. I think that was our first date night in about 4 months, and we thoroughly enjoyed it!


    Sunday was filled with church and family, my favorite things. My parents' church has a living cross each year where everyone adds fresh flowers to the cross. One of my mom's friends sent this pic of the kids as we placed our flowers there.


    I wish I had a photo of the finished product, because it truly was a lovely tribute covered in blooms. The message of the cross, of Jesus dying to save us from our sins, is the most beautiful, sacrificing love. What a God we have that He would love us enough to make a way to bring us back to Himself through His Son after all our wandering.

    My mom, brother, and I headed over to my grandparents' church to attend with them while my dad and Mr. G entertained my kiddos. After an Easter ham lunch and an Easter egg hunt, we came home that evening with bags and bags of Easter candy to a huge Nothing Bundt Cake in the fridge that I had forgotten to load into the car for Easter lunch at my Grannie's. Three cheers for chocolate cake for breakfast all week long!

    Saturday, April 2, 2016

    Book Report: A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason

    Through the Bethany House Blogger Review program, I received a copy of Susan Anne Mason's newest book, A Worthy Heart, in exchange for a review. This is the first work of Mason's that I've read, and it's the second book in her Courage to Dream series. Review spoiler alert: I've read this 3 times since I received it back in early January!


    A quick synopsis: Maggie Montgomery is headed for America from Ireland to visit her older brother, by all appearances. Really though, Maggie is longing for escape from a stifling relationship in her homeland. During her visit, she meets her sister-in-law's brother, a handsome man with a troubling past that landed him in prison whom she is forbidden to have any contact with. But the heart knows what it wants, and can she really be stopped? Will her past come back to drive a wedge between them, or will his past be a deal breaker?

    My thoughts: This is a fascinating story about not just asking for forgiveness, but accepting God's forgiveness and walking forward in the life God has for those particular characters in the story. This is a major theme in the book, and what a great challenge for the Believer. If God has forgiven, why can't we? I love love stories, and this definitely fits the bill even if it's a little farfetched. It's fiction though, so there you go! Maggie is definitely the kind of character a woman might wish to be: beautiful, kind, witty, and faithful. Ms. Mason made me empathize with the characters, which kept my eyes on the page late into the night!

    As I mentioned, this is the second book in the series. I've decided to go back and check out the first book in the series, but you could definitely read them out of order without confusion. A good add to your summer reading list!

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Book Report: The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

    Through the Bethany House Blogger Review program, I received a copy of Julie Klassen's newest book, The Painter's Daughter, in exchange for a review. I've reviewed one of Julie's books before (here) that I purchased myself and have picked up a few more since then because I truly enjoy her storytelling. So obviously, I jumped at the chance to grab her latest for a review!


    A quick synopsis: Sophie Dupont is the daughter of a painter, residing in a picturesque English seaside town where many artists come to paint the beautiful landscapes of the region. Her father runs an art shop selling supplies and also paints. She finds herself pregnant out of wedlock, until an unlikely hero - the brother of her child's father - appears and offers to marry her to save her reputation and "do his duty" on behalf of his family. Captain Stephen Marshall Overtree is on leave from his duty with the infantry when he stumbles upon Sophie while searching for his brother. Their marriage sets them on a journey to love through mistrust, faith, in-law conflict, and separation by war.

    My thoughts: This is a beautiful, while somewhat unlikely, love story. I wish the "love" part of the story had been developed more. A key component of the story - crisis pregnancy - is so relevant in current US society with the choose life movement, and this moved me to do more for women facing that issue here in my community (more on that later). Sophie approached that by placing her faith in the Lord. Most particularly, I loved that Ms. Klassen shared the Gospel message in a very straightforward way on page 154, "Did she know the matchless peace that came from God's merciful grace--sending His Son to die to pay the price for mankind's sins, so all might live with Him, forgiven, forever?"

    I enjoy a good story where the heroine is swept off her feet by a truly good man. Ms. Klassen made me feel for the characters, whether that was anger, sadness, joy, etc. and I think that is one of the signs of a good book. Another great Regency read!
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