Thanksgiving Recap

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Well, Thanksgiving is done and Christmas season is upon us! But I wanted to do a quick recap in photos of the day!

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Normally we do a family picture on or around my birthday, generally at a park so we can have a slightly nicer background. This year I just wasn’t on top of things. I was also hoping we’d get a really nice family picture when we were super dressed up at my sister-in-law’s wedding, but the only time we had a chance for somebody else to snap a picture, Shepard wasn’t cooperating. Big surprise! So anyway, Thanksgiving was the day. I didn’t want to give up on a family picture and I wanted to order Christmas cards with some Black Friday deals.

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It just kills me how Shepard has the most amazing smile in the world and then he looks like this in posed photos!

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Real smiles, but most awkward children placement ever!! We did get two pictures that were slightly better, but you’ll have to wait for the Christmas card to see them. 🙂

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After our rapid fire photo session we headed to my in-law’s house for the rest of the day. It was a very relaxing day. Lots of talking, phone playing, ball throwing, and tv watching.

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I love how they share chairs. 🙂

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The turkey was amazing, as always! My mother-in-law Cindy makes turkey roasting look completely effortless.

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The boys wanted to break the wishbone.

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Shepard wished for all the soda he could drink. He got his wish! Just like last year he picked out his very own Dr. Pepper 10.

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On Monday Shepard brought something home from school and immediately taped up a homemade envelope and had me write “Thanksgiving” on it. All week he repeatedly asked me where it was and reminded me that he was waiting to open it until everybody was together at the table. It was pretty adorable. His big reveal was a turkey picture that he drew. He was quite proud of himself!

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My yummy plate. I really like the new tradition we started with my parents and brother joining in on this Thanksgiving meal. It’s really nice just eating one meal and really enjoying everything instead of trying to cram our stomachs full of two gigantic meals!

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Shepard provided dinner entertainment when he remembered how much he loves crossing his eyes.

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Caden trying his hardest to copy him.

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My desserts this year. Pumpkin fudge bars with brown butter glaze, salted caramel peanut butter truffles, and crunch top apple pie.

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I was determined to get a couple pictures of people at the party other than just my kids. I always tend to forget to do that, or I just feel weird taking pictures of people for no valid reason. But I always regret it! So – my parents.

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It was a wonderful day and I’m so glad I got to spend it with the most important people in my life! Happy Thanksgiving!

Feeling Thankful

Like most people this week, I’ve been trying to get in the spirit of Thanksgiving by thinking about what I’m most thankful for. My list doesn’t vary much from year to year, though the specific reasons for my gratitude might. This year I really want to focus on each individual aspect of a person or thing that brings me joy and thanksgiving.

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Greg

  • We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this past May. It felt like a pretty big milestone, though getting married at 21, I barely remember life before marriage! The last ten years have held a lot of joys and a lot of challenges. We’ve stuck together and always will. I greatly look forward to spending the rest of my life with him.
  • He supports me. In the most basic ways, like allowing me to continue staying home to pursue my creative dreams while we live off of his income. But also in every other meaning of the word support. He fully supports me emotionally in everything that I want to do. He encourages me to better my life and do whatever makes me happy.
  • He is an awesome dad. The best I’ve ever met! He selflessly gives all of his nights and weekends to the boys, helping them with things, playing with them, loving them in the language that matters most to them. He’s so much better than me at setting aside everything else to just focus on our children.
  • I’m also very thankful that he takes care of most of the “man stuff” around the house. He’s been learning all the important home owning stuff, he takes care of all the car maintenance, he does the lawn work, takes out the garbage, etc. He’s also a technology genius and I don’t know how I – or any of our family members – would get by without him!

