Sunday Intentions 04.15.2018

Is it just me, or do weekend days seem to last ten times longer than weekdays? It never ceases to amaze me how long Saturdays and Sundays feel compared to the zipping by of school days. It’s not always a bad thing – I somehow get so much more done on weekends, despite all the distractions and chaos. But I’m always pretty happy when Sunday night rolls around and I can start gearing up for another week!

As a side note, I made these bagels for lunch today. Besides allowing for time to rise, they were super easy! The only thing I did differently was use a premade Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning instead of mixing up the one in the recipe. Bagels always feel like they might be the hardest thing ever to make, but they turned out perfectly! I whipped up a jalapeno cream cheese to go with them (cream cheese, jalapenos, garlic, salt, pepper).

So, this week! It’s not quite as busy as last week, which I’m thankful for. I have physical therapy on Monday and Wednesday. The pain with walking has become even worse today, so I haven’t done a whole lot. I decided it was better to wait and ask the therapist tomorrow if this is normal before pushing myself harder. I guess on the positive side, my ROM exercises seem to be going better. It almost feels good to be stretching my ankle around. I know it’ll get better as time goes on, but it’s as much of an emotional battle as it is physical. I’ll get there. Maybe I’ll be much more excited about walking when I can go outside and be distracted by fresh air and the real world. Stupid inches of ice and slush and snow ruined those plans for now!

The only other big thing happening this week is that I’m starting a Craft Night of sorts. I’m hoping it’ll be a social yet productive bi-weekly occurrence with a group of friends who like to be creative. I really struggle to write about friendships on here because the majority of people who read this are people I know in real life. But friendship is something I think about and agonize over ALL THE TIME. The short summary of those thoughts is that I wish I had better friendships. I wish I could be myself with people, be accepted, and grow closer to people. I wish my friends felt the same way as me and I didn’t end up feeling guilty or shamed every time I ask them to share some of their limited free time with me. Planning this craft night was a huge step of faith that maybe I can grow some of those friendships. Nobody has to come every time, nobody needs to commit to anything major. Just a few hours of talking and laughing while we work independently on our own arts or crafts projects. As of right now, none of the people I invited have said they plan to come. But…I’m going to go through with it anyway. At least for a few months and see what happens. Maybe it’ll be a bust. But maybe it won’t be. We’ll see… (If I didn’t send you an initial invite and we’re friends and you’re interested in coming, let me know! 🙂 )

I suppose my highest priority for the week should be working on my walking skills! Which I’m not terribly excited about. But it needs to happen if I’m ever going to get better. It’s hard to still feel like healing is my most important job when I’m mentally feeling so much better and want to do everything. So I need to remember to focus on my ROM exercises, focus on walking, take naps and rests when I need them – no matter what feels more pressing at the time.

Second priority is work! I couldn’t settle on what to make next, so I’m making a whole slew of dolls. Which is never a good idea because I get overwhelmed and stressed out, instead of enjoying the creative process. But…I’m so antsy to catch up with everything I’ve missed these last two months! Especially now that I decided to have that big five year celebration on May 3rd. The next 2-3 weeks are going to be packed with sewing hours.

Basically, I just want to start getting my life back in order this week. Today I took out my bullet journal and set it up again. I loved doing it so much those first three months of the year, but it was impossible to keep up with after my ankle break. I want to get back into it. To do lists, meal planning, tracking of every sort. It makes me happy, so it’s going to happen.

Meal Plans (vaguely)

Monday – Pretzel Crusted Chicken and Potatoes and Jalapeno Cheddar Bread (I’m feeling ambitious)

Tuesday – Clean the freezer day?

Wednesday – Grilled Cheese (at home date night)

Thursday – Something crock pot made…soup?

Friday – BBQ Pizza

Have a good week!!

Saturday Reflections 04.14.2018

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Another week down on this rotten emotional rollercoaster. It’s gotten old, folks. Just when I feel like things are getting better, I get knocked right back down again. This week was supposed to bring me a lot of hope and optimism. And I did get good news with the surgeon. But I’m ending the week feeling overwhelmingly discouraged.

Monday was a pretty good day. I’m one of those people that LOVES Mondays. Getting back into a routine (i.e. sending everyone back to school and work!), jumping back into my projects, and basically just enjoying some silence after what is always an inevitably long and stressful weekend. I spent the day working and the evening out with my friend Laura. We were going to check out a new restaurant, but I stupidly read the website wrong and it turned out being closed. 🙁 We ended up at a different Mexican restaurant which was delicious too, but I’m anxious to get back to the originally planned place – when it’s open!

I begged Laura to take me to Walmart after we ate. I was so desperate to get to a store without Greg and kids following me around. We spent a really long time strolling all the aisles while I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to pick out food that impulsively sounded good to me. It was great to get out, but it also really whet my appetite for shopping on my own again. I miss it SO MUCH. It’s so hard even to find a time to shop with Greg. We’re so busy during the week, and the stores feel too busy to tackle on the weekend with kids and a scooter. I miss Target. I miss Woodman’s. I miss thrift stores and antique malls and crafty stores. But Walmart was nice. 🙂 I truly appreciate her understanding my need to get out of the house and talk to someone other than my family for a night!

Tuesday was fairly uneventful. I had another physical therapy session that just involved an incision/foot/leg massage and some stretching. I worked the rest of the day. We had an at home date night and I made another batch of curry.

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Wednesday was the big day! Six week post op with the surgeon. As we saw on my x-ray, the bones are healing very well. You can just faintly see the lines where the breaks were. The third break was on the other side, but they didn’t put in any kind of hardware for that fix. The doctor also pointed out that little sliver of bone between the ankle and foot bones is a chip from one of the breaks that they failed to remove. It shouldn’t cause any problems, though. Anyway – the good news is that the bones are healed. Now I just need to recover from the sprain. I got the go ahead to start weight bearing. He wasn’t specific about percentages or a timeline, but expects that within 2-4 weeks I should be able to walk without the crutches. That felt really soon! So great news that I SHOULD be able to do it. I just failed to realize at that moment how HARD it’s going to be to get there.

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Greg had to go into work after my appointment, so I spent the day with my furry babes. It was National Pet Day, so I stalked them until I could get a cute picture of each of them. I love my pets so much! They all have such different and distinct personalities. Annie is my best companion, Rory is my snuggliest cuddler, and Jack is the one who wants to be by me, but only if I don’t show him too much attention. They all make me so happy.

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On Wednesday night, Shepard finally won a battle that involved him buying his own hand saw and leather gloves… Caden’s friend a few houses down recently got his own saw. I haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but apparently it’s quite large and double bladed. Shepard has been DESPERATE to get one for himself. I didn’t realize “we” were seriously contemplating letting a seven year old own a saw, but Greg took him to the hardware store and they came home with this. Apparently this is the wood blade and it comes with a second that will cut through metal… Shepard was quite proud of himself, though I’m hoping the novelty wears off pretty quickly! He can only use it with an adult present and it’s hiding from him the rest of the time. But still. Danger danger!

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Thursday was perhaps the biggest of days because I had my first weight bearing physical therapy appointment. Greg had a work event, so my mom brought me and sneakily took a photo. I’m glad I was wearing something nice since I posted this picture all over the place!! 😀 I wasn’t really sure what to expect at my session, but it ended up being pretty intense. I had a different therapist (and the one I’ll see the most often) and she seems much more hardcore than the lady I’ve had the last three times. The first thing she asked me was why I was on my scooter. I was trying to explain that I hadn’t done ANY weight bearing yet, but she didn’t seem to really understand. It was very clear she expected me to be on my crutches at all times. Does she realize how far it is from the door of the hospital all the way back to the physical therapy area?! Anyway, I guess it went fairly well. I did some sort of pedal machine and then was told to just start walking with these handrails. I was putting most of the weight on my wrists when stepping down with my bad foot (which I was also scolded for), but I went back and forth a bunch and then up and down a hallway on my crutches. I learned more ROM exercises and got a brief incision massage. It was rough! I didn’t feel like I was dying, but it really wore me out. And creeped me out to see how much I was swelling before my eyes as she twisted my ankle in every direction at the end. I’m sure having a tough therapist will be good for me in the end. But it was a bit of a shock this first time. I was not prepared.

