Weekend Reflections and Intentions 10.14.2018

I am in such a rebel mode this week. Really, this entire month. If it’s something I feel like I’m supposed to be doing, or something someone else expects of me – I just don’t want to do it. Plain and simple, I am avoiding basically all responsibilities and obligations and going into hiding. I just don’t want to DO anything. I’m sick of sewing and I want to step away from it for awhile. I’m tired of being the organizer of all plans and am refusing to keep stepping into that role. I haven’t been in the mood to write, so I haven’t been, even though it’s supposed to be one of my main focuses these days. I’m so tired of clutter and mess and somehow letting my kids get away with basically doing nothing for the last 10 and 7.5 years of their lives. I need a break. And some clarity would be nice! I’m sick of all this mental flailing that is pretty much leaving me a useless shell right now.

Anyway, here’s a recap of the week. It was pretty good overall. I’m just having some mental challenges that are really messing up my productivity.

Monday I was feeling pretty sick. Probably a combination of the antibiotics I was on, too many days in a row of restaurant food, and not getting enough quality sleep. I ran a few errands around town and did some general housekeeping and laundry, but I just felt so icky. I took Shepard to piano lessons in the afternoon and the school turtle crossed the whole cage so he could sit right there and stare at me while I read. It was a little bit creepy.

Tuesday was more of the same. I tried to work, but spent most of the day lazing around because I just felt like crap.

I took Annie to the dog park after dinner. Even though nobody was around to play with, she was just SO HAPPY to have the space and freedom to run around. I really need to get back into the habit of taking her as often as possible before it gets icy. I still took her quite frequently on the ice last winter, but I don’t think that’ll be happening this year. I never want to break a bone again.

Wednesday night Shepard and I watched a Great British Baking Show. We watched the last few episodes of Making It a few other nights this week. It’s so fun to sit down and watch a show with him that we both equally enjoy! I realize this is quite normal for most families, but it’s pretty much a foreign concept around here. We very rarely watch tv together – or at all for the boys – and when we do, there’s always at least one person who is really not that interested.

Wednesday was a scheduled late start and I was bound and determined to get some work done in the morning. I finished up this custom Anne of Green Gables doll for a friend. I LOVE how it turned out! It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the bodice fabric has images of Green Gables and Anne’s silhouette and the skirt fabric is a bunch of Anne’s most famous quotes. The friend who I made it for is opening it on her birthday tomorrow, so I can’t wait to hear if she likes it or not!

I spent the rest of the day running errands and working on the rest of my doll batch. We were having some issues with Caden in the evening – a pretty common occurrence these days. And always? We were all going to go to his first archery meeting, but Greg ended up taking the boys so I could keep working and have an hour of quiet.

I finished up the rest of my dolls on Thursday morning. It’s so hard to figure out if doll making is really what I want to do for the rest of my life. Or…the next five years, or whatever. The monotony of just doing the same cycle of creating over and over and over again with every batch has gotten so old. I obviously do have creative freedom in what I choose to make, but…they’re all still dolls. I’ve been venturing out from strictly making red striped Raggedy Anns these last few months, but I’m not sure it’s enough to satisfy whatever it is inside of me that’s crying out for MORE. Or less?? I really don’t know anymore. I decided to take a small break from it for the next week and a half, at least, in hopes that I might get some fresh perspective on how to proceed, or not, in this particular career path.

Late morning, my mom came over and we went to Waunakee to celebrate my birthday – my last celebration. There are a few really cute stores we stopped in at and then had lunch at The Lone Girl Brewing Company. The restaurant was really cute, but I’m not sure the food was intriguing enough to go back. It was a fun time, though!

It got really cold this week! Actually, it was in the 80’s on Monday and in the 30’s on Friday. Just a typical Wisconsin fall week! The boys flat out refuse to wear coats yet, but they were digging out all the extra winter accessories.

I finally finished up my book corner with my remaining birthday presents – a new lamp from Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson, and a fun book themed pillow from my mom. The top shelf is books that I really like and want to own a copy of. The lower shelf is my all time favorite fiction that I most definitely want to read again and again in my lifetime (and a short stack of currently reading). I actually have a few more bookish art prints to hang up around the area, once I find frames for them. Then it’ll really be complete!

On Friday morning I had a coffee date with my friend Laura. It was great to catch up! Then I took an extremely long nap/lazy lay in bed reading afternoon. Still so tired and both mentally and physically exhausted. Right after school Greg’s dad picked up the boys and took them to the Kalahari and Greg and I went on a date night to Sake House. I just could not make another restaurant decision, so this was Greg’s choice. It was good. We came back home and watched a movie. Not the most exciting night, but it was nice to spend time together and have some good conversations.

I got up early on Saturday to hit the farmer’s market. There are only a few weeks left and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go again. I didn’t buy much, but it’s always fun to be there! I stopped at Trader Joe’s and Target on the way back home and then spent the rest of the day being pretty lazy! Theme of my week, apparently.

Today has been mostly lazy too. I didn’t feel very well this morning and just wanted to read. Then I worked on finishing up my new birthday shelf organization. It took me so long because I wanted to go through my eleven binders of printed recipes, plus three year’s worth of printouts I never put IN binders, to take out the ones I never use and combine them down into just five binders. All of my tried and true recipes are in there and there are just so many great options that I really don’t need to ever look online or in a cookbook for inspiration again. I just need to remember they exist when I’m desperate for ideas! The top two shelves of the bookcase are books I haven’t read yet. Yikes! They’re almost all nonfiction too. I need to get on that! The bottom two shelves are my most used cookbooks. I love this shelf!

Besides all that, I’ve also been making cookies for conferences tomorrow, baking some breakfasts for the week, and doing a bit of cleaning. We also got the very unfortunate news that the boys had bedbugs in their hotel room Friday night. AGAIN. So we, though mostly Greg because I’ve been otherwise occupied, is a bit in crisis mode again, doing massive amounts of laundry of everything the boys have touched in the last 24 hours. He’s decided none of us are ever going to a hotel again. Not fun times, you guys.

Sunday Intentions

The week ahead is looking good! It’s conference day tomorrow, so no school. The boys don’t have conferences until late afternoon, so it should be a pretty laid back day. Hopefully some friends are around to play and I can work on going through my closets. I desperately need to figure out my winter clothing situation. I’m never prepared for the drastic temperature drops every year. I’m also not quite sure if I have any jeans that fit and I need to know that asap so I can go buy some on Tuesday if I need to. But yeah, then conferences, then Shepard’s Culver’s night fundraiser for school, and then he and I get to WORK at the fundraiser. At Culver’s, cleaning tables and stuff. Can’t wait. 😛 He is SO excited, though.

Tuesday will probably be a general errands day, plus packing day. Trying to get everything organized for Greg and the boys being on their own for five days. Wednesday I have a follow up appointment with my internal doctor to talk about how the BP meds are working. I thought they were making me really sick, but now I think it was actually the antibiotics. They’re working, because my BP is within range pretty much every day. But we still need to talk in person, I guess.

And on Thursday I’m flying to DC! My long last postponed vacation from April. I’m super excited to get away for a few days! Dianne has so many great things planned for us. We’re even heading to the town of Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia for a day. I’m slightly worried about how my ankle will hold up to extra walking, but I think it’ll be fine. At any rate – it’ll be so worth any pain that might occur! A real vacation, sharing fun times with my best friend. It’s EXACTLY what I need right now. I’ll be there until I fly back Monday afternoon.

And that’s my week! Like I said earlier, I’m taking a break from work. Not a whole lot of time this week to start new dolls anyway. I just want to focus on getting the rest of my life more organized and in order. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll feel a lot more clear on what I should be doing with myself!

Have a good week!