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Caden

  • Since this school year started, Caden has continued to impress me in how he looks after Shepard. He knew how worried Shepard was about going to kindergarten and he got permission from his teacher many times a day the first few weeks of school to drop in and check on Shepard. He sat by him at lunch, he sat by him on their first joint field trip which Shepard was terrified about going on, and he asked Shepard to join him and his friends at recess playing kickball every day. Even though he’s older, I don’t think it’s even occurred to him yet to want to get away from Shepard. Instead he always includes him in everything. He protects him and shelters him as well. Two days ago Shepard had a bathroom accident after he left the school building. We started to walk home and I stopped to talk to a friend for a minute. Caden continued to walk with Shepard, shielding him from the other kids so they wouldn’t see his wet pants or his tears. They definitely have their fair share of fights, but they’re also inseparable. Caden takes his big brother duties very seriously and I love that about him!
  • He’s a reader! Greg and I were talking about it the other day and admitted that we both thought he wouldn’t be. He’s very, very addicted to video games. Even though he has them taken away more often than not! But sometime in the last few months it finally clicked with him that reading is pretty awesome! He reads in the mornings when he wakes up, in the afternoons when he’s bored, and at night by lamplight. We set him up with my old kindle and he loves having that option available to him as well. Reading has always been a HUGE aspect of my life, and I’m thrilled that he’s started to love it as well.
  • He works hard. He’s still in speech therapy, though I think if people didn’t know that about him they would no longer be able to hear why he needed it. Just three years ago I felt like things were never going to change. People would never be able to understand him. And now he’s just a teeny fraction away from speaking at his age level. I’m proud of how far he’s come. I’m also proud of how well he does in school in general. He’s a pretty smart kid.

Shepard

  • Shepard is the comic relief we so often need in our family. Unless he’s throwing a tantrum over food, he’s pretty much always a joy to be around. He’s silly and funny. And he’s always thinking and sharing his newest ideas with people. I love listening to all the crazy things he comes up with every day.
  • He’s always up for learning or doing new things. He loves to help people with everything they’re doing. He’s constantly asking to help me in the kitchen. He loves pitching in when Greg is working on things around the house. He just wants to be where the action is and throw himself in the middle of it. He begs to do homework every night, even though he rarely has any. He’s optimistic and up for adventure pretty much all of the time. It’s refreshing to be around someone with that kind of perspective on life.
  • He’s growing too. I was so, so worried about how he’d handle kindergarten. He cried basically every morning that he had preschool and 4K. School gave him a lot of anxiety and he never wanted to be away from me. Summer school in June was even worse. The teacher literally had to tear him away from me every single day for three weeks. But he’s been doing really well. (Besides the potty issue!) He still drags his feet a couple times a week, but for the most party I think he’s starting to really acclimate. I kind of fear the day he becomes totally comfortable at school and his true personality starts to show! 🙂 I think he might be the kid that everybody wants to be friends with, but might also be a bit of a troublemaker and class clown! I love seeing how much more confident he’s become in just a few short months, though.

Our House

  • I waited a long time for this! I think that most people take owning a home for granted. I hope that the last six years of not owning will help me to always appreciate how awesome it is to truly have our own space. I do feel that your home is where your people are. But having an actual house with a yard and room to run is something to be pretty grateful for.
  • I LOVE my living room and sewing room. I spend basically the entire day in these two rooms. And because nobody else has much reason to be in them I can actually keep them clean and pretty, entirely for my own enjoyment. When we were house hunting, having a room or at least a solid space for my sewing room was a must have. I wasn’t sure that the dining room I claimed in this house would work out, but it turned out great. I have room for all my stuff with space to spare and it’s amazing. My living room, where my computer is, is also just the best. Hard wood floors, bay window, candle filled fireplace, pretty mantle, my favorite colors – I love it.
  • I’m so thankful that we have enough room for our family of four. Apartment life was fine for us for a long time. But the older the boys got the more desperately we started to feel the need for change. This house has been such a blessing. The boys have their own rooms, something that Caden at least really needed. Shepard has the biggest room, so ALL of the toys are stored in there. That alone is pretty huge! Besides the legos taking over our family room, the main living spaces of the house are usually pretty clutter free. I feel like I can breathe here. We all can.
  • Possibly the best thing about this house – the neighborhood. Our yard isn’t spectacularly large or exciting, but the boys have so many friends within our small block. They want to be outside all the time. That definitely wasn’t the case before we moved. I love that they’re finally having the childhood that I grew up with – outside with friends having adventures as often as possible. And we do have a yard! I didn’t have much chance to spend time in it this year since I was so focused on setting up inside. But I’m looking forward to planting a big garden next year, spending more time outside, having get togethers, etc. We plan to be here a very long time. I also love the area of town we live in. Country living has always been my dream, but living in town has some amazing advantages. I love that I can walk the boys to and from school every day. I can walk basically anywhere in Columbus if I want! It’s the perfect location.

