Easter 2017

IMG_1520 extra stuff

Despite our rough Saturday, Easter turned out to be a very nice day. I was pretty tired because the Easter Bunny’s helper fell asleep in Caden’s bed and forgot it was Easter eve, so I had a late night getting everything ready for morning. Then slept terribly and was up around 4. Always happens the night before an important day! I think both boys were up sometime between 5:30 and 6. They spent some time looking through the things left on the table that the Easter Bunny couldn’t fit in their baskets!

IMG_1522 high eggs

Since Greg got so much sleep, I didn’t feel bad about them waking him up pretty early. So the egg hunt was underway! It was tough this year finding places to hide eggs that they’d still find, yet weren’t low enough for Annie to get into.

IMG_1526 annies' baskets

Found Annie’s “basket” first. A pooper scooper, pail for poop, and a few new toys. I always thought it was funny how many toys my mom buys for her dogs. Now I totally get it. I want to buy Annie new toys every time I go to the store. And treats.

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Jumbo dog treat. She always wants to see what everyone is doing, so she just carried it from room to room so she could keep watching us.

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Caden found his basket next!

IMG_1546 caden's basket

Always a personal challenge to see just how many things I can cram into those little baskets!! I tried to keep the fillers pretty cheap this year. A lot of one time use types of things that they’ll have fun with for a day and then we can throw away without any guilt.

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Cat basket next. The cats haven’t played with any toys since we got Annie. 🙁 But I’m hoping that will change.

IMG_1553 the jumbo egg

Shepard found the mega egg.

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Daddy’s basket next.

IMG_1560 amy's basket

Then mine. Finally found a vintage stuffed lamb! She’s in rough shape, but I’m looking forward to fixing her up nice and pretty.

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Greg’s basket again. He’s always the tough one.

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Keeping an eye on everything. Rory never came out of hiding.

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Shepard finally found his basket after many, many hints!

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Need muscles for the goodies.

IMG_1568 shepards basket

Lots of purple and lots of trolls! He’s obsessed with both.

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Dressed and ready for photo time. You can see Caden’s pink eye in this one. It started on Saturday afternoon and by Sunday night both eyes were almost swollen shut and solid red. I guess it was technically good timing since he didn’t have to miss any school for it, but still kind of a bummer since it stopped us from doing much the last few days of break.

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They are completely incapable of just standing together nicely for a picture!

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Trying to get Annie to sit with us, staying in one position, and facing Greg rather than me, was nearly impossible! And in the front yard to boot, where she’s highly distracted always trying to see if her friend Maya is out or not.

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Best we can do. 🙂

IMG_1613 egg hunt

At Grandma Noe’s house for the second part of the day. The boys are off on their egg hunt.

IMG_1616 annie watching

Annie got to come with us for this part of the day, which was really nice. Though it was probably a lot more chaos than everybody bargained for. She REALLY does not like being tied up. Especially if somebody isn’t actively engaging with her every minute she’s out. But she did pretty well. Caden spent a lot of time playing with her, when he might have normally been acting out. I like that she’s kind of turning into a bit of a therapy dog for him.

IMG_1640 shepard eggs

Counting his 40 eggs!

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Cindy’s mega brunch spread! There’s a ham and sausages under the foil. It was all delicious! Greg was so proud of his scrambled egg contribution.

IMG_1649 family pic attempt

After a few hours there I ran Annie back home to spend the afternoon in her kennel. I was really hoping she’d just sleep after so much excitement. I guess without some sort of nanny cam I don’t know what she did. But she was pretty dang tired the next day, so who knows!

Anyway, at my parent’s house for the rest of Easter. I wanted to try and get a nice family picture, but you know how that goes. Didn’t help that the wind was also very intense all day. My hair did not hold up through it!

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IMG_1653 nicest family easter photo lol

Pretty good!

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And that’s the end of that.

IMG_1660 scavenger hunt

Back inside for the scavenger hunt. It was tough this year because my parents have knocked a wall out and rearranged a bunch of stuff since the last time we were there, so the boys needed extra hints.

IMG_1673 caden's basket

Found their way to the baskets.

IMG_1675 sling shot

Trying to play with their new sling shot/catch thingys. It was so windy!

IMG_1681 shepard and pork chops

Always the goof!

IMG_1687 easter dinner

Easter dinner! Delicious, as always. I hope to one day figure out how to coordinate serving a nice sit down dinner for a group of people the way my mom does! I haven’t been able to move past crock pot meals yet.

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And my desserts. Croissant bread pudding with butterscotch sauce and a strawberry cream pie with very wimpy cream filling. Both were good, but not really up to my baking standard. I’m losing my edge these days.

And that’s it! It was a very nice, low key, family filled day. Everyone was happy and had a great day.

Spring Break 2017: Part One

Well, the first few days of spring break have come and gone. I was hoping to fill this week with a lot of really fun memories with the boys. I had zero intention of working over break. I was fully dedicated to spending the days out and about having adventures with them. We couldn’t go on vacation, we couldn’t even leave the house for long periods of time because of Annie. But we could still try and make the most of it.



Spring Break started at 11:30 on Wednesday, when I met Caden at school for the special second grader’s VIP Lunch. Each kid was allowed to invite just one guest to eat hot dogs with them. I was his VIP by default, since it made the most sense – what else did I have going on? But I felt bad when I realized this replaced the original Donuts with Dads second graders used to do.


But still, it was nice to be his special person for a small amount of time. All of the kids made placemats for their VIPs. Then we got our hot dog and ate. As a special treat, the students were allowed to leave with their parent as soon as we were done eating. So Caden was done with school about 45 minutes before Shepard. We just waited around the playground, though.


Right after school I wanted to get the dog park because Annie was alone while I was at the lunch and she was going to be alone for a good chunk of the evening. The boys went willingly when I promised they could play video games the rest of the afternoon. It was nice to finally have such a pleasant weather day!


Climbing trees is one of their favorite dog park activities.


Our friends met up with us for a doggy/kid/mom play date!


The kids also love digging in the holes the dogs have left.

After the dog park the boys played their games while I read. Then we drove to Sun Prairie for a hand off of children, so Greg and I could have a date. We were planning to get the special $10 take out pizza at Salvatore’s and eat it at a park. But Annie threw off my concentration by being super difficult about getting back in her kennel for the second time that day. So I forgot to bring drinks for our picnic, and a coat as it was getting chilly again. We ended up eating there. Much more than a $10 dinner! But it was nice. We were both really tired and dragging, though, so just went home and lazed on the couch the rest of the night. I even fell asleep at 6:30 while watching a show. Pretty lame date night. We’re very boring.


I guess I didn’t take any pictures on Thursday. It was a pretty low key day. Rainy and chilly. We had plans to meet up with my mom and Pip to do the next round of dog introductions. We went to the dog park first, assuming it’d be empty like every other daytime I’ve gone. Instead it was packed! So Annie and Pip met through the fence – didn’t go well. We came back to our house to go for a walk. Still didn’t go well. When they were actually walking, it wasn’t so bad. But the rest of the time Pip was viciously trying to get Annie. So…they have not been approved to spend time together yet. Unfortunately. 🙁

The rest of the day was very lazy. I was so tired. Seems to be the theme of my life ever since getting Annie. Or ever since having kids?? I just couldn’t stay awake. So I napped, they gamed. In the last afternoon we watched a Smurfs movie.



On Friday, I was determined to have a day of adventure. Greg was working at home, so we both had an excuse to stay out of the house as long as possible, and I didn’t have to worry about Annie because he grudgingly said he’d take care of her potty breaks. The boys were pretty reluctant to leave because Daddy’s presence, even when he’s working, is always top priority for them! But we made it out the door.


