Shepard’s 7th Birthday

20180217_121259 friend party cake

On Sunday my sweet and silly Shepard turned seven! We had a full weekend of celebrations. Unfortunately, we had three days after that of sickness. Caden just felt icky on Monday and Tuesday, Shepard got sick all night long last night and today. And I’m maybe sick? Maybe not? At any rate, I was up all night long constantly changing his sheets and his clothes because he was so out of it he kept throwing up in his sleep. I’m basically a zombie today, but I thought I’d try and accomplish one thing after laying in bed all day and write this post! Hopefully it’s comprehensible.

20180217_130713 balloon crazy

Shepard had five of his friends over on Saturday for a party. It got pretty crazy! Why do kids get so insanely wild at parties?!

20180217_133738 annie likes quinn

Annie was equally as wild, despite taking her to the dog park that morning.

20180217_132024 serving up punch

I usually make a bunch of themed snacks for kid parties, but was trying to keep things REALLY simple this time around, especially after my ear infection and all the annoying stuff that happened last week. We did make green punch, though!

20180217_132246 cheers punch

20180217_134101 big present

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He got lots of cool gifts!

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Shepard was getting a little partied out by cake time and not so much in the mood for cooperating with smiles.

20180217_141813 cake bricks

Greg and I spent five hours on Friday getting these cakes together! It’s triple layers of chocolate fudge, funfetti, and white cakes cut out in circles and put back together to try and get a checkerboard (“minecraft brick”) look on the inside. Unfortunately the cake was falling apart, but maybe it still looked kind of cool? I thought it tasted good at least!

20180217_142016 gym teacher snaps

Apparently “talky hands” is what their gym teacher does and it’s hilarious. After cake everyone just ran around until they got picked up. It felt like a very long two hours to the adults (lol), but we made it through! Shepard enjoyed being the center of attention and showing off for his friends.

20180218_080353 birthday scone piile

And Sunday was his birthday! (He’s wearing the same clothes as Saturday because he still has a massive stubborn streak and refuses to wear pajamas at night.) I was going to make him funfetti scones because I thought they would look festive, but he caught me in time and demanded they be chocolate chip instead. They were quite tasty! We took this picture the exact minute he turned seven.

20180218_081433 reading cards

After breakfast he opened the gifts from  us. He was so hard to buy for this year! I ended up just picking out all kinds of small and super random things I thought he might enjoy.

20180218_081524 insert pizza

Like pizza themed clothing.

20180218_081707 tic tacs

And cherry cola tic tacs which are his fav. (My kids informed me yesterday I’m never allowed to say “favorite” – it always has to be fav.)

20180218_081709 tic tacs

20180218_081821 pizza socks

20180218_081847(0) dragonquest builders

20180218_081917 drawing book

20180218_081944 peregrine falcon

20180218_082011 falcon book

20180218_082136 washi tape

20180218_110738 chicken wings

The morning was pretty low key for the guys playing his new video game while I set up for the family party. I don’t really like having parties on my kids’ actual birthdays because I feel so absent from what they’re doing. I prefer making the day really be all about them and whatever they want to do. But February was so busy this year that having it on his birthday was really our only option. I don’t think he minded. I know it’s been an issue with Caden in the past, though, so I realllly try never to schedule them on the same day for him.

20180218_111000 green punch

Our usual green punch because it’s tasty and it’s Minecraft colors.

20180218_111805 chicken wings

When we asked him what kind of food he wanted at his party he answered with Ponderosa chicken wings. So wings we had! The in-law’s picked them up for us. They’re my favorite wings too, but such an odd choice!

20180218_111034 buffalo chicken dip

The rest of the “meal” was just an improvised selection of snack type foods. I converted a recipe gone wrong into buffalo chicken dip which I’m pretty sure nobody actually ate lol.

20180218_111814 pizza sliders

I was so excited to realize I had all the ingredients to make these pizza sliders. Shepard didn’t actually have one, but pizza IS his favorite food, so it was a little more on brand for his party. I’ve been wanting to make these forever. They were delish! (If you refer to the recipe, I did not add the sausage.)

20180218_111913 veggie tray

Veggie tray from Cindy. Gotta keep some healthy options!

20180218_114216 chinese salad

Chinese salad from my parents. Unfortunately my mom came down with a flu bug too and couldn’t come to the party. 🙁 All but one aunt and uncle weren’t able to come either, so it was a small party this year.

20180218_114223 chips and salsas

And some chips and salsas because they’re Shepard’s favorite snack.

20180218_114229 food begger

Annie begging for food because I’m standing in the cutting spot where I always hand her vegetables as I slice.

20180218_114247 salad and face timing

Facetiming with Aunt Sarah while he eats his salad.

20180218_115708 shepard and mom

The cake was a little worse for wear two days after making it. I really don’t like making it that early, but since I was basically making two of the same cake there was no other logistical way to do it. I think it still tasted pretty good.

20180218_120151 aunt amy

20180218_120715(0) uncle greg

A party isn’t complete without Hudson!

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Shepard trying to entertain Hudson while he eats.

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Present time!

20180218_123333 hudson hat

20180218_123345 hudson hat

20180218_123907 art box

20180218_124303(0) box opening

20180218_124402 farty facts

20180218_124410 donut pillow

20180218_124619 minecraft mug

20180218_124625 hot cocoa

20180218_124655 hudson's picture

Shepard thought it was just the most incredible and funny thing that Hudson drew him a picture on his birthday card!

20180218_124659 hudson's picture

20180218_124700 hudson's picture

20180218_124707 hudson's picture

20180218_125122 earaser maker

20180218_125328 hudson jumping

20180218_125640 air hockey

20180218_132334 cute hudson

20180218_132446 pay attention to me

Annie was being pretty naughty at this party too. I did NOT have time to take her to the dog park this time. She’s been super obnoxious lately. It’s frustrating to realize that she genuinely needs solid exercise 365 days a year no matter what the weather or what my schedule, or she’s going to turn into a psycho dog by the end of the day. It’s the one part of dog owning that weighs me down and I wish I didn’t have to be solely responsible for.

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Cake time! Being silly.

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20180218_132832 big blow

20180218_145139 drawing lessons

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying out Shepard’s presents and relaxing. It was a pretty low key day.

20180218_145801 partied out

And that was his birthday! I totally passed out both days after the parties. My ear infection didn’t start feeling remotely better until Monday night. I wish for once I felt healthy and energetic on Shepard’s birthday party weekend! Oh well, I’m not sure he even noticed the difference. 🙂 He was so busy playing with his new gifts and enjoying feeling like the special little boy he is! He continues to bring so much joy and happiness into my every day and I have no idea what I would do without him. Love that kid!!

2018: Celebrating a New Year


Happy New Year!

Last night we celebrated the way we always do – staying home with food and movies. We had a big taco feast followed by a creme brulee tart for dessert. As a family we watched Captain Underpants, Boss Baby, and a bunch of Netflix countdown videos as we ate popcorn and drank sparkling juice. The boys went to bed around nine and Greg and I finished the evening watching Logan Lucky and half of Battle of the Sexes. He drank a beer, I drank some of the amazing ice wine I found at Costco last week. It was about the least exciting celebration ever, but at least we were together. And hey! I actually made it to midnight. I NEVER make it to midnight.

Anyway, like most of the world, I’ve spent the last week contemplating the ups and downs of the last year and what I would like to do differently in my life and approach to 2018. I re-read my resolutions from last year and realized that I basically feel exactly the same way as I did a year ago. If anything, I’m even more of a slave to my to do lists. The frustrating thing is that I’m completely aware of it and still struggle day after day to just let some things go. I so often link my worth to how many things I accomplished in a day. I set impossible standards for myself and am constantly wracked with guilt and disappointment in what I wasn’t able to check off my list by the end of the night. And quite honestly – I’m sick of living this way.

In the midst of trying to just DO all the time, I’ve really lost sight of what’s truly important in life. Family, love, laughter, joy, contentment, connection, dreams, acceptance, and simple happiness. I somehow want to find my way back to all of that this year. I want to live by my the words of my current favorite book and choose ONLY LOVE TODAY. Again and again and again. That is what matters. I only have this one life and I want to make it count. For me. For my joy. For my acceptance. That will be my focus this year.


  1. Practice Self Care. 
    I want to learn how to love myself this year. I have a lot of self hatred, especially with how I look. And sometimes with aspects of my personality and how I treat other people. I’d like to take a journey this year in finding things that make me happy. Looking for joy in little moments. Being completely in tune to what I actually need to loosen the stress and smile more. Let go of the to do list slavery. Show gratitude for the best parts of myself. Learn to accept and even love the parts of me I sometimes can’t stand. This is all so much easier said than done. But I think it’ll be my highest priority for the year. And also my hardest.
  2. Take Better Care of Myself. 
    My first goal is to take care of myself emotionally and mentally and my second goal is to take care of myself physically. I would love to lose some weight. I need to lose some weight. But I’m not going to give myself a number or even any extreme pressure to do it. I do want to start making better decisions. Remember that the food I put in my mouth not only affects my size, but also my blood and my heart and my ability to live (or not live) a long and healthy life. I want to move more too. If it ever stops being negative temperatures, I need to get back into taking long daily walks. Preferably in the morning, but at night if necessary. I’d also like to find some sort of online exercise program that I’ll actually enjoy and stick with. Especially on these cold winter days when spending long hours outside just isn’t possible.
  3. Be Happy With What I Have.
    I think this became a real problem last year. I always want more. Whenever I found myself stressed out and overwhelmed with life I’d often go to my computer to at least window shop on amazon and other various websites. Shopping shouldn’t be my solution to anything, but especially emotional turmoil. Though I will say that going to thrift stores and antique shops is an active way that I DO give myself self care. But shopping just for the sake of shopping, because I’ve had a bad day? I need to cut myself off. I don’t need more books. I don’t need more clothes. I don’t need more clutter. Whenever the urge to mindlessly shop hits, I want to stop and take stock in what I already have. I think this is a weird habit that maybe only people with the same love language can understand. Gift giving (and receiving) is my love language. And in many circumstances, especially around my birthday and other holidays, I like to shop for myself. I like to give myself gifts because it does fill me up, even if it sounds to people with all other love languages like a ridiculous excuse. That’s how my love tank works, though. I just need to cut back.