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The boys had an open house and ten year anniversary celebration at their school Thursday night. We met the grandparents at Burger King for a quick dinner and then headed over to school. Caden was excited to show us the sign he made.

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Caden at his desk. He’s so good at smiling.

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Shepard at his desk. They were both so excited to show everything off to us.

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It was a really nice event! I’m so happy that we chose to take the path of this charter school. It ended up fitting the personalities and interests of our kids so perfectly. I’m really sad that in less than two months Caden will be moving on to middle school. (Yes, middle school in fourth grade.) We’ve had nothing but good experiences with DCS.

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Friday was a big work day. I finished up these three Mother’s Day dolls and three secret dolls. I decided to have a big of a grand re-opening in tandem with my five year anniversary of doing Heartstring Annie at the beginning of May. My goal is to have quite a stack of new and unique dolls to list on the actual anniversary, May 3rd. But I also want to consistently be putting out pertinent Mother’s Day and teacher gift dolls before that, keeping interest up and sales coming in. I think the next few weeks are going to be jam packed with extra work hours, trying to fit it all in. But I think I’m up for it.

And finally, Friday night and all of today have kind of been back to meltdown city. We’re having our never ending struggles with behavioral issues in a certain child. I’m pretty resolved to the fact that this is just our lives and it’s never, ever going to change. Nine straight years of it is a pretty good indicator this is who he is and the older, stronger, and more vocal he becomes, the worse it’s going to be. I thought we had a bit of a breakthrough last night with actually talking some things out, and then it was a thousand times worse in the morning, as if last night never even happened. It’s so discouraging. And it’s SO hard to deal with on top of everything else going on right now. Child number two has had many extremely difficult days since I broke my ankle too. Though I’m pretty sure that’s a direct correlation to the change in our family dynamic with me not being able to do as much. So hopefully those problems will soon come to the end. The other stuff, though… It feels hopeless.

The promise of being able to walk within 2-4 weeks also feels hopeless. I probably only spent 5-10 minutes actually walking  with my crutches yesterday and it hurt SO BAD ALL DAY. I don’t feel like it hurt that much when I was at therapy on Thursday, but maybe because I had an audience and wasn’t as in tune to the pain? Yesterday was awful, though. And I can’t decide if this is normal and I need to push through it, or if I genuinely should not be putting weight on yet. I’m pretty sure the therapist thought I should be using the crutches to partial weight bear at all times now. Which I’m definitely not doing. I couldn’t even work up the energy to try a simple walk until after 11 today. It feels too hard. I don’t think I can do it. I genuinely feel like I’m never going to be able to walk again. And that’s terrifying. I don’t know if I have it in me to do this.

There’s also just this constant frustration with always needing things that are too far away. I need to be wearing my boot if I’m on my crutches – absolutely no weight on it yet without the boot. But I need my boot off multiple times a day to do my ROM exercises. Plus my whole leg is just so much more comfortable without the boot on. I need the crutches whenever I go upstairs, but I can’t carry the crutches with me when I crawl up (and I’m not ready to attempt going up a full flight upright yet). I’m allowed to sleep without my boot, but then when I wake up in the morning and need to go to the bathroom, I can’t put my boot on because the velcro is so loud and will wake everyone up. So I try to quietly hop to the bathroom, but nothing about using crutches or hopping is quiet. I should probably be wearing a shoe to even up my hips a little better when I am walking, but I hate wearing a shoe in the house as much as I hate wearing a boot. And I need to wear a sock with a shoe, but I can’t wear a sock around the house on its own because the floors are too slippery and I risk falling. Meanwhile my knee is rubbed completely raw and shredded from using the scooter and crawling up stairs (and sometimes around the second floor when my crutches aren’t up there). Which is painful, but is also super itchy. But you can’t scratch at already shredded skin. And the biggest obstacle – if I’m on my crutches, I’m still putting most of the weight on my wrists – so I definitely don’t even have a spare finger to try and carry anything. Everything I do on the second floor of the house is on my crutches. Gathering my clothes, trying to put things away, just bringing my phone to my room is a nearly impossible feat. And my wrist pain! I have been prone to severe wrist pain ever since I was a teenager and this is doing nothing to help those problems. It’s all just this CONSTANT string of problems and complications and obstacles and it feels like TOO MUCH. I hate this. All of it!

Anyway, to top all of that off – the weather is horrendous right now. Freezing rain, sleet, awful winds. If I could at least practice my weight bearing on a walk around the block, it would be so much better! But there’s no way I’m risking slipping and breaking another ankle right now! Also, Greg and the boys were supposed to spend the day at Great America tomorrow, but that’s definitely not happening with a high of 36 and snow in the forecast. When is spring going to come?! This is absolutely miserable. I’m so tired of being cold and trapped.

Well, that was my week. Sorry about the big vent at the end. I was just really expecting this to be easier once I could start walking a bit. It’s not. And I don’t know when it will be. But life goes on. I’ll dig deep and get the motivation I need to get through this. Somehow. 🙂

Sunday Intentions 04.08.2018

It’s a big week! The busiest week I’ve had in a very long time. I’m a little nervous about everything, but it should hopefully be a good week! It will also hopefully bring some good news!

Monday is (I think) the only day I’ll be home alone, and I am SO looking forward to a day of quiet. Weekends seem to last forever and both of my kids have become experts at screeching and whining every waking minute and I am so ready for some peace! I started some dolls tonight, so I’m hoping to have a big work day tomorrow. After my leprechaun sales on Friday I’m feeling a lot more motivated to keep up the pace.

I’m super excited about tomorrow night because I’m going out to a new restaurant I’ve been wanting to try with my friend Laura. I begged her to take me to Walmart afterward so I can actually do a little shopping “on my own.” I’ve only been to three stores since I broke my ankle and all of those trips had my family with me and it was a wee bit chaotic. I’m looking forward to friend time, but also a chance to impulsively pick out food I actually want to eat. Breakfasts and lunches have been pretty rough since I’ve been back on my own these last few weeks. Greg was really good at constantly giving me healthy food when he was taking care of me and now I basically live on grilled cheese and popcorn.

On Tuesday I have my next physical therapy appointment, but I’m pretty certain I’ll just be getting my incisions massaged again. And we have an at home date night while the boys go to Grandma’s for the evening. I’ll have to think of something tasty to make for dinner. (Much of my life now revolves around food.)

Wednesday is the big day! Six weeks post ORIF surgery. I have an x-ray and then an appointment with the surgeon. Hopefully my healing will look great and I can move on to partial weight bearing. I am cautiously optimistic that my physical limitations might improve after I see him. Though I’ve been thinking about it and my limitations might actually get worse because I’ll need to use my crutches all the time, instead of relying on the scooter. I’m not entirely sure what “partial weight bearing” means, but I assume I’ll need both arms on my crutches for all my practice walking. Which means no hands free for anything again… But it’s obviously a huge step in the right direction and will hopefully only be for a couple of weeks. If we find out that I haven’t healed properly or I have to wait any longer, I’m probably going to be devastated. I am SO anxious to move on with my real life again.

Thursday will be my first REAL physical therapy appointment where I can hopefully start putting weight on my leg! I’ll need to spend however long learning how to walk again, and eventually start doing strength training to build up my muscles. It’s crazy how much of your muscle disappears when you don’t use it for six weeks. My leg looks freaky. I have twice a week therapy scheduled through the end of May, for now.

Thursday night is a big open house and ten year celebration for the school the boys go to. I’m excited to actually head into public again. The public filled with people I actually know. I’ve felt so crazy disconnected from all things school related since I broke my ankle. Greg packs lunches and snacks, Greg checks homework, Greg fills out field trip slips, Greg occasionally walks them to or from school when he’s around. The only aspect of school I take care of is sitting on the couch and repeatedly reminding the boys to put everything in their backpacks every morning. In some ways it’s been kind of nice not to be so immersed in it all. But it also makes me feel like a major slacker parent. It’ll be good to get to school and see what they’ve been working on.

Everything quiets down after that. Friday I’ll probably be taking a nap! It’s a busy week. Leaving the house four days in a row – and twice on Thursday! – makes me a bit nervous. But it’ll be good. I need to start working up stamina for getting out again.