Birthday Week Reflections 10.07.2018

Hello! Well, today is my 34th birthday and I’m at the end of celebrating my birthday week. I feel like I’ve kind of been getting some passive aggressive flak for all of my mini celebration pictures I’ve been posting online the last few days. I’m not going to apologize for it, guys. If you want a birthday week, YOU CAN HAVE ONE. The only person stopping you is yourself. 🙂 I like to think of my birthday as a weeklong celebration because it really takes the pressure off of having one really special and perfect day. Because let’s face it – if you have kids, a job, a life of any sort – it’s pretty hard to pull off a perfect day. So to try and stave off that disappointment, I spread things out so I have something little to look forward to every day. Plus, the only way you can really celebrate with everyone is to have a big party. And maybe it’s just me, but it feels a bit more embarrassing to throw yourself a huge party every year, as an adult. 🙂 I had a hard enough time just asking a couple of friends to give up a night to come out with me. Anyway, little daily celebrations it is!

So! Monday started off with Caden waking us up super early because he was sick. Already interrupting my plans. But after a lot of extra sleep he was feeling a lot better, so I left him with a package of saltines, video games, and his open chromebook so he could keep in constant messaging contact with me, and ran out to do the errands I desperately needed to do as fast as possible. And then I squeezed in a fast lunch at Qdoba. I was dying to try their Chicken Diablo nachos. They were so tasty, but crazy messy!

The rest of Monday was packed with cleaning out the pantry and fridge, doing a lot of housework and laundry, and making a big batch of chicken noodle soup for dinner. After school Shepard had his first piano lesson. He was SO excited about it!

I was super excited on Monday night because the announcement came through that Book Bonanza 2019 tickets were on sale! They had their first book bonanza this last August, in Denver, at the same time we were in LaCrosse. I found out about it way too late to have gone, but I was so jealous of everyone there! It is organized by Colleen Hoover (my favorite), but features a ton of authors. Rachel Hollis was even one of the keynote speakers at that conference. Anyway, I was anxiously awaiting to hear when and where next year’s bonanza would be and at the beginning of September they announced it would be in Dallas. In August. Blech. It was also more expensive than I was expecting and just kind of wrote it off and not going to happen, even though I was super disappointed. ANYWAY, come Monday, I was telling Greg that tickets finally went on sale and he told me I should buy my ticket! I couldn’t believe he was serious, but that’s the kind of guy he is. 🙂 So even though it feels like a totally self indulgent and expensive solo vacation, I am going to Book Bonanza next year!!!! 48 hours of author panels and signings and keynote speeches and yummy food all in an amazing looking hotel filled with fellow book lovers just outside of Dallas. I’ve never been to Texas, so that’ll be exciting too, even though I don’t think I’ll see anything besides Grapevine, the city where the hotel is. But still! Even though it’s 10 months away, I am so psyched. I have my room booked too because it’s all at the same place. So I just need to find a flight, sometime.

On Tuesday morning I had to go back to Fitchburg to get some quick lab work done. I had originally planned to stop at World Market afterward and then spend an hour or two at the big Barnes and Noble before getting back home in early afternoon. Instead I overbooked myself, AGAIN, and went to like ten stores. By the time I got to Barnes and Noble I was so exhausted that I left after five minutes. It was still a nice day, but I was kind of mad at myself for not just sticking to the thing I was really looking forward to.

Tuesday after school we lost Shepard again. This time it was a mixup because the boys had a new meetup plan, but Shepard forgot about it during the day and never found Caden. Caden ran to school, talked to all of Shepard’s friends who hadn’t seen him, and ran all the way back home to get me. Once again, it was pretty scary, but only lasted a few minutes before we found him. It made me realize that we just need to be a lot more consistent. It’s unfair to expect a 7 year old to remember all the different plans every single day.

Wednesday was the only day I took Annie on a longer walk and then I had my first Writing Wednesday, writing a few blog posts. Annie had a grooming appointment in the afternoon. While she was gone my birthday present from Steve and Cindy arrived – a new bookcase!!!

The guys spent the night building it for me while I read on the chair.

Annie found the most awkward spot to sleep while it was being built! 🙂 It took me until Saturday to get my books set up, but I’m not quite happy with my arrangement yet. I’ll get a picture up when I figure out the rest!

On Thursday morning Shepard lost a tooth that’s been barely hanging on for the last six weeks. He HATES losing teeth. But I think he was really relieved that it came out with little fanfare this time around. He just woke up and it fell out of his mouth!

Thursday was mostly a workday, pretty uneventful. Then I went out to one of my favorite restaurants, Monk’s, with two of my friends.

I really appreciate that they made time to come out with me. I was in kind of a depressed mood earlier in the day, thinking about how drastically my friend situation has changed in the last few years. On my 30th birthday I had about 14 awesome friends go out to Chili’s with me and it was amazing. And now every year I have fewer and fewer of those friendships left. Everyone is so busy. It’s just a whole issue I’m having a really hard time reconciling with. But it’s also not really something I can talk openly about without probably hurting or ruining the friendships I have left. At any rate, it was nice to go out. It hasn’t happened in a long time!

On Friday I worked for a couple more hours and then went to see A Star is Born by myself. It was so good!! I wasn’t really prepared for the ending which left me in a pretty somber mood, but I thought Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper had amazing chemistry. I really enjoyed it. It’s also been so long since I’ve been to a movie! It’s one of my favorite things, going by myself during the day. I hope I can make it a more regular thing now that better movies are going to start popping up again! After the movie I FINALLY spent some more time at Barnes and Noble. 🙂

Then for dinner I met Greg and the boys and my in-law’s at Willie Ty’s. I really just wanted to go there for all their flavored aiolis! I wasn’t feeling super hungry, so I just picked a regular grilled cheese and savored my sweet potato fries with habanero aioli.

We came back to our house for birthday cupcakes and a couple more gifts. It was a really nice night!

Birthday flowers, from Cindy.

I had a pretty lazy Saturday. I contemplated going to the farmer’s market, but I’ve been running around so much the last few weeks it just wasn’t appealing to me. So I spent a few hours working and a few hours reading and resting. We made a pizza for lunch that turned into a monster.

Mid afternoon we went to my favorite place to get pumpkins in Horicon. Shepard and I had a great time picking out a big variety to decorate the porch with. (Caden was having a fit and Greg was dealing with that.)

Then we went to my parents’ to celebrate with them. They made an amazing meal, like always! As much as I love eating in restaurants, it was great having a more wholesome homemade meal!

We just hung out and laughed at all of Annie and Gracie’s doggy antics. I opened my presents and got this awesome stack of books, among other things. Can’t wait to dig into them! I think I’ll start with It’s All Under Control as one of the nonfiction books I’d like to read this month.

We had chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. I had a really nice evening!

And that brings me to today, my actual birthday! I didn’t want to commit to any plans specifically until I knew what I felt like doing today. Weekend birthdays aren’t really my favorite because kids are just around and not making life so easy. But they were actually great all day! We had Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants for an easy breakfast and then I spent most of the morning finishing up a good book.

My big reading chair was my main birthday present, but they also gave me a few treats they picked out at Walgreens and some spices I had asked for.

I set up the pumpkins and we got this nice picture!

One of the things I kind of wanted to do today was check out this craft fair in Sun Prairie. I rallied everyone to go and then it started raining. You had to pay to get in and it just didn’t seem worth it. So we continued on to Madison and had lunch at BelAir Cantina. It’s where I really wanted to eat today, but didn’t really want to bring it up because it was such a long drive. I was also worried the boys wouldn’t really like it because SHOCKER, no chicken tenders on the menu! But it actually turned out to be an awesome lunch. The boys kept shouting that it was the best restaurant EVER. They loved all the different salsas. It’s pretty rare that the four of us go out to dinner by ourselves ever, and when it does happen there’s usually a lot of complaining about something or other. But no complaints today! It was really great! And the food was fantastic. I actually ate here last year on my birthday too, with just Greg. The atmosphere is so much nicer on a Sunday at lunch than later on a Saturday night!

