Mother’s Day Hike

I am a hiker. My husband is a biker (and I’m talking more of a motorcycle biker…). So we don’t jive the greatest when it comes to taking nature walks. But this year, my Mother’s Day gift was for one free hike!

So! I cashed in my coupon on the most perfect evening when the wind was barely breezing, the sun was fully shining, the air was just above jacket worthy, and the kids were looking for an adventure.

We went out to the Marty Bender Nature Area, and I’ll tell ya what! We were so impressed! It was a lovely 2.8 mile trail leading me through places I would not have pictured in Kansas. We both were reminded of our various places we’ve been: Konza, our St. Louis hike (minus the complaining children!) and even the Texas wilderness. The trail takes you through prairie land, as well as through wooded areas nestled along the Smoky Hill River. We climbed some hills. We looked over cliffs. We ate our picnic dinner on the highest point overlooking several shining ponds and farmland. It was a perfect night.

One of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts yet!

Easter 2020: One to Remember!

Easter weekend was such an enjoyable time! So thankful for the weather on Saturday. Wow. God is good.

We started the day off with making homemade pop tarts, a new adventure that was a big success! A bit time-consuming, but freaking delicious. No photos. Sorrrrryyyy.

We decided, probably like everyone else in the world, to celebrate a day early with our outdoor egg hunt (because let’s face it, we’ve been doing indoor practice egg hunts for weeks already). Now, let me let you in on a little secret: Evie is a profesh egg hunter. She is like a little vacuum out there, inhaling eggs into her basket while Olan daintily and lovingly chooses his eggs. Therefore, we divided colors of eggs so kids would have equal opportunity for collecting eggs. Worked like a champ to put colored dots on their hands to signify what colors they were looking for!

We had a picnic lunch in the backyard, and then began to prepare for the main event of the day: our window side Easter party with grandparents! After disinfecting everything, Evie planned out an egg hunt just for grandparents to participate in, a snack (Dot’s homestyle pretzels are the best!) and lemonade bar, an Easter book for grandma to read through the window, and a game of Guess Who! We turned our couch around to face the big picture window to the backyard and opened up the panes for maximum six-foot distance chatting capabilities. We had a ball. What a perfect day for it!

Easter morning and the weather was… unfortunate. Am I right?? I woke up too early and watched the sunrise service on the couch still facing the window. It was actually pretty cool to watch the wind whip the Bradford pear blossoms off our tree in torrents. It looked like it was snowing flowers on Easter morning. Brilliant.

As everyone else awoke, the only thing that any child in the house could think about was where the Easter baskets were hidden. I found a freebie super easy scavenger hunt that I set up the night before in five minutes, and the kids were off! They finally located their baskets in the fort downstairs. The highlight of the baskets was the cotton candy!

After baskets were ransacked, we got ourselves ready for church and watched the sermon. Something I took away from the message was that realizing that Jesus is righteous isn’t enough. Regretting your sin isn’t enough. Repenting is what shows your association with Christ. Repentance is required in my heart in order to see any growth or change… so right on.

Aanndd then… we had a feast for lunch! I braved the insane weather to grill chicken cordon bleu with sweet potatoes and asparagus. After quiet time, we enjoyed some strawberry lemon shortcake. We decided to rearrange our living room for fun, per Evie’s request and I will say, I kind of like it! It’s not conducive for guests, but who’s having guests over right now? Ha!

We zoomed with family, we chilled, we dyed eggs, we read the resurrection story, we ate our obligatory Sunday night meal of macaroni and cheese. It was a good day!

Even in the midst of a pandemic, we can celebrate what the Lord did for us and his power to conquer death and the grave. Dang it, guys, this is good news! I am so messed up and in need of forgiveness every single day. That’s certainly been all the more evident as I stay home 24 hours a day with my children. Thank you Jesus for the one-time-cover-all-my-sin sacrifice you made so that I could be close to God. What a savior!

Enjoy photos from our happy little Easter!

My Amazing Grandma

Grandmas are so special. And my grandma was the epitome of a good grandma! I truly am having a difficult time putting words down on paper what I’m feeling right now as I have to face the fact that my grandma is gone. Instead of attempting that feat, let me just share how special my grandma was to me.

i may not meet a more kind and loving lady than she was. Her words dripped with “honeys” and “sweeties” and “I love yous” to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was a hugger. Her love languages, in my opinion, were words of affirmation and gifts. Isn’t that the perfect grandma combination? She always picked out the best gifts. When we were kids, it was Disney VHS tapes and unique games. As adults, it was the latest kitchen gadgets on HSN and giant bags of candy. It was always something with nuts in it, until she discovered we didn’t really like nuts in our candy. Ha ha.
I have very faint memories of grandma playing the guitar and singing to us as small children. She was super spunky and would make us laugh and laugh. Her laugh was the best. And she made us feel like we were so funny with that laugh of hers.
I remember as kids, we would visit grandma at the high school in Hesston, where she was a cook. The highlights for me were getting to use the giant sprayer in the dish room and the strawberry milk they had for lunch. Grandma made that kitchen feel magical as a young child!
She passed down to our family the meatball recipe that I’ve loved since I was a kid. Her famous strawberry “whoop” is legendary in our family. Every time we visited, she gave a big box of chocolate Teddy Grahams to each Evie and Olan and Silas. She introduced to me Dot’s Pretzels, and if you haven’t experienced Dot’s Pretzels, you’re missing out on a little bit of life. I don’t know how many black olives we’ve downed together. German chocolate cake was her specialty. The lady could cook up a storm.
Grandma and Woody lived in several towns, but when they lived in Salina many years ago, I remember regularly going there and eating fresh from the oven bread with butter from the biggest butter tub on the market. Her tea maker was always brewing. They had these orange upholstered office chairs sitting around their table and they were so fun to spin around in as a child.
When they lived on Marion Lake Reservoir, whenever we were leaving her house, without fail, she and Woody were on their front porch, waving their “I love you” wave. The funny thing was, when we drove away, we could see them from a pretty good distance before they were out of sight as we drove around the lake, and they would be waving the entire time until our car finally slipped out of sight. It was probably a good five minutes of waving they were committed to, every single time. She loved us well!
She was a biker chick: she and Woody put 7,000 miles on their motorcycle in two years, traveling to California and Florida from Kansas, strictly on a bike. Wish there were photos of them on that bike! They were travelers!
She was totally into technology. I will always remember her giant Sony Digital Mavica camera that took a floppy disk draped around her neck in years past. She later had a little green pouch that held her cell phone like a lanyard. She was connected! She was a gamer and introduced games to me like Peggle and Dr. Mario and I think Candy Crush, or a game kind of like that. She was an avid emoji user, even before emojis were cool. I remember teaching her how to T9 text. Not afraid of anything!
Grandma came to everything she could. Before she was home bound, she was at every holiday and birthday celebration and came to many of my sports games growing up.
Grandma was always an encourager. Even as she was fighting COPD and cancer, you’d never guess it by her attitude. The suffering she did was brutal, but it didn’t affect her spirit. That’s what true joy is I think. She had the love of Christ in her and it was evident in how she processed her suffering and how she treated those around her. I never heard grandma complain. Her nurses and caretakers had the sweetest patient who truly brightened their days.
It is safe to say that I have lost someone incredibly dear this week. I am so grateful to have such sweet memories of an intensely lovely human. See you on the other side, Grandma, I love you! This emoji string’s for you.

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