So, no real priorities for my week. I want to be rested enough to enjoy all of my outings and therapy. I’d like to sew when I have the chance. Having a batch of dolls to work on really gives me a focus I think I’m starting to desperately need again. When I don’t have anything pressing demanding my attention I start to feel restless and depressed and frustrated. I need to remember the things I CAN do and actually do them. It makes me a much happier person.

Have a great week! I’ll try to write an update on Wednesday, hopefully with good news!!

Saturday Reflections 04.07.2018

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It’s almost been a full six weeks since I fell and broke my ankle. Things are definitely looking brighter as I can do – and WANT to do – a whole lot more than I could those early days. But it also comes with a ton of frustration and anger because actually following through on those intentions is a lot of work. I miss everything I used to take for granted and complain about. I hate how many limitations I have. It’s such an emotional rollercoaster every single day. It’s gotten old.

Monday was a pretty high pain day. I think I overdid it from our date night Friday, Easter festivities on Saturday, and actual Easter on Sunday. Just so much moving around and never really being in very comfortable positions. All I managed to do was write an Easter blog post and rest up. I also decided that we NEEDED to book some sort of anniversary getaway, even for a single night. I didn’t want this to be the first year we didn’t celebrate. All my medical bills are forcing us out of actual vacation possibilities for the year, but I needed SOMETHING to look forward to or I would just be angry and resentful for the entire month of May. So! We were able to find a good Groupon and booked a night away on our actual anniversary. It’s not much, but we’ll make the most of it. It gives me something to look forward to.

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Tuesday was Jack and Rory’s 13th birthday! We picked them out as tiny babies a year before we got married. They’ve been around for basically our entire adult lives. Such cutie pies.

The weather was awful on Tuesday. I don’t think spring is ever going to show up this year. It was gloomy and filled with rain that turned into snow. I felt super unmotivated, but finally forced myself to work on dolls for awhile. I made a curry for dinner. Every meal I make feels like a massive accomplishment these days. And in the evening I vacuumed. Which was a huge deal. The floor was driving me insane and sweeping is impossible from my balance on the scooter. So I laid on the floor with the dustbuster and rolled and crawled and stretched myself all over the family room and kitchen, sucking up every tiny crumb and pet hair. It was quite a workout. And took me forever. And my knees and ankle hurt like crazy. But it got done.

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There was a late start on Wednesday because of the snowstorm. And then I had my next physical therapy appointment. We were only there about twenty minutes and all she did was massage my incisions and stretch my foot around. We’re supposed to do that every day now so the scar tissue doesn’t form all the way down to the bone.

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On Wednesday night Greg went to see Les Miserables with his parents and my mom came to help me out with the boys. We made a delicious brie and raspberry pizza for dinner. Then we just hung out for the rest of the night.

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Thursday was kind of a bummer because it’s the day I was supposed to be taking my trip to DC. I’m hopefully still going to be able to go in October, but the disappointment is still there. I was so looking forward to this trip and waiting another six months feels like forever. My only consolation is that the weather ended up being crummy there too this week, so most of our plans would have had to have been altered. Hopefully in October it’ll be much nicer! Hopefully in October I can walk with ease!

Something that did cheer me up on Thursday was meeting a few friends for a coffee date. Laura picked me up and we met some others and had a good time. I was literally terrified of leaving the house without Greg helping me in and out, but I made it! I even used crutches the entire time without any incidents. It felt so good to do something normal. It felt great to see friends too. I’ve been so out of the loop these last six weeks. Friendship things are always a struggle, but even more so now that I never see anyone. It’s a pretty lonely life when you’re stuck at home all the time.

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On Thursday I also spent a lot of time sewing and started another instagram reading challenge to read 25 hours in 5 days. It definitely seemed doable, though we’re almost three full days in and I only have about 11 hours. I’ve barely read at all today. Too many distractions with everyone around.

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Friday was an interesting day. I photographed my finished leprechauns (FINALLY) and sold them all within an hour. I was giddy with the joy of accomplishment. I also had zero desire to do anything the rest of the day except watch tv. So I watched all the episodes of the new show Rise (loved it!), and ate a big bowl of popcorn. It’s very unlike me to watch tv without multitasking sewing, so it felt like quite the indulgence. I didn’t even try to take a nap. The day actually felt super long and I had so much happy mental energy. It was a good day.

With the exception of a morning meltdown when I was trying to make the bed. Do you know how hard it is to make the bed when you’re on crutches?? Pretty much impossible. It’s funny the things I miss the most in my life right now. I definitely miss things like walking Annie and DRIVING anywhere I want to go. I miss grocery shopping on my own and running errands with no advanced planning. But I really miss things like cooking. Chopping vegetables and meat without feeling pain in my knee. I miss making my bed the way I want to make it. I miss standing up in the shower with water that flows over my whole body at all times, instead of just the hand sprayer that only gets one spot at a time. Showers are pretty cold that way. I miss doing laundry. I miss being able to pick out my own clothes without spending ten minutes hobbling around on my crutches and trying to figure out how to carry things when I don’t have any free hands. I miss bringing my phone and my kindle with me up and down the stairs in my actual hands instead of needing to set them up the stairs, three steps at a time, while I very slowly hoist myself up behind them. I miss going into my basement and actually seeing what food we have available down there. I miss sweeping. I miss cleaning a kitchen counter. I miss putting things away. This kind of life really sucks. And I hope it’s over soon.

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And that brings us to today. It’s my half birthday! Also supposed to be celebrated in DC. 😛 It was fairly uneventful. I wrote my book post this morning! Finally! And we went to Pick ‘n Save to get some groceries. I took a nap that left me with a horrendous headache. I made tacos. I made chocolate chip cookie bars. And now I am writing this.

(Shepard’s injuries above the result of a snowball fight that lasted all of three seconds because the snow was actually ice. He screamed so hard and loud right after walking out the door that I was sure he fell down the steps and broke something.)

And that’s my week! It was actually a pretty good week filled with a lot of personal accomplishments. I’m just feeling a little melancholy tonight. Kid problems, friend problems, physical limitation problems. I really hope this next week brings some good news and I can start moving forward on learning how to walk again. I’m over this nonsense!

What I Read February and March 2018

Book time!! I’ve been putting this post off for way too long. It’s my favorite monthly post to write, but it takes me so long! And my broken ankle does not like me sitting at my computer for more than a couple of minutes. But I’m going to give it my best shot!

Since reading is basically all I’ve been able to do for the last six weeks, I’ve gotten a lot books in. A few great ones, and more than a handful of so/so books. Probably because my pain pilled mind couldn’t handle anything really deep so I read a higher amount of light reads than normal. And light reads rarely get 5 stars! But there were some keepers. Let’s get started!

Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre
Rating: 2.5 stars

I felt fairly uncomfortable reading this book in the midst of the #MeToo movement. Hollywood hot shot Cole walks in on his wife cheating on him and immediately spirals through a myriad of women, using them for cheap sex. He flies to a new movie location and meets Summer, a woman with a mysterious past and a town that hates her. He is demanding and takes what he wants because he can. I didn’t particularly like either character. I thought all the vague hints about Summer’s past were annoying. I don’t have any respect for men who repeatedly discuss how much marriage means to them when their actions speak so much louder than their words. Overall, this book just did not jive for me. But it was also a more typical romance, which isn’t usually my genre. Apparently many people loved it because it’s now a movie or tv show.

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Rating: 4.5 stars

I thought this was a fabulous psychological thriller filled with twists and turns. Some were fairly predictable, some really through me for a loop. It’s the story of an agoraphobic woman, Anna, who lives her life watching the lives of her neighbors through the window. She witnesses what she thinks is a murder and is put in a position of needing to convince everyone of what she saw, despite being stuck at home and being looked down on by everyone who knows of her. This book was a really interesting study into the mind of someone with agoraphobia. And it held my interest until the end. Highly recommend!

The Voice Inside by Brian Freema

The Voice Inside by Brian Freeman
Rating: 3 stars

This is the second installment in the Frost Easton trilogy. I gave the first book, The Nightbird, 4 stars in January of last year. While I enjoyed this second book, it really didn’t grip me the way that the first did. I like Frost’s character, but I wish he had more depth. I liked seeing the tidy conclusion to his own familial mystery and am very intrigued by the introduction of Tabby, his brother’s girlfriend. I’m guessing she’ll play a dominant role in the final book, which I am greatly anticipating!

