Seester Sunday: Happy Fall!

Welcome to Issue 1 of Seester Sunday, AKA ‘What We Wore Sunday’! These posts will be co-authored by myself and my sister Melissa. We both enjoy getting dressed up for church on Sundays and thought this may be a fun way to showcase that! We both have various things happening on Sundays, so we’ll show a peek into our weekend activities too. Mel has great taste in fashion and I enjoy a good bargain…we’re quite the pair! So, come along for the ride and let’s see what we wore Sunday!!!

 

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So today it was pretty chilly when I woke up. It was 36 degrees! I knew it was a sweater kind of day! I had just gotten a new sweater this past week, so I was excited to wear it. And it’s super cozy! It caught my eye at Walmart of all places. I love the mustardy/tan color and I think it screams fall. Jeremiah told me it reminded him of Velma from Scooby Doo when it was on the hanger *ahem*–not the look I was going for–…..but then he told me it looked good when I put it on. Whatevs. I like it. My pants are black skinny jeans from Target, the A New Day brand. I bought them specifically for work but I actually really like them otherwise and find myself reaching for them a lot. Confession–the last time I wore black jeans was probably 4th grade so it was really weird to put them on at first! Boots are from Famous Footwear I believe, and I wear them ALOT. Some Sundays I dress up more than others, it just depends on what I’m feeling and the weather!!

 

I didn’t get a pic of the kids dressed up, but may try to do that sometimes. Lucy had several instances of high drama with her clothing choices (Mom! I have no long sleeves! Why are all my cardigans so itchy?! Why don’t I have any winter dresses like Amelia?! Blah blah blah) but settled on a cute outfit. Amelia complained the whole Mass about how itchy her tights were. (Maybe my kids all need some lotion?!) Ruth rocked a pair of sparkly pack boots with a dress I had originally made for Lucy when she was 3 or 4. Yep. Regardless, we made it to Mass before 8:30am, always a win!

 

The kids did pretty well during Mass. After Mass we always have coffee and doughnuts while the kids go to Sunday School. It was my week off of teaching so I got to sit around and visit too. All the kids go to Sunday school this year except for Kateri, so it’s kind of quiet, which is nice. After that we go to brunch at the in-laws and it’s a good time and good food!

 

Today we came home around 12:15 to change clothes and leave again for an outdoor work day at the preschool playground. Let’s just say things went well for awhile and then all of a sudden it was apparent that the 3 youngest girls definitely needed a nap! So, home I went. The rest of the day we were at home resting, doing things around the house, getting ready for the week and preparing food: the usual!

 

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Hi, this is Sarah’s big sister Melissa – also known as Aunt Mel! When Sarah asked me about doing a joint blog post on Sundays, I did not hesitate to say yes. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I love going to 10:30 a.m. mass at the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines. I love usually being able to take a full day for myself. I truly try to put the “Funday” into “Sunday Funday.”

 

This morning was one of those crisp, fall mornings that I long for during the dog days of summer. I knew it was going to be a boots and tights day, and I welcome that. I bought a new Prologue dress at Target a few weeks ago, and today was my second day wearing it. I love this dress because it is one of those throw on and go items that is super comfy and practical for mass, as well as my day full of activities. Oddly enough, I too had someone give me a hard time about my wardrobe choice. When I wore this outfit for the first time a couple of weeks ago, an elderly man outside of the Urbandale Public Library asked me what I was dressed up as, and then said, “a pilgrim?” I replied with, “No, this is just my outfit for today!” – with a big smile on my face.

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I get dressed once for the day, and that’s what I wear all day, so versatility is key for me. Lately I like to get up earlier than needed in the morning so I can drink coffee, read my morning devotion, and snuggle with the pups on the couch. Sometimes I get partly ready for the day, pause for this, and then resume with makeup and hair, etc. Other days I stay in my pajamas for way longer than I should and then find myself in a mad dash to get out the door on time. Fortunately, today was one of the former.

