Saturday Reflections 03.30.2019

Hello! It is already Saturday evening. This day has flown by. Probably because of my hour of reading in bed and then two hour nap this afternoon. Lack of sleep is once again catching up with me. Shepard is still coughing at night. Greg is still going on his two plus week cold and blowing his nose at night. I’ve slept about every other night from sheer exhaustion, but the nights in between are rough. I hope that once spring officially comes around to stay, maybe things will get better?? Though I can already feel my own allergies starting to seep in, so soon I’ll be awake at night with a whole new set of problems!

Anyway! It’s been a pretty low key week. I ended up running my errands on Monday morning in pretty weird places – Trader Joe’s and a gigantic Monona Walmart I’ve only been to once before. Sometimes I get pretty tired of going to the same set of stores week after week, even though they generally have everything I need. Hopefully I finally got Trader Joe’s out of my system for awhile and I can stick closer to home for the next few weeks!

Tuesday – worked. Caden has Chess Club after school, so I surprised Shepard with a steaming cup of coffee for when he walked in the door. He was in such a good mood! His temperment lately is always one extreme or the other. He’s either the happiest kid you’ve ever seen, or the most outraged and stubborn one. He wore tank tops and shorts to school every day this week because YES 34 DEGREES IS WHEN YOU CAN WEAR SHORTS. It was in the 20’s almost every morning when we walked to school. I give up. If he’s cold, it’s not my fault and I’m not going to worry about it anymore.

On Wednesday I finished up a batch of springy dolls. I’ve decided my customers aren’t interested in Easter. Which is unfortunate, though I myself am not that interested in decorating for Easter either this year, so I guess I can understand. I think I’m going to focus on spring and random themed dolls for the next few weeks.

Yoga on Wednesday was pretty challenging again. So many poses that were really irritating my ankle. It’s so discouraging how one split second of stepping in the wrong place in the wrong way has managed to alter the course of my life. I keep thinking about the x-ray technician that told me it took a good five years for her broken ankle to feel back to normal. I was so upset at her for telling me that at the time when I was in so much pain, but now I’m starting to wonder if five years is even an optimistic outlook. I feel like I’m going to have this pain forever and it ticks me off! I think that in general yoga is really helping the rest of my body feel better, though. I’ve been doing it at home every few days, just on my own to stretch out tight muscles. I don’t think I’ll take this class again when the session is over, but I’m hoping to incorporate it a lot more often into my life at home.

Annie had her annual vet check up on Thursday morning. She’s just 1-3 pounds a teeny bit overweight, but I’m guessing it’s just from winter and months of barely getting any exercise. (Plus she’s been being SUPER naughty lately and stealing as much people and cat food as she can get away with when nobody is looking.) Otherwise everything else checked out perfectly. The vet was amazed at how great her teeth look. I also had them change the paperwork, so Annie now OFFICIALLY 4. 🙂

I finished up another batch of dolls on Friday morning. I just bought this fabric and wanted to use it right away. So cute! I’ve really been enjoying straying from traditional red striped legs and red hair these last few months. It’s so much more fun branching out to other colors. My customers seem to be pretty receptive to it too. Maybe it sets me apart from other dollmakers. This whole batch sold out within minutes. Always so validating and exciting when that happens! (Until I have to deal with all the disgruntled customers that missed out.)

We didn’t have anything on schedule for this weekend, so I convinced Caden to go on a lunch date with me. We went to Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace and Salsa Bar.

I’ve only been here once before, probably at least six years ago. Compared to the delicious array of tacos I had last Sunday at Bel Air Cantina, these were about twice the size, but also a lot less flavorful. The restaurant was also packed and we could barely hear each other or the waitress. We did enjoy the salsa bar, though! We both liked the salsa verde best. Overall, it was way too much food. And Caden had really no interest in being there with me. He did come willingly, but refused to do anything else I had suggested after and didn’t engage with any topic I tried to talk with him about. I’m still glad we went, but I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time driving that far into Madison just to eat and come back home.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good week overall. My emotional state has leveled out a bit, I think. I’m still dealing with some stuff friendship wise that it’s hard to come to terms with. But…it’s okay. That’s life, right?

