Weekend Reflections 09.09.2018: The First Week of School and My Chicago Mini Vacation


I am writing this on about four hours of sleep after driving/walking/shopping for most of the last two days, so bear with me if I’m not making any sense! I thought about writing this post tomorrow instead, but I have enough stuff to do tomorrow!

Anyway, it’s definitely been a typical first week of school transitional period where everyone is in awful moods and ready to burst into emotional meltdown at the tiniest infraction. As much as I love this time of the year, it’s definitely exhausting. I was so antsy to get back into my own routines too, but I think I was putting too much pressure on myself to instantly be back in the thick of things. But we made it and live to tell about it, and hopefully the next few weeks will be easier!

Sunday and Monday were fairly uneventful. The boys were soaking up every available minute with their friends. Greg and I were trying to take it pretty easy, resting from our ailments. By Monday my pinched nerve was barely noticeable, thank goodness! I was hoping to have some sort of last day of summer celebration, but decided just hanging out with their friends was good enough. That’s all they wanted to do anyway.

Tuesday was the first day of school. Caden was actually really excited about it! Shepard was wavering, but I think he was looking forward to seeing his friends every day again.

Our annual photo session was done at superspeed because swarms of mosquitoes were out to kill! It was seriously miserable. We all had bug spray on too and it didn’t make a bit of difference.

Ran into Willow as we were walking. When they found out they were in the same class a few weeks ago they were crazy excited. I’m very happy for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

The boys spent half the walk screaming because of the mosquito attacks. And half the walk ten steps ahead of me so they could discuss Minecraft. This past year I’ve often wondered what the point of me walking with them even is!

We went to the middle school first and met up with the neighborhood gang. The older kids seemed pretty chill about the first day. I think Shepard was a little sad that we had to leave them all behind when we walked over to the elementary school for him.

But once he saw his friends he was fine! I had to chase him down to say goodbye and he refused to give me a hug. Too cool for mom!

I spent my first day home alone deep cleaning the house. Those kinds of chores feel so pointless in summer when kids are constantly running through and destroying all of my efforts ten seconds after I do them. It felt really good to get everything fresh and ready for the week.

I picked them up after and it sounds like everything went well! The biggest news is that Shepard PEED! At school! During the day! On the first day! You cannot even begin to understand how much of a struggle the last two years have been. He has never, not even once, gone to the bathroom during the school day. He wasn’t even potty trained in preschool or 4K like he was supposed to be. And in kindergarten and first grade he just expertly held it in. The only time he had an accident was at the very end of the last school year and I think it was only because he wasn’t feeling well. Anyway, it’s a BIG DEAL that he went during school every single day this week and I think our struggles are over!!!

Caden is the more emotional one, so I didn’t get a lot of information out of him about how things are going, but he seems pretty happy. He likes his teacher. He gets to see some of his best friends at lunch and recess. I think he feels pretty cool being a big kid in the middle school now. Growing up!

Wednesday was picture day. They were both so mad at me that I made them wear these new shirts. I’m switching it up from the Chaps plaid button shirts I’ve made them wear every picture day to date. I can’t wait to see how they turned out!

I had a major errand day on Wednesday, though that wasn’t my original plan. But, things are breaking in our house left and right right now, and I had to go buy a new faucet for our bathroom sink. And if I already have to leave town for one errand, you better believe I’m going to make the most of the drive, fitting in as much as I can! I also went to Target, Woodman’s, the UPS Store, and ate some Wendy’s chicken on the way home. Then I took a nap! And worked the rest of the day.

Thursday was a HUGE work day. I finally forced myself to sit down and just get it done. I finished up all these dolls and got them listed by dinnertime. Then my friend Deja came over for a craft night. I wasn’t in the mood to start back in on new dolls, so I organized my huge stamp collection – a messy job that I’ve been putting off for about two months. It wasn’t particularly fun, but it felt great to get it done. And it was so nice to have a friend night! One of the best parts of the new school year is that everyone suddenly seems interested in rekindling friendships. I think we’re all just trying to survive in the summer and can’t handle that one more thing. But in fall our minds get freed up a bit and we’re more willing to go the extra mile to make friend things happen.

I don’t really remember what I did Friday. I was supposed to be working! But I didn’t, at all. Oh yeah, I made cinnamon rolls, I made salsa, I went to the ATM and got gas, I went to one grocery store on purpose, and then I went to another grocery store when I realized I didn’t have cream cheese for my cinnamon roll frosting. I walked Annie. I did some cleaning and laundry and packed for my weekend. We celebrated surviving the week with the cinnamon rolls.

The very sad news Friday is that my mom’s dog Juno passed away. ๐Ÿ™ She was about 14 years old and going downhill fast, but it still took everyone by surprise how fast it happened in the end. She was a wonderful dog that was loved beyond measure by my mom. She had a very long and happy life with the best dog mom in the world. She will forever be missed.

Saturday was start to my big Chicago adventure weekend. On Friday when I was researching out my route I realized this awesome store in Beloit was on the way. I went to their facebook page to check out their hours and saw that there just happened to be a huge vintage market happening in Rockford on Saturday – also on my route. I was SO excited to find something unique to do that I’d absolutely love. And it didn’t disappoint!! I think it was even better than Cranberry Fest, which is one of my all time favorite days of the year. Though Cranberry Fest is also special because I go with my parents and we have a lot of fun together. But next year, we’re going to this too. FOR SURE. There were about 175 vendors and every single booth was filled with all the vintage type stuff that I adore. It was packed, but everything was fairly spread out so you never got that suffocated feeling like you do in the aisles at Cranberry Fest. And all the shoppers were just in the best of moods too! It was a very relaxed and happy atmosphere and I LOVED IT. I didn’t buy much, mostly because I wasn’t interested in carrying it back to my car (through a huge long grassed muddy and bumpy field – basically the worst possible walking conditions for my ankle). I picked out these two signs for my sewing room. And later I finally found a large wall sign with a great saying I couldn’t say no to.

The only downside is that the lines to pay and the lines for food and drinks were so long. I wish I had gotten lunch at like ten when I noticed nobody in lines. Instead I probably spent at least twenty minutes waiting in line at this marshmallow trailer to get a frozen hot chocolate, s’mores style. She also sold all kinds of gourmet s’mores, fresh and hot. I decided to skip that even though they looked amazing, assuming they’d be too messy. Butttt this was just as messy. If not more. My hands were immediately coated in marshmallow which I transferred to my phone when I took this picture. I kept trying to get my hands cleaned off, but my only option was my shorts or dry grass! The whole market was in the country with only outhouses and not a sink in sight. But, I think it was worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ The homemade marshmallow fluff was my favorite part. So tasty!

I stayed at the market for three hours, looking at everything two or three times. Then I headed further south to Schaumburg, where my hotel was. At that point I was starving, and desperate for something more substantial to eat. I just stopped at Portillo’s, as the first unique restaurant I came upon. I decided to go a little out of my restaurant comfort zone (i.e. chicken) and ordered an Italian beef with spicy peppers and cheese fries. I’m not sure I’d get it again, but it wasn’t bad! I was so hungry that I think anything would have fit the bill! Madison is getting a Portillo’s soon, so I’m curious to see if the restaurant is built in the same manner as the Chicago branches.

After my late lunch I had just enough time to stop in at a TJMaxx (of course) before checking into my hotel. I did a little reading and then spent way too much time trying to decide which of my outfits to wear for the big night and attempting to get my hair to curl and failing. My built in relaxing break of the day was not very relaxing!

While I definitely wasn’t super hungry at that point, I was still hoping to at the very least pick up a coffee or something at a gas station on my way to The Popcast show. But I underestimated how bad highway traffic was going to be at that time of day, or in that area, and didn’t have time. But I did get a great spot in line! My sister-in-law Melissa joined me before the doors opened. Though kind of defeating the purpose of the line, once we were inside we still couldn’t actually go in the theater for another half hour. But we got some great seats once we did!

Because I pre-ordered Knox’s book, I was actually able to get a signed ARC at the show! Lest you forget, I’m on the launch team for this book, which is crazy exciting to me. So you’re going to be hearing about it a lot in the next two months before it’s released. Or, you will be if you follow me on instagram or facebook! It’s genuinely a great book, though. So funny. So poignant. So relatable.

I splurged for VIP tickets, allowing us into the show early and able to watch the pre-show Q&A. That part wasn’t terribly exciting, but I loved the main show!! Melissa had never even listened to them, but I think she enjoyed it too. It was just so fun seeing the people I listen to 3-4 times a week right in front of me! I might be a tiny bit obsessed. But they also provide me a whole lot of joy in the most mundane parts of my day and I am devoted for life. If you haven’t already, LISTEN TO THE POPCAST. It’s so good. And then support them on Patreon because those episodes are even better. And then listen to them on The Bible Binge, their secondary podcast.

Overall, the whole day was awesome! My only regret was not going with Melissa to a unique taco restaurant after the show. I was starving, but I was also tired and didn’t want to deal with moving my car and finding another parking spot, late at night in unfamiliar territory. Instead I drove the half hour back to my hotel exit and then got a McDonald’s chicken sandwich that was stone cold by the time I got to my hotel room. ๐Ÿ™ I was exhausted, but also super hyped up, so I took a long shower and then watched the movieย Sierra Burgess is a Loser. It was a great night!

Today has not been as exciting. My original plan was to just chillax in the hotel all morning, but I was antsy to get moving and find something to do. So I went to an upscale grocery store in search of something for breakfast. Then hit up a Trader Joe’s and a Marshall’s. I walked quickly through Ikea because I was regretting not going when I was in Minnesota last month. And then I went to the gigantic Woodfield Mall. I didn’t have any great interest in being there, it just felt like something I should do. I didn’t stay long. Then I headed up to Beloit to hit up that store (Vintage Bliss) and finished my trip at Qdoba for a late lunch of knockout tacos in Madison. I got home around 3:30, totally exhausted. But I’ve been steadily cleaning and organizing and trying to get ready for the week.

Sunday Intentions

It’s kind of a weird week ahead. There’s not much on the calendar I NEED to do. But there are so many things I COULD do. The smart and driven part of my brain says I should forget all the extras and just work all week. I could use the sales! But the adventurous part of my brain wants to take advantage of all these cool things that happen in fall. I want to drop a few things off at my mom’s and do some grocery shopping in the morning. There’s a friend coffee date I’m planning to go to on Tuesday. One of my favorite stores is having a special fall shopping event on Wednesday. I might possibly have a friend thing Wednesday night. Thursday night there’s a Madison Night Market that looked really intriguing. I’ve been trying to keep the whole week open in case we’re doing any sort of early birthday celebration for Caden with Greg’s parents, but no word on that yet. And on Friday and Saturday I need to clean and shop and prep for Caden’s family birthday party on Sunday morning.

So…I’m not really sure how the week will go! I’m also feeling bad because I had all these plans to take Annie to so many dog parks in the Madison area, and I just can’t seem to fit it into my schedule because it’d basically take an entire day away from anything else. There are just so many things going on in September! So many birthday things for Caden too. Balance is what I’m striving for, I guess. I just don’t want to burn myself out and not be able to enjoy the fun times.

Anyway, I think it’s time for me to go to bed! It’s been quite a week!

Saturday Reflections 09.01.2018


I am so happy to say goodbye to August! A lot of fun things happened, but it was a really stressful month too, and seemed to last FOREVER. This last week pretty much took the cake! Good riddance.

I wrote my last reflection post early, so starting with Saturday – we went to Oshkosh to hang out with some of Greg’s side of the family. We got to meet baby River, another second cousin for the boys.

They were having a blast playing!

On Sunday, I went to seeย Crazy Rich Asians by myself. I love going to movies on a whim, on my own. I treated myself to Chipotle for lunch and then did my grocery shopping before heading home for a nap. I worked in the evening and took Annie on a long walk. We finished the night with tornado sirens going off. We had just put the boys to bed, so I went back up to get them and gathered all the pets in the basement. Caden was really scared, shaking and crying. Even though we lived in our apartments a few years ago when Columbus got hit so hard, I don’t think he’ll ever forget seeing all that damage around town. He’s very frightened of big storms. Fortunately, it died down before it hit us and the warning was called off. That was Annie’s first time in the basement (I had to drag her down), so she was having quite the adventure! Now every time I go down she lays at the top of the stairs and whimpers. I tell her she can come down and she immediately starts running around like crazy, trying to get away from me. Apparently going in the basement is akin to taking a bath in her mind. I wonder if she was locked in a basement or something in her previous home. ๐Ÿ™

I wanted Monday to be a really fun day, but then the weather was cooler than expected and I didn’t think the pool options were open. The doorknob that we use all the time broke on Sunday, so we pretty much had no choice but to turn Monday into another errand day. I had a package to drop at UPS, then we went to Menard’s for a new knob, Woodman’s for sunflower seeds, and finished up at Target with the boys getting their very own frappuccinos to celebrate (hopefully) the last time they have to run errands with me for a very long time!

