Hello FriYAY: Week 9

I used to wonder what people meant when they said their blog hadn't been written on in a few days or even weeks.  Yet, here I am, offering week number 9 of my Hello FriYAY! blog series, having completely missed last week.  I found that "write blog post" was hastily scrawled on one too many lists and then we went to my favorite city (KC, here's to you!) and before you knew it another week had slipped by, this space left waiting.  

Perhaps this is why this space means more to me than ever lately.  I know that no matter how loud the daily chores of living become-the loads of laundry, garden watering and harvesting, the treadmill running, the blog is always in the background.  Standing tall and proud of all of life's rosy and real moments collected over the years. It's ok if I miss a week.  It's like one of those rare, treasured friends that doesn't stir up any drama if it's been a while since you last texted or talked. You simply pick up right where you left off.  Isn't this such a gift in people AND in blogs?
At the very mention of the word "summer" my heart simply wants to sigh a happy sigh.  The heat, the gardening, pool, smoothies, sunshine, flowers everywhere, I just love it all.  Summer is by far my most favorite season, much to the dismay of you autumn lovers.  The past couple of weeks our lives have been extra full with lots of fun! 

Brett traveled to Kansas City for a work conference and since we adore this particular gem of a city, the girls and I tagged along.  For some reason this has been our city to visit the past year or two.  We just like it so, so much!  I can easily drive the girls and I around solo, so many of the streets are tree-lined, the food is fantastic, and the people we've encountered are so kind.  
We've also been spending tons of time outside when we've been home, enjoying the foggy mornings and the late evenings.  I feel like the days start and end with magic.  Spiderwebs galore at dawn, fireflies galore at dusk.  It's a win-win situation, really. 

We have also participated in VBS at church!  I helped with the first and second graders and the girls attended the preschool group. We have all had a great time!! It has been really nice to get to know some of the people at the church better and I have really enjoyed hanging out with a big group of kiddos.  Takes me right back to my teaching days and makes me miss the groove I quickly get into with a group of kids. 
Speaking of, Anna Ruth starts kindergarten in August and Betsy Grace has one year left of preschool! 

This is where I stand tall and proud to tell you that, and also where a bit of my heart just aches and wants to make my eyes tear up.  Yes, I am a typical sounding mom right here, but truly WHERE did the time go?  I can tell you one thing, we sure have enjoyed each stage of growth with the girls.  I am learning to quietly dismiss the naysayers who mean well, I guess but say things like "just wait 'till they're teenagers!"  This week I have seen so many teenagers and older kiddos helping at VBS and they are polite and fun and so great with the younger kiddos. 

Grown-ups, we need to spread cheer about our kids! Not negativity. 
Anna will be attending public school, by the way.  I get that question a lot (the "are you homeschooling?" one) as well as "are your girls twins?" 
Someone commented to me recently that they didn't know how we did it all-Brett working a full-time job, the farm, our yard, and having a social life.  Oh, and attending and getting involved with a new church.  Well the reality is, we don't do it all.  But we do have our hand in a lot! 

A big game changer for us is not having cable and not really watching t.v. much.
I do like to relax with a show or movie every now and then but most evenings are spent outside in the garden or on the farm.  The weekends also include farm and outdoor time, as well as church and family.   

One way I've found a bit more balance this summer is to first take great care of my health and place priority on that just as much as the girls and the laundry and Brett.  Basically, making sure that I matter high up on the list.  That may sound selfish, but since doing that I feel energized and fully equipped to take care of everyone else's needs day in and day out.  I've also learned to cut my "to do" list WAY down and to give up the hustle of social media.  
I haven't quit social media itself, just the hustle.  You know what I mean-the advice that says you need to post at least three times a day or engage your followers constantly and offer free stuff and, and, and............

Done.  This is where I would say "ummmmm, no" if you knew me really well.  
So with a lighter plate (both literally and figuratively) that's how we're able to do so much.  The farm and outdoor life (camping, gardening, etc.) is our thing. 