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Rating: 5* stars

I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! If you like delightfully funny books that also have a lot of depth, great characterization, and an amazing slow burn romance, this is the book for you. I kind of think it’s the book for everyone. I loved it so, so much. There is so much chemistry between the main characters Josh and Lucy. They work together and hate each other. They play ridiculous mind games with each other all day every day. About 95% of the book is purely them interacting in some way or another, which is about my favorite part of books like this. It was awesome. All of it. The character development was fantastic. It was laugh out loud funny. But I also felt deeply for Lucy’s loneliness and pain. It was a fantastic romance without being fluffy. An absolute swoon worthy read! The extra * rating means it’s one of my favorite books of all time. 🙂

How Not to Fall by Emily Foster

How Not to Fall by Emily Foster
Rating: 2 stars

Before Shepard got sick for half of February followed by me breaking my ankle, I was trying to treat myself by only reading books that would have genuine love stories in them around Valentine’s Day. I asked for recommendations from one of my facebook group which resulted in many votes for both The Hating Game and How Not to Fall. Where I ADORED the first, this one really fell flat. Basically the entire book was sex. And it’s written under a pseudonym by a doctor who writes nonfiction books about sex. Everything in this book felt extremely clinical. The dialog was very awkward and the f word was used in abundance. It wasn’t a horrible book, but it really wasn’t for me. I don’t recommend it, so I’m not even going to bother giving an actual description.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Rating: 3.5

I heard so many great things about this book and was expecting to not be able to put it down. Instead, the story felt so bogged down with alternating chapters in the present time. I wish so much this book was just about five siblings that were kidnapped off their riverboat in 1939. I found that part of the story riveting, but also SO incredibly sad. Especially since it is based off of a true events. So I enjoyed half of the book and was bored like crazy through the other half.

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine
Rating: 3 stars

Another second book in a trilogy that was only mediocre to me. This book continues on with the characters from Stillhouse Lake as they’re still trying to escape their serial killer husband/father. It was a page turner, but I had a hard time liking the book because I didn’t feel any particular fondness for ANY of the characters. It’s a very dark book with some horrific graphic scenes. Very little light or hope is presented by anyone. I’ll definitely still read the final book when it comes out, but wasn’t very enticed by this second installment.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Rating: 4 stars

I read this book as part of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. I really enjoy reading the books that everyone is talking about, as they’re talking about them. This is marketed as an amazing love story, so I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed by how it played out. Lucy and Gabe have a whirlwind romance and fall deeply in love in a short span of time. Then Gabe decides he needs to pursue his photojournalism career and leaves her. Lucy makes a life with a new man, Darren, who is all things wonderful. But she spends their entire life together wondering all the “What if?” questions about Gabe. I couldn’t help being immersed with sadness at that kind of life and how unfair it was to all of them, but particularly Darren, the innocent party in the love triangle. I did enjoy the book and it was a very fast read which I always like. But if you go into it expecting a happily ever after, you will be sorely disappointed.

26 Kisses by Anna Michels

26 Kisses by Anna Michels
Rating: 2.5 stars

Veda and her longtime boyfriend Mark break up at the beginning of summer. With the suggestion and encouragement of her best friend, Veda decides the only way to get over him is to kiss 26 boys – one for each letter of the alphabet. I didn’t really like this premise because there were so many boys you weren’t really sure who to root for. It was pointed out by some people that by what Veda was doing she was acting very “slutty.” And I had to agree. Some of her kisses felt very cruel, with no regard to the feelings of all the boys she either led on or surprised with her kisses. Overall, it was a fine and very stereotypical YA novel. Just not one I really enjoyed.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Rating: 4 stars

This is a unique and interesting look into a marriage where the man is wrongly accused of rape and sentenced to 12 years in prison while the woman struggles to keep her life together and thrive. I enjoyed how the book gave the perspectives of many different people and was partially portrayed through letters between Ray and Celestial. I struggled with how abortion was the solution to Celestial’s problems, on more than one occasion. It was hard to like Ray as a character, even though he truly was innocent. Overall, it was a sobering story, but ultimately one of unending love and devotion to a man, even as their situations morphs into something they never expected.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Rating: 4 stars

Alexa and Drew meet in a stuck elevator and impulsively he asks her to be his date to a wedding. Assuming this is just a one time event and liking their inital encounter, she decides to say yes. I truly enjoyed both characters and how this book was fun, light, and an easy read. I was frustrated that both characters were under the assumption this was a limited run sort of fake relationship even though they both wanted more, but never discussed it. When that becomes their biggest obstacle in staying together, it feels a bit ridiculous. But I liked it it overall.

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 3.5 stars

Sylvie and Dan are in the tenth year of their marriage and have a relationship that runs so smoothly they rarely even need to speak words to fully communicate. They’re always on the same page and rarely disagree. To try and spark a little more romance and excitement into their marriage, Sylvie suggests planning surprises for each other that consistently turn into absolute disasters. The first half of this book is light and humorous and then evolved into a way that makes you truly appreciate your spouse and all the little things that they do for you. Each character had a lot of growth, but it also felt a bit too easy at times. There’s a friendship component between Sylvie and their neighbor Tilda which I always end up enjoying so much more than I expect. I really wanted to love this book because I adore the cover and only buy books for my shelf if they’re 5 stars. But like most Sophie Kinsella books that are hit or miss for me, this was not one of my favorites.

Help and Hope While You're Healing by Christine Carter

Help and Hope While You’re Healing by Christine Carter
Rating: 4 stars

I happened upon this book when I read an article by the author online. I had just broken my ankle and honestly felt pretty filled with despair about my life in the immediate future. This book was exactly what I needed. I strongly urge you to read this or give it to a friend who is going through a long term illness or recovering from an injury or surgery. It’s short and to the point, but it gave me some hope when I really needed it. It focuses on making the most of your time of healing and how to reach for the positives instead of drowning in the negatives. I knocked a star off because it really was pretty short and I wish it had gone more in depth on the topics. But it was a great book to read when I needed it the most.

My Fake Valentine by Kellie McAllen

My Fake Valentine by Kellie McAllen
Rating: 3.5 stars

This was another fast and cute YA romance novel. Mia is the nerdy girl, hiding behind the fame and fortune of her movie star filled family. Austin is the jock who needs to fix his grades to stay on the team and impulsively kisses Mia in the hallway to try and save face after being dumped by his girlfriend. They begin a fake relationship that of course morphs into more. There’s nothing unique about this storyline, but like I said earlier – I really needed light books when my brain couldn’t focus on much more. I enjoyed the characters, though they could have used a lot more development. Everything felt a little too easy and unrealistic at times. But still a sweet and fast read if that’s what you need!

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Rating: 4.5 stars

I was very apprehensive about finishing this trilogy about the delightful character of Louisa Clark. I spent the first half of this book wondering what the point of the story was. Each of these three books were vastly different and I really didn’t know what to expect – or what I wanted from it. But about halfway through (which was probably too far in), I started to really fall in love with Louisa again. She began to find herself and grew in leaps and bounds, boldly stepping out into the world as an individual proud of herself and what she wants to make of her life. Despite all the rough patches along the way, I thought this was the absolute perfect conclusion to Lou’s story.

From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Rating: 4.5 stars

I was recently recommended Zapata as an author who writes excellently developed slow burn romance novels. This is her most recent one and I decided to start with it because it sounded so good. And it did not disappoint! Jasmine is a figure skater with an unparalleled drive to be perfect, but knows she’d be better if she had a partner. Ivan is her arch nemesis and also in need of a new partner, for one season only. Despite their hatred for each other, they both agree to the single season of partnership. I absolutely loved watching how their hatred developed into a deep and meaningful friendship built on trust that had to be earned. I disliked how wordy the book got at times. It felt like 30 pages were used to describe a conversation that probably only took 30 seconds. You don’t need THAT much insight into every thought process. But I adored each of the characters. I’m taking off half a star because there is a ridiculous amount of swearing in this book. I hate when authors need to add swear words into every paragraph. It’s not necessary. At all. It’s a real turn off for me, but in this case, the plot and characters are worth sticking around for!

