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first time skating

Monday, January 29, 2018

Last Friday took the kids roller skating for the first time ever! I was a little nervous to take Amelia because in all honesty this girl doesn't like trying things and her "firsts" pretty much result in crying and her yelling "this is the worst day of my life!" Mildly dramatic, eh? 
However I decided to give it a go and going with friends, I thought, would make it less dramatic.


Well I was kind of wrong/kind of right.


Amelia freaked out the moment the skates were put on her feet. She started crying and yelling "take them off." I was dealing with this along with Asher not even being able to stay upright on his skates for the first 15 minutes. I was quickly beginning to believe this might not have been the best idea.

Eventually everyone found their grove and Amelia decided to give skating another try after watching her best friend make it look so easy. The second time around was much better for her and instead of crying and giving up she gave it a real go and with the help of a skating assistant. And as she got better so did the boys. I think they fell about a thousand times and at one point both declared their butts were numb but they had a great time, numb butt and all 😉


kirchoff Sunday best: week 4

Sunday, January 28, 2018

"Prayer is the best preparation for Holy Communion, Prayer is the raising of the mind to God. When we pray we go to meet Christ who is coming to us."
St. Bernardine of Siena


Amelia's dress is last season Crazy 8, boots Childrens Place
Aiden's pants Old Navy, Shirt Under Armour
Asher's pant Gap, sweater last season Gymboree


My shirt is H&M {similar}, leggings LulaRoe. I have just discovered Lularoe leggings and am hooked! My sister sent me a link to a friend of hers that was selling all her stock at discounted rates. I got 4 pairs of leggings for $10 each and then 3 more for $8! I also bought some dresses at the discounted rate of $20. I highly recommend this brand...the leggings and dresses are SO comfortable.

We are having a beautiful Sunday weather wise here in central Texas. My dreams of spring are feeling really real. I think we might plan a family bike ride or walk to enjoy the weather. Then maybe come in and watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire since we finished the book last week and need to watch the movie before we can start the new book {according to my oldest}. This is a busy week for our family with a BIG birthday on Thursday for Aiden. 12 years ago I was anxiously waiting the birth of our first child and we were so excited. I love thinking back to those times when life was so quiet and easy. I remember going to church Sunday and it was rainy and cold so we grabbed food came home and laid on the couch all day watching TV. I can't even imagine doing that on this Sunday 😉


Linking up with Rosie

{7qt} dreaming of spring

Friday, January 26, 2018

1. Here in Texas winter is a strange thing. This year we have had freezing days at the beginning of the week and warm sunny days by weeks end. All this confusing weatherness {not a word} has me already dreaming of spring. Spring break is right around the corner and while we had originally planned not to do anything I find myself now wanting to do something. I don't want to do a big vacation but maybe something small would be fun. Hmm...this is something I probably should really work on or at least talk to Cameron about being that we have only a little over a month.

2. Along the lines of spring thinking, I really want to revamp our outdoor space. It looks great but none of it is working for us right now. We have a table and chairs by the pool that we NEVER sit at. When we first put it there we dreamt of having dinners by the pool but because of where the sun sits in the evenings and the fact that it's so far from the house, it's never happened.

Like our random blue chair scattered in the landscaping 😂

I want to flip flop these areas


So I want to put our eating area on our covered porch. The problem is the current eating furniture we have is just way too big for the area. So I'm looking at this cute set and adding a couple of chairs on the end of the table.



Then moving the conversation set to where the eating set is currently. Get all that? I now *first world problems* but this is something that's been giving me grief for years.

3. Today I will finish my big cleanup of the house by working on the mudroom and the stairs. For the stairs all I need to do is clean the baseboards and vacuum them. I HATE vacuuming stairs and usually the only time they get vacuumed is when my housekeeper comes but today I will take one for the team and do it. Yuck. The mudroom I am actually looking forward to cleaning out because it's become a giant mess where the kids just throw everything. Cameron just walked in this morning and said "did you know there was an old lunch pail in the mudroom" to which I replied "umm what year is this...the 1950s? Who says lunch pail anymore." I got a big eye roll and fake laugh and after thinking a minute I think it was all a little {big} hint that the mudroom needs to be cleaned.


And I need to create our February calendar. I love this big calendar but it's been months since I actually took the time to fill it in. One of my goals this year is to make sure every month is done...except January of course.