  1. Get My Family Back.
    I feel like I’ve lost them this last year. Or…they’ve left me behind? You know how in most families the mom is the glue that holds everyone together? That’s not really the dynamic in our household. Yes, I do all the organizing and shopping and cooking and school things- all the behind the scenes stuff that makes a household run relatively smoothly. But I’m not there. I’m not actively present for so many little life moments. Part of the reason is because I just don’t feel like I fit in with them. They love video games. They love Legos. They love complicated board games that always end in screaming and tears. I don’t want to sit in a room with them and watch them play video games all night when there is ALWAYS a huge running list in my head of other things I want to do. Another reason I’ve lost them is that I’ve honestly just stopped trying. The truth, which I should stop using as an excuse, is that Caden never wants to do ANYTHING. I love getting out of the house with my kids and even the tiniest request is always, always, always met with extreme outrage from him. I got really sick of fighting it. If he doesn’t want to do things with me, then what’s the point of fighting it out? It’s SO MUCH EASIER to just drop it. Walk away. Go live on my side of the house where I can at least spend my time doing something productive, even if it’s not the connecting activity I was hoping for. But it finally occurred to me the other day that I’m still the mom. I’m not allowed to give up on my kids. I try so hard to almost never push him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. But it’s come at the cost of me feeling emotionally empty with my own family. Empty and a more than a little resentful because it feels like they’re not letting me live the life I really want to live. They don’t need me anymore. They certainly don’t want me. Daddy is their everything. But it’s time to do a little fighting back and not give up.
  2. Prioritize Marriage.
    I was looking through all my instagram pictures last night trying to pick out the best memories of the year. One of those was a picture of Greg and I when we cut out of someplace we were supposed to be to do something for ourselves. It was definitely met with a little outrage, but for once we didn’t care. We have to stop letting our need to please other people always make our own relationship slide to the back burner. We also need to stop letting our kids rule the roost. I just want to approach our relationship as being one of my highest priorities this year. Because it’s not, for either of us.
  3. Make Friendships Important.
    It’s so easy to let this slide in the craziness of family life. You begin falling into the trap thinking that you don’t actually need friends because your life is so full and busy with your family. And the reality is that making time for friends is HARD WORK. No matter how much fun you had the last time you were together, it’s still so hard to get out the door the next time something comes up. But it’s important. It really, really is. And even though I know it’s going to require ME to make the effort, I’m not going to give up this year. I need my friends. And I’d like to hope that they might need me a little too.


  1. Set Work Hours – It’s just a job!
    This is a really hard for one for me. Without the clearly defined boundary of leaving my house to go to an office, I am surrounded by and often consumed by work all the time. I often think of it and act like it’s my entire life. Especially when I’m in the middle of a big batch of dolls. Setting it aside for anything feels like a huge loss to my productivity. But working from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed does NOTHING for my personal happiness. It burns me out, stresses me out, and makes me feel extremely resentful of everything I’m missing out on. The ridiculous thing is that I put all of this on myself! I have no clock to punch and no boss to demand more of me. It’s just me. I have the freedom and because of that I feel like I owe it to everyone to put in my absolute best effort every waking minute. But I don’t want to live like that anymore! So set work hours it is. Preferably – just when my kids are at school! I’d really like to end at 3pm when I go to pick them up every day. And maybe a little bit more until dinnertime if they’re busy doing other things. But I really want to limit myself to only working one evening per week and one weekend per month – and only if I absolutely feel like it’s completely necessary. It’s just a job. And I’ll have a much richer life and a lot more joy if I start treating it like it’s not the be all and end all of my existence.
  2. Give Myself Grace.
    Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I’m just one person in an actively creative and artistic career. If I want to do my best and maintain a level of care and precision in my dollmaking, I can’t produce hundreds of dolls a month. Yes, the income from a hundred dolls a month would be incredible! But it’s just not going to happen. I also need to remember that there are a few months of the year (May, September, December) that are just SO busy with actual life events, it’s really hard to keep up with sewing. I want my life to be my priority. And I want to give myself the grace to let up a little in those months. Take breaks when I need them. I DO have this freedom and I should let it GIVE me freedom to do what I need instead of letting it restrict me to feeling like I’m never doing enough, the way it has this last year.
  3. Work in Smaller Batches.
    I also need to remember that this is actually a business and I’d like it to continue being successful! And while I can’t produce hundreds of dolls a month, I can do my best to continually produce my best work. And my best work is often done when I only make a couple of dolls at a time. I get excited about all the details and really make my most precious dolls when I’m not struggling to get through a never ending pile of arms and legs. It’s also a lot better for business to be releasing new dolls every few days instead of every few weeks. When people are always watching for something new they get a lot more excited and immediately purchase those new dolls. It often feels counterproductive to make three dolls vs. twelve, but it’s worth it in the long run. For business and for my own wellbeing!


  1. Read, read, read!
    Reading is my favorite thing ever. But lately when I’m stressed I find myself reaching for my phone to mindlessly scroll instead of picking up my kindle which is also always within reach. Books are going to enrich my life a whole lot more than my phone. I mostly read for entertainment and escape, but this year I’d like to put a little more emphasis on the nonfiction books that could uplift and change my heart. I have so many of them already in my possession, it’s time to crack them open!
  2. Write, write, write!
    I’m really loving having this blog as an outlet for a different form of creativity. For awhile I was hoping that it might grow into something more. But I’m realizing that’s probably a whole lot harder than I expected. And that’s okay. I’m making a small, but valuable income making dolls. And I love doing that. I don’t need to make money writing. It’s worth it for me to just have the availability to pour out my words on a page. Even though I’m pretty sure the only people that read this are my mom, my mother-in-law, my neighbor, and my best friend. (Hello, and thank you!) But that’s okay. It’s more about what writing can do for ME. I love it and I’m not going to stop.
  3. Bullet Journal!
    Because I apparently don’t have enough creative outlets in my life already, I decided to try out bullet journaling again this year. And I’m super excited about it! I’ve found ways to integrate actual journaling, habit tracking, and lists galore so it’s more than just writing down my daily to dos. I don’t want to get ahead of myself the way I did last time I tried this out a few years ago. But I’ve invested in some fun stencils and washi tape to really make the book more of a fun and artistic expression that I guess I can’t find in sewing or writing!

Well, I think that’s it! Longest New Year’s resolution list ever. You’ll be happy to know that in the middle of writing, Caden came up and asked me to play a board game with him. I immediately stopped and we played. Progress already, on day one!

Christmas Extravaganza 2017

20171222_133400(0) our christmas

Merry Belated Christmas! The last four days have been jam packed with Christmas festivities around here. Lots of family time, tons of presents, much laughter, and the usual amount of meltdowns peppered in between every thing. We’ve been busy! It’s been great, but also a little bit exhausting. I love all of our yearly traditions, but I do wish we could spend more time at our own house with a little more down time. I guess that’s what the week after Christmas is for, though. Anyway! I’ll try to keep my explanations brief, but I wanted to share all my photos from all our Christmas celebrations.


On Friday after school we had our family Christmas! Like I said in my last post, I like doing ours early when we (usually) get the boys at their best. This year everyone was a little short-tempered (everyone being mostly Caden and I) and we had to take a few breaks in between gifts. But we made it through.

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Annie was a little hesitant about opening her presents, but she sure wanted it once the paper was off!

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Shepard got Greg a Groot poster. Fortunately, Greg decided to hang it in Shepard’s room and not our family room. 🙂

IMG_3940 shepard ornament

The ornament Shepard made me at school. I love it!

IMG_3948 seed shirt

IMG_3953 annie lounging

During one of our breaks.

IMG_3956 annie chip face

I love Annie’s face in this picture! Give me some chips!

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Greg made me a Lego brick head Raggedy Ann! This is my favorite present.


I laughed so hard when I opened it!

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Greg also managed to surprise me with this necklace I’ve been wanting. He usually has the very unfortunate luck of ordering me things that then arrive in the mailbox in their actual packaging. I’m pretty much never surprised.

IMG_4005 brick headz

Found this limited edition Brick Headz set at Target.

IMG_4017 sweatshirt

Now he can alternate sweatshirts. I don’t think he’s taken his gray sweatshirt off since October.

IMG_4019 bark box

I gave Annie a one month Bark Box, trying to see if the subscription would be worth it. The treats looked great, but the toys for the Christmas box were so ugly! And her “long lasting chew” lasted about thirty seconds.

After the present opening we just spent the night enjoying our gifts. I also got an Instant Pot, which I’m anxious to learn how to use. And a calendar, passenger seat protector for my car (for Annie), a couple of Willow Tree figurines from the boys, and a lot of coffee. In the evening we had our usual Friday night pizza.

20171223_092451 andrew birthday

On Saturday morning we went over to Greg’s parents’ to follow them to Oshkosh. We gave Andrew his belated birthday gifts first.

20171223_111643(0) pennys birthday cake

In Oshkosh, we attended Greg’s giant extended family party. I think there were about 50 people there this year. The grandchildren have been repopulating like crazy. 16 great-grandchildren in the last nine years. 15 of those, age 6 and younger! We also celebrated Grandma Penny’s 80th birthday with her favorite cake.

