September 2018

It’s hard to believe September has come and gone, but here we are!! Maybe I will stick with these monthly recaps on the ‘ole blog 🙂

We kicked off September with a Labor Day weekend day trip to Fargo. The kids and I had a blast visiting the Red River Farmer’s Market downtown. I really miss the Farmer’s Market where we lived in Kentucky and Nashville’s Farmer’s Market is my all-time fave, so I was super excited to explore Fargo’s happenings! The first time I saw downtown Fargo was when I ran through it during the half marathon in May and I knew I wanted to come back and see it. We’d been to Fargo dozens of times before, but we usually stay in the main shopping area where all the franchinse-y stuff is.

The weather was beautiful – warm, sunny, and perfect for the day.

After crossing the main drag, we were greeted by some amazing chalk art. This one blew me way…I mean, how beautiful is this?!

The set up when you walk in is super cute, so we snagged a quick picture before heading in to shop.

They had a neat little lawn area with fake grass, a stage for musicians, and some awesome lawn toys.

We turned around in this little parking area and accidentally stumbled across a really cool set of old train cars painted with cool murals. Aren’t artists amazing?!

Next, we hightailed over to the mall area and did a little shopping after downing some mall hot pretzels. It brought back major memories growing up and eating pretzel’s at Hot Sam’s at the ‘old Fashion Square Mall in Michigan 🙂

The kids also had fun playing in the play area. Scott does NOT like these places because of the germs, but as couples usually are…I’m super opposite and say, “Go for it.” Schools are probably much germ-ier than here!!

And we picked out some Christmas ornaments 🙂

I told Tanner our house might get egged putting these in our front yard. We shall see if it comes true!!

Leah is starting to get more detailed in her drawings. It brings back memories of Tanner doing the same thing. So crazy she will be 4 in not too long!!

We also spent some time with our friends down at the lake. We are super blessed to live less than a mile from a great place to let the kids explore and have fun.

Little Leah started pre-school! She is doing great and I hear she’s pretty quiet??? If that’s true, I am majorly confused because she is anything but at home 🙂 She is a STRONG woman already!!!

I was able to pick her up from her first day even though she normally rides the bus. We got home, read two books, and she was OUT!!!

We had a fun night with my co-workers kids…as we always do when they are together!

I ran the Sioux Falls Half Marathon…I think my 12th one. It was an awesome race and I’m so glad I knocked it off the list of states I’ve run!!

Only in South Dakota would they serve beef sandwiches post-race.

One of my favorite parts of the run was getting back to my hotel with time to grab the free breakfast, sit on the couch in the room, watch the news, and scarf down a ton of carbs 🙂

Our school’s homecoming was early this year and I always try to sneak over to supervise roaming middle schoolers near where Tanner’s class sits. It’s fun watching him have fun with his buddies.

What would a midwestern homecoming be without a cow?! There’s a cheese factory in town, so obviously, I got a ton of free cheese sticks during the parade 🙂

We popped over to the local cancer walk in town and walked the track a few times. The kids liked getting their faces painted.

Scott was able to sneak over to have lunch with Leah at school. I am SO thankful he’s doing this because my dad did it all the way through college with me!! His constant presence was a reminder of how much he loved me, AND that if there ever was a problem, he wouldn’t be shy about showing up at school 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hopefully Scott can carry on that tradition with our kids 🙂

As the month came to a close, the temperature started to drop, leaves began to fall, and we finally could turn the air conditioning off. Pumpkin bread has been DOWNED already. And yes, my husband, the brownie edge stealer, also eats pumpkin bread this way.

Leah got a new Bible from church and she’s been “reading” it before bed. Super cutie.

Tanner and Scott went duck hunting on opening day and Tan got his first duck! He got a wood duck; there were smiles all around.

He was also excited that this shirt his Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jen got him years ago finally fits 🙂

He also started Boy Scouts and is in full swing selling popcorn. Isn’t it weird when your own kids get to the fundraiser stage?! It just brings back so many memories from when I was in Girl Scouts or doing fundraisers for sports.