Friends

  • Friendships have always been hard for me. Mainly because I’m not very satisfied with casual acquaintances. I want friendships to be deep, honest, comfortable, and stand the test of time. The problem is that those kind of friendships take a whole lot of effort between both people, a vulnerability that does not come easily, and a lot of time spent together. Something that only gets harder the older you get and the more family obligations you have. Anyway, I could go on with this topic for awhile, but I should probably just say that I’ve reached a point, finally, where I feel like I do have a couple of really good friends. REAL friends. I hope in the next few years, now that I have more time to devote to it, I can develop some other friendships and make them stronger. Maybe try and meet new friends. But I’m infinitely grateful for the couple of women who have shown me the meaning of true friendship in its best form. You know who you are.

Family

  • I am exceedingly grateful that my children have grandparents that live 20 minutes away and are a part of their lives. My grandpas both died when I was too young to remember them. My grandmas were a huge part of my childhood and I lost them both between Caden and Shepard being born. I miss them. I want my own kids to realize how important those relationships are and treasure the fact that they have them.
  • I’m also thankful for our siblings. I have a brother I see fairly regularly and the boys love talking video games with him. As I mentioned the other day, I’m really excited that my other brother and sister-in-law moved back to Wisconsin this year. Greg is very close with his sisters and we gained a new brother-in-law last month. My kids don’t have any cousins yet, but they’ve had the advantage of having many aunts and uncles doting on them for all of their lives. When we’re all together they fully enjoy having so much attention!
  • Beyond our more immediate family, we also have a lot of extended family in the area. We don’t see them that often, but it’s a comfort to know that they’re there.

That’s about it for my list. This year I’m celebrating the people in my life and the roof over my head. That’s all I need to be fulfilled. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

The problem I can’t fix

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I wish I knew what to do with this kid. I wish I knew what was truly going through his mind when it comes time to go to the bathroom. Potty training him is the biggest parenting struggle we’ve had in the last eight years. Every single tiny step in the process has turned into a monumental challenge that takes months to years to overcome. Sitting on the potty chair when he turned three was terrifying. He stayed in diapers all through preschool, despite not technically being allowed to be there while not potty trained. A solid year after we started the potty chair we spent an entire summer desperately trying to get him to sit on the real toilet so he’d be ready for 4K. It didn’t work. After many, many tears from everybody, he finally sat on the toilet IF he was sitting on a portable potty seat. With the seat he’d only use one of our bathrooms, and one bathroom at each grandma’s house. For two years we couldn’t leave the house for more than a couple of hours in case he’d need to go to the bathroom. Every extended trip, I’d take the regular potty chair along and he’d use it in the car or parking lot. Finally after his fifth birthday he used the toilet in one of our bathrooms. And only that toilet. He made it through an entire year of 4K never using the bathroom. I lived in fear that he’d start having accidents. One of my friends kept insisting it was a very real possibility that he would not be allowed to go to kindergarten if anybody knew about his problem, so we had to keep the struggle under wraps. Maybe if we had tried harder to get him more professional help last year we wouldn’t still be fighting this today, when he’s three months shy of turning six.

This last April things finally seemed to be moving forward. We took a trip to Great America and he went to the bathroom twice while we were there – on a real toilet with very little hesitation. A week or so after that we went to an out of town birthday party and he used the bathroom there. Both times with Greg or I, but he finally seemed to be getting more comfortable. And then in May we moved into our house. And everything went downhill. He was scared of the bathrooms here, he started having daily accidents, to the point where he didn’t even seem to care anymore. By the end of summer he was okay with going in our downstairs bathroom, he was okay with toilets at three grandma’s houses. I was purposely taking day trips as often as possible, not reminding him to go to the bathroom before we left, in hopes that he’d eventually give in and use toilets in other places. It never happened. He became an expert at holding it. His record is 11 hours while we were at a wedding. By the end of the night he desperately needed to go and we spent over an hour going back and forth sitting with him in public bathrooms and he just wouldn’t go. That was the most miserable two hour car ride home in all of our lives.

By the end of summer we were all feeling pretty hopeless. I guess we just assumed after all this time once school started full time for him he’d realize going to the bathroom there was just part of the deal and he’d do it. We put him in therapy right before school started. We talked to his teacher, we talked to the school nurse. We came up with many plans of action. We toured the school bathrooms with him multiple times. We had Caden check on him several times a day the first week of school to try and convince him to use the bathroom. Greg has gone to school a couple of times during the day to try and get him to go. His teacher has given him the option to use a private bathroom. We’ve tried bribing him with basically anything he could possibly want. Nothing works. Nothing.

