Summer Goals Update and Saturday Reflections 06.30.2018

June is officially over and summer is already one month behind us! It’s hard to believe it’s already been a month since school ended. It went by pretty quickly, but was also really packed. I accomplished quite a bit this month! Still trying to make up for my three months of being out of commission. I’ve had some super busy and stressful days where I expected way too much of myself, but I also think that overall I was pretty balanced. I’m feeling pretty good about how June went! I even accomplished quite a few of my summer goals. So many that I decided to give an update and add a few more!

Update on achievable goals:

  • Clean out my car.
  • Declutter all random piles in general living spaces.
  • Clean out the fridge and freezer.
  • Reorganize all sewing room supplies (new)
  • Clean out laundry room (new)

Car is clean! Greg did most of the work, but we finished that right away. I’m making pretty good headway on all general living spaces. My biggest problem is the family room, where the boys spend most of their time, where all the electronics are, and where everything coming into the house is dumped. It drives me INSANE that nobody else seems to care how crappy that room looks all the time. I just avoid it as much as possible, really only going in to eat dinner and watch tv with Greg at night. I’m pretty sure there’s no real solution here, but I’m trying my best to keep things under control in all other rooms of the house. Anyway, I cleaned the fridge and the basement freezer and Greg reorganized our basement pantry area. The main freezer is still a mess, but I’ve been trying to cook something out of it every day to minimize how full it is. I think this weekend I can finally clean it out for good.

As for my new goals – I have spent most of this week working on my sewing room! I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to work on new dolls, so I spent almost every day working on cleaning out and cataloging all my doll accessories, re-folding and categorizing all my fabric, and taking a better inventory of what yarns I have. It’s been great seeing all my stuff get back under control! With so many other rooms getting cleaned and organized, I decided to add the laundry room to the list too. It was pretty functional for a while, but then the boys and their friends decided to start playing hide and seek in the house – and the laundry room is pretty much the only place to hide. So it’s been destroyed. Seems like a good time to really go through everything we have and organize and get rid of what we don’t need.

Update on parenting goals:

  • Keep a large visual weekly calendar complete with any non-negotiable errands, day trips, or appointments. 
  • Enforce said calendar so they know that there’s no wiggle room to argue and complain if something was already planned for the day. 
  • STAY STRONG in parenting, not letting them take advantage of me in my weak moments (and not letting them knowingly make me weak with their incessant whining). Remember that I’m the MOM and if they’re mad at me, I will survive it. Having a child mad at me for enforcing perfectly reasonable parenting rules should not affect my mental energy the way it would if Greg or a friend or other adult family member felt that way about me!

I really like our calendar idea, though it hasn’t really said much this week besides going to summer school, play practice, and Grandma’s house. I’m hoping I can fully utilize it in the next few months when the boys need to know ahead of time which days we’ll be running errands or going on day trips so they can coordinate with their friends and hopefully avoid any meltdowns. Because our schedule has still been pretty static and mundane with summer school, I haven’t had a whole lot of fights come up – yet. They’re pretty happy if they have friends to play with. The biggest issue has been Caden not wanting to go to the pool anymore. None of his friends are ever there and he doesn’t like just swimming with Greg or Shepard. A few times Greg has asked me last minute to ask friends to join them, which is always fun because then I get to deal with all the rejections. 😛 There’s nothing I hate more than being rejected (even if I have no reason to take it personally)! Anyway, that’s probably been our biggest thing to deal with, which really isn’t THAT big. Just more frustrating to me because Caden ends up staying home and whining while Greg and Shepard go swimming and I still don’t manage to have any time to myself. I’m anticipating a lot more arguments and meltdowns once summer school no longer takes up half of their days.

Update on family connection goals:

  • Go on a two night family vacation. Make it happen.
  • Visit at least 5 new dog parks in the Madison area with Annie. 
  • After summer school is over, plan and go on at least one day trip or special outing a week. 
  • Take each child on an individual date night at least once per month. Try harder to have one on one time at home in between the date nights. 
  • Go on regular dates with Greg. (new)

I scheduled our family vacation! It was actually Greg’s idea. We’re going to LaCrosse in August. It’s actually turning into three (and a half) vacation ideas all crammed into a single week. We’re going on a weekend “trip” (half hour away) with Greg’s parents for two nights. Then we’re going to the State Fair with my family. Then I’m going on a SOLO VACATION to Minnesota just because I want to and I can. And then I’m meeting everyone in LaCrosse on my way home for two nights of family vacation. It’ll be a busy week! But fun. I’m really glad I made both trips happen and scheduled them as soon as possible once I realized that’s what I wanted to do.

I haven’t been to anymore dog parks yet. It was really rainy this month! And now it’s super hot. Annie likes hot weather about as much as me. 😛 Once summer school is out we’ll definitely take some more dog park adventures, though. I haven’t been great about individual dates either. I was supposed to go to the farmer’s market with Caden last weekend, but he flaked out on me at the last minute. I don’t know how to take him somewhere enjoyable when he flat out refuses to leave the house with me. I guess I just don’t give up, right?

I’m adding the goal to go on dates with Greg. This is always a tricky one. Technically, his parents take the boys one night a week, like 50 weeks of the year. We have NO EXCUSE not to go on an actual regular date. But somehow we’re always too tired, more interested in doing our own things, or it doesn’t feel like a justifiable reason to spend money. It also seems dumb to go back to Madison to a restaurant when Greg just got home from work in Madison. We always have an excuse. I’d like to make it more of a priority. In this season of our lives it’s so easy to drift apart. We have so little in common with each other, interest-wise. We’re so focused on parenting together that we don’t know how to have fun together anymore. I want to make this more of a top priority.

Update on personal achievement goals:

  • Prioritize self care. Know what you need to keep your sanity and DO IT. No excuses. 
  • Make at least 10 dolls per month. Work is not and should not be my highest priority over the summer months. But I know I need it to keep myself and my customers happy, so I need to at least do the bare minimum. 
  • Read. A lot. All the time. It’s worth it, it’s not being lazy. It’s important. And fun!
  • Write more than just my weekend blog posts. I love to write and this is a good time to do it more often! 

I’ve had good days and bad days with prioritizing self care. I’ve been a bit of a workaholic this month, but at least I can recognize it? I’ve tried to find ways to fit in at least a short power nap every day because it’s the only way I can survive. I think I’ve been doing pretty well at recognizing what I need to help myself mentally, but failing miserably at taking care of myself physically. I walk the boys to school each morning and this week I’ve tried to make my walks back home a little bit longer each day. But I was hoping to also add some indoor biking to my daily routine and I’ve only managed to do it twice. It’s just hard to talk myself into going down into the gross basement to bike when there are a gazillion other things I could be doing. I’ve also been AWFUL in my food making choices. I think it’ll be easier to stay on track when the boys are home all the time. I’ve noticed how they want to have a snack literally every half hour when they’re home. And I kind of feel the same way. But if I’m focused on them eating more healthy and balanced meals that don’t require twenty snacks a day, maybe I can get myself back on track too.

It’s been a pretty great work month. My goal was to make at least 10 dolls. I believe I’ve made at least 38. I’ve sold 37 dolls, which is more than I’ve sold in a month – EVER. I’ve really hit my sweet spot with Heartstring Annie, keeping people engaged and interested, putting out new dolls every few days – most of which sell out within an hour or two. I was doing really well until last week when I just lost all interest in sewing and decided to do the organizing instead. But I’m back in the middle of a bunch of dolls and hopefully July will be another good month. Though I also intend to take more time off with the boys home all the time. We’ll see how it balances out.

And reading! I had a rough start to the month, not interested in much. But I’ve been a reading maniac the last two weeks, finally finding books that I never want to put down. So I’m good on that! Writing hasn’t progressed a whole lot, but I did start writing for myself. Things that I’ll never publish, but still feed my soul.