Other things like biking I wish we had time for! But we just don't and that's ok.  

So speaking of having to let some things go, this was our first year in a long time to NOT attend our local rodeo.  We were so, so sad!  Myself included.  There is nothing that gets me quite as excited as cheering on those bull-riders. (lol)

But, every year some folks that participate in the rodeo parade actually walk past our house on their horses and in their covered wagons. They then camp out in a nearby pasture.  Isn't that the coolest?! 

This year we knew the day they were coming by and I guessed on the time and got lucky! 

We basically had our own parade right in front of our house! 

Ok, back to KC.  One of the other reasons we love this city so much is all the free stuff to do! 
I mean, does it get any better than visiting the Hallmark center? 

I remember visiting this bow machine when I was a kid! 

Skipping around here with the photos, but what's new? 
Bear with me, I'm not a professional blogger remember! :) 

We have really been enjoying eating outdoors as much as possible.  Although I must be honest and say I feel like our front porch is constantly dirty with bugs and dog hair.  I try to keep it clean, but things definitely aren't picture perfect all the time.  
Do you enjoy dining outdoors?
I mentioned a few months ago that our beloved road over the lake broke.  Literally crumbled, due to all the flood rains we had this spring.  Brett took us out on the boat last weekend, because the lake is about two minutes from our house.  We pulled up to see our road still very much broken. :( :( Here's to hoping they get a temporary fix soon!

A surprising part of this summer has been how much time we have spent in the yard as a family, playing ball or looking at the cows.  These little everyday moments have becoming my favorite.  Brett even had me running and trying to catch a frisbee one day!  Who knew I could do that?! 

The flies are so bad this time of year for the poor cows. :(
In other news, I got back into the habit of painting last week and it feels amazing!
I can't wait to show you what I've been working on. 

Digging potatoes is my fave. 
Flashback to a super cool puppet show we saw at our favorite library ever!

The birthday girl!! 

We are so thankful for how hard Brett works for our family so I can be a stay-at-home mama! 
I am keeping the garden weeded pretty well.  Ok, at least part of it.  Part of the garden looks like no one ever tends it at all and I'm ok with that.  Or at least I have to choose to be! We just can't do it all. 

I got overzealous with the pick in the garden and threw out my back last week.  Thanks to my chiropractor I was way, WAY better within a day. For locals, I go to Generations Health and Wellness and I highly recommend them!
Why must I have to pay attention to things like my posture when I weed?! Oh yes, because I'm in my 30's now. ! 
(almost 34 to be exact)

We ate at the most delicious restaurant in KC called Unforked.  It was healthy food, but at a fast food price. 
I almost heard singing when I saw this background at the Hallmark visitor's center.  
Ok, so I could write a novel here but I'll keep it short and sweet. 

I'm making big changes to my health. 
Yes, again. You could say I'm a slow learner, because this isn't my first rodeo making changes. Really I just love GOOD food for me AND bad food for me. We might as well be real about that.
But mostly, there was that endometriosis diagnosis in November that bothered me and the lack of answers for treatment bothered me even more.  And the ruptured cysts I seemed to have over and over during the past few years came to mind...and the kidney infections I used to have. 

Too many things to just brush off my health. I believe with all that is in me we should feel really good most days.  I think normal should mean no headaches, tummy aches, and plenty of energy for what our life gives us.  Again, MOST days.  Ask me how energetic I feel when we get our first foster baby who wakes up in the night and my answer may be different. :) But for now I'm making changes and I'm noticing the effects. 
I feel better.
I'm losing a bit of weight.  (product free, I might add)
My mind is CLEAR. 
I have energy all day long. 

A huge part of this is getting up each day and planning what I will eat for the next three meals.  NOT the next week or month ahead because that makes me just want to quit.  Only thinking about a day's worth of meals at a time.  Of course before we hit the road for KC I did think about my meals for the whole trip.  We ate our own picnic lunch in the hotel room and this is what I ate.  