For the longest time our end goal was for him to successfully use bathrooms on our trip to San Francisco in October. We assumed if he could do that it would break him of this problem and he’d finally be a successfully potty trained child.  We spent way too much time worrying that we were going to get there, he was going to hold it too long, and we’d spend the week sitting in a hospital with him. But amazingly, he did awesome. He used five different bathrooms. He told us when he had to go, we brought him to the closest bathroom, and he went. We rejoiced, thinking that we were finally, FINALLY in the clear. Got back home and nope. Still no going at school. Or upstairs at our house. Or anywhere else.

I think the most frustrating aspect of everything is that none of us understand WHY this has been so difficult for him. He will never talk about it or explain why he doesn’t want to go in different places. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling compassionate toward him, probably not pushing as hard as I could have because he was clearly miserable or terrified. But I’ve also had times, especially in recent months, being absolutely infuriated that we are still dealing with this after THREE YEARS. Who potty trains for three years?! Caden was potty trained right after he turned three with zero issues, zero accidents. I know every child is different. I know many people in the world struggle with much more difficult challenges. But what drives me crazy is that this is so easy to change! He can do it. But he won’t. It’s this overwhelming massive problem in our family’s lives that I have no control over. I can keep taking him to therapy, I can try to bring him into the school building every day after school when he so clearly needs to go, I can bribe him, take things away, offer incentives, anything and everything I can think of. But ultimately it’s up to him. I feel completely helpless and so, so frustrated.

Milwaukee Wave Date Night

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Last night we met my brother and sister-in-law in Milwaukee for a double date night. Timmy and Brittany moved back to Wisconsin this fall after a couple of years in California. We’re really excited to to get to spend more time with them, both in family gatherings and as “couple friends,” something we’re sorely lacking! All of our siblings were still in high school when Greg and I got married and moved to Minnesota. They were all in college when we became parents. We’ve had very little opportunity to really form adult friendships with our siblings outside of also being in mom and dad mode. It’s seriously awesome when we get a chance to just be US for a night and not worry about needy and emotionally demanding kids. It’s also really awesome that Timmy and Brittany are only a little over an hour away and getting together with them more than once or twice a year is actually our new reality!

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We met for dinner at Milwaukee Brat House because it was near the stadium. The restaurant was packed and loud, but the food was good! We shared this gigantic pretzel. We were getting pressed for time by the time the rest of the food came out, so I forgot to take a picture. My chicken wrap and cheese curds were delicious, though!

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This was mine and Greg’s first Wave game, so we didn’t know what to expect. We’re obviously not giant soccer fans, but we’re always up for a reason to go on a date night! And surprisingly, I actually really loved the game! It was fast paced and intense and honestly a lot of fun. I’d say the majority of the spectators were children, so the boys probably would have enjoyed it too. Next time!

Anyway, it was a great little date night. I wish we had more of them because it always does wonders for our relationship to get out of the house and interact as a couple instead of just a parental unit. We’re so fortunate to have grandparents around to watch the boys when we need a night out. Thanks, Timmy and Brittany for coming up with the idea and giving us an excuse to go out!

Making it Legit

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that I’ve been busy working behind the scenes this week to make my blog a little more legit and professional. Goodbye cutesy blogger, hello nice and clean wordpress. I ditched the .blogger.com tag and am now officially the proud owner of the domain www.everydaycrumbs.com! I’m having some problems getting a lot of the photos to transfer over and need to definitely do some clean up with tags and categories. But I’m antsy to keep on writing and figured I’d give a little update on the site before I continue. I’m so excited about this new (well, continued) adventure!

No, we’re not going to try for a girl. Please stop asking.

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I wish I could tell you how many times people have seen me with my kids and asked me if we are trying for a girl. It seems like the questions from total strangers have started to taper off the older my current children get, but I still have inquiries from family and friends, most of whom I’ve already vehemently told we are done. I understand the natural curiosity people have. I certainly have it too, though I try not to actually ask in fear I’m being as rude as sometimes people seem to me. But the comments and pushes I still get despite my standard answer are what bother me the most. Yesterday at the dentist, totally out of the blue, the hygienist asked me if we were going to try to have a girl. I said my standard “Nope, we’re done.” She went on to tell me that Shepard is still practically a baby and she bets I’ll change my mind someday and there’s still plenty of time to try for that girl. It didn’t seem worth responding to at the time. It’s none of her business, sure, but it also just ticked me off that she, as well as many people, couldn’t just accept that yes, yes, we are DONE.