I stopped at Starbucks for my free birthday drink on the way home. I just got the Starbucks app a few weeks ago – I’m glad I didn’t miss out on that reward! 🙂

Back at home I took a long nap with Rory, my favorite nap buddy.

I didn’t really have any dinner plans and wasn’t super hungry, but Greg wanted to figure something out so he took the boys to Subway to pick up something easy.

I decided to make myself a caramel apple pie for my official birthday dessert, but I stupidly decided not to use a recipe. I totally forgot to use some sort of thickening agent and the store bought caramel I added to it must have been more of a dip than an actual caramel because the whole pie was totally liquified! The crust was good! I did use a recipe for that!! At least I got a picture with my boys giving real smiles!

And that was my birthday week! I think 34 will be a good year. The last year before I have to start checking the next age bracket in every survey people put out. 🙂 I still have a couple more minor celebrations coming up, but I’ll try not to be obnoxious about it. Many thanks to the family and friends that gave me a great week!

What I Read September 2018

September turned out to be kind of a mediocre month for reading. Only one five star hit and the rest were middle of the road. Here are the reviews!

The Wondering Years by Knox McCoy
Rating: 4.5 stars

I was greatly privileged to have been given the opportunity to be part of this book’s launch team and had a chance to read it two months before it’s release date. I was interested in reading it from the day it was announced because I’m OBSESSED with Knox’s podcast, The Popcast. I jumped at the chance to pre-order the book and was thrilled to be accepted on the launch team. Anyway – the book was fantastic! I think I might have laughed out loud at this book more than any other I have ever read. Knox has an innate talent at relating pop culture references to everyday faith and life. Each chapter has a unique look at different pop culture ideals and how they connected to his own life and helped shape his faith. What struck me most about this book was simply how much I could relate to it! I’m knocking it down half a star rating because I think if you are not in your 30’s, or you didn’t pay any attention to pop culture in the last 30 years, you probably won’t get as much out of this book. There were quite a few sports references that went over my head because I care nothing about sports, though the names of many were at least recognizable to me. But the tv and movie references? SO on point. And absolutely hilarious. Knox’s church experience was also so similar to my own growing up that it made for a supremely entertaining book and I would recommend it to anyone!

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5 stars

(Contains spoilers if you haven’t read the first book!) Feyre has defeated Amarantha and been given new life by all seven High Lords, remaking her body into that of a High Fae. She is taken back to the Spring Court with Tamlin, whose freedom she fought valiantly for. She struggles deeply with what she had to do to gain his freedom and becomes increasingly depressed and distraught with this new immortal life. Desperate to keep her safe at all cost, Tamlin basically keeps her locked in the house and refuses to help her learn her new gifts, insisting all she needs is his protection. Feyre begins to waste away and Tamlin is so obsessed with keeping her protected that he doesn’t SEE her anymore. On the day of their wedding, Feyre desperately cries out internally for someone to do something and stop this from happening. And surprise, surprise, SOMEONE just happens to show up. I had a hard time reconciling with this new turn of events, even though it was fairly obvious by the end of the first book that Rhysand was going to play a much more important role in Feyre’s life. I wanted to remember all the good in Tamlin and all the bad in Rhys. But as the story goes on and Feyre realizes how much more she can be, how much bigger of a role she can play in saving their people, it gets SO GOOD. And the epic romance that verrrry slowly burns through the book? Wow, just wow! I honestly don’t care much about all the battles and political stuff, which is why I rarely read fantasy like this. But the characterization is so fabulous I was melting by the end. I loved this book just about as much as the first.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 4 stars

(Spoilers) It took me a really, really long time to get through this book. As much as I ADORED the first two books in the series, I felt like there was something left to be desired now that Rhysand and Feyre are together and most of the new love sexual tension has been dissolved. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a pretty sexy book – in between all the war talk and war planning and war fighting. This book is really mostly just about the war and getting all the high lords and their courts to gather and cooperate to try and defeat the horrible Hybern. I continued to love this entire cast of characters and was particularly happy to see how Tamlin played into the final chapters. I never would have given up on this book, but I think I did hit my fill of this series overall for awhile. Maas is such an incredible author to have woven this extensive and unique series together, though. One of my favorites!

Blankets by Craig Thompson
Rating: 3.5 stars

I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I started this long and incredibly detailed graphic memoir. I was under the impression that it was a great love story, but was surprised to realize how much of it was really about the author questioning and ultimately denying his faith after growing up in an extreme Christian household. I appreciate how well done it was, but found the entire book to just be very sad with little redemptive qualities. It was memoir, so I know it couldn’t exactly be changed. But I wish there had been more of a conclusion between Craig and his brother and Craig and Raina and her family. It is a remarkable book, but maybe not exactly for me.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
Rating: 4 stars

This is a fun little book that shines a light on all the joys of being a reader. It’s filled with essays on book love, reading problems, and funny book related stories. I enjoyed the book because I could relate to so many of Anne’s feelings on the reading life. There’s nothing particularly deep about the book, and there were a couple of chapters that were so specific to particular books she had read that I just wasn’t interested in, that led me to skim through. But most of the chapters were sweet, happy, and made me nostalgic for all of my own reading and book related memories.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Rating: 4 stars

This was a really sweet and simple palette cleanser type of a book. Likeable characters that treat each other with kindness and respect. A pretty straight forward love story without a ton of obstacles to weigh it down. Fast paced with lots of laughter. I liked it a lot. (And I obviously don’t have a ton to say about it!)

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: 3.5 stars

This very short story popped up as being free for Prime members one day. Between books I decided to read it that night. It was an interesting little story that takes place entirely between the spouses of a man and woman who had an affair with each other. The woman finds the letters her husband was writing to the woman he was having an affair with and she decides to write letters to the woman’s husband so he knows what is going on. They have a unique six months or so of writing to each other while they work out their feelings and decide what to do with the affair taking place, without their spouses knowing they know about it. It sounds very convoluted to describe it! Anyway, as a short story, which I tend to never read because they don’t give me a enough satisfaction, I really liked it. But I also wonder what the point of publishing this was, other than as a quick money maker for the author. That’s what leaves me a bit confused and knocking off a star and a half. I would have loved to have read this as a full novel.

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
Rating: 3 stars

I was looking for books for Caden’s birthday and happened upon this one by Sharon Creech, author of my favorite childhood book, Walk Two Moons. I basically had to buy it because it’s about a donkey. Actually, a MINI donkey. (My favorite animal!) It’s a very sweet and fast paced story about a boy who offers to take care of a very sickly newborn donkey whose mother couldn’t take care of it. It was pretty simplistic for an adult reader, but it was sweet. I liked it.

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Rating: 3 stars

I have to start by saying that I really dislike books that bring up some sort of secret the narrator has and constantly makes references to, but takes forever to let the reader in on. That was this book. You don’t find out the big bad secret until 80% into the book. 80%! I thought the book was okay besides that. I enjoyed the fact that they were traveling through Ireland because I’m all about Ireland. I liked the character of Rowan. But the annoying fighting between Addie and Ian that never let up over the secret were not so enjoyable to read about. The whole thing was just okay.

Purple Orchids by Samantha Christy
Rating: 3.5 stars

This is the story of Gavin and Baylor and their intense yet brief college romance that was torn apart by a pretty spectacularly stupid misunderstanding, to be reunited eight years later and have to deal with the repercussions of that distance. For the most part, I liked the book. I felt like the author added a few too many crazy elements near the end that were attempting to make the story bigger than it should have been. I also really didn’t like how many times the words “my dick” were referenced. Probably hundreds of times. Men can feel with their minds too, maybe?? Anyway, I did enjoy the characters and the story, but this also wasn’t one of my favorites. I’m not sure I’ll get around to reading the other books in the series.

That’s it for September! I’m hoping to read some more creepy/mystery/thriller type seasonal books in October, so hit me up if you have any great recommendations!

