Friday, June 29, 2018

An Updated Girls Room and Table for 8

I finished my three days straight of taking testimony at work and celebrated by finally starting the new Ilona Andrews book Iron Magic (a spin-off series from the Kate Daniels world, one of the best series ever) at 11:00 last night. Just the first chapter I lied to myself, just a little treat before bed.

I finished the book at 3:31 a.m. I loved it. I loved it very much. I'm a bit delirious but I might have liked it more than my Kate Daniels books (though not more than the Hidden Legacy books). But to be clear, any Ilona Andrews book is better than 95% of all other books out there. I can't wait for the next one in the series. I'm devastated it's not coming out for another year. I'm buoyed by the fact that the final Kate Daniels book AND a Hidden Legacy novella are also coming out this year so there will still be many opportunities to stay up all night reading.

Speaking of staying up all night, my new medication appears to allow me to stay asleep all the way until 6:30 a.m. and does not make me feel as though I live in jello, so I am very grateful for that. Maybe third prescription is the charm?

Work has been tremendously busy, but after my second full day of testimony on Wednesday I was able to meet up with a friend who picked up the big kids from golf camp along with her own three children while I snagged Cora and we all gathered at Gloria's at the totally normal dinner hour of 4:45 p.m. Cora and I were the first ones there and I requested a table for 8. "How many kids' menus?, the sweet hostess inquired. "Six please.". We ordered two margaritas and two bowls of queso immediately and a lovely time was had by all.

Post-happy hour we came directly to my house for additional beverages and swim team. Our golfers still needed to wind down and we wanted to minimally parent. Pools are great for that. We watched our little swimmers and chatted and marveled at the fact it was 7:35 p.m. and still 103 degrees outside. Like actually 103 degrees. Summer is ridiculous, but our third babies who we giggled at from across the pool are rocking it.

Also rocking it, our little golfers. It is one hundred million degrees outside and they're at camp from 9-4, but they seem to be surviving and are still swimming every night before bed. Someday we'll make Landon tired. Someday. (Or he'll turn 35 and life will have done it for us.)

But on to the point of this post. We updated the girls' bedroom! And by "we" I mean I did all the obsessive internet shopping, price comparing, ordering, and designing, and James did all the building, assembling, and hanging of a million things. Our credit card is glad I'm done purchasing and James is glad I can't think of anything else for him to hang on the wall. The girls are THRILLED with their space and I love it almost as much as they do.

Unlike the big kids who switched straight to twin beds we already owned around age 2.5, Cora stayed in her crib-turned-toddler bed until 4.5. The toddler bed had a smaller footprint and fit along the wall and I couldn't decide what type of bed layout we wanted so we stretched out the arrangement we had. And it was great! But at a very tall 4.5 Cora was really too big for her toddler bed and a baby mattress is really not very comfortable. In Chicago she kept commenting on how soft her bed was and we were like, it's time.

After many bunk bed requests we finally felt Cora was old enough to handle the responsibility of having one in her room (even if she's not the one sleeping up there, she's an explorer) and they really did make the best use of space in the room, particularly since we still need a trundle for Landon to sleep in whenever we have guests and he gets kicked out of his room. (3 bedroom/3 kid probz, but it works!) I went with this bunk bed because it had stairs, extra drawers we badly needed, the bunked beds with a larger bottom bed for a guest and/or for us to sit on when we read the girls storeis, and the trundle for Landon. I found it on but ultimately bought it at for $200 less plus a 10% Ebate (Ebates y'all, $100 back on a bed I was buying anyway!). The butterflies were from Claire's nursery back in Austin in 2010. I remember agonizing over that $15/each Land of Nod purchase and here they are, 8 years later, still being used.

Cora's bed is full sized and makes her own little apartment underneath, so of course we hid some princesses under there for her.

I ordered the girls glitter name plates to hang on the wall (I actually got a custom size through that seller because I wanted a smaller size than her standard) and then they picked their favorite sister pictures for a little collage.

It was so fun to see which ones they picked.