Update on health related goals:

  • Be able to walk regularly by September. Hopefully with daily practice I can do that. I’ll start with trying to walk to and from summer school with the boys every day in June. Work up to dog parks and day trips. And hopefully be a lot stronger by fall. 
  • Keep healthy food stocked, prepped, and ready to eat. 
  • Keep meal planning simple, but in existence. Always have easy meals ready to make and on hand, so we don’t resort to eating junk food all day, every day. 
  • Stay cool, calm, and positive. I CAN DO THIS.

I guess I already talked about this in terms of self care. Physically taking care of myself has been a bit of a frustration. The orthotics have helped with my plantar fasciitis, but I definitely still have ankle pain. And if I take even a day off from a longer walk – which feels really necessary sometimes! – my hip starts hurting the next day. I do pretty well walking around on errands, grocery shopping and everything. But if I’m just out walking Annie, a few blocks feels like a few miles. I’m losing my confidence that I’ll be a lot better by fall. It’s pretty depressing.

I’ve been trying my hardest to keep healthy food stocked. But like I said – everyone seems to be STARVING all day long. I just can’t keep up! I cut up five mangoes the other day and Caden ate them all in two sittings. A whole watermelon is gone in a day. I’ve been buying yogurt and granola bars and string cheese that the boys run in and grab way more often than they probably should be. Everyone’s food intake seems to have increased tenfold which is requiring me to take multiple grocery trips a week. It’s been kind of overwhelming. I usually end up spending almost an entire day just prepping produce. It’s not really how I want to spend my time. But…I guess it needs to keep happening.

I definitely want to get better about meal planning in July. June ended up being a lot of one or two big meals a week that gave us leftovers for the rest of the days. Or we got leftovers from big family meals that lasted us a few days. Which is good! It’s nice to have fast and easy food on hand. But I think I want to try harder for ME. Find healthy meals that I actually like to eat for lunch. And breakfast. Plan out ahead of time all three meals all seven days. Make a solid grocery list and try to only have to go once a week. It should be pretty easy. But it’s things like this that often throw me off and stress me out the most. Organization and planning is definitely the key.

Saturday Reflections

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this week! It’s been pretty straightforward with the boys in summer school and me cleaning up my sewing room. The boys both developed a summer cold that turned into me catching a major cough. I feel like absolute crap right now. Between overdoing it with baby holding and walking last weekend, allergies, pms, and now this cough – it’s been a rough week.

Caden had therapy on Tuesday that went okay. He really just talked to Greg and I the whole time and I’m not sure we really made any progress. I’ve noticed that he basically just asks us the same questions every single time, sometimes multiple times in a session. Is he listening? Retaining what we say? What is he doing on his laptop the whole time we’re talking? I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about it still.

Greg hurt his foot on Wednesday night, kicking the lawn mower when it was stuck in a thick clump of grass. I don’t think he broke anything, but he was in immense pain and has a few very bruised toes to show for it. I tried to keep the boys away from him, going to the dog park and pool that night.

On Thursday my sewing machine broke. I spent half the day feeling overwhelmed and super stressed, researching which new machine to buy. I was supposed to be spending the day relaxing and enjoying being home alone – the boys were at Grandma’s and Greg was working in Chicago. Then he got home and kicked the foot pedal (lots of kicking this week) and it turned back on. While it WAS a relief I don’t need to immediately buy a new one and make a decision I wasn’t ready to make, I ended up being more upset at how I wasted that extremely rare and precious night I had to myself.

And on Friday we went to see Jurassic World and had lunch at Chipotle. I was feeling pretty sick by then and not in the best of moods. But it was fun to do something together.

And now today we’re trying to take it easy and keep cool before going to the Mallard’s game tonight. Somehow we always manage to pick what feels like the hottest day of the year to go sit outside at a baseball game. At least it’s not until later in the evening when it hopefully will start cooling off. I can’t stand this heat!!

Well, that’s it for now! I’ll hopefully be back later with a tv and/or book post!

How I Fight My Seasonal Allergies

The spring after I gave birth to Shepard, I was shocked to find out that I suddenly developed seasonal allergies. Without really any knowledge, I dove into over the counter remedies hoping to find something that would help, to no avail. My itchy wretched eyes were my worst symptom and I think I tried every eye drop known to man. When I called to make an appointment with an allergist, they told me I had to have an eye exam and then a regular doctor exam before I could be referred to them. I was so annoyed with the system that I just decided I’d suffer through.

The next spring when it started happening again, I got the eye exam. No problems. I got the regular exam and was referred to an allergist – only to be told I couldn’t get in until the end of July – by then my allergies were done. I guess the good news is that I was no longer taking random antihistamines by then, so they were able to do official allergy testing. Turns out I’m allergic to grass, ragweed, fall mold, and cockroaches. Grass being the one that feels like it’s going to kill me, or at the very least make me go blind by my own scratching, every single spring and summer.

Anyway, it’s taken me seven years of deadly Mays and Junes to finally work out all the medications and tricks I should use to keep the worst of my suffering at bay. The problem is that there are so many different components I often forget everything I use from year to year, since I usually only have 2-3 months of suffering. So I’m writing this post mostly for my own benefit so I can refer back to it each spring and know what to do to make myself feel the best I can! But maybe it will also be helpful to other people suffering from the same allergy who haven’t perhaps researched or tried out more than just your basic antihistamine.

Zyrtec

My allergist told me that Zyrtec was the most effective over the counter medicine to take. I think by the time I talked to him I had tried all of them and definitely realized that Allegra made me feel like crap and Claritin didn’t help at all. The key is that you need to build it up in your system before allergy season actually starts for it to be most effective. I usually start taking it daily in March, when allergies usually hit me mid to late May. My allergist also told me it’s safe to take a double dose on the worst days. I try not to, but I know I’ve done it on occasion, especially on those days I know I’m going to be outside all day long. Also – buy the generic brand at Costco – you can get a bottle of 365 pills for less than $20. It’s massively more expensive to buy the name brand anywhere else.

Singulair (Montelukast Sodium)

This is my trickiest solution because you need a prescription for it. It’s technically a medication used to treat asthma, but it’s done wonders with making my allergies a little more bearable each year. My original allergist prescribed it to me, saying it’s often used to help with seasonal allergies. The annoying thing is that if you want the prescription filled each year, from the allergist, you actually have to go to yearly appointments. Which seems really, really dumb to me, especially with how hard it is to get an actual appointment. Fortunately, my regular doctor fills this for me each year without needing to see me.

Zaditor

Like I said before, itchy eyes are my worst allergy symptom. The sneezing, stuffiness, and coughing – I can deal with. Eyes that I want to shred out of my face every minute of the day are a little harder to ignore. Last year a friend of mine suggested this brand of eye drop, which I hadn’t tried before because it’s a little more expensive. And guess what? It works! Better than anything else I’ve tried, including prescription eye drops. Fair warning – it definitely stings going in. But give it a few minutes and you genuinely will feel some relief. It’s not the be all end all of eye itchiness, but it really does help.

Flonase

This is another remedy I’ve found to really be helpful in the last couple of years. It’s also the thing I always forget to take. I believe I originally was prescribed a nasal spray, but it was crazy expensive. Flonase is expensive too, but not as much as a prescription! The doctors actually said that a nasal spray helps a lot with eye symptoms, which seems odd. But it’s the truth! When my allergies were really bad a couple of weeks ago it finally hit me that I totally forgot about the Flonase. Once I started taking that again every morning I’ve been feeling so much better. (It just occurred to me that Costco probably has a generic and much cheaper brand of this too.)