I felt so lazy and exhausted by the time we got back home on Monday. It was really hard to get motivated this week in between everything that was happening. I was tired and grumpy just SO OVER the boys also being tired and grumpy and directing all of their bad attitudes at me. Caden was supposed to go to the last Lord of the Rings movie with Greg, but he was in trouble for how he behaved at Grandma’s on Sunday (I wasn’t there). Instead, I took the kids to the pool. It’s a good thing we went because apparently their sump room or something got flooded the next day and they just closed up for the season. It’s kind of a bummer we couldn’t go this last weekend, but it’s been pretty weird weather again.

The bad news is that we were about to leave the pool and my car died again. Three days at the auto repair place and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Tons of errands the next two days. And then it just dies again. I’m lucky it died in Columbus! I’m also lucky my friend Deja was at the pool with us and was able to come and give us rides back home. We could have walked, but that’s about the last thing I wanted to do at that point in the day! I dropped my key off at the car place and hoped they could figure it out this time.

My original plan for Monday night was to get the boys to bed early so I could enjoy a full evening of reading by my candle far in a CLEAN ROOM. But the car threw everything off and I had a really hard time relaxing. But I gave it my best effort. Keeping this room clutter free and beautiful is one of my highest priorities in the next few months! I love having this pretty reading retreat. My pets do too!

Tuesday was stressful. Shepard has been in the worst of moods. I just couldn’t deal with him. I was trying to get a bunch of work done, and some reading, and basically just let all the kids do whatever they wanted so they’d leave me alone. We were without a car because Greg really needed to go into work for a big meeting and Caden had his last therapy session with that therapist at 3. We were hoping Greg might get home early enough to pick us up, but his meeting ran late and he forgot that my car was being worked on in the first place… Luckily by the time I heard from him we had already walked all the way there. It was far and hot, but we beat the next storm that started as we were leaving therapy.

The rains were so hard on Tuesday night that the basement flooded. And it was in our back room, which usually is very dry. It’s also so far removed from the drain that if we don’t remove the water it’s never going to go anywhere. The only tool at our disposal was a sponge mop that we had to constantly wring out over the drain and a rusty holey shop vac. Greg definitely took the brunt of the work, but Shepard and I helped out too. Greg stayed up for most of the night, going back down over and over again to suck up another bucket of water. NOT fun.

After working on it all night, Greg took a sick day on Wednesday and his dad came over in the morning and helped all day. They took turns with the shop vac and Steve brought over a bunch of fans. By mid afternoon they finally got most of it dried up.

The boys had school orientation in the afternoon. They both keep insisting they don’t want to go to school ever again, but boy were they happy to see their friends! Shepard is Mr. Social Butterfly when he’s at school. I think he’ll be more than fine this year!

Getting the lay of the land at the middle school for Caden was interesting. He has a first year teacher this year and she seemed very nice. He found a few more friends will be in his class. I’m sure he’ll make new friends pretty quickly, but I feel better knowing he’ll at least be familiar with more people than we were originally expecting. Willow is also in his class, who has spent like 75% of the summer at our house, so they are both thrilled. I’m sure the first few days might be a little rough, but I think he’s going to feel pretty cool being the older kid in a new school.

We did go pick up my car before the orientation. They decided the problem was the starter. So I have a new starter. I hope that was really the problem. I HATE living in fear of an unreliable vehicle.

I had my annual exam on Thursday morning, so we had to leave bright and early for that. I was super excited my doctor’s office finally got on board with the national guidelines of having pap tests only every 3 years. That was a very happy surprise! Everything else was okay, except my blood pressure was high. I tried to explain it’s always high at these appointments because I’m so freaked out. But also, in the past week my husband had surgery and isn’t supposed to be doing anything except resting, my car has died and been in the shop twice, my basement flooded, my kids are in the worst of moods, I’ve barely had two minutes to sit down and work for weeks, and life is insane right now! I have a few reasons my BP might be on the rise! But I’m now monitoring it for a few days (it’s still high) and will probably have to see an internal medicines doctor to talk about next steps. Which is honestly just stressing me out a lot too on top of everything. I need to get my act together and get healthy. Breaking my ankle put a major dent in my exercise plans this year, but it’s time to get back out there.

Anyway. I drop my mom and the boys at a park when I go to that appointment each year and then we usually go to the splash pad. It was pretty chilly yet Thursday morning, so we skipped the pad and went to Trader Joe’s. And of course found all kinds of amazing treats! It was my mom’s first time there. I was amazed at her restraint! Of course I also had two kids with me that kept throwing things in the cart. We spent $20 on chocolates alone.

I was planning to just go to lunch and then go home, but the boys remembered The Mustard Museum existed, so we ended up going far in the opposite direction to taste test a bunch of mustards. They LOVE it there. And I really appreciate the employees that cater to my kids requesting a bunch of mustard samples without looking down on them or acting like they were a nuisance. She was smart enough to realize I was probably going to buy what they liked the most!

We had lunch at The Great Dane after, which was delicious. And then finished the trip at Target to get some Starbucks. It was the day I was dreading the most of the week and it actually turned out really great! I feel like I truly enjoyed spending the time with my kids (and my mom) and it was a great send off to summer. It was also just so nice to see them enjoying something other than video games! Even though they hate grocery stores, they were having the best time finding new treats at Trader Joe’s and the mustard tasting felt very special to them. It was good!

Greg’s mom picked up the boys in the evening, so we had our weekly night to ourselves, though this was a week of doing our own things. Greg wanted to work on some stuff outside to try and flood proof our basement. I took Annie to the dog park.

I woke up Friday morning with like a pinched nerve in my back. Every time I moved my right arm my back would scream in pain. So despite my best intentions to have a crazy awesome work day, I had a hard time with it. I did my best, but man, it hurt. It still hurts. Why does this always have to happen when I so desperately want to get things done?!

Today I decided to bow out of the family trip to Cedar Lake to do a few things on my own. I headed out to the farmer’s market for the first time in ages. I don’t think I’ve been there since June. I love these fall markets so much with produce I actually want to buy. It was sprinkling when I got there and full on pouring by the time I left, but I walked as fast as I could and came out with quite a haul! I also went to three different grocery stores afterward to get all my shopping in for the week. My fridge is now bursting at the seams with fresh and delicious foods.

The rest of my day has been spent alternating between reading while lying on an ice pack and trying to get some things done. I’d really like to have my life organized and back on track BEFORE Tuesday when school starts. I want to get everything organized and ready so I can get back into all my normal routines without any hiccups. I also want to pave the way to give myself all the time to WORK. Of course none of this is going to happen if the stupid pain my back, and now neck, won’t go away! So frustrating.

Anyway, that has been the week! A lot of “excitement.” A lot of stress. But summer is over! I am SO ready for September and fall and all of the awesome things coming up in the next few months!

Friday Reflections 08.24.2018

I think it’s pretty safe to say that every week is a hard week right now. Not always for the same reasons, but this season of life can be pretty tough sometimes. And summer. Oh, summer. Just one more week.

I spent Monday trying to get a lot of things around the house back in order. I try not to let clutter and messiness bother me in summer when everyone is home. But the calendar days are creeping by and I’ve been getting really excited about setting up my fall candle fireplace, actually keeping rooms relatively clean most of the time, and finally having space to breathe. I know it’s really just a mental block that I need to get past, but I have the hardest time concentrating or being productive if anyone else is at home with me. I can’t wait to get back to my early morning quiet times, filling out my bullet journal regularly again, and being able to actually enjoy the decorative blankets and pillows staying in the places I put them for more than three minutes. ๐Ÿ™‚

A good chunk of Monday morning was spent making a huge batch of mango curry. It’s kind of a labor intensive meal that I can’t make for dinner because of Greg’s mango allergy. So every fall I usually make a big batch and freeze a bunch of servings for my future lunches. I usually do it after school starts, but Caden loves mango, and soups, and spicy food, so I thought I’d make it early this year so he could have some too. I’m trying really hard to start caring about the meals I make again. I slacked off SO much this summer. Plus, we were just so busy! It’s hard to make healthy and wholesome meals when people are constantly running out and about. I plan to be much better come fall! This was my start.

Last week Shepard told me he really wanted to go to Mod Pizza before school started, so we planned a date for Monday night. It was the busiest I’ve ever seen it. I apparently keep going to restaurants on Monday nights, expecting that’s a quiet night for eating out. But I’m starting to think everyone thinks that and also goes out on Mondays!

We went to Orange Leaf for dessert. Greg and Caden went to Culver’s for dinner and then to the second Lord of the Rings installment. There ended up being some crazy rains and storms that flooded half of Madison that night. Fortunately, Shepard and I got home before the worst of it and the guys had almost no visibility, but made it home safely.

Tuesday we had the vet in the morning and the sucky day that followed (my last post). The cats are still relatively healthy. Jack lost another pound and is recommended to have more blood work done, though I’m not sure it’s an expense I want to take on right now. I couldn’t deal with giving them an answer while I was there, but we’ll see. Rory just lost a tiny bit more weight (they’re both still technically overweight) and has an infection in his foot, which he got two shots for. But overall, still very healthy and happy 13 year old boys!

I finished a batch of dolls on Tuesday. I went with a back to school theme and included a couple more book dolls. I was going to hold off to post those until mid September when the promotion happens, but I haven’t heard anything else about it lately, so I decided to just go ahead and list them. I need some sales!!

Then Wednesday – the longest day ever. So, Greg had surgery scheduled and needed to be at the hospital in Madison at 9:30. I asked my mom to get the boys by 8 and she was there early, Caden was still in a horrific mood and refused to get dressed, Shepard refused to stop watching a Minecraft video I never really gave him permission to watch in the first place. Everyone was on edge and stressed and upset. We finally got the boys on their way and then got ready to leave because we had to drop Greg’s car off at Toyota to get his recalled airbags replaced. Except we went outside and my car wouldn’t start. Because OF COURSE of all days, that was the day it would die. Just like two years ago when it randomly died on Caden’s birthday and I was stranded in the Dells after Cranberry Fest. We both tried to start it multiple times and ended up needing to just leave it, cancelling the airbag appointment, and taking Greg’s car to the hospital.

Everything with the surgery went well. It was just a long day. I was expecting to have the freedom to at least wander around the hospital while he was in surgery, but apparently they really want you to stay in the surgical waiting room. Back in college I worked in “the coffee shop” at Meriter and was hoping to have lunch there to see how things had changed and spied around to see if anybody I knew was still there. But I never had a chance to do anything more than get a coffee in the new actual coffee shop next to the waiting room. The receptionist kept telling me that things were progressing quickly and to stick around. I was called to the consultation room to talk to the doctor and then proceeded to wait another 45 minutes. I was told it would be a max of 15 minutes after that before I could go into see Greg, but it was another hour because he was too sleepy yet. I was glad to hear things went well with the surgery, but I was just so tense and couldn’t relax enough to do anything more than constantly scroll through my phone. I know it was not at all about me, it just wasn’t the way I had expected the whole thing to go. Plus I had the car problem at the back of my mind, trying to figure out how to handle that without getting Greg involved.

I was finally allowed to see him in recovery, but he was still super out of it, so we had awhile more to wait until he felt better about leaving. We got back home around 4 and I got Greg settled then immediately called AAA, hoping for a tow to the car repair place across town. Except when the guy showed up an hour later, he didn’t have a tow truck with him. All the tow trucks were on the other side of Madison helping with the flooded vehicles. Of course, the AAA guy (whose job is normally office work, but they didn’t have anyone else available to send) turned the key three times and it turned on. Just like that. He didn’t even get into my car or open the hood or anything. It just worked. So he left it running, I grabbed Annie, we drove it to the repair shop, and then I walked her back home. I took a five minute break at home and then went to Walgreen’s where I waited an hour for Greg’s prescription. And then we finished the day watching a movie. It was such a long day.

Thursday ended up feeling even more stressful because I was so worried about what was going on with my car. They called me early to ask how he had gotten it started and then I didn’t hear anything the rest of the day. I had hoped to spend the day working, but I couldn’t concentrate AT ALL. I also thought maybe I’d spend time watching tv or something with Greg, but he just wanted to play games and didn’t really seem to want me around. I finally went to Walmart in the afternoon to get some things, took Annie for another long walk, and we watched another movie. I was just so mad at myself for my inability to set things aside and just get to work. I have so little focus these days and I hate myself for it.