Always by Sarah Jio

Always by Sarah Jio
Rating: 3.5 stars

This book has the intriguing premise of re-finding the love of your life ten years after you lost him. Kailey is out for a fancy dinner with her fiance when she finds Cade, the man she once tethered her heart to, as a confused and mute homeless man sitting outside the restaurant. Still feeling devoted to Cade, she goes to great lengths to figure out what happened to him and help him in any way possible to get his life back, often at the expense of her fiance. I admired how devoted she still felt to Caden, but it was frustrating she didn’t deal with her current relationship first. I really enjoyed the book, but was incredibly bothered by some very lackluster details that I felt deserved much more attention than they were given. For example, Kailey and Cade had a fight and he walked out. And disappeared for ten years. And she just accepted that. If she had just called hospitals, the police, investigated SOMEHOW they wouldn’t have lost TEN YEARS of their lives. It felt very unbelievable and clouted my admiration of the story as a whole.

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner

Look for Me by Lisa Gardner
Rating: 4 stars

My biggest pet peeve about this book is that it appears to be marketed as a stand alone novel. But it is in fact the ninth book in the D.D. Warren series – none of which I had read before reading this one. I believe it can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone, but there are definitely plenty of details alluding to things in the past that are not revisited. But overall, this was a fast paced and intriguing murder mystery type of book. It’s covered in layers of sadness because with the exception of a teenage girl, an entire family is unexpectedly murdered in their home. This leads to investigations into the messed up aspects of the foster system and how horribly it can fail some children, which carries a lot of sadness. The characters were interesting, the chapters were short, and it has a neat and tidy conclusion.

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata
Rating: 4.5 stars

Another delightful slow burn romance novel by this newly discovered author. Despite only reading two books in between, it took me way too long to realize that this book has several of the same characters as From Lukov with Love, except about eight years earlier in time. It’s fine to read them out of order, but it definitely confused me for a bit. This is the story of Ruby, who is paired through a program meant to help overseas soldiers fight their loneliness through letters and emails. She begins writing to Aaron and about the first 40% of the book is entirely their written words to each other in letters, emails, and eventually chats. People that fall in love through words alone is one of my favorite tropes in a book and this did not disappoint. But Ruby and Aaron were beautifully developed and lovely characters. Despite being another 500 page book, it flew by very quickly and with a lot of enjoyment. I highly recommend this author!

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
Rating: 2.5 stars

Okay, so my biggest hold up with this book is that it was written by Krysten Ritter. I know this is very unfair, but I could not shake the image of the main character basically being the same as Jessica Jones. And I kept envisioning the male lead as Jesse Pinkman, her love interest in Breaking Bad. I felt like the character was written with so many Jessica Jones characteristics that it just overshadowed the entire novel for me. But beyond that – it was a fine and pretty easy read. It was a bit creepy and I kept expecting something horrendous to happen, but it never did. I just didn’t much enjoy or care about the story.

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Rating: 5 stars

I wanted to end March on a high note and was pretty optimistic this would deliver. The first book in this series, Letters to the Lost was one of my all time favorites of last year. The second book focuses on Rev, the quiet and mysterious boy with a terrible past and Emma, the secret video game programmer who is caught in the middle of her parent’s rough divorce. They find each other by accident and form a friendship in their mutual pain and confusion. This is another beautifully written novel. I loved learning more about Rev and his past and seeing him grow. I loved the introduction of Matthew, a foster brother closer in age who I’m guessing will eventually be adopted if this series continues. I felt like this book focused more on the characters as individuals instead of the relationship with each other, but it was such a touching and sweet story. Not quite as deep as the first, but I loved it nonetheless.

And that’s it! Whew! What have you been reading??

Spring Break and Easter Reflections 2018

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We survived spring break! It actually ended up being a lot busier than I expected. The nine days still seemed to last FOREVER, but we made it. Had a lot of rough patches, like always, but many good moments as well.

On Monday, my mom took the boys for most of the day and they did some egg dyeing and other fun Eastery activities. Greg worked at home so he could take me to my first physical therapy appointment. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it ended up being very low key. All she did was measure my range of motion between my bad ankle and good and taught me the exercises I should be doing three times a day. We also practiced walking up and down stairs with my crutches. I couldn’t figure out how to get up them and have just been crawling inside those rare days I left the house. I scoot up and down on my butt inside the house, which she said is the safest way. But kind of embarrassing – and dirty – to be doing that on any outdoor/entryway steps I come across! The therapist was going to cancel the rest of my appointments until after I see the surgeon and can hopefully move on to partial weight bearing. But she changed her mind to just once a week appointments to start working on my incision scar tissue. I’ll have my first appointment for that on Wednesday.

To celebrate my first PT, we picked up chicken sandwiches and scoops of ice cream from Burger King and Culver’s before going home. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful except for Deja taking Annie to the dog park again.

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Tuesday was the one day that Greg went into work, so I was home alone with the boys. All I have to say is that I’m so glad I didn’t break my ankle during the summer and I better be able to walk by the time they’re out of school!! SO exhausting! The constant negotiating and arguing about screen time every minute of every day! The fun part about the day is that I was bound and determined to find some success in the kitchen. It took me practically all day, but I made bacon, scotcheroos, pizza dough, and later pizza. It felt SO good to actually be productive and make yummy food. I’ve complained a ton in the last few years about constantly needing to feed my family. But now I miss it so much and I hope I never take it for granted again.

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Shepard and I also made some clay erasers from a kit he got for his birthday. That night they went to Greg’s parents’ house for the evening and Greg and I sort of had an at home date night. Though he ended up taking Annie to the dog park and I spent the evening going through and organizing all the Easter stuff. I was dead tired, but also so happy by the end of the day. It felt like the most normal pre-ankle break day I’ve had so far.

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Wednesday was our family day, and the day with the warmest weather. I really wanted to get to a store, so we landed on Costco. I needed to renew my membership and since Greg was actually with me for the first time ever, I added him to it so now he can stop there on his own. I used my knee scooter to zip around the store and it went pretty well! Very tiring and my knee was quite sore, but it felt awesome to actually have some say in the food we picked out. I LOVE grocery shopping, particularly impulse buying (lol). I’ve missed it!

Unfortunately, we all got into a big fight as we were leaving Costco. It pretty much wrecked the rest of the day. We had a picnic packed for lunch, but nobody was offering up any suggestions or agreements to specific parks, so we went back to the big one in Columbus. But it was still pretty chilly and the picnic tables just looked so far away. I decided to just stay in the car. Which was pretty depressing. Watching all the kids there running around and having a good time. I wish it could be me. I won’t ever take that for granted again either. The rest of the day was pretty awful emotionally. I just feel so powerless. And also the reason that our family is falling apart half the time these days. Sigh. Moving on…

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On Thursday, Greg took the boys and met my brother and Hudson at the Milwaukee Zoo. It was cold again, but I think they had a good time! I enjoyed just being home in the peace and and quiet!!

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On Thursday night, Caden had his first sleepover over at his friend Leverett’s house. Shepard was insanely jealous. The three of them are inseparable when they’re playing outside, but Shepard is never included in the invitations that involve going into Leverett’s house. I mean, I do understand it from the parent’s perspective. But Shepard definitely doesn’t understand it! So the three of us watched the movie Leap! and then Shepard had a sleepover downstairs with me, Annie, and Jack. It was also the last night I slept downstairs. I’m back in my room now!

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We made it through the night with no issues. 🙂 Shepard just spent the entire morning begging to run over and knock on Leverett’s door to see if they wanted to play with him. Had to keep up the distractions.

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We picked our first two lemons. It took them almost eleven full months to grow. Worth it?? Probably not. I do not have a green thumb and keeping houseplants alive is pretty difficult. Part of me just wants to give our lemon tree away because I don’t like the minimal effort it requires of me. But now we have some new buds, and I did actually keep it alive almost an entire year, so I guess it’s staying.