Allerest PE

As you can see, I’m already very heavily medicated April through July! But on those occasional days when I’m still absolutely miserable, I’ll take an Allerest, or possibly a Sudafed (I think they’re about the same thing). I don’t know if pollen counts are lower this year, or I finally have everything under control, but I’ve only had to take this twice this year. But it’s good to have on hand, especially when the sinus side of things starts getting bad. My sinuses are usually pretty manageable if I don’t spend a lot of time outside. (Also – this is super expensive if you buy it from amazon, but I’m pretty sure it was only a couple of dollars at Walgreen’s or Target, or wherever I saw it and decided it was worth trying out.)

Eye Wash

A couple of times every allergy season I inevitably rub some sort of irritant into my eye that is impossible to get out. It’s so painful and so itchy and unignorable because I literally can’t open that eye up to see out of it. Last year after a particular awful episode, I was doing some mad googling and sent Greg to Walgreen’s to find this eye wash – something I had never heard of before. And guys, it’s pretty amazing. You pour the solution into a little cup, hold it over your eye while you open and close it a few times, and then dump it out. Almost always, it gets the dirt or pollen or whatever out. I felt like I discovered a miracle last year when I learned about this. It’s also just a good thing to use every night before bed if you’re having a lot of eye irritation.

Germ Guardian Air Purifier

I bought this two years ago when I was feeling particularly desperate. I ran it next to my bed day and night and I think it really helped. Unfortunately, once it needs a new filter it will no longer work. And the filter only lasted that one 2-3 month season. The purifier itself costs $85 and a single new filter costs $30. Quite the rip off! BUT if you’re absolutely desperate, I think this is a good idea.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Always wear sunglasses outside! Seems pretty obvious, but I usually only bring sunglasses out of my car if I know I’m going to be outside for hours at a time. But if I remember to have them on every single time I’m outside, the protection for my eyes is noticeable for sure!
  • Keep windows closed! Also pretty obvious, but it’s a hard thing to enforce when you’re the only one in your family suffering from allergies and you just had your windows closed for the last eight months of winter and everyone is desperate for fresh air! We compromise by me keeping the windows shut in my sewing room where I spend most of my day and in our bedroom.
  • Wash your face before bed. I’m not always great about doing this, but I do ALWAYS use a makeup wipe. Maybe it’s mostly in my head, but it’s kind of crazy how much immediate relief I feel after wiping all those allergens away from my eyes.
  • Cold and wet washcloths are your best friend. Want the fastest and most immediate relief? This is your answer. At least for eyes. Which is always my biggest problem and what I most want to fix.
  • Shower before bed. Basically you just don’t want the pollen from your body and hair to ever get into your bed, where you’ll roll around in it all night and wake up feeling even worse. Unfortunately, I’m usually way too lazy to take this step, plus I hate going to bed with wet hair. But when I’m desperate, I’ll do it. I also change our sheets often in summer to try and avoid too much pollen build up.
  • Avoid going outside! Duh, right? 😀 June is always my worst month, so it’s the month I sign my kids up for summer school. Because they’re busy a big chunk of the day, I don’t feel at all guilty for not scheduling extra day trips or fun activities in the afternoons. I get away with spending very little time outside every June, and it really helps!

Obviously I am not a doctor and don’t take my word as truth for all. But hopefully some of these tips and tricks might give you a few ideas for dealing with your own seasonal allergies. It’s one of the most fun times of the year, and it’s not worth feeling the misery of just accepting your fate and dealing with it every summer. Take the steps you need to take to make yourself feel at least a little bit better!

Summer Goals to Thrive (and not just survive)

Ready or not, summer is here! My kids have one hour left until the bell rings and life changes drastically for the next three months. I know it rolls around every single June, but I’m still terrified. And I don’t want to be. I want to be the kind of mom that’s excited and looking forward to spending 24/7 with her kids. I’d like to be the kind of mom that loves chaos and unstructured days and endless hours at the pool. Unfortunately, I AM the mom that literally wants to go hide in a closet and cry because I’M NOT READY. I’ll never be ready. I know I’m about to enter into three solid months of power struggles, arguments, food battles, and NONSTOP negotiations over screen time. No genuine alone time to recharge my soul, no freedom to have my days play out the way I want them to, no reliable afternoon nap that I so highly depend on for my sanity the other nine months of the year.

Summer has a lot of redeeming qualities. But in these last few days of school, it’s really hard for me to see them. I thought that making a list of easily obtainable goals might give me a little more hope that these next months can be FUN. Days to enjoy instead of days to dread. In some ways, my expectations for this summer are pretty low because my ankle is still healing and I don’t have the energy or stamina to do a lot of the things I’d normally like to do in summer. But that’s giving me the freedom to accept a slower summer, a quieter summer, a summer that’s a lot more driven by what my kids actually want and not by what I think they need to make it memorable. At the same time, those day trips and outings are what usually make the summer more enjoyable for ME. I like to get out of the house and enjoy time with my kids that I can never seem to find when we’re at home all day. At home, I’m like a drill master. By necessity. If we leave the house, we’re suddenly connecting because I’m focusing on them and not the eight zillion things on my to do list and the four million messes strewn in every room of the house. So somehow I need to find a balance between all of it this summer so all four of us can enjoy the passing days.

Easily achievable goals that will make me feel a whole lot better going into the summer and can hopefully be done in the next week!

  • Clean out my car.
  • Declutter all random piles in general living spaces.
  • Clean out the fridge and freezer.

General parenting goals to survive the day to day

  • Keep a large visual weekly calendar complete with any non-negotiable errands, day trips, or appointments. 
  • Enforce said calendar so they know that there’s no wiggle room to argue and complain if something was already planned for the day. 
  • STAY STRONG in parenting, not letting them take advantage of me in my weak moments (and not letting them knowingly make me weak with their incessant whining). Remember that I’m the MOM and if they’re mad at me, I will survive it. Having a child mad at me for enforcing perfectly reasonable parenting rules should not affect my mental energy the way it would if Greg or a friend or other adult family member felt that way about me!

Fun goals for family connection

  • Go on a two night family vacation. Make it happen.
  • Visit at least 5 new dog parks in the Madison area with Annie. 
  • After summer school is over, plan and go on at least one day trip or special outing a week. 
  • Take each child on an individual date night at least once per month. Try harder to have one on one time at home in between the date nights. 

Personal achievement goals

  • Prioritize self care. Know what you need to keep your sanity and DO IT. No excuses. 
  • Make at least 10 dolls per month. Work is not and should not be my highest priority over the summer months. But I know I need it to keep myself and my customers happy, so I need to at least do the bare minimum. 
  • Read. A lot. All the time. It’s worth it, it’s not being lazy. It’s important. And fun!
  • Write more than just my weekend blog posts. I love to write and this is a good time to do it more often! 

Health related goals

  • Be able to walk regularly by September. Hopefully with daily practice I can do that. I’ll start with trying to walk to and from summer school with the boys every day in June. Work up to dog parks and day trips. And hopefully be a lot stronger by fall. 
  • Keep healthy food stocked, prepped, and ready to eat. 
  • Keep meal planning simple, but in existence. Always have easy meals ready to make and on hand, so we don’t resort to eating junk food all day, every day. 
  • Stay cool, calm, and positive. I CAN DO THIS.

And that’s it! Summer is here! We can do this!

13 Lessons I Learned From My Broken Ankle

Twelve very long weeks ago, I was walking my dog Annie around town, taking advantage of a warmer winter day. About two blocks from home, after three miles of treading very carefully to avoid any icy hazards, I slipped on a patch of invisible ice in the grass while I was walking around an icy sidewalk. I heard my bones snap, saw my foot twisted way too far to the side, and experienced the worst pain of my life. I laid on the sidewalk hoping someone would stop to help me. Almost immediately, a variety of strangers  stopped their cars and ran out of houses to help. An ambulance was called, my neighbor was able to rush over to take Annie, and I was whisked away to the hospital. The x-ray confirmed multiple broken bones and the doctor put me to sleep for a few minutes to reset the dislocation before sending me home in a splint with instructions to see a surgeon as soon as possible.