I added the giant pink rug (nearly 9 ft. x 11 ft.) from Amazon. It's super bright and SUPER soft and at $230 was quite reasonable for such a high-impact item. Their PBK chairs remain in their reading nook and we sold Claire's bed and Cora's crib and then simply rearranged the other furniture they already had. Most of the wall decor is rearranged from before as well (James was so excited! More opportunities to measure and hang things!), though I added the cloud shelf and butterfly shelf up on Claire's level to store her necessities and treasures.

The bedding is also new- Claire had had the same comforter since we moved her to a twin bed more than 5 years ago and of course Cora's wouldn't fit. I got both comforters at for less than $30/each and then, as always, let them pick whatever fun sheets they wanted to have underneath. Claire went with geometric shapes, which was a bit of a surprise, and Cora has princesses from PBK. One of the pricier purchases, but since she had to wait an extra 2 years for her bed and the sheets are soft and adorable and she LOVES THEM, it felt right. (And her other set are unicorns from TJ Maxx that were $25; Claire's from Target were $14; it's a high-low situation.)

The other side has the Ikea curtain wires that have been there for years, updated frequently with the girls' favorite art and pictures.

The dress-up clothes rack was moved, along with the birth announcement frames I made years ago that I still love.

Two of our family's happiest days!

I ordered a new little trophy shelf to fit in the corner and moved over Claire's ribbon rack she'll have to start sharing with Cora.

When we cleared out Cora's crib I discovered I'd been storing a number of items under her bed skirt. One was this collage frame I used to have upstairs in Austin but have now updated with kid vacation pics. It fit perfectly on the little wall connecting their room to the hall and it makes me smile every time I walk by- such great memories!

So it's a mix of old and new and the whole room just makes me happy every time I walk in. It feels like the perfect place for them for the next few years and I love thinking of their whispered secrets at night and all the fun they'll have (and tattles they'll tell) and growing up they'll do in this space!

Night night baby girls!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Weekending with Parents and Unicorns

I took testimony all day today and have two more witnesses to take over the next two days and the country feels like it's falling apart and I'm very constrained in how I can talk about it so I keep sending money to every charity my immigration attorneys recommend and I switched to another new medication last night when I finally reached a breaking point after waking up at THREE-TWENTY-FOUR-AM every morning for the last seven days unable to fall back asleep again (always 3-f'ing-24, always!) and I slept in a solid block from 11:08 p.m. last night to 6:35 a.m. this morning and I woke up feeling nearly high I felt so not nearly dead, so we're ending this sentence on a positive note. But mostly, I want to address that it feels weird to write about the wonderfulness of the weekend when I am also reading accounts of what fellow attorney friends are seeing at the border. It breaks my heart and at times overwhelms me. Because of my job, what I can do is read about it, support my friends who are helping, and donate to the first responders- legal and otherwise- and so that is what I'm doing. I hope that those readers who feel called to do something have found a way to do what they can; if not, this article has good ideas.

* * *

And now, before I go to bed and get what is hopefully another beautiful block of uninterrupted sleep (despite the fact that the latest Ilona Andrews book Iron Magic downloaded to my kindle early this morning and I desperately want to read it but am trying to be an adult person who makes responsible decisions like not reading until 5 a.m. when I have testimony the next day), we go back to the weekend.

That is what my master bedroom looked like the day before my parents were to come and the weekend was set to begin. Our original master bedroom was old, awful carpet we meant to replace for 6 years. We finally replaced it three weeks ago and it was great. Until three weeks minus 1 day ago when the first plank buckled up. Then more, then more, until we had 12 little mountains popping up in random places all over our room for you to trip over. Then something went wrong with the re-install so we ended up sleeping in Landon's room and hoping VERY MUCH that the project was finished Friday morning because my parents were coming that night.

(It was finished, but I had to take off the afternoon to clean and organize things because obviously I did.)