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Sunday mass is my reset button for the week. I sit on the “Joseph side” of the Basilica, in a small pew. While I do not sit directly beside anyone, I have people all around me. I enjoy fellowship during the sharing of the peace and after mass, but otherwise, I am a solo worshipper. I really try to be present and often find myself tearing up during certain hymns or right before and/or after the Eucharist. I have accepted that I am a weepy girl, and I feel so blessed to be so touched by something that it stirs up such an emotion in me.

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Our parish has coffee, juice, and donuts on Sunday mornings, so I sometimes stay afterward for that. Today we had a raffle drawing, and while I did not win anything, it was fun to be a part of the fundraising project for the Basilica.

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After mass, I took the fur kids to the dog park. At a balmy 51 degrees, it was a nice fall day, but it did require a coat and scarf for this girl who is almost always cold. Percy and Gemma love the dog park for the socialization with other pups, as well as the wide open space to run, sniff, and roll in disgusting things. I love the fresh air and quiet time to recharge.

 

Today we also swung by the Starbucks Drive Thru on the way home: Pumpkin Spice Latte for me, and pup cups for them. Once home, I settled in with my PSL and my current read while they snoozed.

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This evening was our annual Basilica Foundation Autumn Wine and Cheese Fundraiser. The Basilica Foundation exists to provide funding for the upkeep of our beautiful building. I first attended this event last year, when I was brand new to the parish and just beginning RCIA classes.

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How fast this past year flew by! I enjoyed a few glasses of tasty wine, some amazing cheese and chocolate, and great conversations with fellow parishioners. I love my Basilica family!

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I get a C grade at best for capturing a full length photo of my outfit this week. After all, this dress HAS POCKETS! I was just having too much fun enjoying the day to worry about it (but yet I managed to take a ton of other photos!). Oh well! There’s always next week. 😉

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Weekend in the life: 10/4-10/6/19

Weekends start after school’s out, right? So we’ll start there….here’s a fairly typical weekend for us! I like to chronicle these days so someday I can look back and enjoy the memories and their cute faces!

Friday the kids get home from school about 3:40pm. They’re always STARVING. I cut them off from snack at 4pm, because otherwise all they want to do all night is eat. So as soon as they get home, they eat. After that’s over we do Amelia’s school work, so it’s done for the day. No one else happens to have homework tonight!

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Then it’s on to food. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Every Friday night we have pizza because a) it’s easy and b) everyone likes it and c) routine makes things easy! The recipe for my crust is HERE. We try to change it up sometimes, and tonight we top it with pepperoni, peppers, onions, black olives.

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Since we are making pizza and we need to replenish the freezer and the kitchen is already messy, we move onto bagel pizzas for lunches. We make A LOT of these! Mini bagels, pizza sauce, pepperoni, seasoning, cheese, bake. The girls love to assist, and they do pretty well. We make 3 sheets of these, I hope they’ll last 3 weeks (?) as they don’t eat them every day.

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J gets home from work, we eat all together and I’m out the door. Part of our new life gig where I get to stay home during the week means that I work in the evenings or weekends semi-regularly, but per my discretion. Tonight, I’m covering a local high school football game, doing the athletic training.

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I’ts a pretty good deal. I get paid hourly to stand on the sidelines and do some thumb or ankle taping usually, or stretch some hamstrings. Occasionally someone gets hurt a little more seriously but that’s not as common. The sideline chatter is always amusing and I enjoy watching the game from a great spot. Although, the boys are smelly and it has been getting colder outside!! After the game is over I go home and go to bed!

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Saturday morning arrives and the kids actually sleep in until *gasp* 7am! Jeremiah was up early and left to run, so it’s just me and the kiddos. I neglect all parenting duties and read my book instead.

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So far, very interesting and true. There’s also a boy version that’s on my list.

I’ve also been trying to read the daily readings. This is day 3 in a row. Takes all of 5 minutes. Takes some time to develop habits, but really? I should be able to fit in 5 minutes SOMEWHERE during the day.