This morning Greg took pity on me and called the repair shop to see what was up. And…they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. So just like two years ago, they spent over a day turning it on and off and on and off and never had a problem. They also ran a bunch of diagnostic tests and everything was fine. So I got my car back and just get to go back to living in fear of the next time this happens. I was dreading a gigantic repair bill, but this is stressful in its own way.

Originally, we planned on going to a Verona dog park today with my mom. But, I think the park we wanted to go to was flooded. Or we’d at least be driving through the flooded areas to get there. Plus it was raining today anyway. So we compromised by having lunch at Ponderosa since we haven’t been there in so long together. It was nice! Then I took the boys back home and we’ve all kind of been doing our own thing since.

I guess the good news is that I survived this week! Greg did too. His recovery is going more smoothly than he had expected, which is good for all of us. I’ve been feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed suddenly taking over all responsibilities, but I have no right to complain after Greg took over everything for months after I broke my ankle. He’s a much more patient and giving caretaker than me.

Anyway, I guess that’s about it for the week!

Weekend Reflections and Week Intentions 08.19.2018

It’s been a rough week, guys. The middle of August always hits me hard. I’m SO worn down by summer and having kids around all the time and just plain never being able to do all the things I want to do because eight zillion other things are always popping up and need to be dealt with first. I don’t have a lot of regrets about this summer, the way I usually do – we kept pretty busy and did a lot of stuff. But it still feels like we didn’t quite do enough. Or maybe enough of what we really wanted to do. I want to be excited for fall BECAUSE I AM, but I also feel guilty wishing these months with my kids away, so I try really hard never to think about it until I actually flip the calendar over to September. I wanted to give myself a lot of grace this month, not expecting too much productivity, but focusing instead on family and memory making and reading and resting. But it’s honestly kind of freaking me out that August is usually one of my most productive work months and I’ve barely had a minute a day to sit down and get to work. I’ve only had two sales this entire month! That’s awful! I’m stressed out and drained and honestly kind of dreading the remaining two weeks of the summer because we are busier than ever and none of it looks very fun! There’s a whole lot going on in my head and I’m trying to just take it day by day, only focusing on what matters most in that day so I don’t get too overwhelmed. I’m not very good about staying out of my head, though.

Anyway. This past week! It got a little crazy. Monday was spent running errands, cleaning, doing food prep, and trying to get the house ready for Hudson who came over Tuesday morning – Thursday midday. Hudson is mobile now, and into everything, and our house is definitely not baby proofed. So I was trying to think of every possible dangerous situation that could arise and how I could prevent it from happening. It basically kept me up most of Sunday and Monday nights, so I was already off to a bad start with very little sleep.

We picked Hudson up from my mom’s on Tuesday morning and brought him back home where he immediately got acquainted with Annie. Last time he was here he was pretty intimidated by her, but he had no fear this time around! She was definitely the most interesting thing around. Annie was rather fond of him too!

Jack was actually who he was most interested in. Rory made himself pretty scarce those days. I’m not sure Hudson ever even saw him. Right after this picture Jack hissed at Hudson and he was really sad. ๐Ÿ™

We basically just followed Hudson around for a few hours until he was ready to take a nap. I immediately took a nap too and then woke up and reorganized my coffee area. I used to have all my k-cups in a basket and they always flip top side down, so it was super annoying trying to pick one every day. I like this setup a lot better! I have a bit of a k-cup buying obsession. On this rack of 35, there are no duplicate flavors! I’ve only been a coffee drinker for 10 months now, but it’s become a delightful little afternoon treat.

Hudson slept for three hours – until almost dinner time and my brother told me I better wake him up or he’d never go to bed on time. So we got up and had tacos for dinner, which he loved.

We took him to the pool in the evening, which was fun. He had this exact look on his face the entire time we were there. So solemn! But I guess it was better than being scared of the water! It must have wore him out, though, because he had a snack back at home and then no problems going to bed, just a tiny bit later than normal.

Greg took the day off on Wednesday to spend some time with Hudson too. We all walked to a park in the morning. I wanted to go to the park with the baby playground, but it was already SO hot and humid, so we only made it to the closer park. He loved going up the stairs over and over again, though.

He took a much shorter nap on Wednesday, so no time to really catch up on anything. I was getting a little stressed because in the midst of all this, I had some fun potential Heartstring Annie things come up that I need to majorly prepare for in the coming weeks. It was really hard to be mulling around all these ideas and not be able to DO anything about it yet. Babies that need constant attention are not very conducive to working at home! Even for five minutes. I literally looked away from him three times for only a minute or two, and only because one of the boys was right with him, and all three times he bumped himself on something and got hurt.

On Wednesday night Greg and his dad and Caden went to go see a Lord of the Rings showing at the theater. So I put Shepard in front of a youtube video while I tried to get Hudson to go to sleep. I kept putting it off to try and get close to his actual bedtime even though he had a short early nap and was obviously very tired, but I think that was our downfall. He was so worked up and took a very, very long time to settle down and sleep. Once it finally happened I sent Shepard to bed and then I watchedย The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on netflix. It felt so good to finally have a tiny bit of time to myself to watch that movie because I was dying to since the minute I first heard about it!

Thursday morning was more of the same, except with Greg not around to help out. The boys were definitely over helping by then. I had to let Annie out front on her chain to go to the bathroom and while I was not supervising her, she apparently found a new burr bush in our front yard and got trapped in it. Her entire body was COVERED in matted burrs. It was a nightmare. I gave up pretty quickly on trying to pull them out and just got out the scissors. At least she actually realized she needed help and was fairly cooperative. Normally she fights any time of grooming like crazy. Now she looks more raggedy than ever!

My mom came back to pick Hudson up around lunchtime. I know it sounds like I was complaining, but I’m really glad we got to have these memories with him. It was just exhausting! It would have been better if we had a smaller, safer area to enclose him in! It was really fun to spend time with him, though. I especially liked how when he was tired or sad or hurt he always came to me for cuddles. It’s been a very, very, VERY long time since my kids preferred me to Greg. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed that.

I was supposed to have a craft night on Thursday night but I cancelled. I just couldn’t deal with needing to clean up and be social all night. I did, however, still work all night. I need to get back on top of everything!! I’m not sure how it will all play out, but I was asked to donate a book themed doll to this 3000+ member facebook book club I’m in, for a fall readathon in the middle of September. And in exchange they will promote Heartstring Annie. So in preparation for that, I need to make a lot of book themed dolls! But my regular customers are anxiously awaiting fall themed dolls and I also need to get moving on that. I love when my head is so full of new ideas, but my hands can never keep up! It stresses me out.

I worked all day on Friday. Greg worked from home. The boys played with their friends. Then they went to the county fair with Greg’s parents and we went on a date. We finally made it to Cercis to try out their pizza. And…we were disappointed. I was SO hoping they’d have this amazing food and we could finally have a local regular date night place when we want to do something special, but don’t have time or energy to head to Madison. Unfortunately, their pizza tasted exactly like a frozen pizza to me, at triple the cost. I love the restaurant’s atmosphere, so I hope they expand their menu in the future. At any rate, it was still good to have a date!

We picked up Annie afterward and went to the dog park, which we’ve been neglecting to do all summer because Greg takes Annie on so many pokemon walks she’s still getting a lot of exercise. It was still too buggy there. It’s really the only place I even notice how bad the bugs are anymore. Which stinks! Annie did get some good play time in, though, and we had a nice conversation with a super friendly dog owner.

Saturday was kind of a crappy day. I worked all morning and in the afternoon we went to my brother Timmy’s birthday/going away party in Madison with my parents and Brittany’s family.

I got in my final selfie with Hudson.

Timmy and all his nieces and nephews with his favorite ice cream cake dessert.

I was in a pretty terrible mood at the party.ย I am just so sad that I won’t be able to see Hudson grow up through all the little everyday moments. I’m devastated my kids won’t have the kind of relationship with their only cousin that we spent the last year thinking they’d have. And the relationship they have with their uncle and aunt that they are always SO excited to hang out with. I’m mourning the loss of the sibling adult friendships Greg and I were so happy to have found and thought we’d be able to keep nurturing through regularly spending time together. And I am so hurt by how easily they dismissed the value of their entire family and all their friends being a constant physical presence in their lives, and Hudson’s.

But the truth is, it’s not about me. I’m sure I was not a big factor in this life altering decision and I have to stop taking it so personally. They believe this is the best thing for their nuclear family and we have to accept and respect that. It’s just unfortunate how the entire thing came about and how many things were said between everyone that leave me feeling that irreparable damage has been done to our relationships. I just wish so badly it hadn’t happened the way it did. But it did. And life just has to go on. Hopefully they’ll keep their promise to share things and keep us involved in Hudson’s life. None of our siblings really share anything – ever – though (whereas my life is a very open book to anybody who happens to care enough to check my blog out every weekend!!), so I’m not holding out a ton of hope.


On the way home from the party Greg and I got into a stupid fight. I know this isn’t what he meant when he said what he did, but it came out sounding like I have all the time in the world to do annoying errands and he doesn’t because he’s the one who has a real job. Want to know a surefire way to hurt me deeply, then piss me off, then motivate me to work harder than ever? Imply that I’m not doing enough. Just elude to the idea that I have total control over my time, when in reality I spend probably 60% of my life doing things for my family that I definitely do not always want to be doing. Anyway. That was just the icing on the cake with how yesterday went for me emotionally. I was heartbroken after saying goodbye to Hudson, I was so hurt by what Greg said, and I’m still so stressed about work and dreading the next few weeks and knowing it’s not even going to get better in September because life is INSANE in September with start of school hiccups, mini vacations, so many birthday related things for Caden, and Cranberry Fest adventures. September is so much fun, but it can only be fun if I do the prep work in August to make it feasible. And trust me, that prep work has NOT happened yet and with how busy the calendar is I don’t know how it’s going to get done. Anyway, I had a terrible time sleeping again. This whole week has just done me in.

So today I woke up with my newfound determination to spend every possible minute being productive. Which unfortunately meant only spending a whopping 45 minutes working on my dolls because there were a million other things that needed to be done first. I made lists and did all my errand running, changed sheets and did a bunch of laundry, and cooked a bunch of food. Greg was very productive today too with mowing and cleaning and clearing out the garage so he can start parking in it again once our new neighbors move in later this week.

Sunday Intentions

Well, a fresh start and new week ahead. Two more weeks. I can do it. I’m just kind of bummed out that all these not so thrilling things were somehow saved for these final two weeks. The cats have a vet appointment which I’m not expecting to go very well (Jack is still losing weight and drinking water constantly), Greg has a minor surgery with an unpredictable recovery time, Caden has his last therapy appointment (because the therapist is leaving the clinic, not because we’re choosing to end with him – all that work and back to square one), and I have my annual exam. ๐Ÿ˜›

I’m mildly considering taking the boys to that Dolphin’s Cove swimming place tomorrow, but I’m also kind of hoping they just forget about it. It feels like a lot of work going there. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. I ran my errands today so I’d have the availability to take them tomorrow if that’s what we decide. I’m also taking Shepard on a dinner date to Mod Pizza, something he said he really wanted to do before summer ended. With that in mind, I should probably try and find something I can do with Caden in the next two weeks too! Later tomorrow night he’s going to the second Lord of the Rings movie, and the third one next Monday.

Tuesday is the vet appointment. And then just a work day! I was vaguely considering checking out the Friends of the Library monthly meeting Tuesday night – just something that’s kind of been on my mind lately. I love books so much, maybe it would be fun to be around more bookish people. But maybe I would hate it because it sounds like a lot of fundraising. Which was not something I enjoyed too much when I was the fundraising chairperson on the preschool board. I think I have too much going on right now to deal with a new thing. Maybe next month.

And Wednesday is Greg’s surgery, so the day will be spent with him. My mom is taking the boys for a few days, so we don’t have to worry about that. Depending on his recovery, maybe I can get a lot of work done on Thursday. And on Friday after my mom brings them back we’re going to go to a new dog park about an hour away for the day. And Saturday we have a family gathering in Oshkosh. Busy busy!!

Well, I think that’s enough for now! I’m really dropping the ball on my daily blog posts, but everything has just been too overwhelming. Soon. I hope. ๐Ÿ™‚

Late Summer Vacations in Minnesota and La Crosse

This has been a whirlwind of a week, finishing our three mini vacations of the summer – all right in a row. We had our Fox Lake cottage vacation last weekend with Greg’s parents. Monday was the one normal day of packing and laundry and getting everything organized. And then first thing Tuesday I was off on a solo trip to Minnesota. On Thursday I drove down to La Crosse and met up with Greg and the boys for two nights of family vacation. Overall, I had a lot of fun, did a lot of shopping, looked at a lot of books, and ate a ton of delicious food. But there were also a ton of internet related frustrations in Minnesota and bug related stress in La Crosse. A trip can never just be perfect, right?