The next day I saw an orthopedic surgeon and the following day I was scheduled for surgery to put in a large plate and multiple screws. Those first few days and the weeks that followed were some of the hardest days of my life. Physically, the pain was nearly unbearable. Mentally, I was challenged beyond belief. Today, after 12 long weeks, I was able to switch back to shoes. I never thought I’d see this day come. But after a lot of hard work and way too many emotional breakdowns to count, I’ve made it this far. (And have much farther to go!) But I wanted to share the most important lessons I’ve learned through this journey in hopes that it might help someone else in the future.

1. A support system is crucial. (i.e. My husband is the best guy in the world!)

I don’t know how I ever would have gotten through any of this without Greg at my side. I texted him immediately after I fell and he rushed the 50 minutes home from work to meet me in the ER about the same time I managed to get there. (I had a big hold up in the ambulance because they couldn’t find a vein to shoot me some pain meds.) He stayed home with me for the next three weeks taking over everything. He stayed home many days after that so he could drive me to physical therapy and keep helping out with the boys. He took over all of my household and parenting duties with zero complaint. He handled all of my emotional meltdowns with patience and understanding. He never made me feel guilty for all of the things I suddenly could not do. Or for how expensive this all turned out to be. He’d help me with every embarrassing personal issue that comes when you suddenly can’t move or barely do anything for yourself. He’d run out for medications or food immediately upon realizing I needed something. He started taking Annie for potty breaks, walks, and dog park visits – something he’s never done in the past, but also never complained about once it became his responsibility, even though he’s not a dog person. He massages my ankle and foot and rubs oil into my scars every single night. He has never made me feel bad or less than for anything I have struggled with in the last three months. Basically, he’s been incredible. I realize not everyone is so lucky to have that when faced with a sudden injury or illness. But it’s definitely made me appreciate him so much more. I think it’s also given each of us a better understanding of how much the other person does for our family as a whole. We respect each other more and have come out of this as more of a team than ever.

2. Food is a lifesaver.

When you are the sole grocery shopper, meal planner, and food maker of the family and suddenly can’t do any of that – getting meals from people is the most helpful thing in the entire world. I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for the friends and family that stepped up on those first few days and weeks, dropping off already made meals and snacks. Medical crisis or not, all four of us need to eat multiple times a day. Having food that was already or almost ready to eat every night was essential to our survival! On the day that I had surgery, we came home to a meal and a big pan of banana bread from one of my friends. I have never been so thankful to eat a piece of banana bread in my life. It was the perfect comfort food for someone who needed to eat something after a day in the hospital, but didn’t have enough of an appetite for a meal. The boys felt the same. We had meals given to us every day that first week and it was such a lifesaver. One of my friends dropped off a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies about the exact time I was starting to be hungry for something beyond what would just nourish my body. On one of my first days home alone, my mom went to get me chicken tenders from Culver’s which felt like the most indulgent treat of all time. Our neighbor brought over a whole slew of food, right around the time we were out of everything other people gave us. Her marinated chicken fajitas that Greg was able to cook on the stove was one of the best things I’d ever tasted. Anyway, all four of us are really SO appreciative of the people who gave us food. It really gave me a new perspective on how helpful I want to be in the future when my own friends or family are faced with similar situations. It’s really the greatest gift we were given in those first couple of weeks.

3. Buy all the accessories.

I was really fortunate in the first day or two after breaking my ankle, to have stumbled across a facebook group called Broken Ankle/Foot/Leg Recovery – On a Quest for Normal! I should probably put this as a separate point, but it was essential in getting advice, encouragement, and support through any random or confusing thing that came up in the last few months. But its most helpful purpose to me was finding accessories to make me more comfortable through the healing process. I strongly believe that buying the things that will make you actually feel better and make your life easier, are 100% worth the expense. Here are a few things that I found to be the most useful:

  • Elevating leg rest pillow – When your ankle is broken, it needs to be elevated ALL THE TIME. And not just elevated, but elevated above your heart. You will quickly realize just how annoying and difficult that can be with a stack of pillows. Having just one pillow, with such a large surface area, was amazing. I slept with my legs up on this the first month and spent a huge amount of time during the day with my leg up on it the first two months. It’s essential.
  • Aircast socks – I was put in a walking boot from the day I left the hospital. At first my ankle was also in a splint which helped cushion things, but once that splint was removed I realized just how painful and irritating the boot was on my raw incisions. These socks were amazing in helping cushion between my skin and the boot. It also just helps the smell not having your skin touching the boot! I wore them consistently the first two months and kept up with them on days I was wearing shorts and still wanted the layer between for comfort.
  • Knee Scooter – I would have fallen into a pretty deep depression if I didn’t have a knee scooter. Crutches were incredibly painful and difficult to use in the early days. It was also a constant point of frustration that when you’re using crutches you don’t have any hands free for anything. Meal prep, carrying things from point A to point B, even just bringing your coffee or lunch to the table. All impossible to do when you’re non weight bearing and have to use crutches. We looked into renting a knee scooter through insurance, but it ended up being cheaper just to buy one. After a ton of research, this is the exact one I bought and was very happy with. I could carry things one handed while steering the scooter. I could actually get to the bathroom in a speedy manner. I could go to stores. It wasn’t a pain free option, because it did really make my knee hurt! But it was better than feeling trapped all the time.
  • Shower Bag – I’m really lucky that my mom had one of these and brought it over to me the day I broke my ankle. So from that very first night (I hadn’t showered before that treacherous walk and felt SO gross by the end of the day), I was able to take a shower without getting my leg wet. I’m the kind of person that feels like the most disgusting person on earth if I don’t get a shower every day, so this was an absolute lifesaver.
  • Shower Chair or Stool – This is another thing my mom lent me that was absolutely essential. Twelve weeks in, I’m still using it in the shower. I think I might feel comfortable enough by now to stand and shower, but it still makes me nervous thinking about shaving and trying to balance on my bad leg for that length of time. I’m guessing I’ll still be using this at least on shaving days for the next couple of months.
  • Shower Hose – If you already have a hose in your shower – you will need it! If you don’t, and don’t want to buy an entirely new shower head, this was a pretty great alternative. I just so happened to get it for Christmas to better bathe Annie. It was SO worth the money!! I’ve used it every day. The boys use it during all their showers too because they think it’s fun. I haven’t actually used it to give Annie a bath yet, but I know it’ll work great for its intended purpose. 🙂
  • Ice Packs – You’ll need to use an ice pack daily, for a very, very long time. I didn’t have this specific ankle wrap pack, but I’m still thinking of buying one as my ankle swells the more I walk every day. I’ve been using two flexible packs from a chiropractor years ago. They work fine, but I like the idea of one that could move around with your foot, at least once the incisions are healed.
  • Vitamin E Oil – This was the facebook group’s oil of choice for rubbing into your scars after the incisions have healed. I guess I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it seemed to work well! And it definitely helps with the nightly ankle massages to have a liquid of some sort, otherwise it feels too irritating.
  • EvenUp Shoe Balancer – Once you transition to partial and full weight bearing, you’ll realize how much higher your boot is from your regular shoe. I only went a day or two like this and immediately felt the effects in my hip and back. It felt like too expensive an indulgence for basically a piece of foam with some rubber straps, but it was worth it not to have extreme hip or back or knee pain these last six weeks.
  • Help and Hope While You’re Healing – I’m not even sure how I came across this book, but it was so worth the read. It’s short and to the point, but it really helped me to reframe the hardest weeks of recovery. It puts things into perspective and helps you understand that you can make the most out of all the waiting periods.