Also on Friday Cora wore this outfit to school and took Claire's lunchbox because it matched her dress and her friend Scarlett's thank-you note she had carried to school every day that week because "wasn't it so nice of Scarlett mommy? wasn't it SO NICE?". Scarlett's dad, who happens to own and run Cora's school, said that Cora somehow turned a thank you note that all her classmates received into a sacred object and would allow each friend to hold it for a few minutes a day before giving it back. She is on Night 10 of sleeping with it as I type.

A giant box came in the mail for Landon. It was his birthday present from my parents and I told him it was a unicorn. His face froze and you could tell he was not to be rude and show excitement while also still a little skeptical. "Like, really a unicorn? Like a stuffed one? ... That could be cool I guess."

I took the kids to their first summer league swim practice (we're terrible team members, but James already coaches them 3x a week and with all day athletic camps they really don't need more swimming than that) Friday after work and melted on the pool deck. I forgot how hot outdoor concrete surrounded pools can be. My backyard with its shade and constant breezes and proximity to a beer fridge and margarita section of our pantry is really SO MUCH better. I sweated MUCH, the kids swam, and Cora was delighted to have accidentally matched her bestie.

Claire had been at half-day running camp all week and capped off her Friday with a trip to Top Golf with friends before swimming while Landon had been at all-day TCU basketball Monday through Thursday (plus three evening swim practices) and ended his week watching Black Panther with a friend. I think we maybe finally made him almost tired. Until he went to swim practice and swam 128 lengths of the pool for the swim a thon to beat his old record.


Post-swim-practice I took my sweaty self and my tired children to our local taco place with friends for a frozen margarita and queso to restore my life force and give my children a snack before my parents arrived and we ate a late pasta dinner. It was delicious (the taco place and my pasta dinner) and we were delighted to have my parents in town. On Saturday morning we left bright and early for our swim meet, where I took 0 pictures but my parents relived our summer league childhood memories and cheered for all of Team Lag Liv. Landon read Unbroken for the 6th time, Claire packed WAY too many mismatched toys she didn't play with (and failed to pack a towel), and Cora and her bestie also did makeovers. Your usual summer league shenanigans.

After the meet we headed back to our house where everyone obviously swam again. And by "everyone" I mean my dad and all the kids.

My mom and I "swam" in the shallow end.

And my dad showed he's still the guy who always threw kids around in the pool. Even 82 lb. grandchildren.

After swimming Landon got to open his birthday present early because he was still somewhat concerned about the unicorn situation and also it was from my parents and they were present and I wasn't sure what I'd do with the giant box for three weeks until his actual birthday. To Cora's dismay and Landon's delight his present was NOT a unicorn, but was instead a much desired bean bag chair so he can read in a new location. It has already been put to much use.

(pic from last night, reading The Diary of Anne Frank, an important and heartbreaking story not quite as purely historical as one would wish.)

We played a bunch of games and generally hung out until it was time for dinner! A dinner my parents were treating us to to celebrate James's new patent! He got to choose the location which you think would be easy for someone who loves food so much but you would be WRONG because he loves food SO much it is absolute AGONY to decide on a location to eat it. Agony. Every time. It drives me bonkers. But finally, after hours of mental deliberations, he chose HG Sply Co and it was delicious and perfect.

My parents loved it.

And the kids did too.

I ordered a new thing that is now my new FAVORITE thing (it involved poblano-cauliflower “grits,” sautéed rainbow chard with mushrooms, caramelized onion & herb salad, an over easy egg, and sliced akaushi beef, holy crap it was so good) and a frozen margarita with purple beet-infused tequila and the whole evening was excellent. Even if we stopped at a popsicle shop next door to get a dessert for the kids and the high winds and 103-degree temperature meant they immediately melted all over them.

You'd think we would have seen that coming? (To be fair, my mom totally did.) I had to hold Claire's hair back like she was in college. Ah, memories.