To be honest, Greg and I always assumed we’d have a daughter. We had our daughter’s name picked out before we were married and just took it for granted that obviously she’d be part of our lives someday. With my first ultrasound there were a lot of mixed emotions and a little disappointment. With my second ultrasound, knowing we were only going to have two kids, I had a harder time. I definitely went through a little mourning period knowing our daughter would never come to be. But by the time Shepard was named in my belly, he was the absolute best final addition to our lives and now I can’t imagine anything differently. Sure, I’ve had twinges of sadness over the years that I’ll never have a little girl to do girly things with, a daughter to take shopping with me, an adult daughter to be my friend. But for the most part, like 99% of me, I am totally good with only having boys.

Being a boy mom is pretty great. My kids are the best of friends and do everything together. EVERYTHING. I have a hard time believing their bond would still be that strong if one of them were a girl. They’re wild and loud and messy. They are so physically active and boisterous all the time. Nothing makes me happier than watching them play together or watching them do “man things” with Daddy every night and weekend. I do sometimes feel slightly left out, though I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that they’re boys. They just really love doing things (video games!) that I have almost no interest or knowledge in. But they still ask me to show them how to sew, they like baking things with me, they pick me flowers and bring me presents of things they’ve found outside. God definitely knew what He was doing giving us two boys and I don’t wish for a second that anything was different.

As for the fact that we “only” have two kids? Guys, that’s all we can handle. I have the utmost respect for people with three, four, five, or more kids. Every couple makes their own decisions and every family has their own dynamic. But Greg and I? Two is our limit. Caden is high maintenance. Shepard has a wicked stubborn streak. Every night we’re facing some giant battle with one of them and we often feel overwhelmed and out of control. I honestly don’t think we’d survive more than two kids. We love that we can take them one on one whenever they need a break from each other. Nobody is left out, nobody is forgotten or lumped together. They get the undivided attention of just Mom or Dad on a daily basis. I often grew up thinking that the standard family of four was so boring. Now I kind of love it. We were able to buy a house this year and my kids can have their own rooms. We can get away with only owning cars. We fit into all those family of four deals and specials offered everywhere. We can divide and conquer every time we go somewhere as a family. Two is awesome for us. Two is our perfect number.

I feel like this really isn’t anybody’s business, but I’ve started needing to just spit it out left and right the way people continue to question our family choices. Greg had a vasectomy last year and it was the best decision we ever made. He’s been ready for it for years and I finally came to terms with it. It took me a couple of months to get used to the decision and I still cried the day I dropped him off at the doctor. But the second it was done? I was so relieved. We both were. I love the fact that we are done. I love that the slight hesitation and constant what ifs? have been eliminated from my thought process. It’s no longer an option to have that girl and we are okay. Our family is complete and nothing could make me happier.

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Outlet Needed, Desperately

My mind has been a total mess lately. I constantly feel filled to the brim with words and emotions that are desperate to get out. Instead they are trapped inside making me feel crazy and overwhelmed and oftentimes very alone. I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting back into blogging for about a month now. It seemed an easy decision to make, but I couldn’t get around the logistics. The Everyday Crumbs was a big part of my creative process in years past, but with such a big gap since my last post perhaps it made more sense to start anew? In the end, urgency won over the mild desire to start with a fresh page. I need to write. And it seems like such a waste to just let go of all my previous posts on here. It’s a lot of my history, a lot of my struggles and joys as a young mom. I want to hold on to that, and leave it up here in case anybody else can learn something from the battles I’ve fought. Or maybe just look at all the pictures of my adorable kids. ☚

A Reintroduction

With that being said, I feel like I should reintroduce myself. Who I am now versus who I was a few years ago. So, my name is Amy. ☚I turned 32 last month, a birthday that didn’t really phase me the way 30 and 31 did. I’m good with getting slightly older. I’m married to Greg. We celebrated our 10th anniversary this past May with a cross country trip to Charleston. We’ll be celebrating 17 years as a couple this January! We have two kids that keep us constantly, shall we say…challenged. Caden turned 8 in September and is in second grade. He’s a very active kid, a good big brother, a total homebody, and he loves video games and reading. It’s been a joy watching him grow in recent years, but we still have many, many struggles. More on that another day! Shepard is 5 and in kindergarten. He continues to light up our lives and give our rather serious little family a lot of much needed laughter. But he can also be the absolute most stubborn little person in the world. Shepard loves to do just about everything, especially when he can jump in and help with projects the people around him are working on. We also have two kitties, Jack and Rory, who have been part of our family for 11 years now.

