Positive Pep Talk

I am drowning in negativity lately. I’ve been blessed with the wonderful ability to internalize every single bad vibe that floats my way, or anywhere even near me. I am always reading between the lines and analyzing facial expressions and actions, hurt by things that may have been – or more likely were not – intentional, and harboring that hurt pretty much forever. I am overly sensitive to any conflict aimed at me or others I am close to. Injustice, duplicitous conversations, and unreliability can set me off in an instantaneous rage, at least internally, and it eats me alive. Basically, I’m a real fun person to know!

There has been so much going on in the last few weeks that has constantly fed into all the bad thoughts and feelings that I no longer feel like I can get away from. A lot of it doesn’t directly affect me, but I’m still absorbing the blows like they do. I’ve also been dealing with a lot of personal attacks as well. People have been making me feel worthless and less than and inferior and it isn’t fair. I’ve also just been in CONSTANT battles with Shepard and his strong-willed personality that has increased tenfold since his eighth birthday. The fact that these battles are over the stupidest things makes it even worse. Bit by bit all of it is just chipping away at me and leaving me either empty or flat out crazed depending on the situation.

I was planning to write all about these situations, though in abstract form to retain some semblance of anonymity, but realized nobody really wants to read that, right?! So instead I’m going to dig deep and try and find some positive things about myself and my life right now that can help me focus on the good, let go of the bad, breathe, and smile.

I know who I am.

I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve always kept an identity all of my own. There are so many women that have kids and suddenly lose themselves. Or they set aside their lives, placing all of their hopes and dreams on hold for eighteen plus years, with the assumption they’ll have time for the things they want to do later. What if they don’t?? There are definitely seasons of sacrifice and those baby and toddler and preschool years are always going to be tough when kids need you for their very survival. Don’t get me wrong – if motherhood is what you WANT to identify most strongly with, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But you don’t need to sacrifice who you are in the process. I like the fact that even when Caden was a baby and literally breastfed round the clock for about twelve hours a day for over an entire year, I never stopped thinking about and doing the things that made me ME. Those unique hopes and dreams for myself have only clarified and multiplied in the years since.

I work really dang hard.

It may mostly be in my head. But there have definitely been many, many occasions over the last ten years where I felt belittled or shamed for being a stay at home mom. There are even years where I’ve felt that way about myself. I was really, really smart in high school and college. My entire identity was wrapped in my grades and my accomplishments. And then I gave it all up to stay at home with my kids – a job I’m still not entirely sure I was right for. But it’s the choice we made and the choice we’re sticking with and I don’t regret it. I may not have taken the career path I originally saw for myself, but I work HARD, you guys. I give just about everything I do my best effort. Why else would I be constantly writing these blog posts about my goals and evaluating how I did at them? Sure, it may sometimes come across that I’m living the life of leisure, going out for lunch or coffee dates, taking a break every afternoon to read and nap. What you don’t see are the days like today when I was awake and working for three full hours before anybody else was even up. Or all the time I spend organizing and planning to make sure our schedules and family life run smoothly. Raising kids is no easy task! Heck, raising PETS is no easy task! Sometimes I think taking care of all of Annie’s needs is more overwhelming than the boys’. Or it’s at least a lot more inconvenient! Anyway, I may not have a typical 9-5 professional career that would surely bring me a lot of pride. But I DO work all the time. I am actively trying to be my best self every waking minute. And that’s not something to be ashamed of.

I am a successful business owner.

I’m not sure why I always downplay this. I often don’t even bring it up with new people because “I make dolls” is not usually something strangers respond very enthusiastically to. I mean, it’s kind of weird. If you’re not already immersed in a community of makers through social media or an avid craft fair/vintage shopper, this is an avenue of work that most people don’t understand. Should I say I’m an artist? A designer? Sometimes I say that I sew, but then people assume I’m a seamstress, which I want NOTHING to do with. When I do try to explain exactly what I do, most people comment on how that’s a nice little hobby and I agree and say it’ll never pay the bills, but it’s allowed me to stay home with my kids and for that I’m thankful. But…it’s more than that and I think I need to start owning that. I’ve now run Heartstring Annie for just about six years. It’s a business I kind of started on a whim, just to bring in a little extra fun money for myself, but also to give me a bit more of an identity outside of my family role. It’s grown into what I do consider my full time job, even if I don’t always put 40 hours a week into it (at least not in the last year or two when I’ve actively tried to stop letting it overtake my entire life). No, I don’t usually make enough money to even cover our mortgage, if it came down to that. But it brings in enough money for me to take solo vacations multiple times a year, buy clothes from sources beyond what I can find the cheapest, and it allows me to splurge on special gifts for people throughout the year. Last year, I made 224 sales, selling 297 dolls. That’s almost a doll a day. Business is absolutely thriving. I can’t keep up. This is so much more than a hobby, and even if people think it’s weird, that doesn’t discredit what it is and what I’ve built. Also, I think I’m pretty great at it.

I have an awesome family.

I have a seriously awesome husband. Greg has been nothing but 110% supportive of anything I have ever wanted to do. He has been an incredible dad from day one – I can honestly and truly say, there is NOTHING I would have ever changed or wished for more of in his role as co-parent. He works so hard for us, providing a stable and substantial enough income that I have the freedom to do whatever I want to do – for the past ten years, but also for all the years to come. He never makes me feel bad about who I am, he never belittles me for anything, he never shrugs off my sometimes crazy emotions. He’s been a steady and stable force in my life for the last nineteen years and I know I can count on him for anything.

I also have some pretty great kids. Yes, Shepard has been fraying my last frazzled nerve these last few weeks with his ridiculous arguments over EVERYTHING. But he has bloomed so much in the last few years and I’m so incredibly proud of him. In preschool and 4K and even many days of kindergarten, I had to literally carry him kicking and screaming into school because he didn’t want to leave me and the comfort of home. Now? He is fiercely independent. He knows who is he and he’s not going to back down from that. He is friends with everyone and the most popular guy around. His silliness and laughter can light up a room and even though I think it’s going to be getting him into more and more trouble as he gets older, I am proud to call him my own.