4. I went to the doctor this week for a checkup of sorts and was a little surprised my how much I weighed 👀 I was all "oh let me take my coat off. Oh let me take my shoes off" to which the nurse replied it really wouldn't make that big of a difference. Sooooo I think it's time to break out the new workout clothes I bought and actually put them to good use. And to start eating better. Like for real this time. I HATE working out and eating good {I know so funny...not} but I guess being that I'm in my late thirties it's time to get out denial and start really taking care of myself. Blah Blah...
Kelly's take on workout clothes is HILARIOUS and exactly how I feel!

5. I know a promised a full bathroom post but I haven't gotten a chance to clean it and fix it nicely {or patch the walls} so this is what you are getting. 
We did what we thought was going to be a mini bathroom makeover for our half bath but it ended up being WAY more complicated then either of imagined. I have to mention that we didn't argue at once during this process but I mainly chalk that up to the fact that I was given the silent treatment for a large portion of the mini renovation. Which honestly I'm totally okay with being that I would rather someone just not talk to me if they are frustrated. After it was all said and done, Cameron told me that even though he thought he might explode in the process, the finished product looked awesome. So I take that as "thank you honey for putting me through hell because this bathroom looks great." 😉

Before


The whole point of this project was because I needed storage in this bathroom. This is where I fix the kids hair in the mornings and they brush their teeth. This pedestal sink just wasn't cutting it.

After

The drawers are so perfect and already came with dividers. Heaven!

6. My oldest Aiden is turning 12 on Feb 1 and I cannot believe it. How in the world do I have a 12 year old??? I mean I only feel like I'm 25...that math just doesn't add up 😉 We are not big birthday party people so he's just having a few friends spend the night next Friday. I'm not sure if this is going to be better the a party or not...ask me Saturday morning after I'm exhausted from loud boys upstairs.

7. I'm taking the kids roller skating today which should be hilarious! I'm really hoping no one gets hurt. Wish us luck.

Linking up with Kelly!



And for the first time Bobbi!

kirchoff Sunday best week 3

Sunday, January 21, 2018

"For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."
~St. Therese of Lisieux



Are ya'll digging the wind blown hair look 😏 

Amelia's outfit is one of my favs! The whole ensemble is last year Gymboree
Aiden's pants are Old Navy and shirt is Lucky Brand via TJ Maxx
My shirt is Old Navy via Thred up {similar}, jeggings are old and from Target, Boots old from Macy's {similar} and cardigan Zulily.

My father in law came for a visit this weekend and it's been nice having him around. We get to eat out, he keeps the kids entertained...it's like a mini vacation for me 😁
Cameron finished our mini bathroom redo yesterday after many many problems. It all came together in the end and pics will come this week once I get done putting it all together. It truly is amazing that we didn't fight once in this process because for such a small renovation it had GIANT stresses! Go us 👊

Here are a couple of popular posts this week if you need a little more reading material

As every Sunday, linking up with Rosie!


Taking pictures of us every Sunday can sometimes feels stressful but honestly I really recommend it. I've been doing it for I think 2 1/2 years now and I love looking back at the first ones I took and seeing how much my kids have changed. Plus linking up and reading their Sunday stories creates such a nice community! Give it a try!

And now I am off to bake some bread and a mixed berry pie along with a giant delicious lunch for our family.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

{7 qts} my thoughts on a simplified life

Friday, January 19, 2018

1. I just finished the book by Emily Ley A Simplified Life. 



I will start this by saying that all these opinions are mine and I'm not being endorsed in any way. This book is so beautiful to look at and very easy to read. One of my favorite things in the book were the questions and journaling pages.This allows you to dig deeper into that chapter and how you can use the information to change your life. It was very helpful and the funny thing is it allowed me to pinpoint things about myself that I knew but didn't exactly realize...confusing or you know what I mean? 
Anyway...here we go

2. "No matter what space you're in, you have the power to make your space provide the rest and connection you deserve."

The first chapter was Simplified Space where she talks about not only cleaning out your house but simplifying it. I did this last year using another book so I pretty much knew the jest of it. However this book had a different approach. The questions in the book really made me see how important it is in my life to have a beautiful looking/appealing home. I've always enjoyed decorating and making my home clean and peaceful but what I realized is, not only is it something that I love but something I need in my life. I need beautiful spaces to make my heart happy and make my life easy even in the stressful moments of everyday life. When my house is clean and organized it makes the days where the kids are freaking out and dinner isn't really turning out how I wanted much more manageable for me. Instead of being ashamed of this I can take pride in it. 



our new couches, rug and throw pillows that took me a week to settle on

3. "Developing a signature style is key in simplifying both the pieces you own and the time it takes you to select an outfit every morning."