This fall has begun a weird and hard to define chapter in my life. I’m still a “stay at home mom,” though both of my kids are in school full time. I have a business sewing primitive dolls, bears, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’ve been doing this for over three years and have been anxiously waiting to start working on it full time once the boys were in school. The past few months have showed me that working at home full time is a lot more challenging than I ever expected! I’m easily distracted and can never stop thinking about everything else that needs to be done around the house. But I’m working on it! I love what I do and that I found this creative passion that allows me to continue to stay home for when my kids need me, but still bring in a little extra money.

My other hobbies and interests include reading, baking, walking, listening to podcasts, and setting up our house. We bought our first house in six years this past May and it’s been amazing living in a permanent location that I can decorate and rearrange to perfection. I love, love, LOVE to read. I read in all my spare time and whenever I allow myself a break from cleaning and sewing. Baking has always been a source of immense joy, though I try to keep it to a minimum because while everybody enjoys a good treat, their waistlines don’t and they’re not afraid to tell me that! And finally my newest obsessions – walking and podcasts, always simultaneously. Since moving into town I’ve been taking 2-5 mile walks almost every day and I absolutely love it. And podcasts have opened up this whole new world of information and entertainment that I seriously cannot get enough of. I listen to them all day long and it’s awesome. 

I’m hoping this blog will turn into the creative outlet I really need to clear my mind, get my head on a page, and move forward with my life in a positive direction. I want to continue to share pictures from my family life and celebrations throughout the year. I also want to write in greater depth the things I struggle with on a regular basis. I’d like to occasionally post about awesome recipes I find. And I’d love to share more about my sewing, the books I’ve been reading, and the best podcasts I’ve been listening to. I have a lot to say and not a lot of opportunity to say things out loud. Even if nobody reads this, at least it’s out of my head and that’s all that matters. Enjoy!

Spring Break 2015

This past week was spring break! We didn’t have any plans to travel, but I wanted to try and make each day a little bit exciting and memorable for the boys. Here’s a recounting of our week.

Monday

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Monday was our “big” trip of the week – the Milwaukee Zoo. The boys have never been there and I haven’t been since I was a kid, so it was fun to see something new. The weather was pretty good and it wasn’t that crowded. Made for a very nice excursion.

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She had a baby on her back, but kept moving so fast I wasn’t able to get any good pictures. It was cute, though!

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There were a couple of peacocks blocking the doors to this building, but we squeezed past so I could get a better picture.

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It was only about 47 degrees, but Caden kept insisting that he was so hot. So he wore his coat like this the entire time. The whole week pretty much.

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I love the bears!

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Shepard’s favorite are always the giraffes. It was funny because the sign said giraffes don’t like to be outside unless it’s at least 55 degrees. This whole little herd of giraffes kept walking in and out of the building testing the temperature.

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All the big cats were sleeping.

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Caden was most excited to see cheetahs, but they didn’t have any. We had to settle for jaguars.

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Caden had to get new shoes this week because his old ones completely broke.

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They were each allowed to pick one snack before we left.

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Overall it was a pretty fun three hours at the zoo. Shepard has definitely been into testing my limits of patience lately and had quite a few meltdowns, which is just the norm for him these days, apparently. I planned on going to a nice lunch afterward, but we went to Kopp’s Frozen Custard instead, which is more of a unique fast food type place. Shepard rolled around the floor whining for no apparent reason while Caden and I had sandwiches and malts.

Tuesday

Tuesday was our errand day. We managed four grocery stores in the morning. Talk about testing my patience!! Actually, attitude wise the boys were really good. No complaints at all. They were just all over the place. Exhausting. In the afternoon Caden had his friend Rett come over to play. It was our first playdate without the friend’s parent along. It was funny to watch the boys fight over him for hours. They never sat still, just jumping from one toy or activity to another the entire time.