After dinner we settled in to watch The Greatest Showman which my girls were horrified to discover their Papa and Gigi had never seen. They loved it, OF COURSE, and James and Landon didn't mind their millionth rewatching too much (Claire, Cora, and I were obviously delighted by it. Speaking of delighted, my mom had brought some little gifts my grandmother had given her when she visited San Antonio earlier in the week. Among the items was a grass hula skirt, something Cora had never seen, but fell in love with immediately and has worn nearly every day since. I left for work super early on Monday - because you do that when you wake up at 3:24 a.m. and never go back to sleep - so I didn't see her get dressed, but I got this picture from her teacher later and it made me smile so big. It's Cora's new summer style.)

On Sunday morning Landon was showing off his tiny baby vegetable plants he got from the nutritionist in running camp that he'd planted in the totally wrong location because James and I don't know anything about planting things or keeping anything alive that isn't a small human, and my dad- a man in constant need of a project and who also knows MUCH about planting things- immediately determined that Landon needed a raised garden and the two of them set off for Home Depot fairly early in the morning. They worked nearly until my parents left, but in the end Landon had a beautiful raised garden and many plants as part of his birthday present and he is SUCH a proud papa over them.

We had friends over to swim that evening and he showed his garden off to every single one and has faithfully watered it every morning and evening since. He sends picture updates to my parents and checks on them first thing every morning. Maybe gardening skipped a generation? I sure hope so, I would love someone to plant me things and bring me the results.

Also that morning the girls + James went on a walk, we picked up breakfast tacos and donuts for breakfast, and I played many rounds of Uno with Claire. It was a really nice day to cap off a really nice weekend. The kids were so thrilled to have my parents around in between their summer Colorado stays and it was really special to celebrate James's new patent with such a fun and delicious dinner.

Monday the big kids headed off to all-day golf camp while Cora headed to preschool in her hula skirt and I was already at work buried in exhibits and testimony outlines. Last night while sitting on the couch with my 3" exhibit binder Cora came over to say goodnight in her usual casual nightwear.

She is such a joyful spirit.

I try to channel her frequently throughout the day. And now, on to tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Patents and Pink Puffy Hearts

While I continue to adjust to my medication and drown in incompetent rage every time I obsessively check the news, let's take a moment to talk about James.

We'll start with Father's Day this past Sunday. He is a wonderful dad and works hard and thinks a lot about how to be a good one. When we got Landon's daily writing journal at the end of the year it was so fun to read all his thoughts and stories over the last year, but most fun was to see how prominently James was featured. As Landon wrote on one day, "My dad is important to me because he is my best friend." He also wrote a lot about swimming and how having James as a coach makes it so fun for him. And James is a phenomenal coach- hard and tough, but always trying to make swimming more accessible and fun. Possibly the thing I love most about the swim school is that he gets to coach all of our kids three times a week. It's been such a blessing for all four of them (and me!).

We managed to make Father's Day James's perfect day. Not too fancy, not too planned, and not too expensive- just him doing his favorite things with his favorite people. He woke up early and went to swim practice. Five minutes after he got back we were off to his favorite brunch buffet full of delicious foods and as many plates as he could eat. (That is many, many plates.)

Post-brunch he got to take a nap while I taught barre (oy, never do that after a brunch buffet) and the kids played semi-quietly. Post-nap was a movie! In a theater! His favorite thing! I'm just in it for the popcorn and candy, but James eschews both those things and is just there for "the movie watching experience." We saw The Incredibles 2 and we LOVED it. So cute and so fun, and I didn't take any pictures because that's how James would want it.

[No pictures.]

We got home and he ran to the grocery store (not very Father's Day-ish, we do have some time constraints) while I baked his cake (funfetti with dark chocolate icing!) and his pizza that was his whole present.

Oh yes, deep dish pizza shipped to Texas on dry ice from Giordano's in Chicago. And it was SO. GOOD.

In the words of James, it was just as good as the restaurant. It was the perfect present. He doesn't like when we spend money on him, but food is his one indulgence.

That night as we sat cuddled on the couch he said, "thank you for the perfect day." I've decided we're just going to do it all again next year and all the years ahead.

Then on Monday he was interviewed for an article in the Fort Worth paper for his work as President of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition! It's a cause he's passionate about and a role that demands a lot of his time, but I'm so proud of the work he does with the Coalition. After the article was published our local Fox station asked for a TV interview.

