Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Becca on the Boulevard

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My mom sweetly offered to pick Rebecca up early one day so that she could come to visit me at school. It was so fun for staff, teachers, and kids to see Becca, and she loved running up and down the hall when students were in class. She's really into running these days! After school was out, we packed up and headed down the road to the Beer Hall at Boulevard Brewery. My friend Anne works over there, and it's always fun to hang out in the Beer Hall. It's gorgeous! It was a little bit cool and windy, but there was a great spot on the patio for Becca to walk around and make a mess.
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We all tried a little taster of a beer before committing to a big beer, and Mom even branched out from her favorite Boulevard Wheat on tap. They have so many good options! Rebecca had some snacks from her snack trap and cried a few tears when Mama spilled the end of her beer. She was the only kiddo there, but I don't think she bothered anyone. We marveled at the number of people already out enjoying good beer before five o'clock on a Thursday!
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We considered this a Mother's Day celebration of sorts because we were all able to be together, hanging out in Kansas City. It was Mom and Lauren's (and Becca's!) first trip to the Beer Hall. I can't stop talking about how much I love this space with a view.
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We all were ready for an early dinner and left the Beer Hall to meet Kip at Rosedale Barbeque. I've been at Rosedale for almost two years and never eaten at the famous barbeque joint at the bottom of the hill. Rebecca was thrilled to eat bbq and see Daddy. She loves him so much - just look at her laughing at him at the dinner table! We thought the food was just okay, but now we can say we've eaten at another one of Kansas City's landmark barbeque joints. It was so fun to spend an afternoon hanging out on Southwest Boulevard with my family - a true Mother's Day treat!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The One Book of April

There was just one book in April, and I didn't love it. Our book club pick for April, it seemed like a good one with lots of votes from our group to choose it. It was also an NPR best book for 2016. Over the Plain Houses proved to be a heavy read, and only two of us finished it in time to discuss all the parts at book club. The chapters alternate between the perspectives up of a husband and wife in Appalachia during the New Deal era. It was pretty heavy, with domestic violence, a little bit of witchcraft, and crazy fundamentalism.

I had a couple of other books I almost finished during April and one that I gave up on in the middle of the book. It was just one of those reading months. May is looking much better already!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Becca Outside || Fourteen Months

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Taking all those monthly photos was a bit tricky sometimes, especially once Rebecca could move. However, it was nice to have a regular place to update what Becca was up to each month! Here are a few updates about our girl.

She still very much loves to be outside, both at school and at home. If you ask her if she wants to ride in the wagon or the stroller, she'll walk to the door and start nodding like crazy. She also loves bubbles (bu-bu), and I think will grow to love her swing. It's still a very new experience! So thankful for a daddy that can climb trees and hang it up for her! Kip was cleared after surgery a couple weeks ago, and his body is very slowly adjusting to his old routines. He mended remarkably quickly!
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Rebecca seems to know what's going on all the time, and she will help move the laundry, close the pantry door, and put her toys away. She even tried to close the dishwasher the other day! She stands at her high chair when she wants to eat, and yells with excitement at the chair where she nurses after school, pounding on it with her little hand.

Almost all of her words involve ba- and da- sounds except for Mama and yes. This is convenient for Becca because it allows her to describe all her favorite things! Dog, daddy, ball, book, Brown Bear, Go Dog Go, Belle, baby, banana...they probably all sound the same to anybody else, but they clearly mean very different things to Becca! She said "wa-wa" the other day for water which was a new sound that she followed up Tuesday morning with WHOA. Every time she drops something off the changing table, she TRIES to say uh-oh, but it's mostly been a long uhhhhhhhhhh until recently. I think she's dropping stuff just to hear us say uh-oh so that she can try to perfect it too!
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She is unintentionally hilarious all the time, and I love sharing these funny toddler moments with Kip. Earlier this week Rebecca learned how to blow on her food if it's hot. But now she thinks she needs to blow on everything including her cottage cheese! Becca is generally very happy except if she's not getting exactly what she thinks she needs or wants. She gives the sweetest hugs, leaning her head against your shoulder and patting your back and wide open mouth kisses that are more like a good lick. Every day is different, and we're loving life with a toddler.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Green Watering Can

