The Summer Bucket List is Done

Yes, I said done. Not completed. There are some boxes left, but no one seems to care. It’s November, so I need to wrap this up.

Highlights since my last update:


We tackled the giant 24″ pizza from local Original Pizza. We decided not to take on the project alone and called in my sister and her family – polished it off! Even though the slices were so big they didn’t fit on the plates. :)

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Hannah got free Royals tickets as her Perfect Attendance Award, so we got to go to a game. Too bad they didn’t play as well this year, but it’s still a fun experience. Hannah polished off a giant hot dog, and Brett and I shared super nachos out of a helmet. Side note: big thumbs up for our new ear protection. Hannah can be sound-sensitive, so these really help. They also hopefully blocked out the foul-mouthed drunk people behind us.


Since we included big and little summer adventures, root beer floats were checked off. Yum!

So we didn’t make it to Union Station, mini golf, or the marble factory, but that just gives us a head start on next summer’s list!

My Stories of the Week

Rare occurrence! Last weekend, the girls were with the grandmas and grandpas, and Brett and I had a night away. We stayed at Cedar Crest Lodge, south of Kansas City, and had a wonderful time (the food!!!).

On the drive down, we stopped at Dollar General for snacks and a restroom. It was pretty much the only option in the tiny town. Brett scanned the DVD display and snatched up this gem. Ramona and Beezus DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy combo for $2.97. We hadn’t seen the movie, but we couldn’t resist that deal. After all, it’s $14.79 on Amazon.

When we were back home, we decided to preview it before letting the girls watch it, and I was prepared to be severely disappointed. Classic children’s books are not always well done in newer movies (Cheaper by the Dozen, anyone?). But I was impressed! It was a sweet movie and stayed true to the characters. Since we have listened to almost all the Ramona audiobooks in the last year, I know the girls will be excited to see the stories they’ve enjoyed so much.

I picked up this book because I liked the title and I’d read another by the author. I have pretty much the same taste in stories as when I was four: no scary, no bad guys, happy ending. But I don’t want just fluff. This story involved a sister relationship as one was going through treatment for breast cancer. If you know some of my extended family, you understand this hit a little close to home.

With the prevalence of cancer, I think anyone would find a connection to the story. There were also recurring themes of cooking and Jane Austen, so obviously I was a fan.

So those are my weekend stories, and I recommend them all!

Summer Bucket List – 2/3 Through

How is this possible?!? I was going to do a bucket list check-in halfway through, and obviously I missed that.

Our board now looks like this:

That’s a lot of checks! We’ve been busy having fun, but haven’t done as well keeping up with the academic and spiritual sides. But we’ve got four weeks left!

Here are a few things we’ve tackled so far:

Lots of trips to the neighborhood pool.

I only put one box for Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, but we’ve been there several times. A special visit was with out-of-town cousins!

Brett likes to take a day off now and then to join us for big adventures. Like the zoo, with carousel rides, boat rides, and a picnic. And KOALAS!

And he couldn’t resist joining us for lunch at Fritz’s. It’s a super fun restaurant where your food is delivered by train. Yeah, pretty cool, and obviously a favorite for more than just kids. ;)

Yard pool! It’s fun to play on our own or invite neighbors over for a mini pool party. 

I didn’t want all our “goals” to be about personal entertainment. So I included “Gift Day.” We made bags of treats for a few neighbors and delivered them.

So that’s just a peek at our summer so far. Lots of fun times ahead… And almost time to start shopping for school supplies!



This is my 300th post. If you’d told me 5 years ago that I’d be typing my 300th post on an iPhone app while sitting outside watching my three children play at our home in suburban Kansas City (far from Olive Street), I probably would have fallen over.

There have some big gaps between posts, mostly because of these small people who take my sleep and my brain power. But without them, I wouldn’t have much to write about. ;)



But over the years, I’ve …

Walking around Breckenridge

I’ve documented family moments like…


Looking on past posts, I see recipes I forgot about and now can’t wait to make again, like…

Chillin' at the hotel

And I’ve tackled some serious topics that really seemed to resonate with readers…

Milestones are fun to recognize the distance, and it’s been motivating for me to move forward. I’ve been reminded of what a fun legacy this is. I love looking back at the posts of adventures when Hannah was little. This is my scrapbook and my journal. And I also get to share deeper thoughts with friends and family and sometimes a few more. ;)

Thanks to y’all for sticking with me!