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Eventually I harp on everyone until they get dressed and eat something. 20191005_074407.jpg

J gets home and showers. Meanwhile, I make some chili for dinner in the Instant Pot, sandwiches that we pack to take for lunch today, switch/fold laundry and attempt control the chaos. It’s wet and rainy outside so I can’t even send them outside…!

Then we leave for Lucy’s volleyball game, and I  am a coach! The girls are getting better and better with each practice and game and it has been really fun to get to know them and see them improve. We play 3 games in about 45 minutes.

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After we make it back to the van in the pouring rain, we eat sandwiches as we drive back to retrieve our other car, so I can go to work!

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I see 2 new evals and finish my documentation there, then leave. I still get lost in the building a lot and I still can’t use the timeclock system because it doesn’t accept my fingerprint! I enjoy my time there and the people I meet.  At home we have some family over for chili for dinner. Then it’s baths for the kids while J does dinner cleanup. Not going to lie, I really don’t look forward to baths unless it’s my own. I put the 3 youngest girls in the tub and once and that kind of speeds things along. 20191005_204454.jpg

A little kombucha cocktail to end the day and it’s off to bed!

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Sunday morning we wake up to alarms to get ready for church. I get the girl’s dresses out and they take care of the rest, except Kateri, who prefers to go naked. I do more laundry.

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G has to rifle around to find his jeans, then informs me he has no pants that fit. Of course. The kid is practically a teenager and it’s freaking me out.

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We grab some food for brunch contribution and get everyone in the van by 8am. Win!

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You can’t see Ruth’s head, but we’re all in here! Jeremiah started plugging his phone into the van sound system and playing the daily Mass readings awhile ago, and now we do it every week. It helps so much because *news flash* parents of young kids don’t always get to pay attention in church. This way we can hear the readings on the way there and then hopefully during Mass too if people cooperate. Another little thing we started doing that probably seems ridiculous but works incredibly well—Amelia and Ruth had a tendency to climb all over and always switch spots and mess with each other during church. We took a roll of painter’s tape with us and put small pieces of tape where each kid was supposed to sit, G, L, A and R. They have to stay on their tape. It was unnecessary for G and L, but really worked to get Amelia and Ruth to stay in their spots. They still do their fair share of messing around but this has helped quite a bit. If Ruth starts trying to climb or walk around I just tell her to get on her spot and she pouts for awhile and sucks her thumb, then is fine. And the tape just peels off when we’re done. Now we just keep the tape roll in the van 😉

After church we would normally have Faith Formation (Sunday School) and it would be my turn to teach 1st grade, but not this week due to some other things going on at the church. So, we head to brunch and eat a lot of good breakfast foods with family. By 1pm-ish we leave and head home. 2 cousins come for the afternoon to play. There’s a lot of legos, trampoline, magnetic tiles, more legos, the game of Life and couch cushion bridges.

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The kids all want hot cocoa so we make some. IT. IS. SO. GOOD. We’ve forever ruined ourselves from eating the pre-made kind because this stuff is the BEST!

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This mug kills me!

J has to leave to go to a visitation and G has to do his mowing job, so while they’re gone I make more food and update my planner and read and put out fires between cousins.

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Spaghetti squash casserole is amazing (+low carb!) paired with salad for dinner and healthy pumpkin muffins for breakfast tomorrow….we’ll be lucky if these make it through breakfast tomorrow because it only made 12 😦 . Ruth eats her weight in dough while my back is turned, so that probably didn’t help! There are extra hands in the kitchen the entire time, so things always take longer than they should. My kids claim they love to cook but sometimes I think they just like to snitch food! I do more laundry.

After dinner I divy up the leftovers, which is just barely enough for 3 kids’ lunches tomorrow, WIN!!  J has to go into work for a bit, so he leaves again. Chaos insists as Ruth desperately needs to go to bed, but we pretend it’s fine and Gabriel and I order all of his swim team gear for his upcoming season. He picks out a new swim bag, practice suit, goggles and fins. He pays for 50% of it and 50% his swim team fee which is quite a chunk of change for a 10 year old. I’ve been impressed by his motivation to earn money and get mowing/odd jobs over the summer. We jam out to Train and Adam Levine. For a short time the girls want to listen to ‘Oh Maria’ from “Sister Act” and they remind me they still haven’t seen the movie. Ah, a classic! Jeremiah returns home to save the day. The kids all clean up a zone of the house because it looks like a bomb went off in here. It’s about 7:15pm.