First stop was Hurt’s Donuts in Middleton. Quite the drive for some donuts! I heard there might be a donut shop opening on the east side, which would be really awesome. At any rate, I was reading all the reviews and so many people complained about Hurt’s. But I wanted to check it out for myself. The wait was pretty long (maybe 15 minutes to get through the four or five groups of people ahead of us), and the selection seemed big, but almost none of the flavors had signs, so you just had to guess what you were getting. The boys were not adventurous at all, just wanting the simple glazed crullers and sprinkled donuts. I wanted the last maple bacon (look at all that bacon), but of course it wasn’t allowed to be included in the 12 for $15 box. But I bought it anyway. Anyway, besides the maple bacon, they were all cake donuts. And much more dessert-y than breakfast-y. Mine was way too sweet to be eaten that early in the morning. But I’ve enjoyed the tastes of the other ones later on!



Next stop was a park. I didn’t time things very well. I wanted to get to Costco right when it opened because I assumed it’d be insane. But we still had an hour to kill before then. So we just googled our way to the nearest park and the boys played for awhile. Shepard was so excited, even though the playground was pretty small. It makes me sad to realize the ways we’ve been taking away his childhood, just because he’s the younger child. We almost never go to parks anymore. And lately Greg’s been getting so irritated that Shepard never wants to listen to the chapter books they read at night. Of course he doesn’t, he’s only six! He wants pictures and shorter stories! Anyway, I’m going to try and make it a higher priority to find our ways to more parks this summer. They seem to use their imaginations best when we’re at them.


Caden got sick of the park, so we ran to Marshall’s for a few minutes. Then Costco. Which was definitely crazy. And made worse because I had kids with me, of course. They both wanted to be in the cart, which did contain them, but also made it SO MUCH HARDER to push and control. I’ve never gone through the store so fast. No dilly-dallying, just actually getting what I needed and leaving! Except that Shepard really wanted a hot dog for lunch. So he could have a churro for dessert. I kept saying he didn’t need a churro since we had a whole box of donuts in the car. But he was very insistent and he hasn’t been to Costco with me since summer, so I figured we could make it happen. Caden wasn’t thrilled, but I got a hot dog for him too.


Meanwhile, I was saving up for Mod Pizza! I’m guessing this restaurant opened pretty recently since I haven’t heard anything about it. But it’s right by where Greg works and the other day he decided to check it out. And then he talked about it all week. So of course since I was in that area of the city, I wanted to try it too. It was so good! I did the build your own and picked red tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sweet hot peppers, green peppers, roasted garlic, and then a big swirl of sri-rancha sauce which really pulled it all together and made it taste AMAZING. I don’t find myself in Fitchburg very often, but I’m totally going there every time I’m in the area from now on!


I took the pizza to go and ate at a big park. Unfortunately, we all needed to use the bathroom and they didn’t have one. Why do gigantic parks not have bathrooms?! I was most angry because Shepard actually seemed willing to use a public bathroom by his own choice, and there wasn’t a bathroom in sight! We ended up just driving back home after that.


After a few hours chilling at home (and bugging Greg nonstop while he worked), we went to the dog park again. We’ve spent a lot of time there this past week! It’s a good place for everyone to wear off energy, though. I love seeing Annie have so much fun with her new dog friends (she’s up to 54, according Shepard, who has been keeping track). But it’s stressful too, because in the last few days a lot of people have been bringing their mean dogs and trying to isolate them in the little dog area. But they need to get from the main door to the door to the little area and Annie is always SO excited about each new dog that comes in, she refuses to leave them alone. I witnessed a pretty major dog fight and some very mean dog owners in the last few days. But I’ve also met some super friendly people that basically live for their dogs. You just never know what you’re going to get!


Saturday was a pretty awful day. Which sucks, because I was really looking forward to it. Last year on the day before Easter, the boys and I hit up three egg hunts in a row. The early morning hunt at Pick ‘n Save, the Culver’s hunt where we got around 20 free ice cream tokens, and the big park egg hunt. It was one of my fondest memories of last year. Which is why I was really excited to do the two smaller hunts (park went early last weekend this year) again. I thought the boys were excited too.

But then morning came. And of course they were both awake with plenty of time to get ready. But did they? Of course not. Caden started crying and screaming that I keep making him go to so many stupid places. EVERY SINGLE TIME I try to take him anywhere, no matter how fun it might be, it’s basically akin to a death sentence in his mind. This is how he reacts. EVERY TIME. And it sucks. Big time. I get being an introvert. I’m definitely one and I love being at home too. But I also like making memories and experiencing life. Especially really fun holiday traditions like small town egg hunts around the city. I can’t understand why absolutely everything sounds like such a terrible thing to him. Restaurants? Nope. Grandma’s house? Nope. Parks and playgrounds? No way. Vacations? Absolutely not. He hates all things. And he ruins it for everybody else.

I was teetering on just leaving him home and taking Shepard. But then Shepard announced that he’d go, but he wasn’t going to look for any eggs or candy. And that point I just lost it with both of them. I started screaming that Easter was cancelled. I was writing a note to the Easter Bunny and telling him not to come to our house. The boys didn’t even flinch. Zero reaction. So I wrote the note. They couldn’t have cared less. At this point I was crying and yelling about how much they were hurting my feelings and ruining Easter. They just continued to sit on the couch and ignore me. Not by best parenting moments, but I was so, so disappointed in them.

What happened to my KIDS? When did they stop getting excited about new adventures? Years ago? How am I ever going to survive the pre-teen and teenage years when they have so much power to hurt me at this age? Caden is just the worst sometimes. Seriously, he is. And I HATE that his negativity is starting to influence how Shepard sees the world too. Shepard used to be up for anything, anytime. He doesn’t seem to feel that way anymore.

Anyway. We didn’t go to either egg hunt, to my severe disappointment. I spent most of my day crying, reading (the entire book Thirteen Reasons Why – great book, but probably not the best day to be reading about suicide), cuddling or walking Annie, baking desserts and four batches of mostly failed rolls for tomorrow, or hiding out in my room. I didn’t talk to anyone all day. As usual, my presence is basically non-existent when the entire family is home. If I didn’t feed them, they wouldn’t notice my absence. It’s a sucky role to play. And I seem stuck in it. Especially since all my attempts to go out and have fun tend to backfire. I took away their video games for the rest of spring break. After the initial anger, they still seemed to have a happy carefree day hanging out with Daddy. Mom’s having a horrible day? Nobody cares. Nobody notices.

Okay, so enough self pity. It’s 8:30 pm on Saturday. I’m still very tempted to cancel Easter. Neither kid even mentioned it all day. They don’t care! About anything! Why in the world did I spend so much time trying to curate such awesomely filled Easter baskets for them? Shepard hasn’t even touched almost any of his birthday presents from two months ago. There are still piles of Christmas presents in both of their rooms that they haven’t even looked at yet. They need nothing, they care about nothing. But can I assume that tomorrow morning maybe they will? At least a little? I don’t genuinely want to destroy their Easter. But I’m not feeling a whole lot of goodwill toward them and making it special anymore either.

So, halfway through spring break. I’m not feeling very optimistic about the remaining days. I really, really, wanted to try and do some fun, yet low key things. I wanted to at least eat at Ponderosa, since they originally requested it. But now I also kind of want to just punish them by making them stay home, eat crappy food, and not have any type of screen time whatsoever. I don’t know. Hopefully Easter will turn out to be great and I’ll feel a lot better about making the remaining two days of break more fun.

Negative Brain Dump

Fair warning, this is more of a vent post. Just need to get some of my negative feelings from the last few days out of my head.

So I’m really struggling with what to do with Caden and his upcoming soccer season. He hasn’t played soccer since 4K, but of his own volition this year, he was really excited about signing up. He insisted he had to be in the same soccer program as one of his best friends. So I figured out which one that was and after asking him about ten times over a couple of weeks (Caden hates outside commitment), he never wavered, so I signed him up.

After signups were done, we got an email with the roster for each grade group. Caden was in the first and second grade group. Because he’s in second grade. BUT, his three friends that played soccer this past fall, were all in the third and fourth grade group. A mom told me it was because in fall the oldest group only had a couple of players, so they moved the second graders up. But it doesn’t make sense that they’re still moved up when the group seems big enough in spring, does it? We talked to Caden about it and he was pretty upset. I was upset too because Caden has not had a lot of good team sports experiences. He never wants to do anything outside of the house – ANYTHING. And soccer he was excited for. Because he could play with his friends. And now they’re in the older group.