October Goals

It’s the third day of October and I already feel like whatever I had planned for myself this month needs to be readjusted. Yesterday I had this great special day planned out just going to the big Barnes and Noble on the west side of Madison and spending hours browsing through books. I ended up going at least ten different stores first, rushing, stressed, and completely exhausted. After five minutes in the bookstore I realized I wasn’t in the right headspace to enjoy it, so I left. By evening, when there were still all these things I had wanted to do waiting for me, I honestly just felt sick and ready to drop. So I had to take a bit of a step back and reevaluate the goals I’d like to set this month to keep myself both sane and productive. And happy!

1. Stick to three!

I write out my to do list for the next day every night before I go to bed. I often add more things in the morning. Usually there are anywhere from 10-20 things I’d like to accomplish in a day. And, well, it’s impossible to do that much and do it well and still feel like a happy person by the end of the night. So I’m going to try out a slightly new system where I think long and hard before deciding on the top three things I want to get done every day. I will do those things first and I’ll do them to the best of my ability. And if I accomplish just those three things in a day, it will be enough. IT WILL BE ENOUGH. There will always by a million more things to do. But can you really enjoy life if all you’re doing is trying to check things off a list as fast as possible? I want to be genuinely honest with myself and my schedule that day before making my list and considering three things that truly are doable and will make me feel the most accomplished. Ideally I’d like my top priorities to be in three separate categories – like self care, home management, work, outside obligations, family relationships, etc. My goals today were to walk Annie for 45 minutes (it was tough to keep going today, but I did it!), clean the family room (because Greg keeps tripping over things and it always looks messy and it’s driving us both nuts), and write this blog post. I’m still going to add to my list beyond the three things, but the point is that all I NEED to do is the three. And then I can congratulate myself for a day well done. 🙂

2. Implement Writing Wednesdays

I’ve been struggling with how to give myself permission to write more. I know this isn’t really the case, but it feels like I always need to decide if I want to take my life in a sewing direction or a writing direction. Writing will give me more personal fulfillment, I know that. But it’s a long shot that I’ll ever make money from it. Sewing is enjoyable, but it’s not really my passion in life anymore. But it brings me a bit of income and the more I put into it the more money I make. Nobody is forcing this on me except myself, but I feel like if I want to keep staying home while my kids are at school, I need to at least be making a little bit of money while I do it! So sewing always feels like the priority. And lately it’s making me resentful. Anyway! I decided that to start with, I am giving myself full permission to write on Wednesdays. Not only permission, that is what I SHOULD be doing, every Wednesday. Blog posts, journal entries, short stories, letters, whatever. Wednesday will be my writing day. I’m also going to try not to schedule much else or run errands on Wednesdays, so I have as much home time as possible to actually make this happen.

3. Work 20+ hours a week, during the DAY

I feel like this might be a tough one. I’m already taking away Wednesdays, and I usually spend most of either Monday or Tuesday running errands, with at least one other day of random errands as well. I’ve definitely still been living on the high of being able TO run errands by myself again, after the long summer of never going anywhere because taking my kids with me was miserable. But it’s seriously time to buckle down and get into a better habit of staying home and focusing on making money rather than spending money! I want to get a lot more focused with all the holiday dolls and potential sales I have coming up in the next three months. I also want to try and go back to only working during the day. I should save things like laundry and house cleaning for the evenings when I can try and recruit the rest of my family to help out. I should start treating Heartstring Annie as my true job again, that needs to be done during the day. Because it IS my job and I’m allowed to make it a top priority.

4. Finish at least 3 nonfiction books

I have soooo many unread nonfiction books. I’m constantly finding more nonfiction books I want to read. And they all look incredible! But finding the time to sit down and actually read them is nearly impossible. I’m always so hooked on whatever fiction book I’m reading that it’s hard to pick up something else, no matter how enticing it is. But this is the month I’m going to do it!

5. Have a lot of fun!

Yes, I feel like I almost need to make this a full goal for myself every month or I get too caught up in the to dos and stress and never really enjoy myself. But October is my favorite month because it’s my birthday month! It’s my birthday week right now! I have a lot of special dinners planned with different people in the next week. I have a full weekend of potential activities that I get to force my family to go along with because “it’s my birthday!” The boys are going to a hotel with the grandparents next weekend so Greg and I can go on a fun date again. The next weekend I’m finally getting to DC to hang out with my best friend for four days. And the following weekend is trick or treating and our annual Halloween party. This is another month jam packed with opportunities for fun and memory making. I want to work really hard during the days so I can fully enjoy myself with every other part of my life this month!

That’s it for goals! I think they are all fully achievable. Hopefully I’ll be back here in four weeks to say I actually did everything on this list!

What I Watched and Listened To September 2018

September turned into a pretty big tv month as I was scrambling to find something new to watch during my workdays, while also enjoying the startup of some of my favorite shows. I also have a couple of specific podcast episodes I want to highly recommend. As usual, spoilers are probably going to happen.

TV – Alone

Bachelor in Paradise

I stuck with this one to the end. Definitely not as enticing as The Bachelorette, but I was curious enough to keep up with it. So much drama! I really can’t imagine anyone truly finding love under that odd set of circumstances. But, it’s tv.

Making It

I’m very slowly making my way through this six episode show. It’s kind of funny, kind of corny, kind of intriguing. Shepard likes to watch it with me.

Alone Together

I watched the first season of this and found it to be pretty funny. Except it bothers me how much the two main characters basically look like they should be twins. Maybe that’s the point?

Atypical

I watched the second season and really enjoyed it. This family treats autism so kindly. It’s really touching and the characters are so real. I like it a lot.

Great British Baking Show

It’s back! I’m only a couple episodes in, but it’s much fun as always! Even with a new judge and two different hosts, I still really enjoy it. Shepard too!

Shameless

Sometimes this show just kills me. Why do the characters have to constantly self sabotage themselves?! I’m curious what will happen to Fiona since she’s leaving the show. Lip is still my favorite. Ian is so messed up. Debbie is so annoying. I’m almost most intrigued by Carl because he’s the only person doing good and kind things, after such horrible character flaws the first many years of the show.

Take Two

I’ve only watched the first two episodes of this kind of ridiculous actress turned private detective drama. But I think I liked it! I’m sure it won’t be a favorite, but it’ll be a nice filler.

The Resident

I’m soooo happy this is back! It’s one of my all time favorites. That first episode of season two was a doozy! I LOVE IT.

The Good Doctor

Also really happy this is back! I like it almost as much as The Resident.

TV – Together

The Affair

We finally caught up and finished this one. Such a sad ending! Also, why can’t it just be over?! How are they possibly going to go on after Alison’s death? Literally all I have wanted out of this show was Cole and Alison getting back together and that clearly cannot happen, despite Cole realizing how much he loved her. I did really like this season, though.

Better Call Saul

I’m enjoying this too. It’s sad to see Jimmy and Kim drifting apart. But it’s nice how little they’re focusing on the drug side of things. I care much more about Jimmy/Saul.

Killing Eve

This show was so crazy! Villanelle – what a psychopath! It just made me laugh so much. I liked it a lot.

Maniac

It’s slim pickings for our together tv time right now. We started this one and it’s so bizarre. I hear you have to get through five episodes to form a true opinion. We’ve watched four so far. I was ready to quit after the first one, but the following three were much more interesting.

Movies

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

This is one of my all time favorite movies, but I probably haven’t watched it in at least eight years. The Popcast did a deep dive of it for their Patreon supporters, so I wanted to watch it with fresh eyes before listening to the episode. I was happy to see that it kind of stands the test of time. I still loved it!

Sierra Burgess is a Loser

I rather liked this high school rom com. The internet’s been going crazy over Noah Centineo in To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but I actually preferred his character in this movie. He’s a cutie!

Podcasts

Penpals: Acting Your Age & Family Traditions

I loved this episode so, so much. One minute I was laughing hysterically and the next minute I was crying listening to the family traditions half of the episode.