We get all the kids to bed and I read with G and L for awhile, then send them off to bed. Lucy is the queen of stalling and she’s always the last in bed after a drink, talking, brushing hair, braiding hair, questions, clothes, etc etc ETC, but FINALLY by 8:30, the house is quiet and instead of loading the dishwasher *again* I decide to sit and blog. Bliss!

Tomorrow is Monday!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

Friday Five: 9/13/19

  1. Well today marks 4 week of my new adventure in life. And I can say I’m really enjoying it!  I like still working some, just at various times and days, albeit less than I was. I like being the main keeper of all the home/people/things/food/meals/calendars/events/appointments/practices, etc. I like not feeling so darn stressed and out of control because I was fitting too much into too much. It’s just been nice. The kids are getting into a decent morning routine to where I basically just ask them if they’ve ‘done their list’ (I have one posted for each school age kid), fix the girls’ hair, and get Ruth and Kateri ready for the day. They now pack their own lunches {mostly} and get to school together. Ruth, Kateri and I have a good daily routine and it seems to work well. We have one day we like to spend with Nana, one day we are attempting daily Mass (I need all the graces I can get!), we do library programs, I’m coaching volleyball, teaching 1st grade Faith Formation,  and there’s always errands, appointments, meetings and all that jazz. We always have things to do and places to be! I’ll admit I spend ALOT of time in the kitchen, but that’s just how it is. I prefer to cook from scratch, everyone takes their lunch daily, and we rarely eat out. We/I bake something almost daily…this week alone I’ve made breakfast granola bars, brownies, GF bread, healthy muffins…oh, AND THERE’S 7 OF US. Nothing lasts longer than 24-48 hrs. So there’s that. After school the kids usually do a lot of this:20190803_174534.jpgLegos. Lots of Legos. Usually there are neighbor kids involved. They always find it necessary to move a few bins of Legos onto the porch instead of upstairs, I guess there’s more scenery on the porch! But let me tell you that stepping on Legos on the concrete hurts!!!
  2. G and L  took part in the Young Eagle’s program that gives free flights to kids. G and L loved it. Amelia was not quite old enough but is desperately looking forward to when she is. They got a 15-20 min flight around the area and learned all about planes, pilots, etc. Of course now G wants to become a pilot as soon as he’s of age…

     

  3. The kids entered a competition to win a chance to paint one of eight-ish benches on main street way back in early summer. They won! All 3 of the older kids were supposed to work together to make 1 bench that contained each of their ideas. It started out with just white primer. It took us a long time, longer than it should have, to complete. There was a lot of crying involved and paint on clothes and stuck in hair. I ended up finishing it and we were late getting it back to town. BUT! It’s there now and it looks cute. The polka dots are actually thumb prints! It’s pretty cute.

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  4. The kids are enjoying school a lot. Amelia especially loves everything about kindergarten. G loves that he’s in the upper half of the elementary now, math, band and having a locker. Lucy loves that she gets a Chromebook this year, art, band, and learning Spanish. They all love seeing their dad throughout the day. It’s been a great thing!

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    After the first day of Kindergarten!

  5. Last but not least, this cutie turned 13 months 2 weeks ago. Weird. I swear she was just born. She gets awfully proud of herself when she stands up unassisted in the middle of the room and takes 2 steps, then tumbles over. All the kids love toting her around and entertaining her. Kateri has picked up a habit of biting my legs frequently when I’m standing. I’m not a fan. Some days it’s almost constant no matter what I do. And I’m not talking a little nibble. Any ideas on that one!? Kateri and Ruth have become quite good buddies during the day and Ruth has decided it’s her turn to mother K. Quite entertaining but they keep each other in check. She loves climbing, things to chew on, any food, her brother, and bouncing on the trampoline with her siblings.
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    The dimple remains!!