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Greg took Annie to her vet appointment on Friday morning. We’ve had her for a year now! I really wanted to go, but it was too hard to get ready early enough. Plus I thought it would just be too chaotic with her so excited and me on crutches. But it sounds like she did well. She is perfectly healthy! And she’s up to 46.8 lbs. 11 pounds more than when we got her! The vet said she should ideally be around 44, but she’s otherwise doing great. They were really excited to get her DNA test results and change her paperwork to “Golden Retriever Mix.”

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After lunch, Greg took the boys to his parents for another sleepover and then spent an hour at the DMV waiting in line to get my temporary handicap sticker for the car. I’m not sure how often we’ll need to use it, but it’s good to have. We used it right away on our evening date! We went to a late afternoon showing of Black Panther and had diner in the theater. Then we went to Orange Leaf for dessert. And finished with a stop at Pick n Save so I could pick out some produce for a few recipes. My knee/leg were pretty much dead after that. But we still got home fairly early and had time to watch Jumanji. It was a nice night! Exhausting, but worth it to get out of the house for something other than hospital visits!

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Saturday morning came with the news that Caden woke up sick. I don’t think Caden has thrown up in like two years. And of course it happens the day before Easter! Greg went to get them and then took Shepard to the Culver’s egg hunt. Caden was resting. And I spent a super long time very carefully chopping up ingredients to make this beautiful batch of mango guacamole. I’ve been kind of over guacamole for awhile now, but this was magical. Best guac I’ve ever had.

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Saturday was also the day of the big community egg hunt and our annual egg dyeing party. The grandmas brought all the supplies and food and we did the dyeing before the party. We were missing a lot of aunt/uncle participants this year. I didn’t really have a space to get to the table, so I didn’t dye many. It went okay, but not as fun as other years. It’s hard being in this dumb boot and not being able to really do anything the way I want to. The scooter gives me more mobility, but it doesn’t exactly make that mobility easy! I was just a little bummed out the whole time. Plus having Caden sick didn’t help things. He was quarantined to his room at first, but he kept demanding Greg go up and attend to him. He finally came down and sat at a chair from a distance. I think it was probably, maybe, just something he ate. He felt a lot better by evening and nobody else got sick.

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At least I got to see Hudson! He’s at such a fun age right now! So alert and interested in everything. But he can’t crawl yet, so it’s easy to contain him. 🙂 And cajole him into taking selfies with me.

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Hudson still loves Annie! And the feeling is mutual.

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He was in a lazy lounging mood and enjoyed just chilling out on me while I was resting.

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And chilling on Greg.

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I made one egg while the Noe side of the family went with Shepard to the big outdoor egg hunt. It was really cold, so the Braatz members stayed here. We left a bunch of eggs for Caden to dye later, but he wasn’t interested. I finished them later in the evening. After the egg hunt we had pizza and desserts to finish up the party.

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After we were sure the boys were sleeping, the Easter Bunny (kitty) came. Rory always ignores people all day, but is fascinated by everything we do once the boys go to bed!

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I’m so happy I was able to fill everyone’s baskets, despite being stuck at home all month. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my mom and two of my friends picking things up for all of us. I was quite pleased with how they turned out!

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And finally Sunday – Easter! Everyone was up around six, but I made the boys wait to look for anything until I took a shower. It’s so annoying how much of a hassle taking a shower is when you can’t stand up or walk! I wanted to get it out of the way as early as possible. And then the hunt was on!

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After everything was found, we had some Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants for breakfast. Yummy.

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This was my favorite Easter basket filler. I’m not sure where I’ll put them, but they were too adorable to pass up! I think I saw them on a facebook group sale the day I broke my ankle and ordered them to cheer myself up. The Easter Bunny also brought me a ton of sheet masks, vitamin E oil for my incisions, and some tasty treats.

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Shepard’s favorite basket fillers were a package of new underwear and these Minecraft pajamas. He had to wear the shirt after we took a family picture the rest of the day. He also wore it to school today. He desperately wanted to wear the pants too and insisted they did not look like pajamas. He finally listened to  me (shockingly!) and switched to regular pants. Caden wore his new Minecraft pajama shirt to school too.

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We went to my parents’ house for brunch mid morning. And we actually got a fairly decent family picture!

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More Hudson! We stationed ourselves at the table and spent most of the time hanging out together. He’s just the absolute cutest!

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The Easter Bunny also made the boys these heatable rice bags for their baskets. Another favorite! They heated them up at least thirty times yesterday. Shepard was also begging me to let him bring his to school today. Hudson wasn’t quite sure what to think about them.

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We had a delicious brunch and then the grandboys had a scavenger hunt to find their eggs and baskets.

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They got all kinds of fun things, including a huge disc swing to hang up at Grandma’s house.

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Hudson loving his new book.

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And really loving his new swing! After just one little swing in it, he was quivering with excitement every time he looked at it. So cute!

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We ran out of energy and motivation to do the egg pecking contest on Saturday, so we were more ready for it on Sunday.

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Greg had my phone for awhile and took about a hundred pictures of Hudson eating his oatmeal.

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Then Shepard and Grandpa had to play with filters for awhile.

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And me deciding maybe I should take a picture with my own child, instead of just Hudson, Hudson, Hudson. 🙂 Caden was feeling a lot better on Sunday, but behavioral wise went waaaaaay downhill as the day went on. It was expected, especially after two sleepovers in a row, and being sick to boot. I wish Easter was at the start of spring break instead of the end, so the boys were at their best. We’re pretty used to Caden’s behavior putting quite a damper on every family get together we ever have. But it doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. 🙁

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Early afternoon we went over to Greg’s parents’ house for the rest of the day. Aunt Mel hid all the eggs for the boys to find this year. We usually do this hunt outside, but it was SO cold this year! It doesn’t seem like spring is ever going to show up.

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I thought it was funny that Greg got a Qdoba gift card and I got a Chipotle gift card. We have this argument all the time about which is better. I think Qdoba is just his default because it’s near his work so he can actually go there! Plus guacamole is free and they give free chips with a burrito bowl. Which I admit is an advantage. But Chipotle is in my heart forever. LOVE.

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Shepard had pecking contests with Grandma and Grandpa while Greg dealt with meltdown city child in the other room for half the day. Fun times. Shepard was having a blast at least!

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I liked this egg the best. I think Grandpa made it. Though Shepard just kind of claimed all the eggs for himself by the end!

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We had another delicious meal and then just hung out for awhile. Despite the inevitable parenting struggles, it was a fairly good day. I’d say as a whole, spring break went better than I thought it would. But I am SO glad it’s over! 🙂 And SOOO happy to be back home alone today!

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Sunday Intentions 03.25.2018

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I got out of the house yesterday! I had a lot of options available to me, but we settled on the most low key outing – the dog park. Unfortunately, winter showed back up again and it was FREEZING and windy. But I didn’t really mind. It felt like quite the trek getting from the car to the bench halfway down the hill. But I made it! It felt really good to get out in the fresh air and watch Annie run around having fun. I miss going there, so much. I miss everything about freedom.

Dramatic, right? It feels kind of dumb to write these Sunday Intentions post when I feel like I have so little control over my life right now. But writing out my plans for the week is also supposed to be what motivates me to actually CARE. So here I am.

Today’s been another rough day, physically. My hips and wrists are paying for all that crutch hopping at the dog park yesterday. It’s very frustrating that simple distance could throw me back so much. I was awake for half the night because my hip pain was so bad. And this was just going to the dog park! I had the choice to go somewhere today too, but I just didn’t feel up to it. How long is it going to be before I get my life back??

Anyway – this week. Spring break. I think we’ve managed to cobble together enough activities for the boys that they shouldn’t get too bored. And we don’t all have so much time together that we want to rip each other’s heads off. Hopefully. They’re spending Monday with my mom, Tuesday evening with Greg’s parents, Thursday with Greg and Uncle Timmy and Hudson at the Milwaukee Zoo, a sleepover at friend’s for Caden on Thursday, sleepover at Grandma’s on Friday, Easter festivities on Saturday, and Easter on Sunday. Greg’s taking vacation days Wednesday-Friday, so maybe on Wednesday – the predicated warmest day of the week and the day with no plans – we can do something as a family. Park picnic or something. We’ll see.