I have never thought to give my style sense a name. Or even to identify it but as I was cleaning out my closet, I noticed that the items that I always go to are pretty much the same style. So the question is then why in the world do I buy things that stray from this style? I really enjoy shopping...especially for clothes. I will find myself in a store thinking "wow maybe I'll try this" buy it and then never wear it. My closet become overpacked and finding something to wear was hard. By writing down what my style is comfort meets style meets simple going through my closet and finding things that did not fit this guideline was easy. Getting rid of clothes I bought hoping to wear one day was no big deal if it didn't fit in my set style. I probably got rid of half {or more} of my clothes. Some I am donating and some I am sending off to thred up. Now when I open my closet everyday finding something to wear has been shockingly easier AND I'm wearing clothes that I hadn't in awhile because they were hidden behind clothes that I didn't like.

4. "Creating special traditions and memories for our family is like food for the soul. They'll become the heartbeat of your life."

My new favorite thing in my kitchen. Sign from World Market 

The third chapter was Simplified Meals. Making memories with my family is something I live for. Hey, it's the reason I started blogging in the first place! I love creating, capturing and preserving memories. Mealtime doesn't have to be any different. For so many years...I'm talking SOOOO many years...mealtime has been stressful. My kids are pretty picky while my husband and I love complex delicious meals. I've been making 2 even 3 dinners for almost as long as I can remember. It's hard and beats me down every.single.day. I long for the days that we can all sit down and no one complains about the food. Or picks at it. Or takes forever to finish eating because it isn't ideal. The question here is why am I waiting? Why can't all that begin now, today? Emily Ley's Simplified Meals chapter might have been the most lightbulb over my head chapter. One thing my kids do love are traditions. They love routines. Why not make our meals into a routine, something they know is coming and can look forward to. Emily suggest having themed night dinners like Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday. She also stresses that on busy days make sure you are planning an easy dinner to prepare. There is no reason for moms to stress themselves out about dinner for no reason. I'm not lying when I say that as I was reading this I was like duh???!!!

So here is our weekly meal plan
Monday: something in the Instant Pot
Tuesday: eat out {it's our busiest evening}
Wednesday: Crockpot meal
Thursday: Taco Thursday
Friday: Pizza take out
Saturday: Dinner on the grill
Sunday: a big, well prepared Sunday dinner

I created this because it's what works for our family and my schedule. Make it yours by looking at your calendar and commitments and working around them, not against them. 


5. "That is where simplicity is found: in committing to what's important and giving yourself permission to have margin in your life."

2017 was my year to simplify my schedule. This year I wanted to take it even farther and slow down. 2 years ago our family was WAY TOO OVERCOMMITTED. My kids wanted to try a new activity and as long as there was an open time slot on our calendar I filled. They were playing multiple sports, multiple clubs and life was insane. No one was happy. They would beg me to just go home. I thought that I was doing the right thing by allowing them to try all the things they were interested in but in reality I was taking away so much from them in the process. Less time as a family meant more time arguing with each other. Less time learning and talking to/from each other meant growing apart. It was sad and things had to change. My new rule is 2 {sometimes 3 when seasons overlap} activities per season. I am lucky in that they all do gymnastics at the same time/same place so that activity is not a pull on our calendar at all. Other then gymnastics they each get one more activity. The boys are currently playing basketball {same time/team} and Amelia is in dance. By cutting back on activities I was so shocked at how open our afternoons/evening became. The bickering became less and we could actually sit down and talk to each other. Do they still ask to do stuff...all the time! I just remind them they get 2 activities and they understand. It also makes them look at their lives and see what's really important. The last thing I want for them is to become adults who are overcommitted and have a hard time saying no. 
I also let go of FOMO. When the boys started school I felt like I needed to involved in everything. Funny thing is...I didn't. I was so afraid I was going to miss something if I wasn't there volunteering. I had to come to terms that yes I will miss out but does it really matter. Getting off social media really helped me overcome FOMO but more on that later.

What's better then a blurry picture of brothers playing basketball 😂

6. "Two enormous ways you can take care of yourself are eliminating your overwhelm triggers and giving yourself the gift of brain space."

Can I get an amen??!!

In the book Emily asks you to list your overwhelm triggers...the things that get you. I'm not ashamed to admit mine:
after school
bed time
morning routine

These are the time that I find myself on the verge of losing it or let's be honest really losing it! How can I look at these and change them? What can I do to make these triggers go away?