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I told someone recently that I was unprepared for how much Rebecca would be loved by everyone else. I knew they were excited, but I underestimated the love they would show. It's one of the very sweetest and most wonderful parts about being Becca's mama. Her grandparents, aunts, and uncles ADORE HER. She is so lucky to have so many people cheering for every one of her milestones, reading her books, playing with her, and caring for her. Kip and I are also grateful. They have given us plenty of breaks and provided valuable back-up over the past fifteen months.
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We spent a weekend in Manhattan so Kip could hunt turkeys, and Becca could play at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They recently gave her this little t-shirt, and they call her a little munchkin. During naptime, Karen and I ran a couple of errands and picked up some rain boots for Becca and this adorable little green watering can. It matches Grandma Karen's and mine in Overland Park! The boots are still too big, but she will love them soon enough.

Of course after her nap, we wanted to put Becca to work with her watering can. I would say some grass got an excellent bath, and those are some very well watered bricks on the patio. But she definitely had so much fun playing outside with Grandma Karen. We need to plant some flowers at home and put her to work!
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After a while, she wanted to sit down in the shade and take a break with Mama. I think her serious face with her squishy little cheeks is just too cute.
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And then she was off on the run again. She probably is the cutest munchkin in the Land of Oz! Kip enjoyed a gorgeous April weather and shot his first double bearded tom. We went to church, I saw my friend Ally, and we even got in a gorgeous walk to see the dogs running around at Cico Park. Manhattan is so gorgeous in the spring!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Easter Weekend

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In the weeks leading up to Easter, I was so excited and could hardly wait for the weekend to arrive. My cousin Sasha and her husband Mike were coming from Derby for the weekend, staying at my mom's house with my aunt and uncle from Mankato. We planned a ton of fun for the time that they were all here!
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Saturday afternoon everybody else spent a little bit of time at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and then Kip and I had a babysitter come to put Rebecca to bed while we met everyone for dinner. We chose to eat at Rockhill Grille, the restaurant in the old Cashew. It's a little bit hip and swanky downtown, perfect for a meal before James Bond music with the Kansas City Symphony.
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The drinks and the food were delicious, and I love the atmosphere, even if the booth sat a little low to the ground, and it's a little loud. Our one mistake was not running up to see the very fancy remodel on second floor. Next time! Kip and I didn't join in for the Symphony, but the next morning everyone raved about it. My cousin and Mike have been working their way through James Bond movies over the past year, so it was a perfect fit for them!
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The good news was just as good on Sunday morning - He is risen! We went out to Leawood for church to worship in the new sanctuary at Church of the Resurrection. We didn't want to miss getting a seat in the sanctuary, so we were absurdly early. Becca, Lauren and I spent quite a bit of time walking up and down the halls. While she has fancier shoes, we went for practical on Easter. She's such a busy little walker!
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Becca's Easter dress was from Boden and will get plenty of wear. Her bow was from Etsy, and it stayed in for a few photos but not all of them. Her growing hair is a work in progress. Daycare can do the occasional little pigtail, but Mama has had no luck yet.
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While we were walking, we ran into our friend Kelsey and her husband Chris! Even though we saw a few people that we knew, Kels and Chris were the most exciting as they live in Oklahoma now. Their little boy Brock is exactly one year older than Rebecca - they are birthday buddies!
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Rebecca did okay during church. She made it through part of the sermon before we escaped to the back. There are hidden carpeted stairs in the back of the sanctuary, so Rebecca could climb up and down, sit on the bottom step and kick her legs, and walk back and forth without anyone seeing her. I was able to hear the sermon too!
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Mom prepared a delicious brunch and set a beautiful table. While we waited for the food to be ready, we toasted with mimosas and snacked on a family favorite, deviled eggs. We had fresh rolls, salad, potatoes and salmon before we tried to eat a few sweets (one of the best parts of Easter!). Everyone was so full that we packed up much of the sugary goodness to eat later.
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There were some quick photos after lunch before everyone headed separate ways. Rebecca was ready for a nap with her full belly, but she still sort of cooperated for some photos.
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And I'm totally the photographer that shows up with a tripod at family gatherings. It's always worth it, and my family never seems to mind too much. So thankful to share the weekend with our family in Kansas City!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Becca at Home || Books & Blueberries