Rise Together: 5 Ways to Show Up for Your Partner (both episodes)

I really love this podcast and all it’s pertinent advice for married couples. I thought these two episodes were especially useful. It’s kind of like getting little therapy sessions – especially if you can get your partner to listen to it too. I’m getting a little burned out on Rachel Hollis as a realistic example of what a woman can do with her life (you can do anything when you can afford to pay for tons and tons of help!), but I’m always very interested in what she and Dave have to say about relationships.

My Dad Wrote a Porno – S4E5 ‘Turkey Sandwich?’

So you really have to listen to this podcast in its entirety, but I thought this particular episode was so fantastic because the three friends talked more about their real lives and less about the book. I SO wish they’d just do a regular podcast all the time, instead of just three months of Rocky Flintstone’s erotica. They just sound like the absolute best of friends and I love hearing about THEM and not just their reactions to the book.

Currently Reading

This is a new podcast that started last month by two members in the large facebook book club I’m in. I’m really enjoying it if you’re also looking for a podcast where people just talk about the books they’re reading!

And as always, be sure to check out:

The Popcast
Front Porch with the Fitzes
Spilled Milk
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
The Lazy Genius
The Bible Binge

I’d love to hear your recommendations for tv, movies, and podcasts!

Quick September Goals Recap

September is almost over! I realize that nobody else probably cares about all these goals and intentions posts, but it really helps me to organize my thoughts at the beginning and end of every week and month to make the most of my time and live life with as much intention as possible. For awhile I was making goals by season, but every month holds so many different priorities that I’ve switched over to just focusing on each four week block at a time. So here’s a (hopefully) quick recap on how I feel like my September goals played out!

1. Get back to routine:
– Wake up by 5:30 and get ready right away
– Start each day with a quiet time and day organization
– Use any remaining time before 6:30 to do something for myself
– Focus on the boys and school stuff until it’s time to leave
– Walk them to school and walk extra with Annie
– Get to work by 9:00 and stay focused
– Focus on the boys between school pick up and dinner
– End each day with the bullet journal, tracking, and prepping the next day

I think I did a pretty great job with this one! I never have a problem waking up early and most days I was up around 5. I had enough time to shower and get out of the bathroom before Greg woke up. I wasn’t great about it on weekends, but every weekday I’d start with a quiet and devotional time and do a bit of prepping for the day in my bullet journal. And most days I used that remaining me time to read. There were a few days I chose to get a little bit of work done in that time, but I tried to stick with things that were purely for my own enjoyment. Getting back into the school day routine was easier than ever this year. I walked them every day, except the days they rode their bikes, and a few days it was raining. And with the exception of the rain days, I also walked Annie. Not always as long or as far as I would have liked, but more than just coming straight back home. I wasn’t particularly great at getting to work at 9 because there were just so many weird days and random errands I had to run. But I did try to be done with my random internet time by 9 every day so I could focus on actually accomplishing something. I made dinnertime prep a higher priority than I put it during the summer and tried to be more emotionally available to the boys, though most days they were with their friends during that stretch. And I ended almost every day doing a little bit of journaling. Some days time got away from me and I chose to go watch tv with Greg instead of making him wait any longer. But overall, I think the routine stuff was kind of a breeze! I LOVE fall when I can finally get back into the swing of everything. Summer is too chaotic and random.

2. Focus on working

I was not super successful with this. It was a busy month. It’s hard to work at home when there are always eight million other directions my mind and energy should and could be going. Ideally I wanted to average working about 6 hours a day. I did track it and it averaged to about 3.5 hours per weekday, though really it was like three days of no work at all a week and two days of super long full day and night spans. I’d really like to be more consistent, only work during the day, and find a bit more balance between everything. But…it takes time. I didn’t write it in my goals blog post, but I also wanted to create 30 dolls in September. I made 29. I sold 21. Not too bad, but I hope to be better in the future.

3. Take care of my body
– Walk Annie at least 30 minutes a day with an extra nighttime walk
– Do the Yoga with Adriene 14 day challenge
– Eat better

I think I did better this month. I’ve been thinking a lot harder about everything I put into my body. I don’t always make the best choices, but I’m much more conscious about what I’m eating. I’m trying to streamline my daytime meals and snacks so I’m not tempted to overindulge. I’m trying to make healthier meals at night so we’re not just throwing junky things together last minute. I have a potential diet plan I MIGHT sign up for, but I wanted to be a little more lenient on myself until after my birthday next week. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to it yet. Anyway, I think I hit my walking goal most days. It’s pretty easy to get 30 minutes in. Those days were rough with the mosquitoes, though! I would have liked to have walked more and longer all of those days, but the bugs were horrific. And I totally failed at the yoga challenge. I did the first four days and then my ankles were so ridiculously sore that I could barely walk. I was also feeling really sick around day five from getting on the new blood pressure medicine and I just had to give it up. I like yoga – on occasion. Every day is too much for me. It’s definitely too much for my ankle still, seven months in.

4. Give Caden a great birthday month

I think I succeeded at this! We kept everything pretty low key this year, which really worked out. Trying to make things extravagant and super exciting never really goes over well with Caden. He likes to be home, he likes to do simple things. We had a nice small family birthday party, a very low energy video game friend birthday party, and a quiet real birthday split between playing games and going to a fall activities place. He seemed very happy with all of it.

5. Have fun!

Sometimes September really stresses me out. Oftentimes, actually. The boys are gone during the day, but they’re in horrific moods every night. I want to have great birthday parties for Caden, but it’s so stressful making sure the house is clean, the food is great, and everyone has a good time. And I’m often frustrated with myself for my inability to ever accomplish as much as I want to. But this time around – I really did have fun! I had my mini Chicago solo vacation with the added bonus of finding a great vintage market on the way, we had very low key birthday celebrations that didn’t really stress me out at all, Greg and I had a really great date night and picked out a reading chair that I’ve been wanting for like 15 years, I had a great time at Cranberry Fest with my weekends, and I kept my workload light enough that I still had lots of fun to just read, relax, and enjoy my life! Overall, it was a pretty great month!

Saturday Reflections 09.29.2018

Happy Saturday! It’s been a good week. Even though it wasn’t a SUPER productive week, I felt like I was really in the groove with everything and enjoyed myself. I like weeks like that!

Monday started with the boys biking to school on their own for the first time. I’m not sure I’ve ever let them bike at all during the school year, only once or twice during summer school. All the morning traffic going down the street they have to bike is pretty busy before and after school. But I’m trying to let them have a bit more independence and it worked out pretty well. Caden, who I expected to want to bike every day forever, was over it after day one. Shepard thinks it’s awesome, though, and I’m sure will be biking as often as possible now. The only thing I don’t like about this new freedom is that every single day we have to decide what the coming home procedure will be depending on which combination of transportation we each use in the morning. I’ve also haven’t been picking them up most days because it’s just such a huge waste of my time when they’re perfectly capable of getting home on their own. Plus it doesn’t make sense if they’re on bikes! It’s just an added little problem solving we have to not only think about, but talk about every single morning, which is already stressing me out a bit. But we’ll get used to it.

Monday is also after school clubs day. Week two, Caden still hated running club. This upcoming week he has an option to try a different class at the same time, but he’s been very noncommittal about it. I don’t want to force him to stay with it if he genuinely hates it, especially with his lego league later in the evening. But I hope he’ll give it at least one or two more weeks.

Monday was a very productive work day and I was able to get these six little Halloween dolls finished and listed by Tuesday morning, which was nice. I had time to go out and do a bunch of errands after listing, though I wasn’t feeling very good. My new blood pressure medication seems to make me feel pretty sick. I’ve had all kinds of mysterious new ailments in the week since I started taking it. I asked my doctor if there was something else I could go on and she wants me to stick with this. I’m currently testing a theory that a certain brand of coffee I’ve been drinking a lot of might also be contributing the my overall nausea, and after two days without it I’m thinking that might actually be the culprit. But I’m pretty sure my the medication is also giving me a potassium deficiency, causing all kinds of extra muscle cramps and aches this week. SIGH. I’m figuring it out. But…meh.