     

Nudges

I’ve always been a working mom. When Gabriel was born there was no doubt in my mind that I’d go to work. 3 days a week, but still working. After all, I had a brand new doctoral degree that I wanted to practice with!

Fast forward 22 months later and Lucy entered the picture. 2 under 2 for a new mom was a challenge. At 10 weeks I was back to work, 3 days a week, and I can say that I was ready. Jeremiah wanted to go back to school and get his teaching degree when Lucy was 6 mo old, so I went to work full time until Amelia was born to take up the slack.

Amelia entered the world and honestly I was READY to go back to work at 10 weeks. 3 under 5 was A LOT. Amelia was NOT an easy baby (although she is quite the delight now!!!) and we bought a house that needed the first floor 100% gutted and remodeled. I needed a mental break, again, 3 days/week.

Ruth. She was an enjoyable baby. My maternity leave was quickly coming to a close and I found myself researching what else I could do with my degree. I loved what I did, I just wanted to be home more and we considered me staying home during the week. Financially we couldn’t quite make it work. I went back to work 28 hrs/week when she was 10 weeks old. We made that work.

I heard a little voice. You could make it work. Give it time. I put that in the back of my head, and kept doing life in the meantime.

Kateri comes along. 5 kids! During my maternity leave I was sure that I could transition at that time into a different role. I wanted to be home more during the week. 5 kids is a full time job in itself. I was busy enough without a ‘job’. Food. Dishes. Housekeeping. Laundry. Food. Kid’s emotional/spiritual needs. Errands. Kid’s activities. Appointments. All the other things. Did I mention food!? The list goes on….. I talked with my boss and we had a lot of conversations at home. Jeremiah and I had some major financial goals that we were working towards by the end of the year and beyond. My income was part of that plan. I went back to work 18 hours/week when she was 12 weeks old. It was a nice balance.

The nudges kept coming. Be open. I have a plan. Be patient.

Fast forward 1 year. We now have kid’s ages 10, 8, 5, 2, 1. Jeremiah got a new job, and he will be leaving early and not able to do mornings anymore, but will only be 3 blocks away! He will work during the summer now, except for the month of July. We still have 2 kids not yet in school. Kids are getting more active and we all have more on our plate. My work is definitely getting put on the back burner. I found myself going into work at 6am to get caught up before my 7am patient, then flying out the door at 1pm to get home and get a bite to eat before the after school routine. I would work at night sometimes and then fall into bed exhausted and with a million things left that I didn’t get done, and with guilt for so many things and reasons. I was doing the ultra heavy juggle and often dropping a lot of the balls (usually on the work end of things).

Then came that still, small voice, nudging louder this time.

Sarah, it’s time.

I second guessed our decision more than once. Am I really supposed to give up all that I’ve work SO HARD to achieve? I’ve been with the same company for 10 years and have earned senior-level therapist status and am a Clinic Manager. I truly enjoy my job. But I love my kids. They deserve my best and are my primary focus in life. God has entrusted us with 5 precious souls so far, and we don’t want to mess that up! I can always work more later on.

The nudge grew heavier, and louder. Follow my path for you. You are so blessed. Trust.

Jeremiah said one night when I was on the verge of breaking, “Sarah, have you prayed about this?” DUH. So I started that. It helped. And I snuck into the Adoration Chapel a few times. And the nudge was ever-there. Everything I read, saw, watched, and people I met…..it was all pointing in an obvious direction. One night I was finishing a book about the Visitation of Mary (I had started it months ago!) and this passage hit me like a 2×4.

“It is time to embrace whatever comes next – even if it is not what you had imagined for yourself, even if other things must wait while you give God your yes to what he has placed before you today. It is time to learn from Mary how to embrace next things with a spirit of readiness.” -Gifts of the Visitation

Trust me. 