I started my journey with a stop at Great Harvest Bread Co. in the Dells. I’ve never been there before and was hoping to find some kind of bread to have on hand for the rest of the week in case the hotel breakfasts were disappointing (and they were). They didn’t really have much bread, but the entire store was filled with bags of these mocha chocolate chip biscotti, so I picked one up. They were delicious!

I planned on eating lunch in Eau Claire, but got to town too early. I drove around, expecting there’d be a shopping area off the main highway I could just hang out at for a little while, but I didn’t have any luck. I eventually found my way to a Festival grocery store so I could go to the bathroom. I made it to Milwaukee Burger Co. right when it opened. Their menu looked fantastic and I chose just a simple fried chicken, pickle, and special sauce sandwich with a side of their enormous cheese curds. Very tasty, but very filling.

My next stop was at Bibelot in St. Paul. It’s a really fun gift type store that I always enjoyed going to when I lived there. I also grabbed a cold brew from Starbucks because I was already dragging and my day had hardly begun!

My main reason for picking Minnesota as a vacation destination was to see my favorite author, Colleen Hoover, at a book signing in Edina. I’ve never been to a book signing and when I realized there was one within driving distance it seemed like the perfect reason to plan a solo vacation. Anyway, it became really annoying when I realized to actually get a seat at the signing and guarantee of her actually signing my book, I had to purchase a book AT their location. They had 100 wristbands that they gave out between when the latest book came out (July 17) and the signing (August 7). 100 isn’t very many for a very popular author in a huge metropolitan area! So I ordered a book to be picked up that day, and then called to ask about the wristband. He told me that because I asked, and he still had 5 or 6 left, he’d put a wristband in my book. And then he realized they only have a 5 day hold and I ordered the book 6 days early. So I had to order a second book (technically a third because I already owned one from amazon to read on release day) the next day and just hoped I’d have a wristband when I got there. I noticed on the book signing schedule that all the other cities simply had you purchase tickets for the signing online. That would have been SO much easier for me!! And much less stressful.

Anyway! I drove over to the Barnes and Noble as soon as I could get there to see if I had a wristband waiting for me. I got lucky because the wristband was still there in the first book I ordered, despite it being expired. They made a big to do about it and decided I could still have the wristband, even though it wasn’t with the book that was still in the system… It wouldn’t have been the end of the world not to have the wristband. I still could have stood in the back and I probably still could have had my book signed. But after revolving a whole vacation around this thing, I really wanted to be able to sit down and enjoy it!

I went back to check into my hotel next and spent awhile just reading and relaxing. I put on a nice outfit, did my hair, and headed back to Barnes and Noble about an hour and a half before the signing started. Apparently this is one of five new concept stores in the country, and the setup was a lot more unique than any other BN I’ve been to. I was really excited to spend some time browsing the shelves. But everyone was already there and sitting! I forgot to bring my kindle with me, I wasn’t particularly interested in re-reading this newest book (it was great – just not her typical tingly delicious romance type book), and my internet wasn’t working at all on my phone. Eventually I decided to risk it and left my stuff on a chair so I could walk around a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can’t stick me in an awesome bookstore and not let me browse!

I guess because most people were just getting this book that day, Colleen didn’t do any readings or want to answer questions about it. But she did spend about an hour taking any other questions that people had. So many of the questions had to do with her writing process and where she gets ideas. It was so interesting! I really enjoyed the entire thing. And at the end, we went row by row to get our books signed. I watched everyone before me gushing to her about how great her books are and when I got to the front of the line I had no idea what to say! I was probably her fastest sign because I felt so tongue tied and dumb! Oh well. It was a really great experience and I hope to go to more book signings in my future!

It was pretty late, but I was getting hungry after not eating since 11 in Eau Claire. My plan was to go to Cheesecake Factory and just pick up a slice for the hotel, but then I decided I’d rather get real food instead. So I walked into this Rojo Mexican Grill and had my food about five minutes after I sat down! A huge basket of chips and salsa and three chicken tacos. I’m not normally a huge rice fan, but whatever they did to this rice was also amazing. Since I was parked right in front of it (thanks, handicap parking pass), I still got a slice of chocolate cherry cheesecake to bring back to the hotel and eat over the next few days.

I finished my night back at the hotel with a bit of a pampering spa hour. I had brought a bunch of bath bombs and oils and sheet masks. I was really too exhausted to fully enjoy it, but it was still worth doing. Overall, my first day of vacation was awesome!

Wednesday is much less exciting to write about. I checked out the hotel breakfast that just consisted in individually boxed cereals and plain bagels and went back to my room to read for awhile. I had a fully researched plan in place to start at Ikea and Mall of America and then work my way through all my favorite stores in the other cities. But on my way back to the hotel Tuesday night I saw there was a Container Store in the opposite direction. I’ve never been to one and always wanted to, so I switched up my whole itinerary. Of course in doing so, I really needed to do a bit more research, and the wifi in the hotel didn’t work at all, and my phone was roaming the entire time so almost nothing was working. I wasted a ridiculous amount of time in those 48 hours just trying to get something to load. Things that should have taken ten seconds took half an hour. Yes, I could have just used the time to unplug and made the day a true adventure. But I didn’t want to miss anything! And I wanted to make sure I had the best restaurant plan for the day. It was infuriating how hard it was to find answers or options EVERY SINGLE TIME I tried to search something out. My gps even stopped working half the time. I was trying to just go with the flow and not let it bother me. But…it bothered me. A lot.

Anyway, Wednesday was my shopping day. I went to Trader Joe’s, World Market, Marshall’s, The Container Store, and Whole Foods in Edina. I love unique grocery stores. And I love discount stores. And I love containers. My biggest mistake on this trip was not bringing along a cooler and some ice packs. So many things I wanted to buy at the first few stores I went to were meltable, so I had to pass. ๐Ÿ™

I had lunch at Naf Naf Grill in Eagan. There were so many great choices all right in a row! I contemplated Punch Pizza because that was our all time favorite MN pizza chain (though there wasn’t one in Eagan when we lived there!). There was also a taco place called RTacos that looked tasty. But I was trying to get myself a wide variety of foods, so I went Mediterranean. My pita was good, but SO spicy. Too spicy. And I LOVE spicy food.

Next I went to Marshall’s and Home Goods and then temporarily got lost. Eagan has changed a lot in the 10 years since we lived there! And my gps stopped working. But I eventually found my way back to the part of town I recognized and drove past the Panera where I worked for the first year we lived there. Then I went into that Barnes and Noble to browse books some more. And of course got a frappuccino. To try and wake up, but also to try and combat the fire still raging in my mouth.

I finished up my shopping at my favorite TJMaxx in Burnsville, where I used to shop all the time (before apparently every city in MN got their own discount stores!). I also stopped in at Abdallah Candies, but I just wasn’t in the mood to buy anything else sweet after my coffees and cheesecake. After that I was totally exhausted and needed a break so I went back to the hotel to read and take a nap.

The rest of my night was kind of crappy. I kept thinking about still going to Ikea and MoA, but my ankle was killing me and I knew there weren’t really any stores I was dying to go to in the mall. I like Ikea as an experience, but it has so many steps and I still suck at going down stairs because my ankle won’t bend enough. Originally there was a restaurant that looked really good at the mall, but since I had fancy tacos the night before it really wasn’t such a priority to get that kind of meal again. I was trying to think really hard about what kind of things I’d find most memorable and of course the answer was BOOKS. On other trips the answer probably would have been to find some cool outdoor things to visit. But between the extremely hot temperatures and my stupid ankle, I just wasn’t up for that kind of adventuring on that leg of the trip.

Anyway, I ended up going to a really cool used bookstore called The Paperback Exchange. I wish I had come across it in my research ahead of time, because if you brought in any paperback to exchange, you would only have to pay 25% of the cover price on any book in the store. Without an exchange, it was 50%. Which was still a pretty great deal because they had SO MANY books, and thousands of them were in almost perfect condition. I had a lot of fun browsing the floor to ceiling shelving and came out with four new books that I actually knew about before and really wanted to read.

After that the night was pretty awful. I couldn’t make up my mind on where to eat. My problem on vacations is that I want every meal to be this perfect experience filled with types of food I could never find at home. I want every meal to be memorable and delight my senses. And sometimes that’s just a lot of pressure to put on food. I couldn’t decide on a restaurant, so instead I headed to another bookstore. But there was so much construction, closed roads, heavy traffic, and NO places to park. I just wasn’t up for walking blocks and blocks to get anywhere, so I gave up on the bookstore and headed to another restaurant choice. Came across more roadblocks and lack of parking. Finally went back to the hotel to regroup and see if there was something I could order in. Decided on something, only to see you needed to download an app in order to place an order and gave up. It was getting so late, but I didn’t want to skip eating entirely. But the internet wasn’t working, I didn’t know what to do, and I was getting so stressed out.

I finally made a choice on a place that was supposedly just 1.2 miles away from the hotel. Except when I got in my car the gps then said 3.6 miles. Which was a good fifteen minute drive. When I finally got there, through more construction and closed roads, I couldn’t get to the restaurant because it was in the middle of a construction site and all the doors were barricaded, even though the open sign was on. It was so confusing and frustrating that I left and just got Popeye’s on my drive back to the hotel. Except even that was a fail because all the food was cold and limp and I didn’t even eat it. SUCH a waste of a night. I should have just walked to the Walmart next to the hotel and gotten some cheese and bread or something. I was so mad at myself for wasting sooooo many hours of that super rare solo vacation on things that didn’t even work out. Oh, and then the final straw – I figured I would end the night finding something to watch on tv while eating popcorn that I had brought. BUT you needed a code to get the tv to work, which was not provided. Stupid! I just went to bed after that.

Needless to say, I was not in the mood to linger on Thursday morning. I didn’t even look at the hotel breakfast. Just packed up and stopped at a bakery I had driven by the morning before. They had so many tasty options! I got a French donut and a cherry fritter, and two bags of salty crunchy cheese breadsticks and a loaf of cinnamon bread to share with the family.

On my way out of the area, I drove by our old house in Farmington. It looked pretty much the same, except they changed the shutters to white. I liked the black ones I painted myself so much better. I was also really happy to see that the flowers, lilac bushes, and tree I planted on my first Mother’s Day were all still alive and well. I can’t believe how much that tree has grown in nine years!

As I headed south, I came to the conclusion that memory lane vacations are not much fun. I really enjoyed our four years living in Minnesota and have a lot of great memories there. But I’ve never regretted our decision to move back to Wisconsin. Driving around on this trip, though, kind of made me feel wistful and sad for the path we did not choose. Maybe because that blog post I wrote on Monday was still fresh on my mind – regret over not staying the college course. I definitely enjoyed seeing Colleen Hoover and I always like being by myself and shopping at all my favorite stores. But I also just felt really kind of sad the entire time. I also felt ANGRY at all the traffic and lack of parking options and poor internet, so yeah. I was ready to get out of there.

I’ll spare you all the other frustrating driving related problems I had that morning and just tell you that I finally got to La Crosse around noon and stopped at the coffee shop I had picked out ahead of time. I wanted some meal food since I didn’t know our plan for the rest of the day, but also didn’t want a ton of food, so I got a mini BLT. And even though I wasn’t really in the mood for it, the whole reason I picked Cabin Coffee Co. was for their huge frappe menu, so I couldn’t leave without getting one. This was the Mississippi Mud frappe. It was good, just a ton bigger than I expected it to be.

After that, I met up with my family! It was still too early to check into the hotel, so they decided to go to the Holmen Aquatic Center, a little north of Onalaska. It was really hot again, so we all had a good time swimming. But then some kid pooped in the pool and we were all kicked out. The boys were really antsy to just get to the hotel. We checked in about as early as we could and immediately went swimming there since we all still had our suits on.

For dinner we went to Buzzard Billy’s. It was the one restaurant I researched that I didn’t want to miss. Unfortunately, we had an extremely long wait on the food and Shepard was SO cranky about it, kind of ruining the experience. But it was delicious once it came!

We ended the night at Grandad Bluff. So pretty!

We were so color coordinated, without even trying!

I spent most of the time watching these people that kept walking around, laying and relaying blankets down, standing backwards, and cuddling right at the edge of the cliff.

Anyway, it was a good evening. We went back to the hotel and got the boys to bed and then we watched an episode of Better Call Saul on Greg’s laptop, with one earbud in each. The joys of hotel life with such different sleep schedules!