We were lucky enough to have two weekends at home this month and our Saturday mornings look like this:

We also took advantage of some fall activities at the park making popcorn balls, painting pumpkins, and eating caramel apples.

The end of September forced us to turn on our heat. Tanner forgot his coat when we went to the park, so being the good dad that he is, Scott gave him his. Nice, eh?!

And of course…more cheese.

And one more sweet Bible picture to round out the month.

All in all, September has been good! Tanner plays soccer twice a week and Leah started dance. Tanner also started Tae Kwon Doe. They’re both loving it all and the busyness is just starting…but I know it’s nothing compared to my friends who have older kids. I’m glad we are taking advantage of what our little community has to offer! School is back in full swing so we are back in the routine of early bed times (did that every stop though? lol), early wake ups, semi-rushed mornings, and a whole lot of fun.

My friends with older kids keep telling me to not blink because our kids will be old and grown before we know it…so I am trying to do just that!!

Soaking it up,

Robin 🙂

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Summer 2018

It’s hard to believe I’m writing this post because, gosh, time flies. And my kids are only 6 and 3. I look at my friends who have kids who are seniors in high school and college and I know Scott and I will be there in the blink of an eye. So, I’m trying to do as much of what those friends of mine tell me…to just soak it all in. Every stage.

I love summer for so many reasons – I get more time with my kids, I can actually get school work done that I couldn’t get done all year because of…school…haha. I love being able to continue working on refining lessons, making new lesson plans, doing professional reading, connecting with other teachers, and attending conferences. This last week I’ve been in and out of my classroom prepping for tomorrow’s first day of the school year. I also love summer because I can stay in my running shorts and athleisure clothes for the majority of it. We travel, soak in slow mornings at home, and just TIME!

Now that does not mean that this summer was devoid of tears…from my kids, too. Haha. My kids fight, annoy each other, and love each other intensely, just like your kids. But this summer was awesome…as they always are!

This is going to be a long post. I didn’t do a baby book for my kids because I just don’t have that craftiness in my body…and I always wonder how often they get looked at anyway. I’ll most likely direct my kids to my blog and my Instagram account. I always hope to write on this more and I always make that a goal, BUT I have several drafts I started this summer and never finished, so here I am writing this up the night before school starts!

I tried to limit myself to the 10 best pictures of the summer, but I couldn’t do it!!

We started summer celebrating Tanner’s last day of kindergarten. He had a fabulous year. He learned a ton, made some great friends, and is thriving!!

The weekend we finished school, we headed to Minneapolis to meet my mom for a quick trip. It was so nice to be with her. We went to the Mall of America and just soaked in time with her!

A few days later, we headed to Florida to visit my aunt. Whenever we fly, we always are heading to Tennessee or Michigan to see our families, which we want to do, but this was our first trip, just us, and our first legit vacation.

It was glorious. We went to the beach, swam in the pool, visited a sea turtle hospital, ate at Tiger Woods’ restaurant, shopped at those tacky gift shops, relaxed, went for walks, picked mangoes from a mango tree, and just enjoyed ourselves!! We really did have a blast and I can’t wait to go back. My favorite morning was the morning we left when I got up early and just walked on the beach. It was breathtaking.

When we got back, we visited a bookstore I’ve been wanting to visit since we lived in Minnesota. If you get a chance, stop by Wild Rumpus. It is just awesome! I loved watching my kids going through the trademark purple door an seeing the animals inside. I can’t wait to go back!!

We did get to soak in some slow weeks at home in between all of our trips.

I love our slower days like this day when we painted rocks with watercolors and chalk.

Tanner also attended his very first basketball camp for a few days! My co-workers put it on since they also coach in our school system and it’s so cute hearing Tanner call them “coach” when he sees them.

Our next trip was to Nashville! My sister-in-law got married and we did our usual fun while there! I just love Nashville so, so much and I am so lucky I get to spend time there like I do. Edley’s BBQ brisket tacos did not disappoint…I still dream about them 🙂

We headed about an hour outside of Nashville to Scott’s dad’s deer camp to play in the creek like we do every year.

