Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Midweek Randoms

I finished my third Travis McGee novel, A Purple Place for Dying. I think this one is my favorite so far! This one seemed the most like a true mystery - where I really was dying for him to solve the crime, so I could find out what happened. 
Next up? The Quick Red Fox! I'm also still reading the second Outsider book and I have about 8 more on my list. I'm pretty sure I need an unending supply of Amazon Kindle Gift cards just to keep up with my reading habit. It's a pretty expensive habit, when you're averaging a book every couple days.

We have been having family movie nights once a week and it makes me so happy. Last weekend we watched Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in our jammies and this weekend we watched Boxtrolls.
We officially started Tball, which makes me a baseball Mom, and, of course, that officially makes me OLD.
Just to further illustrate the old point, I'd like to point out something that is becoming hard to ignore. Friends, I swear new wrinkles appear every single day. I know, I know. I'm 31. I'm still young. But do you ever just look in the mirror and think, "WHEN DID THAT ONE APPEAR?!?" 
For a few weeks, I fell off the dinner meal planning bandwagon. Yikes. It's the worst thing for any mom who has experienced the kids-hanging-on-legs-whining-about-how-hungry-they-are 5pm shuffle. Not good. I've resorted to quesadillas, grilled cheese, and pasta more times than I can even count. So, hubby and I made a big master list, piled the kids in the cart, and shopped at costco. I really double heart LOVE the double costco shopping carts.
After our shopping trip and the kids' naptime, we all headed to a baby shower for a family friend. 
On Sunday we wanted to go on a hike, but hiking spots are a good 30 minute to hour drive from our house and we just didn't want to drive far. So we went to a nature trail and the kids loved it. I did 3.6 miles, because I did a little over a mile run on my own while Mr. Howard played with the kids at the creek. We took about 11 selfies and they were all horrible. I actually thought the one on the bottom right was the best one and had to chuckle because it certainly wasn't great (in fact, hubby is the only one smiling and looking at the camera), but when I came home and loaded the pictures, I found the one on the left. Everyone, except Aiden, is smiling at the camera. How did I miss it?!?
Reese came with us and hung on pretty well. 4 miles is definitely the longest walk we've taken her on before. 
Later that night, we went into the backyard to do some yard work. Mr. Howard was using the edger/trimmer and it must have picked up a rock. We heard a loud crack and looked over to our slider and saw it completely shattered. Thank goodness it has tempered glass and didn't shatter all over the kids. I guess we'll be getting a new slider. Grrrrrr. 
Oh my goodness. If I had remembered how much work a puppy was, I'm pretty sure we would have been perfectly content with our little family of five.  Haha! I feel like we have a newborn in a lot of ways (except at least with a newborn you can take them wherever you want...and put a diaper on them!). We're waking up in the middle of the night...constantly dealing with pee and poop...and having to watch her every single second of every day. It's basically like having a fourth child (see picture of Isabella and Reese taking a nap - for photographic evidence of Reese's place as another child). Of course, we all just adore her. She is 12 weeks old now. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Wind Beneath My Wings dance, Rocket Ships, Ice Skating, and A Sad Goodbye

We had a very busy Valentine's Day. My mother-in-law of Grandma N Ellie Handmade Clothing, sent the kids these adorable applique shirts and they loved them.

