Last week I visited Cathy and her family in Iowa. It still makes me laugh a little bit that they live in Iowa. I mean, really? They are both West Coast kids, Jeff’s from Newport Beach, for crying out loud, how in the world did they end up in Des Moines? It’s crazy to me that my nieces are from the Mid-West. At any rate, it was amazing. Jeff and the girls were so sweet to share Cathy with me…we pretty much spent every waking moment together. And they were pretty darn good to me themselves, above and beyond the whole sharing thing.
It was a perfect trip–just exactly what I needed. We “did” very little and I came home feeling refreshed from our time together.
One of our favorite things to do when we’re together is try recipes or projects that we would probably not if we were on our own. Back in the day that meant I’d arrive with a sheaf of torn out magazine pages, but Pinterest has added a whole new dimension to our project time. In fact, my visit had its own board! And because I am, a-hem, a “blogg-ist” as Glenn says, we took pictures all along. Not the impressive photos you take with proper lighting and a fancy camera. I took these with my phone. But I’ll shamelessly share them here anyway.
So here it is…our visit in pictures.
I’m sure this will seem goofy but here’s the thought behind this photo…
a) I live in the basement of a 50+ year old house that my parents have lived in for 45 years. It needs a little work. Truthfully it’s old and inconvenient and hard to clean. There’s all kinds of random clutter–things mom saved for someday. And now there’s the whole randomly moving things around, stacking things, taking them from room to room that she does to make it really interesting. So I absolutely loved being in Cathy’s big, practically new, beautifully decorated, super clean and organized home.
b) You may remember me mentioning that Kitty has given away engraved stones at Women’s Conference for several years now? I think I showed you this year’s “holiness” rock. Well here is the one from last year’s event when prayer was the theme. Do you absolutely love this?
I have a Pinterest board entirely devoted to Mac’ ‘n’ Cheese. I know. It’s ridonculous. But, well, every recipe looks super yummy. And every time I make one (which isn’t very often since Glenn’s not a big fan) I think, “That was fine but it’s not…’the one.'” And so I continue pinning in the hopes that one of these will be. This recipe is, ironically, no longer on my board because I didn’t absolutely love it and with a whole board of recipes to try I can’t be wasting more time on not-the-one. But if you want to find it, because it was yummy and everything, just a smidge custardy for me, here’s the link. John Legend’s Mac & Cheese. (Incidentally while I was just looking for that link I think I pinned four more recipes. It may be time to seek intervention.) This was Thursday evening…
Jeff and Cath’ have been working out every week day since last July or something. It’s crazy how good they have been. And as usual, when you get one thing together in your life it makes it easier to focus on other stuff. So they’ve been eating healthier in combination with their workouts. Jeff made us this amazing fresh juice every morning. It was like drinking sunshine. Thanks, Jeffy!
One of the things I love about hanging out with Cathy is that there’s always someone willing to share a meal with me. Glenn will occasionally but he’s usually pretty sure he wants his own. Cathy though will share with me every time. Here was our fun lunch out at a local pub: fish ‘n’ chips. I promise we had a salad too that didn’t make it in the picture. (Perfect way to follow up that fresh juice right? Nothing like a little deep frying to make a girl happy.)
Next we ran a few errands and then picked up the girls from school. One of the highlights of my trip was picking them up on Thursday–Cathy and I went straight from the airport to the school. They were waiting as usual, like every other jr high and high school kid in America, but when they saw me in the car their faces were priceless. They had clearly forgotten that I would be there during the busy-ness of the school day. It was so sweet and super precious to this Aunty’s heart.
We ended up having a fun chick-night on Friday. The girls picked movies for us: The Devil Wears Prada and Pitch Perfect. And we had a delightful evening of hanging out and eating cheetos. Perfect.
I should have taken a picture of the guest room because it was perfect too. So warm and welcoming and super cozy. I slept like a rock and even managed to get up at a decent time, time change and all.
Saturday was our project day. We made cupcakes, watched a video tutorial of how to decorate them, made fancy buttercream frosting (oh ma word!) and came up with these little beauties. I can neither confirm nor deny that frosting was squirted directly into our mouths and may have been used to decorate Rachel’s braces. By the way, it’s not hard at all. It’s all in the decorating tips and even pressure.
The girls went to the school play on Saturday night so Cath’ and I hung out at the mall and then all four of us girls hit up Orange Leaf. (It’s a serve yourself frozen yogurt place with all the toppings.) I love these places and Glenn doesn’t so this was a treat for me. Another one.
Sunday is church for our family and especially for the Mullens so we were at Point of Grace early. I am so impressed with the work they’re doing there. And absolutely proud of my sweet family and their part in it. Jeff let me crash the vocal team so I got to sing along. Happy Nancy, one more time.
We spent Sunday afternoon doing a little Pages tutorial. Software is pretty easy these days but so much better if you have someone there to tell you what you’re looking at. So Cathy and I worked on creating a weekly organizing page for her to match the fun desk pad that I made for her. I think she totally rocked it!
Sunday night dinner was these amazing grilled cheese sandwiches with carmelized onions. (Another thing I love but Mom and Dad don’t so yet another Nancy treat.) We all ended up customizing our sammies but here is the recipe we started from: Sweet & Spicy Carmelized Onion BBQ Grilled Cheese.
On Monday morning we had one last juice, picked up all the trinkets I’d left everywhere, took photos with the girls (not my best) and then it was time to go to the airport. It’s possible that I cried. In fact may have been just one sobbing breath away from the ugly cry. It was so perfectly perfect. So lovely. Too perfectly lovely. It made me not want to come back to my regular life. I know that’s a horrible thing to say out loud, please don’t judge. It’s true though.
But I left. Because I’m a big girl and that’s what big girls do. And I landed in Portland and texted to Glenn to tell him I was on the ground. We live about 5 to 7 minutes from the airport so I expected him to say he’d pick me up at the departures level but no, my sweet man was waiting for me. And on the way to pick up dinner on the way home, there’s was this amazing double rainbow–so bright. We’re talking Hawaii-tropical-vibrant-and-intense. So I took a picture out the car window for you. Because I thought maybe I’m not the only one doing hard things. And maybe you can use a reminder of God’s faithfulness too.