Date Night: Family of 4

Lately when I’m not entertaining my 2 year old, most of my “free” time is spent like this…

Or this…

When my husband and I were dating, he was constantly taking me out to nice restaurants. Since we’ve had children, that has changed, but last Friday night we decided it was time to go out on the town. And by ‘out on the town,’ I mean to Chili’s a couple miles from our house. Why Chili’s? It has all the qualities we look for in a restaurant these days: 1. It’s loud enough to drown out any screaming or crying, and 2. They serve margaritas and beer.


It can be kind of a challenge to get Avery to pose for a picture lately…

Starting a tickle fight…

Tickle fight at the table with squeals of laughter!


She also loves to stand up in booths and bounce up and down wildly like she’s jumping on a bed. We are working on it.


Right before she planted a HUGE smooch on me

Savvy slept through most of dinner, until she woke up hungry and wailed

We ended the night at the McDonald’s drive through for soft serve cones. This was Avery’s first time to have one and she looked darn cute eating it.


I know someday my husband and I will be one of those couples we often see at the table next to us. You can tell their kids have grown up and they just look over at the chaos of a young family out to eat and smile because they know how fast it goes by and how much it is missed when it’s gone. So cheers to the here and now, chaos and all!





The past few days, we have spent time with my husband’s family, including Avery’s three boy cousins visiting from St. Louis for their Spring Break. Highlights included T-Rex Cafe, Great Wolf Lodge, Jack Stack, the Plaza,  and a brief stop at Fritz’s train restaurant at Crown Center. We made our presence known in the Club Room at the Sheraton Suites on the Plaza. Avery cried until her cousin Jack, embarrassed by the scene she was making, shoved one of his cheese cubes directly into her open mouth, to which she immediately smiled and replied, “Thank you!” Collectively we ate about 10 free cookies and my husband’s brother had the bartender fill up two Starbucks cups full of wine to take back to their room. The Kuhlman men (Kuhlmen?) are known to be quite frugal and love a good Pinot Noir! When we got back to the hotel room to say our goodbyes, Max (the baby boy) promptly removed his pants and I got an adorable video of him jumping on the bed yelling “Spring Break!” in his diaper. They are leaving to go home tomorrow and the time has flown by way too quickly.

I know that they are too little to remember most of these happy times now, especially Avery who is the youngest, so I take lots of  (blurry) pictures. Cousins will always be connected to you no matter what acquaintances may come and go. When I was 18, we lost my 20 year old cousin Joe in a car accident. I looked up to him so much and having him suddenly ripped away from us put me in a very dark place of loss that took me a long time to move past. Tragically, we lost his younger brother Jacob to a fast-growing cancer at the end of last year. It was a complete shock and I don’t know that I have fully processed it yet. 

When I see my daughter surrounded by these lively boys who are simultaneously annoying her, protecting her, hugging her, and taking her stuff, my heart aches with love and pain because I know the precious value of cousins. 

My daughter will never know what it’s like to have a big brother to look out for her, but at least she has her Jack, Charlie, and Max to substitute.

Fritz’s Shawnee Mission (Christmas 2012)

 Fritz’s at Crown Center


Jack Stack

Great Wolf Lodge