After mulling it over for awhile, I decided to ask the lady in charge why a bunch of second graders are in the older group. She responded by what felt like mocking, using “a bunch of second graders,” when really it was only three. Yes, only three, but the three that are in Caden’s class and his friends. She told me they were moved up because of their skill level. She also said I could move Caden up too if I wanted.

So now I’m at an impasse. I believe those kids are definitely more skilled. And Caden hasn’t earned the right to move up. But at the elementary level, should it really matter what skill level they are? I mean, I haven’t seen Caden play soccer, other than the very brief time Shepard decided to play last spring and they needed parents and siblings to fill in, so Caden ran in and did great. Because he was playing with a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds! Is he really good in his own age group? No idea. But I want him to have a good experience for once. I want him to have fun with his friends. But it seems very entitled of me to demand he just be put in the older group, when he doesn’t have a lot of experience actually playing. BUT he would be happier. I don’t know what to do.

Anyway, in case those moms happen to read this, it’s definitely not a dig at your own kids. I’m just frustrated that they choose to move kids around at all. Wouldn’t it make more sense just to keep the kids in with the grade of kids they actually belong to?? Wouldn’t that be the easiest solution? New season, keep second graders with all second graders? I want Caden to have a good time, but I hate that he’s lost all of his enthusiasm before soccer even started, because he’ll be playing in the appropriate age group, but with none of his friends.

Moving on to my other vent. So, facebook and honesty. Can you ever make an honest opinion on facebook without some sort of backlash? Probably not. And sometimes it really sucks. And sometimes I’m just an extremely sensitive person and think about things way more than I should and let them get to me and sit around in my brain for days and weeks, when I probably should have just shrugged it off.

So. Last week the boys had their spring concert. They need to cram SO MANY people into the gym. It doesn’t feel like a good concert viewing situation, but it’s the only one we have. And it sucks because viewing is not great for so many from so many areas of of the gym. And I get that, and hopefully everyone gets that, and you try not to make a huge deal out of it, even when it’s frustrating. Our group of people were frustrated because the curtain was drawn right up the edge of the risers, so nobody to the left of me (our whole group besides Greg) could see Shepard. He was on the end of the top row, and totally blocked out by the curtain.

Meanwhile, Greg and I could have seen Shepard, except the girl in front of him was wearing a bow on her head that was at least six inches tall. The whole situation was disappointing, but also just made us laugh. Because of course there would be a giant hair bow right in front of Shepard’s face! Of course he would be in the back row for whatever bizarre reason when he’s probably one of the shortest kids in his class. Why would it ever work out that we could watch Shepard in a concert? He was sick and missed maybe all but one concert in preschool and 4K. We were so excited he wasn’t sick this time! But we couldn’t see him.

Anyway, I put as a caption to one of my photos on facebook, that maybe moms of girls shouldn’t put giant bows in their daughter’s hair for concerts. It was meant to be sort of a joke. It definitely was NOT meant to be an attack on that girl’s character, which seems to be the way everyone took it. I love that girl – she’s so sweet, kind, polite, and one of Shepard’s best friends. I have absolutely nothing against her, or her parents. But still. If I had put a cowboy hat on Shepard and it blocked your child’s face, you’d maybe be a bit upset too?? I’m not saying that her parents maliciously put that bow on her head trying to make it as big as possible. I’m sure nobody realized it was going to block out the face of the kid behind her. But it did, so I was just mildly disappointed. That’s it. A simple request, as a joke, that bows that big should be given second thought, before worn during a concert.

But people decided to call me out on it, be mad at me for saying what I did. Which in turn upset me probably way more than it should have. It’s all I could think about for a long day. It still bothers me. It just brings back all the times in the past I’ve been upset about something, usually at the injustice or hurt it caused my child. And without fail, somebody always decides to argue with me about it, and tell me I’m not allowed to feel that way. Why not?? I can feel whatever I want to feel, and please don’t tell me otherwise. I can’t stand when people try to invalidate me because whatever I feel isn’t what they think it should be.

Finally, my last little vent of the day: Annie. Oh, Annie. I love that dog, I really do. I love how excited she is to see me, even if I just went outside to get a bag from the car or something. I love how she follows me around all day and seems so content just to be sleeping near me. I love watching how much fun she has at the dog park, which we’ve been trying to go to every day. She’s even been getting a lot better on walks. Now the bigger problem is wanting to stop and sniff every single thing, rather than pulling my arm off. She’s shown much improvement in just a week, so I think it shows a lot of promise for the future. The problem? Leaving her.

I think she has some sort of separation anxiety. Which is definitely running rampant every time I leave her home alone. Which really hasn’t been often. I’ve been taking her as many places as possible with me, trying to get her used to us and our schedule. I also thought that was a good thing to do! Now I’ve been reading about how really I should be leaving her alone a lot, trying to ignore her, not encourage her to follow me from room to room. She needs to learn to be comfortable by herself so she doesn’t freak out when I’m not here. It’s hard to know what I think about that, when it’s my inclination to shower her with affection!

Anyway. I had to run some errands yesterday. I was gone a little less than four hours. There were more things I wanted to do, but I was worried since that’s the longest she’s been alone. It was also only the second time I had her in the kennel. You heard about how the first time went during the egg hunt. Not good. The second time? Even worse! I left her with a non-rawhide, but still extra chewy bone, an antler, her favorite squeaky toy, and favorite stuffed animal. And the flat cushion bed that fits in there perfectly. When I got home it was a total disaster zone. She chewed the edging off of the bottom tray and it was pushed completely out of the cage. She also somehow managed to pull the ENTIRE 3×5 rug that was under the kennel, through the little slats, and chewed it all up. ALL OF IT. Her bed was bunched up in the back and the whole area was soaked. I’m pretty sure it was soaked with spit. And she was going crazy trying to get out when I came in the door.

I couldn’t even believe how much damage she caused. How did she even get the rug in there?! The whole thing just left me devastated. Even with a kennel, I continue to feel chained to the house. Am I ever going to be able to comfortably leave?? I wanted to do a bunch of daytrips with the boys over spring break. I definitely want to do many, many daytrips over the summer with them. Is that all out the window? The one thing I’ve really been looking forward to doing with my real children? It’s so severely disappointing.

I want to hope that it’ll get better. And everyone is being really encouraging about how it will get better. And her behavior is fairly normal. But I’m scared that this is now my life! No more fun shopping days in Madison while the boys are in school. No more weekend special events where we’ll be gone for eight hours at a time. No more really fun bonding times with my kids, exploring around the area this summer. At least I can’t have any of that with peace of mind. Which is important too. I want to fully be able to enjoy leaving my house to do something. Since getting Annie that hasn’t happened. Not at all.

Anyway, that’s my big bundle of negative thoughts swirling around this week. Writing it down helps.



2017 Annual Egg Dyeing Party

20170409_153008 caden

We kicked off Easter week yesterday with the big egg hunt at the park, followed by our annual egg dyeing party. The Rec Department decided to throw the celebration a week before Easter this year, which was kind of nice. I like spreading things out a bit so Easter weekend doesn’t feel quite so packed and overwhelming.

For the first time in awhile, the oldest group of kids actually waited for the bullhorn before getting their eggs! Last year one of the teenagers holding the “Stop” sign flipped it to “Go” without realizing and the kids stampeded. The year before somebody just started running and they all followed. Competition is fierce in the oldest group, but Caden grabbed a lot. He had to go barefoot so his flip flops didn’t slow him down!

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When we got there some guy told us the middle group was ages 3-6, so Shepard just went in that group. We saw after the fact that it was actually 3-5. Oops. Oh well, I guess Shepard was still pretty hesitant about so many kids, so it was good to be in the younger group. He got quite a haul!

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Going through the eggs. Shepard got one tiny popping toy and the rest of the eggs were tootsie rolls and smarties.

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Back at the house dyeing eggs. The boys always have so much fun!

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I made hot beef and pepper sandwiches, fluff fruit salad, and two kinds of chips and dips. Cindy brought coleslaw and veggies. My mom brought buns and cookies. Easy, but delicious party food!