The big excitement is that I have my first physical therapy appointment tomorrow morning. I’m excited to take any step in the next direction toward recovery. But I’m nervous it’ll be too painful. I really don’t know what to expect. I have five physical therapy sessions before I next see the surgeon, who I assume is the one who has to give me permission to start partial and full weight bearing. But maybe I’m wrong with that, I have no idea. I’m going with the presumption that they will check my range of motion and give me some exercises to start working on at home. I have my second appointment on Friday.

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My only real priority for the week is to survive it. Spring break scares me. So much family time is often a trigger for all kinds of unhappy emotions, from all four of us. Weekends are always the hardest days of the week. Nine days together? It’s a lot. I want to try and have a better attitude about everything. Try to enjoy the days, even though they sometimes feel so monotonous and boring. I want to try and keep a positive outlook on life.

This week I’d also like to get out of the house at least once or twice for something besides my therapy appointments. Some sort of family activity on Wednesday. And maybe a date of some sort with Greg one of the nights the boys are gone. A restaurant, at least. Maybe a movie? Maybe a trip to Target or Costco where I can use my scooter to zip around and hopefully not feel too self conscious? I just need to get out. Even just sitting on the porch every day for a few minutes would probably do a world of good for my mental health. I just need to actually do it.

I think the only official task I’m giving myself is to finally write my big book post. A combination of February and March, since I never got around to February’s. I think that might be a good plan for Thursday, to take my mind off the rest of my family having fun without me. I have lots of books to report on! Those first few weeks were hard to concentrate, but I’ve definitely been making up for it with my reading time this week!

Well, I think that’s about it. Happy spring break! Happy almost Easter!

Saturday Reflections 03.24.2018

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It’s been almost four weeks since my fall. I’ve left the walls of my house three times since then. Once to have surgery. Twice to go to post op doctor’s appointments. I’m starting to feel very, very trapped. Fortunately, I am an introvert and I do like being at home. But when you take away the option of even going on a short walk, it starts to feel like a prison sentence. Especially with no clue how much longer this will be my reality. Right now the future is just a haze of nothing ever changing.

There have definitely been some very bleak days this last week. Last weekend with St. Patrick’s Day and everything, was horrible. Which is why I didn’t even bother writing on Sunday. Yesterday, with the start of spring break and a head full of all the plans I wanted to share with the boys and Annie now being impossible, was probably the deepest depression I’ve felt. I loathe the first days of spring for showing up when I can’t enjoy them. I’m so incredibly envious of everyone that has freedom to walk freely, drive where they want, be spontaneous, do simple tasks without meticulous planning and care. The hardest hours come when I have zero interest in doing anything I CAN do. Things that used to make me so happy. Unlimited reading time, unlimited writing time, tv time, podcast time, naps galore, researching new books to read, sewing or creative projects that would require a little extra help, but are not impossible. I don’t want any of it. And I’m terrified I might still be facing months of this.

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But it’s not all bad. Monday was the first day Greg went into work his regular schedule. He packed the boys’ lunches every morning and I just had to sit there and keep them on task to get them out the door on time. We had some hiccups with Annie not wanting to pee that first day, but she’s had people walking her or taking her to the dog park every day since. I suppose we should try and figure out a way for me to get her outside on a chain in an emergency situation like Monday (thankfully my neighbor was able to run over that day). The problem is that the chain length from the back door will only allow her on the driveway and I’m not sure if she’d go to the bathroom there. If we went all the way to the front door she could at least reach the grass, but there’s a lot bigger chance another dog would walk by and she could probably pull her chain out of the ground if she tried hard enough. And if I let her out the back bathroom door, she’d only be a few feet from the neighbor’s yard and their dogs which could also cause problems. It’s tricky.

At any rate, it was nice to feel a little more independent. I started getting myself up the stairs to take showers on my own every morning. The first day I had to get all the stuff set up, but the rest of the days Greg did it ahead of time for me. Monday I also did a lot of light cleaning and organizing. But I think I overdid it because my right knee and shin were in SO much pain on Tuesday from too much time on the scooter.

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I finally finished up the last custom order that was weighing on me. I made a second doll for her patience with me. I loved getting them done and sewing again, but it was also so hard. There are just so many supplies needed for every single step. Greg helped me the night I needed most of it, but it’s not an ideal situation. And then trying to get comfortable to do all the hand sewing while my leg is still propped up above my heart, is fairly impossible. So I’m not planning on doing any more sewing until I can comfortably have my leg down for long periods of time. That might still be weeks or months away. 🙁

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My neighbor friend supplied us with more meals this week, which was great. My mom spent time with me on Wednesday again and made us a meal too. We’re getting very spoiled! But it’s so nice not to have to stress about that too much. On Thursday, Greg was grocery shopping after work so I spent about 45 minutes in the kitchen getting everything prepped and in the oven to stay warm, I sauteed some zucchini, and I chopped up chicken to marinade for the next night’s dinner. It felt AMAZING to actually do something worthwhile in the kitchen. You know, I’ve felt so underappreciated for so long making meals for my family over and over again with no reprieve. And when you take that ability away, you miss it so much. I now feel privileged to be able to do that for them. I’m not sure I’m quite up to cooking on a daily basis yet, but I’m more prepared to help off and on.

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Friday was Caden’s half birthday and Annie’s third birthday. It’s technically the anniversary of when she was found as a stray, which was just put down on all her paperwork as her birthday. We really have no idea when it is or how old she is. But three sounds about right. 🙂 We gave her a couple of new toys and my mom gave her some yummy treats. Greg even bought her a huge bone on Thursday night, which we’ll give her today. Of course the actual celebrations only lasted about five minutes of the day, but it was fun to do something happy. I just wish I could do more.

Anyway, that’s about been my week. It was fairly uneventful except for the people stopping by off and on to help with Annie or bring food. My physical pain is pretty low as long as I’m not moving around much. But if I spend too much time laying around, the rest of my body is in absolute agony by the end of the night. My back is so stiff and sore. I’ve been trying to do stretches, but I usually wait too long and it’s not as effective. The mental stuff is probably the hardest. I want to get out of the house. I want fresh air. I want happy things on my schedule to look forward to. But I’m also really scared of how hard it will be going into public. And so I stay here. I know it could be worse. But that doesn’t make this any easier.

Saturday Reflections 03.17.2018

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Hello, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I hope everyone is having a fun filled Saturday. This is usually one of my favorite days of the year, so I’ve kind of been drowning in melancholy all day because I can’t really do anything to make the holiday special. We have an annual tradition of having a family photo shoot on St. Patrick’s Day too, but I’m not even up to doing that. I feel so grubby and gross. Living in pajamas and sweatpants day in and day out really isn’t that much fun. But actually “getting ready” now takes like ten times longer than it used to, which is extremely annoying. And never really worth it. I’m pretty sure even if I did get ready and insist on a family photo, the boys wouldn’t cooperate. They don’t want to cooperate with ANYTHING these days.

Anyway. As you can already tell, it’s been another rollercoaster week of emotions. I’m usually pretty good in the day. I can focus on how I want to spend this down time, read a lot, take naps, and still see the bright side. But by the end of the night I’m so sore, exhausted, and sick to death of listening to my kids fight and argue with each other and Greg about literally every single thing possible. Then I start feeling sorry for myself and how bleak the next few weeks and months look. I found out last night how much this whole accident is going to cost us, which adds another devastating layer to the depression. I’ve also just never wanted to clean so badly in my life. All the things I complained about in the past, I would do anything to be able to do them now. I want to sweep and vacuum, clean and put away dishes, organize the clutter and wipe down the counters. I’d also LOVE to be able to cook my own meals again. Even more importantly – SHOP for the things we need! While I admit the break is occasionally nice, it’s so hard going from doing all those little things that make a home run smoothly to not being able to do any of it. Greg is doing a great job and the absolute best he can, but he still is only one person and can’t do all of it.

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There have definitely been a lot of highlights this week. Generous friends have still been providing us with meals, which is awesome. I think tonight is the first day in almost three weeks we need to make a meal from things we have stocked in the freezer.