I also got to attend an amazing concert at the Ryman!! I bought my very first CD in 1996 and it was Third Day’s first album. Their farewell tour was going on and it was such an honor to listen to them sing. Tears just streamed down my face as they sang some of my favorite worship songs. It helped me reflect on my walk with God, where we’ve been together, where we are, and where we are going. I just loved it so much.

When we came home, we celebrated Scott’s 39th birthday! He didn’t want a cake, so we improvised with a watermelon “cake.”

We did a TON of swimming this summer. There’s a fabulous pool about 20 minutes from where we live and we love going there. Leah loves the slide on the shallow slide and it’s so fun watching her have fun.

Ha. This was a fun moment. There are goats out on the refuge where Scott works and we helped him move them one day. It was BLAZING hot…BLAZING…as this summer was in Minnesota. Both kids came to help out and I just died laughing when I took this picture. They were pooped and super hot by the time we were done. It was one of those moments like the one I had in Oklahoma when I had to go feed cows for one of our friends. Just one of those moments when I know God was laughing with me because herding goats on a wildlife refuge in western Minnesota was not something I had planned for my life. Ha!!

The 4th of July came and went. We celebrated the day before at our pastor’s house. It was a good ‘ole South Dakota fourth!!

Next, we headed to Michigan to spend some time with the rest of our family. We had tons of fun, and we were super tired…good tired!! This is a picture of Leah and my Dad after Day 1 🙂

We love picking blueberries there!

One of my nieces turned 4 and we got to be there to celebrate her birthday. I love when we can be back for those little life moments…

Here are my parents with all 7 grandkiddos!

I also got to see my best friends while we got all of our kids together. There are 9 of them total, only 8 pictured here!!!

The kids also got to meet my babysitter from when I was little!

After all of our major travels, we soaked up the rest of the summer in Minnesota!

Scott and Tanner fished a little bit…

They visited the zoo…

We participated in the summer reading program at the library…

Swam in the lake…

Went out for boat rides…

AND I got to see one of my best friends from Kentucky in Minnesota! I attended an amazing conference for teachers in the cities and Kimberly was able to come up for it. I loved having her here and we learned a TON!!!!!

This was unlike any other conference for teachers that I’ve ever attended…

More lake time…

Some back to school shopping at the beloved Target…

A few more times at the pool… (Tanner also had swim lessons and learned how to swim and dive this summer!!)

Some hiking at the refuge…

The annual festival in our town with parade…

And the annual 10k run!!! I placed first in my age group!

Tanner’s most prized prize from Ring Toss 🙂 🙂

And then this picture…you know school is near!!!!!

Now, these were most of our highlights. I do not think to grab my phone and take a picture when the house is a mess, when I am a mess because I’m tired or unsure of my parenting skills, or when my kids are irritating each other, etc, etc, etc. We are a normal family. We have highs, lows, and everything in between.

But God.

God gets the praise and the glory for continuing to grow us, mold us, teach us, humble us, and for reminding us of His love and who He is.

This summer has been one for the books.

We are ready for routine, even though it’s hard getting back into the swing of things. I’m excited for this school year. Tanner is starting first grade tomorrow and Leah starts preschool in 12 days! I know they’ll be graduating in no time.

Praising him for this time and for what’s to come!!!

I hope you are soaking in your own family and etching the important moments in your mind.

Fargo Half Marathon Complete!

I cannot tell you how crazy it is that I’m still running.

I started running 12 years ago during my first year as a teacher. I was living in Virginia at the time – no kids, no boyfriend – just me, myself, and I as I taught 8th grade ELA. A friend of mine and I were gently coerced into signing up for a 10k in Richmond, VA as we took spinning classes at the Y. I laughed the first time our instructor mentioned the race because I HATED running.

But I signed up.

Trained.

Ran it.

Felt pretty good and thought I could run 6 more.