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Brownies with my favorite chocolate malt frosting. It was supposed to look like dirt with orange chocolate covered strawberries as carrots. But I forgot to buy orange chocolate. And strawberries. So…eggs in dirt!

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Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla marshmallow frosting.

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And my mom’s cookies.

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Annie didn’t know what to think about so many people in her house! I put her in the crate for the first time when we were at the egg hunt. We were gone about 45 minutes. When I got back she had managed to slide the bottom tray thingy out of the kennel, bunched up the bed in the back of the cage, and pull a blanket from the couch halfway into the kennel, through the one inch little openings. How?! I’m going to have to leave her in there quite a bit tomorrow while I run errands, so I can’t wait to see what trouble she manages next. 😛

IMG_1455 the boy room

The guy room. They were watching golf and playing games.

IMG_1462 egg pecking

Time for the pecking contest, a Noe tradition!

IMG_1470 brittany and caden

IMG_1496 timmy wins

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Timmy’s egg won against 12 other eggs. That has to be some sort of major record!

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And then Caden beat him.

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Always a sore loser, even more of a gloating winner!

IMG_1509 egg pecking

Teaching Grandpa how it works.

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And some of the egg damage. Cindy and Brittany were gathering up eggs as they broke to use later, so it didn’t look like quite the egg graveyard that it usually does after these parties!

It was a good day! I love tradition!

Sunday Intentions

Annie and the Boys 5x7

Well, the benefits and drawbacks of owning a dog continued to wage war in my mind this week. I spent half days thinking about how great she is for our family and how much the boys love her. Then I spent the second half of the days deeply regretting that we altered our lives in this way and wishing I could undo it. It’s been quite the rollercoaster of emotions. But I’ve come to accept that this is our life now and I like it. Annie has been more of a handful than I was expecting, but with every day it all becomes more and more routine. She feels more comfortable, and we become more accepting of her quirks. We all definitely love her, though! Even Greg!!

annie on our bed

Overall, it’s been a pretty crazy busy week. Not at all “productive” in the way I usually think of that word (work! to do lists!), but it was filled, intense, and so, so exhausting.

I’ve learned that leaving Annie alone, even for 45 minutes, does not go over well with her. In the few days I had to run some errands I came home to total disasters over the house. She can get to any food on tables or counters if nobody is around to yell at her. One of the boys left the pantry open once, so she took every single dessert and snack out, one by one, and left little tooth holes in them. She apparently loves plastic packages because she shredded apart a package I had sitting out ready to go to the UPS drop box. She also took another package of swimsuits I was going to return and emptied it out and carried the swimsuits all over. She pulled a blanket off the futon. She bit holes in one of our cellular shades. She ate a brand new container of cinnamon butter. And she’s pulled out various fabric and yarn and chewed it up. It was mildly funny at first, but once she actually started destroying things I was pretty fed up. We borrowed our neighbor’s crate to try and use that when I leave the house, but we haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I just can’t deal with her destroying things every time I walk out the door without her, though.

On Monday, Shepard came home with a very red eye. I assumed it was pink eye because that seems to be running rampant through the school right now. And of course – they had a concert – so some sort of medical thing had to go wrong! I kept him home on Tuesday to take him to the doctor and she said that it definitely wasn’t pink eye. She suggested it was allergies. Either from the high pollen counts over the weekend, or from getting a new dog. Instead of suggesting we find out for sure, she just searched for the cheapest allergy medicine to put him on “in case it’s long term because of the dog.” I was pretty irritated about this resolution, so I made my own allergy appointment for later in the week. We were really fortunate there was a cancellation so we didn’t have to wait two months to get in. Why are allergists so hard to see?!

Anyway, the possibility that Shepard was allergic to Annie was the main reason for all the upset this week. If he really was allergic to dogs, I didn’t want to keep her. I DID, but I didn’t want Shepard to have to be on medicine for the rest of his childhood. It wasn’t worth it. So I was trying to keep in mind that she was still just a temporary part of our family. Which didn’t make the harder parts of owning a dog any easier. Besides the temper tantrums she had when left alone, she was also horrible on the walks I tried to take. My back has not hurt this bad in years. I have to have such a death grip on the leash and she never stops pulling. One of the main reasons I wanted a dog was to go on walks. I didn’t want those walks to be miserable because she’s so hard to control. So many emotions.

annie lounging

On Wednesday, I had a vet appointment to get Annie’s stitches out and get her final vaccinations. I thought that visit was really encouraging. The vet spent an hour with me going over everything a new dog owner should know. Also being very reassuring about the potty training struggle, letting me know it was totally normal. And on that front – Annie hasn’t had an accident in the house since Wednesday morning. She also hasn’t been allowed upstairs since then (where she was going the most), but I think we’ve finally made progress! The vet guesses that Annie is between one and two years old, rather than the originally assumed three. I’m hoping that explains why she’s still pretty naughty sometimes! She also guessed Australian Shepherd for the main breed. And everything else went well! Annie is healthy and they all thought she was such a sweet and good dog.


Wednesday night was pretty traumatic. The boys and I decided to take Annie on her first harness walk. We went to the school playground. It was sprinkling and nobody else was around, so I let Caden hold her leash and the three of them were just running in circles around the playground having the greatest time. And then Annie saw another dog and took off. Caden and I both started running as fast as we could to try and get her. She was around a corner, so we couldn’t see her at all. Shepard was instantly so upset he was sobbing. I thought he was right behind me when I ran past. Annie stopped when she got to the other dog (I don’t think that owner was very happy with us!), and we got ahold of her. I turned around to reassure Shepard and he wasn’t there. We went back to the playground and searched everywhere to no avail. Caden and I started running around the block in opposite directions screaming his name. There have been some recent attempted abductions in Beaver Dam this week, so of course that’s where my mind went. I mean, the likelihood of someone looking to kidnap a child at that most perfect opportune moment of a dog getting away from us, was pretty slim. But we couldn’t find Shepard. Finally, Caden spotted him hiding inside some hedges along the school fence. He was still so upset and it took forever for me to pry his hands away from the fence and get him to walk home with us. Once we finally headed home, Caden started crying because he was so upset he let her get away from him. So many complex feelings going on. Again.

So back at home, after everyone sitting in silence for an hour, the boys decided to get Annie riled up with her toys again. She jumped on the futon at the exact time Shepard ran into the back of it and her toenails scratched Shepard across the eyelid. He ran to me and was crying with his head on his lap. When he lifted his head – no exaggeration – his entire face was covered in blood. It was pretty scary! But we got it cleaned up and it wasn’t as serious as it looked before. But he did have a nice puffy eye for the rest of the week. TOUGH DAY.

allergy testing

Late Thursday morning I picked up Shepard from school to bring him to the allergist in Madison. We spend sooo much time going to doctors with him these days! The appointment went pretty well. They were very kind and listened to my concerns – not only about the dog possibility, but also about why he coughed all winter long. And then they did the official allergy test. He was awesome throughout the whole thing. And final result – Shepard isn’t allergic to dogs. Or allergic to anything! The eye was most likely red (it wasn’t red anymore at this point) because of something viral. So I’m thrilled he doesn’t have any allergies. And a little ticked off that the regular doctor was happy to just put him on allergy meds without thinking it was worth finding out for sure if he even had them. But all is good. No more reason to hold Annie at a distance either. She is ours.

IMG_1231 handsome in a bowtie

Thursday night was the boys’ spring concert. It was a rushed evening of barely getting home in time to pick up Caden and then trying to get dinner on the table, still get Annie outside and exercised after not being home half the day, etc. So much chaos!

IMG_1243 cool dude pose

Looking handsome and posing like boys!