Saturday Reflections 03.23.2019

St. Patrick’s Day kicked this week off – usually one of my favorite days of the year. This year it was kind of a disaster, which is why I didn’t end up writing my usual Sunday post. I did manage to get everyone ready and wearing their limited amount of green clothing so we could go to the local Catholic school’s pancake breakfast. They cooperated for that. And then nothing else. The rest of the day was just a huge whopping disappointment. Greg was supposed to go to D&D, but it got cancelled. He was at the start of a bad cold that doesn’t seem to be any better a week later, so also – not in a very good mood. I had plans to take the boys for a late lunch at Bel Air Cantina. We were last there on my birthday and they both said it was the best restaurant they’d ever been to. Of course when I told them the plan they both immediately started arguing against it. After having such a terrible week already, I just gave up. I was so angry at them for NEVER EVER cooperating with something really special I had planned. Even as kids, their agenda is always going to be better with no room for compromise. I’m so sick of fighting it. Forcing them to do something they don’t want to do just makes everyone even more miserable. I was so upset the entire day and before they went to bed I tried to explain how much it hurts me when they do this and it just went over their heads. Between me not wanting to be near them and Greg being sick, they got to just play games all day – best day ever, right? Anyway, it’s done and over with now, but it sucked, big time.

After feeling so emotionally distraught the week before, this week I was all about making a cleaner and healthier space in my head, while also working on cleaning out my physical spaces. Monday was my usual errand running day and then I started working on cleaning most of my shelving units. I had planned to finally organize the family room – giving up on Greg ever getting around to it, despite how badly he wanted a room to do up himself. But of course after he saw that I bought bins to fix things on my own, he slowly started taking over. I don’t think that room will ever be the way I want it to be – not when it has to serve so many purposes. We get in the house through that door, all our outdoor gear and backpacks and dog stuff are piled around it, we eat in that room, do homework in there, we watch tv in that room, we play video games in that room, we charge all electronics in there, Annie’s kennel and toys and food are in there. It’s basically impossible for it to ever be clean and tidy and bright and happy, the way that I long for. I’d settle for something just a lot less clutter-filled. Probably won’t happen for 11 more years once kids are out of the house.

I wasn’t being especially efficient about it, but I spent most of the week just trying to declutter my own areas. I rearranged my bookshelves to make space for all the books I had piled around the living room. I filled up three boxes of books for a future garage sale. I’d like to eventually do a full out sewing room clean up, but that was way too overwhelming to take on this week. I also cleaned every single piece of bedding in the house, which took a solid day. And I gave myself some grace to just rest and read and take a few naps. Between Shepard having mysterious coughing fits all night and Greg blowing his nose all night, not a lot of sleep is being had this week.

Not to drag on with all of the sucky parts of life for another long weekend post, but it’s also been an extra hard week with the boys and their behaviors. I was listening to a podcast last night about the assumptions you make about people and one of the things that instantly jumped to my mind – I assume other people never have the kinds of temper fueled fights with their children the way that we do. I try not to write about it much anymore since my kids are old enough to find my blog if they wanted to and I should try to respect their privacy in areas like that. But…it’s been a really bad week, with both of them. Caden’s reverted back to behaviors we haven’t seen since last summer and years past. It’s so discouraging and I just don’t know what to do about it. The older, the bigger, the stronger he gets… I have no control.

Anyway. Let’s just say I was very excited to go to yoga on Wednesday night to get out of the house. The teacher said she was going a bit easier on us again, but this was the first class where I kept glancing at the clock because we seemed to be practicing forever. My ankles were already sore when I got to class, and so many of the poses were really irritating it. But I survived. My mom and I went out to a late dinner afterward, which was super delish.

One of the most exciting things that happened this week – IT WARMED UP! Just about all of the snow and ice are gone too! We walked to school every morning this week and it was amazing! We also went on evening walks a couple of times. Shepard’s new favorite thing is playing soccer or basketball at the middle school. So we’ve been walking over to watch. Annie loves it!

Another exciting thing that happened this week – we planned our anniversary vacation! I wasn’t sure if it would happen this year between busy life in general and our upcoming air conditioner purchase. But we decided to prioritize it and make it happen. And even though it’s not super ideal for our pet and child caretakers, we’re actually going in the beginning of May instead of putting it off until late July when it next made sense to go. We’re going to Colorado! Neither of us have ever been, or even know much about it, other than it’s really pretty! We’re spending five nights around Denver. It should be really fun! And it’s coming up so fast!

On Friday I forced myself to get back to work. After working all day I finished up four more Easter dolls. And came to the conclusion after three batches of mostly unsold dolls (after almost immediately selling out of all other batches this year), my customers don’t actually want Easter dolls. So that might have been my last, unfortunately. It could just be that I’m not promoting myself very well either. I’ve been in just a weird place with everything lately. I know I should try SO much harder to sell myself. It just doesn’t always feel like a priority.