There’s something very strange that happens when one of your kids is suddenly less than a head shorter than you. I feel like Caden has grown up so much in the last year. Whereas Shepard is always a wildcard, Caden is completely responsible and reliable. He definitely has a strong-willed personality as well, but I think he is growing into a person that can be counted on. He is so smart and we’re told by his teachers every year how he’s the most helpful kid in the class. I believe he’s going to go far in life and I can’t wait to watch it happen.

I also have an awesome set of in-laws and mom who provide a great support system to the four of us. I’m so glad that we live near each other and get to experience life together. It’s invaluable to our kids.

I’m not going to be hot this summer!

I loathe summer. It’s my least favorite season – because of the weather, because of the lack of structure, because I have zero time to myself. It’s been especially difficult since we moved into our house because it’s SO HOT that I can’t even function. We added a window air conditioner to the kitchen last year that at least helped when I was in there, but did little to cool any other room in the house. But this week we decided to invest in a REAL air conditioner! It’s still going to only cool the lower half of the house (with two window units upstairs), but I’m confident we’re all going to be so much more comfortable this year. Trust me, I will be a much happier person if I’m not sweating and breathing in muggy air 24/7.

I’m going on vacation!

In less than three weeks Greg and I will be off on our 13 year anniversary Colorado vacation! I’ve been doing a lot of research and we at least now have a solid thirty or so awesome restaurant options (lol). I have quite a list of things to see and do too. I think it’s exactly the break from regular life that we need. Our schedule these last months of the school year are crazy town. It’s going to be wonderful to get a reprieve and spend some solid time together. Something that has been pretty sparse lately.

If all else fails – books. 

Always reliable and always the best form of escape. And at least in my case – always abundant! I think I need to spend more time actively avoiding the internet related things that are stressing me out. Read more. That should always be the answer.

Okay, this concludes my personal pep talk. I guess it sort of became a defense of who I am and justification for why it’s okay to be me. But – it IS okay, and I’d do well to remember that!

Sunday Intentions 04.07.2019

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a Sunday Intentions post. Sometimes they feel a bit pointless, though the aim is just to focus my attention on what is most important for the week ahead. I guess that’s always worth doing, right?

It’s a pretty busy week. At least busy for me. Which makes me nervous because I feel so crappy. We’re getting our air conditioner installed bright and early tomorrow. Granted I don’t have to do anything other than be here, but having service workers in the house always stresses me out so much. I don’t know what to do with myself. I have no idea how long this will take either. I’m mentally preparing for the entire day, but hopefully not!

There’s an important school board meeting tomorrow night that I’d like to go to and show support. I’ve never been to one before, so it’ll be a new experience.

Tuesday will have to be errand day this week. And yoga on Wednesday. Though if I thought I was going to be disruptive with my limited coughing last week, I have a feeling it’ll be a nightmare this week. Especially since I can’t be flat without sounding like I’m dying!

Shepard has a concert on Thursday night. Maybe we’ll go out to eat before or after to celebrate. I keep waiting to hear about Caden’s concert, but I’m assuming if they haven’t notified us of a date by now it means they just don’t have one. Which is really unfortunate! Caden keeps telling me he is going to have one, but we’re really running out of time here.

Saturday is the memorial service for my Uncle Tom. There will be extra family in town and a lot going on. And Sunday we’re going to Great America! Definitely a busy week.

So with that in mind, my main intention for the week is to do everything possible to FEEL BETTER so I can get through it all. I’d love to be super productive with doll making, but if I honestly don’t feel like it, I’m going to give myself as break. An actual sick day. Or days. Hopefully not, though.

I’d also like to hit one of my April goals and go through one of my cookbooks this week. I think that’s doable!

Anyway, that’s about it. As usual, no meal plan figured out yet. Though easy is key. I’m thinking leftover tacos tomorrow, a Costco rotisserie chicken on Tuesday, something I actually make on Wednesday, out somewhere on Thursday, pizza Friday. a

Have a good week!

April 2019 Goals

I finally dragged myself out of my chair to write this goals post, seven days late. I mentioned yesterday this weird cough I developed this week, accompanied by zero motivation to basically do anything. After another sleepless night and hacking away for the last 24 hours, I think I’m fully in the dark stages of whatever this is. My eyes also feel like grit is constantly being blown into them, which makes me think allergy season is coming earlier than normal. It’s just not a very pleasant place to be. And I expect it’s not going away anytime soon. So I’m readjusting the goals I wrote out for myself in my journal last week, trying to give myself instead some very realistic expectations for the coming weeks.

1 – No unnecessary spending

We have had so many unexpected (and some expected, I just always forget about them) expenses in the last few weeks. A ridiculous amount of money in vet bills. A new air conditioner being installed. Another year of auto insurance. License plate renewal. A full blown vacation we weren’t necessary planning for, at least not this early in the year. It all happened at once, as is often the case! So I’m trying really hard to be super smart about grocery shopping this month and not buying any “extras” online. That means no fun shopping trips this month either. I’m trying to keep my attention focused on our vacation next month and not spend any more money unless we desperately need it.

2 – No fast food

As I mentioned at the end of March, my eating habits have been out of control again. One first step that I can mostly fully control is not going through any drive thrus! I have an inkling that a Culver’s trip might be part of our plans this week before or after Shepard’s chorus concert, but other than that – I’m avoiding it. And generally trying to eat better at home as well, but for now I’m cutting back on my restaurant calories.

3 – Take a walk every day

I originally had this written as a daily step goal. But with this new sickness that creeped up, I think it’s better I focus more on resting. But fresh air is always great and it’s good for Annie, so I’d like to make sure I take some sort of walk every single day.

4 – Read a new cookbook

I bought myself a couple of new cookbooks around Christmas, full of grand plans to dive into them and get cooking amazing meals again. Well, they’re still on the shelves, untouched. I’d really like to spend an afternoon going through at least one of them. I could use some inspiration.

