Monday, October 16, 2017

Pumpkin Bonanzas!

This post has everything- label makers, new shoes, date nights, pumpkin villages, and bulldog bonanzas. We'll start with my FAVORITE day- it's here and it happened!

It's Dallas Arboretum Pumpkin Village Day!

To be fair, I have lots of favorite days, but this is DEFINITELY in the top five. Something I hissed at a mopey Landon who was mad/furious/overwrought and refusing to join the family because Claire noted his feet separated from each other when he hopped over a cone in the parking lot. Ten, you guys. It's an emotional time.

an hour later on the upswing of the emotional roller coaster

And then a blog reader introduced herself to me just as I was struggling to keep my temper with my beloved eldest child who kept purposefully getting separated from our group and then hiding behind other crowds of people before flopping on a hay bale and declaring Sunday the worst day EVER and wondering why can't we just go HOME because this is STUPID and I don't want to be HERE with YOU. Why hello Blog Reader Jennifer! So glad to meet you. You saved my beloved from a pointless tongue lashing and you saved me from making the situation worse. After the greetings, I took a breath and remembered that I control my emotions because unlike SOME people, I'm not 10, and told him he could have 10 minutes separated from his family ("just like he wanted ALL DAY") to get the fuck over himself, shake it off, and move on without any of us mentioning it again.

So that's what we did.

And while he was sulking, I got some pictures with the girls! Because I'm in charge of my day.

And then the rest of the day was quite great!

The Arboretum is so beautiful and so fun.

It's really one of the only reasons to drive to Dallas.

We went to the Children's Garden, a Lag Liv family favorite. Our view of the kids looked like this, pretty much the entire time.

They climbed the ropes of the tree house, Cora flinging herself on to the nets with glee, and I could not stop thinking about this photo I remember from 2014 when she had to watch from the bridge but wanted SO BADLY to be a big kid.

And now here she was, rocking the Children's Garden big kid style, with nary a stroller, diaper bag, or holding hand in sight.

If I wasn't busy enjoying my Favorite Day, I might have been really sad and nostalgic about it.

We finally forced the kids to leave at 1:30 because I was getting cranky and Taco Deli - our FAVORITE taco place from Austin - has a location in Dallas but not Fort Worth and any drive in the vicinity requires a stop for two Cowboys and a Heather taco (and a million other things because we eat a shocking amount of food)


I was so happy. Pumpkin villages, a smiley tween, and Taco Deli tacos, what could be better?

Why a BULLDOG BONANAZA, that's what!

Oh yes, as soon as we got home, we put Sir Winston in his fall best bandanna and headband and loaded him in the car to go to W. 7th for a fundraiser for our awesome local bulldog rescue group! He rolled up the street looking like a goddamn celebrity.

He's such a stud. I love him a ridiculous amount.

For a dog who does a lot of posturing around other dogs, he was incredibly chill among his brethren. He even assumed a previously unseen (by us) submissive bow pose with almost all of them. It's like he realized, "oh, you're bulldogs too? I don't need to pretend to be tough? Oh thank god, I'm actually super submissive and pretending otherwise was exhausting." He had the best time, as did our resident dog lover.

Though I think Winston felt a bit emasculated by the giant English Mastiff Cora adopted, he was clearly proud to be around his fellow adoptees with his forever humans. He had a little extra sway in his walk.

It was a super fun event. Friends of ours were there looking for their own bulldog to adopt- bulldogs for everyone!

We followed that fun with a bit more organizing. My label maker had arrived from a late night Amazon purchase and I can't believe it took me 34.5 years to own one. As I sat in the girls' bathroom with my stack of new plastic bins and shiny new labeler I felt like my whole life had been leading to this moment.

While James cursed at the new rack storage system I had him installing on the blank wall of our pantry, I lovingly filled our new spice rack, cleaned out our own bathroom cabinet, and walked around the house wondering what else needed labeling. (Everything did, obviously. I've already purchased more tape.)

And that was Sunday! Saturday was soccer and exercising and errands and fun with friends. Cora really rocks the "third baby dragged to a big sibling's soccer game" look.

Friday was a date night to celebrate James's upcoming birthday. We started at Fireside Pies for appetizers (omg their baked goat cheese with pesto and olives is so dang good), salad, and pizza. It was all delicious, but we were still a little hungry. When we found out a second pizza would be a 45 minute wait, we closed out and wandered over to Tortaco for James's favorite Truffle Steak Torta and a frozen beverage. From there we attempted SusieCakes only to discover they close at 8 p.m. (what dessert place closes while many people are still eating dinner on a Friday night?) so we drove over to longtime Lag Liv family favorite Stir Crazy Bakery for a crazy good flourless chocolate cake. It was an accidental progressive birthday dinner!

Perfect for the big eater in your life. I wore new shoes I'm sort of obsessed with because they're beautiful and crazy comfortable and only $40!! There really haven't been enough beautiful new shoes in my life lately.

We followed it up our five semi-related courses of food with a viewing of The Matrix because I've never seen it and James likes movies with lots of action and bloated plots. We'd forgotten Winston was in the room until we turned off the TV before the movie was over and he popped his head up to let us know what he thought about that.

He is the best.

And, because it's nearly midnight, let's wrap this up with the meal plan for the week:

: French Dip Sliders (SO GOOD; every time I make them I wonder why I don't make them more often), followed by Great Pumpkin Dessert Bars I baked and brought over to a friend's football gathering

Sunday: Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili - I was so proud we put this in the crock pot before we left for the Arboretum, but sadly this did not turn out well for us and I can't figure out why because I know I've made it before. So try at your own risk, I guess? Skinnytaste has never let me down; I'm sure the error is ours, it just didn't have much flavor and was very liquidy. The fritos and wine I paired it with were good though.

Monday: Sheet Pan Roasted Sausage and Veggies - a family favorite, I double it and serve with a simple herbed angel hair pasta.

Tuesday: out for a school fundraiser dinner!

Wednesday: James's Birthday! He's chosen a Meatball Sandwich, chips, and fruit. And cake. Simple pleasures.

Thursday: Crockpot Creamy Taco Chicken Chili - tasty and easy on a night I teach barre.

: more of Trader Joe's pumpkin pasta and Autumn sauce because it's delicious and Fridays are for easy, delicious things.


  1. The crockpot chili recipe - I use about half the chicken broth she calls for and it's thick and delicious! I also use half the turkey but that's preference!
    It's one of our favorites!
    Now I totally want to buy that TJ pasta and sauce. Heading there while my son is at ballet since I am out of coffee (which is a travesty and I am not sure how it happened!)

  2. Hi! So fun to see you!