All of a sudden things started falling into place. I spoke with my boss, and he was SO understanding. I’m still doing some evening home visits and covering some evening sporting events. I put my resume out for some PRN (as needed) positions and got 4 responses in 24 hours. I landed a weekend PRN position at a wonderful Catholic-run facility that is new and beautiful and filled with the Holy Spirit (you can just feel it!). We met one of our major financial goals 4 months early, which was the same week as my last day at my current position. Incredible timing.

I feel very at peace. Don’t get me wrong. There will be days that are rough. But there will always be days that are rough, no matter what you are doing! I still get to practice physical therapy, but just in a different capacity than I was doing. I am so excited to see how all of this plays out for our family! Yet another time in my life when I needed to be reminded that God is in control, he will provide, and if you are open to HIS plan (and not always focused on my own plan of how my life should go), then you will be blessed beyond measure. I sure do have a lot to learn. But in the future, I’m going to try to be open to those nudges, even when I’m not expecting them!

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The prince and princess of Bennett, crowned this last weekend!!!

Our Utah Adventure!

“Never lose your sense of wonder”  -Anonymous

2 weeks ago we drove 1,100 miles one way to the town of Moab, Utah for our family vacation. To say this was a great vacation is an understatement. I was SO EXCITED to go to Utah. I have never been west of Denver, CO on the ground (I have flown to California a few times), and our kids had never seen the mountains or desert or Utah. I/we planned this vacation for quite some time and I was thrilled that it all worked out. I could write an entire blog about how I researched, booked and packed for our family of 7 to go for 8 days. Packing and planning for 7 people is quite an undertaking. We also asked a cousin, Maddie, to come along and help us with the kids. She agreed and she was such a great help! There is no way we could have had this great experience without her, and we were so happy to have her along! Another perk was that due to Gabriel being in 4th grade, our entire family got into all of the National Parks for free through the every kid in a park program. Winning!

We stretched the drive over 3 days, stopping in Council Bluffs, IA and Denver, CO to stay with family overnight. They were all so generous to let 8 of us stay overnight! We did enjoy this extra time with family. Total (without stops) the drive was about 18 hours. It took us much, much longer than this!

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The views through the Rocky mountains were beautiful!

First of all, Utah is like another planet. The landscape is so different! The air is dry as a bone and the landscape changes (sometimes drastically) every few miles. Made the drive very interesting! Once we made it to Utah we headed to the visitor center and the grocery store! I had booked us an Airbnb condo for 4 nights and it literally was a dream. We had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, pullout couch, washer and dryer, a pool and hot tub and everything we needed other than food for a comparable price to the many of the hotels in Moab. We stocked up for the week and saved a lot of money this way! We will definitely do Airbnb again!

Later that night we set our eyes for the first time in Arches National Park. AMAZING. We saw the double arch and the sunset in the park. Beauty all around. Pictures of course don’t do it justice but I will share anyways:

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Double arch. See the tiny white spec on the right? That’s a person! We were probably 1/4 mile away from the arch here.

 

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Sunset

The next 4 days we spent exploring Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park and Moab. Arches National Park has 2000 arches!! We did a LOT of hiking, to the tune of 6-8 miles/day. The trails were rated either easy, moderate or difficult. We did 1 difficult trail that was 3 miles steeply uphill the first half with a spectacular end of the Delicate Arch, and the rest were easy/moderate. The kids did really well overall. We all wore Camelbak backpacks full of water and J or I packed Kateri on our back or put her in the jogging stroller, depending on the route. On the steep ledges and cliffs (they were everywhere!) we were especially careful with Ruth because we all know how she is. I actually bought a leash backpack for the trip and Ruth loved that thing, so that worked well. We definitely all got over our fear of heights because we stood on the edge of 1000 foot cliffs with no guardrails! It was incredibly hot, with the hottest day 107 deg. At one time our van read 118 deg on the asphalt! Of course there was no humidity, but the sun was super strong!