This year we decided to do one type of Valentine for all three kids. The twins really didn't have an opinion and since Connor loved the ones I found, we went with them. Instead of having to make different ones for each child, we just doubled the amount and then Aiden and Izzy gave one to hand out to their friends. It was a lot of work, but I know that my kids won't always want me to participate in their Valentines and I'm going to relish it while I have the chance. Here is where I found the "You're a Blast" Rocket Ship idea (she has a free printable too!). We lucked out because we needed 35 rolos and I found them for buy one get one free at target. With hubby's discount on top of that, it made them about $0.41 a piece. I couldn't participate in Connor's Valentine's Day Party since it was a work day for me, and so at least I was able to do something fun for him. 
On Friday, my husband surprised me with a dozen beautiful red roses at work in the most unique arrangement. He told me that his goal every year is just going to be to find the most unique arrangement he can find - which I love. Really, I just love that he wants to make me smile and still knows how to do that. 
The actual morning of Valentine's Day was the saddest Valentine's Day I've had in 15 years. The kids and I drove over for a Goodbye Breakfast for my brother and sister-in-law, because they moved to Palm Springs later that day, which is an 8 hour drive (10 with kids and stops) from here. I pretty much bawled like a baby when I was giving them hugs and then cried the whole way home. Of course the kids didn't understand it at all at the time, but they've since asked if Uncle Colin's coming to Tball practice...or if Uncle Colin will be at Nana's for dinner...or if Aunt Becca can come take them to donuts. So they're starting to understand. Trying to look at the positive side of things, I at least am excited to have a reason to visit Palm Springs (where hubby and I were born and raised). I haven't been back in years and even then it was just to do a quick drive through when Connor was a baby. And, of course, I am ridiculously, RIDICULOUSLY proud of my brother!!! My little brother, the Deputy City Attorney and an Attorney at Law. Whoa! CRAZY.
The other positive about that morning was that we got to see the most beautiful sunrise. It was just absolutely breathtaking!
Since Mr. Howard had to work that day, my mom had arranged for us to take the kids to Disney on Ice, which really was the perfect thing to do on a sad day.
I was a little nervous about taking two three-year-olds and a five-year-old to a two hour show. But they loved it. They were encouraged to dance and sing and clap and I think that made a huge difference. My mom also got us amazing seats and we were in the fourth row - so the kids really felt like they could see and interact with the characters!
I'm pretty sure my mom and I had as much fun as they did! I was fascinated. I, personally, have always been fascinated with ice skating anyway, because it's just so something I can't do. I can't even really ice skate, flat and slowly, without falling.
So much fun!
The kids wanted to know if they could ice skate with the characters. Ha!
If you follow me on instagram, you already saw this; but on Valentine's Day, my husband gave me the most hilarious card. For our Valentine's Date night a week prior, he took me out to a steak house. On the way home, we broke out into interpretive dance in the car. We both laughed so ridiculously hard as we took turns with our spectacular moves. Then the song "You are the Wind Beneath my Wings" came on and we really gave it our all. My husband had THE BEST moves to the line, "you are the wind beneath my wings" and I giggled forever. 

Somehow Mr. Howard found a card, and then drew a diagram for me, that matched our theme. He surprised me with it Saturday morning on the kitchen table (next to the arrangement I had brought home from work). I laughed for about 3 minutes straight when I opened the card.
We are so blessed. SO BLESSED.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It takes courage to continue to do it

Over a year ago, I joined a running group of women. Most are moms of different kinds (step moms, puppy moms, cat moms, moms to adult children, moms to newborns, pregnant moms), but what we all have in common first and foremost is that we are women runners. It has been so encouraging and uplifting. Anytime you're on a run, it's always such a fun and motivating experience. People are high fiving and cheering for each other and just being so sweet. Whether you run an 8 minute mile or a 17 minute mile, we are all out there making things happen!

There are two annual runs that the group hosts nationally. The Winter one is the Frozen Booty Winter Virtual race and that was the one I decided to make Connor's official first run! He's been asking when he can race, after seeing me do all these races and fun runs! His run was maybe 100-200 yards and just a good way for him to learn how to participate in runs. Hopefully some day he'll be able to do 5k's and 10k's with me (although, I'm sure he'll smoke me!).
I actually never thought the twins would want to do it, when I signed Connor up. But the closer it got, the more I realized that they'd probably want to do it too. Thankfully, there were a few extra medals and so they got to participate too! I have the most hilarious video of it. Isabella basically ran half the course and then realized she could do a short cut, by just running straight across the diameter of the circle. I can just see her little brain going, why on earth are all these people taking the long way? I laughed so stinkin' hard. Aiden followed his big brother and ran "super fast because of [his] super fast shoes!" 
I did the 10k race and PR'd! My official time was 1:13:41. My last 10k was for the Summer Virtual in August and I did that in 1:19:32 (so that is 6 minutes faster in 6 months). I needed that because I've been feeling so down about running. My husband's work schedule has been crazy and with my brother and sister-in-law moving, I really haven't had any options for help on days when he has to work. It's been really hard and it has made it even more apparent how thankful I am for weeks and months when his schedule is easy (and it definitely makes me appreciative of all you military families and single parents who have no help!). 