Over on Instagram…

There are so many social media avenues, I do not possess the time or desire to explore all of them. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, etc. I see the most value in Facebook but in the last year I’ve also been active on Instagram. I like Instagram for the following reasons:

  • Pictures only – no one is posting articles on politics or vaccines or guns, etc. Just snapshots of life, staged to varying degrees depending on who you follow. ;)
  • Short captions – only about three lines show up under the picture, so you could write an essay but generally captions are brief.
  • Positive commenters – I have nothing scientific to back this, but in general comments seem more positive than other social media channels. Since comment replies aren’t divided into threads, arguments rarely happen and seem to be quickly dropped as they are hard to follow.
  • Selective followers – I don’t have a public account, so I feel better about posting a lot of pics of the girls. I have much fewer “followers” than on Facebook which I like.
  • Creative aspect – there are plenty of kid pics and selfies, but there’s more. I enjoy the artistic element of intentionally creating visually appealing photos. I also poke fun at it.

I also have several friends who are more active on Instagram than on Facebook, so it’s a good way to stay connected with them. And it’s just fun! I like the combination of day-to-day family stuff and an artistic element. It reminds me to look for the art in the everyday and to capture things even if they aren’t “perfect.”

I’m not unique or trendy to like IG, rather I’m behind the curve to embrace it, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve been mini-blogging on Instagram. #instablogging

Beauty and the Best Friend

Before our Disney trip, we introduced the girls to Beauty and the Beast. Though they’d seen several other Disney princess movies, we’d waited on that one because of potentially scary scenes. It was good timing, and they enjoyed it immensely. 

Hannah is our emotionally perceptive one, and this is quite evident when watching movies. She gets so into the story and feels things acutely. Watching movies with her is like watching the Final Four with a Jayhawk fan – lots of jumping and yelling and sometimes tears

As expected, she was absorbed with Beauty and the Beast, and things were going pretty well. Until the part where Gaston gathers the town people with pitchforks and fire to kill the Beast. Hannah jumped up with genuine tears flowing down her cheeks, and she yelled at the TV, “No! You can’t kill him! He’s her best friend!

We comforted her and laughed a bit, then I thought about what she’d said. She didn’t see a weird love story between a girl and a monster, she saw a friendship between two individuals – a real friendship that wasn’t based on appearances and that required patience and compassion to get along. 

There are scores of articles on the dangers of the “Disney princess culture,” but maybe they are just through the eyes of psychologists. I agree fairy tale plot lines are ridiculous (like pretty much every other movie!). But in the eyes of one of my girls, Beauty and the Beast is a tale of blossoming friendship. And isn’t that the best kind of love story?

Jim Gaffigan in the Flesh, the Pale, Pale Flesh

Five months ago, we used some of our “Christmas money” and bought tickets to see Jim Gaffigan. He’s our favorite comedian, and if you’re not familiar with him, just look him up on YouTube. I logged on soon after the ticket sales went live, and I was able to get eleventh-row seats. (If he’s not in your area or you don’t want to splurge on tickets, this is for you)

Then the wait. I honestly almost forgot about the whole thing until July as I glanced ahead in the calendar to August. Jim Gaffigan! The excitement came again. In such an instant gratification-driven culture, the waves of anticipation have been fun. 

Some friends also got tickets, so we met for dinner – Thai chicken pizza at CPK, yummmm – then carpooled to the amphitheater. And thanks to my very pregnant friend, we were able to be dropped off right by the entrance. 

No pictures of the actual show because very pale guys don’t photograph well under stage lights. But we laughed until we had tears (didn’t think of bringing Kleenex to a comedy show) and told each other “Merry Christmas!” 

Jim Gaffigan live. Now crossed off the bucket list.