Friday morning is when things got tough. Long story short, while I was with the boys getting breakfast, Greg woke up to a bug biting him. It was a bedbug. He took photos and immediately went to the front desk and talked to the manager. They handled the entire thing like it was a national emergency. They wanted us to leave so they could inspect every inch of the room. While we were gone they must have found more because they moved us to a different room, gave us the hotel stay for free, AND insisted that we go on a shopping spree to replace all of the clothes and luggage we had with us, in case it was contaminated. They also told Greg if we ever want to come again to let them know we’d get another night free. They handled everything in about the best possible way, which is why I’m not going to out them to the world as a bedbug hotel. These things happen, and everything else about our stay both this time and a few years ago was fantastic. The bad thing, though…we were still exposed to bedbugs. And spent every single minute of the rest of the vacation worrying about that. And still worrying about it now.

Anyway, when we first left the hotel that morning, we didn’t have much of a plan other than to check out some river viewing spots before it got too hot. We went over into Minnesota and walked around, drove to a higher viewing point, and stopped to watch the lock and dam. The guys were mostly looking for new Pokemon.

We ate lunch at a place called Burger Fusion where you can design your own burgers from a huge list of possibilities. I don’t eat hamburgers, but chicken sandwiches were also an option.

After lunch we went to The Pearl ice cream shop where the boys split a cookie dough ice cream and I got a toasted marshmallow latte.

We went back to the hotel after that and went through the process of going through all of our items and then moving them to the new room. Greg and the boys went swimming while I figured out what the heck to do with all of our clothes. I had all of my best clothes with me. Almost all of which had to be ordered online because I can never find anything in stores that fit properly. I had three of my brand new Third Love bras with me and those are not cheap!! I also had my only three pairs of shorts, six brand new and awesome shirts, my favorite dress, and my only swimming suit and cover up. I couldn’t just ditch them all on the very tiny possibility they were contaminated. Yes, the bedbugs did exist in our room. But Greg is the only one who got bit. They couldn’t have been horrible. And all of our clothes were clear on the other side of the room from where our bed was. It just seemed so unlikely that after all the proper precautions, including extremely careful inspection and heat treatment, my clothes still needed to just get thrown away. Trust me, it has caused MANY arguments in the last three days, but I kept my things. All of Greg and the boys’ clothes they had with them – gone. My suitcase and their duffel bag too. And all the tote bags we had our food and electronics in. It sucked.

After swimming we headed over to Kohls with a long list of everything that needed replacing. Full blown shopping for every article of clothing for three people, plus a few extra things, is exhausting. Greg didn’t even know what size he wore in anything, but because all of his clothes are from Kohls anyway, we were able to find a lot of exact replacements. The boys were a lot harder because most of their summer clothes were either no longer in stock or hidden among clearance racks. Shepard definitely had opinions on what we picked out for him, but Caden started crying every time we asked him which color or style he liked better. Shopping to him is like the ULTIMATE worst thing in the entire world. I got new pajamas, the only thing I agreed to leave behind, even though they were my favorite. ๐Ÿ™ And I also got to pick out a new carry on bag, which I guess is the silver lining because my other one was pretty old. We managed to get all of that done in about an hour. I felt bad it was over $500, but that was even without replacing my things! The hotel reimbursed us without a bit of hesitation, though.

We headed to the farmer’s market next, which is the one thing in La Crosse I really wanted to do. It was still so hot, though, and crowded, and the rest of my family had no interest in being there. I bought a kohlrabi, the boys each had a glass of fresh pressed apple cider, and I had a glass of delicious sweet mint iced tea. I was so sore at that point, and stressed out. We needed to think of something else to do, but I was just done. Cranky and tired and overwhelmed by everything. I wasn’t super hungry, but we still needed to eat, so we finally decided to just go where everyone wanted to go – even if it’s the same food we could buy at home. Shepard picked Culver’s. Chicken tenders for literally the eighth meal in a row.

Caden wanted a “sub” (turkey and mustard) and chips. Greg and I ended at Burracho’s because it was across the street from the hotel and I didn’t want to drive back into La Crosse for something more unique.

We ended Friday night with more swimming. I enjoyed more hot tub time. It was a long day! Honestly, the boys were great. The whole bedbug ordeal, though. Not fun.

On Saturday morning I took the boys down to the pool while Greg packed everything up. They love the pool and hot tub there so much!

Their favorite part is the indoor/outdoor aspect of the pool. They were just having the greatest time in the world swimming between the barrier and alternating between the pool and the hot tub. It made me realize if we just have very low expectations and actually listen to what THEY want to do, family vacations can be really fun. It’s been so long since we’ve been on one just the four of us. Probably about three years! They were always so disastrous in the past that we switched to just Greg and I going on mini trips, or me going by myself because I’m the one who loves traveling the most. But this was fun! And it was good for us.

We parted ways around ten on Saturday. Greg and the boys went back home to do some Pokemon hunting and pick up Annie. I had to check out the La Crosse TJMaxx (after my two day detox), a gift shop I always like seeing in town, and the craft mall in the Dells. I got back home mid afternoon and snuggled with my pup!

And that was our trip! Overall, a success. If the bedbug incident hadn’t happened, it would have been great. Alas, Greg is still mad at me for keeping my clothes and annoyed that I refused to let them sit in bags in the sun for two weeks (because I had a WET swimsuit in one of the bags, plus ALL OF MY SHORTS AND BRAS). It was pretty dang hot when they sat out yesterday, plus I washed and dried them on heavy duty loads on the hottest settings today. I think they’re fine. And if they turn out not to be, I will take full responsibility on de-infesting our house. ๐Ÿ˜›

So, no Sunday Intention post this week. I’m still so tired. Trying to get caught up after being gone a week. Trying to prepare for babysitting Hudson for three days when no part of our house is baby proofed and he is very much on the move! Trying to figure out when the in the world I can get back to work in the next few weeks. And feeling both sad that summer is coming to an end and our calendar is filled with so many things, yet still not enough of the fun things I had wanted to do. And feeling excited that FALL IS COMING and my life will finally get back to normal. It’s a confusing time, the middle of August. ๐Ÿ™‚ But we power on!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 08.05.2018

As you can see, I’m already completely failing at my daily writing goal. I promised that on August 1st and haven’t written since. Though in my defense, I have barely been home the last four days, and when I have been home, the internet wasn’t working! When I’m home and the internet IS working, I’ve been being plagued by pretty frequent headaches that leave me not wanting to do a single dang thing. But I’m powering through and WILL write today because a lot happened in this past week that is worth recording!

On Sunday, Dianne and I managed to fit in a little time together before I dropped her off at the airport. We talk every day, but it sure is nice when we can see each other in person! I was supposed to visit her last April, but had to postpone because of my broken ankle. But bearing any other accidents, I am booked to go again in October!

We ate at Bel Air Cantina in Madison. Greg and I went there last year, I think around my birthday. The food was great, but it was so crowded with college students we couldn’t hear each other talk. But a Sunday in the middle of a summer afternoon was perfect timing! They have some delicious taco combinations. I picked a salsa verde chicken taco, Korean beef, and Ninja pig, which was like pork with hoisin sauce and slaw. So tasty.

After I dropped Dianne at the airport I did my grocery shopping while I was in the area and without kids! I spent the rest of the night working, desperately trying to make major progress.

Monday another headache hit me. They seem to be happening so often lately. Dehydration? Not enough sleep? I’m actually getting more sleep than I get during the school year, but I’m also rarely getting my daily nap. Whatever the reasoning behind it, it sucks. And I take enough ibuprofen for ankle related pain that I try really hard not to take any extras for things like headaches. Sometimes, like today, I just need to give in.

On Monday night, I had another dinner date with some of my craft night ladies. We tried out a restaurant in Lake Mills called El Mariachi. I was shocked at how busy it was for a tiny town later on a Monday night, but I guess that’s a testament to how good it is!

I had taquitos on a bed of salsa verde topped with regular taco toppings. Maybe not much to look at, but it was really delicious! And fun to have a night out with friends. They’re SO hard to organize that I’ve mostly given up in the last year. But it’s worth it when it does work out.

In the meantime, Greg and the boys were at my parents’ house having dinner with them and my brothers and Hudson. I would have gone, but it was planned after my friend dinner and I didn’t want to back out.

On Tuesday I was bound and determined to get my dolls done. But I also wanted to make sure I had some quality time with the boys. We went on a longer walk along the cemetery in the morning. After lunch we walked to Sharrow’s, a coffee/ice cream/gift shop just a few blocks away that I always forget to go to. The boys had ice cream and I had coffee. It was a fun break in the day. I even found a delightful bonfire scented candle to carry me through August before I can start burning apple and cinnamon scents in September!

On Wednesday morning we went school supply shopping. Wisconsin had five days of tax free school supplies, clothes, etc. This is normally when we’d go anyway, so it seemed like good timing. Everything gets so picked over into August anyway. It was crazy as usual, but we got everything we needed.

I had big plans to FINALLY research vacation things in the afternoon, BUT the internet was down! No reason why, just hours without it working. It magically came back on later in the day, so I spent the whole night planning out my Minnesota trip in a few days. It was so much fun puzzling together everywhere I wanted to go and eat for the perfect itinerary.

It was kind of a spur of the moment decision, but on Thursday I ended up taking the boys to the State Fair. We fully intended on going on Monday with my parents, but I kept looking at the weather and Thursday’s forecast looked SO much better. If it ended up being too hot or stormy on Monday we wouldn’t have gone anyway, so it made more sense just to head over on Thursday. Plus Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson were going to be there that day, so we got to have a few hours with them which the boys were super pumped about.

We spent the first hour just sitting in this spot waiting for them, which in hindsight was a pretty bad idea. I didn’t want to get too far ahead of them in looking at stuff, but the idleness was pushing Shepard into a pretty cranky mood that lasted the entire day. I should have learned from last year when the fair was also off to a bad start because we spent way too much time trying to meet up with everyone. Though that was hard because everyone kept moving! Which is why we decided to stay put this year. At any rate, it was fine once we found each other!

We went to the WI Products building for our yearly bag of apple cider donuts. As usual Hudson has no idea who I am or why I’m taking a picture with him!

Shepard and I had grilled cheeses for our late morning breakfast. That’s all he ended up eating for the day. He was so cranky because he wanted me to buy him a Pikachu stuffed animal at one of their crappy toy booths and I refused because he doesn’t play with ANY toys, least of all stuffed animals! Plus Annie would have taken it and destroyed it in five seconds. Later he was throwing a fit because he wanted to go on the trampolines. And the last few hours he wouldn’t stop whining and crying because he wanted an expandable ball. He didn’t think he could live without any of those things.

Checking out the hot tubs! Hudson likes this one.

Normally the building with all the little booths is one of my favorite parts, but I knew it would just make Shepard want sooooo many more things. So we cut down the middle, which just happened to be the perfect spot because we got to try dip samples at like five different booths! Then we ended at the beef sticks. These were my favorite thing to get growing up and they’re Caden’s favorite now. I’ve never seen this Vienna beef stick in a store, though I did just figure out where to buy them online! Might be a birthday present this year. I’ll buy it the week between Caden’s and my birthday. ๐Ÿ™‚

I let them do the trampolines. They did outdoor jumping last year, so I guess this needs to be an annual thing.

We stopped in a little park area for awhile so Hudson could move around. He loved it!

One of the new fair foods Caden really wanted to try was flamin’ hot corn on the cob. I thought I did a very good job describing it to him ahead of time so he knew what he was getting into, but he didn’t even want to touch it when I put it in front of him. He eventually took a tiny bite, spit it all over the table, and cried for awhile. I spent $5 on it, so I took a bite – gross. Timmy reluctantly finished it off.

Trying to get Hudson to settle down for a nap because he was up early.

The new food I wanted to try were WI Hot Chicken Bombs. It was a combination of mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and corn rolled into a ball and deep fried. Then it was injected with gravy and coated with Nashville hot sauce. Unfortunately, I was not really a fan. I mostly ate one and gave the other to Timmy (he took over my dad’s job of eating everyone’s leftover food this year). I’m kind of bummed that this is the second or third year in a row of not finding any super delicious things to eat. I had other things on my list, but by the time I got this I was just tired of spending so much money on junky food and just plain wasn’t in the mood to hunt anything else out. Next year…

Normally we do animal buildings first, but it was our last stop this year. We all loved this super sweet and gentle goat that LOVED getting his face and neck scratched!

Around noon I hit 10,000 steps and my ankle was DONE. Four straight hours of walking was quite the accomplishment. Despite the cool weather forecast, it was also pretty hot in the blasting sun and crowds. I think it was a successful trip overall, though. Shepard was difficult, but he could have been worse. Caden was FANTASTIC. How often can I say that?! And it was fun to spend the morning with Hudson.

Fortunately, I was able to fit in an afternoon nap because I had more plans Thursday night. I went to see the Rachel Hollis documentaryย Made for More. It was playing as a special event movie in theaters all around the country. It was really great! Very motivational and empowering for women to watch. They added an additional showing on August 13th, and I highly recommend seeing it! Or at the very least, reading her book!!