On Monday afternoon, my friend Liz stopped by with a Thai chicken salad and something she picked up for me to add to Greg’s Easter basket. Later in the day my friend Carmen dropped off two ready to be cooked meals, two desserts, and a variety of extra food. So much generosity! I know I didn’t mention by name the people that brought food the first two weeks, but we were extremely appreciative of that too. (Thank you Katy, Kristin, Brittany, Jenny, Cindy, and Mom!!!) It makes life SO much easier when Greg just has to warm something up for us.

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On Tuesday, my friend Nora went to Target and picked up a huge variety of Easter basket fillers and snacks for me to go through. I picked out what I wanted and she returned the rest. It was extremely helpful in easing my mind about filling those baskets! She also brought me a Starbucks frappuccino, which was a delicious lunch! 🙂

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On Tuesday afternoon, my friend Amy picked up Annie to take her to the dog park. The dogs got so muddy that she then brought them back to her house and gave Annie a bath!! Totally above and beyond! I was SO happy Annie got to have a great playdate with a dog she loves to play with!

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Greg went to work on Wednesday and my mom came to stay with me again. We just chilled and opened up my first FabFitFun box together and then tried on a ton of lipsticks. It was a nice day! And also Pi Day. We had the delicious salad from Liz and the awesome apple pie from Carmen. I’m so glad we had a pie to eat!

Thursday was my first day home alone. Greg stayed home long enough to take the boys to school and came back in time to pick them up. So it wasn’t a full day, but a good seven hours. It felt good to be alone for awhile. Though it also kind of stressed me out. Being left alone implies that I’m independent enough to do everything for myself. Except I still can’t really do a whole lot. But I feel like I have to because the expectation is now there. If any of that makes sense. I think I overdid it on Thursday and was in a lot of pain by the end of the night.

Annie also got to go to the dog park again on Thursday with my friend Deja. Deja doesn’t even have a dog, but she took her there for quite a long time. I’m so grateful people have been helping with this!

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Thursday night I also pushed myself to finish those three custom order dolls. I had zero motivation for it, but I knew they needed to get done. Now I just have one left that needs to be made from start to finish that’s already paid for. It’s for my cousin-in-law and she’s fine with waiting, but it super stresses me out having that overdue order sitting in my etsy shop. I think I might try and do it in the next few days, if I can figure out how to use the sewing machine with my left foot.

Oh, AND on Thursday night, Greg’s parents came over with Chinese food for dinner, which was delicious. Thursday was busy!

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Friday was pretty uneventful, with the exception of my mom stopping by to take Annie for a long walk and my friend Carrie dropping off a meal and staying to chat with me for awhile. In the mail I got two books I picked out for myself. I’ve been eyeing that book on the left up for months. I just didn’t buy it because I never figured I’d give myself the permission of time to do “an unhurried adventure in creative mindfulness.” Well, now all I’ve got is time!

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And today – St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks to my foresight a few months ago, the leprechauns were able to bring Annie some new themed toys (priorities). Thanks to Nora, the leprechauns were able to bring Lucky Charms and accompanying chapsticks. And thanks to my mom, the leprechauns could bring their annual pile of gold chocolate coins! This is one of the boys’ favorite traditions that they get so excited about. Simple, but effective. They both spent the whole morning hunting around the house, both in and out, trying to catch a leprechaun so they could get three wishes.

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We’re not really fans of traditional Irish food, but I can’t go a St. Patrick’s Day without Irish soda bread! I printed out the easiest recipe I could find and planned to talk Greg through it today. But he actually made it entirely by himself while I was upstairs taking a nap. It turned out pretty good! Especially for someone who never, ever bakes! That was our lunch. I remembered about an hour ago that in like January I bought a bag of shamrock shaped pasta, so that will be our dinner.

Annoyingly, my pain levels have been about the same all week. For the first two weeks I could feel a definite improvement each day, which was encouraging. But it seemed like getting my staples out on Monday really set me back. It hurt so much more than I was expecting and seemed to make my entire leg so much more sensitive. I also had some steri strips placed all down the incisions which were giving me flaming bouts of itchiness off and on all week. NOT FUN. I finally took them off this morning, so hopefully that problem is gone! I started sleeping on the downstairs twin bed at night, so I can lay in regular positions (versus on my back with my legs super elevated on the couch, where I spend all daytime hours). It helps me sleep better, but it’s probably not the greatest to go all night with my leg barely elevated. My pain levels in the morning are pretty high. Oh well, not going to change. My back cannot handle staying in that couch position 24 hours a day. It feels so cramped up and weak right now.

And that’s been my week! I’m happy to say that I followed through on my goals and did reach for my book more often than my phone. I finished those dolls. And I wrote something almost every day. I think maybe last night was the only day I didn’t. Just little journal entries, though I also started a gratitude journal to try and focus on the positives in my life. Writing helps. 🙂

Enjoy the night!

Monday Intentions 03.12.2018

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I am slowly but surely regaining my mental faculties. Though it seems like I need to pay for every good day with a day of almost nonstop drowsiness. It’s kind of a bizarre frame of mind to be in. I don’t WANT to nap all day, but I can’t keep myself awake. And then the next day I’m super functional again. It’s weird. More ups and downs.

On a random note, I’ve been so obsessed with Mantra Bands for the last few months. I recently purchased my fourth one – in rose gold! (this is a big deal for me lol) – specifically to wear during this time of healing. Pictured above, it felt like the perfect reminder to myself that I don’t need to be able to walk in order to fly. I still have my wings! Being laid up right now totally sucks, but I am still capable of doing great things. Anyway, motivational reminders right on my wrist are pretty great.

So! This week! I meant to write a post yesterday, and just couldn’t get motivated. I felt pretty dull and mopey yesterday. But I guess things are looking up right now. I just had my second post op appointment to get my staples removed. It hurt SO much more than I thought it would! In this resting position, I’m in more pain than I’ve probably been in in a week. I hope it fades! According to the physician’s assistant I’m healing really well. Incisions look good, swelling is going down, bruising is pretty minimal. I’m still not weight bearing for at least another month, but I do get to start physical therapy in two weeks to keep my ankle from getting too stiff. The most exciting news is that I have to wait another day for my next shower, but I won’t have to use the leg bag anymore! I’m glad I had it these last two weeks, but it cuts my circulation off so bad and kind of ruins the joy of getting clean!

I don’t have any lofty ambitions for the week because rest and keeping my leg elevated are still the most important factors in getting better. But I do have a few goals for myself.

  1. Reach for a book instead of my phone.
    I’ve been wasting so much brain space looking at facebook and instagram over and over and over again. It’s really doing nothing positive for my mind because it only depresses me to see people out and about living their lives while I’m stuck at home.
  2. Finish three custom order dolls.
    Greg encouraged me to spend a little bit of time working yesterday, and I did. When I’m feeling great, I probably only have 1-2 hours left to complete three of the four dolls people paid me for before I got hurt (the fourth will require me to use the sewing machine, which I’m not sure I’m ready for yet). So if I get a burst of energy in the next few days I’d LOVE to get those finished and mailed.
  3. Write something every day.
    I’ve totally abandoned my bullet journal since I broke my ankle. So I’d like to make an effort to start writing in it every day again, even if only a couple of sentences. I’d love to catch up on blog posts too, but they’re easier to write on my real computer with my real mouse, so I’m not sure I’m up for the hours it will take to write those book posts. We’ll see.

There’s nothing terribly exciting on the calendar. Well, usually it’s holiday week with Pi Day on the 14th, Ides of March on the 15th, Guster Day on the 16th, and St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th. My neighbor brought over a pie this afternoon, so we’ll be set for Pi Day! I’m hoping by Saturday I might feel okay enough to make soda bread. Or talk Greg through making it. I don’t care about any other traditional Irish food, but I really want that soda bread!

I think Greg will go into work again on Wednesday, with my mom coming to babysit me again. 🙂 Maybe he’ll go Thursday too and I’ll try my hand at being alone. I think I can handle it. Getting food will still be tricky, but we have a pretty full fridge after the wonderful help of friends again, so I’m sure I can find something simple. We’ll get through this.

And that’s about it! Just trying to stay positive and drag myself out of the pits I inevitably fall into at least once a day. It’s hard feeling like such a burden. It’s hard giving up all my freedom. It’s hard knowing it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to do the simplest tasks I always took for granted in the past. But I’ll get there.