Wednesday

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Wednesday was supposed to be the warmest day of the week so we planned a picnic at a big park in Watertown. It ended up being pretty chilly (except to Caden, I guess), but still a nice day.

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Shepard has been anti-photo lately. This is what he does when he wants me to leave him alone. Or be quiet.

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We stopped at the only gas station on the way to pick up some bread, but they were sold out for the rest of the week! Fortunately some guy took pity on us and gave them one piece of bread to share. They definitely made it last!

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Thursday

On Thursday I wanted to take them to the theater to see Home since it’s something we very rarely do. But Caden acted like I was trying to punish him when I suggested it, so we skipped that plan. Instead we went to the big Animart in Madison to look at the animals and pick out some birthday presents for Jack and Rory.

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In the afternoon my mom and brother stopped by to give Jack and Rory early birthday presents.

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Friday

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Friday was a lazy day for the boys so I could work on cleaning and cooking. I was pretty lenient with video game rules this week since it was their vacation.

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I did have to make a post office run so we stopped at the park too. I wanted to get some fun pictures of the three of us, but Shepard wasn’t exactly cooperating. Story of our lives lately! He thought it was hilarious to try and cut me out of the picture with his head.

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Better at cooperating.

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My pizza helper. It’s Friday!

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And we finished the night by giving Jack and Rory their new dishes and birthday dinner. They are 10 years old now!!

Well, that’s it for our spring break week! We still have lots today and tomorrow with Easter. More on that to come. 🙂

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My New Sewing Room!

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A couple of weeks ago, Greg and I decided that it was time to rearrange the apartment so I could have my own sewing room. I was starting to go a little bit crazy constantly stepping on the legos surrounding my desk and always needing to move things around every time I wanted to have a little workspace. Scissors and needles could never be left out, for obvious reasons, but it was really frustrating having to get out and clean up a huge pile of supplies every time I wanted to work for even half an hour. Greg has offered in the past to change places with me, giving up his very poorly utilized office space. I just wasn’t able to get past the fact that moving all of my things in here would mean moving all of his very ugly things (multiple computers, hundreds of cables and wires and any other weird techy things he needs) into the very public and open living room. My space in the living room was crowded, but at least it was pretty!

At any rate, I finally weighed my limited options and this was the way to go. We’ve lived in our apartment for three and a half years now and plan to live here for probably another year or two. I often feel like I have to apologize for that fact because living in an apartment with a family of four in a very small town is definitely not the norm. But it works for us. In many ways I think it works a lot better for us than living in a house. So I decided it was worth the time and effort to make the switch so I could have a space that was entirely my own as I continue to grow Heartstring Annie and just plain need an escape from all the mass chaos my kids are forever creating. I think I can be happy here for a long time. 🙂

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So back to the room! This is my newest addition – a beautiful handmade table from my favorite store to buy random furniture, Twisted Sister. One of the things I was most excited about when I got this room was realizing I could actually fit in a cutting table! I hate cutting fabric on the floor or at the kitchen table, but just assumed having a cutting table in the apartment would never work out. But it did!! I saw this table a couple of months ago at Twisted Sister and fell in love with it. I’ve been back to visit it multiple times since then and finally decided after a profitable craft fair that I could just go ahead and buy it. It makes me happy! And my cats, who think they just got a brand new bed.

Not that pretty, but now I’m able to get all my embroidery supplies (top bin) and mohair out in the open where I can use them more often. There’s a closet next to the shelf that’s mostly filled with all my shipping supplies, rarely used craft equipment, and my giant box of polyfil.

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The actual sewing area. FYI, I also got my sewing table and desk from Twisted Sister. I’d buy all their furniture if I had room for it! I plan on painting that big shelf with some chalk paint one of these days. I just haven’t had a chance yet.

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My happy place!

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Just another view of the beautiful wood on top of my table. I’m hoping to buy a shelf or two for this open wall space. Ideally I’d love a way to get my fabric in this room too, but I’m not sure it’s possible. It’s currently taking up a full dresser in the bathroom, four boxes in my closet, and a bunch of more rarely used fabrics are boxed up in my garage. I have a small white bookshelf in mind that I saw a few weeks ago at a store that is only open every few months. If my mom doesn’t beat me to it, I’m thinking of getting it for right next to the sewing desk to put my most used fabrics on. Maybe.