4. Meltdowns are going to happen often.

I’m a pretty emotional person to begin with. Breaking my ankle really brought out the worst in that personality trait. I felt SO useless. Worthless. I felt like such a burden to Greg who had to take over all of my responsibilities. I was extremely upset about how much money we had to pay, and have to keep paying, for the surgery. I cried at the drop of a hat, multiple times a day. Often it was over food. Not being able to shop for what I wanted, not being able to make meals for my family, not knowing what to quickly and easily be able to make for myself at breakfast and lunch. The physical stuff was hard as heck. The emotional stuff was one of the biggest challenges of my life. I was extremely upset that I couldn’t do anything for Annie who was used to depending on me for everything, and nobody else seemed to understand how important that was. I got angry about how hard it was to stand up and do anything. Basically, the tiniest thing could set me off at any given moment. I was definitely depressed that first month. It was so hard. And that was normal. The important thing is remembering this is temporary. Trust me, it’s VERY hard to remember that in the moment. But it IS temporary. And it’s okay to be upset about things. But don’t wallow in it forever. Try not to take your anger out on anyone else. Just have your cry, give yourself a pep talk, and get back to healing.

5. Get out of the house. 

It’s really easy to get depressed and frustrated and sad and angry when you feel completely trapped in your house. It was at least a month until I left the house for anything other than a doctor’s appointment. I was really reaching the point of all out depression by then. You feel so powerless when you can’t drive and your partner is too busy taking care of all parenting and household duties that he doesn’t have time to take you anywhere either. I think our first outing was to a movie. I was pretty uncomfortable, but it was worth it. We celebrated with froyo afterward. Around six or seven weeks, I had a friend take me out for coffee and another time to dinner and a trip around Walmart. I was on my scooter, I was in pain, but it was SO WORTH IT to get out of the house, have a conversation with another adult, and actually feel human again. My mom took me twice on shopping days to my favorite stores. The whole family had a shopping trip at Costco once. A couple of times, Greg brought me to the dog park to just sit on the bench and watch Annie play for an hour. The sunshine, the fresh air – it was so healing for my soul. It’s hard to feel like a burden by asking someone to take you somewhere – anywhere – but it’s vitally important.

6. Ask for help, accept help.

This might be the hardest of things I had to deal with. I HATE asking people for help. I hate feeling like a burden. I sucked it up and asked for food from people in the first few weeks because the whole family was depending on it. But it was really hard to ask things of people beyond that. But eventually, it got easier, and I realized it was important. Like I said above – I greatly appreciated my mom and friend taking me out shopping. And I’m super thankful for the two friends that consistently took Annie to the dog park for me again and again. I also have neighbors I had to call on a few times to run over and take Annie for an emergency potty break. I still don’t like accepting help. But I’m glad I took advantage of it.

7. Grocery pick up is pretty great. 

I LOVE to grocery shop, so this was a hard one for me. But it came obvious pretty quickly how desperately we needed to keep food and pet supplies and household items stocked. I became an expert at online shopping (well, I was already an expert at that!), and doing store pick ups. Multiple times I took advantage of Target and Woodman’s – doing all the shopping online and then it was ready at the door for Greg to swing by and pick up on his way home from work. Once I realized I had a bit more freedom to pick out the foods I actually wanted in the house, especially when I started cooking again – I was so much happier. I also realized just how much of a privilege it is to cook for my family. It’s something I complained about often in the past, having all food related things on me, 365 days a year. But I missed it, desperately.

8. Ease back into working.

I’m very fortunate that I work for myself and my family doesn’t count on my income to survive. I work at home, I do as little or as much as I want at any given time. I usually work pretty hard, though, and it was difficult staying away from it for such a long time. But once I felt ready, I started with just an hour or two a day. And maybe took multiple days off in between. I gave myself a lot of grace as I eased back into working my full time. If I were going back to a desk job, I don’t think I would have been ready until at least eight weeks. If I were going back to a job on my feet, I still don’t think I’d be ready. It’s exhausting. And I imagine it’s extremely hard if your family IS counting on your income for survival. But healing has to be the highest priority. You need to let yourself get better so you can have the rest of your life as a whole and able-bodied human being. It also just takes a huge emotional toll on you, getting back in the swing of things.

9. Go to physical therapy.

I hate going to appointments of any kind. But knowing that it would launch me in the right direction, I tried to suck up my anxiety and make the most of it. I started going after three weeks and just did range of motion exercises. Now every week is different with a wide variety of exercises and assignments to build up my strength and mobility. It’s not always fun, but it’s been the tough love push I needed to move forward every time I got too complacent with the knee scooter, the crutches, the single crutch. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how much better I get week after week. I’m still going to be thrilled to be done, but it was really worth going.

10. Celebrate achievements, big and small.

I’ve always liked celebrating the small things, and I think it was important for me to continue doing that on my healing journey. We picked up lunch from a restaurant on the day I had my first physical therapy and today, when I got my boot off. On my first trip to Target with my mom, I got myself a traveling coffee mug that was much easier for me to carry around the house without spilling and I think about how far I’ve come every time I use it. The first day I went to a grocery store by myself, I bought these flowers. The first time, just the other day, I did a full errand run on my own, I took myself to Chipotle. Obviously I like to reward myself with food and tangible things. But I’ve also rewarded myself with candlelit baths to soak my legs, a night off from everything to read a great book, and most importantly – long afternoons off to read, rest, and nap, after a long morning of working hard. Life is short. Recovery is hard. Celebrate everything.

11. Your relationships will change. 

Some for the good, and some for the bad. I think my marriage has gotten stronger. But there were also moments, especially about a month in when I desperately wanted to be more useful and still couldn’t, that I wasn’t sure we’d ever survive this. My relationships with my kids have changed because they suddenly had to be more self sufficient. Shepard finally had to learn how to wipe himself. They had to start walking to and from school by themselves. They’ve become bigger helps around the house. And they don’t need me as much, which is bittersweet. My relationship with Annie has changed because she realized pretty quickly I can’t take her outside or to the dog park anymore. Her loyalties have switched, even though I’m still the one that spends all of my time with her. The biggest relationship changes have been with friends. Maybe because their involvement with my life is completely voluntary. And I think with most of them, it’s been an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. I definitely understand that everyone has very busy lives, and I’ve failed on many occasions to help out my own friends when they probably could have used me. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the people that have stuck around, though. The ones that have helped me with Annie, and given me rides, and come to the craft nights I’ve started organizing. And while I try not to take it personally, I’ve been hurt by the friends I thought I was close to, yet couldn’t be bothered to remember I even exist. I’m choosing to think about the good, though, and be happy I came out of this stronger with the ones that stayed by my side.

12. Everyone’s recovery is different.

This has been one of the harder parts of being in that facebook recovery support group. You realize pretty quickly that everyone has a very different recovery timetable. Until this, my only limited experience with broken ankles is when my sister-in-law broke hers late last year. She was in a boot and after five weeks she was almost good as new. When I first saw the physician’s assistant at the surgeon’s office, he told me that I would be healed in 4-6 weeks with the surgery, vs. 6-8 if I opted out. Well, it’s been 12 weeks and I think I still have a very long ways to go. I’ve tried not to focus too strongly on how long everything takes, but it’s hard not to internalize all the “where you should be” goals. When I saw the surgeon at 6 weeks, he told me I should be full weight bearing with no issues at 8-10 weeks max. I had this stuck in my mind and was extremely hard on myself as they days flew by and I wasn’t getting where I “needed” to be. I didn’t start walking around the house without a crutch until 11 weeks. I didn’t start walking out of the house without a crutch until today. And now that I’m in shoes, I feel like I went back two or three weeks in my walking abilities. I don’t have it yet, but I also had to order an ankle brace that I have to wear almost all of the time, for the REST OF THE YEAR. I went into my appointment today thinking this was it. I had no idea I’d be facing seven more months of having something extra on my ankle. The point is just that everyone is different and you can’t get hung up on the actual dates. You can’t compare yourself to the fast recovery of others because you’ll be miserable. You also can’t listen to the horror stories of others and let it get you down. When I had my first post op x-rays, the technician told me she had a very similar break and it took her five years to walk without a limp. That really bothered me for a long time. I need to keep reminding myself that my progress is my own and that’s all I have to worry about.