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Sitting on the edge of a 2 mile crater in Canyonlands. I had a death grip on Ruth

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Lucy on top of Whale Rock after a 600 foot ascent!

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Gabriel on top of Whale Rock with some of Canyonlands National Park in the background

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Dead Horse Point State Park

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Finding some shade on the most difficult hike we did

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The end of the trail leading up to the Delicate Arch, one of the most iconic arches. Talk about being a nervous nelly. We told the kids to keep one hand on the rock and go slow. And Ruth got her leash out.

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The Delicate Arch. SO BEAUTIFUL

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Ruth wanted to go in the Delicate Arch. Standing where we were was like standing on a garage roof with a 2000 foot drop into the canyon behind us!  SO BIG!!!

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Dead Horse Point State Park

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Everything in Utah is MASSIVE. Everything reminded me of prehistoric times and of course pictures don’t catch the depth or magnitude of the landscape. It was so striking and awesome!

One of the last things we did (on a very HOT day, I might add), was to hike to a local waterfall and swimming hole that my seasoned traveller sister in law told us about! This was a weird hike where the trail was not marked well and we had to cross a large stream several times, but the end was worth it! Large bluffs surrounded the swimming hole and the kids were jumping off the waterfall into the water. Good times!

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Part of the trail

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Waterfall!!!

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Our condo was so great! So much room and saved us a lot on food. Good views of some red rock out our patio door as well! I have to give Maddie a shout out here. She was SUCH a great help. Case in point: one morning I woke up and Ruth had had a potty accident overnight. Maddie had changed her, stripped the bed, started that bedding in the washer, gave Ruth a bath and started breakfast. I was so amazed and grateful! We had such a good time with her!

We definitely want to return to Utah again and see more. Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the sand hills and others are on our list! Have van, will travel!

If you have the chance, GO TO UTAH!!!!!!

Friday Five: 7/5/19

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Cool family action shot, right? Photo cred to Aunt Mel, as usual. I believe we all look so serious because 1) We are walking up to a funeral 2) I was yelling at Gabriel to STOP hiking up his pants because they are not meant to sit around your ribcage and give you constant wedgies AND 3) It was HOT. Welcome to summer in Iowa.

  1. 20190628_142726.jpg5th baby, doing her best to break the door on the dishwasher. She’s 11 months old now! How does that happen?! She loves scooting all around the house, getting into the bathroom (potty chair is her favorite), ransacking the pantry, eating food that she previously dropped from her highchair and climbing the stairs. Kateri continues to have the best dimple in her right cheek and can now sport a ponytail directly on top of her head. She loves all of her siblings, but Gabriel is definitely her favorite.
  2. 20190702_153851.jpg4th child, helping daddy pick out glasses. Ruth continues to keep us on our toes and highly contributes to my aging process. Happenings lately include attempting to go down waterslides alone at the waterpark, using obscene amounts of handsoap, running around naked outside daily, and getting stuck in her pajamas. Ruth has earned the nickname ‘Rampage’ by one of her uncles and I think it truly fits her. She loves to read books and I think this is the only time she sits still with me!
  3. 1069.jpeg3rd child, currently the sweetest and tenderhearted of them all. Amelia was beyond thrilled to get her first trophy. It has her name on it and everything! She’s enjoying her kindergarten summer homework packet and the slip’n’slide and basically being my constant sidekick. She dutifully does her chores each day with the least amount of whining and is very compassionate and loving. Other than the other day when she swung her stick-turned-baseball-bat squarely into the back of Ruth’s skull, she’s quite a gentle soul.
  4. 20190704_152042(0).jpg 2nd child, still remains the sassiest. We are in the depths of our first fair project season, so Goodwill here we come! We are on a mission to repurpose Goodwill artifacts, and so far she’s made a garden flower from glass dishes (very cool!) and we are making a girl’s dress from this man’s shirt. Wish us luck. Lucy continues to think she needs to have the last word and sometimes I wonder how many eye rolls I can receive in a day. She is becoming quite a baker and she’ll tell you all about her brownies if you ask.
  5. 20190602_070900.jpg1st child and I spent a {very early} morning volunteering at the Iowa Pigman Triathlon together to help raise money for his swim team. Gabriel got super into this. He’s also a mowing machine this summer. He’s got 4 lawns that he cuts weekly and is stashing his cash to pay for part of his swim team this fall. I’ve been very impressed by his motivation and drive. He’s also highly enjoying his daily popsicles, (I have to put a cap on how many they can have in a day!) his new bike, (he rode 13 miles a few weekends ago!!) the pool, and is looking forward to learning to weld for HIS fair project {NOT my idea…ahem}