I planned to spend Friday morning packing for the weekend, baking a bunch of things, and doing more research for our LaCrosse vacation. BUT the internet was down again. Greg was still home so he called Charter and it took the entire morning to fix. And because our modem and router are in the kitchen, I couldn’t do my internet stuff OR my kitchen stuff. It was obviously nobody’s fault, but it was a very stressful and frustrating half a day of not doing anything I planned on doing. I hate when that happens.

On Friday evening, we headed to Hayes Resort in Fox Lake, where Greg’s parents rented a cottage for the weekend.

The boys were a little anxious and not fans of the concept of RELAXATION, but it was a pretty perfect night of sitting out by the lake. Not too hot, very few bugs, and a nice peaceful breeze.

The property definitely could have used some upgrades. For example, this was “the beach.” Kind of hilarious. But it didn’t stop the kids from loving a big pile of sand either!

I had some problems walking around because the entire resort is on a steep hill. My ankle does not like hills! I was pretty sore Friday night, but I wore my brace on Saturday and it was a lot better. I just kept having visions of myself falling and re-hurting myself all over again, so I had to walk at a snail’s pace.

We had tacos for dinner and ate at a picnic table next to the cottage. Then Steve and Shepard built a fire next to the water and we had s’mores for dessert. It was really nice!

Despite how gross the water looked, they realllly wanted to go in. It’s always so funny when they wade into water and hold their shorts up.

I stayed until about 7:45 and then went home to be with Annie. I was hoping to just chillax having the house to myself – which NEVER EVER happens at night. But I ended up cleaning the bathroom, doing a bunch of dishes, sweeping all the floors, make peanut butter fudge, and then finally settled in to have a snack, read, do a sheet mask, and go to sleep about 10:45.

I was hoping to sleep in a bit, but that never happens. I did, however, lounge in bed and read for an hour which was great! Then I was running around trying to make scones and get everything prepped to head back to the cottage.

I dropped Annie off at my mom’s for the day so she could have some fun and then joined everyone. Greg’s aunt and uncle and cousin and her family were there too. Sometime overnight they managed to find a boat they could use. The boys loved it, but it was a lot of work for Greg!

It was a pretty hot day, but also very windy which balanced everything out – a bit. All the kids had a blast running around and playing. The adults had a little more chance to relax! We had a big lunch of brats and hot dogs, which the guys expertly cooked over the fire, corn on the cob, fruit and veggies, chips, and a variety of desserts.

Shepard and Trevor were kind of off in their own worlds, but Caden and Melody were having so much fun playing together! Caden is always so good with younger kids and babies.

Sitting on the docks while Shepard “fished,” Caden swam, and Melody kept running back and forth between them. It was making me too nervous so I didn’t stay long. ๐Ÿ™‚

No qualms about the green water after he got in the first time. Ick.

It was a really nice day! I’m wildly impressed with how organized Steve and Cindy were with so many full meals all prepped and ready, plus all the towels and toys and chairs and accessories. I’m sure it was super exhausting, but they never let it show! We all had a really good time. Greg and I went back home for the night, but the boys stayed with them last night too.

That’s it for the week! It was packed! But really fun too. The way summer is supposed to be, right?!

Sunday Intentions

This week I just intend to have more fun! Tomorrow is our only normal day of the week with Greg at work and me madly trying to make sure everything is ready to go. Because early Tuesday morning I’m heading out on my solo Minnesota vacation! I revolved the trip around going to a Colleen Hoover signing/presentation. But I’m planning on checking in at all my favorite stores, eating a lot of delicious food, driving by our old house and apartment, possibly stopping in at Panera to see if anyone I know still works there 10 years later, and basically just enjoying 2.5 days of being entirely by myself! It will be AMAZING.

On Thursday I’m driving back and meeting up with Greg and the boys in LaCrosse for two more nights of family vacation. I have yet to plan that one out, other than noting a few restaurants that looked good. So that’s on the agenda for this afternoon. There’s A LOT on today’s agenda and I still have this terrible headache. We’ll see how much gets done!

Have a good week!

Saturday Reflections 07.28.2018

What a whirlwind of a week! With extra family in town, it ended up feeling like a vacation week for us as well. Greg even spontaneously took a few days off to join in the vacationesque mood of everyone else. We were so busy every day, and it was actually kind of awesome! I didn’t get any work done, but…it’s summer. I really don’t care anymore.

Anyway, I normally take a few notes every day on what happens so I’ll remember everything I want to write about on Saturday. But I managed to forget every single day this week. So I’ll just give a more brief overview this time around!

While I was writing last weekend’s post, Greg went to pick up his sister Sarah where she was being dropped off by a friend in Madison. We hung out at our house for awhile and then went to the in-law’s and had a little birthday celebration for her.

Greg’s sisters are twins, but we celebrated them separately this year since their arrivals were staggered. It was such a beautiful night and we had a really nice dinner out on the deck.

Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson were sleeping over at my mom’s house Sunday night, so the boys and I rushed over early Monday morning with a giant box of donuts to spend a little time with them.

Hudson’s not really up for our selfie game anymore these days. I’m never around him long enough for him to get comfortable snuggling up for a picture. Though he’s going to sleep over in a few weeks on one of his last days in Wisconsin, so maybe I can finally get a smile then. Or not.

It was kind of a melancholy morning over there. We all went on a walk around the block and then hung outside. The weather has been so great this week. I wish these temperatures and cool breezes lasted all summer long! But yeah, I’m still sad. That’s all I’ll say about it.

On Monday evening, I went to see the new Mamma Mia movie with Dana. We left early to get some food at the movie theater. I really liked the movie! I had zero expectations going into it, and then spent the entire time wishing I had re-watched the first movie before seeing the second. It was really good, though. And it was fun to do something with a friend who actually likes going out and doing things!

On Tuesday, everyone had their screens taken away and were “soooooo bored” so we ended up running errands in Madison, even though I wasn’t at all prepared with a list or meal plans. Probably should have just stayed home or shopped in town in hindsight! In the evening we met Greg’s family at the Amtrak station to pick up his other sister, Melissa. The plan was to go eat at this restaurant in Columbus called Cercis. I was SO excited about it. I thought it was the perfect place to have a nice family night out. And it’s basically one of the only open restaurants in Columbus right now. BUT, I failed to see that it’s closed on Tuesdays. So, we ended up at Culver’s. Where we eat alllllllll the time. Then came back to our house for cake and gifts.

The boys went back home with them to have a sleepover and Sarah brought them back on Wednesday and met me at the pool. It ended up being the hottest day this week, so it turned out perfectly. The water even felt great. Shepard was feeling a boost of confidence and even tried for his swim test – and passed!! He took it twice right at the beginning of summer and failed, so he hasn’t had any interest in trying again the last two months. But he did awesome this time! He spent the rest of the time fearlessly doing flips off the diving board. I’m so proud of him! It was a really fun time at the pool and I’m glad Sarah was able to come with us.

Greg went with his family to Oshkosh to visit some extended family Wednesday evening, while I stayed home with the boys. They played with their friends and I had a few hours to work. After they went to bed I had a movie and popcorn night with myself, watchingย I Feel Pretty.

Greg decided to take vacation days on Thursday and Friday, just because he has a lot of them left to use, apparently. We all went to the peach truck to stand in line to get blueberries. He got a taste of all the super exciting things we do in summer while he’s at work. ๐Ÿ˜› He took the boys to the pool in the afternoon and I headed to Madison to do a bit of shopping at Kohls and Marshalls. Then I met back up with them, Cindy, and Sarah at this event called The Summer Bodega. It was like an artisan craft fair mixed with food trucks and live music and a few kids’ activities. The only thing I bought were a few flavored sea salts, but it was fun to see all the unique offerings. Mostly we just enjoyed the food! Greg and Shepard shared a pepperoni pizza, Caden had kettle corn samples and egg rolls, I had a chicken taco with mango habanero salsa.

It was probably about an hour’s worth of entertainment, but Steve and Melissa decided to come join us after all, so we were waiting about another hour for them. The boys got big bowls of cookie dough and I had chips and guacamole, which were not very good at all. The boys had definitely had enough after two hours, so we said our goodbyes and headed out. It was kind of a rough end to what felt like a really successful week of family time. It’s disappointing how something like that always happens, casting a cloud over all the good times.

And then Friday. Oh, Friday. I was super excited about it because my best friend Dianne was flying in around 4:30 and I was going to pick her up and we were going to get dinner, then ice cream and a park, and then I’d bring her to her dad’s. And because Greg had a vacation day, I could leave a lot earlier. I headed out after she boarded her two-ish hour flight and went to Barnes and Noble to browse for awhile – my favorite thing to do. But then her flight ended up getting delayed, then unloaded, then delayed some more. After four hours of walking around B&N and Target, we concluded that I should just go home and her dad would get her and we’d adjust plans so we can spend time together before she leaves on Sunday instead. Anyway, totally not anyone’s but the weather’s fault, and I had a great time looking at books and just BEING ALONE for awhile. But it really sucks all our great plans had to be cancelled. We wanted to at least go to the same planned restaurant on Sunday, but JUST MY LUCK, that restaurant is closed on Sundays. Of course it is!

That’s been the week! I originally wanted to go to the farmers market this morning, but my ankle needed a break. (And I thought maybe driving to Madison 6 of 7 days this week was a bit much.) Thursday marked the five month anniversary of my ankle breaking (five months since surgery today). I’m feeling pretty discouraged because while I definitely believe I’m better than I was two months ago, I don’t think I’m better than I was one month ago. If anything, I feel worse. Maybe because I’m doing more? But if I do less, it hurts even more! I just find myself parking in the handicap places at every store I go to, when in June I actively tried to avoid it. I don’t know what’s going on and it’s frustrating. I want to get better. ALL better. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life having to constantly be thinking about how much my ankle can handle before making any kinds of plans. It sucks! I’m starting to get really worried about my all my upcoming mini vacations, and Cranberry Fest, and DC in October. Will I be better in September than I am now??

Anyway. In other reflections on the week – I didn’t make dinner a single time. Yikes!! I didn’t even make lunch since we ate at my mom’s on Monday, a drive thru on Tuesday, the boys were gone on Wednesday and I left it up to Greg Thursday, Friday,and today! Well, I must have fed the boys on Wednesday night, but I think we had sandwiches. Anyway, it was kind of awesome. But kind of terrible too (lol). I need to get back on that this next week because the week after I’m/we’re on vacation the whole week.

More tomorrow!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 07.22.2018

One more week of summer behind us. One week closer to school starting again. While this week wasn’t as emotionally destroying as last week, it was still very busy and kind of rough. My kids sure know how to push my buttons to wear me down. Overall, they’ve actually been behaving pretty well. But they need SO MUCH direction and corralling and negotiating and it just sucks the life right out of me. Especially since the worst of it happens before seven in the morning. I am DESPERATELY missing my alone time, missing my quiet mornings, missing having any semblance of control over my life without having to argue and plead and beg to make things happen. It’s EXHAUSTING. I don’t want to wish away the rest of summer because I feel like we haven’t even done any of the things I wanted to do yet. But I’m also pretty dang tired and the appeal of fall and new starts and having seven blessed hours to myself again is getting stronger every day.

Anyway, I will start my reflections with last Saturday, since I last wrote on Friday. It was a good day! My mom took the boys and brought them to Shepard’s friend’s birthday party at the pool. Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson met them there and they swam together. Meanwhile, Greg and I went to Milwaukee for his cousin Corrin’s wedding.

The wedding was at the Milwaukee Public Museum. It was really hot out, so they advised that we stay inside the lobby until right before the ceremony started. All the chairs were set out in a little tree filled courtyard that was really cute. The ceremony lasted about five minutes – or less, but hey, I’ll take it!!

There was a lot of down time in between the ceremony and dinner, so Greg’s uncle brought us over to the hotel where most of them were spending the night. We hung out with a lot of the family in their room and then went back to the reception at the museum. It was pretty cool because we had the whole museum to ourselves! There were tables set up in the old Milwaukee portion of the museum and food stations with a variety of unique dining options. It was definitely the most unique weddings I’ve ever been to.

I especially enjoyed the mini desserts! Overall, it was just a really great night. Possibly one of the only drama free weddings I’ve ever attended. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was originally bummed that kids were not allowed because the boys LOVE wedding receptions, but it ended up being great to have an adults only evening. We don’t get many of those!

On Sunday I decided to check out the Columbus farmers market and bought a giant pretzel and a package of bacon. Greg wasn’t feeling the greatest, which was unfortunate. We had our annual CDW paid for Mallard’s tickets, the game each summer where we get to sit in the TDS seats which include unlimited food. We take my parents every year as a Father’s Day present. Sadly, it was just SO HOT, nobody could enjoy it at all. Greg didn’t even watch any part of the game. He was walking around with the boys. I think we left in the third inning. It was disappointing because I usually have so much fun at this game each year. The weather just made it miserable, though.