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Becca looooooovvveesss books. This is so fun to both of us! Kip usually does the bedtime books and last week when I was gone I think he read at last seven books. My heart swells every time she walks over with a book and plops in my lap. A book lover's dream. Rebecca is still really into the books that she can actively engage with by lifting flaps or by touching and feeling the page features. Current favorite books include Hello Zoo, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Jellycat books, and The Little Blue Truck. She's still better with board books because she wants to help turn the pages and paper is hard.

Kip finished her bookshelf for her bedroom last week, and it's so perfect with space for books and cubbies for toys. And surprisingly empty! Phew. I was worried we were running out of room for her growing books collection. We also keep books in the office, books in the living room, and books in the car. Rebecca's been reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear on repeat to and from school the past week or so, and she even was willing to read a couple of books part of the time during Easter church service.

For equally adorable photos of Kip and Becca reading on the couch, flip back to these from almost a year ago. Too cute!
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Becca looooooovvveesss blueberries. Fruit is always the first thing to go flying off her plate. She eats a breakfast snack with us in the morning before she goes to school, and she loves all the breakfast foods - morning glory cookies, toast, leftover waffles and pancakes, and fruit of course! Becca's eating this blueberry snack right before a bath, so I skipped the bib this time, but for the most part she's great about leaving bibs on. If it's time for a meal or she's hungry, Becca will go stand by her high chair. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Fourteen months is so fun!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Plaza Easter Brunch

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On Palm Sunday, we all went to church downtown and headed to brunch at The Oliver on the Plaza. Kip and I were so excited to treat everyone to brunch with his big winnings from the bracket pool! He took first place out of fifty entries in my friend Ann's bracket competition and won a restaurant gift card as well as cards for Southwest Airlines and some of his favorite beers. His advice, "When you are in a pool with local people, don't pick KU." Twenty of the other brackets had KU winning it all!
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The Oliver is in the same restaurant family as Gram & Dun, BRGR, etc. The location is so pretty, and we were the first ones in the restaurant on Sunday morning when they opened.
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Rebecca did very well at brunch because she's so sweet and loves to eat. Our brunch food was delicious with one exception - the biscuits. We had high hopes for the biscuits because Lauren said the ones at Gram & Dun are incredible. They were more like Civil War hardtack. (They comped them.) I had a really delicious waffle with fried chicken tenders, and I loved every bite of it. Becca liked it too - a little too much! I needed another chicken tender to share with her.
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We chose to brunch on the Plaza so we could grab some photos with the classic Easter bunnies and statues. We took her last year, and she's still too little to appreciate the tradition and the cool bunnies.
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Rebecca likes to cruise around in her stroller and actually will reach for it when she is tired of being held or wants a break. The Plaza was a fun place to walk because she likes to see dogs and says "da, da!" Daddy also made her smile and laugh by tipping the stroller back in the sunshine.
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Aunt Lu looks very pretty in this photo, and Rebecca looks very unsure about sitting on the giant swan. Her dress was a hand me down from Reese, and it's really adorable even it's also dangerously white.
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I love this family photo so much that I updated the one on the side of the blog with it! The bunnies were decked out in Royals gear in honor of the home opener. We are so happy it's baseball season again.
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When it was time to head home for a nap, Rebecca escaped and took off running. She's fast, but Mama is faster.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Egg Hunt at Liberty Memorial