5 – Finish two or more shelf books

I need to keep up with my physical books! I’ve been back on a kindle binge again, just because it’s easier to read in the dark with it. I’m in the middle of very slowly making my way through like ten different nonfiction books at the moment, so it’d be great to finish two of them. Or more!

6 – Plan for May

Is this a dumb goal?! May is always one of our most fun, but also busiest months of the year. There’s my Heartstring Annie anniversary, which I usually spend a week celebrating with extra sales and giveaways and special dolls. This year we’ll be on our Colorado vacation over that week, so I need to either move the celebrations ahead a week (ideally) or have them ready for the week we get back. Then there’s Mother’s Day. I have no gifts yet and no ideas. Then it’s Greg’s birthday. No gifts yet, no plans figured out. 35 feels like a slightly more monumental birthday, so I need to do more than just wing it. Our anniversary is at the end of the month. Not quite a huge deal this year, except for the six days we’ll be gone at the beginning of the month to celebrate. It was a bit selfish leaving during the craziest month, but our other choice was to postpone it until July or August and we didn’t want to wait that long. And then there’s just all the school stuff. Teacher appreciation week, which usually requires five full days of various gifts based on themes. Shepard decided to join soccer, so two nights a week of that. I’m spending a day in Milwaukee for a podcast airing. There’s just a lot going on. It’s going to be AWESOME, but only if I’m fully organized and ready for it. I think I basically need to devote this entire month toward prepping if I want May to go smoothly. And I really, really want May to go smoothly.

I think I’m going to leave it at that for now. 🙂 With how I’m feeling right now and how busy this upcoming week is already, I don’t want to put too many goals on my shoulders. I just want to feel better. I think having just these six goals will help guide me through and focus my priorities, without overwhelming me. Exactly what I need!

Saturday Reflections 04.06.2019

Here it is, Saturday again. This week went by so quickly. I just snap my fingers and the week is over. Then the weekends last FOREVER. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I dislike weekends so much. The dread usually sets in around Thursday afternoon and feel pretty down until Sunday night when I perk up again. I think what it really comes down to is that I spend almost every Saturday and Sunday feeling a nice overwhelming mixture of guilt and resentment. Guilt for the days I decide to lay around and read, or go out shopping, or not make a healthy and complete meal. Resentment for the days I try to get a lot of random household chores done and then notice everyone else is just laying around and having fun and it seems so unfair. Guilt because most weekends Greg actually does quite a bit of the more deep cleaning household chores. But resentment because he also stays in bed as long as he possibly can every weekend, leaving me to deal with all the inevitable morning arguments with the boys about games and food. And just anger at my children for always being so shocked that I ask them to help out. I don’t know why they just can’t get it through their heads that if they give us an hour of their time to help clean up the house, they’ll have so much more time for fun when it’s over. But no, everything’s an argument, everything is a battle. Everyone is ALWAYS HUNGRY. It’s completely exhausting.

Today is actually our last free Saturday until the middle of May, so I was determined to just go with the flow and take it easy. I was excited to spend extra time making cinnamon rolls as perfect as possible for breakfast. I let the boys play their games. Greg slept. And then I still ended up in a screaming battle with Shepard because he refused to help Caden carry my packages to the post office before it closed. A simple errand that would take them less than ten minutes after they just played three hours of games. But no, couldn’t do it, because Shepard doesn’t “have to” do anything. That one really pushed me over the edge and now I’m avoiding everyone after a massive mommy meltdown.

Anyway. It was all in all a kind of off week. I haven’t been feeling very well. There are so many little bugs going around. I’m not sick enough to be bedridden, but I feel crappy enough that I just plain haven’t wanted to do anything. I skipped out on yoga because that’s when I started feeling the worst and now I’ve developed Shepard’s mighty cough that mostly comes out when you’re trying to sleep. It sucks. It’s really going to suck if it hangs on for over a month the way his has.

Monday was my typical errand running day. I went to about twice as many stores as usual and still managed to have time for a power nap before the boys got home. Shepard had his well child doctor visit after school and he’s mostly healthy, just shorter than the doctor thinks he should be. So we’re supposed to be sneaking more calcium into his diet to try and get his bones to grow faster.

Tuesday was another unusually busy day. Annie had a grooming appointment, so while she was there I wandered around our closing Shopko, got gas, voted, and then walked around the thrift store until I got the text she was done. I was supposed to have lunch in Madison with a friend, but it ended up getting cancelled. A bummer, but I was a bit relieved too because that’s when I started feeling very run down. It was good to just read and rest in the afternoon.

I’m really ashamed to admit that I didn’t even realize this until mid-morning, but Wednesday was Jack and Rory’s 14th birthday! Somehow in transferring dates to my calendars this year, I missed writing it down. My poor boys did not get their usual birthday celebration, but Caden did give them a ton of treats to try and make up for it.

Thursday, more of the same. Felt crummy, couldn’t get motivated to do anything useful. I did make these homemade buttermints, though, that are amazing and addictive. I made a bigger dinner that night too.

On Friday I finally forced myself to sit down and finish these dolls. They all sold immediately again, which is awesome. I also had a nice coffee date with a friend, grabbed a bunch of chicken that was FINALLY on sale to stock the freezer, and then basically spent the entire rest of the day reading. Like until midnight. And then I coughed and coughed until five when I got up. Which is half of why I’m so crabby today.

Well, I guess it’s time to figure out lunch. I usually wait as long as possible on weekends in hopes that they’ll eventually make their own meals. Definitely wishful thinking! Last Saturday Shepard was crying and screaming “I JUST WANT REAL FOOD! MAKE ME A REAL FOOD!” I tried to step it up with dinner making this week, but once again it’s Saturday and I feel completely unmotivated to cook something “real.” It’s technically supposed to get quite warm today, though it’s cloudy and cool right now. I’m planning on heading out to do a little yard work. Not typically my thing, but I need to be productive, and be alone. More later – I will hopefully finally write my April goals post!