Back at home we had a very low key afternoon, trying to cool off. I heated up and added salt and butter to the pretzel I bought in the morning. It was delicious! And it came with four different dips, which was awesome. I really wanted to go to this Ping Pong Float thing that was happening at the pool at 6:00. I planned on just bringing the boys because Greg still wasn’t feeling the best. But of course, 5:30 rolls around and the boys say they don’t want to go. I tried to explain how fun it would be and all the prizes they could win. Nope, didn’t want to go. My theory is that they didn’t want to go because I’M the one that did. I decided not to push it and just went about my work. At 6:20 they came running up to me begging to go to the pool. No! I was so angry! They just want the power and control over everything and I’m so tired of it.

On Monday morning I had that appointment with the podiatrist to check on my toe. She looked at it and said that it no longer looked infected, but if I want a better chance of it never happening again, she’d be happy to cut off half my toenail. I was like uh…no? It really felt like at this point it would be making the problem so much worse. The whole appointment was pretty bizarre and we left it with me saying I’d call her if I change my mind. I don’t think I’m going to change my mind, especially after googling exactly what a toenail procedure might look like…

Anyway, I’ve been trying to come up with healthier things to feed everyone during the day. So we stopped at the store for a few ingredients and I made my first green smoothies for lunch. I used spinach, pineapple, banana, and cantaloupe. They weren’t terrible! But I probably should have used some ice since none of those ingredients were particularly cold to begin with. I prepped a bunch of other smoothie bags for the freezer that I fully intended on using every day. I have yet to make a second batch.

Of course I counteracted my smoothies by making a twix pie to go with dinner. Anyway, most of Monday just turned out to be pretty stressful. I’m worn down by kids always around and ALWAYS needing things from me. I’m stressed out that I’m not getting any of my actual work done because other things constantly need my attention. I was also angry because when I told the boys about the plans for Tuesday morning – which were written very clearly on my big weekly calendar on the fridge to avoid these things happening – they both FREAKED OUT because they had a Minecraft date set up with their friends. I’m glad they’re having so much fun with their friends this summer, I really am. It does make my life easier, overall. But I feel like I’ve lost all control. I can’t plan anything without them feeling like it’s a huge conflict with their own plans. This kind of stuff wasn’t supposed to be happening yet when they’re only 9 and 7! We can’t even go on our morning walk with Annie without them constantly telling me we have to be back at a certain time. THEY ARE NOT IN CONTROL. And yet, they are.

Despite the freaking out, Tuesday morning went pretty smoothly. We left very early and went to Yahara Heights Dog Park in Waunakee. It was so beautiful! All the Dane County dog parks seem to be amazing! I so wish we didn’t have to drive 30-60 minutes to get to all of them. It’s basically a full morning commitment anytime we want to go to one.

We picked this out because it had water access, but it ended up being pretty scary for Annie. Up until now she’s only been in water twice and that was when it had a beach type opening. This one had huge rocks along the edges with a dock going into the water. Most of the dogs were just jumping off the dock. There was a ramp at the edge of the dock going into the water and Annie eventually walked on it and started swimming. And then she realized she didn’t know how to get back to shore or back to the ramp. She was pretty much drowning and flopping around going underwater while she was trying to figure out how to get back up to the dock. I had to reach down into the water and pull her in. The whole thing only lasted a few seconds, but it was pretty traumatic!

She got over it pretty quickly and started doing her crazy mode running through the long prairie fields and then started rolling around like crazy in the long wet grass. It was hilarious!

Tuesday was also Prime Day, so I spent most of the afternoon just wasting time online looking for details. It was also release day for the latest Colleen Hoover book. She’s my favorite author – the reason I’m going to MN next month so I can see her at a book signing for this book.

Caden had another therapy session on Tuesday afternoon. I’d say it went pretty well this time. Well, he spent the majority of the time talking to Caden at least. I like when that happens.

The only big event on Wednesday is that we took Annie to a new groomer that just opened up in Fall River. This is only Annie’s second grooming experience, but she desperately needed it. Her long hair gets SO matted around her legs and ears. She won’t let me cut them out myself, so grooming is necessary. I think it went really well! She looks all cleaned up now.

Thursday was just a busy day of doing all kinds of odds and ends. It was our at home date night, but also my craft night, so the date portion was pretty short! I made this BLT salad for dinner which was pretty delish. Then three of my friends came over for the night and we worked on our crafts!

Friday, more work. I had a custom order for a dark brown skinned Annie. I posted this picture on my Heartstring Annie page and people went nuts over her. I made two others to list on etsy, but so far no takers. Sales have really been down the last few weeks, which is frustrating. Especially after how well I did last month.

On Saturday we decided to go on another dog park adventure since the weather was beautiful and we didn’t have any other plans for the day. Annie spent most of the drive on a kids’ lap. Our next vehicle really needs to be a bit bigger! ๐Ÿ™‚

This sitting position was really funny until she opened the window with her paw and almost fell out the window on the beltline, which she surely would not have survived!! Fortunately I happened to be looking behind me and was able to grab her and shove her back in the vehicle! Annie is sure having a death-defying week!

This time we went to Lake Farm County Dog Park in Madison. Again – beautiful!

I really liked this one with its rolling hills, fields of wildflowers, and sand paved walking trails. It was a pretty quick and easy drive compared to some of the other parks we’ve been to, so I’ll definitely be back. I can’t wait until fall when I can take Annie on my own and we can stay as long as we want without any child whining! Plus the cooler weather and colored leaves – it’ll be amazing.

I spent the rest of the day working. I’m not doing so well on my no working on nights or weekend rule. It’s just so hard to get things done during the weekdays. So…whatever. I’ll do what I need to do, when I need to do it! I loved how these rainbow girls turned out. It’s another new pattern I made myself. So far no buyers either, though. ๐Ÿ™

Anyway, that was the week! Still a lot of emotions over the whole Hudson moving away thing. But…it’s happening and there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m sick of rehashing it over and over. I’m still very sad about the entire thing, especially with how everything happened. But, probably not appropriate to go too much into it on this public space, so I’ll leave it at that! We’re very sad.

This Week

Well, I thought the last few weeks were busy, but this next week is insane! This whole month just blows my mind. I realize MANY people are a whole lot busier than we are and that’s just their life and it’s fine. But we actively try to basically never have things on the calendar, committing to nothing lol. So to have something going on almost every day of the month feels crazy. I’m actually quite proud of how well I’m handling it! It’s good to stay busy right now, otherwise the days feel way too long.

Starting with today, my sister-in-law Sarah is in town and we’re having dinner with her and Greg’s parents in a bit. On Monday morning we’re going to hang out with my mom, Timmy, and Hudson for maybe our last time before they move. ๐Ÿ™ On Monday night I’m going to see the newย Mamma Mia movie with an acquaintance I’ve never hung out with before. She always seems open to doing girls night type things, so maybe this is the start of a friendship. On Tuesday night we’re picking Greg’s other sister Melissa up at the Amtrak and going to dinner somewhere. On Wednesday I’m planning to run errands in the morning and in the evening Greg is doing something with his family and I’ll be on my own with the boys. On Thursday the peach/blueberry truck comes again and I’m stocking up on blueberries. In the evening, if the weather is good, we’re going to this Summer Bodega festival in Madison. And on Friday, my best friend Dianne is flying in, so I’m picking her up at the airport and we’re having a night out before I bring her to her dad’s. Busy busy!! But it should be a lot of fun too. No annoying appointments this week! Just fun stuff, day after day.

My only intention for the week is to enjoy everything and not lose my cool, thinking about all the stuff I’m not getting done while I’m enjoying family and friend time. I hope to get a little bit of work done, but I’m not going to stress about it. I even let my customers know today that I’m no longer taking custom orders. It’s frustrating and insulting that after every time I list new dolls, I have a handful of people messaging me, asking me to make something very similar to what I just made, but smaller, cheaper, or very slightly different. It makes me angry and I’m refusing to deal with it anymore. At least in the next few months. I feel much lighter because of it!

Anyway, I think that’s it for now. Have a good week!

Friday Reflections 07.13.2018

It’s been an emotionally devastating week. Every single day brought bad news and I’m feeling a bit shredded at the moment, which is why I decided to write a day early.

The worst of it is that Hudson, our only nephew and the boys’ only cousin, and Timmy and Brittany, are moving out of the state. This news came as an absolute shock that none of us were prepared for. It’s heartbreaking. We’ve had one amazing year with Hudson in our lives and we assumed we’d be able to consistently be in his life – for the rest of his life. Doing every holiday and birthday and special event and random thing – together, at every possible opportunity, because it was so incredible to finally have that nephew/cousin/grandson in our family. That one year was so awesome for us, but it’s a year he’ll never remember. I have a whole lot to say about this, but it’ll surely get me in trouble. So I’ll just leave it that we’re incredibly sad, and hurt. It’s a loss I’m not sure we, as the collective rest of the family, will ever fully recover from. (Which sounds really dramatic. But, that’s how we’re feeling about everything that was said/ignored and is happening this week.)

Anyway. I guess I’ll get to the rest of the distressing news as I reflect on everything else that happened this week!

We started Sunday morning at the Swan Park Craft Fair in Beaver Dam. I go with my parents every year and we usually make a day of it, but timing got a little off once Hudson’s birthday party was scheduled the same day. So Greg and the boys came along with me and spent the time walking around the park looking for Pokemon while I browsed the booths. Everyone seemed late to set up this year, and a lot fewer booths than last. Every year it gets smaller and less enticing, which is disappointing! I walked through most of it three times and didn’t buy anything. Also, I realized that craft fairs are not places I like to be at by myself. It’s much more fun going with my mom who likes all of the same things as me.

Next, we headed to Milwaukee for Hudson’s first birthday party. He doesn’t want to be held for our selfies anymore, so I had to get on the floor with him.

He really liked the car we gave him!

So cute. I’m going to miss him so much. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ I didn’t know about the moving yet on Sunday, otherwise I would have taken a zillion pictures.

It was a really beautiful day and they have a huge front porch in the shade with a lake breeze. We all spent most of the party outside. All of their friends – who also have babies! – were there too. I was thinking how amazingly blessed they are to have the same friends in their lives for so many years, plus the incredible benefit of raising kids at the same stages. It just got me thinking about the friends Greg and I lost when we lived in Minnesota and we had Caden years and years before those couples even considered having kids. And how we honestly never really got it back. I made mom friends once Caden started school, but we’ve never made couple friends. And without that pre-kid friendship foundation, it’s so much harder to stay in touch with people, even friends that lives in the same town. I don’t know. Summer is a very lonely and stressful time for me. I wish things were different and I don’t know how to change them, not when other people aren’t feeling the same way. Anyway. It was a very nice party. Hudson is so loved.

Monday was the start of a very, very busy week. We started our daily morning walks with Annie, which I’m hoping to keep up every single day. I let the boys play Pokemon Go on my phone to distract them, and Annie and I get some exercise before it gets too hot. After the walk I had an appointment to get my toe looked at. She agreed that yes, it looked like an infection. She put me on an antibiotic and I have a follow up appointment with a podiatrist next Monday. I made the mistake of not letting the boys bring tablets to that appointment and they were being so ridiculously obnoxious. It could be argued that they should just be able to behave without a screen in front of them, but yeah – I’m never doing it again without the screens.

The rest of the day was me trying to work, trying to do food prep, trying to listen to an audiobook and failing. The boys and their friends were running through the house nonstop and I had to keep pulling the phone out of my pocket to push pause every two minutes. I know this is just summer life and I have to get used to it. But it’s so frustrating sometimes!! I also spent two hours that afternoon making jalapeno popper chicken and a peach crumble that pretty much took up all my food making energy for the entire week. I just don’t have it in me to make real meals by 5 every day. Sooo much work.

I finished the night at the dog park while Greg took the boys to the pool. All in all, it felt like the day lasted a hundred hours. It wasn’t a bad day, but it zapped me. It also made me really scared about the next 50 plus days of summer that are bound to be exactly the same.

On Tuesday I was trying to get the boys registered for school, but there were all kinds of glitches in the system. I finally gave up for awhile, but not after much frustration! I was trying to catch up with a lot of things online. I feel like those kinds of mornings are necessary, but I also think I’m going to need to stop banning myself from having them so often because I’m not getting any work done!