Signed up for my first half marathon wondering if I could really do it.

Ran it with my running buddy + my brother who flew down to Virginia Beach to run it with me.

Couldn’t believe it that we actually did it in 95 degree weather.

And that commenced my love of half marathons and this 12 year journey.

Since you know how our life goes, I’ve run a half in several states and it’s been so fun racking up the miles and medals! I’ve run halfs in Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and I just added North Dakota to the list! Tennessee has the most with 3 halfs in the books right there in Nashville!

Running has taught me SO many things and it’s also helped me meet some amazing people. Every state we’ve lived in, I’ve found a running buddy, and living in Minnesota has been no different!

This past winter I started running outside with my neighbor, Connie. He just turned 77 and has been running for 56 years. Isn’t that phenomenal??! We’ve gotten to know each other as our time here speeds by and we finally started to run together in January after my treadmill bit the dust on Day 1 of my year-long 1,000 mile challenge. It’s been an honor running with him. He’s a retired teacher, so we often talk about school. Every time I feel unmotivated to run, I think about him and the fact that he’s 40 years older than me and out there running almost everyday.

I NEVER thought I could run outside in Minnesota in the winter because, well…it’s Minnesota and it gets COLD.

Like this cold.

I think the coldest windchill we ran in this winter was -22. I learned how to layer, how important hats, gloves, and scarves are, and that there’s no way I could’ve done it or would’ve stuck with it without Connie. His favorite months to run are January and February 😳😳😳.

And honesty it wasn’t that bad. (Am I really saying that??) Finishing those runs made me feel bad to the bone and I was so proud of myself for running outside through the entire winter. It seriously proves I can do anything!!!

Anyway.

Connie grew up in North Dakota, is a charter member of the Fargo race and was training to run it as he does every year. I did do a 9 mile run with him at the end of April, felt pretty good, and kept contemplating signing up for the race. I’ve run 12 halfs, but my last one was in 2014 right after I found out I was pregnant with Leah, so it had been a while! Even though I hadn’t trained properly, I had so many miles under my belt at that point in the year, I figured I could do it and I’d be alright.

So I signed up on the last possible day.

That morning I left out house at 4am to get up to Fargo. I was so hoping I could wear shorts, but it was 45 degrees with 20mph winds, so on May 19, I wore my cold weather running gear (at least on the bottom!). It made me laugh, but that’s Fargo in May for ya!

The coolest part of the race is it starts and ends in the FargoDome where NDSU football plays, and other sporting events and concerts are held there. I loved seeing all the people and even the governor of North Dakota spoke before the start and I think he ran the 10k. Pretty cool!

The course was absolutely awesome. We’ve spent time in Fargo, but I got to see so many areas I hadn’t seen before. Downtown Fargo looks like so much fun and I can’t wait to go back and walk around. We ran down by the Red River, Mickelson Park, and residential areas. The Hawthorne area with all the older homes and huge elm trees bending over the road was gorgeous. The crowds along the course were so fun. My favorite sign someone held up said, “You’re running better than our government.” 😂

I just loved it!

Above is our dinner that night I got back. My favorite – a snack plate of random food, followed by some donut holes. Ha! My usual post-race meal is a cheeseburger + fries, but it didn’t happen this race!

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel AS sore as I normally do after a half. I was sore, but not nearly as bad. I guess I can credit that to the mileage I’ve run!

At the time this post is published, I’ll have 457ish miles under my belt this year. This past week we’ve been on vacation in Florida and I’ve run every day, but man it’s been TOUGH!!! The humidity is no joke, but it’s been good. Talk about from one extreme to another! 😂

My next race I’m eyeing is a half in Sioux Falls on September 9. I could knock out both North + South Dakota in the same year. Hmmmm….

April Showers…I Mean April Snow Brings…More Snow

April 2018 was one for the books. Our winter was so weird this year. I thought it was pretty cold and we were not short of wind, but most of the snow did not arrive until March and April.