March 2019 Reflections

We survived March! March is such a blah month. The weather constantly toys with us – sometimes spring actually arrives, sometimes it ends up being the worst month of winter. I think we were a bit more on the lucky side this year! But still – a long and dragging month that I’m glad to put behind me.

I think I did a pretty good job of meeting most of my goals this month, though I really had a lot of them and probably expected too much. But for the most part, I’m proud of myself for staying a lot more focused and driven than I was in February and January. I’ll do a quick recap!

1 – Prioritize WORK – Complete 4 batches of dolls

I actually completed 6 batches and 32 individual dolls! I sold 24 dolls, which is 8 more than February. I averaged about 4 hours a day of working, on the days that I worked. I even took almost a whole week off because of all my emotional drama. Overall, I’d say it was a highly productive month in the doll business.

2 – DNF books I don’t like

I definitely did this. As I wrote in yesterday’s book post, it was actually a really bad month for reading until I finally got a couple of winners. I only documented one DNF because most of them I only gave about 2-3% on my kindle before I decided I wasn’t in the right headspace for that type of book.

3 – Start a yoga class

This was the easy one since I was already signed up for it before March began. It’s gone relatively well. I’m glad I took it. I like that we do a really different series of poses every week. It’s been challenging.

4 – Go on a date with all three of my boys

Did it! I had a full day with Shepard as we got pizza, went to multiple stores to find him new shoes, stopped at Marshall’s for me, and ended with Starbucks frappuccinos for dessert. Greg and I checked out a new restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to, walked around a board game store, and got DQ blizzards for dessert. Caden and I had tacos yesterday. We also went all four of us out for Mexican last weekend, which is a pretty rare and special occurrence.

5 – Take Annie to a Madison dog park

I failed at this one. Mostly because with all the melting snow and flooding this month, all “grassy” areas have simply been mud pits. We did go to the Columbus dog park eight times and we’ve walked to school every day but one this month. Plus some extra night and weekend walks. So she’s getting her exercise, I just haven’t carved out enough time to bring her all the way to Madison. Hopefully soon.

6 – See friends at least three times

Done. I saw my friend Laura twice as we first tried to do this succulent planting event that sold out before we got there and then re-did it the next weekend. I also had coffee with my friend Katy. I have it marked in my bullet journal that I saw a friend a fourth time, though I can’t remember this happening… They all happened at the beginning of the month, so I’m due for more!

7 – Take Mom to Manna Cafe

Another fail! Well, I’m pretty sure I never even asked her?? But I know she’s had a lot going on. We DID go out to dinner after one of our yoga classes! I haven’t been to Manna since January and really want to get back. I tried to take Caden there for dessert after our date, but he wanted no part in that plan.

8 – See a movie by myself

I didn’t do this one either, but only because there wasn’t anything I wanted to see. I’m interested in Five Feet Apart, but after reading the book I decided I need to be at home for that kind of emotional movie watching experience. I hope there’s something coming out soon!

9 – Read two nonfiction books

I kind of snuck this one under the wire when I read a short graphic memoir yesterday right before writing my book post tot make sure I had that second nonfiction goal met! I also read Inheritance a few weeks ago. When I set this goal I really wanted to read some of the more life enriching books I have all over the house, but I wasn’t really in the mood for that this month.

10 – Eat better

This was too vague of a goal and I did a really crappy job of it. My scale is broken (okay, it just needs new batteries or something), but I’m pretty sure I’ve gained back all the weight I lost at the end of last year. I went out to eat A LOT this month. And ate so much crap at home. So many desserts. So many amazingly delicious lunches that I created just for me, but were then so good I couldn’t control myself from overeating them. It’s been a bad month. High priority goal for April will be finding a solid way to change this.

And that’s it! I write these recaps mostly for myself as I’m sure they’re not too interesting to anyone else. But…this is a good space for me to hold myself accountable, so I’m sticking with it!

Saturday Reflections 03.30.2019

Hello! It is already Saturday evening. This day has flown by. Probably because of my hour of reading in bed and then two hour nap this afternoon. Lack of sleep is once again catching up with me. Shepard is still coughing at night. Greg is still going on his two plus week cold and blowing his nose at night. I’ve slept about every other night from sheer exhaustion, but the nights in between are rough. I hope that once spring officially comes around to stay, maybe things will get better?? Though I can already feel my own allergies starting to seep in, so soon I’ll be awake at night with a whole new set of problems!

Anyway! It’s been a pretty low key week. I ended up running my errands on Monday morning in pretty weird places – Trader Joe’s and a gigantic Monona Walmart I’ve only been to once before. Sometimes I get pretty tired of going to the same set of stores week after week, even though they generally have everything I need. Hopefully I finally got Trader Joe’s out of my system for awhile and I can stick closer to home for the next few weeks!

Tuesday – worked. Caden has Chess Club after school, so I surprised Shepard with a steaming cup of coffee for when he walked in the door. He was in such a good mood! His temperment lately is always one extreme or the other. He’s either the happiest kid you’ve ever seen, or the most outraged and stubborn one. He wore tank tops and shorts to school every day this week because YES 34 DEGREES IS WHEN YOU CAN WEAR SHORTS. It was in the 20’s almost every morning when we walked to school. I give up. If he’s cold, it’s not my fault and I’m not going to worry about it anymore.

On Wednesday I finished up a batch of springy dolls. I’ve decided my customers aren’t interested in Easter. Which is unfortunate, though I myself am not that interested in decorating for Easter either this year, so I guess I can understand. I think I’m going to focus on spring and random themed dolls for the next few weeks.

Yoga on Wednesday was pretty challenging again. So many poses that were really irritating my ankle. It’s so discouraging how one split second of stepping in the wrong place in the wrong way has managed to alter the course of my life. I keep thinking about the x-ray technician that told me it took a good five years for her broken ankle to feel back to normal. I was so upset at her for telling me that at the time when I was in so much pain, but now I’m starting to wonder if five years is even an optimistic outlook. I feel like I’m going to have this pain forever and it ticks me off! I think that in general yoga is really helping the rest of my body feel better, though. I’ve been doing it at home every few days, just on my own to stretch out tight muscles. I don’t think I’ll take this class again when the session is over, but I’m hoping to incorporate it a lot more often into my life at home.