20171223_114308 shepard lego

The kids had a Secret Santa type exchange this year so they could take part in picking out gifts for one of their cousins. I know my kids really enjoyed picking individual gifts for their two matches. Shepard got this fun lego set from Natalie.

20171223_114515 caden art supply

And Caden got lots of fun art supplies from Reese. He was really excited!

20171223_123345 star wars socks

The highlight of the party is always the huge white elephant type gift exchange. This year’s theme was gifts that start with “S.” It’s definitely always a crap shoot on if you’re going to get something good or not. I personally think it’s a lot more fun when everyone actually brings something they think is a good gift. Some years that’s pretty rare. Greg was very happy with Star Wars lounge pants that he stole for the final time. I ended up with socks, skittles, a Santa hat, and silly putty. After the game Caden traded my socks for someone’s giant pack of spearmint gum.

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Hanging out after the gift exchange. When we got back to Beaver Dam, I went on home to take care of Annie and do some baking for Sunday.

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Christmas Eve is always our really big day with present openings and meals with both families. It’s always fun to have so much excitement in one day, but this year I was kind of wishing we could have split it up somehow. I was SO tired by afternoon. It’d be nice to just give each family one full day with a little more relaxing and less rushing. But I’m not sure that’ll ever work with so many schedules to work around. At least every year it gets easier with the boys and them not needing to be on such a tight sleep schedule.

IMG_4044 brunch spread

We started with a big brunch at Noe’s.

IMG_4045 cinnamon braid

I need a better powdered sugar duster lol. It tasted okay. Most of the butter and cinnamon sugar leaked out overnight. It probably would have tasted better warm. I cooked it at home so it was cold by the time we ate.

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Shepard was so excited about his snowboard! Even though the wind chill was like negative ten degrees, he spent at least an hour outside trying it out down the little hills in the yards. He’s pretty good at it! If there’s enough snow I’m going to take him to a real sledding hill later this week.

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I could barely see Caden behind his present stack! This was a paper telling him they were going to WI Dells next month with Grandma and Grandpa.

IMG_4062 lego piece

Greg wrapped a single lego piece from a creation he made a few years ago for her and Melissa lost. She actually guessed what it was before she opened it, to everyone’s amazement.

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Salad Shooter. I use mine solely for cheese! But I think she’ll hopefully find some good uses for it!

IMG_4066 silhouette bracelet

My favorite gifts this year were silhouette bracelets of the boys (and Hudson for Brittany and my mom) from La Papier Studio.

IMG_4068 skyping

We had video chat present opening with Sarah, Alex, and his parents in New Jersey. We missed having them around this year, but I think it’s great they were able to at least spend it with his family.

I’m pretty sure our present opening took three hours! I got all kinds of awesome gifts! I got the final four chairs to match my work table I got last Christmas. That table has been like the greatest gift ever. I use it every single day for a million different purposes. But it’s amazing for sewing, which is its intended purpose. Anyway, I also got some new pots and pans, some awesome taco cookbooks, fun new makeup to try out, and lots of other fun things.

IMG_20171224_150822_815 sleepy hudson

In the early afternoon, I went back home with the car loaded with presents to get Annie for the second half of the day. Then I went back to pick everyone up and we headed to my parents’. Once again Hudson was sleeping when we got there! 🙁 So I snuck in to peek on him. I used to HATE it when people did that with Caden because it was so impossible to get him to sleep in the first place. But I am now the annoying relative that does it too.

IMG_4071 wooden puzzles

These wooden puzzles were the first thing Caden opened in the morning and he worked on them all day.

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We gave my dad his belated birthday present. A new wallet filled with gift cards to his favorite restaurants. It’s the first year I ever remember him not working on Christmas Eve! Because it was a Sunday and FedEx was closed…I think. We’re usually waiting for him to get home from work to get on with the present opening. This year it was Tyler who was working. But only till six, so it was fine.

IMG_20171224_152658_904 hudson selfie

Hudson woke up! Those eyes!!

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He loves his jumperoo!

20171224_153550 hudson giggle

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Working on some shrinky dinks.

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Tummy time! He’s so cute!

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IMG_4102 greg and hudson

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Time to bust out the snacks. My pizza braid tasted delicious!

20171224_181513 snacks galore

So many snacks! My mom has so many bowls!

IMG_4113 hudson bracelet

Once Tyler got home and settled we opened gifts! I made Brittany open her Hudson silhouette bracelet first.

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And my mom had to open her three grandson bracelet at the same time. I really liked how they looked with three silhouettes. I’m kind of tempted to order one for myself with the boys and Annie as my third child. 😀

IMG_4125 annie at gate

Speaking of Annie…we had the room sort of gated off so Hudson could go on the floor safely. Annie had no problem jumping over the first gate. She’s much more agile than my mom’s dogs! After the taller board was up she just stood here looking sorrowful lol. I was literally close enough to keep my hand on her. But it wasn’t good enough. We opened it up after awhile and then she was content to go somewhere else and take a nap!

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My dad opening his third pair of socks in a row. That’s what he asked for!

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Keeping Annie company.

IMG_4134 hudson's toys

Awesome mini versions of classic toys from Uncle Tyler.

IMG_4141 shepard street

My mom found this awesome sign at an antique store! On Timmy’s birthday we walked by Shepard St. in Milwaukee and Shepard thought it was so cool. Now he has his own sign!

IMG_4152 peanut butter sauce

Gigantic peanut butter sauce. I really want this for myself, but they only make the gigantic jars! I’m not ready to pull the plunge for myself, but I gifted it to him.

IMG_4157 octopus

We gave Hudson an octopus themed gift. This stuffed octopus is so cute, but way bigger than him!

IMG_20171224_202636_784 sleepy shepard

Shepard was getting so tired by the end of everything. He just kept laying on the floor about to fall asleep. Even though it was probably one of our earliest Christmas Eves, I was super tired too. And because it surprised us and snowed all day, we knew we still had to shovel when we got home, so we got out pretty quickly when gifts were over. It was lots of fun, though! I got many more great gifts. We’re pretty spoiled at Christmas!

IMG_20171224_211650_690 cookies

Caden was still awake when we got home. For what I think was the first time ever! So he arranged a tray of cookies and milk for Santa.

IMG_20171224_212956_278 cat pizza

While I was waiting for Caden to fall asleep and Greg was shoveling, I entertained myself by watching Jack sniff out his new cat pizza from Grandma. They’ve both been using the pizza as a bed today! So funny.

IMG_20171224_221649_658 santa came

Santa came! And then I could finally go to bed.

IMG_4164 christmas morning

Christmas morning! It was kind of an odd morning. Shepard said he was up at 4. Caden was up at 5:30. I went downstairs at 6. And the boys were much more interested in playing on their chromebooks than getting Greg up to open presents. I mean, they’ve already opened a million presents in the last few days. But it really bummed me out how little they seemed to care about the magic of Santa coming. It was kind of a rough morning for me. My kids are growing up. And maybe it’s a good thing they don’t care about presents that much? It’s just hard not to take it personally because that’s what I’m good at and that’s what I love doing.

IMG_4172 christmas tree

Once everyone was finally up we opened stockings.

20171225_083352 ring stack

In my stocking was a Lisa Leonard Passage ring that I’ve been coveting for years! I didn’t plan on wearing it with my wedding ring stack, but it’s the only finger it properly fits on. I think it looks pretty nice all together! Maybe a little bit over the top, but I still love them. Santa even surprised me with an unexpected bracelet and pair of earrings in my stocking!

IMG_4186 two switches

This was the biggest box, so Shepard was thinking there were not one, but TWO Nintendo Switches in it. Sorry, kid! He didn’t say anything about the lack of an air hockey table, so I don’t think he was overly disappointed.

IMG_4207 snes classic

No Nintendo Switch, but they did get an SNES Classic! That won as their favorite gift, of course. Pretty much haven’t played with anything else since opening it.

IMG_4212 annie

She seemed to enjoy her first Christmas with us! Maybe a little bit confused and probably a little sad that she hasn’t been to the dog park or on any long walks. But there’s been a lot of excitement to keep her entertained.

IMG_4235 giant nerf

Shepard LOVED this thing.

IMG_20171225_095350_873 happy jack

Jack was so happy after he played with his new toys! He hasn’t had any new toys since we got Annie and she ate them all. He’s always loved playing with toys, so I feel bad I haven’t gotten him new ones in nine months.

IMG_20171225_120830_604 stockings

Late morning we went back to Noe’s to open stockings and have lunch. Santa brings some stuffed stockings at their house!

20171225_142855 grandma stockings

And then we stopped at my parents’ again for more stockings and more food and more shrinky dink making. I think we can guess what Shepard wants for his birthday!

20171225_144233 sitting with dogs

Dogs galore.

IMG_20171225_102708_263 book stacks

Back at home I had to document all of our new books! I had a ton of books on Caden’s wish list and he received quite a few of them! Plus a bunch from us. He’s pretty hard to buy for. He doesn’t play with toys. He specifically told us he didn’t want any legos this year. And he never once said a single thing he did want. He reads whenever he’s not allowed to play games, so books it is! I’m really excited about my own stack of books! I’m going to be making so many tacos! 🙂 🙂 🙂

IMG_20171225_170800_260 reading in bed

I finished Christmas spending two hours in bed reading a great Christmas book with the cats snuggling around me and Annie on the floor next to me.