When I looked at these times I noticed that my mind is usually racing a hundred miles a minute. I'm not completely focused on the tasks or my kids because I'm multitasking in my mind what's coming next or what I need to do. I decided that by engaging with my kids I could eliminate some of the anxiety these times bring me. After school my kids get in the car and it's immediately a million questions from them and it completely exhausts me. I was honest with them about these times of day and how they stress me out and asked them to help. Now they are allowed to ask me 2 questions about the evening none of which are what's for dinner. I can't tell you how much this has helped. Bedtime I decided to get the big boys to come in the room when I put Amelia to sleep to listen to stories and then we pray together. After praying I ask them to mention an act of kindness that they saw another sibling do. We just started doing this and man, it's a routine that's going to stick. It's been so nice seeing them recognize kindness in each other and I've also noticed that they are more inclined to be kind because they know the others are watching. After I say goodnight to Amelia, I put the boys to sleep and am taking turns staying in their room talking for about 15 minutes. Cameron and I also take turns doing this and it's nice for then boys to have a chance to talk to us about whatever they want. Sometimes they talk about school, sometimes it's about a cool sports game they watched and sometimes it's about their future dreams. They really look forward to their every other night chatting sessions as do I. As for the morning routine, that's a work in progress 😉 
Find your overwhelming triggers and think about ways you can change it. My changes are all simple things but they have made a huge impact on my outlook of these situations. And if your kids are old enough talk to them about it. My boys appreciated me sharing these things with them because it made them feel grown up plus it allowed them to help me make things more peaceful around the house. If mama isn't happy no one is right?! 😊

7. "Not everything you do in your life needs to be shared publicly." 

4 years ago I left Facebook. One year ago this March I left Instagram. 

Social Media was VERY hard to let go of. VERY VERY VERY HARD. The only way I could take control of my time in my life was to quit cold turkey. Now that I'm off it I've never been happier. Leaving Facebook was a huge step for me. I found that many of times I was on it I could have been spending time with my kids or husband, I could have been reading books but instead I was reading arguments or about people bragging about how amazing their lives were. Really...no ones lives are that amazing. Let's be real, there is nothing real about social media. Nothing. I knew that leaving Facebook would be against the norm but I also knew that the way it made me feel was awful and I had to do something. 
So I grabbed onto Instagram. Instagram was harder to leave then Facebook. I loved instagram, all the beautiful pictures of people and their kids and their beautiful homes...I loved everything about it. Until last spring break. I got the flu and was so sick in bed during spring break. I found myself checking instagram literally every second that I didn't feel like dying. Seeing everyone and their families and all the fun they were having on vacation made me feel very depressed. As I laid their feeling sick and sad I asked myself what in the world was I doing? Why was I allowing social media dictate my feelings? I deleted the app off my phone and then about 5 months later turned off my account and never looked back. Am I missing out on things...absolutely! Do I care...absolutely not! My life has become so much more full without social media. I started reading more blogs and interacting with people that way. It's been a wonderful transition. I have to mention one thing that helped was that my husband is not on social media...he thinks it's crazy. We also don't want our kids on social media so it's our duty to lead by example. 
When I first left SM we would be out doing things and in my head I thought, I need to get the perfect picture to post. I would catch myself and feel disgusted. That need to share, share everything had been ingrained in me so long that even when I wasn't sharing I thought about it. In my personal opinion I think social media is going to have serious ramifications on society and I want nothing to do with that. I want real interactions with people. I want to send text, make phone calls not message over facebook. I want to take pictures of my family to create memories for us not to get a certain number of likes.  I know these thoughts are very far from the norm nowadays. When people ask me if I saw something on Facebook and I tell them I don't facebook they look at me like I've lost my mind. It's okay. I don't care. I haven't lost my mind...I got it back after many years of social media trying to steal it from me.

Overall this book really challenged me to think in a way I hadn't been. It really asked me to look at myself and make the changes within myself so that I could better serve my family. I highly recommend it. Let's all try to live a little more intentional.

Linking up with Kelly!

{kirchoff travel diaries} back to Texas we go

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It was time to go home. Cameron had talked about going a longer way home {12 1/2 hours to be exact} going through Amarillo so we could stop by the Palo Dura Canyons. I was all for it. Yeah it was going to make our trip for the day longer but honestly we were already planning on being in the car all day...why not at least see something cool. So very early Tuesday morning we were up, packing up the car and heading towards Texas.

3 hours into our drive we were pulling into the very top of Texas.


One thing we do to keep car rides not too bad is to stop for meals. Like get out of the car, stretch our legs and eat lunch. This time we found a Chick Filla in Amarillo. The kids were thrilled! Even the boys played for a bit on the playscape. It was a nice break. After lunch we were off to the canyons.