Annie had her annual vet check up on Thursday morning. She’s just 1-3 pounds a teeny bit overweight, but I’m guessing it’s just from winter and months of barely getting any exercise. (Plus she’s been being SUPER naughty lately and stealing as much people and cat food as she can get away with when nobody is looking.) Otherwise everything else checked out perfectly. The vet was amazed at how great her teeth look. I also had them change the paperwork, so Annie now OFFICIALLY 4. 🙂

I finished up another batch of dolls on Friday morning. I just bought this fabric and wanted to use it right away. So cute! I’ve really been enjoying straying from traditional red striped legs and red hair these last few months. It’s so much more fun branching out to other colors. My customers seem to be pretty receptive to it too. Maybe it sets me apart from other dollmakers. This whole batch sold out within minutes. Always so validating and exciting when that happens! (Until I have to deal with all the disgruntled customers that missed out.)

We didn’t have anything on schedule for this weekend, so I convinced Caden to go on a lunch date with me. We went to Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace and Salsa Bar.

I’ve only been here once before, probably at least six years ago. Compared to the delicious array of tacos I had last Sunday at Bel Air Cantina, these were about twice the size, but also a lot less flavorful. The restaurant was also packed and we could barely hear each other or the waitress. We did enjoy the salsa bar, though! We both liked the salsa verde best. Overall, it was way too much food. And Caden had really no interest in being there with me. He did come willingly, but refused to do anything else I had suggested after and didn’t engage with any topic I tried to talk with him about. I’m still glad we went, but I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time driving that far into Madison just to eat and come back home.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good week overall. My emotional state has leveled out a bit, I think. I’m still dealing with some stuff friendship wise that it’s hard to come to terms with. But…it’s okay. That’s life, right?

What I Read March 2019

March was a pretty off reading month for me. I started and stopped SO many books. I didn’t mark them as DNF because I know I need to give them more than 2% before making a judgement, but I they just didn’t feel right for me at this time. It’s so frustrating when I can’t find a book that I immediately connect with. I have over 400 unread books on my kindle and about 150 unread physical books on my shelf. I really have no excuse. But I’m always so distracted by the freshly released books that are getting so much buzz and get caught up on what I’m missing instead of what’s right in front of me – often the books that I was wildly excited about reading only a few months before. At any rate, I finally got out of my slump about ten days ago and finally found some great books that held my attention and made me want to forget about everything else and just read.

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
Rating: DNF – as a re-read, but previously 5 stars

It pains me to admit that I did not finish a Colleen Hoover novel. To be fair, though, this was a re-read and when I first read it in 2013 I gave it 5 stars. After reading Slammed again last month and still loving it SO MUCH I wanted to immediately continue Will and Lake’s story. Unfortunately, the first half of this book is just so depressing. I didn’t like the change of perspective. I liked Will so much more from Lake’s perspective instead of his own. Not that I didn’t like him in this, he just felt so different to me and it was bothering me. A lot. It’s been six years since I originally read it, but I assume things turn around and it gets really good. I just could not deal with it right now.

Get Lucky by Lila Monroe
Rating: 2.5 stars

This was free on amazon with a lot of good reviews, so I decided to give it a shot. Romance writer Julia and divorce lawyer Nate wake up in a Vegas hotel together with no recollection of the last twelve hours. Over the course of the book they spend the day trying to retrace their steps and figure out what they did in those alcohol laden hours. This book was okay. Just SO much sex. With really no emotional connection, which is a big pet peeve of mine. But – that’s the genre, sometimes. It was light and amusing, it just didn’t hold a ton of depth and was very unbelievable.

The Crooked Street by Brian Freeman
Rating: 3 stars

This is the third book in a series that has held my interest, but hasn’t wowed me. After the cliffhanger in the second book, I expected a lot more from this one and I just did not get it. Honestly, the whole thing kind of bored me. I like Frost Easton’s character, but he seems to be lacking in emotional depth which is frustrating. The storyline was vaguely intriguing, but not amazing. I assumed this was the last book and would tie everything up, but it ended up with another – much more fascinating – cliffhanger. I’m not giving up on the series, but I really hope the next one is so much better.

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
Rating: 3.5 stars

I appreciated this book as a very eye opening look at what it’s like to have cystic fibrosis – which according to the foreword and acknowledgements, was the point of writing it. It was written as a screenplay first, and I honestly think maybe they should have stuck with that instead of making it a novel. I liked the story, but it also felt kind of canned and easy. The characters didn’t have a ton of development. I still thoroughly enjoyed the book, it just didn’t wow me. It DID leave me feeling pretty horrified by cystic fibrosis. I’m looking forward to watching the movie made immediately following the book.

Rebels of Eden by Joey Graceffa
Rating: 3 stars

This was the final book in a dystopian trilogy that I enjoyed, but didn’t love. The hardest part about both the second and third book was trying to figure out what the heck is going on. This was slightly less confusing than the second, but it still took me a really long time to remember where I was in the story. Overall, this book really went up and down and up and down for me. Parts were really great. Parts were so incredibly boring. No spoilers, but for the record, I really disliked the ending.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: 5* stars

There has been so much hype about this book for at least six months pre-release. Once it was out, my book circles were really buzzing about it. Which immediately made me hesitate to pick it up. I almost never like the books that are so beloved by many. The synopsis didn’t even sound very interesting me. An oral history about the rise and fall of a fictitious band in the 70’s? Who cares? But I decided to read it anyway and oh my goodness, I LOVED it. I was completely engrossed in the story and was constantly lamenting the fact that this was not actually a real band and I could not go listen to their songs that made them famous. I’m not sure I’ve ever read an oral history type of book that wasn’t revolved around a mystery, so it did take me awhile to get past the anticipation of what we needed to solve. And even though it was indeed fiction, it absolutely did not feel like it, so it was kind of hard for me to want to read what my brain kept telling me was nonfiction. But after about a quarter of the way in – I was sold. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such an incredibly insightful author that will tug at your heart. She’s never afraid to write about love – the kind that isn’t the norm, or isn’t necessarily “right.” This book, though. I really, really loved it.