IMG_1249 the strangle hug

IMG_1251 boys super cute hug

IMG_1263 so cute

IMG_1289 caden face

IMG_1337 shepard's class

IMG_1367 caden's class

IMG_1374 caden's class

The concert went really well. Caden was singing his heart out! We couldn’t see Shepard very well during the songs, but he didn’t look like he was nervous or anything. I’m glad we all made it to the concert in relatively good health this year!!

after the dog park

On Friday afternoon we took Annie to the dog park for the first time. Columbus has a really nice six acre dog park right along the river. Annie LOVED it. She gets so excited when she sees or hears other dogs outside and I’ve been too nervous to get close enough to see how she acts around them. But no aggression in sight, she really just wants some playmates! She was having the greatest time playing with all the other dogs. She seems to really like going after the ones that are bigger than her. She seems fascinated by smaller dogs and seems to want to sit on them. It was pretty hilarious! We took her again Saturday morning, after buying the annual pass. I think we’ll be spending lots and lots of time at the dog park from now on!


And finally, finally, on Saturday I finished up some dolls I was trying to work on all week. It was not a good week for work. Is it ever anymore?! I love doing it, I love the finished product. But finding the time to just sit down and work feels nearly impossible these days. And it’s only going to get worse as our schedules get very crazy this next month and a half. Summer won’t be any easier with kids home and running around all day either. Almost a full school year behind me and I still don’t feel like I have the slightest grip on this work at home full time thing. It’s frustrating.

So! That was my week! It was a lot. It was exhausting. It was just about more than I could handle. I don’t want weeks that are that emotional.

This Week

Moving on! I don’t have any major intentions for the week, other than that I want to enjoy it. The boys have spring break Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday morning of the next week. I hate the timing, but we’ll try to make the most of it. I asked them each individually last week how they wanted to spend spring break. They both answered “Play with Annie.” So I think we’ll try and take her to some other parks, have picnics, doing simple things that we haven’t enjoyed since last fall. I’d like to try and take a trip to the zoo. Either Milwaukee or Madison, haven’t decided yet. They want to eat at Ponderosa, their favorite restaurant. And of course we have Easter. I’m sure it’ll fly by, but I hope we can enjoy it. I don’t plan on doing any work that week, so I can just be present with my kids. And pets!

Easter festivities start today with the annual egg hunt at the park and then our annual egg dyeing party right after. It looks like the weather is going to be perfect! It should be a really fun day. Then a couple of days of errands and catch up before the fun really begins!

Meal Plans

Monday – Leftovers of today’s roast beef sandwiches

Tuesday – Probably more leftovers of the hot dogs and sausages we’re having for lunch today

Wednesday – Steak Stir Fry

Thursday – Ravioli

Friday – Pizza, maybe something unique (PS – Last week’s California Pizza was delicious!!)

Well, time to get back to work! Have a great week! Happy spring break!

Sunday Intentions

Another week behind me, another week ahead. This past week has most definitely not been productive. Between Annie joining our family, still not feeling the greatest, and a lot more crummy weather, I’ve had basically zero motivation for working, cleaning, or doing pretty much anything besides reading and hanging out with my pets.

It’s actually been a pretty emotional week. I’m having a lot harder time adjusting to life with a dog than I thought I would. Which is hard to admit because Annie is probably one of the most low maintenance and easygoing dogs I’ve ever seen. I was so confident that I’d be able to take on any challenge a dog would bring to our lives. And now I’ve definitely been doubting myself. The hardest part has been the house training. She’s such a well behaved dog and knows a lot of obedience commands, so I figured it stood to reason that she’d also be potty trained. That doesn’t seem to be the case. It was easy to write off the first few accidents because she was in a new place, just had surgery, was scared and confused. But now she’s still going in the house, even immediately after I’ve just been outside with her for a considerable amount of time. Yesterday I was taking her outside every 45 minutes! I guess on the plus side, she hasn’t gone overnight at all the last two nights. So she CAN hold it. But why not during the day when I’m taking her out so often? She’s only been with us for five full days, so maybe I’m expecting too much. I’m doing everything I can and hopefully if I keep doing it she’ll officially be trained. It’s just really making me feel like a failure in the process.

Because of the potty training stuff, it’s also making me feel like I can never leave the house. I’m having flashbacks to the first year of Shepard’s life when he never EVER took a bottle, so if I wanted to leave the house without him I had about a max of two hours before he’d need to eat again. Now it’s the same thing with letting Annie outside. Granted I don’t have to leave the house all that often for great lengths of time, but there are a lot of days coming up when she’ll need to be alone. Spring break day trips I wanted to take with the boys, Easter, Great America the week after. Obviously all those things can still happen and I’ll just have to accept that she’s probably going to go in the house. But am I just going to worry about her the whole time I should be off having fun? Will she be a lot better in a week and a half? Who knows. But I hate worrying about it. I hate thinking that maybe it’ll never get any better.

And I guess the other part I’ve been having a hard time adjusting to is how Annie is affecting the cats. But I think it’s safe to say they’ve been making big strides in co-existing in the past day or two. Rory still spends a lot of time in the basement (Annie is scared to go down those steps), and both cats seem to sleep down there at night. But Jack has been in the same room with her pretty often now. He just walks very slowly, otherwise she gets excited and tries to play with him. Rory has been watching tv on the couch with us at night and today he’s even gone back to sleeping on our bed, his favorite spot. So I think things will work out with them. It’s just taking time. I hated to think I ruined their lives. Rory especially. He’s been so happy at this house. He’s usually my constant companion during the day. And then I replaced him. 🙁

Anyway, I say all that to explain my state of mind this past week. But today I’m feeling a lot better. I think it’s helped to have us all home and together for a day. We did a lot of work outside and Annie was with us for most of it. She had a long session of fetch with the boys inside, where she couldn’t get a grip on the floors and was sliding and flying all over the house with everyone laughing hysterically. The cats are starting to act more like their normal selves. Greg even took Annie outside last night so I could go to bed a little earlier. It’s all going to work out and she will become a valued member of our family. I just needed to work through all the emotions to get here.

The Week Ahead

It’s time to come back to reality. I really need to get back to work! I started one last batch of Easter dolls last night. Hopefully I can plow through those early this week and then get started on a wholesale order I’ve been putting off. I’m not sure what I’ll work on after that, but it’s time to start pushing dolls out before summer comes and life gets too chaotic for a consistent work schedule. May is such a busy life month too that I really need to make April count.

Tomorrow is Jack and Rory’s 12th birthday! I’m not sure they’ll cooperate with coming out to get a special birthday dinner, but I’m going to try. I’m hoping to make a pet store trip in the morning to pick up some special toys for all the animals.

The boys have their school concert on Thursday night. I’m really hoping they’re both healthy! Last year we missed it entirely because Caden had a flu. The year before he was also sick, but we sent him to the concert anyway and then worried he was going to throw up the whole time he was singing. I’d really like to be there and enjoy watching my children this year!

So no real goal centered priorities for the week. I just want to get back to work and still spend a lot of time acclimating to being a dog owner!

Meal Plans

I think I need to get a lot more serious about meal planning. All four of us seem to be so hungry lately ALL THE TIME. It’s crazy annoying!

Monday – Chile Relleno Flautas – It’s at home date night and I’m feeling like something new and different. I like chile rellenos, I like flautas. Hopefully it’ll work!

Tuesday – French fried chicken – I never got around to making it last week with all the Annie excitement. Possibly some sort of broccoli slaw salad as well.

Wednesday – One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

Thursday – Pre-concert, something fast and easy. Not quite sure what yet. Spaghetti? Hamburgers?

Friday – Pizza – possibly a loose variation on this flatbread recipe, but maybe with a bbq sauce base

Have a great week!

What I Read and Watched March 2017

It’s the end of the month! Time for another post on what I read and watched this month. I love this little series!


by your side

By Your Side by Kasie West
Rating: 4 stars

I was so excited to read a new book by one of my all time favorite authors. Unfortunately, this one didn’t hold up to the level of love I hold for her other books. It’s about a girl who accidentally gets trapped in the library for a long weekend and a boy who chose to hide out there on his own. I appreciate how they got to know each other over the days they were stuck, but I didn’t feel super connected to the characters. I feel like once they were out of the library there was almost no interaction between the two which is always frustrating. But nonetheless, I still give it 4 stars!

my not so perfect life

My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Rating: 4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! It’s about a young woman who finds herself at her ideal job, working in marketing at a fancy agency in London. She has the “perfect” boss and changes so much about herself to try and fit the image she wants to portray. But throughout the book she learns a lot of lessons about what’s really most important in life and staying true to herself, her roots, her family. The book is full of humor, friendship, and a bit of romance. I loved everything about it!