That aired last night at 9 and 10 p.m. in Fort Worth and apparently again in Austin this morning! (And possibly elsewhere.)

We let the kids stay up to watch it and while you can watch the actual video here, you can see our version where I'm sitting too far away from the TV and you mostly hear Cora yelling, "That's Daddy! How did you get in that show Daddy?!!" in my ear.

And THEN also yesterday- his patent arrived in the mail!!! Almost exactly three years after he invented The Brick, founded Fike Swim, and started a retail swim products business out of our house, he has his patent!

It's so shiny and pretty. I'm not even sure where it's going to go yet. I did a USPTO search just to see his name pop up and I nearly cried. Fike Swim is his baby and now his baby is official and protected and has a shiny ribbon.

We're so proud of him. I'm SO proud of him. When I met my goal of someday dating a UT Swimmer on my first day of college, I never imagined that my adult life would STILL revolve so much around swimming, but it's a huge part of who he is and I love so much that he's been able to combine his passions for swimming, coaching, inventing, selling, and business and entrepreneurship (and spending time with our kids!) all together in this life we're living together nearly 17 years later.

I love him so much and can't wait for the inevitable fancy date night to celebrate our first patent! (Because two of my passions he's come to share are fancy date nights and finding reasons to celebrate things. Cheers!)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Adventures of All Kinds

So, my doctor increased my Paxil dose last week, something I expected but was apparently unprepared for because it has knocked me out. I've never been sleepy during the day before, but I took a nap Saturday afternoon and then almost fell asleep watching TV last night at 9:30 until I finally just asked James to turn the TV off. Hopefully I'll adjust soon because this can't-keep-my-eyes-open, living-through-molasses feeling is not my favorite. Also, I went to the OB/GYN today for a check-up and she was very concerned about a mole I didn't know I had in a place I cannot see and asked to remove it right then. "Sure why not," I replied and seconds later I have a fiery shot of lidocaine and a scalpel in my nethers. The mole is off to the pathologist and I skipped evening yoga and came home to a giant slice of James's Father's Day cake followed by a bag of popcorn with cheez-its on top that I ate standing because it hurt to sit. I have a dermatologist check-up next Monday so I just can't wait to see what kinds of new adventures that brings. On the upside, I was wearing a new dress that I like very much and made me feel happy, so yay for retail therapy.

But back to the rest of life. We have to go back like 2 weeks, so I'll just hit the highlights.

Like our first swim meet of summer and the return of 5 a.m. Saturday wake-up calls!

I decided not to swim this year. As fun as it was to dive back in the water last summer, I can't say it reawakened any great love of swimming in me. I still love to race, but I have absolutely no interest in going to the practices or doing anything that would make me go faster, and it really is SO nice to just be dry at swim meets. James doesn't understand this, but I am quite happy in my current role in the stands. I'll probably join again for a future summer, but this year, I'm just an enthusiastic supporter.

Speaking of enthusiasm, Cora arrived ready to dominate. Now an experienced 4-year-old in the same 6-&-Under age group, Cora was SO ESSITED to be on swim team again. And this year her best friend Jojo was going to join her. AND she now gets to do backstroke! I still find a toddler in a swim cap and goggles to be the cutest thing I've ever seen.

She did great in her freestyle, dropping a solid 15 seconds off last year's best time. And then in her backstroke, which I thought was going to be a hot mess, she zoomed down the lane, fully on her back, never flipping over and going nearly the same time she went in her free!

Can't believe it either.

Coach Dad deserves many high fives.

The big kids also did great. Claire has emerged as a dominant breaststroker, winning both her races so far this season, and Landon continues his reign in all things, but particularly the 50 free and 100 IM.

Most importantly several of their friends are on the team and the card games of Uno, Spoons, and War continue in the team tents.