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
Rating: 5* stars

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a non-celebrity/non-foodie person/non-dying person memoir. But this book was also getting a ton of buzz in the last few months, it was featured in the Happier Podcast’s first ever book club, and that cover?! It’s gorgeous in its simplicity. I just had to read it. And I wasn’t disappointed. My only regret is that I haven’t read any of Dani Shapiro’s other books first. I think it would have been a more enriching experience to have a bigger sense of background on her, other than that she’s a famous writer and writing teacher. Each of her memoirs center around a particular part of her life and this one takes place right after she gets results to a DNA test and finds out that her beloved father is not in fact her father. She wrote the book as she was going through and processing everything. The whole thing came across as more of a page turning mystery that I didn’t want to put down. I appreciated how tortured she was about her identity as she tried to piece together what might have happened without having any parents left to ask about it. I loved the conclusions she came to in the end. Anyway, the entire thing was fascinating and I am definitely planning on picking up the rest of her books in the near future.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Rating: 3.5 stars

Ellery and Ezra are sent back to live with a grandmother they barely know in a town ridden by tragedy when their mother is sent to mandatory rehab. They quickly become immersed in their own town mystery as Ellery is targeted as a future victim and a girl they know goes missing. Overall, I did enjoy this YA thriller, but I thought it was a bit confusing and hard to grasp all the characters in the first half of the book. So many different crimes that took place at so many different times – it was a lot to keep track of. It also took me as long time to really connect with Ellery and Ezra was a pretty underdeveloped character after the first part of the book. Overall, I liked it, it just wasn’t riveting.

Drive by Kate Stewart
Rating: 5 stars

I have very complicated feelings about this book. I went into it not knowing anything. I picked it up because Kate Stewart is one of the Book Bonanza authors I’ll be seeing in August and this particular book was very highly recommended by the fans. And it was really good! I just wasn’t prepared for it to be a love triangle. I’m not such a fan of the triangle trope. Someone will ALWAYS get hurt and I just want a happy ending when it comes to my romances. Anyway – this is the story of Stella, a 20 year old with big dreams to become an amazing music journalist. She falls hard and fast for a drummer and gets her heart broken. You follow on her journey of getting her life put together the way she knows she needs in order for her to be fully healthy and whole. Overall, I really liked watching Stella’s emotional maturity progress. She had a lot of hard choices to make. And even though I’m still feeling a little mixed at how it ended – it was worth it. Though I do have to say that if I had a been reading a real book instead of on kindle, I totally would have skipped to the final pages to end my suspense. 🙂

Gus by Kim Holden
Rating: 4 stars

I was hesitant to read this book because the first book in the series, Bright Side, basically emotionally wrecked me. Plus death was very personal and hard at the beginning of this year and I couldn’t handle another book steeped in grief. But the mood struck this month, so I picked it up and was surprised to find very little sadness in its pages. The beginning is rough, for sure. But Gus is such a positive and genuinely kind character that it’s pretty easy to rally for him enjoy watching him get his life back together. I liked Scout’s character too, though she’s a bit underdeveloped. I enjoyed this book, though it has one of my absolute biggest pet peeves – swearing on every single page. Basically every line of dialog has a swear word in it. WHY? The only people I’ve ever heard talk like that in real life are middle or high schoolers that think it sounds cool. It seriously drives me nuts to read books that feel the need to put in the f word a thousand times into its pages. But besides that – this was actually a very uplifting and pleasant book.

Book Love by Debbie Tung
Rating: 5 stars

I adored this book for what it is – a beautiful ode to the love of books. It’s kind of a graphic memoir of the author’s complete devotion to all things reading and book related. I read her Introvert book late last year and felt the same sort of connection to it as this one. I can relate to every single thing she writes and draws about. I think most hardcore readers would feel the same. It’s definitely a fast read – I just sat down this morning and read it in maybe 20-30 minutes. It would make a really sweet little gift to the avid book lover in your life. I definitely plan on picking it up from time to time, maybe when I’m in a reading rut and need a reminder of how much I love books too.

That’s it for March! Have you read anything great this month?!

What I Watched March 2019

This has been a HUGE tv month for me. I had to make up for not watching much in February. Plus, I’ve been working a lot – my prime tv watching time. As usual, spoilers will definitely be included in my little recaps!

TV – Alone

Modern Family

I really wish they’d end this show. Maybe this is the last season?? Nope, I just looked it up and they have one more season before it ends. I’ll definitely stick with it to see how they close it out, but this has been nothing but filler tv for me for a very long time.

Million Little Things

I’ve really loved everything about this close knit band of friends. It’s been one of my favorite new shows of the year. The drama, the humor, the emotional storylines. I love it.

The Bachelor

UGH. Could this have come to a worse ending?! I had so many feelings about this whole ridiculous season. Well, technically the first Bachelor season I’ve ever watched, though I did watch The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise last year. And Colton. Poor Colton. I felt so bad for him this entire season and then he just didn’t end up having a clue at the end. WHY Cassie? WHY?? She was so totally and clearly unready to be in a relationship. I’m pretty sure she only ended up with him from all the pressure around the whole crazy ending. I chalk it up to Colton just not being as emotionally mature as he should have been to be on that tv show. I was pretty disappointed with how it all went down in the end.

Single Parents

This has been an unexpectedly fun little sitcom! I was a bit turned off by the cast of characters in the first episode or two and then they really grew on me. I always have a soft spot for tv shows that center around a really close group of friends that depend on each other like family. The way I often wish my life could be! I also really love the subtle sexual tension between Poppy and Douglas and Will and Angie. I also really enjoy Miggy’s unconventional addition to the group.

The Good Doctor

When I watched the finale of this season I didn’t realize it was actually the finale. Then I almost had a panic attack (okay, exaggeration) when I thought it was a series finale. There weren’t any real cliffhangers so it made sense they were closing it out for good, but WHEW – not the case. I adored this show and all of its characters.