Overall, it was a great Christmas! Now onto the week of aftermath!! I spent the morning clearance shopping for my annual wrapping paper stock up. I had many great intentions of cleaning and organizing the rest of the day, but really didn’t do much of anything besides editing all these photos! Tomorrow will hopefully be more productive! I know the rest of break will just fly by and then the pressure to get back to work  will start to overwhelm me. So I need to make this week count! And do a lot of resting in between.

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas weekend!

Saturday Reflections 12.23.2017


Christmas is here! I was really hoping this last week would be totally stress free and relaxing. But that’s fairly impossible the week before Christmas, right? I’d say I had about an equal mix of doing way too many things I didn’t really feel like doing but needed to be done and some well deserved hours of self care. Overall, a pretty good week!


On Sunday evening we went to see Santa at the Dodge County Airport. He came in very slowly on a little airplane. Caden was angry the first time he heard about it and angry about going because it HAD to be a fake Santa because Santa only comes in a sleigh with his reindeer. Shepard thought it was really awesome. Santa shook his hand when he walked through the building and he thought it was just the coolest thing that he touched Santa! The whole event was pretty packed, but everyone was in good spirits and it was a fun experience. We never take our kids to see Santa because they’ve always been terrified and I’m strongly against purposely scaring your kids for the sake of a picture. But I guess they’re old enough now that they’re only slightly apprehensive, and definitely not going to cry about it.


I’m pretty sure this is the last year that Caden will believe in Santa. Side note on that – if you tell your kids the truth about Santa, can you PLEASE tell them not to go to school and tell all their friends??? I was absolutely devastated when my friend repeated the whole conversation she had with her mom about Santa not being real when I was nine. I get that it’s something kids will probably talk about regardless, but I hate to have my own kids heartbroken in the same way. There’s definitely been plenty of seeds of doubts planted in Caden’s mind this year from his friends. Greg’s starting to be bothered about flat out lying to him, but I want him to believe in the magic for as long as possible. It’s just never the same once you know the truth.

Anyway! Caden asked Santa for his own Nintendo Switch. Shepard asked Santa for an air hockey table. They’ve both spent the entire week talking about how of course Santa is going to get those things for them because it’s the first time they ever asked him in person for something. So….Christmas morning might be a bit of a disappointment! 🙁 At least Shepard has a birthday coming up and an air hockey table might be a possibility. A smallish one. Caden will just have to keep on dreaming!


Monday was supposed to be my big baking day, but I definitely didn’t get as much done as I wanted. By the time I take the boys to school, take Annie to the dog park, get all the pets situated with food and water, and finally eat my late breakfast, it’s like half the morning is gone. And this Monday I also had to get some groceries and prep some food for the crockpot. I was ready for a nap by midday. Annie enjoyed the candle fire in my place.


Tuesday was another crockpot meal. I should really try harder to do those more often. I hate giving up part of my morning on meal prep, but it certainly makes the afternoons so much easier!


By later Tuesday night I finally finished all my baking and made up boxes for the neighbors. The boys and I snuck around leaving boxes on everyone’s porches. I picked seven of my favorite tried and true cookie recipes and realize that all of those only made really small batches! Almost everything I made was just about gone after divvying up between neighbors!


I really don’t know what I did on Wednesday! I think I was scurrying around finishing up all the wrapping, working on laundry, running more errands. Shepard helped me make some Rudolph noses in the evening. I kept thinking I should do more baking, but it was pretty much the last thing in the world I felt like doing.


Thursday was FINALLY my day of rest! I planned to spend the entire day lounging on my futon with my book and candles and soft music playing. It was great, but I also had a really hard time relaxing enough to enjoy it. I’ve been so amped up for weeks trying to get so much done. It was hard to properly enjoy a day with permission to just BE.


I did enjoy the afternoon just staring at my pretty tree and gift piles! I really love our house, but especially this room, and particularly at Christmastime. It makes me so very happy. 🙂


Thursday night I tried to get ahead of the game and work on a pizza braid that I’m bringing over to my parents’ for Christmas Eve. I love how it turned out! I wrapped it up and put it in the freezer to bake that night. Hopefully it survived!!


Friday was pajama day at school. Trying to get a nicely posed picture with these three together is nearly impossible! Annie does NOT like to cooperate for posed pictures!

I spent Friday morning fighting the crowds at Target because the boys realized they didn’t pick out gifts for each other or Greg. Poor planning on my part, I guess. They just HATE going to stores, so I thought we’d skip it this year. But I want to encourage them gifting to other people instead of just thinking about themselves, so they each sent me with a list of what they wanted to get. I tried my best to find what they wanted. Next year we’ll make it a higher priority.

Then I met my mom at the theater to see Pitch Perfect 3! I thought it was really good! Not like an incredible movie, but definitely entertaining and light and happy. Just what I needed. We had a delicious lunch at Monk’s and then I headed home.


Friday afternoon we had our family Christmas! We usually do it on the 23rd, but the last two years we’ve had big family parties that day so we moved it up a day. It’s kind of nice to have our family opening when the boys are still fresh and excited about everything. It gets a little overwhelming by the time Santa comes and they have their last gift opening. I’ll write more about this on a separate Christmas post in a few days. 🙂


I was so happy to receive this letter from our mail carrier! It made me really glad I put out that box of treats every day. I’m glad she liked the chocolate covered peppermint topped candy cane Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s! They were so good, which is why I gifted them to many people this year!


And today we had Greg’s huge family party in Oshkosh. I’m told there were 49 people there! Always a fun time, especially the big present exchange/war.


I came home after the party to check on Annie and do some final baking. I had to take pictures of everything I’m making ahead of time in case something disastrous happens by the time they’re baked and served! This is a cranberry, bacon, and brie wreath for tomorrow night.


And a cinnamon braid wreath for brunch tomorrow. I also made another batch of cookies. That’s enough baking for awhile!

That was my week! I won’t be writing a Sunday Intentions post this week. I don’t have any priorities other than to just enjoy whatever comes in the following days. We have Christmas with both our families tomorrow. Santa on Monday and maybe some extra family time. Greg is taking vacation on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m hoping to get a lot of reading in and hopefully some writing. Finally! I’m so behind on all the posts. Of course there’s also all that end of the year stuff swirling around in my brain about what I want to do differently next year. Lots to think about, lots to write about. We’ll see how much I get to. 🙂

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Saturday Reflections 12.09.2017

December is flying by! Christmas is only two weeks away! How is that possible?! I’m starting to feel the panic setting in. Mostly because I’m not getting the dolls made that I wanted to. I’m SO DISTRACTED. There are just so many things grabbing my attention. Though I finally finished shopping for everyone last night, so maybe with that off my mind I can find some focus for the upcoming week. I really strive to sit back and enjoy December and it hasn’t happened yet. But I’m getting there. Hopefully.


Anyway, I really tried to take each day this week one day at a time and solely focus on the one most important thing I needed to work on. Monday was a work day. I finished up three gift dolls, four dolls for the shop, and wrapped and shipped out a few gifts that needed to be mailed. I also had to wrap all the St. Nick gifts, which took way too long! Nothing terribly exciting, but it needed to be done!


Tuesday was errands, dentist, and party prep. I have two cavities, which the dentist took great joy in announcing while trying to shame me for not flossing enough. They didn’t have an appointment available until January to get them filled, so I’m not going to worry about it right now. They were so busy that day and wait times were ridiculous. I was not happy considering how many other things I needed to do afterward. Shopping for the party, dinner, and making these cookies. They’re my favorite. SO GOOD. I can only make them for other people because nobody in my family will eat things with nuts on them and Greg won’t eat anything with extra salt on it. He is MISSING OUT.


Wednesday was St. Nick’s Day! We were lucky that it happened to land on a late start day this year. Greg was hoping to open gifts with us before he left for work, but of course of all days, Shepard slept until 7:20! He’s usually up well before 6 (much to my annoyance!). The boys were all really excited about their gift piles. St. Nick brought everyone a book and a card game, as well as some mustards and sauces and jams and a variety of bath products. He brought me the book Dot Journaling and a blank journal. I’m hoping to give bullet journaling another shot in the new year. The boys opened Greg’s presents for him while they video chatted before school.


Annie got a stuffed Christmas tree. I couldn’t believe how we opened the french doors and she immediately ran over and grabbed her toy! Zero sniffing around or investigating, she just seemed to know it was there waiting for her. She pulverized the toy in less than five minutes.


Real smiles! Hooray!


I made our favorite croissant treats for breakfast. I just buy a box of croissants from Costco and then slice them all open, put a layer of chocolate chips and flaky sea salt inside, close them up, brush on maple syrup, top with coarse sugar, and bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes. It really makes a normal croissant taste a million times better.


After the boys went to school I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up for my FAVORITE THINGS PARTY. Also known as one of my favorite nights of the year! This is the third year I’ve hosted it and every year it gets bigger and more fun! The rules are pretty simple – bring three of your favorite things and at the party we each draw three names and have a big gift exchange. It’s so much fun to see what people bring. I also asked everyone to bring an appetizer or dessert or drink this year, so I wouldn’t have to provide that much food. I made the cookies and this cheese tray. I love making cheese trays!


Annie was ready for the party in her ugly Christmas sweater!



I didn’t get many people pictures, but I believe we had 16 people there this year. So much fun! So much delicious food too.


Annie was the life of the party and trying so hard to stay awake!

