on hospital tours and breathing lessons

We're at a point in parenthood where I'm feeling like somehow we've gone back in time and we're going on a tour of the hospital.  We've got something new and big ahead and I've got so many ideas and thoughts...concerns and prayers. 

Our oldest enters first grade next year and although you'd think I felt this way when he entered kindergarten, I didn't.  We were able to have him attend kindergarten at the same school where he attended preschool since he was three, so our transition this year was seamless.  He knew he had a new hallway, a different length for the school day and a new door to enter, but for the most part nothing for me or him to really wonder about.

Next year however, we appear to be exploring all options and in my typical "overthink it" mode about most all things, I'm feeling like here we are again- do they have breathing classes for this?!

The funny thing is, I've been more quiet about this transition- maybe like some mom's are before they have a baby.  You've been told it'll be easy fine and so you may be freaking out inside, but you're told you need to be strong. 

I'm not sure we're ever all that strong as parents- and as they get bigger I see the things we're facing to be so heavy on the heart, in a far different way than exhaustion and wondering if your baby is getting enough milk or sleep or time being read to.  It felt super easy knowing my baby just needed love and care and time being held. 

I look ahead wondering what will truly fill their days, what influences will they be surrounded by, and what role can or do we have in what that looks like? 

Maybe you're of the camp that it all flushes out and it's not a big deal and what will be will be. I get that, and I know that my kids are not my own, but believe they are God's and in my care for a time. I know they can and will disobey, disrespect, and potentially (or quite possibly) turn their backs on me.  I also believe that for now while they are still young, as a parent I get to be the biggest advocate for them and that IS a big deal.  It's an honor to advocate for them, to look into options, and to really pray about what's best for what lies ahead.

I've been praying about this daily and know for right now we don't know what next year brings.  I know there are many mamma's having the same thoughts I am, and love the wisdom of those who have gone before.  I'm thankful for resources and good schools and the fact that these concerns are something I even get to explore- many don't have a different choice to consider.

When Evan was born he came so quickly I remember telling Benjamin- "I didn't look into natural birth!  I don't even know how to breathe!" In the end it didn't matter.  When I told him I couldn't go on, I still did.  Evan wasn't staying in there.  And so here we are- taking those next steps and breathing deep breaths, exploring what's ahead expectantly, and knowing we can't hit pause on this sweet season.  I wouldn't want to really, and I look forward to what's ahead with great thankfulness knowing the most important factor here- WHO has gone before us.  Resting in that peace today, as I try to breathe.

Sunday Supper

We've gotten into a rhythm of sorts with our meals.  I know that if we have a sport one night, that'll mean I need either a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot meal because dinner has to be done and on the table at 5.  Friday's now mean Pizza night, and Saturday's are cinnamon rolls.  Sunday's for me growing up meant a big meal after church, something I want to do for our family now.

This year I've not only given in, but embraced the reality of this season.  Friday I am tired, and so yes- frozen pizza and ice cream sundae's it is. The boys know they'll get a big dessert on Friday nights which has helped eliminate them asking for ice cream throughout the week.  The knowledge that dinner is easy Friday allows me to know I'll actually be able to do movie night and sit and watch with them, as opposed to cleaning dishes. 

Saturday morning we may let one another sleep a little longer, so canned cinnamon roll's are the easiest go-to for whichever parent is up and able to turn on the oven first.  Maybe we'll have bacon or sausage, but that's been the easiest thing for us right now.  I love making pancakes and waffles, but again, this go-to allows us to wake up and actually drink hot coffee in the morning.  Small things that add up to sanity savers!

Sundays I want to take the chance to throw something in the slow cooker before church, or know a roast will go in when we're home.  At this point in winter we've had our fare share of pot roast and chili so I'm trying to think of something fresh.

Something I love about blogging, and having done this since 2008 (!!) is that I can look back and be reminded of recipes I've made.  This post about 8 slow cooker recipes I love was good for me to remember, and then there's the Slow Cooker Spaghetti recipe here

Maybe Sundays should be Spaghetti?  I don't think so.  My kids don't love the tomato sauce so I don't think that would stick- also Benjamin and I don't love spaghetti.  Minor thing to consider.

For tomorrow I've decided we're going to try this Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli.  I'll likely make rice in the instant pot first, and then this.  I'll make sure we have some snacks on hand for ravenous children after church, and since our Instant Pot is an 8 quart, I'll double it and know we've got lunch for Monday too.  1 pound of chicken really doesn't stretch far enough so whenever I can double something I will- leftovers or stocking the freezer for the win! 

Do you make a bigger meal on Sunday's? What are your favorite go-to's?!

for the love of the big box

There was a time in my life when I didn't have a Costco Membership.  I know. There was a time I told my Mom to stop telling me how great it was and that I was fiiiine and that I just went to Target and Wegmans and we were good. 


I love me some Costco now.  Love because they have absolutely heard the voice of the people with what they stock, and love because it saves money, like only it can.