On Tuesday night we had a bit of a scare. We were watching one of the neighborhood boys for a few hours and he and Shepard asked if they could bike to the library together. We said sure, but an hour later when it was almost dark and they still weren’t home I was getting pretty nervous. So Greg and Caden walked to the library and they weren’t there. The next ten minutes were pretty terrifying as Greg ran back home to get his car and the neighbor got on his bike and they had to conduct a little search party around town until they found the boys on their way back home. It was so scary not knowing where they were. It really shook me up, especially since this was only the second day Shepard has had more adventurous biking privileges. But it was hard to be mad at him because he was so dang happy about the bag of books his older friend helped him pick out at the library. He normally hates to read, but he was so excited to read those books.

I spent Wednesday baking this birthday cake for my mother-in-law, Cindy. Like literally the entire day – ha! It was fun, though! I used to bake SO much, before I discovered my non-food related creative outlets. Spending an entire random day in September just giving myself over to the baking was really great! I saw this recipe a few weeks ago in my new cookbook, Bravetart. I had it mentally bookmarked as something I could possibly make for my own birthday, but decided I’d make it for Cindy instead. The recipe ended up being a lot more complicated and sciencey (SO many temperatures to follow for every single step!) than I expected, but it turned out great! 🙂

We had a pretty low key celebration as Steve and Cindy just got home from two weeks in Greece the day before. We ordered pizzas and hung out at our house for the night. It was nice to catch up after not seeing each other in awhile.

The boys had coffee for breakfast on Thursday. It was a one time special deal because we ordered this coffee from their friend’s fundraiser and they really wanted to try it. It was also Homecoming this week, though none of their dress days were particularly exciting, so I didn’t take pictures besides this day (hat day for Shepard).

It’s amazing how much older they both look with pants and hats!

Overall, Thursday was a pretty weird day. I had planned to work all day, but just couldn’t get motivated. I was tired, yet jittery. All I really wanted to do was read. Reading and prepping for Friday was really all I accomplished.

And Friday was Cranberry Fest day! My parents picked me up at 5:15 and we got to Warrens by about 6:45. Despite the original forecast of downpours, there was not a drop of rain in sight! It was definitely chillier than I was expecting, but manageable. We walked around for about five hours checking everything out and it was a lot of fun! The uneven ground was tough on my mom and I and our various physical issues, but I’d say we did pretty good overall.

My biggest and most surprising find was a new rug for our family room. I haven’t been super thrilled with the one we have because lots of kids plus dirty dog plus cream/gray/yellow colors is the perfect recipe for grungy icky looking carpet. This new one will be much better!

After Cranberry Fest we hit up Starbucks and all the Tomah shops we like to go to. Then headed over to LaCrosse for a few shops and our annual trip to Ulta. We usually always get HuHot for dinner, but this is the year we ate more food at Cranberry Fest and none of us were hungry enough for unlimited Mongolian bbq. We finished the day in the Dells at the craft barn and then had a late night dinner at new deli. Despite the physical pains, I think it was a really good day! I always have so much fun on our Cranberry Fest trips. Most years we go Friday and Saturday, but I think just going the once this year was about all we could handle. I definitely don’t feel like I missed out on anything, though. Perfect amount of time at every location!

Here’s most of what I bought. Last year I just got dip and two candles, so I guess I was much more successful this year! I also bought the rug, and a couple of Christmas gifts, and an antler for Annie. The cannoli and donut and bag on the right are also dog treats. 🙂

It was hard to get a good picture of the colors, but it matches this room perfectly! The browns match the furniture, the tan matches the wall, the blues match the ottoman and footstools. It’s like it was made for that room!

Greg was not super thrilled that I bought it, but then he found the exact rug on amazon for $500 (I paid $125), so I think he’s okay with it now… I like that it now perfectly matches the more mint green ottoman I got a few weeks ago online and thought was going to be more teal.

Anyway, that was my week! Today I’m  just in recovery mode. My legs are so sore from all the walking on bumpy grass yesterday. I’m also so cold today, it’s hard to be productive. We’re not a family to turn the heat on in September. But…after our first freeze last night, it’s pretty dang cold today! I’ve mostly just been reading and napping and doing a little bit of cleaning. I’m trying to get motivated enough to run over to the apple orchard, but I haven’t mustered it up yet. But I’m running out of time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Do you have to work??

Last night I was on a desperate mission to finish a batch of Halloween dolls. With Cranberry Fest coming up on Friday I’ve been feeling the urgency to get as many sales as possible this week, earning a bit more fun money for my disposal while I wander around on this annual unique shopping experience.

Earlier in the day yesterday I was using a pair of scissors that was screwed way too tight and left me barely able to use my thumb by afternoon. It sounds so pathetic that maybe fifteen minutes of using a tight scissors somehow destroyed my thumb. How old am I?! I feel like I’m constantly falling apart. Anyway, Greg was trying to convince me to rest last night and that work could wait. I vehemently disagreed with him and powered on. How can I rest when there is ALWAYS so much that needs to be done?

I was finishing up my batch of dolls, despite the pain, while watching The Great British Baking Show. That’s one of the only shows I watch while I work on evenings or weekends because it’s basically the only one that’s kid appropriate. And Shepard loves it. So he came in after playing outside for an hour or two to join me in the final ten minutes. I was so exhausted and hurting and still anxious to fold all the laundry before I finally dropped to sleep. As the show came to a close Shepard begged me to watch the next one. I said no, I can only watch while I work. And he responded in the most confused and sad voice, “Do you have to work?? Can’t you just watch?” I immediately said that no, I only watch tv while I work because I have to be productive. I closed my laptop and went upstairs to work on the laundry.

I was on such a mission to just get one more thing done last night that it didn’t really hit me until the middle of the night when I was up with Shepard while he had a migraine how much of a terrible example I was setting for him. On one hand yes, having a good work ethic is important. And I think it’s important for my kids to see that I have been able to successfully run my own business, while also being home with them for their entire childhood. But I also might be setting the example that work is more important than anything else. That fun, even at 7pm after already putting in 13 hours of nonstop work, isn’t allowed. How much would it have hurt me to put off the laundry to today while I snuggled with him on the new comfy chair to watch the next episode?

I would have shown him in a tangible way that spending time with him is more important. Especially considering how little time my kids actually WANT to spend with me in the first place. I could have created a sweet memory for us both instead of pushing him away and insisting that ticking things off my to do list is the only thing that really matters. I made the wrong choice last night and I regret it. No, I don’t always need to work. I just need to remember that.

Caden’s 10th Birthday and Weekend Reflections 09.23.2018

What a crazy week! I’m so exhausted right now I’m not even sure how much sense this blog post will make. I’ve been feeling a bit ragged these last few days. Birthday season is exhausting! But it’s been fun too. Here’s a somewhat quick recap of the week!

On Sunday morning we had Caden’s family party. I made a big donut tower as his cake and the main food. I also served apple cheddar scones, cheesy hashbrowns, bacon, and sausage.

My mom brought yogurt and fruit and granola to add a bit of a healthy element to our meal. 🙂

We got to have some Hudson time at the party! He can walk now, so that’s pretty exciting. He’s so dang adorable!

It was a fun party! Everyone cleared out around noon to watch the Packer game – we have no way to play it, we’re not football people. But Caden was happy to spend the rest of the day gaming. We’ve been trying a new rule this school year where they aren’t supposed to have screens during the week, but can pretty much play whenever they want during the weekend. That’s probably not super healthy either, but it’s kind of nice not constantly fighting over the logistics of every gaming session. Those “negotiations” all summer pretty much did me in.