Sugar by Kimberly Stuart
Rating: 3 Stars

The premise of this book sounded awesome, but it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites. A high level pastry chef moves across the country to work in an ex-boyfriend’s fancy new restaurant, and ends up being the star of a reality show she wants nothing to do with. I found the book a little stressful thinking about how every minute of her life was devoted to the job and how easily she looked over every other person around her. The reality show was much more of a sub-plot, almost a very annoying addition to the story. The book was just okay.

the secret of a heart note

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
Rating: 4 Stars

This was a sweet and unique book about the only two aromatuers left in the world. A teenage girl is trying to find her way in her first public school, while constantly dealing with the scents of people and emotions that are always swirling around her. The scent descriptions did get a bit old after awhile, but the story line was refreshing and fun. I loved the relationships Mimosa developed throughout the book.

the crown

The Crown by Kiera Cass
Rating: 3 Stars

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass is one of my favorite young adult book series. I absolutely loved the first few books, but I feel like they’ve gotten progressively worse. I found this final book to be rather dull and frustrating. I didn’t like the main character that much and was disappointed with how little she interacted with the men who were in the castle trying to win her hand in marriage. This book was focused so much more on the political nature of their dystopian world. Something I was not interested in reading about.

a thousand letters

A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart
Rating: 4 Stars

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I really wanted to scream at the characters – a lot. They supposedly had such a deep and driven romance and then let something completely childish ruin the next seven years of their lives. I enjoyed reading about the way they found each other again, but the process was frustrating! Elliot’s family situation was pretty horrific, nearing unbelievable. But I loved how she stayed strong and didn’t let things get to her. She was a strong, yet fairly quiet character that I admired.

the secret wife

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul
Rating: 5 Stars

I think from the unfitting picture on the cover of this book and intriguing title, I expected this book to be about some sort of affair and hidden away mistress of some sort. It was NOTHING like that. It’s the story of Tatiana Romanov and her secret relationship with Dmitri, a soldier in Russia during WWI. The story follows Dmitri’s life, interspersed with chapters about his great-granddaughter Kitty who is trying to piece together his past. The story is deep and involved, and I loved everything about it. It’s a true testament to love that can last and stand the test of time.

to catch a killer

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
Rating: 4 Stars

This was an interesting read about a couple of teenagers trying to catch a murderer using their own methods of crime solving. I liked the way they worked together and found justice in the end. The book kept my attention, though it wasn’t incredibly memorable.


It’s been a big month for movies! Usually I’m lucky to watch one or two movies and they’re usually not that great. This month was a good one!

lego batman

The Lego Batman Movie

We saw this in the theater – the first ever movie we went to as a family. I liked it! It was pretty funny and I really liked how Robin fit into Batman’s life, as his adopted son. I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes legos or Batman!



Another fairly ridiculous comedy, but it wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed a couple of laughs. It did really make me miss the Owen Wilson of Wedding Crashers, though. Where did he go??



Okay, I thought this was pretty dull. But I’m always up for a Joseph Gordon Levitt movie. He did a great job, as always. It was interesting to watch, knowing it was a true story. But also seemed to drag on forever.

beauty and the beast

Beauty and the Beast

I’m so glad I was able to see this opening weekend! Beauty and the Beast was always one of my favorite Disney movies, so I was really excited to see the remake. This is the only one of the new live action remakes I’ve seen. And it was great! I did feel like they made Belle rather pretentious in the beginning – something I didn’t feel in the animated version. But overall, it was an awesome remake. The singing and dancing and everything were fantastic!



So, in general, I don’t like animated movies. I never really have. But we’ve been trying to find more things we can all watch together for movie nights on weekends. I’ve been avoiding Trolls since I assumed it would be pretty girly. But we finally watched it and we LOVED it. Seriously, one of my favorite animated movies ever. Everything about it was so great!! Shepard, who just plain hates movies, has watched it like four more times since then. On one of the days he was home sick he just watched it on a loop. The music is so great we’ve been listening to it every day. Great movie!!

TV – Together



I have to start adding pictures for the tv shows I’m enjoying the most. So once again – Superstore!!! I completely love this show. It’s so funny!! I feel like it’s been a long time since a really great comedy has been on the air. Greg and I binged the second season and are all caught up now. I hate waiting a week in between like normal people. Such a great show!!!

Homeland – Still a pretty serious watch. I usually don’t even understand half of what’s going on because I’m much more interested in the character development than the nitty gritty of the plot. I’m still highly intrigued by Quinn’s character this season.

The Flash – Getting kind of sick of the must save Iris plotline. They had a musical episode last week with half of the Supergirl cast. It was kind of strange, but not bad.

Arrow – Eh, as usual. This show is so dark and serious these days.

Love – The second season of Love was released on netflix, so we just started watching that. I’m liking the second season so much more than the first. The characters are funny, but also incredibly annoying. It’s amusing, though.

TV- Alone

the royals

The Royals

Okay, this has totally become my guilty pleasure. I binged all three seasons in a week and a half. I LOVED this show. So juicy and delicious! Jasper…yeah. Liam is pretty great too. Even Eleanor is an awesome character. The first and third season were amazing, second was a little slower and more focused on the older generation. But overall, I highly recommend this show if you just want something fun to watch!

New Girl  – Sticking with it. I still love all the guys on the show and am super annoyed by Jess. It looks like they’re gearing up for a great finale, though. About time!

Vampire Diaries – It’s done and over. I think I binged this show last spring or summer. It definitely has its ups and downs. A lot of people dying that are never dead for long. But I enjoyed it and I’m sad it’s over. I’m glad they were able to pull all the characters together for the last episode.

The  Mindy Project – Just kind of sticking with this one too. It used to be one of my favorites, but I’m just not that into it anymore.

Bones – Another show that ended forever. I can’t remember if I watched this when it first started however many years ago, but I’ve definitely been watching a very long time. It was a solid show with many likable characters and interesting plotlines. I’m sad to see it go.

Modern Family – Also, just okay. I pretty much only watch tv when I’m sewing, so most of my shows are just kind of fillers to entertain me while I’m doing mindless work.

Grimm – There’s just one episode left and then this is done forever too. 🙁 I really liked Grimm! The friendship between the characters was so strong. I enjoyed watching how they worked together every week. What am I going to watch now that so many of my shows are over??

And that’s it! What have you been reading and watching this month?!

Meet Sweet Annie (and my very long introduction story!)

IMG_1223 pretty annie

It’s been a really exciting week for us! I can finally tell you about the “project” mentioned in my last post – dog searching! I feel like this was a long time coming, but also happened really quickly. Just last Wednesday night I decided to fully plead my case to Greg about adding a dog to our family. It’s no secret to anybody that knows me that I LOVE dogs. I’ve dreamed since I was a kid about the day I could actually pick out a dog all for myself. A dog that would truly be mine. Until this point, the timing has never been right. We lived in apartments, we had young kids, I didn’t feel ready for the extra work that comes with dog ownership. But these past few months it’s really been weighing on me how much I want that dog and how ready I finally feel for it. We have a house, we have a yard, the boys are both in school all day and don’t need so much of my time and attention, and I have the perfect work situation where I’m home almost all day every day. It was time. It took some convincing and a big emotional rollercoaster for each of us over this past week, but Greg agreed. And the search began!

Do you know how hard it is to adopt a dog?? I had no idea. It didn’t help that our “wish list” of requirements for a dog were pretty lengthy. I really wanted a big dog. I already have two lap kitties, I didn’t need a lap dog. I love all dogs, but big dogs are my preference, especially of the lab variety. I wanted a female, though was open to males if the personality fit. I absolutely did not want a puppy and all the extra work that would come with it. I wanted a dog who would be friendly without overwhelming us with kisses and constant attention. A dog that would fit in with the whole family, but ultimately be MY companion for my days at home alone. I wanted a dog that would be able to walk with me every day, keeping me motivated to walk as well. Greg was most worried about a dog that would terrorize the cats. He needed a dog that wouldn’t bark a lot and annoy the neighbors. And the dog needed to be potty trained. Caden just wanted a dog, any dog. And Shepard only wanted a dachshund.