It was a cold, cloudy, and drizzly Winter day and it makes me feel even more like a Super Mama. I still can't believe how far I've come on this running journey. I've said this before and I'll say it again - but running does not come easy to me. It is not something I am just gifted in. Every day is a struggle (some more than others) and there are months and weeks when I think I should just give up. I never ever thought I would run 10k's for fun. When people say to me, "Oh I could never run! I am not a runner!" I have to just chuckle. Because I get it. And it takes courage for me to continue to do something I know I'm not just naturally good at. It's sometimes hard when friends try running for the first time and increase their speed without trying. I have friends who say, "Oh my gosh. I'm so slow. I can't even break a 9 minute mile!" and I have to laugh again. Because that is so not slow. But then I remember the women who look to me as inspiration and I remember that they think I'm fast. They see how I'm able to do 9 miles, mostly, effortlessly and think they'll never get to that point. And that's when I feel really proud. I know what it took to get me here. I know how far I've come and how far I can go if I just keep trying. 
If you've been wanting to run and don't know where to start, my advice is just to start. If you think you can run for 30 seconds without stopping - start there. And then try running for 45 seconds. For me, I knew I could run for 1 minute. 

And now, I run 4:1 intervals and can pretty effortlessly bust out 6 and 7 miles (most days). I may not ever run a 9 minute mile. Heck I may never run a 10 minute mile. And I am totally okay with that. I run for my husband. I run for my marriage. I run for my kids. And I run for all the times I told myself I couldn't because I know, not only, that I can - but that I am

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jump Like a Kid

A few weeks ago, my running friends and I went to a Skyrobics fitness class to cross-train for our half marathons - and break up the routine. Because there were so many of us, we were able to set up a private class. If you haven't done one before, go sign up for one NOW. It was soooo much fun. And I couldn't move my arms for several days - because it was THAT good of a workout. 
You can see me in this picture if you look very, very closely. I am up in the air in between the letters K and Y in the very back. 
It was such a fun class. I am seriously going to do it again!
Of course, these awesome running mamas make it a million times more awesome! I am so lucky!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Midweek Randoms

Last week my husband invited some of his coworkers over for a dinner party. I loved it, not only because I love to entertain, but also because I got to love on some babies!! One of the guests has a gluten allergy and two of the guests don't drink alcohol, so I ended up serving something I had never made before (always a risk!), but I actually really loved it. I will definitely make it again! HERE is the recipe if you want to try it. It was so simple and clean and very easy to serve for company. The only alteration I would make would be to season the chicken with some spices beforehand (maybe a lemon pepper?)

I also found a gluten free lemonade and served it in wine glasses!
Several weeks ago, a friend was selling her treadmill and I decided to get it! I've been wanting to see if I'd actually like running on a treadmill or not - and it turns out, in short doses with a few episodes of Real Housewives, I actually do like it! It's nice for runs when I can't find someone to go with me - or on days when it's just too cold or hot.
Last Tuesday hubby called me at work to tell me that on the way to school Connor had run into a parked car. Apparently, he hit right at the perfect spot because the poor guy got a pretty big gash on his cheek.
This past weekend, Hubby and I had a little "Kitchen Table" Date, while the kids were napping. We cut out 34 rocket ship parts for the kids' Valentines for school. This week Connor wrote his name on his (I'm just going to do the twins' names for them) so that tonight, when the kids go to bed, we can hot glue them all together. Every year I get suckered into handmade Valentines, instead of just buying some from the store. How does this happen?!? I joke about it, but I'm sure there will be a day when I am complaining about the fact that that they won't let me participate in their Valentines anymore.
We've had a few pretty rainy days. This past Monday it was pouring rain and I was carrying lunchpails, backpacks, my purse, my lunch, and school bag to the car in shifts. After getting all the stuff loaded up, I went back to get Aiden and buckle him in. Just as I was turning to go get the other two one-at-a-time, I saw Connor assisting his little sister to the car with her umbrella. Hello adorableness.
Monday was a holiday for Connor, but not for me. So he had to go to work with me. He was SOOO great! My favorite questions of the day, though, were "When is naptime?...When is free choice?...and "When do we sing up our cleanup song?" So very sweet. P.S. I wish we had naptime in middle school!
On Tuesday, Connor got sent home from school for the very first time ever! Poor guy had an earache and was crying in the nurse's office. Connor has actually never missed school ever for any appointments or illnesses, so it was a big deal for him. Mr. Howard took him to the doctor and he had fluid in his ear, causing the pain. Just for my record's sake, he weighed 46 pounds and was 3'9.75" at 5 years 7 months. It's the first time in over a year he had been weighed.
My sister-in-law is moving to Southern California on Saturday (my brother already moved two Mondays ago), so she wanted to have a little date night with the kids. She told hubby and me to go do something fun and YOU DO NOT NEED TO TELL US TWICE! So, last night we went out for steaks, cocktails, and dessert. It was Part 1 of our Valentine's Date Night. Part 2 is going to be a movie.
My favorite part of the date night was our interpretive dance to Wind Beneath my Wings by Bette Midler. You should ask my husband to show you his "wind beneath my wings" line choreography. It was pretty spectacular. 
I'm pretty sure I laughed so hard I thought I might need to pull over.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

From a Family of Five...to a Family of Six

On Friday, January 30th we found out we were going to be adding a new family member to our family! And by the evening, she was there!