In the afternoon I had a haircut. I brought the boys and Annie to my mom’s for an hour and a half so I didn’t have to deal with them sitting there watching me. My hair looks pretty much the same. I don’t usually get haircuts in summer because I just wear it up all the time in the heat, but it wasn’t curling any more when I wanted it to, so I figured a trim was in order. I did a fast grocery run before getting them and dropping them off at Greg’s parents’ and then rushed back home for our at home date night. Greg picked up a pizza from Salvatore’s in Sun Prairie. They have (had…) a $12 take out special every Tuesday that we’ve been trying to take advantage of for like six months. It FINALLY worked out that we could do it. So delicious.

About an hour or two after Greg was walking around waiting for the pizza, about a block away there was a horrific gas leak and explosion in Sun Prairie. It was devastating for the community, especially because a man died in the fire. Parts of the city – including Salvatore’s – are still deemed unsafe to return to, four days later. The whole thing was so crazy and sad.

After the boys got back home I quickly repotted some hens and chicks Cindy gave me from her abundant plants. I found the perfect planter at Hobby Lobby last week. I’ve actually moved all my indoor plants outside for the summer. I think the lemon tree is much happier! I finally have some new leaves growing and the lemons seem to be growing faster than they did in the house. My tall jade plant from Cedarburg is not so happy. I need to stake it, I think.

On Wednesday morning I had a follow up appointment with my surgeon about my ankle. It ended up being a very long morning of just waiting around. Waiting to get checked into the hospital, waiting for the x-ray, waiting to go back for my appointment, and then a full 45 minutes of waiting in the room. Thank goodness for tablets that day! Even with them, Caden started demanding we just leave after half an hour. It was definitely stressful, especially since I was staring at my x-ray the entire time, worrying about how it looked worse than it did the last time two months ago.

After a very brief visit, the surgeon said that I’m healing at the pace he would expect. My range of motion is just about back to normal in three directions. Turning my foot outward is still hard because of the sprain recovery, which is still there four months later. Since the hardware is not bothering me, it should be able to stay in. Many people get it removed by choice, but it’s not what the doctors would prefer. I’m totally fine keeping mine in! He said that my lower breaks look really good, but the top one still has a gap. He wants to see me at the one year mark and if it’s still open like that, I’ll need to have another surgery to take bone from somewhere else to fill it in, and probably switch to a shorter plate (and have all those screw sized holes up and down my bone?!). This was NOT news I was expecting to hear. The more I thought about it, the more upset I was getting. I was scheduled for that appointment at the desk in January, but Greg told me I really better call back and see if I could get it scheduled in December instead. Because we definitely hit our deductible for the year in February and if I have to have another surgery it sure would be nice if it were free!! Not happening in January when we’d start the year over again with massive hospital bills. It was fine to reschedule, but the appointment is now only nine months after the injury, not really even close to the one year mark! Three months left to prove it’s filling in.

Anyway, I don’t want this to ruin my life, but I greatly dislike the possibility of another surgery happening in six months. Right before Christmas, no less. Presumably the recovery would be a lot shorter, but there would still be recovery! It’s just hard to wrap my mind around right now and be okay with it. But…it is what it is. I need to get better. Fully better. I’m so tired of feeling like half a person, never feeling comfortable or confident in even the simplest of daily activities. I want to go back to a life where I don’t have to factor my potential ankle pain into every decision I make. It SUCKS.

Anyway, on Wednesday evening I met Cindy at one of our favorite stores, Twisted Sister, for a “Sip and Savor” event. They were offering samples of weight loss coffees and drinks to try out while you shopped. I actually thought the coffee tasted pretty good, but it gave me the most horrible aftertaste that I still couldn’t get rid of a day later. So, not for me, unfortunately! We weren’t there too long, but it was fun to do something for me. Afterward I got some quick tacos for dinner and then spent like two hours wandering around Walmart, savoring my kid-free shopping time!

Thursday was more of the same. We actually went on a much longer walk that legitimately felt like a workout to me. I was proud of myself for powering through, even though it meant being pretty sore the rest of the day. I don’t think I could handle those longer walks every morning, but maybe twice a week for now. It helped we left at 6:30, before it got hot.

I tried to work some more in the morning. It’s been hard with the whole Hudson moving away thing hanging over everything I’ve done this week. It’s been so sad and confusing and heartbreaking. It’s hard to get motivated for anything when you’re crying half the day and just feeling emotionally wrecked. I tried to cheer myself up with a big java chip frappuccino. The mix made so much that I shared with the boys. Now they think they love coffee and Caden keeps asking me if he can use my k-cups. I suppose I should just let him and maybe he’ll realize actual coffee tastes a whole lot different than a powdered mix whipped up with mocha flavored cold brew!

Soon after I started working, I got some news that made me realize I needed to do a mega house cleaning and basically launder every item in our house. It was fine, not a big deal, but definitely not how I planned on spending my day, madly cleaning every room and doing fifty loads of laundry.

Caden had a playdate in the afternoon, so even though I was dead tired and not really in the mood, Shepard and I went to Madison for a few errands. It’s apparently custom order season because I’ve gotten a lot this week. Which often means needing to hunt down new fabrics or accessories. So we went to Joann’s and then stopped at Target. It really was an unnecessary trip that didn’t need to happen as immediately as I made it out to be. But Caden is the one who often makes shopping miserable and I had to take advantage of a daytime trip without him!

I worked late and finally finished up a batch of dolls. This morning I did all the photographing and listing. I’ve been trying all day to actually accomplish something more than that and it’s just not happening. Shepard ended up going to a friend’s for the bulk of the day and Caden was outside with his friend Willow all day, so I really have no excuse. I just haven’t been able to focus at all. It turned out to be a mistake, but for a brief time this morning I thought I was being blacklisted by a major prim pattern maker that I ADORE. She’s extremely popular and often has problems with copying, reselling, or not giving credit for her designs. When I realized I had been removed from her many facebook groups I started freaking out that I inadvertently did something to offend her and I just could not afford to have some sort of professional disaster on top of everything else that’s happened this week. But – it’s been resolved. WHEW.

So that’s been my week. I’m feeling pretty discouraged by everything. Summer is just so hard. I’m not my best mom self when my kids are around me 24/7. I’ve had ZERO motivation for making dinner in the evenings. And work! I can’t work! I can’t stand being interrupted every five minutes and I constantly feel flustered and stressed out, with my attention going in twenty different directions at once. I miss my friends and I kind of wonder if I really even have friends anymore. Nobody’s exactly asking ME to hang out with them either. I feel so disorganized and exhausted and alone. I want to enjoy summer and the freedom we all have together, but this week was just so busy with all those random appointments. Next week is completely filled up too. I’ve never had so many things on the calendar so many days in a row! EVER! It’s overwhelming.

Anyway. Just to actually reflect on what I wanted to do this week – make lists – it hasn’t happened yet. I DID make the “What can I do to earn a check?” list. But still no go on the dog park list or the summer bucket list list. I haven’t written out a list of things I want to do for myself either, but I have been looking around. I did buy a ticket for the one time Rise documentary about Rachel Hollis that I really wanted to go to. I was hoping to find someone to go with me, but had no idea who to ask, so I just went ahead and bought a single ticket. I also wrote a few other nighttime possibilities for things I might do.

Okay, time to sign off on this super long and depressing post! We’re about to go out to dinner with Greg’s parents and cousin who is town for the wedding we’re going to tomorrow. We have a very busy weekend ahead!

Saturday Reflections 07.07.2018

I know I am definitely in the minority here, but I really don’t like Saturdays. Even though I know every weekend I’m going to wake up feeling the same way, no matter how many pep talks and mindset tricks I try to perform on myself, I still end up being resentful and angry the entire day. It just seems so unfair that regardless of what day of the week it is, there is still going to be a mile long list of things that need to get done. And because we’re often more busy with family and extra things on Sundays, Saturday is the day where all the prep work for Sunday needs to be done, on top of a million other things. So while I’m spending every waking minute running myself ragged, everyone else in my family gets to have a day of leisure. And I can’t complain about it because Greg works really hard too and deserves to have down time. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s still a ton of stuff that needs to be done! I just hate Saturdays so, so much.

Anyway. I’m just completely exhausted with a throbbing ankle from stupidly walking laps around the dog park this morning, knowing full well how much I was going to need to be on my feet the rest of the day. And I’m frustrated that once again someone in my family decided to complain about a food item I was making this morning for Hudson’s birthday party tomorrow. Because apparently I am only ever allowed to make food that they want to eat, even when I’m making it with other people’s tastes in mind. Considering how many times this has come up in the last few weeks, I’m ready to throw in the towel with cooking in general. I give up, guys. Go back to shopping for and making your own food!

Okay, for real now – vent over. Sorry. On to my reflections!

Monday was jam packed with errand running. There were four different grocery/household stores I needed to shop at, and two fun stores I just really wanted to go to. Because of the heat, I did the fun stores first and spent way too much time at them. So I was racing through all the grocery stores and just managed to beat the boys home by mere minutes. I’m glad I was able to fit everything in, but it was a lot! I ended up with 11,000 steps on Monday, which is definitely my biggest walking day since I broke my ankle.

Tuesday was a big work day, trying to get some dolls done because I hadn’t had a sale in over a week. I also spent the day trying to find more creative uses for all my peaches that are quickly ripening past their prime! I made peach raspberry iced tea, a brie and peach grilled cheese, and peach salsa. I have to say between the pineapple, mango, and peach salsas I’ve made in the last few weeks, peach was definitely the one I liked the least. I kept meaning to make a pie or crumble, which is usually the first thing I do when I get so many peaches. I just haven’t had the time or energy to do the whole flash boiling thing to peel a ton of peaches. So much work.

Wednesday was the 4th of July, which is a pretty huge thing around Columbus. The in-law’s came over and we went to the parade, where I had spots saved since Monday. While the spot was shady when I laid down the blanket, it wasn’t to that point yet when we arrived. Caden was immediately throwing a fit because it was too hot. And it WAS hot. But it’s ALWAYS hot on 4th of July. We bought some food from the fire station for lunch and then Greg went back home to get umbrellas and spraying water bottles. The whole thing was quite an ordeal with a lot of moaning and complaining and not much enjoyment. I don’t think I’ll push everyone to go anymore. It’s not fun for anybody.

We had a few hours of down time after the parade to cool off. I took a nap. I’m sure everyone else was gaming. And then after a random short rain shower, we went to the big party we were invited to at Caden’s friend’s house. It was a little awkward for Greg and I because we didn’t know many people, but the boys had a BLAST. There was a huge slip n slide set up, as well as some sprinklers and an inflatable pool. They were having SO much fun with their gang of friends. We stayed about two hours and then came home and watchedย The Greatest Showman. We did a few sparklers and smoke bombs in the driveway and then headed out to the fireworks.

I wasn’t up for walking any more, so we drove to school and watched from the little park across the street. I look horrible in this picture! I thought that this is the first early summer I’ve gotten through without my allergies killing me. Now I think they’re just super late because they’ve been BAD this week. Especially Wednesday when I was outside all day long.

The mosquitoes were pretty horrific, so Greg was distracted constantly spraying bug spray, as if putting multiple layers on everybody would really help. Caden kept begging to just go home. Shepard was way more interested in playing with his glow sticks, which he kept accidentally throwing into the street. We finally gave up and left. I think overall, the boys had a good day. It was just frustrating for me that once again they proved how little joy they find in the things that kids are “supposed to” love on a holiday. I’m never that invested in this particular holiday, so it didn’t bother me that much. It was just a long, long day.

I was so wiped out on Thursday! As I’m sure most of the country was! Which was a bummer since it was my last day home alone for TWO MONTHS. I really wanted to do something special to mark the occasion, but I just couldn’t find the energy. I ran to get a few groceries in town and that was it. I didn’t even go out to lunch. It really kind of bummed me out! Then we had an at home date night and I could barely even move. We just watched tv and then Greg wanted to game so I did some more work.

And Friday – more of the same. Last day of summer school! I worked like crazy and just managed to finish up a big batch of dolls right before the boys got home. Then to celebrate we took them to this new theater that just opened in Madison to seeย Ant Man and the Wasp.ย It’s a brewhouse theater with a full menu and a long length of table in front of all the chairs. The boys had some kids meals and I had their soft pretzel. While it was a fun experience, I don’t really see myself choosing to go to that theater over the one in Sun Prairie that also serves food, has moveable trays that can go right above you without needing to lean way forward, AND has soft and comfortable reclinable seats. I’ll be very curious to see if they can stay in business. It seems pretty risky being only a few miles from the main theater.

Anyway – that was the week! Very busy. The boys are done with summer school now, though Caden was actually asking if he could sign up for second session just to take running again! I pointed out that he can go running anytime he wants – he doesn’t need to be in a class for it! Unfortunately (fortunately), it’s not offered second session. But maybe that desire to run will help motivate him to go out with me every morning when I need to walk Annie. I’m feeling pretty anxious about how we’re going to survive the next two months. But – more on that tomorrow!