I immediately started searching petfinder.com and then searching through the facebook pages of all the more local rescues, shelters, and humane societies. I found a few that sounded promising, but was overwhelmed by how long the adoption process was for all of them. Applications, reference checks, interviews, and home visits, all before you can even meet the dog in person. And of course I found like one dog that sounded great at each shelter, so I had to apply to a bunch of different ones. I understand that they’re dedicated to finding the right home for each of the dogs in their care. But it was overwhelming and frustrating when I wanted to see some dogs NOW. I’m very impatient once my mind is made up about something! Anyway, I followed through on a couple of leads and all of those dogs were adopted before they had a chance to go through my application and check references. There was one young black lab I was seriously interested in, and they seemed to move a little quicker. Probably because I was being annoyingly persistent about it. I think I’ve made more phone calls in the last week than the last five years put together!

So on Sunday afternoon we finally got a call about meeting that black lab, and the family made the hour long trek up to Berlin to see her. It didn’t work out. She was only six months ago and just way too wild with very little training. The first thing she did when we walked in the door was jump up and scratch Shepard down his whole cheek and over his eye. He was crying and terrified. Caden kept shrieking and running around the foster parents’ home, while of course the dog chased him thinking it was all good fun. Greg looked shell shocked. And even though she seemed like she’d probably grow up to be a very sweet dog, I knew that she wasn’t right for us. It reiterated how much I really did want an older dog. Sadly, we went back home empty handed.

It probably sounds ridiculous to talk about how emotionally straining this week has been. Many people probably spend weeks or months searching for the perfect dog. But I had such high hopes about finding a great one right away and was so upset about how long every step took and losing out on dogs that sounded great each day I was searching. It was consuming me in a very unhealthy way! Checking petfinder and facebook is pretty much ALL I did day and night Thursday-Monday. It felt just about as stressful as when we were house hunting at this time last year. The stakes were high and the competition was fierce!

Finally, I had hope! On Monday around noon I had just gotten home from running errands and saw that the local humane society posted another dog that morning. She sounded amazing, so I drove over there as fast as I could to see her immediately. It’s a good thing I did! There was already a family visiting her when I walked in and three more couples came in while I was still there filling in the paperwork. But I got my time alone with her in the room and everything I saw and heard just made her seem perfect. She was friendly, calm, a little older, and had obvious training. I wanted her. They asked me if I was sure I wanted to go through with it before letting my family meet her. I said absolutely, there was no way I’d risk losing her just because the rest of my family was at work and school! So I filled out the papers, had a quick interview, and she was guaranteed to be mine!! I just had to wait another day to bring her home because she had a vet visit scheduled in the morning to get spayed and some vaccinations.

I was pretty nervous telling Greg I agreed to get a dog before anyone else could interact with her. He seemed a little stunned, but I think he trusted my judgment. But just to be sure I decided to go back over there after school with the boys to get their approval. And it went great! We were put in a larger room and Caden picked up a ball and they started playing fetch. The manager said that they’ve been trying to get her to engage in play with zero luck. She played fetch with the boys for over twenty minutes! They were all having the greatest time. My prayers were answered and we found our dog!

It turned out to be really nice that we had 24 hours before we could pick her up. We had time to go to the store and pick out a dog bed, buy food and toys. Then I had a chance to set everything up and feel more prepared on Tuesday. After a chaotic afternoon of taking the boys to the dentist in Madison, making a dinner I wasn’t prepared to make because the appointment wasn’t supposed to be done so early, and then driving back the other direction, I finally made Annie mine! The adoption was official and after 20+ years of dreaming about having my own dog, it finally happened!

first car ride home

I was so happy driving back home with her! She seems like she rides very well in cars, though she was also extremely sleepy and out of it from her procedure in the morning.

IMG_1170 home at last

Homecoming! Everyone was on the driveway waiting when we got home.

IMG_1180 pooper scooper

Caden picked up her first poop!

IMG_1194 annie at home

IMG_1196 eating a treat

Our first evening went pretty well. She was very tired and mostly just laid in the same spot on the living room floor. The boys both sat and pet her and brushed her until it was time for them to go to bed. Annie took one lap around the whole house to check everything out, but seemed to feel most comfortable just laying in her bed.

IMG_1204 dog bed corner

I had the bed in this little unused corner of the family room, but moved it out in front of the couch where she kept laying down. I slept downstairs with her to keep an eye on things. We really didn’t know where she was with potty training or how the night would go. But we survived! She was wearing her cone and every time it knocked the floor the noise woke me up. But she really seemed to just lay in different positions on the bed the entire night. I don’t think we’ll have a problem with her holding her bladder or quietly sticking on the animal side of the house at night. I might stay with her again tonight just to be sure, but she’s pretty laid back.

IMG_1209 survived the night

She was so excited when Caden got up this morning! Kids seem to be her favorite! She showed way more enthusiasm when they got home from school today than I saw during the day!

IMG_1212 found the couch

When I took them to school she found her way to the couch. 🙂 We both pretty much just hung out on the couch together all day today. It feels like having a baby again, just wanting to sit and settle into our new life together. She definitely seems to be feeling better as the day goes on. She’s not sleeping as much, following me everywhere I go, constantly wagging her tail, and very enthusiastic about our walks around the yard.

IMG_1214 annie new collar

Knowing she’d need a cone for awhile, I ordered a different e-collar the other night that came today. It bugged her for a few minutes, but I think she appreciates that she can actually see now! The shelter people told me I could take it off at home when I can keep an eye on her, but every time I take them off she immediately goes at her stitches. So I think she’ll pretty much need to wear this nonstop until her stitches are removed next week. At least it’s like having a pillow at all times now!

IMG_1220 my sweet annie

So, FINALLY, just a little bit about Annie and what I know of her. The humane society doesn’t assign breeds to their dogs anymore because many people were turning dogs down based entirely on that. But I was reading through her paperwork and their vet listed that she’s a German Shepherd mix. I’d say the coloring and the looks fit, though she’s much smaller than a regular Shepherd. With the long hair and lighter colored paws and tail, we’re thinking maybe mixed with a collie. She’s only 38 pounds, but a very strong 38 pounds when we’re outside on a leash! She isn’t exactly my dream “big dog,” but she’s big enough. And she’s small enough that Shepard doesn’t feel intimidated or scared of her.

Annie’s personality seems pretty much perfect. They estimated she’s about three years old, so she doesn’t have that puppy energy we were avoiding. She’s been sleeping a lot, though I assume because she doesn’t feel the greatest yet after being spayed. She wags her tail all the time and has been following me around and laying down wherever I go. She’s incredibly quiet. I didn’t hear her make a single noise at either visit Monday, yesterday when we brought her home, all night, or all day – until we went out after school and the neighbors let their dog out at the same time. That dog started barking crazily and Annie barked a couple of times back. But a few barks in three days? I think it’s safe to say she’s a quiet dog! She seems amazing with the boys. They were touching all parts of her last night and she wasn’t at all phased. Caden even accidentally rolled off the couch on top of her and all she did was jump up and walk away. She knows how to sit, shake, and stay. She takes treats very daintily.

I’d say the only downside so far is that she doesn’t seem like she’s had a lot of training on a leash. She’s not terrible by any means, but she does pull a lot and gets very excited when she sees a bird or critter. Still no barking, she just tries to run off in that direction. I’m waiting for a harness I ordered before we try longer walks, but I’m hoping with a lot of practice she’ll get better at staying with me and ignoring distractions. I’m not sure I’ll be trusting the boys to walk her or put her on the tie out for a long time, though. I was hoping to have the kind of dog that would trail me around outside whether she was on a leash or not. I don’t think Annie will be that trustworthy.