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Our church, Rez DT, hosted their annual Easter Egg Hunt on the lawn of the Liberty Memorial last weekend. They call the event "citywide," and they reported at church on Sunday that they had about 500 kiddos register. It was a breezy, gorgeous day with blue skies. Kansas City was really showing off, and we were so happy to be outside enjoying spring.
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I signed up to volunteer and was assigned to the inflatables, but they didn't end up needing me. Aunt Lu came out to join the fun and hang out with Becca and Kip, just in case I was really busy with volunteering. Rebecca was so adorably active! She was either happy to ride around in the stroller or walk around holding her basket or snack trap. There were lines for some of the activities, but it didn't matter because Becca was really too young for most of the inflatables, crafts, face painting, etc.
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She did love the animals from Johnson Farm (they are church members!), though we had to watch her very closely so she didn't squeeze too hard on the little baby chicks head. "Gentle" isn't in Rebecca's vocabulary yet.
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We walked around and checked out the great views while we waited for the egg hunt to begin. It was definitely windy!
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Our pals were there that we see every week, plus other church friends that attend other services. It was super fun to see everyone's little kids before the hunt and while they ran for their eggs.
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Rebecca was way too little to understand the urgency during the egg hunt. The kids were put into groups, and Rebecca was in the 0-3 "hunt." She got four eggs for her basket because I picked them up and handed them to her to put in the basket. We gave away two eggs to a little boy who didn't get any in the mad rush. Becca was thrilled with her two eggs, and she's been putting them in her basket over and over again since. She had no idea there were prizes inside, so we'll see what happens this weekend when the Easter Bunny leaves some eggs that are full of toddler friendly snacks.
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Do you see her little tiptoes as she tries to look at the baby sheep? The sweetest, right? The simple, blue basket was the perfect size for her to carry around. These photos are an excellent look into her life at home and school at fourteen months - she loves to carry things around and put things inside of other things. I like to say that Rebecca's biggest challenge in life is how she's going to carry more than two things at once. It's adorable.
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The line for the bunny was short during the egg hunt for the bigger kids. We didn't know what she would do, but Rebecca was totally fine. She didn't think he was scary, and she gazed up just as we were snapping some photos. Kip said she fell asleep on the way home from all the excitement, and she took a great long nap after some lunch. We're looking forward to more Easter celebration in the coming days!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Seven Books of March

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Some really fantastic books from the month of March. Also, I was inspired recently to start underlining the titles like a proper human being. When I started writing about what I read in 2011, I didn't like how it looked or something. But just this weekend I received an email about a couple books from an ELA teacher at school with the titles underlined, and I thought, "WOW. Underlining in an informal email. I should probably underline on the blog." I imagine there are a few readers who will appreciate this adjustment.

Full of Beans is an adorable title about Key West during the Great Depression. I've never been, but my dad and stepmom love it. It had great history, some spunk, and was an easy read for upper elementary school students. I'm going to propose pairing it with the classic Out of the Dust.

I'm really considering The Wild Robot for a future community read at our school. My mom read it first and told me she was still thinking about it for a few days after she finished it, for good reason. It's amazing. With an unconventional plot about a robot who ends up deserted on an island, the story line is endearing and full of discussion points. I think kids would love it, and there are life lessons everywhere.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer was on lots of lists because it features a biracial main character, and #weneeddiversebooks is very much a thing. It's cute, and you can learn plenty of things about raising chickens. I didn't love it like I hoped I would, and I'm not sure I have many kids who would be motivated to pick it up or finish it.
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The One-in-a-Million Boy was a recommendation from Modern Mrs. Darcy, and I grabbed it as a daily deal special on the Kindle. It's inspiring and a good read if you enjoy books like A Man Called Ove. Fair warning: it is considerably sadder than I thought it would be as I didn't know it was about a little boy that dies and how his parents cope.

I'd been waiting a while to read Today Will Be Different, the latest book from Maria Semple (Where'd You Go Bernadette). The reviews were mixed at first, though it did make several "best of 2016" lists. While Bernadette remains my favorite, this was good too. It was stressful because the protagonist is neurotic, but the ending works so well. I read it on a weekend car trip to Jewell County (as did my mom), and we enjoyed chatting about it!