The Resident

Ah, my heart is with this tv show. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Everybody on it is just amazing. I’m so very happy that Julian is alive and came back for Devon, even though she went and left again. Now I’m just biting my nails waiting for something – anything! – to happen between Mina and AJ. I need them to at least get a little bit closer.

A.P. Bio

It’s back! This show just cracks me up. It’s so ridiculous, but never fails to make me laugh.

Good Girls

I ran out of my regular shows and needed to pick something fast on netflix. I wasn’t too sure about this, but it’s grown on me. It’s kind of like a milder version of Breaking Bad. The three women just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper into the hole. I LOVE the very subtle tension between Beth and Rio. I also enjoy Gregg (aka Matt Seracen). 🙂

The Good Fight

Also back! I’m not sure how I feel about this third season that is so clearly going to be entirely about politics. I usually avoid politics at all costs. But I love the characters. I was especially excited about the addition of Michael Sheen. I’m guessing it was only a guest appearance, but I found his insane character to be very attractive and fun to watch.


I have very mixed feelings about this one. I know that as a bigger woman this show was supposed to draw me in and make me feel as passionate as Annie about how the world treats us. But she kept making so many stupid decisions! Even though he was obviously meant to have some redeeming qualities, Ryan was just such an awful person. Why did she keep going back to him in every single episode?! I’m also just not a fan of shows that treat abortion with so little concern. I guess I’m glad to have watched it since it’s been getting so much buzz, but I definitely didn’t love it.

God Friended Me

Not much to say other than I still like it! It’s nice to watch a show that centers around helping people and making the world a better place.

Splitting Up Together

Okay, since the addition of baby Annie being born to Lisa Apple and Martin, this show has become ridiculously unbelievable. I could buy their divorce while still living on the same property and still having many lingering feelings for each other. But to suddenly just have a baby born to Martin and have Lena over there taking care of it like it’s no big deal? It’s a BIG DEAL. I mean, I really like this show. But…it’s ridiculous.

TV – Together

Timeless – The Finale

We watched the finale movie that came seven months after the show was cancelled. And…it was weird. Like such a weird “episode” to end with. And then it became so cheesy and silly, but of course made me happy. I’m going to miss Wyatt. SO MUCH.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Every time we watch this I just think about how annoying almost every single character is. I’m in it for Captain Holt and that’s about it. I’m to the point where I literally cannot stand Amy and everyone else gets on my nerves. Just do a spinoff of Captain Holt’s life and I’d be pleased as punch.


Oh so many emotions about this show. At first I was insanely bothered by how unbelievable the 30 something year old actresses were as 13 year old characters. But I eventually got over it and genuinely loved the show. Some of the episodes were better than others, but the best ones were so completely hilarious I was crying. And then the final two episodes were almost emotionally destructive to me. It brought up so many feelings of nostalgia for that period of my life. I wouldn’t relive those years for a million dollars, but I SO wish I could go back to a time when friendships meant everything – to me AND to them. I was sobbing after the finale, it touched me so deeply. As a whole, this was such a fantastic piece.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Just end already! Seriously! I hate this season so much. Everyone is awful. All the ups and downs between Josh, Nathaniel, and Greg. I’m pretty certain she will pick none of them in the end, so why spend so much time on this? I hate it.


This was once one of my favorites, but it’s really fallen flat for me too lately. The characters are all just so blah.

Miracle Workers

We watched all of this in the last few days and really loved it! It felt super unconventional and bizzare. It also seemed very cheaply made and didn’t seem to be the kind of show I would like. But it turned out to be so funny and had such a sweet ending. I definitely recommend it!


The Favourite

This movie was…odd. I had no idea what it was going into it. I guess the acting was good? I really like Olivia Coleman from Broadchurch. It was just such a strange movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody

I’ve wanted to see this since I very first heard about it, wanted to see it in the theater so badly. We finally watched it and it was a bit of a letdown. I mean, the music was fun. But the movie as a whole was pretty boring. It was interesting seeing Rami Malek as such a charismatic character, though, having only seen him in Mr. Robot.

Captain Marvel

I know as a woman I should be all about this female superhero movie. But honestly, I didn’t really like it. I wish it had a more structured beginning and I might have liked the movie as a whole a lot more. I’m very turned off by outer space/different planets/different species of creatures. If a superhero has an origin story that begins on earth, I’m much more invested. Overall, not a terrible movie by any means, it just wasn’t that interesting to me.

10 Things to Tell You Prompt: What are you assuming about others?

I’ve been thinking about this particular podcast prompt for a couple of days now and I’m still not quite sure how I want to delve into it. Most of my assumptions about other people are in terms of how they must be thinking back about me. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t the point of the question, but that’s the only way my brain can seem to wrap around it. So I guess I’ll just go with it!

1 – I assume that nobody else is having the same struggles with their children that I am.

I definitely recognize that parenting is a struggle in one area or another for basically everyone. Nobody has a perfect child. Nobody is a perfect parent. I don’t mean to say that my struggles are WORSE than anyone else’s. But I also assume that nobody can really understand the exact kind of struggles we have. Unless you are my husband, I can guarantee you do not understand the full extent of the struggles we’ve had these last ten and a half years of being parents to our particular children. And sometimes in the worst of days it’s very easy to think that nobody else is going through what we are and couldn’t possibly understand what it is like.

2 – I assume that others do not think I am important/a high priority/a valued person in their lives.

Again, unless you are married to me, or you birthed me, I have a pretty steeped belief that nobody really cares all that much about me. I hold the assumption that most people that are connected to me just kind of put up with me. And if I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind. And often in sight, I’m also not really valued for what I can bring to the table.

3 – I assume other makers have their lives figured out.

This is a hard one for me. I follow a lot of other creative makers on instagram and facebook and they always seem to have their stuff TOGETHER. I feel like my own creative business is such a mess of trying to find balance, struggling to stay motivated, and debating on how to promote myself without feeling like I’m trying too hard. I hold the strong assumption that at least for most of them, they just sit down in the morning and work all day, nary a struggle to be had. Which is completely the opposite of how I feel in my own work.