And finally…the cats. The awesome news is that Annie pretty much ignores them. We walked by the cat cages at the humane society and she sniffed them and moved on. She seems to have the same attitude at home. When she first saw them she took a slow bound toward them and then stopped. Jack has been very curious, sneaking peaks at her around the corner and puffing up his body. He’s spent most of the day up in our bedroom. Rory has been hiding in the basement. He did come up earlier and made some growling noises and then went back down. I feel terrible that they might adjust to this more poorly than I thought. Rory has seemed SO happy lately and is basically my constant companion. I hate to think that I’ve ruined that forever. But if Annie ignores them, I’m really hoping in a few days they’ll all learn to coexist peacefully.

So that’s the story of Annie! Sorry it went on way longer than necessary! It’s been an exciting and stressful and overwhelming week. But I think we made the right decision and definitely found the right dog. I’m so happy it happened quickly and we can get right in to settling into our new family pet dynamic!


Sunday Intentions

It was not the productive and goal driven week I had hoped it would be. Though in my defense, I have not felt very well all week. I can’t pinpoint what was exactly wrong with me most days, I’ve just felt crummy. Shepard was also home sick on Monday and Friday. I managed to catch his nighttime cough and have had a lot of trouble sleeping. I also got highly distracted with a new family “project” that has taken up pretty much all of my concentration and time the last four days. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more on that soon.

The week wasn’t a total waste. I did get two of my four goals done. Raffle baskets were finished and turned in on Wednesday. I love the way they turned out! It’s really fun doing things like that. And it’s an easier way for me to contribute to the school fundraisers than actually having to deal with people, in person – LOL. Volunteering in groups of large, rowdy children is basically my worst nightmare.

We also booked an anniversary trip! This was a fluke and not because I actually slaved over research this week. I just happened to check facebook at the right time and see that A Secret Cottage, a little getaway cabin we stayed at for my 30th birthday, had a cancellation May 27th and 28th – our actual anniversary weekend! Greg told me to call immediately and we were able to claim it. It’s a beautiful little spot on a private pond with walking trails, a paddle boat, and surrounded by woods. The cottage has a full kitchen, fancy shower, and big skylight covered jacuzzi tub. It’ll be a pretty great place to spend our 11th anniversary. I’m excited! Greg is too – this is the only location I’ve ever heard him actually talk about wanting to go back to.

Walking didn’t happen this week. Well, we did try and walk to and from school every day. But it was still cold, rainy, gloomy, and like I said – I felt like crap most of the week. Hard to walk in those conditions.

And Easter decorations are not yet up. I know it’s probably like a thirty minute project. I just haven’t found the energy to do it yet.


I don’t have a lot of high expectations for myself this week. I’m still working on my “project” which will inevitably take up more time than I should probably give it. But I can’t stop. I still don’t feel great today and not really sure when it’ll get better. So I’m going to take it easy. I might not even sew this week. I haven’t sewed since Wednesday morning! I have plenty of things I should be working on, but I also just really want to give it a rest for a bit. Or…a bit longer. I’m sure my panic to get more done with kick in again any day now.


I can do it. I know I can. Tomorrow. Maybe even tonight! It will happen. If I get this done I will be happy for the week. Ha!

Meal Planning

Monday – French Fried Onion Baked Chicken. I still have that big bag of fried onions from Costco and I want to use it up. Plus, yum.

Tuesday – The boys have afternoon dentist appointments, so I’m thinking we might stop at Wendy’s or some place on the way home, rather than trying to rush and make a dinner later than we normally eat when everyone is starving.

Wednesday – Stir fry. Use up the inevitable pile of limp vegetables we always have in the fridge. Possibly a stir fry with steak to change things up.

Thursday – School carnival. I’m feeling pretty lazy these days, so I think we’ll just eat at the carnival. It’s for a good cause, right?

Friday – Pizza. Maybe BBQ. It’s been about a month since we’ve had BBQ.

That’s about it. Keep busy!

Sunday Intentions

Well, I’ll keep my weekly recap a lot shorter than last Sunday! Mostly because I’m feeling way too lazy to get the photos from my phone to try and make this a more visually appealing post. Can’t do it today, sorry.

Pi Day was fun! The buffalo chicken pot pie was interesting. The filling was basically buffalo chicken dip. Which is delicious. But paired with traditional pie crust instead of salty chips…it was just really grossing me out. Greg ate a ton of it. Caden did eat his with chips. And Shepard refused to eat a bite, throwing a huge tantrum. No surprise, it happens EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The s’mores pie also seemed a little bit funky. It was just pretty weird to bake a brownie mix into a graham cracker crust. I tried to cheat and use a premade crust, when the recipe wanted to fill a big springform pan. So it just didn’t work out that well. But I didn’t want the festivities to be a total failure, so I whipped up a quick apple crostata with a gouda pie crust. THAT was delicious!

My mom and I had a great time visiting that vintage store in Dodgeville and having a tasty dinner afterward. I’m not sure I’d want to make that far of a drive to see the store again during one of their monthly openings, but I’m glad my curiosity was satisfied.

We celebrated Guster Day by playing Guster music all night. Greg’s favorite band. I don’t listen to them on my own, but I’ve been to what feels like a million Guster concerts, so it was kind of fun to be festive. 🙂

And I already talked about St. Patrick’s Day in my last post! It was a busy week. Followed by a quieter weekend, which we all needed. Greg and I were able to see Beauty and the Beast yesterday, which was awesome. We had a family movie night watching Trolls. And today we had lunch and caught up with the in-law’s. I’m not feeling very well today, so I’ve basically spent the entire rest of the day reading. Which is partly nice and partly really frustrating because I have so much to do. 🙁 I just haven’t worked up the energy to actually do anything. Yet.

This Week

I think my intentions for the last few weeks have been pretty broad. This week I need to get more specific and maybe more will get done!

First Priority: Raffle Baskets and Work

I need to make one more thing to add to my raffle baskets for school. I’m really excited to put them all together! I wish I could have a business making themed gift baskets. I’d be awesome at it. But yes, I need to finish those up, hopefully in the next day or two if I’m feeling better. I also have some half finished things I’d like to get done and listed asap.

Second Priority: Decorate for Easter

I never got around to decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. I never painted these awesome wooden shamrocks I bought a few months ago. I never made more than like 4 St. Patrick’s Day dolls for the shop. Kind of a failed holiday. I need to do better for Easter! Greg dug out the boxes of decorations today, so I need to clean the house first and then hopefully get decorating!

Third Priority: Walking

I really, really, really want to start daily walks again this week. Not just to school in the mornings and afternoons, but longer exercise focused walks too. I was so motivated and I loved it last summer and fall. And then winter happened and everything fell apart. It’s MAYBE getting a bit warmer this week, so it’s time to walk.

Fourth Priority: Anniversary Plans

Usually we are very clear on what we’re doing for our anniversary by this time of the year. But this May’s extra busy schedule is just paralyzing me. It’s always a busy month, and always a fun month. But this year with the addition of joining the city wide garage sale Mother’s Day/Greg’s birthday weekend, is just really throwing me. And it’s still a month and a half away. I want to make our anniversary a priority (May 28th), but the timing just sucks. If you’re not married yet, I strongly advise you not to get married Memorial Day weekend. You’ll be busy with other things every year the rest of your life! Or so it seems. Anyway, I’ve been going back and forth between a one night nice hotel getaway for our actual anniversary, going on a slightly longer but still fairly local trip a few weeks later, or maybe just doing a low key family vacation instead. I can’t make up my mind and I’m having a hard time even thinking about it. But plans need to be made. Asap.

Fifth Priority: Caden’s Half Birthday

We like to make half birthdays special around here. Caden’s is this Thursday. He’s been having a rough time with life lately. Very emotional and angry. We decided lately that the best course of action to try and turn things around is making our best efforts praise him for the good choices he makes. So I’m hoping a day centered around him will cheer him up.

Meal Plans

I haven’t thought this out yet. My brain isn’t working too well today. I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to think out meals and it’s not working. Caden requested tacos for his half birthday. Pizza Friday. I’ve been thinking about a Jamaican Curry too. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Have a good week!