We decided to adopt her based on the photo on the top right, when she was 8 weeks old. I always said we'd never ever ever ever get a puppy again. But then...then I saw that picture above and I was smitten. I mean. Seriously. 

She was born December 1, 2014. Her Mommy is a red Queensland and her Daddy is an American rottweiler. We had been looking for a rottweiler to adopt for several years, but I had sort of resigned myself to the idea that we wouldn't find one. Then, after having three toddlers, I had convinced myself it was probably for the better. When she came along, at first, I wasn't sure I could handle another puppy. But my husband was SO ridiculously excited; and I have a soft spot for making that man happy. So, we decided to adopt her at nine weeks old!
We debated letting the kids pick her name, but, call me crazy, I don't want to have a dog named Pepperoni...or Awesome Sauce. Instead, we decided to present them with a name and lead them to believe they came up with the name on their own. Haha. Parenting at its finest.We have had another girl's name picked out for a fourth child, but I don't think that's happening anytime soon. So we decided to go ahead and use it on our precious pup.

Allow me to introduce you to...Miss Reese Howard. Connor asked that we give her a middle name, so I told him he could give her any name he wanted. Not surprisingly, he has spent the last week and a half flip-flopping amidst about 100 names. I'm pretty sure she will stay with two names.
We are madly in love. Well, we are madly in love during the day when she isn't in our beds waking Mr. Howard and me up at all hours of the night. And seriously, why didn't anyone remind me about all. the. poop?!?! Holy Moly Zoly, folks. Public Service Announcement for those of you wanting a puppy. Be forewarned. They poop. A LOT. Like a lot a lot. 

She is pretty darn adorable, though. And really, she's such a sweet little addition to our family. I am so thankful she came into our lives!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Girls' Weekend at the Beach

A few weeks ago, we found out my brother would be moving back to Palm Springs. I was so ridiculously sad, as he and his wife are SO involved in our kids' lives and it's been so nice to have my entire original Kirkpatrick family living together again. I was pretty upset about it and my husband just didn't know what to do. I cried and cried and just couldn't snap out of it. The next morning, after a particularly rough night, I came downstairs to find my husband on the computer. He told me had looked up flights for me to go to see my best friend and had found a couple flights that would work. "Will you call her and see if that weekend works for her?" he said as I looked on in shock. It was such a sweet surprise. There is no doubt I have the perfect man!

So, on January 24th, I headed off on a quick flight to see her!

We kicked off our weekend with sweets from a bakery, a walk down at the beach, lunch at Little Sister in Manhattan Beach (a delicious Vietnamese restaurant), and then Manicures and Pedicures! 
We ended Saturday with a dinner at Cha Cha's in Brea, with Jen's siblings. 

Sunday morning, we went for a 10 mile run on the Strand in Hermosa Beach. I am SUCH a wuss, but it was HOT. I am used to my 30 and 40 degree runs here in Northern California and was not equipped to handle the 75 degree beach weather. I will say, however, that I loved running to the sound of the ocean. A girl could get used to a view like that. 
I got in a lot of cuddles with these cuties below and got in a LOT of reading! I finished Bared to You (don't read this unless you liked 50 Shades of Grey). I have been reading the Travis McGee Novels and finished my second one Nightmare in Pink while I was there. I'm reading those novels in the order they were published. And then, the last night I was there, I started the first book in the Outlander Series, which is over 700 pages (since being home, I finished that one too!). Have I mentioned I love to read?!? 
I'm pretty hooked on the Outlander series and think I'll probably read all 7 of them! The first book was made into a TV series, which I am DYING to watch. Because Season 1 aired already, I can only preorder it on DVD, so I'll have to wait till March to see it. Boo!

And just like that, I was on my way back home!
A special weekend with special friends. I am so blessed!

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