One morning Tanner and I were all ready to go and we got the call that we had a Snow Day. Now, yes, we miss school when we aren’t in, BUT an unexpected day off (to be made up later) is welcomed!

We lauged Facetiming my aunt the same day when she was sitting on the beach in Florida.

Check out that snow!

I think Snow Day naps are the best.

I don’t remember the actual inches we got this day, but the drifts in our backyard were serious!

We definitely got our kids out in the snow despite the cold temps. You know when it’s officially Spring on the calendar, but Mother Nature clearly did not get the memo? Yeah. My students at school AND my own children get antsy and need to release some of that energy outside. So, out we went.

I will say going outside has gotten easier now that Tanner can completely get himself ready. I bow to those teachers of littles who have to help so many kids get dressed in the winter!

Another snow day tradition we established this year was making these awesome, and super unhealthy, blueberry muffins and white chocolate covered pretzels.

One of my favorite views is our entry way. It’s one of the few things on our house I wish was different because we need more space for these winter days when lots of gear has to come off. BUT. I do love seeing this mess because it means we played outside and had fun.

Like I said…naps.

Easter came quickly and we had to have our egg hunt indoors this year because it was SO cold! The kids got dolled up and we celebrated Jesus!

We continued our Easter tradition I stole from the God Centered Mom Podcast. The kids’ Easter baskets were filled with small gifts…

…after our rocks were put into Jesus’ basket. So the night before Easter we sit and talk about what Jesus did on the cross for us. We talk about our sins and things we struggle with. We write them on rocks and put them in our baskets. Easter morning the rocks are taken out of ours and put into a basket for Jesus representing Him taking our sins upon himself. I was amazed at how Tanner remembered what we did last year. I forgot that I had saved the rocks we made last year and as we wrote on them and added more, we talked about what sins Jesus had helped us overcome this year and what ones we are still working on.

It was just cool!

They were really excited Easter morning 🙂

Tanner also lost tooth #7 in the middle of the grocery store one Sunday afternoon. He bit into an apple he took from the free kids’ fruit basket and voila!

Of course we did the obligatory Easter egg dying.

Tanner has been doing his fair share of sleepwalking lately. While most of the time I take him right back to bed, this was past his normal wake up time, so he just crawled in bed and I soaked it up.

The kids also enjoyed a few days in between the snow of “warmth” and getting sneak peaks of Spring.

My only caption for these pictures is: Scott misses having land to ride the 4-wheeler.

I also had the most random night of my life in April. One of my close friends at school is a University of South Dakota graduate and Michigan State Women’s Basketball was playing the USD Women’s team in the NIT tournament in Vermillion, South Dakota which is about 3 hours from where I live. One Thursday night, Bre and I and two of our colleagues and friends packed up in the car and headed there to watch our teams play each other. It was sooo random! I loved the environment there and it was so fun being one of the only MSU fans in the crowd. Michigan State had the lead at the half, but in true Spartan fashion, gave it up in the second half. Despite the loss, it was a SUPER fun night and again, SO random! I never ever thought I’d watch Michigan State play in South Dakota…but hey. Add it to the list of random things in my life!!

Another thing we spent time doing on Snow Days and snowy, windy evenings was practice drawing with the YouTube Channel called Art Hub for Kids. It is so much fun! My kids love drawing with them. Tanner is old enough to make some legit drawings. Leah is still scribbling, BUT she has started to draw pictures of faces and stick people with arms coming out of their heads. It’s so much fun!

Here’s my Moana:

And a collection of Tanner’s art:

Tanner also informed me that some girls at school asked him to draw some emojis of “the faces with the hearts.” Hmmmmmmmmm.

So, yes. More snow. That is definitely the theme for April.

Praising God for these two and for SEASONS.

 

Snow Day Times Two

Well, a blog post one day after another is a record for me, but we got a second snow day in the works and I finally feel like I have some time to write! PLUS this snow is just one I need to record because I know I’ll look back when my kids are older and remember it 🙂

The snow came DOWN yesterday! Wow!! I know I shared a bit yesterday, but it really snowed hard all day long. And the snow is HEAVY. We ended up heading out for almost 3 hours with the kids while they played as Scott and I worked on moving snow.