Monday was an errand day for me, and then the first night of Running Club and Lego League for Caden. As much as he LOVED the summer school Running Club, he hates this one. It was also crazy hot and humid on Monday, so I’m hoping when it’s much cooler tomorrow he’ll enjoy it more. This is a year long thing that I don’t want to force him into if he truly hates it, but we’re hoping he gives it a few more weeks before making a decision. This is the first year either of them have shown any interest whatsoever in after school activities, so if he keeps up with even one of them I think I’ll be happy.

Tuesday was a work day. Pretty uneventful otherwise.

Wednesday was busy. The first late start of the year and then I had my first appointment with an internal medicine doctor to discuss my high blood pressure. I was put on meds while I start working on having a healthier lifestyle and hopefully eventually not needing the meds indefinitely. The appointment gave me a lot to think about. I have mixed feelings on all of it. I’m not going to get into it today.

I spent Wednesday afternoon book browsing and hanging out at a few of my favorite stores while I waited for Greg to finish working. I had dropped him off before my appointment because we had a big date night planned and it seemed dumb to drive two cars to Madison when we were starting our days within a mile of each other. My mom took care of the boys at night so we could stay out as long as we wanted.

The main objective of our date night was to try and find a big comfy chair for my birthday present. I’ve been wanting a chair like this basically my entire adult life. We’ve just never had room for one. But I had a corner spot ready in the living room and reallllllly wanted one and Greg said it was time. I was actually surprised at how many chairs like this we found! They’re called chair and a halfs, apparently. It was huge. I really liked the very first one we found, but we decided on this one at the fourth store we went to. I’m actually pretty surprised I found one at all that I liked enough to buy. I am very furniture picky! But I loved it.

We had dinner then at an Indian restaurant in Middleton. Because we’re practically the same person sometimes, I ordered chicken vindaloo and Greg ordered beef vindaloo. With garlic naan. It was all delicious!

We ended our date with a stop at Marshall’s. I had planned to go here earlier in the day, but sadly, there was as terrible shooting in the area earlier in the day. If I had gotten out of my doctor’s appointment earlier, I would have been there when it happened. It definitely added a sobering layer to the day, but we had a good night out. I hope we can start having more elaborate date nights like this more often than just for special occasions.

On Thursday morning I had a haircut. Once again my stylist didn’t go as short as I had asked. But at least it holds a curl again. I wish I liked my hair. It just always looks horrific if I don’t curl it or put it up. I don’t really like the way it looks up either. I don’t think there’s ever been a point in my life when I liked my hair.

I finished up my first batch of Halloween dolls Thursday afternoon. So cute!

I made some jumbo cookies for Caden’s class treat on Friday. Then I spent most of the day getting ready for his friend party in the afternoon.

We decided to have a super low key birthday party this year with just the neighborhood kids and one extra friend. The main goal of the party was to play Minecraft together. They never left this room! Such a nice difference from Shepard’s last party where the kids screamed, ran, and destroyed our house every single minute they were here. We’ve decided we’re only doing video game parties from now on!

He picked a dirt cake for this birthday dessert. I got away without making a single cake this year! Kid birthday cakes are my most hated things to bake.

Things got a bit wild at present time. Caden’s friends picked out some great gifts, though! They know him really well. And I appreciate that they took an interest and picked things out themselves that they knew he would like. I can never get my kids to show any interest in any birthday gifts they’re supposed to pick out. As a love language gift giver person, it almost kills me how little they care!

Friends!

I took a spontaneous trip to the farmer’s market early Saturday morning. I love the fall markets so much, but they also overwhelm me. I want to buy everything, but I don’t want to CARRY everything. I only ended up buying a cantaloupe, peppers, and carrots. And I picked up some bagels for a birthday breakfast. When I got back home our chair was in the lawn! They gave us a window of it being delivered between 8 and 6. Greg got an email at 7:40 that it had arrived (except he was still sleeping). Pretty funny sight to come home to! I figured we’d have to recruit a neighbor or two to help us get it in the house, but we actually squished it through just the two of us pretty smoothly!

Because the weather finally cooled off and the mosquitoes disappeared (hopefully for good!), I ran Annie to the dog park for an hour while Greg gt the chair legs on. This thing is massive, guys. I knew it was bigger than what I had originally envisioned, but I didn’t think it was going to take up the entire length of wall I had available! Well, I had wanted it angled so I could still see the little bookcase I had against this wall, but that just looked ridiculous. So after a bunch of going back and forth on arrangements and lamp options, we ended up with this. I think it looks pretty good.

I had to move over my falling apart cookbook shelf to make room for the little one next to it. This looks pretty dumb! But I don’t have any more wall space, in any room, for my bookshelf and I refuse to get rid of it! I had a fun time going through all my books again to get rid of ones I don’t want and rearranging by color.

Everyone had to check out the new chair!

It’s very cozy!

The chair is right where Annie used to have a dog bed, so I think she thinks we got this just for her. Rory liked it so much that he joined her on the chair in the evening!! Those two NEVER go by each other. (I should say, Rory never willingly stays by Annie.)

Annie snuggling some more this morning while Caden spent his morning doing games in the other room.

Present time! I realize this looks like an insane amount of presents, but I promise it was all really little things I’ve just been picking up here and there. We couldn’t commit to anything big he might have liked, so I’ve just been on the lookout for small things he might enjoy. It was a lot of used books, Harry Potter brickheadz, sunflower seeds, and snacks. He seemed pretty happy with all of it. Again, he’s not much of a gift person – giving or receiving.

He was pretty disappointed to see that he’s only grown an inch in the last year. He used to be one of the tallest kids in his grade and now all of his friends have passed him up.

We had tacos for lunch (also what we had Friday night) and peanut butter bars for his official birthday dessert.

To get out of the house for a bit on this beautiful day, we tried out a new fall fun place called Enchanted Valley Acres in Cross Plains. It was a bit of a drive, but fun to do something different.

We went during the Packer game so it would be less crowded. There were so many activities. I think the human hamster wheels were their favorite. There was also a huge 200 foot slide.

As is often the case, they both got fixated on something and it kind of ruined their ability to have fun. First it was Caden needing a drink and thinking he was going to die until he had one. There was a Hawaiian ice food truck set up so they each got one of those and then they got obsessed with wanting to do the gem mining, which is of course extra money. Finally they were satisfied with just playing in the water.

I liked this giant corn pit type thing.

The guys ended our trip going in the corn maze and I got my own Hawaiian ice. Corn mazes are not my thing. My ankle had also had enough of bumpy ground at that point.

The rest of the birthday has been pretty low key. Lots more video games. They took a short bike ride. They talked to most of the relatives via video chat. And Greg picked up Chinese food for dinner. At the moment I think he’s feeling very overtired, but it was a good day. It’ll be a long time before he has another weekend birthday.

Sunday Intentions

Another busy week ahead as September festivities continue. Greg’s parents are making their way back from Greece and we’ll be celebrating Cindy’s birthday at some point. I’m hoping for one kind of fun errand day – I might see a movie – on Tuesday, and working as hard as I can Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And Friday I’m off to Cranberry Fest as the crack of dawn with my parents. Always one of my favorite days of the year, so I’m very excited!

My only real intention for the week is to try and enjoy life. I get really caught up in how many things need to be done every day and am often feeling stressed and overwhelmed. But this is the best time of the year and I want to enjoy it! I’m definitely really behind at my seasonal doll making, but I don’t want doll making to take over my life the way it has in the past. So…if I get a lot done, that’s great. If I don’t, it simply means I was doing more important life work. I’ll survive either way.

Have a good week!

Saturday Reflections 09.15.2018

We made it through the second week of school with a lot fewer breakdowns! I’d say this has probably been the easiest transitional beginning school period we’ve ever had. Which is surprising with Caden at a new school and Shepard without his big brother to depend on. I’ve even had a pretty easy time transitioning into my own routines again, without feeling like my life has drastically changed. I like it!