After a million hours (or like 5ish) we headed home to pass out before a pool party that night. And I mean pass out pretty literally- James fell asleep, Cora fell asleep (for FOUR HOURS!), *I* fell asleep, and the two big kids lay on the couch, head to head, staring at a blank TV when I walked in an hour later. "Are you watching something?" "We were earlier," Landon sighed, "but then it turned off when it was done." I continued doing stuff in the kitchen and they continued to lie there, just gazing at the black screen. We were a little tired.

The evening's pool party was good fun, even if I did have to nudge the kids out the door a bit. Then on Sunday, we went to the zoo and FED GIRAFFES!

Oh yeah. All caps levels of excitement.

Our new exhibit is amazing and we love it but the two times we've stopped by it's been just before closing and the giraffes are full. But on Sunday we were there right at 10 a.m. and two of them, including my new best friend Captain, were HANGRY.

It was so fun. I love giraffes. I loved feeding my new giraffe. I even made James go buy more overpriced lettuce just so we could do it more. As Claire declared immediately following our giraffe experience, this was the BEST visit to the zoo EVER. And we've been to the zoo about 100 times.

We also bonded with our new hippos, Poppy and Bubbles, from Oregon. I'm pretty sure we're their favorites.

The rest of Sunday was errands, teaching barre, having friends over to swim, and making delicious salmon for dinner and then it was off to week #2 of summer! Landon would be at the Cowtown Marathon Running Camp and Claire was at a Greatest Showman Broadway Jazz dance camp! Both were VERY EXCITED about these things.

Landon LOVED running camp. He was full of stories and running tips every day. My favorite was on Wednesday when we had this conversation:

Landon: Mom! Today at running camp we got these cool belt things with pockets. Hacky packs? Sacky hacks?

Me: Fanny packs?

Landon: Yes! They’re really cool mom.

Claire LOVED Greatest Showman camp. They had a performance on Friday and it was adorable and earnest and everything an 8-year-old's Broadway jazz camp should be.

Cora did not go to any camps because she is still in her year-round Montessori preschool, but she did get new sparkle rainbow light-up shoes and she would like for you to see them.

And the tiny rainbow cheetah Claire bought Cora with her birthday money because Claire is a more generous big sister than Cora often deserves.

We had swim meet #2 yesterday morning and left the house even earlier but somehow still too late to stop at Starbucks on the way. It was a nice pool and the kids swam really well. Landon even had the rare bit of competition and got beat in the 25 fly and then got best times racing the same kid (and winning) in the 50 free and 100 IM. It's good for him to have to work for it sometimes. Cora rocked her 25 free and then lost her mind partway through her 25 back when she hit the lane rope and took the rope's attack deeply personally. James had to jump in to pull her out midway across the pool after she sat with her arm on the lane rope screaming and chewing on her hand for comfort for several seconds. Thirty minutes of hysterical crying later she was able to calmly inform us "the lane rope just hurt my head mommy and I don't like that" and we changed into a dress and snazzy sunglasses and moved on with our day.

Since her older siblings were still swimming their events and couldn't devote a proper amount of attention to her, Cora replaced them with new ones. I realized she was missing from our area and went in search of her only to find her happily ensconced in a new tent, with new friends I did not know (and she didn't either), enthusiastically playing with a set of plastic horses and unicorns. She remained there for the rest of the meet. I still don't know who any of her new friends were, but they seemed nice and didn't mind a 4-year-old crashing their unicorn party.

Gotta love swim meets.

Yes, I do.

That afternoon we all crashed again. Swim meets take a lot out of you and then we had a super fun backyard games party at a friend's house. I took no pictures, but there was a margarita machine, nacho bar, my tres leches cake, and much fun had by all. James and I remain an undefeated team in bean bags and he played a frisbee game while I drank a margarita to refuel. It was a good night.

Sunday was Father's Day and it was perfect but I'm going to blog about it later because it's late and I seem to need 12 hours of sleep now instead of my usual 6, so we'll go straight to food. I have many recipes! Basically everything we've eaten in June so far:

Sunday: went to a BBQ at a friend's and brought Pesto Caprese Gnocchi (literally just cooked gnocchi tossed with pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes, and fresh baby mozzarella balls; this is Cora's favorite meal in the whole world) and Farro Kale-Radicchio Salad with Lemon Miso dressing (possibly my favorite meal in the whole world)

Monday: BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad birthday dinner! (Claire's favorite meal and chosen birthday dinner), Chocolate cupcakes I made from a box between me getting home from work and the kids getting home from swimming.