I kept meaning to put together some gift guides this fall because I LOVE looking at gift guides. But of course I ran out of time. So I’ll just give you a mini gift guide of what I gave for my favorite things this year. You’re technically supposed to just give one thing, but I always like to make it a little bundle because it looks more special, and if the recipient hates one of the things she might still like the accompanying item.

my favorite things

  1. Only Love Today by Rachel Macy Stafford
    I love this book so much! I’m not done with it yet, but it’s the one part of my morning routine that I never miss. The book is divided into seasons and each season has 1-2 page chapters/essays/devotionals. It has a Christian perspective, but it’s not technically a devotional with a scripture base. It’s just so many amazingly insightful glimpses of what you could be doing to make your life happier, more joyful, more filled with the things that actually matter. I love this book. Get it for yourself, a friend, basically anyone.
  2. Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens
    I am obsessed with these pens! I use them to underline passages in the book, which is why I gave them with the book. Plus they look really good together with the similar colors! I also use them in my planner. Every week I pick out four colors and each color is meant for a different aspect of my life (commitments, to dos, blog posts, meal plans) in the planner. I’m a nerd.
  3. Tarte Quench Lip Rescue Lipstick – in Cherry
    My sister-in-law gifted me a huge lipstick sampler for my birthday, and this is the one that I absolutely fell in love with. I’m a bit of a lipstick junkie, but I’m really particular about what I like. It needs to feel nice on my lips and also been shiny and preferably sheer. This one fits all the requirements with the added benefit of tasting like peppermint. The Cherry color is my favorite. It looks really bright in the tube, but is much more subtle on the lips. I also love the Berry. I own Nude and Rose too and like them as well.
  4. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm – in Red Dahlia
    More like a chapstick than a lipstick, this one still provides a really sheer beautiful layer of color. My mom and I both fell in love with these this year and I think Red Dahlia is the favorite of both of ours. You don’t need to look in a mirror to put it on, so it’s a great addition to your purse anytime you want a tiny pop of color.
  5. Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Organic Lip Balm
    Chapsticks are definitely my first love! I keep 2-3 varieties in no less than seven different locations around my house so I can always put some on. Dr. Bronner’s has been a new one I tried this year and really love.
  6. Merry & Bright Mugs
    I was so excited when the Heart & Home Collection was released at Target this fall. This mug was an instant favorite – and also nearly impossible to get. I tried to order one online at 5am the day they came out and they were sold out by the time I got to my cart. But persistence tends to pay off and from three separate orders I ended up with eight of them in my possession. I kept two, gave two for this party, and gave the other four as individual gifts. I love how cute and understated they are. They’re also small, which is something I prefer for my hot drinks of choice.
  7.  Frozen Bean Latte Frappe Mixes
    As a new coffee drinker, I decided to pick these up at Walmart one day. They’re surprisingly really tasty! They have an option to make cold in a blender with ice for a frappuccino, or hot like a latte. I’ve only done the cold method, but it’s great!

Okay, back to my week! Thursday was a total recovery day. I was so tired from everything. I spent most of the day just mindlessly looking at things online. I also ran to my favorite gift store to check out their Christmas decorations. I put zero pressure on myself to actually get anything done. Probably not how I really should have spent the day, but I needed it.


Friday I was just all over the place. The deep seated need to FINISH Christmas shopping was pretty much prevailing over all other thoughts for the day. So I just pulled the trigger on a bunch of things I’ve been putting off. And other than a gift or two for one person who is causing me issue this year, I’m pretty much done!


Annie had a playdate in the afternoon with my friend Kristin’s dog Rosie. They’d never met before, and hit it off pretty well!


And the rest of the day was spent sewing. So many dolls left. Next Saturday is my hard deadline for finishing them. But I’d like to have them done on Wednesday. I’d really like to have them done on Tuesday! The sooner I get them done the sooner I can wrap presents, bake cookies, read books, write my backlog of blog posts, and just RELAX. But I need to get these done first.

Anyway, it’s time to get back to work! I have a few hours to sew this morning and then the boys are off on a sleepover and Greg and I are having a date day! We’re seeing Ladybird and eating – somewhere. Not terribly festive, but it’s just so cold out!

Hope you had a great week!

Saturday Reflections 11.25.2017: Thanksgiving Week


It’s been a rough week. I think I need to make an official hard pass to birthday parties (and all public places) the weekend before Thanksgiving. Every year that we go to one the boys end up sick for the holiday. Especially when they’re in public places with tons of kids. No specific person to blame, just too many germs. We might need to make that rule for all of December too. There’s too much at stake! At any rate, I think we all made the most of it. Fortunately nobody was stomach sick!! But Shepard especially was sick enough that he and I had to miss a few days of activities.

On Sunday, Greg was helping my parents paint their ceiling. The boys and I took Annie to a walk to the new playground the city just built. I’m a little bit annoyed that dog park work didn’t actually start their construction work until Monday. So Thursday-Sunday we COULD have been going to the dog park, but I was just assuming it was closed because that’s what the sign said on Wednesday! Oh well. I got a lot of walks in!


Monday was a normal day. Everyone still relatively healthy, except for Greg and Caden having basic colds. I spent the day fun shopping. Which means going to stores that I don’t necessarily need to go to, but they’re still really fun for me. Kind of a self care type of day. My favorite stop was Trader Joe’s. I got so many tasty holiday treats!


Shepard was up in the middle of Monday night moaning and crying and holding his head. Migraines strike again. He was feeling better in the morning, but still a little out of it. I let him stay home and after the medicine kicked in he seemed to feel a lot better. I took him back to school around 10:00 because he didn’t want to miss art or his class pumpkin feast.


On Tuesday night we went over to the in-law’s house. All the siblings and significant others had arrived. We had a fun night playing games together!


Wednesday was baking day. Also the day Shepard woke up with a fever and crying because his throat hurt so bad. He ran downstairs and went on the couch and as the early morning hours went on he was gasping for air and said he couldn’t breathe. I was ready to take him to the hospital! But he eventually fell back to sleep and seemed to be better after that. Ibuprofen has wondrous effects on sick children. He stayed home from school and was in pretty good spirits for most of the day.


Meanwhile, Greg was trying to work and I was trying to bake. I had no problems with the caramel apple cheesecake, which was the slightly more intensive of desserts. But the butterscotch pumpkin pie! First of all, I didn’t have any pumpkin. Even though I’ve been to at least ten stores that sold pumpkin the last week. I just kept thinking I had a couple cans in the basement. Nope! So I had to run out into the insanity just to buy pumpkin. I made the filling and it only filled up this much of the crust! So I had to make another batch.


There were plans in place for the entire family to go to EAA after the early release of school. But we didn’t think Shepard would be up for it – getting rest for Thanksgiving was a lot more important. So Greg picked Caden up and they joined everyone in Oshkosh for the rest of the day. Shepard and I decided to make some dog treats with the leftover pumpkin to bring to the dog park.


The dog park was open after 4! First time there in a week, Annie had so much fun. And crazily, there was a cat at the park. At first he just walked right into the open area and all the dogs went insane. He just stood his ground. Then he went back through the fence and just sat on the other side for twenty minutes while all the dogs were barking at him. He finally climbed up this tree! I didn’t know cats could really climb that well. I wish I could have seen how he got down again!


Back at home, Shepard hit the wall again. He refused to go to bed, but fell asleep on the floor. He slept there for a few hours before I worked up the energy to carry him upstairs.


I finished my pie in the meantime. I also made crescent rolls, which I never took a picture of. And an appetizer. Basically I spent the entire day in the kitchen. I was ready to pass out by the end of the night. I think I went to bed at 8, right after Greg and Caden came home.


Thanksgiving morning! Everyone was up early (except Greg), as always, and wanting to play video games. I said they had to make a list of ten things they were thankful for before they could play.


I snuck over to the dog park with Annie. It was such a beautiful morning! We had a great time walking around. I couldn’t believe nobody else was there!

IMG_3591 gaming

We went over to Noe’s mid-morning. We took some family pictures and then did various activities together.

IMG_3592 appetizers

Setting out the appetizers.

IMG_3593 cranberry dip

I made this cranberry jalapeno cream cheese dip. It went over pretty well!

IMG_3596 mad libs

Thanksgiving Mad Libs.


Coding things, on the tv.

IMG_3600 boys

IMG_3601 turkey

IMG_3602 cookie

IMG_3604 neko

IMG_3607 sides

IMG_3614 pick up sticks

IMG_3615 mario game

IMG_3616 beads

IMG_3618 designs

IMG_3620 creations

IMG_3621 pumpkin pie

IMG_3623 cheesecake

It was a really great Thanksgiving! It was clear that Shepard definitely wasn’t feeling himself, but he wasn’t crabby or anything either. Everyone just relaxed and enjoyed the day. It’s not very often we’re all there at the same time. I had a really nice time. And the food was delicious!


I left around 4:30 to take Annie to the dog park again. Then I made jalapeno popper dip and these cookies for Friday’s party.


Unfortunately, Shepard’s cough was worse and he still had a fever, so he and I did not make it to any of the Friday festivities. There was another big family party. The boys were supposed to sleepover at Grandma’s. And Greg and I were going to his co-worker’s wedding. Instead I spent a good portion of the day looking up Black Friday deals! Shepard and I went to the dog park in the late morning, had lunch, and then took VERY long naps. We both felt much better afterward! We made pizza for dinner and then walked down to the Christmas parade. I feel like the parade gets shorter every year! But it’s fun to be in such a festive atmosphere. Shepard was so excited to see Santa!

Overall, it turned out to be a pretty nice day together. I’m disappointed I missed out on the wedding – mostly because it would have been a unique date night (the whole thing took place in a fancy steak house). Shepard was pretty upset about missing everything. But I’m sure Caden had a blast being the only kid getting full attention from everyone! The week definitely didn’t turn out as planned, but it wasn’t awful either. I’m just seriously thankful nobody was throwing up!!