Unfortunately, it still wasn’t quite a “normal” week. September is never normal since I’m usually preparing for birthday parties on more than one weekend. Which basically means a ton of running around trying to gather everything I need. My sewing always falls to the wayside, which is frustrating, but I don’t really know what to do about it. I think I just need to accept I’m never going to be as productive as I hope to be in September. Hopefully I can make up for it in October?

On Monday, I began my morning with that two week yoga challenge. It felt great to get it over with first thing in the morning and I was loving how I felt. But by Wednesday I was getting super sore, mostly my ankles, and wasn’t sure if I should power through or not. I don’t think I was actually injuring myself, but it was getting a lot harder to walk and feel good. By the end of the week I wasn’t feeling the greatest either, so the last few days have been very half-hearted attempts. I really want to complete this challenge, but I lost my enthusiasm for it after four days.

I tried going for another long walk after getting the boys to school, but that hasn’t gone very well either this week. The stupid mosquitoes!! There are honestly like twenty mosquitoes on your body at all times the second you walk out the door. It’s an absolute nightmare. And it makes me want to cry how beautiful the weather has otherwise been, but we’re all missing it because the mosquitoes are out to kill. 🙁 And poor Annie! She’s only getting out to the bathroom the absolute bare minimum of times every day, with almost no additional exercise. I walk her with us to school every morning, but then I rush her home as fast as possible because every time she stops to sniff or go to the bathroom, I’m attacked by ten times more mosquitoes. She probably feels like she’s being punished.

I ran to Walmart for some groceries and then stopped at my mom’s to drop off a few condolence gifts I picked up in Chicago. We had coffee together and then I came back home to try and catch up on all kinds of random stuff I had waiting for me. I hung up this big sign I got at the vintage market at the bottom of my stairs – I love it! I was going to hang up my colorful signs in my sewing room too, but realized they didn’t come with any picture hanger thingys. So I need to figure out where to buy those before they can get on the wall.

The rest of Monday I napped, worked a little bit, Greg took Caden to his first Lego League – an hour late because I never got the memo the time changed – and just laid around because I wasn’t feeling that good. I really haven’t been feeling the greatest all week. Not sick enough to be bedridden or anything, but enough to make every job a little harder and motivation much harder to muster up.

Tuesday I was bound and determined to actually get some work done. But I also had yoga, quiet time, school send off, errands at the post office and library, and I stopped in at a local morning coffee, but people who said they would be there were not and I was frustrated and sick of how often people think my time is invaluable, so I left. I don’t have time for people that waste my time anymore. Or time for people that have zero interest in maintaining a friendship. I went back home and worked, worked, worked, and still went to bed feeling incredibly frustrated with how little I actually got done. I feel like I used to sew so much faster! Am I being more of a perfectionist now? Or am I just plain slower??

I ordered this new bench ottoman type thing from Kohl’s with a bunch of Kohl’s cash I needed to use last week. It ended up being super cheap. I was hoping it would fit in our bedroom, but there’s definitely no space for any extra furniture. So I put it in the family room, hoping it might make the space a little happier. Instead it just looks more cluttered than ever. I’m really not a fan of that room. But I don’t know what to do to make it any better. It serves as our dining room, our main living/tv watching/video game playing space, the electronic charging station, the room we walk in and out of all the time and dump all of our shoes, coats, and bags, Greg’s office area, and where Annie’s kennel and toys and food are kept. How do you arrange a room that has to fit so many purposes? Anyway, the boys and pets love the new stool. I’d like it more if they’d actually keep it in one spot. I don’t know why everything I neatly arrange has to be moved and cluttered about two minutes after I arrange it EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I went to the fall opening of one of my favorite stores, Twisted Sisters, on Wednesday morning. I’m finding that I like the things they sell there less and less, but I always enjoy looking around. I ended up buying a few stems of fake fall flowers. Then back home to work.

On Wednesday evening we met Greg’s parents at the new restaurant/bowling alley/arcade in town, Fast Lanes. We were celebrating Caden’s birthday with them because they’re off to Greece for the next two weeks and won’t be around for the party. I’ve been dying to check the restaurant out since it opened. I ended up just ordering the basic chicken sandwich and garlic tater tots. My only complaint is that none of the food was very hot, but it still tasted good.

We came back to our house for presents and cupcakes. Caden was super excited about a new video game and his very own RED portable charger! We’ve reached the age where gifts are much smaller in size and much bigger dents in the wallet!

His first 10th birthday dessert. It was a fun night!

Thursday was another big work day. I’m hoping maybe if I force myself to work and only work 2-3 days a week it will ease up some of the guilt I feel on busier days. It still wasn’t super productive, though, because I was super tired. Getting up at 4:30 every day to fit in my full morning routine is awesome, but I always pay for it by late morning which sucks. I forget how productive I was in those early hours and just end up mad at myself for how little I got done later on.

I was originally planning to go to that Madison Night Market, which looked so awesome. But by afternoon I was really feeling like my time would better be spent working and getting ready for the big weekend. Plus, it kind of sucks always going to these events by myself. I just wasn’t up for another one. Anyway, Greg offered to pick up a pizza from the other new restaurant in town, James Street Pizza. I was a little annoyed to see that they don’t let you change anything on any of their menu pizzas. (Almost all of them had onions, which is pretty much the most annoying topping to have to try and dig out before eating and we both hate them.) We could have built our own, but it would have been New York Style, and I really wanted to try their Old World Style with the fresh mozzarella. So we landed on the least offensive pizza choice and I just picked off the sausage. I think it would have tasted amazing with some pepperoni, but I did really like the pizza otherwise!

This is Caden’s new favorite reading position. Annie had to try it out on Friday morning. 🙂

I woke up super early on Friday, but was really stressed about my lack of doll progress, so I used the morning to work instead of do yoga. I wasn’t feeling very well all day, so it’s the first day I skipped a video completely. There was just so much to do! Shepard decided to pull a fake out sick tantrum when we got to school so Greg gave in and let him come home. Except he admitted like two minutes later he didn’t want to go to school because they had a substitute teacher who is really mean. TOTALLY faking the sickness. I was pretty livid, but I also had party running errands I needed to do, so I left Greg to deal with it. He ended up bringing Shepard back to school mid morning.

My main mission Friday was to get a ton of different donut holes and pick up everything else I needed for Caden’s birthday party without needing to run back out last minute. I think I succeeded! (I have two more hours to realize I might have forgotten something.) Then back home, a nap, and more work.

The facebook book club I’m in is doing a fall readathon this weekend. Despite it not being the best of weekends to making reading a priority, I decided to join in the fun because there was no hour requirement this time around. And I’m actually really glad I decided to partake because it’s made this weekend so much more fun and relaxing than it could have been! With a lot of Greg’s help doing house cleaning, I’ve had more time than ever to just read the last two days. I think that mentally I really needed to put my dolls aside and only focus on party prep and reading. I kind of want to do this every weekend now. It’s been great doing all the facebook related prompts too, with the reading group. I love being around other book lovers, even if it’s only through my computer.

Saturday was the big party prep day. Again, I was planning to go to the farmer’s market, but made the decision to skip out. Maybe next Saturday. Hopefully next Saturday. 🙂 This was the right choice, though. The boys had some friends over and at first we said they couldn’t come inside because we were cleaning. The mosquitoes were eating them alive, so then we said they could come in if they helped clean. Which they all willingly did, which was kind of hilarious.

We’re taking it pretty easy with this breakfast themed birthday party, so the only real baking I had to do was making apple cheddar scones. I also had to make a couple packages of bacon, cheesy hashbrowns, and sausage. Lots of little prep, but nothing unmanageable or stressful. Caden’s birthday cake is this donut “croquembouche.” (Thanks for the idea, Great British Baking Show!) It turned out pretty well!

Anyway, I’m off now to finish everything up for the party and then HAVE the party. More later!!