Here’s a quick video I shared over on my Instagram!

What it left behind…

We spent the morning inside playing games, coloring, catching up on laundry and dishes and everyone took naps at nap time, but me. I did fall asleep on the floor while the kids watched a show earlier in the morning. I was tired today!

Once that was over we headed out to work on the snow.

Like I said, this snow was SO HEAVY. It seriously felt like I was scooping up weights. There was one point where I just picked it up in huge chunks and threw it to the side of the driveway. After he used the snow blower, Scott used the scraping shovel to break it all up as I shoveled it with the regular shovel. The area around our side patio was the toughest to do because it was really packed in there.

I also ran over to my neighbor’s house to borrow his roof rake so we could get some it off the edges of the roof. Scott used one of those wide brooms at first, but it broke from the weight of the snow.

I loved seeing him add this experience of shoveling snow off the roof to his list of things he probably never expected to experience in his life. 🙂

Watch this one 🙂

The snow just came down in buckets.

The kids were all over the place.

Tanner was cracking me up because some of his favorite things to do in the snow includes standing right in front of the part where the snow blower kicks out the snow so it pummels him and then also standing under where Scott was pulling all the snow off the roof so it fell all over him. He just loved it.

I love their smiles and Tanner’s hat just makes me laugh!! It weighed a ton when I pulled it off of him.

Like I said, we got a LOT of snow.

And it was absolutely beautiful. God is so evident on days like today because it is just so so beautiful outside. I think about the verses in the Bible that talk about the earth praising God…it is so true.

Our neighbor behind us came outside and brought a tape measure. Almost 9 inches there in one day!

Check out this mound of snow. See those big chunks? I could just pick those up by hand off the driveway!

Luckily the temperature wasn’t too bad so staying outside that long wasn’t rough.

This is all going to be a TON of water when it all melts. And our backyard was already a swimming pool from the warm-ish temps we had the last week.

Anyway. It was a great day as shown in the picture below. I always know when this is what our entry way looks like that it’s been a good one. 🙂

Snow Day Update

Hey Friends!

We finally got our first snow day of the school year with a legit blizzard! The weather report did not look good, but we’ve had some bad storms predicted this winter that never came to fruition, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Last night some thunder woke me up which seemed weird for this time of year up here. This morning I got ready for school like normal and no snow was on the ground, but the pavement was soaked with rain leftover from the night rain. At 6am I got the call from school that we were closed for the day because of the incoming storm. By 7am freezing rain began followed by HUGE snowflakes. I mean HUGE. It’s currently 1pm as I write this and it’s still coming down. Whiteout conditions have been a thing today! I see some friends posting 4 inches so far, others are at 6.5. Regardless, it’s been a snow day.

Last month I posted about trying to run 1,000 miles again. I am happy to report that I’m still working towards my goal! I’m taking two days to rest because of the weather and because I can tell my body needed to rest. While I run with my neighbor who turns 77 in May and he barely ever takes a day off, I’m still working full-time AND have two children, so when my body needs to rest, I’ll do it. I’ve run 189 miles in 2018 so far and I’m proud of that! When I look back at my mileage last year, I am well ahead of where I was, so that is enouraging!

I’m amazed at what I CAN do. I’ve had some COLD mornings the last few months, but with layers, a good hat, and a running buddy, I can do it. Sunday morning it was 24 degrees outside and I only had two layers and no gloves, or “globes” as my daughter calls them, and it felt GREAT! And I am LOVING this LED vest my parents got me for Christmas. I love turning it on a different color every day and cars definitely move over much more because they can see me coming.

The rest of these pictures will be in honor of all the SNOW we’ve gotten the last few weeks. We barely had 6-7 total inches the entire winter, but I think Mother Nature wants to try to catch us up before spring arrives.