They occasionally do get along, and then I snap a picture quick to remember that things like this really do sometimes happen!

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Friday Five: 5/31/19

Happy Friday, Happy last day of May, and Happy last day of school for my kiddos!

  1. Where do I spend most of my time you ask? In the kitchen. That’s a serious answer. Where is the 2nd most popular place that I spend my time? The ballpark. This year Amelia is in tball, Lucy is in coach-pitch, and Gabriel is in minors. We have games 3 nights (or more) each week, often doubled up and in different places. Sometimes we even like to throw in a tball practice or other evening commitment into the mix. I keep a plethora of snacks in the van, try to plan a portable dinner of some sort, and we do the best that we can with keeping everyone happy and dry at the ball games. Sometimes we are successful, other times we fail miserably. Sometimes we just cut our losses and stop for 50 cent Frosty’s on the way home and call it a win.
  2. I bought a new swing for the kids. It’s from ALDI. Never underestimate the power of Aldi and their special finds aisle. The swing holds up to 330 lbs, which means there has been 5 kids on it at once, and they’d put more on it, but it’s full. The neighborhood has pretty much been using it constantly for 2 weeks straight now. It’s big. It’s super fun. Seriously worth the $50. Go buy it.20190523_191122.jpg
  3. Over Memorial Day weekend we had a 3 night camping trip planned at Bellevue State Park. The intense rains and severe nightly storms deterred us from camping (in tents with 5 kids…), but we did a day trip to the park instead. It was a futile attempt as the GNATS WERE INCREDIBLE. I have never experienced bugs like that. Talk about being miserable on a beautiful day. We cooked lunch and stood in the smoke to try to get away from the bugs, then hiked 1 trail and called it a day. It was so, so bad. We did watch a barge go through the lock and dam, got a few good bluff lookouts, and snapped a quick picture. 581_1558894750338.jpeg
  4. Kateri is 10 months old on Saturday. That has seriously gone so fast! She’s basically weaned herself (that’s a lot of mixed emotions and could take another whole blog post) but fear not, I’ve got a freezer stash. 😉 I have not succeeded in getting her to take a cup, however, and she prefers to just smash it against the table/floor and make a gigantic wet mess. She eats everything. And a lot of it. Bark from the sticks in our yard is really her favorite thing to eat, or it seems. She crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything. We are working on her falling asleep on her own because sleeping in the same room with 3 other girls requires everyone to cooperate so we all can be somewhat sane! She’s a curious little gal and has the cutest dimples!! She says ‘da da da’ all day long and that pleases Jeremiah to no end.  She has started protesting the nap so falling asleep in her highchair is sometimes happening. She’s always been so easy, so I guess I should have expected some of this!518_1558657509107.jpeg
  5. And just to keep things interesting, we seem to have quite the abundance of wildlife around the House lately. Nevermind the chickens (which have become large, no longer cute, ill-tempered teenage girls, and are leaving soon), and the bunnies (Rose and Thomas, always a crowd favorite) but we have also been graced with the presence of a baby bluejay that fell out of it’s nest, a neighborhood bat that apparently fell out of a tree (bats are so weird-looking up close, BTW), a toad that is the size of my palm, a frog that Lucy snagged from the water ditch near our house, and the usual neighborhood wild rabbits and crazy squirrels that scale our stucco house and window screens. It’s like they all congregate here and want to join the craziness!

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    Baby bluejay