And they did not disappoint.




Absolutely beautiful! We stopped at the top of the canyon for a few pictures and then drove down into it and all through it. 


And as we were leaving ran into a few longhorns.


It was well worth the stop and extra time on the trip. After leaving the canyons we were headed down to central Texas. I think...can't remember exactly but I think we had about 8 hours left on our trip and it was already around 2pm. So we were off...

We drove and drove and drove and drove {you get the picture} and finally around 10:30pm pulled into our driveway. 

I really was shocked at how well the kids did in the car. Amelia had a few moments but usually they occurred when she was sleepy so I would just rub her feet and she would fall asleep. We stopped many times and every time we stopped it was mandatory for everyone to get out of the car and stretch. I think between the stops, snacks, iPads, and movies in the car that saved our sanity. 

Our ski vacation was lots of fun. Don't get me wrong...there were definitely moments of craziness but I love traveling as a family. It's difficult but mostly rewarding and I am already looking forward to planning our next adventure together.

Maybe the east coast this summer???

{kirchoff travel diaries} goodbye 2017, hello 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Our 4th day of vacation we were all pretty sore and needed a little ski break. Thankfully Taos is only a short and very beautiful drive so we headed over there for the day. Because there wasn't very much snow the roads were all perfect to drive. I imagine in a normal year these roads would be tough. The road from Angel Fire to Taos went straight through a mountain was windy and quite sleep at points. Once we arrived into Taos we parked and walked around the town square.

One thing about me is I love museums. Cameron makes fun of me and whenever he sees a museum he is pretty sure we are going 😉 I told him I think it comes from traveling in my childhood. I would want to stop at every museum but my mom never wanted to. She would say we didn't have time or it was a waste of money. Anyway I am making up for that now. Our first stop in Taos was the Kit Carson Museum.


Kit Carson founded the town of Taos and did a lot of work for the American Southwest. The museum was his home.



Now this is massive rosary!


After the museum we headed to a little coffee shop because it was COLD! Then off to the square and shopping we went.


There were so many fun shops to browse and Cameron even made a new friend 😂



We stopped into Taos Brewing Company and had our best meal of the trip...a brick oven cooked pizza with meatballs, mozzarella, lemon and feta. So so amazing. After lunch we were headed back to Angel Fire to get ready for the fireworks on the mountain for New Years Eve.

Once back we unloaded all our goodies we bought and put back on all our ski gear and headed up to the mountain at dark. First there was a torch light parade down the mountain.




Then the fireworks began!




We were so close and man those fireworks were SO loud! It was really fun though. After that we headed back to our room, watched all the NYE specials, played games and toasted the New Year {in fancy glasses I had picked up at the grocery store before we left} with Izze drinks for the kids and champagne for the adults.





After we toasted we all went to sleep to prepare for our last day in Angel Fire.

New Year's Day

We slowly woke up {around 10} and started moving around for the day. I made a big breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes to get everyone's bellies nice and full for a day of skiing. Cameron and the boys headed up to the mountain to start skiing with Amelia and stayed back in the room for a bit so I could get some laundry done and start packing a bit. Having a washer and dryer in our condo was a God send. Amelia and I got all bundled up and headed out to go tubing! She was so excited about tubing after watching the boys do it.

Before tubing we met up with the boys and I got a few pictures








Off to tubing we went!



Being the crazy mom I am, I was so nervous about her riding in her tube all by herself but was she nervous...nope!


Her and I had so much fun tubing! Man did we FLY down he hills. It was insane. When our time was up tubing we met the boys, Cam and I switched duties then we all loaded up to ride up the big ski lift to the top of the mountain to eat lunch at the restaurant at the top. 

A very cool thing about Angel Fire is you can ride up the ski lift to the top of the mountain even if you are not skiing and then just ride the lift back down. So that was our plan.




We took a few pictures on the balcony of the restaurants because the views were on point.




We ate lunch, hung out a bit and the said goodbye to Cam and Amelia and the boys and I skied down. We spent the rest of the afternoon skiing. Let me tell you...skiing is exhausting! I was so tired after about 3 times down the mountain. At one point I just sat in the snow and let the boys go by themselves.


Around 4pm we were all tired and loaded up our ski gear, returned it, said goodbye to the snow and headed back to the condo to start packing and watch some football. It was a great trip. We all had a blast and while we were sad to go, it also felt like it was time. That's the best way to end vacation 😊





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