Last week we headed over to Scott’s office after work to play in the big snow piles. It was fun and we captured some good moments.

I asked Leah to show me her strong face…

My high school girlfriends and I group text constantly throughout the day and one of their favorite treats is puppy chow. Now I am very weird because I do not like peanut butter…not even a drop!…but I knew my kids would love it so we made a batch and shared it with our neighbors.

One of our friends here is getting into ice fishing and it’s quite fun to go out and experience it with them. It’s such a northern thing to do 🙂 I did not do this growing up, so it’s been a neat thing to add to my cultural experiences wherever we live. Haha! This is Tanner walking on a frozen lake in near whiteout conditions as we went out to fish for a few hours.

I also snapped this random picture that I swear you’d only see in Minnesota or places that have a similar climate. Lol!!

Getting the kids ready to go outside in the snow is MUCH easier now that Tanner can do it all on his own. One of my favorite sights in the winter is a pile of snow gear with chunks of snow and ice stuck to it all. It means a good time was had!

Another favorite winter sight is my husband with a snow blower. I love snapping these pics to send to his friends down south. My dad always says it’s a dream come true to see Scott with a snow blower. Haha!! When we get the driveways cleared together, he will use that and then I shovel the layer that’s left with the shovel that’s like a scraper. I actually love shoveling. Weird, I know. One of the mornings we had snow, I didn’t run, but went out to shovel at 4:30am and got the back driveway done.

Tanner and Scott made a snow tunnel that was a ton of fun for him.

And Leah Beah had fun with the slide. Sidenote: This snowsuit is a 2t and it’s WAY too small. Luckily we had some bigger coats I bought last year on sale, but the snow pants are way too short. Now that we’re close to spring, I figure she can just roll with it.

This was a fun moment. Tanner had a Luau Party at school a few weeks ago and he was REALLY excited about it. At 6:18am I walk out of the bathroom after getting ready for school and he was completely dressed and ready for school. His reaction was priceless when I told him we had an hour delay…ahhhh. Just soaking in these moments.

I also made a very unhealthy dinner last night. Minnesota is known for calling casseroles “hot dishes.” I remember when I told friends in Kentucky we were moving to Minnesota, someone told me that I’d experience the hot dish. And so I have 🙂 Tater Tot Hot Dish is one of the cornerstone recipes of hot dishes and so with the snow coming, I decided to give it a whirl. In searching for a good recipe, I was amazed at how many friends told me different ways to make it. I asked on my personal Facebook page for people to weigh in and it was just funny. I combined several recipes and came up with this. It was tasty! Not something I’d make weekly, BUT I have to be Minnesotan in Minnesota, right?!

Good thing I’ve been running.

This one had tater tots on the bottom, ground beef with onion and celery seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder, Cream of Celery soup, creamed corn, cheese and more tots with Lawry’s on top. Healthy, eh?! The leftovers were really good. 🙂

I’ll wrap up this snow post with a picture I love of the kids watching the plows. It’s amazing the equipment they have up here to clear the roads.

God is good. We are soaking in this time with our kids 🙂

Third Time’s a Charm?

I’ve tried and failed TWICE at running 1,000 miles in a year. The first time, I got pregnant after a few months with Leah and the second time was last year. I got halfway through the challenge and my right foot just started aching to the point where I knew I’d get injured and had to stop. My long term goal is to be running well into old age and I knew I needed to ease up a bit. Now that may happen again this year, but I’m sure going to try again.

A few days before the new year began, my friend Allie texted me to see if I wanted to join her in the Run the Year 2018 challenge. You can complete it on your own or get a team of up to 4 people to run or walk 2,018 collective miles in the year. Even though I love my at-home workouts with Beachbody OnDemand (the BEST $100 to spend!), running is my spirit animal and the thought of trying again WITH her sounded amazing.

January 1 rolls around and I head out to the workout room to knock out my first miles on the treadmill and it’s broken. Go figure. I am a major fair-weather runner and usually stick to the treadmill during the crazy cold Minnesota winter months. I laughed inside because this was NOT the way to start the challenge and the actual temps were well below zero. Pair that with a car accident that totaled my car two days later (we are all okay!!) and I’m not quite sure if the treadmill is something that’s in the books for me.