Canned tuna with avocado, salt, and sunflower seeds on top. 
Satisfying and kept me full all afternoon. 
Is this a topic you want to know more about? I honestly get so bombarded by ads and invites about health products and teams and challenges I always kind of shrink back in the corner when it comes to being vocal.  But is this something you're dealing with too, product free?  

Awesome hallway, leading out to the parking garage. 
Parking garages weird me out by the way. 
Not a fan. 
This view in KC reminded me for a second of Italy. 
(take me back!)
This just may be my favorite shot from the past two weeks.  And it was also in another hallway leading to a parking garage. I mean, that light! 

I could stare at it forever.  It is simply the dreamiest. 

We used our Amazeum membership to get into Science City for free at Union Station! This time they had fun things on the lawn to do, like zip lining.  
Can you guess where else we went to spend an afternoon? 

Ikea! I left with loads of ideas and only spent $20.
I win.  :) 
One morning at VBS I was sitting and watching my group play games when all of a sudden this dropped down and landed almost at my feet. 
It was still wet inside. Amazing.

My super sweet twin sis invited us over for dinner one night that Brett was gone! 
It was so nice to have company. 
I'm currently reading Made to Crave (anyone read it?) and something Lisa writes is "You crave what you eat."  So, I've been trying to feed my body healthy food so that I'll crave it a bit more. It's working! This health issue is a Jesus/heart issue, not a weight one.  Amen?!

This night the girls had nachos with taco meat, refried beans, and some shredded cheese. They also had a small bit of tortilla chips. 

I cooked all these yummy vegetables, topped them with a bit of taco meat and added homemade salsa and avocado on top. YUM! So very delicious and I honestly didn't miss the chips, cheese, and sour cream I used to eat. 
So yummy I ate the exact same thing for lunch the next day. I suppose you could leave the meat off entirely but sometimes you have to live a little. 
This is my version of living a little in my 30's-adding meat to a veggie bowl! Go crazy! (lol)

Of course I had to get a selfie with my new zucchini friend. Haha!
Looking back at this photo totally makes me want to draw a face and arms and legs on this zucchini. The girls would think it was hilarious!

My girls! 
My beautiful, smart, sometimes sassy, always silly girls! 
I just love them. 
Another question I get a lot is do the girls always play together. Yes, they do! And that means they fight and squabble pretty frequently because they always choose to be together.  Our house isn't rosy all the time. 
 One of the greatest rewards ever of having a yard to tend to is picking your own bouquet, anytime you want.  The zinnia's sure have been my favorite this year.  
 Slipped this photo in so you could see a bit of what I've been painting! 
I have more ideas for this one and only time will tell.
 Waking up to another beautiful, sunshiny day looks like this on the farm. 
The morning has become my favorite time of day. 

What have my kids done to me?! 

And these beauties really get to me! All that color! 
As I always say, Brett is the one responsible for all these gorgeous outdoor ideas. I simply try to help and maintain the weeds and watering. 

That's what life has been like around here and now for your turn. 
What are you reading/cooking/listening to? 

I'll be honest, I feel like the internet and real life both have had their fair share of hard to figure out things lately.  Cancer for IG friends, job stuff, just life stuff in general. But oh how Jesus keeps me going and fills my life with great joy. Even in the small things. Especially in the small things. 

Here are a few "small things" I'm looking forward to over the next week or so: 
1.) Painting in my craft room (I have 4 paintings laid out!)
2.) Watching La La land again
3.) So many cooking projects-improving my kombucha, making refrigerator pickles, working on my grill skills
4.) Flipping through my giant stack of magazines 
5.) Starting a new book
6.) Picking the first red tomato
7.) Back deck dates with Brett and strolls through the yard

What would you add? 
Also, if you blog will you leave me your blog address in a comment? 

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