13. Just keep going.

There have been many, many times during the last 12 weeks that I just wanted to give in to my misery and give up on getting better. I was SO sure I’d never reach the next step, even though I kept progressing. I’d have two really great days and then one day with so much pain I could barely move. The first few weeks were actually surprising in how much the rest of my body ached compared to my actual broken limb. I’ve been disappointed in myself, angry at my circumstances, and felt hopeless so many times. But every day, I just kept going. When my physical therapist said I absolutely needed to ditch the scooter, I stopped using it. When I knew that time was up on getting to full weight bearing, I stopped letting myself use both crutches. When I was a week away from today’s appointment, I stopped letting myself use crutches in the house at all. Every time I did something hard, it hurt. But it was the right thing to do. It pushed me. It made me stronger. And the important thing is that you start to SEE that strength. You feel the improvements. It will probably take a lot longer than you expect it to. But it WILL come. You just need to keep on going.

The Story of My Broken Ankle

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I think that I may have cursed myself in the last Sunday Intentions post I wrote. I was so optistimic about finally getting my life back in order, walking 10K steps a day no matter what, and getting in better shape overall both mentally and physically. Then Monday morning I broke my ankle and proceeded to have the worst week of my life, beginning a whole new chapter of my future centered around recovery and recovery only.

So on Monday, February 26th, the temperatures were rising and it looked like a pretty nice week. Annie and I walked the boys to school and continued on for about another two miles all around town. There were icy spots everywhere, but I was being extremely careful. I walked on the grass every time the sidewalk looked even a tiny bit slippery. I never took out my phone so I could stay completely focused on the steps in front of me. Then, about two blocks from home – on a hill – I slipped and fell anyway. I was on the grass next to a huge area of treacherous ice and still managed to slip on ice I apparently wasn’t aware was there. I twisted to try and catch myself and literally heard my bones snap as I fell to the ground.

I think for the first few seconds I was in total shock. It was an absolutely blinding pain and I had no idea what to do. I took out my phone and messaged Greg that I thought I broke my ankle. He said “seriously?” I said yes. And then the first passerby stopped his truck to come and see if I was okay, so I never responded to anything else Greg sent or when he called. Everyone kept asking who they could call to help me and I couldn’t think of anyone that could get there in a few minutes to drive me to the hospital. Greg was 50 minutes away at work. My mom would have been 30 minutes. After only two or three minutes, there were at least six strangers that had stopped their cars or came out of houses to see how they could assist. I just kept saying over and over again, “I think I broke my ankle!” I was still holding on to Annie and she was kind of going into panic mode too, not sure what to do. Someone called the ambulance and the next problem became what to do with Annie since I couldn’t take her to the ER with me. I called a friend whose house was in sight, but she wasn’t home. Then I called my neighbor and she was thankfully able to rush over and get Annie. In the moment, that was really my biggest concern.

Getting from the ground into the ambulance was a nightmare. I couldn’t move myself AT ALL. I almost passed out when I looked down at my ankle and realized it was facing the wrong direction. I was laying in the middle of all that ice, soaked because it was melting, and nobody had any kind of foothold to help me up. All the strangers ended up sliding a blanket under me and pulling my body further down the hill until the EMT could get his feet on solid ground and basically had to completely lift me up – not an easy feat. This whole time I was in the worst pain of my life, but also panicking that maybe I was making too big of a deal out of this? Did I really need an ambulance? I knew there was no way I was getting up and moving into anyone’s car, but it also seemed so unnecessary. And the expense! The EMT had my phone and he finally handed it back to me once they had me situated in the ambulance. So I finally answered Greg’s call, like twenty minutes after I first told him I was broken. He immediately left work, leaving his mom stranded because they carpool in her car, and managed to get to the ER about the same time I did. I had no idea I’d spend so much time in the ambulance before we even moved.

It took so long because they were taking my vitals and trying to put in an IV to give me morphine. My blood pressure was around 190/120. I was probably a little bit going into shock. They kept covering me in blankets, but I was also SO HOT. I also just felt disgusting because I hadn’t showered yet that day. I was wearing sweatpants, but only my pajama shirt. They tried to get an IV into both hand veins and failed. Finally gave up and put a shot of something else into my shoulder. And we finally drove the few miles over to the hospital.

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At the ER, the nurses’ first order of business was getting me out of my clothes because they were soaked with icy water. Then they came in to take x-rays right away which felt like it was going to kill me. Even the tiniest minimal amount of movement sent shockwaves of pain through my body. This was my first broken bone and I had no idea it could hurt so completely. The verdict came pretty quickly that I dislocated my ankle (the reason it was facing way too far to the right) and broke at least three bones. They gave me something to put me to sleep for just a few minutes while they manipulated the foot back into the right position. Sometime during my x-rays, Greg showed up and that’s when I started losing it. I didn’t even cry or anything before that. In all the flurry and panic all I could think about is how completely my life just changed. Everything I hoped to accomplish in the next few months to even years of my life was ripped away from me with one stupid misstep on an icy path.

The good news is that everything at the ER went pretty quickly. My last experience there a few years ago was not so great because I kept getting pushed aside for more important cases. Maybe this time I was the most important. But we were back home with a splint and array of pain pills only two hours after the fall even happened. I proceeded to cry or sleep for the rest of the day, just mourning my foreseeable future and all that I’ve been looking forward to.

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On Tuesday morning right away I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon’s office. The verdict there was that I’d need surgery, and as soon as possible. I was terrified that a surgery outcome was the worst possible thing that could happen, but he did a good job of convincing us this was a much better option in the long run. I’d get a plate and screws into the broken bones immediately setting them which would lead to a shorter recovery time. And better long term flexibility in my ankle. Because I wasn’t as swollen as expected and I didn’t have any skin blistering, surgery was scheduled for Wednesday at noon. Everything was happening so quickly!

On Wednesday we made our way back to the hospital to get checked in. Those few hours before it happened felt like forever. The nurses continued to have a really hard time finding workable veins for an IV. When one of them was digging around in my wrist it literally felt like she was chopping my hand off. It took all I had not to scream out. The doctor told me that because my ankle is in so much pain, my brain is kind of cutting that pain off and letting me feel all over pains so much more severely. I’d definitely say that’s been the case! In the end the anesthesiologist put the IV in back in the same place it was in the ER (which is apparently not something they like to do) and during surgery he moved it into my other arm. So basically my hands and wrists and arms are covered in holes and bruises.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk about my options for going under. He said the best option for pain management after surgery would be to give me a nerve block. So that’s what we decided to do and he put massive needles into my thigh and behind my knee, using an ultrasound machine to find the right nerves. Long story short on that – it didn’t work. So I was just given a general anesthetic and woke up in a complete panic attack after surgery because it hurt SO DANG BAD.

They said the surgery would be about an hour and a half, but ended up being two hours longer than that. So Greg was getting pretty worried out in the waiting room. But it sounds like everything went about as well as it could. I was just in horrible pain and in the recovery room until close to 8pm. The worst part is that I was pumped so full of fluids that I felt like my bladder was going to explode multiple times while I was still laying there. So I had to have Greg and two nurses help me get out of bed and pee in a portable commode. Hospital experiences are just so humiliating and confusing and I just wanted to go home.