Anyway, the rest of the day is filled with more festivities. Greg and Shepard are going to go pick up Caden and say goodbye to everyone. I’m going on a Wine Walk around town with my friends. I’ve never done it before, but it should be fun! It’s awesome the weather is pretty mild too. I also need to pack up a bunch of orders and get to the post office this morning. And we’ll spend the rest of the weekend decorating for Christmas!

I hope your Thanksgiving week went well!

What I’m Thankful For in 2017

Well, I wanted to write a long, beautiful, elaborate post about everything that I’m thankful for. But honestly, nothing is going the way it was supposed to go this week. Shepard is having a variety of mysterious ailments, Greg and Caden have colds, Annie has way too much destructive energy and the dog park is closed, I haven’t had any time to work or get even half the things done I wanted to in the last few days, and everything I do is taking a million times longer than it should. I’m tired, I’m physically drained, and I’m a little bit crabby. I’m still thankful for a lot of wonderful blessings in my life, but I’ll try and keep them short and sweet!!



He is my partner for life. A better dad to our kids than I ever could have asked for. He works really hard. He does a lot of the cleaning and most of the dishes and all of the yard work. He’s supportive of everything I ever want to do. He puts up with my emotional breakdowns over and over again. He balances me out in many ways. He likes to just stay home and watch tv as much as I do. He loves helping with homework. He empties all the things out of the fridge that make me want to gag. He’s pretty selfless. He makes me laugh. And he loves our family unconditionally.



He is my first born and the one who taught me how intensely one can love. He is super smart and has an amazing mathematical mind. He lets Shepard tag along with him and his friends – always. He loves to read. He loves our pets and always wants to be near them. He challenges us as parents, but also helps us grow. He can be very sweet. He’s happiest when someone is simply sitting right up next to him.



He’s forever my sweet baby and the one who brought an immense amount of joy to our entire family. He is always up for an adventure and trying new things. He’s kind and generous and loves to make gifts for people. He is excited and eager to help with any project. He’s shy when you first meet him and a total goofball when you get to know him. He makes me laugh and smile more than anyone else.



She is my most loyal companion. She has made my life a bit more complicated, but a lot more full. She’s my lone female ally in our family of boys. She is so incredibly excited just to do anything with me. She’s a riot to watch at the dog park. She is my best exercising partner. She’s the dog of my own I’ve dreamed of having my entire life.



He’s still my all time favorite kitty. Before Annie came along, he was at my side almost every waking minute of the day. After seven months of mostly hiding in the basement, that’s starting to become our reality again. His favorite thing is to sit on my books when I’m trying to read in the morning and cuddle into my left arm under the sheets if I take a nap in the afternoon. He loves to snuggle with us when we watch tv at night and it makes me so happy that he still wants to be near us even though we betrayed him by getting a dog.



He’s always in my way when I’m working. Which is a huge nuisance, but one I’m sure I’ll miss when he’s gone. His health is starting to decline, which has made me appreciate him more in the last few months. His favorite companions are Caden and Shepard and I love to see him snuggling with them in bed at night. He’s always been good with kids. He likes to cuddle with me too, if nobody else is around to witness it.


Extended Family

I’m so glad that we live only twenty minutes away from our parents and they get to be a huge part of their grandchildrens’ lives. I love the fact that Timmy and Brittany moved back to Wisconsin and we get to see them every few weeks instead of once a year. I’m thankful for our other siblings and their significant others and that everybody wants to stay close, despite the distance that sometimes come between us. And I’m happiest that my kids are constantly surrounded by so many adults that love and support them.



Our first nephew! The boys’ first FIRST cousin. He’s such a delight and I’m SO thankful that he exists and that we get to see him on a regular basis. Caden absolutely adores him.


Good Friends

Life can be tough and I’m glad I don’t have to go through it alone. I’m especially thankful for my best friend Dianne and that she puts up with my crazy long winded emails I write her every single day. I’m also very thankful for my friends Laura and Michelle and that they make the effort every month to keep our friendship strong, even though varying circumstances have kept us from seeing each other more often lately. I’m grateful for all the other friends that are also in my life.


Heartstring Annie

All my internal crises about what I should really be doing with my life notwithstanding, I’m so glad I created this business four years ago. It’s given me a way to be myself again. More than just a mom. I get to be creative, I get to make other people happy, and I get to make a little bit of money. It also gives me an excuse to keep staying home, even though my kids are in school full time.


Everyday Crumbs

This blog has given my mind the creative outlet I didn’t know I needed until last year. It’s helped me rediscover how much I absolutely love writing. I don’t get to spend as much time working on it as I would like, but it still exists and is always waiting for me. It’s a bit of a passion project that fulfills me in a way that sewing never will.


Our Home

We’ve been here for 18 months and I never want to leave. It’s already evolved in so many ways to accommodate our family. I love being here all day, every day. I love my huge sewing room. I love my cozy reading area in front of the candle fireplace. I love just about everything about it. It was made for us.

And a few other random things I’m thankful for:

  • The dog park. I don’t think I could survive having a dog without it. The fact that it’s so big and beautiful makes it so much more of a blessing in my life.
  • Walking to school. I love the necessary exercise it gives us twice a day. Plus it’s pretty awesome being able to send one kid to school on his own, if one is home sick.
  • Books, books, books. When I’m not reading a book I’m reading about books. I could not survive without them. Literally.
  • That Greg finally figured out what smelled so bad in the fridge the last few days. It was cauliflower. That he discovered by taste, rather than smell.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Caden’s 9th Birthday Parties

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Over the weekend we celebrated Caden’s birthday with his friends and family. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever had parties a week after his birthday, which was a little bit weird. In a way it was nice to spread out, but there’s also some positives to just powering through everything all in one weekend! It does make September as a whole a bit less chaotic. At any rate, it was fun! He picked Harry Potter for his theme this year. I found so many cool decorating ideas online, but ended up just going with the simplest and cheapest – potion bottles from Hobby Lobby filled with colored waters. At the friend party, every single kid asked me what each particular potion was for. I was not prepared with answers!

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I bought a chocolate frog mold because it showed up on amazon every time I searched Harry Potter party supplies. I figured just filling them with plain almond bark was pretty boring, so I made m&m, mint, Andes candies, sea salt, and salted caramel chip frogs.

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Greg and the boys were doing a rock candy experiment the week before and it turned out that the sticks were done the same day as the party, so we laid them out as wands.

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Polyjuice potion punch. I just used the same punch potion I use at basically every single party – 2 bottles of 7up, 1 can of pineapple orange juice concentrate, and lime sherbet. Plus some extra neon green food coloring for this party.

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Butterbeer fudge. Which was really just a mix of butterscotch and vanilla fudges, with marshmallows on top.

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Golden snitches made from Ferrero Rocher truffles and a wing template I found online. Originally I wanted to make golden cake pops with some sort of edible wings, but after some disastrous attempts at cake pops for my brother’s birthday in August, I decided it wasn’t worth the struggle!

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The main dessert was butterbeer cupcakes. I thought the kids would think they were cool, but they quickly ate all the other food and nobody wanted a cupcake. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who ate one and it wasn’t really that good. No big deal, just wish I hadn’t spent the time making them! We had chocolate covered pretzel wands too. And gummy shaped witch/sorting hats I randomly found in Door County.

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The party started with all the boys playing in our giant leaf pile. They were having fun. And it was very messy!

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Then we came in for dinner. I made this pizza bread snake. It’s one of my all time favorite recipes and I only ever make it on Halloween. Need to change that! I also used a baguette to make a long sandwich which I sliced into little pieces and shaped like a snake. And we had chex mix, which I called muggle munch.

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Present time next. I somehow always think everyone will settle down while my kid opens his presents. No such luck! Surely they know how to sit and stay sitting at school?!

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Lots of awesome gifts from his friends! I think they all picked out their own gifts to give him and showed that they know Caden pretty well.

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I bought a box of Bernie Bott’s jelly beans, so they played the Beanboozled game. It was pretty hilarious how into it they all were!

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One of his friends gave him a sorting hat, so they had to do a sorting ceremony.

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This is the one kid who absolutely, no matter what, did NOT want to be in Gryffindor.

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And cake time. I could not get Caden to take the rock candy out of his mouth or smile. You think that young kids are uncooperative for photos you want to mean a lot. Think again! The older the kid the more they refuse to cooperate!

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As close as we were going to get!

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The rest of the party was spent running around outside. Whew, did those kids have energy! I apologize to my neighbors for the noise!! I’m glad it was such a nice day that we could send them out to play in between everything. Overall, it was a really nice party. I think Caden had fun. And I liked doing it on a Friday because everyone was available (as opposed to its originally scheduled Saturday time, when literally nobody could come for the whole thing) AND I didn’t have the boys home all day freaking out about how long it was until the party started.

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We celebrated Caden’s family party on Sunday. After having no interest in the butterbeer cupcakes, Caden said he didn’t care about this dessert either. So I went with something I would like. I don’t normally like cake all that much, but it’s fun when I can be a little extravagant and go over the top with decadent flavors.

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Halfway between our birthdays, so kind of my cake anyway. 🙂

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I had to take a lot of cake pictures! It was a triple layer homemade chocolate cake soaked with butterscotch sauce. Salted caramel frosting and chocolate ganache. Topped with gold sprinkles, sea salt flakes, and homemade toffee shards. It was delish!

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Mostly the same desserts, though I upgraded to some fancy chocolate covered pretzel wands I found at Costco last week. Oh and little cups of mini animal crackers, which I was calling Patronuses.

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More of the same punch. I think I’ll have to change it up for the next family party. But this one is pretty delicious and so easy!

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We had a big taco bar for lunch, which is what we have at almost every party. I thought about doing something different, but tacos are Caden’s favorite food, so it made sense. I might need to be more creative for Shepard’s party next year.