Notroius RBG was a fantastic Kindle deal and excellent read. I should have known more about this pioneering attorney and Supreme Court Justice, but this easy-to-read biography got me up to speed. It's full of wonderful images and illustrations throughout the book too!

I've had a few complaints about Liane Moriarty's books because after a while they start to seem formulaic. Her newest one, Truly Madly Deeply, was kind of a bummer. But in March we read one of Moriarty's older books, What Alice Forgot for book club and absolutely loved it. Discussion was rich, and it was enough different from her other books to make me really happy. And this isn't a spoiler, but those of you who have read it will be glad to know that we ate lemon meringue pie at book club.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Weekend Roundup || Open House & Brunch

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Alpha Chi Omega celebrated 70 years at K-State in March, and the chapter sent out invitations to come by an open house on April 1st. When I realized it was the same weekend as K-State Open House, I really wanted to go up for the day and walk around with Rebecca. They have redone the Union, and some other buildings on campus, and I really love Open House.
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As usual, it didn't disappoint. Open House is great for kids, especially as they get a little bit bigger and can do more of the activities. Rebecca was surprisingly content to cruise around for an hour with her cozy blanket and a balloon. We parked in the garage by the Union (so fancy!), and we walked up to Shellenberger for the bake sale. There will be so many hands on things that she can do when she's a little bigger. We definitely shared our cookies with her - she was so happy crumbling up a little bit of that oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.
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After walking around, we went to Kip's parents house for lunch. They were delighted to see Rebecca toddling all around. While she napped, Kip and I went to Alpha Chi. There wasn't much going on, and we didn't see anyone I knew. I was a little disappointed but at least Kip has toured the whole house now. I think it was a little hard for him to imagine what sorority life was like for me and all my pals! We stopped by the new Tallgrass Tap House before we went back and picked up Rebecca from her grandparents. It was just a short day trip, but we'll be back for turkey hunting in a couple of weeks.
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And then onto Sunday. I teach upstairs at Kids COR on the first Sunday of the month which is usually good for more than a couple laughs. We met our friends Audrey and Mike at Brown & Loe in the River Market for brunch. It was great to see them, catch up, and hear about their new dog and ongoing house adventures! And of course, Kip and I drank some more coffee. The restaurant is gorgeous, and I kind of felt like we were in another city with the big wide windows.
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Brunch was yummy, though I made a poor ordering choice for Rebecca. Our waiter suggested the brown butter cornbread for Rebecca. She seemed to know what she was talking about with two nieces near Rebecca's age. It was really delicious. And really really messy. There was cornbread for about two feet in every direction around Becca's high chair. She did pretty well while we ate and was thrilled to walk around outside afterwards. It was a nice day for a little bit of exploring downtown with our favorite munchkin!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Livie and Becca || One Year

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Rebecca and Olivia aren't really friends...yet. Erica and I are trying our hardest to make it happen. They see each other once a week in the church nursery plus a few bonus times every now and then. We watched a basketball game a while ago, and the girls walked around together making a mess. That's probably as close as one-year-olds get to friendship. But they share a middle name and mamas who are besties so we'd like for them to play well together.
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Erica's house has pretty light in the late afternoon, so I loved capturing these photos of the girls. Rebecca is modeling her new walking Stride Rites in this photo with the wagon! When Stride Rite was closing their local stores, we snagged some excellent shoes on sale. I think she loves walking all around in her shoes, and thankfully her nice new shoes mean that she keeps her socks on too! She loved pushing around Olivia and Maddie's wagon and putting stuff in it. Now she has a wagon of her own for playing outside.
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This photo is from November, and I love seeing how the little ladies have changed. More hair, more personality and more walking!
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And this photo is one for the memory books. Olivia started to cry, and Rebecca didn't want to be left out and started to cry too. Don't worry, we comforted them immediately after we snapped this photo. Poor sad little girls that were probably ready for bed. Eventually we'll stay out with our friends past seven o'clock, but this is not that season. They are totally worth the early bedtimes.