The rest of the week was just trying to deal with all the random side effects of a broken ankle surgery that I never would have guessed would happen. The first night was the worst because I was having horrible muscle spasms in my thigh and hip. I thought it was from having my leg propped up so much, which is NOT comfortable in any way. The nurse told me the next day it was probably a result of the tourniquet being on my leg during the surgery.  I’ve also had horrible numbness and tingling in my feet. I was super constipated from the pain pills and Greg was feeding me two different recommended laxatives all week that must have built up and kicked in on Friday night, leading me to rush to the bathroom as fast as possible at least every hour. The anti-nausea meds they gave me with the pain pills ran out and by Saturday I started feeling really sick. I thought it was from the laxatives, but it only got worse every day. My hips have been so sore from hopping around the house and pulling myself up backwards to go upstairs. I have never felt so completely run down, filled with pain, out of control, and helpless in my life. My c-section recoveries were bad, but at least I had the joy of a new baby to ease the pain. This just feels so bleak.

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On top of it all I’ve just been an emotional wreck. Greg has been amazing. His boss gave him permission to work at home as long as he needs to to help me out. But he also needs to do EVERYTHING else. He’s doing so much. And I just keep losing it. I joined a facebook support group of people with broken feet/ankles/legs. It’s been an encouraging resource, but also given me a lot more to worry about. It sounds like the majority of people have years of recovery before they feel normal. I don’t want to give up years of my life to this! I don’t want to gain any more weight because I can’t go anywhere else on my own. I’m devastated that I can’t even take Annie out to the bathroom, let alone bring her to the dog park or on walks for who knows how long. She’s so confused and still comes to me when she wants something and I can’t do a thing for her! Greg has been trying to get her a little exercise, but he’s also dealing with everything else. Including the boys who have NOT made this time easy. Caden’s been very helpful to ME, constantly asking if I need anything. But Shepard has been a nightmare and Caden spends just as much time screaming at Greg about all the things he’s not doing right. It’s so hard to just lay there and not be able to help in any way.

I’m trying not to dwell too deeply on it because it’s so depressing. But I missed the Vintage Shop Hop on Friday, obviously. I had to cancel my trip to DC in April to visit my best friend Dianne. It was the only vacation I had scheduled for the year and I was SO looking forward to. Fortunately, Southwest lets you cancel flights as long as they get to keep your money for a future flight. So I’m hoping I’ll feel well enough to reschedule around my birthday. But it’s devastating that I can’t go when I wanted to go. I’m worried about Easter and how I’m going to fill everyone’s baskets with cute and special things when I can’t go to any stores. It’s my right ankle that’s broken, so I have no idea when I’ll be able to drive again. I won’t be able to take the boys out or do anything with them over Spring Break at the end of the month. I might not even be able to walk without assistance by the time the farmer’s market starts up again. I don’t know when I’ll be able to take a little trip or go on a date or even be capable of doing anything by myself out of the house again. It’s horribly depressing. Especially with summer just a few months away. I want to be optimistic, but it’s hard not to only see the things I’m going to miss out on.  I don’t even know when I’ll be able to sew again. I can probably figure out how to work the sewing machine pedal with my left foot, but I still feel so fuzzy and out of it all the time. It’s been rough.

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I had my first post op appointment yesterday afternoon. It was hard to feel positive because I felt SO SICK while I was there. Fortunately, he gave me a refill of the anti-nausea meds which really helps. But from what he said, everything looks really good. The surgery went well, the incision looks good (supposedly!). I’ll get my staples out next week and I might even be able to start physical therapy the next week. So in theory, it might be a smooth road ahead. But I don’t want to get my hopes up either.

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I also switched over from the splint to the boot. No cast necessary. I’m not sure how I feel about the boot yet because it feels like it weighs thirty extra pounds. It was so hard finding a comfortable position last night to sleep. But I’m also allowed to take it off to ice directly on my foot, which feels really good. And it’s also giving me a little more stability to do things like sit upright at my actual computer for the first time in nine days and write this. My ankle definitely still hurts quite a bit, but I feel like the combination of all the random side effects and other sore muscles have been ten times worse than the ankle itself.

So that’s my story! We’ve had some wonderful help with people bringing over meals, so Greg hasn’t had to go to any stores or cook anything himself yet. It’s been great having him home because I don’t think I could manage on my own yet. Though I’m worried about him not being at work. He’s hoping to go in tomorrow while my mom comes over to babysit me. And I expect he’ll start going back regularly after my next post op on Monday. Hopefully by then I’ll feel good enough to be a bit more helpful. It’s hard to contribute to anything when I can barely move and also feel like I might throw up at any second. My mom brought over a shower chair, walker, and leg bag to wear when showering right away that first day which has been a lifesaver. I’d die if I had to go this long without showering. I’ve managed to crawl my way up the stairs almost every day to get clean which does a lot in boosting my mood. I have a couple things to look forward to in the next few days, so I’m not just stewing in depression. Every day is getting a little better. It’s just a journey. A journey I wish I didn’t have to take. But that’s life.

11 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now

Today I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and a bunch of other bloggers, sharing a list of things that are saving my life right now. Winter in Wisconsin is long, bitter cold, and pretty dreary. When I heard about this link up challenge earlier in the week I knew I definitely wanted to participate with my own list.

So in no particular order,  here are all the random little things that are saving my life right now!

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1. My Cozy Reading Corner

As you can tell from a huge portion of my instagram pictures, I’m obsessed with this beautiful space in my house. I selfishly created it entirely for myself. It’s the one nook of the house that is almost always clean and tidy. It’s welcoming, it’s comfortable, it’s decorated in my favorite colors with lots of candles and twinkle lights. It’s my favorite place to read and chill out when I need some self care.

2. My Space Heater

It’s been COLD this winter. And it costs a lot to truly heat an old house. And we were without a working furnace for two and a half days in subzero temps a few weeks ago. My space heater that I literally carry with me from room to room has been a lifesaver!

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3. Books

Books are the love of my life. 🙂 I love to actually read, obviously. But I also love to read ABOUT books. I love Tuesdays when I can check out all the newly released books. I love listening to podcasts about books. I love going to bookstores and just browsing through them. I love collecting the huge amount of book emails I get, saving them for a day when I know I need a break from life and can just hunt through each email, adding more and more books to my To Be Read lists. Books are the best.

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4. Annie

She’s about the best companion a girl could ask for! I love having her present with me all day long. It warms my heart when I realize she’s in the same room as me about 99% of the time. She’s not super needy, she’s not super cuddly, but she wants to be near me at all times and it makes me happy. It’s because of her that I also spend WAY more time outside and enjoying fresh air more than I ever have before.

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5. Nap Time

I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I take a nap probably six out of seven days a week. To be fair, I usually wake up around 4:30 and often start working at 5am. By noon my brain is pretty much shot. I thought that becoming a coffee drinker would eliminate this problem, but I still find myself pretty tired. By evening when I need to be my best self for my family, I’m often a nightmare to live with. So I’m starting to view my naps as a blessing and essential part of my life if I want to be happy and whole. My cats LOVE their daily cuddle time with me and it forces me to actually take a break from everything every afternoon.

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6. Bullet Journaling

I promise not to become one of those insane bullet journalers that only want to talk about bullet journaling. But it’s so exciting to me to finally find a system that legitimately works for me. I’ve tried so many planners over the years, trying to find some sort of balance between paper and digital. Bullet journaling has become my answer. It’s also become an awesome little creative outlet that I spend 5-10 minutes working on every morning and night. It’s given me a way to journal again, without spending too much time on it and hurting my hand. It’s also given me an excuse to buy stickers for the first time in 25 years. 🙂

7. Chapstick, Lip Balms, and More

I’ve been obsessed with chapsticks for as long as I can remember. I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for new brands and flavors. I seriously check out the lip balm section of every store I go into, always. I have seven different kinds on my computer desk right now. I have five different kinds on my writing desk. I have two in my purse. I have an entire drawer full in my bedroom. They’re useful and effective, but they’re also a fun little splurge of beauty goodness  that rarely costs more than a few dollars. I couldn’t live without them.