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We were so excited to see Hudson for the first time in six weeks! It’s amazing how fast babies change in the first year. He was awake for most of the party, which was awesome. Annie was very curious about him, particularly his feet!

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He was so entertaining!

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Wondering why I keep flashing lights at him.

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Presents. He got a lot of Harry Potter and magic themed gifts this year.

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Greg took Annie to the dog park in the morning to wear off her energy and she was pretty great for most of the party. But something about us all sitting and watching Caden hyped her up, so we gave her a new bone. She thought she’d settle in next to my dad to chew it. He wasn’t having that!

IMG_3270 magic science

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I don’t think he’s ever even seen a magician, but he had the showmanship down pat when he demonstrated his first few magic tricks. It was so funny!

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It was another great party! Many thanks to everyone who helped my boy celebrate his last year in the single digits!

Caden’s 9th Birthday


Yesterday was Caden’s 9th birthday. How do we already have a nine year old?! I feel like he’s been in our lives forever, and yet it flew by in the blink of an eye. He’s definitely growing up! One last year in the single digits.

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We started the day eating Dunkin’ Donuts, which they picked out the night before after seeing the Ninjago Lego movie with Greg.

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Once everyone was awake we moved on to presents!

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Shepard was suffering from some severe jealousy. I don’t even want to think about how bad it might be next weekend when Caden has his birthday parties. He does NOT like the attention being solely on Caden.

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We gave him the newest Mario game, which he was very excited about.

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And a big Minecraft Lego set.

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Shepard gave Caden some geodes. Mostly because he wanted geodes for himself and hoped/expected Caden to share.

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And a giant whoopie cushion. Along with a few books, a bathrobe, Harry Potter Clue, a collectable quidditch set, and a golden snitch keychain.


After presents, the guys immediately had to try out the new Mario game. And basically played that the entire day. I was kind of disappointed we couldn’t think of anything more exciting to do at least part of the day. But it was 95 degrees with horrible humidity again and nobody wanted to be outside. I also relapsed with the queasiness I had earlier in the week and just plain didn’t have energy for anything beyond making him food. So it was a quiet day, mostly at home, playing video games. Which is pretty much Caden’s ideal day. We did go out for a little bit to get lunch at Taco Bell and pick some raspberries at Grandma’s house.

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Working on smashing up some geodes.

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Caden requested “noodles” for his birthday dinner. Maybe someday my kids will mix their noodles with their sauce.

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Yesterday was also Annie’s half birthday. She was found as a stray on March 23rd, so that’s the date the humane society listed as her birthday. They said she was 3 and our vet thought she was closer to 1 or 2, so we’re saying that she’s now 2.5.

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I’m glad he picked such easy meals and desserts because I was so worn out from Cranberry Fest and not feeling great. Cookie dough ice cream was pretty easy on me! Though I did make extra cookie dough and butterscotch sauce for topping.

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I think nine will be a good year for him! He seems to really like school again now that he’s in third grade. They do so many fun things! He has a lot of deep interest in coding, gardening, and basically anything techy. He loves to read, which makes me so happy. And he of course loves video games.

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He also loves our animals! He’s the only one Annie will let brush her. He’s Jack’s favorite human and they cuddle in bed every night while he reads.


Annie chewing on her new nine braided bully stick.

And that was the day! Not particularly exciting, but it’s what made him happy. He ended the night by sleeping on the futon. I’m not sure why he gets so excited about that, but apparently it feels extra special. I think overall he had a pretty great day!

New Jersey Vacation, Week of Craziness, and Baby Hudson

WHEW. These last 12 days have been a whirlwind of craziness. We’ve been so busy! It’s been fun, we’ve spent time with a lot of different people, and we’re exhausted. 🙂 I have lots to report on! I decided to combine everything that’s happened into just one blog post, but I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible.

Tuesday, June 27th

Tuesday was a day of packing and organizing for me. But it signified the start of vacation because Greg and his dad, Steve, left in a van to drive to New Jersey. They were bringing out a large piece of furniture and decided to make a little road trip out of it. They took all of our luggage, so I had to be fully packed by Tuesday afternoon, even though we weren’t leaving for another 24 hours.

Wednesday, June 28th


The boys had their last day of summer school. I thought they’d be upset about missing the real last day on Thursday, but I don’t think they cared at all. In the afternoon we got picked up by Cindy (Greg’s mom) and drove to the Milwaukee airport. Traffic was a pain and it was pouring rain, which didn’t help! But we made it with plenty of time to spare.

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We ordered them new, smaller backpacks to be more manageable. The boys waited on the porch for the mail lady and they were delivered at 2:50. We left at 3:00. Close call! They didn’t have any anxiety about flying this time around. Old pros!


We went on a couple walks around the airport and had Auntie Anne’s pretzels for dinner. On the plane, Shepard and Cindy sat together and Caden sat by me. It was a smooth and uneventful flight! We arrived in New Jersey at about 9:45 and were picked up by Greg and his Uncle Mike.

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We arrived at Uncle Mike and Aunt Zab’s house around midnight. The boys wanted to jump right in the pool! Fortunately, we were able to get them settled into bed pretty quickly because we had an early morning planned.

Thursday, June 29th


Thursday was Uncle Mike’s 60th birthday. Kind of the reason why we were visiting. Also because we (the three/four of us) haven’t been out there since Caden was eight months old.

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The boys were quick to check out the pool while everyone was getting ready for the day at the beach. Caden halfway “fell in” multiple times.

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We drove to Long Beach Island, where Mike and Zab have friends with a house on the beach. They let us park there, use their bathroom, and use their beach passes. The boys were so excited to run in the ocean. I don’t think they were expecting it to be so cold! It was also super windy that day, so down by the water was pretty chilly in general. I spent the whole time completely covered in towels. Partly because I was cold and partly because I hate the sun.

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I brought my real camera on the trip, but ended up taking a lot more phone photos. I feel so guilty because I have a pretty nice camera. And I only really use it these days to take doll pictures to put up on etsy. Instagram is my joy, though. This picture is so happy! Caden had a blast.


Shepard was a little more hesitant about actually going in the water, but he had a really good time too.


Beach people, for a day. Greg and I kind of can’t stand beaches. They’re fun to be at for like half an hour to see the water and take pretty pictures. But the sun, the sand, the inescapable heat – not our cup of tea! But I’m glad the boys, especially Caden, got to start the trip doing something he really wanted to do.


Recruiting people to help with sandcastles, and then sitting in a chair while they do all the work.


Sno-cones from the ice cream truck. Caden’s fell in the sand right after the picture.


We went back to their house sometime in the late afternoon. The boys immediately went in the pool for almost the rest of the day!


We had a birthday dinner for Mike and cousin Liz brought fancy cupcakes.


I had half of this concoction, which was delish. And that was it for our first very full day in New Jersey!

Friday, June 30th

Friday was our scheduled day for New York. Originally we were going to take the boys around to some of the bigger sites in NYC, but I strongly argued that Caden probably wouldn’t be very cooperative. Just like in San Francisco last fall when we tried to bring him to all kinds of cool places, all he wanted to do was sit in the hotel. I’m not sure what it is, but if he doesn’t want to go somewhere or do something he’s going to try his hardest to ruin it for everyone. I really hope this is something he grows out of, or we’re just never going to be able to take him on vacation with us. Anyway, we compromised the plans with a ferry ride from New Jersey to the Statue of Liberty. Before the trip, it’s something both boys were very excited about seeing.

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At the New Jersey September 11th Memorial.


On the ferry. It was hot out!

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Ellis Island. I went here on a high school trip to NYC. It was pretty cool!

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Lovely family picture. 😛

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After extensive security measures, we made it into the statue. We only had pedastal tickets because the crown tickets have been sold out for months in advance. Plus Shepard would have been too short to go to the top anyway. Caden’s foot was hurting, so we took the elevator up. He was feeling pretty emotional at this point. I chalked it up to being very, very tired. I let it fly for this particular outing. It really sucked how much he tried to ruin the rest of the trip, though.

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Finally found everyone else. Even with Steve holding onto Shepard, this picture terrifies me. Shepard is SO CLUMSY.


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In the museum area, trying to stay cool a few minutes longer.

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On the ferry back to NJ. I just have to say that I’m super impressed with how well Shepard did on the trip, despite a lot of missed sleep too. He was so cheerful and up for everything!


Back at the house. Caden was happy again because he could swim.


Shepard was in love with their dog, Piper. I’m not sure Piper quite reciprocated the feelings at first, but by the last day she was following him around.


We spent the afternoon just relaxing. I read a ton and drank the mojito Liz made me.


And finished the night with another birthday celebration!

Saturday, July 1st


I gave the boys each a trip journal. Caden seemed to enjoy writing in one in San Francisco, so I thought they might like it. Shepard only wrote the first two days, but I loved what he had to say. So adorable!!

Saturday was supposed to be our down day. Just swimming and hanging out at home. I did a lot more reading while everyone was swimming. It was nice and relaxing.


In the afternoon, Mike arranged for us to go to Keansburg Amusement Park with Zab’s sister-in-law, niece, and nephew. We (not me!) did the bumper cars first and were the only cars on the track!


The adults (again, not me!) kept dishing out money for the kids to play all the carnival games. Caden got super angry that his second prize wasn’t big enough so that was it for him. Ruined the rest of the day for himself and Greg. But the other kids had a blast! I love Shepard’s rainbow donkey.


We got Dip’n Dots to cool off. It was SO HUMID there. Right after we got the ice cream there was a total downpour. Fortunately we were standing right next to the arcade, so we had a place to stay dry.