BUT. The GOOD thing about that is I’ve been forced to do something I’ve always told myself I “couldn’t” do. I CAN run outside when it’s cold, I just don’t want to. But I had to because I didn’t want to be in the hole with my miles by so much!

This is me not excited about this. The windchill was 0 this day…better than the -2 windchill a few days beforehand.

I actually found it wasn’t THAT bad. I wore some Under Armor Cold Gear running tights, a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt, two long sleeve shirts, a sweatshirt, a neck cover thingy, hat, and gloves. The temperature isn’t really the kicker up here, it’s the WIND that makes it so tough sometimes. I thought Oklahoma was windy when we lived there, but it has nothing on western Minnesota. I think the wind was at 16mph on this run. It makes it really hard when you’ve got a little one snuggling you as your mentally preparing to get up and get to it.

She wanted hair like me. I need to find her some headbands like I wear 🙂

I did get 10 miles logged this week, so I consider that a MAJOR success for me since they were all outside during the first week of January.

I need to figure out how to wash my shoes, though. The dirty slush all over the roads has my shoes needing a little TLC. Especially after today’s run. This was after my run on Saturday.

Another thing I’m loving lately is this cookbook.  I know I’ve blogged about it already, but I just love it!! I heard the authors of From Freezer to Table on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey Podcast Episode #172  . I loved listening to these ladies chat and I felt like they were both people I could hangout with. Their stories on how they built the Thriving Home blog and then this cookbook. They are busy moms like me who wanted to learn how to use their freezer to save money and time. I’ve made four recipes from the cookbook so far, and I’d make each one again!

I made these Easy Mini Egg Casseroles on Saturday and they are delicious!!! The seasonings, especially the ground mustard, really make them flavorful. I baked 12 of them and froze 12 of them. I love that the cookbook tells you how to freeze each thing.

The recipes are customizable, too. I added some chopped spinach to ours!

I may go take these out of the freezer and toss them in a Ziploc bag so it doesn’t take up as much space in the freezer, but these are ready to go for school mornings when I try to get my kids to not eat cereal. But sometimes you just need to eat cereal 🙂

Another recipe that I thought was really good was the Chicken Broccoli Foil Packs. It was easy to make and the bacon really made the dish. The leftovers were really good. I have 5 more frozen in the freezer ready to go!

Tonight I made the Baked Chicken + Broccoli Alfredo. I know, not on the meal plan, BUT, it’s probably healthier than a restaurant version and it uses milk instead of cream. It was delicious! I made the recipe, baked half of it and froze the other half. I’m excited to see if the frozen and then baked version holds up to the taste of the freshly baked version.

While the kids built a snowman (chime in Frozen?),

I grilled a boat load of chicken for our dinner tonight + salads for lunch throughout the week and pulled out my trusty portion control containers.

This week my big focus is not drinking my calories. Scott knows I said that last weekend and didn’t follow through, so here we go again! 😬😂

Tanner had his first eye doctor appointment this week, too. I’m sure one of our kids, if not both, will need glasses sometime in their lives since both Scott and I wear them. My eyes are pretty bad, so I’m sure at least one of them will get my eye genes. We had fun playing around with glasses while we waited and it was funny watching Tanner get that puff of air in his eye.

I am still teaching with VIPKid. This company is awesome and I enjoy every second of it! I love the flexibility and the ability to make my own schedule. I taught one student early in the morning on Friday before school. He loved to fist bump through the camera every time he did well! One of the coolest part is seeing inside their houses and hearing the parents talking to them before class. It’s just so fun!

Life is good and we are on to school! We’ve stayed in this weekend because the kids have some nasty coughs and it’s felt good to just bum around the house. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, reading, watching Michigan State basketball…all the fun things 🙂 🙂

I hope you guys have a great week!