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8. Weekly Date Night

We’re very fortunate that our kids have all their grandparents living within 20 minutes of us. Greg’s parents take the boys for an evening almost every single week. More often than not, Greg and I just stay home, eat together, and then split to do our own things or watch tv together. It’s usually not terribly exciting, but it’s something I count on and look forward to every week. A night to make something for dinner that I know nobody is going to complain about. A night to actually talk to Greg and not be interrupted a million times. And sometimes an actual date out of the house on a weekday for no reason at all. It’s fantastic and something that I know not many people are fortunate enough to have.

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9. Podcasts

Podcasts make every mundane task SO much more bearable. Laundry, cooking, dishes, showers, walking, long drives, sitting at the sewing machine. I had no idea what I was missing out on until I joined the podcasting world a year and a half ago. Now I really don’t know what I’d do without that form of entertainment.

10. Self Care

I am all about the self care movement right now. I firmly believe that if I take better care of myself I am going to be much more equipped to take care of those around me. I love looking at self care from a mental perspective, but in the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with some physical things too. 30 straight days of yoga, new skincare routines, an evening bath, etc. It’s FUN to take care of yourself. And it’s not selfish or self indulgent. It’s essential and completely worthwhile.

11. Chipotle Bowls

So once a week I have a big errand day in Madison. I try to do all of my out of town shopping in one day so I’m not wasting time multiple times a week. But going to store after store takes a lot of time and energy. I’m usually STARVING and fell into the habit of getting fast food that I’d scarf down on my drive home every week. But then I discovered just how good Chipotle Bowls are (versus hard shell tacos, which I’ve always gotten in the past, but clearly do not travel well!). I’m not sure I could argue a bowl from Chipotle is any healthier than fast food, but it feels like it is! It also teaches me a little discipline to shop as quickly as possible (sticking to my list!!) and then wait until I actually get home and put groceries away before I can sit down and truly enjoy and appreciate a well earned lunch.

I’d love to hear what’s saving your life right now!

So Many Things

Today is one of those days where the battle is REAL trying to figure out where and how to split my time. There are just SO. MANY. THINGS. to do. Necessary things, fun things, work things, family things, food things. It’s exhausting. And so overwhelming.

I thought today was strictly going to be a workday. The one day this week I didn’t have anything else going on and thought I’d be able to focus and power through. Well. We ended up keeping the boys home from school. They’re not sick. But everyone at school is sick. Caden had seven kids out yesterday. That’s a lot! His teacher sent an email out saying she planned to do a deep clean of the classroom – over the weekend. The boys are going to the Dells this weekend and it just didn’t seem worth it to send them back to school in a cesspool of germs. (There’s no school tomorrow.) Especially since she said so many kids were out she wasn’t even continuing her lesson plans for the week. Anyway, I think it was probably the right decision in this situation. But it definitely made my day a whole lot more chaotic.

Just trying to balance out my own lists while constantly arguing and negotiating video game terms with them all day long has been such a drain. I did get four sporadic hours of work in. I fed them lunch and made a nice dinner. We went to the dog park for about an hour. What I didn’t do – fold the baskets and baskets of laundry that just get bigger every day. I didn’t wrap up a doll order and bring it to the post office. I didn’t make the dessert I wanted to make. I haven’t done my daily yoga video yet. I haven’t decorated the house for Valentine’s Day like I’ve wanted to do all week. I haven’t read any of my nonfiction books I’m supposed to be chipping away at every day. I haven’t practiced any sort of self care. There’s just always SO MANY THINGS!

I have a friend who posted on facebook a while ago about how bored she is all the time. Honestly, the statement made me really angry. Bored?! Seriously?! The one thing I NEVER am is bored. I have a mile long list of things that I need to be doing all the time. I have an even longer list of things I want to be doing when I can take a break from things that need doing. And even though all the mundane tasks can BE boring, that’s what podcasts and music are for! It blows my mind that anyone can actually be bored. Though perhaps it’s also a quality that I’m slightly jealous of. If I wasn’t CONSTANTLY thinking of all the stuff I don’t have enough time to do, maybe I’d be a happier person.

Anyway, I just needed to vent about that for a few minutes. (Self care – check!) I wish I were so much better about letting things go. I’m thankful for all the creative and fun things I want to do. I’m glad I’m never bored. But I also wish finding a balance didn’t always seem to come at such a high price. Some days it feels like no matter what, I lose.

Ramblings on Creative Pursuits

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately. I’m reading the book Big Magic where the author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about catching your creative passion or idea before it passes you by. Whenever I sit down to read a chapter, writing is the creative pursuit that comes to mind. When I spend six hours a day sitting at my work table sewing, I’m constantly coming back to thoughts of what I could be writing in that time. Whenever I’m tired and overwhelmed, writing is what I want to do. Usually in the form of an email to my best friend across the country, but often just because it’s the best outlet for me to get out everything inside me. At the end of the day when I’m evaluating what I did well or poorly, I’m often frustrated that I didn’t have time to write anything. Writing is what I keep circling back to. Writing is that dream that’s constantly swirling around my brain. Writing feels like what I’m meant to be doing.

So why am I sewing? Why am I using this rare freedom that I have at this time in my life to spend six hours a day watching tv and mindlessly sewing doll parts together? Money is probably the main reason. It’s very exciting that I found something enjoyable to do – at home – that will bring me a small income and a ton of flexibility. It allows me to still be home with my kids in summer and breaks and whenever else they might need me. It brings in enough money that I can buy myself extra things or splurge on bigger gifts for people. It also brings in money that I can use to take guilt free and desperately needed little trips by myself once or twice a year. Selling dolls legitimizes my purpose in staying home and not going out and finding a “real” career.

I DO love making dolls. But I also feel so held up by my shortcomings. I’m one person. I can only make so many dolls a year. And now that I’m genuinely trying to cut out my night and weekend hours, I’m guessing my doll production might be cut by as much as half. There’s a very definite limit to how much I can create and how much income I can cultivate in doing this. It’s not the kind of business where I can bring in another person to help me. This is a one woman show, all the way. And it’s frustrating. I’m doing well! I have a large customer base and I often sell out of new dolls I list within a few days. Which is great! But it also makes me feel like I’m constantly behind and there’s just no way I’ll EVER catch up. When I have this bottomless pit of urgency and failure to keep up, it makes me wonder if I should even be doing this at all. Is it a life giving pursuit if I always feel behind and like I’m letting people down?

I think I’m a pretty talented doll maker. I don’t take shortcuts, I don’t put out anything less than my best work. I’m proud of my creations and I have such joy when I finish them and people actually want to buy them. I don’t think it’s something I can give up. So I need to find a way to blend them all together in a way that makes me feel complete and fills my soul. I need to carve out more room for writing and fulfilling that part of me that I desperately want to satisfy. It’s probably going to mean even less time a day to work on my dolls. And I NEED to be okay with that. Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. And that scares me. Because saying that out loud and then openly letting my words by judged is terrifying. I might not be good enough. I’m out of practice. I don’t have any worthwhile topics to write about, unless it’s directly related to my life and just the random jumble of emotions I constantly feel. I feel like I have SO MANY words inside of me, but no direction in which to mold them. I can’t change my life to revolve around writing when I don’t have a plan.

So. For now… I’m going to be blogging more. It might be a lot of rambling posts like this one. But I want to challenge myself to just start. Start where I am and write, write, write. This is probably my safest space because I don’t have much of an audience! My words will be out there, but also relatively secure. I can say whatever I want and get the peace that comes with putting my thoughts to the page. It’s a start. I don’t want this creative passion to pass me by because I’ve ignored it for so long. It came back to me and I’m not going to let it go this time.

2018: Celebrating a New Year

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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.

Personal

  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.

RELATIONSHIPS

  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.

WORK

  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!

HOBBIES

  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!

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!!

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Greg

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.

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Caden

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.

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Shepard

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.

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Annie

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.

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Rory

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.

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Jack

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.

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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.

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Hudson

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!