So, for that friend who just got a membership, here are some things I love there, in no particular order.

  •  Frozen Foods
    • massive bag of frozen veggies.  my kids love these.
    • Lots of options of lunches on the go. We like the ramen bowls and they've had some good burrito bowl options.  So much cheaper than if my husband has to eat out and ends up paying too much for something simple.  
    • Great price on frozen shrimp + salmon

  •  Fresh Foods
    • Bagged salad! That kale/cranberry slaw will be your life
    • Rotisserie Chicken- already off the bone!  This can be hard to find but I'm sure it's there.  I think I paid about $12 and got 8 cups chopped.  Saves time for freezer meals and it's super moist.  I've heated it up for fajitas or it's great for protein atop that new bagged salad you're gonna love. :)
    • I always grab apples here.

  • Clothes
    • this is my go-to now for socks, pajamas, and picking up a random dress shirt here and there for Benjamin.
    • I got my winter long, down, puffy jacket there for $39!
    • I always get the boys snow pants/jacket combo here- buy early as they sell out!
    • kid athletic clothes- name brands for much cheaper 
    • I got a thermal pair of leggings that are awesome- no need to spend the big bucks

  • Household Items- 
    • great place to stock up on wipes and cleaners (they have everything from your typical brands to free and clear lines)  I get hand soap here.  You may think you're using Mrs. Meyers, but that ship has sailed. ;)
    • Trash bags, paper towels, you get the gist.

  •  Randoms
    • Movie Tickets
    • Windshield wipers, light bulbs, diapers, etc.  They really have it all.. :)  

  • Canned good
    • green beans, diced tomatoes, black beans.  It comes out to super cheap per can and I always have these on hand for chilies or soups or an easy veg for the kids.

  • Healthy options
    • Nature's Bakery Fig Bars- great for kids and me on the go
    • mass amounts of things like Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds, Nut Butters (and peanut butter), Quinoa- so much cheaper than what I see at the grocery store.
    • They have a lot of healthy snack options by the chips- like apple chips, etc. 
I think that's it.  Apart from the obvious SAMPLES and CHURROS of course.  We get our tires for the most part from here too!

OH and little secret- that's where I got my Christmas cards from this year!  No one knew because they didn't say Costco anywhere (who cares if they did!) and they were loads cheaper than any other options I saw- they were delivered quickly, nice card stock and envelopes too!

The above picture has nothing to do with Costco other than the fact that I couldn't find the picture of my kids in it, decided I was done scrolling, and chose this picture instead- because as an adult, maybe going into Costco will feel similar as jumping into a ball pit. ;)

Starting here.

I've written this post a million times in my head.  I debated about doing a new years post at all, then thought about others things I want to write about, then came back to here.  New Year's posts can be super cliche, but then I kept thinking- rythmns and seasons and the hope of something NEW isn't bad at all.  I think it's a good thing, and I think we're created to feel this way.

After the beginning of December, which felt too full (and not in the filling way), it felt good to hit pause the last two weeks of December.  It felt nice to not worry about school schedules or gifts to bring in, projects to complete, or cookies to make.  That was nice, but what wasn't was feeling like I was so spent from the first two weeks that I didn't have the energy I wished I would have to make the cookies or the Christmas breakfast I wanted to make.

I don't feel bad about these things a ton.  My kids loved Christmas, and our breakfast was great- and planned out by my dad!  I think "we" (a collective 'we' of Mom's of young kids---or old kids) put too much pressure on ourselves about what things are to look like.  We all know what real life looks like, but I'm not really writing about looks here, I'm more trying to get to how we feel and if we're at peace and have the energy to do what we are made for.  Are things filling us up and helping us to grow, or are they down right draining?

I just bought 4 cans of cinnamon rolls from the store.  You know what our Saturday mornings will look like?  Cinnamon rolls from a can.

Simplify.  No surprise to anyone who follows me on Instagram that I'm a big fan of Emily Ley and absolutely love her book A Simplified Life.  I can't recommend it enough and based on how much so many other's have loved it (I think it was #3 on Amazon!) I think we're yearning to do just that.

Back to writing doesn't seem simple.  Back to feeding my soul gives me life.  So- being back in this space was a really simple answer for me to the longing I'd been feeling.  I've lost count of the number of notes I've written to blog.  I've felt fear and anxiety coming back to this place.  Before I opened up this tab I wanted to go look at some blogs who started when I did, but then I stopped myself.  When I hit pause on this site it was a season, and it was clear that's what I was supposed to do.  But now, I really miss this space and I want back.  Readers or not, I'm here.  It feeds my soul and not doing it feels in a way like telling that still small voice "shhh...not today...I'm not that good...maybe later."

So- here we are.  Day by day.  Chasing Simple. (that means canned cinnamon rolls on Saturdays- oh and frozen pizza on Fridays!)

p.s.  Card above done by Postable.  Simple because they mail the cards for me, and remind me when friend's birthdays are! All the praise hands for that one.