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One more picture.

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And finally, this guy. 🙂 For quite awhile now I’ve been greatly admiring a few people who create artist bears and other animals. I never understood how they made them so tiny until it finally clicked in my head that obviously they just sew everything by hand! So in between doll making I’ve been experimenting with some little animals myself. I made a tiny teddy for my mom’s birthday which was pretty cute. Then I found a place to import mohair to make them even cuter and sewed a tiny elephant for my friend Dianne’s birthday. And finally, over the weekend while I was doing a craft fair, I made this bunny for myself! I love him so much. I want to make him a friend, but it’s been a very busy week! Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll ever sell these, but they’re fun to make for myself and family and friends when I need a break from business stuff.

So that’s my new sewing room! And a bunch of ramblings. 🙂

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St. Patrick’s Day 2015

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Another St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. This has always been one of my favorite holidays simply because I love any good reason to celebrate and being Irish is a great one. 🙂 It seems like the last few years the excitement of the day has gotten lost between chaotic schedules and crabby kids. I was looking back at my photos from last year and realized we never even took family photos – my favorite part of the whole day! I expect my kids were just as crabby last year as they were this year – I just powered past the crabbiness this time!

Anyway, our annual holiday breakfast has changed over the years, but we’ve kind of settled into a Lucky Charms routine because it’s so easy and it feels like a special treat since I don’t usually buy any kind of sugary cereal. Sometime in the night a leprechaun usually sneaks in and leaves a pile of golden coins and mustard (because it’s gold and my boys are obsessed with eating mustard). This year the leprechaun could only find giant bags of gold coins, so the boys each took some to school to share with their classes.

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We’ve lived here for three and a half years and I have never seen a rainbow appear in my bedroom until St. Patrick’s Day. I thought it was definitely worth taking a picture of. 🙂

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Since it was a special day and they got dressed so easily I let them check their street passes before school. Then we dropped Caden off and Shepard and I proceeded to have a very busy day of errand running. We had a Taco Bell lunch with grandma, stopped to play with Uncle Tyler and all my mom’s dogs while she’s on vacation, and then I had my final visit with the sleep doctor. My three month CPAP experiment is already over and I decided to give it back. It was a very hard decision, but after all this time I honestly didn’t notice any difference whatsoever in how I felt during the day. All it turned out to be is this really stressful and annoying nuisance that woke me up over and over again through the night. Not worth it.

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I guess I never took any pictures of dinner, but here are our desserts. We actually had our halfway traditional Irish dinner on Monday with baked chicken, glazed carrots, rainbow potatoes, and soda bread. On Tuesday we simply had shamrock shaped ravioli from Costco. Gotta love an easy dinner! Dessert was sugar cookies for the guys and pistachio cake for me.

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It was a VERY crabby afternoon, but I managed to rally everyone for the annual – except for last year – family photo shoot.

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I forgot to focus my first batch, but I’m including this picture anyway because it has everyone’s best smiles. 🙂

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A week ago Shepard figured out how to cross his eyes and now it’s his favorite thing to do. I was a little annoyed to look at all the pictures I took afterward and see that he was crossing his eyes in almost all of them!

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In other life updates, since I’m still terrible at writing at all regularly, the biggest news is that we recently rearranged our apartment so I could have my own sewing room. I was starting to go crazy always stepping on legos, constantly needing to spread out while I work, but not having the room to do it. Or at least not the room to do it and keep it out as long as I needed. Greg has offered to switch with me in the past, but I always dismissed the idea. This time I decided it was worth the effort. We’re still far from getting settled in, but I think it will eventually work out great. I’ve also been very busily preparing for a craft fair tomorrow and Saturday, so beyond getting all my stuff IN my new sewing room, nothing is organized or hung up or displayed prettily yet. Greg’s new area in the living room is still a total mess of hundreds of cords and cables and whatever other crazy tech things he’s collected over the years. It’s all quite stressful!!! Hopefully next week we can get it all settled in properly and then I’ll post some pictures!

 

Anyway, for fun, here’s a little walk down memory lane. St. Patrick’s Day in 2009.

 

 

2010

 

 

2011

 

 

2012

 

 

2013

And no 2014. I will forever regret it!! Anyway, hope everyone else had a great St. Patrick’s Day too!

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