For dinner that night we went to a place called Jakeabob’s. (Greg and Caden stayed home since someone’s attitude had not yet improved.) The restaurant was outside on a pier over the ocean. The food was delicious! I had Tinga Tacos that were so spicy and perfect. We managed to finish our food and get out of there just seconds before another downpour.

Sunday, July 2nd


Another lazy morning as everyone got ready for a 4th of July party.


The party started around noon. I spent most of the day inside because I started getting a heat rash on my arms on Saturday and every time the sun touched my skin it would flare up again. So I’m sure I looked super anti-social since everyone was outside, but I just couldn’t deal with another day in the sun. Summer is NOT my season.


But, the party was lovely! Just a couple extra families, lots of pool time, delicious food. Caden was having the time of his life entertaining and playing with people in the pool. For a kid who seems to have so many introverted tendencies, he sure comes across as an extrovert if a pool party is involved!


In the evening, Uncle Mike brought out tons of sparklers for the kids and a couple of big fireworks.



It was a very nice final full day to our trip!

Monday, July 3rd


Our last day! Greg and Steve left with the van around 8am. They were driving to Pittsburgh where Greg had plans to stay with his good internet friend for two nights. Steve continued back on his own, staying at a hotel, and picking up Sarah on the way back, who was in Chicago visiting Melissa. We definitely had some complicated traveling plans between all of us these last two weeks, but it somehow all worked out flawlessly.

We spent our last morning just swimming and relaxing. The boys were pretty sad to leave Piper. It was a good incentive knowing they’d get to see Annie, Jack, and Rory that night, though!

Anyway, our stay in New Jersey was really nice! Mike and Zab were such good hosts. We had so much space too, which was awesome. The boys loved playing video games with cousin Adam and going on walks with Liz and Piper. We’ll definitely have to visit again someday.


Back on the airplane, going home. This flight felt like forever to me. But, uneventful. We made it back to Wisconsin, to Cindy’s car, and on our way back home.

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About fifteen minutes into the drive Shepard finally stopped talking and I looked behind me and he was bent over with his head in his hands. NEVER a good sign with him. He gets migraines that come on in a split second and if you don’t get him medicine and in bed immediately, he WILL throw up. Which is very, very unfortunate if we’re not at home! I was ripping through Caden’s backpack trying to get the bag at the bottom that was carrying his wet swimsuit. But I wasn’t fast enough. Shepard had already thrown up everywhere. EVERYWHERE. We drove until we could stop and spent quite awhile cleaning him and the car up enough to get back home. It was a pretty crappy end to the trip.


Finally, we were home! My mom came over earlier with the cats and went to pick up Annie so she’d be at home waiting for us. Which considering Shepard’s explosion, I’m super glad we had arranged ahead of time! It was awesome to get back home to her! I’m not really sure how I feel about the place we boarded her. Their website said that they’d send photos and updates, but they never did. On Thursday night I emailed to ask how she was doing. They said great and that she had fun playing with all her new friends. I figured since I asked once they’d send me more updates, but never heard a word. I assume she had a good time because she loves playing with other dogs more than anything in the world. But the lack of promised updates was very disappointing. Anyway, she’s been unusually tired this week too, so I think she really had a great time while we were away!

Tuesday, July 4th

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I was able to reserve a spot the night before for the parade. I thought it would be too late, but we got the same spot as last year. Right around noon we wandered down there and I got some cheese fries from the fire station fundraiser.

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We watched the parade for about 15 minutes, but were all just SO hot and SO tired. Shepard started bawling the first time another kid beat him to a piece of candy and I just didn’t want to be there for two more hours. So we went back home and had some quiet time instead. Much needed!

jerry and toni selfie

In the afternoon we went over to my mom’s house to spend some time with my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Toni who were visiting from Arizona. We had a delicious meal and hung out in the yard with the dogs. Unfortunately, when we weren’t looking, Annie managed to get over my mom’s fence. Now that she knows she can do that, it might make visiting with her a lot more stressful. 🙁

After a few hours we swung by Noe’s to pick up all our luggage, that Steve had brought back in the van. Then back home again to do more laundry and more resting. I wanted to go to bed early SO badly. But the boys were so well behaved all day, they really wanted to see the fireworks, so we powered through.


At 9:00 we left to walk to Fireman’s Park. Last year we only walked about halfway and could only see about half the fireworks over the trees. So this year we wanted to get the full experience. I was expecting it to be jam packed because of the carnival and band, but there was plenty of space to sit.


We ended up having perfect timing! I’m really glad we stayed up for it. The boys cuddled on up on my lap and we enjoyed the show. The walk home was very long and exhausting, but overall, a really good holiday!

Wednesday, July 5th

Late Wednesday morning, I brought the boys over to my mom’s house and headed to Milwaukee to pick Greg up from the airport. Then we went to my cousin Jenny’s house where there was another family gathering with the aunt and uncle from AZ.


The boys had such a great time playing with their (second?) cousins. Even though we all live relatively close to each other, we never seem to have time to get together anymore. It was fun to catch up with everyone.


I was pretty dead tired at this point. We headed back home and planned to go right to bed. BUT, we got word that Timmy and Brittany were in the hospital. The baby was coming! When it seemed like things were progressing, I wasn’t able to fall asleep I was so excited. So…I didn’t really sleep that night.

Thursday, July 6th



My very first nephew was born at 2:03am on Timmy and Brittany’s 5th wedding anniversary. Hudson Taylor Braatz was 6 lbs, 1 oz and 18.5 inches long. It sounds like everything went pretty smoothly. I was so excited!! I’m an aunt! The boys have their first first cousin! We have a baby in the family again! Super exciting. 🙂 🙂 🙂

So Thursday morning we spent working in the garden a bit and pulling out all our failed radishes. Then we had to go to Caden’s therapy session. And then we headed to Milwaukee to meet Hudson!


I got lots of time to hold him first while Greg, Timmy, and the boys went to get some Ian’s Pizza for dinner. He was SO tiny!!

20170706_170736 with hudson

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Caden loves babies and toddlers so much. He’s going to have a lot of fun with Hudson in the coming years!

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Shepard was not ready to hold him yet. But he was very curious!



Super congrats to the new family of three! I hope we can go visit him again in the next week or two. Such a cutie!

Friday, July 7th

We all had a much needed fairly quiet day at home. Greg was working, but at home.


The boys had their first bath in forever. They showered a few times in New Jersey, but really needed a soak!


On Friday afternoon we went over to Noe’s. Sarah was still visiting and we gave her her birthday presents a little early. Then we headed out to Oshkosh for a visit/dinner with Steve’s side of the family.

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More cousin time! Even though they’ve just gotten their first real cousin this week, I’m so thankful we have all these other branches of our own cousins’ kids for the boys to play with. It seems like especially in the last year or two, they’re really enjoying the benefits of cousin time whenever it can happen.


We’re so tired.


Caden reading Trevor a book to stop all the wrestling and running. That lasted about ten seconds.

Anyway, we had pizza and dessert, stayed a few hours to hang out. It was fun! I look forward to our next gathering when I’m not about to pass out from exhaustion.

Saturday, July 8th

Almost done, almost done. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much social interaction in such a short period of time. It was fun, truly. But…it was a lot. By Saturday I was SO ready to just be done and have life go back to normal. But we had one more big event – a wedding for a Noe family friend that they grew up with.


Back to Milwaukee for the fourth time this week! My mom came over to watch the boys and Annie because it was a no kid wedding. Which kind of irritated me at first, but it ended up working out really well. Greg and I really needed a day away from them! And they really needed a low key day of just being at home.

The ceremony was short and sweet. And then with a big gap before the cocktail hour and dinner, on a whim Greg suggested we book it across Menomonee Falls to make a showing of Baby Driver. We NEVER do spontaneous things. But it was perfect! It was exactly what we needed. Chill out time together. No talking necessary. It made me so happy that we did something fun FOR OURSELVES after basically two full weeks of focusing all our attention outward. I’m glad we went. 🙂

The reception was a bit crazy. The wedding couple had so many friends!! 250 people crammed into a room where almost nobody could move! The dinner lasted 2.5 hours. It was a lot. Lovely wedding and I’m glad we could be there to celebrate with them. But by the time the dancing started, we were ready to head out!

Sunday, July 9th


And finally, the last of our daily commitments! I met my parents in the morning and we went to the annual Swan Park Craft Fair. Usually a huge craft fair, it really seemed to be lacking this year. Kind of disappointing, but still fun. I bought three dip mixes, sour cherry balls for Greg, and a pair of vintagey crystal earrings. Afterward we had our annual lunch tradition at Cousins. And a trip to Twisted Sister. Then my parents left to go visit Hudson and I went to Sun Prairie to do all my grocery shopping while I could do it alone. Then I went home and crashed!

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While I was gone, Greg was working on odds and ends. He got some chicken wire to wrap around the fence I put up originally. I was trying to keep the bunnies out because last year they ate all our peppers. But apparently the bunnies here are very skinny because they could jump right through the holes. Hopefully it’s well protected now. I want those peppers!

Looking Ahead

And that’s it! Our two weeks of insanity are over! They were really a lot of fun, but I am so tired now. I want normal back. It makes me so sad that summer is basically half over and I feel like it hasn’t even truly begun yet. Those lazy days of chilling at home, playing with friends, going to the pool – they haven’t even started yet. We have a lot of things to fit into these next eight weeks before school begins again.

This week, though, is about recovering. Getting the house in order, resting, making dinner for the first time in two weeks! I’m also hoping to get back to work in the next day or two. Hopefully some pool days. Maybe going to see the new Spiderman movie. And catching up with some friends. I’m excited about having a boring life again. I can only handle so much excitement! 🙂