Tuesday: Egg roll bowl (made this up based on the memory of past recipes: saute ground turkey with onion and garlic, add soy sauce, simmer; dump in big bag of cauliflower rice, sliced baby bok choy, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots - fill the whole giant pan you're using, stir around until it all softens a bit, add in rice vinegar + sherry + soy sauce + oyster sauce. I would have used sesame oil but I didn't have any on hand. Serve. So yummy and healthy and hearty.)

Wednesday: Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas with added leftover bbq chicken from Monday), Mexican rice. SOOOOOO good. I love that recipe; the enchilada sauce is divine.

Thursday: Big salad night. Take every vegetable out of your fridge + hard boiled egg, avocado, walnuts, cheese, cold cooked pasta/quinoa/farro (whatever you've got)- chop everything, dump it in the biggest bowl you own. Make a dressing (I like red wine vinegar + dijon mustard + garlic + salt/pepper + olive oil; heavy on the vinegar). Toss it all together with tongs and distribute in bowls that resemble the Goldilocks story per person in the family. Serve with crackers and cheese on the side.

Friday: Date night! James and I went to see Ocean's 8 and I ate delicious nachos in my seat at the theater. I made the kids our favorite crockpot meatballs with veggies and fruit on the side.

Saturday: Birthday Party Pizza. Birthday pool party with all our favorite people, and mandatory breaks for the kids to eat some pizza to fuel the swimming shenanigans.

Sunday: Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower, Kale Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing. My absolute favorite salmon recipe (I broil it in the oven and skip the salsa) that I have missed very much, roasted tri-color potatoes and cauliflower, with the salad that I love that I made last Saturday, followed by some Trader Joe's dark chocolate cookies I snuck in the pantry while James was doing dishes.

Monday: Chicken Caesar Wraps, Oven Fries, Fruit. Sliced grilled chicken breasts and the organic Caesar salad mix from TJ's, rolled into tortillas with sliced tomatoes, served with oven fries and whatever fruit is in the fridge. The kids thought I was made of magic when I turned a salad into a wrap, and really, maybe I was.

Tuesday: OUT. I now teach barre at TCU on Tuesday nights and I just knew I wasn't going to want to cook when I could go out for happy hour tacos, queso, and margaritas with the kids. We met up with friends at the restaurant, proving it was the right decision.

Wednesday: Crockpot Red Beans and Rice, Steamed Green Beans, Cornbread. My fave red beans and rice recipe to date and it's super easy, light, filling, and comforting. And the TJ box cornbread mix because it's excellent.

Thursday: Tamales, Refried Black Beans, Avocado. Steamed frozen tamales, Cora's favorite thing, with beans and avocado and tomato. I skipped this dinner to go to barre, but the kids loved it.

Friday: OUT. It was supposed to be pasta with meat sauce, but I felt lazy and tired and in need of nachos so we went out for those instead.

Saturday: Tres Leches Cake (without the rum, but with cinnamon added to the milks mixture). My contribution to our friend's nacho buffet along with black beans and roasted corn.

Sunday: Giordano's Deep Dish Pizza for Father's Day. Shipped in on dry ice, it was FANTASTIC.

Monday: Chicken Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner (I did tri-color carrots, green beans, red potatoes, and chicken sausage spread over two pans) with Parmesan Orzo on the side (so delicious and simple; I leave out the parsley because I don't like it).

Tuesday: Mexican Rice with all the toppings.

Wednesday: Greek Tortellini Salad, naan, tzatziki sauce on the side.

Thursday: White Bean and Chicken Verde Enchiladas, black refried beans, rice, avocado.

Friday: My Mom's Spaghetti: Carbo-loading for meet #3!