4 – I assume nobody sees me or understands me completely.

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately and am not quite sure how to explain it, other than I feel like everyone I know can only relate to a small part of who I am and not a single person out there can feel connected to me as a complete person. I feel like the choices I’ve made in my adulthood have alienated me from a lot of deeper friendships and sibling/sibling-in-law relationships. And now that I have a handful of mom friends that relate to me in terms of family stuff, they don’t seem to have any of the extra stuff in common with me, which alienates me in different ways. I am in so many facebook groups filled with kindred spirits, but can’t seem to find any of those people in my real life. I don’t need or want to only be friends with people who are exactly like me. But lately I feel the differences between me and others have been so hindering with very little connecting points drawing us together anymore. It’s lonely to feel so misunderstood and outcast all the time.

5 – I assume other people think I’m a pretty crappy mom.

I feel like we’re getting into my deepest and darkest secrets now. This one has been at the forefront of my mind these last few weeks as some school/kid related issues have been brought up around town. It’s made me think about how little I know about what goes on in my boys’ days. I am a thousand percent not a helicopter parent and like to let my kids have freedom to make mistakes and try to figure out their own problems. I will of course advocate for them if a specific incident were to occur, but as long as they seem happy and healthy, I’m good. I feel like my kids are smart and learning well and it’s not my job to constantly be interfering with the system. If they were struggling, I’d feel differently. It just seems like lately, my lack of fight and vigor, might be misconstrued as simply not caring and being a pretty bad mom.

6 – I assume other families always have fun on vacation.

Please tell me I’m wrong on this. Guys, there is a reason that more often than not lately, I go on vacations BY MYSELF. I feel like family vacations are almost always disastrous. With the exception of our recent Florida trip, which still had some struggles, but was overall pretty good, every family trip we’ve ever taken has not been enjoyable, at all. Even my vacations with Greg are often disappointing. We just never want to do the same things or have different ideas of what a vacation should be (relaxing vs adventurous in our case). I get so excited about vacations and always come home from them full of regret. When other people go on vacation? It looks so fun and easy. It makes me wonder what in the world we’re doing wrong. Or, see #1 on this list.

7 – I assume everyone else knows who they are and are good living the life that they chose.

Ugh, this is a big one. I spend every day wondering about the choices I’ve made and trying to figure out the core of my identity. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I never know if I’m doing the right thing, living the life I should be, making the best choices. One day I feel like I have it all together and the next day I’m a total emotional mess. Why does it seem like nobody else has these struggles?!

8 – I assume that very few people are interested in this little blog I keep.

This just ties into everything I’ve already talked about, but I think about it all the time. I would love for my writings to be “popular.” I know that people look at my site because I can see the traffic statistics. But nobody comments, EVER. Only a handful of people I know follow my facebook page for post updates, and almost all of them are related to me in some way. I assume that if anybody was really my friend on facebook they would see that I also have a business page and a blog page and follow both, and if they don’t, they probably don’t care at all. I struggle with promoting myself and feeling self indulgent, trying to force people to know more about me if they don’t actually care. I assume that the people who do read this probably just do it to humor me. I hope saying all this doesn’t offend anyone, because I truly appreciate the ones that read all my posts. I just wish I could make more of this platform, but I don’t know how to do it, when I feel like the majority of the people in my real life aren’t interested, so why would strangers care?

Okay, I think that’s enough assumptions for one day! After re-reading this I kind of feel like I’m a very obnoxious and exhausting person to be around, so my assumptions must surely be true. But hey, I wanted to write more this week, and I am. Do with it what you will!

Sunday Intentions 03.24.2019

Well, after another total crap night of barely sleeping, we ended up having a lovely little family outing today! We made it to Bel Air Cantina – a week later than I wanted, but with Greg accompanying us this way. It was also kind of Caden’s half birthday treat, since we never ended up going out last night. The food was absolutely delicious! As usual. I love that restaurant so much, but you pretty much have to go on Sundays when the place is empty and you can enjoy it. Especially if you’re going as a family. I wish it were closer.

Afterward we took a stroll around the Capital and then stopped at Costco to pick a few things up and Cabela’s because Shepard saw the sign and really wanted to go in, much to Caden’s outrage. (Stores = PURE EVIL) I ended up missing Scrabble Club because we got home too late and I was too tired. So many days and weeks and months of messed up sleep. Next time.

Anyway, it’s a relatively quiet week ahead, which is nice. March and April are kind of the calm before the storm. They’re really what feel like the only quieter months of the entire school year. Our calendar is already so booked up for May, I need to enjoy these less busy weeks while I can!

Monday is errand day, as usual. I don’t need that much this week, but I might run to Trader Joe’s. I’ve been wanting to go for weeks, but it’s hard to justify the drive. (Really should have gone today when we were already eating just a mile away from it.) We’ll see how I feel in the morning! I’m also really wanting to try this bread recipe. I had hoped to do it this weekend, but that would have required going somewhere to buy whole milk. Too much work. Even more work for a Monday after running errands, but maybe I’ll feel ambitious!

Annie has a vet appointment on Thursday. And Friday is an end of quarter early release day. Those are about the only other unusual things happening this week. Besides that, I’d like to get focused on work again. Once again striving for some sort of balance between everything that will leave me feeling healthy and whole. I’ve come to the conclusion my customers aren’t that interested in Easter dolls, so I think I’ll just focus on spring, or maybe something new and unusual.

I’d also like to do more writing this week. I’ve had so many things swirling around in my head. I’ve been doing some journaling in the mornings, but there are always more things I’d like to say. I just struggle with where to put them. But part of me feels like it shouldn’t stress me out so much, I should just write what I want and be okay with it. So be prepared, there might be some odd blog posts coming out soon. It’s also the end of the month, so time for all my usual fun recaps! Well, they’re fun to me. 🙂

And that’s it for the week! Enjoy the last days of March!