Today is Annie’s 4th birthday! Technically, we have no idea when her birthday is, or how old she is. But two years ago today is the day she was found as a stray, so it’s the date on her paperwork. Technically also, the paperwork says she’s 5. But the two different vets who saw her gave the ages of 3 and 1, so we went with 2, making her 4 now. 🙂 It’s also Caden’s 10.5 birthday. We usually try to make half birthdays kind of special, but Caden ended up getting invited over to a friend’s house for a good chunk of the day. We might still go out to dinner, but I’m too nervous to break the news to them when they’re outside playing with their friends. It won’t be well received, treat or not.

We gave Annie a bunch of new toys and then Shepard, Willow, and I took her to the dog park for an hour. We haven’t been there all week because of the extra walks. It was the first time there in months with no snow or ice and Annie was in heaven! It was solid mud, but we went early enough in the morning that it was still frozen over from the night.

And that’s about it! Greg and I just finalized our car rental for our trip, so we’re officially set on everything except the details on what to do while we’re there. Any suggestions?! I have of course already looked up at least ten different restaurants. Always the highest priority!

Saturday Reflections 03.16.2019

I think I’ve cycled through almost every human emotion this past week. Elation, profound sadness, resentment, joy, fear, loneliness, confusion, anger. It’s been a weird week. A busy, emotional, weird week.

I was already feeling pretty off at the start of the week, so I decided to take Monday as a fun day for myself. I ran my necessary errands first thing and then drove around Madison to go to all my favorite stores. I treated myself to a delicious lunch at a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to for ages. It was a super busy day, but it felt good to do something for me.

Even though I was completely exhausted, I decided to go to that first Scrabble Club meeting. I was on the fence about it, but decided I want to be known as a woman of my word and I said I’d be there, so I went. Shepard was in a pretty horrific mood (which is apparently the norm now that he’s eight), so I just took Caden. And it was so fun! I was nervous about playing with strangers, but I genuinely had a really great time. Caden liked it about half the time and then got fed up that he wasn’t playing with the adults. I wasn’t positive any other kids were going to be there beforehand, so I had him prepped for either scenario and of course he just assumed he’d be playing with the grown ups. Maybe next time. Though I also don’t really think he’s emotionally mature enough for it, as the biggest sore loser of all time. Greg and I played with him for an hour and a half long game on Tuesday night and he was throwing fits after every turn. So…I’m not sure he’ll be going to any more Scrabble Club meetings. But I definitely will! It was awesome just doing something FUN with a group of people.

Tuesday during the day was pretty uneventful. I worked. I spent a long time making a big dinner again. And Scrabble all evening.

Wednesday was probably my last day at the dog park for awhile. It was about 75% solid ice and 25% gushing mud. I can’t really pinpoint what exactly was wrong, but I was in a pretty terrible mood all day Wednesday. It was so gloomy outside too. I just want spring to really be here, without all this in between weather.

I changed things up and took a short morning nap because I had slept so poorly again. Jack and Annie were feeling pretty friendly!

Jack had his ultrasound on Wednesday afternoon. $450 to tell me what they had already assumed – he’s getting old and his kidneys are starting to fail. I guess I’m glad to know it’s not cancer or some kind of disease that would significantly shorten his remaining lifespan. But never fun to fork over that kind of money for anything. He’s trying out some prescription foods now. Poor guy was SO drugged when I picked him up. I waited until the boys got home so I could take them with to comfort him in the car. They both had a hand reached into the carrier to pet him on the drive back, it was really sweet.

I was rushing around to get my first Easter batch finished up and photographed and listed before heading to yoga. And then instagram and facebook broke down, much to everyone’s extreme annoyance.

Yoga was good! I liked it even more than last week. She said she was gentler on us. It didn’t really feel like it at the time, but I wasn’t as sore on Thursday as I was last Thursday. I still wish it didn’t take up my entire Wednesday evening, but I’m liking the class a lot.

Thursday I needed another break. And ACTUAL break, at home, with no responsibilities. I was planning on just reading and relaxing all day, but then I spent most of the day in the kitchen. Which was fine. It was Pi Day, I had to!

I made a grasshopper pie and then an apple galette since I knew three of the grandparents weren’t going to eat the mint one. Always need to make sure everyone is happy when it comes to dessert making!

We met Greg’s parents at Culver’s for an early dinner and then headed to Science Night at Shepard’s school. He partook in some of the activities and spent most of the time trying to hang out with his friends while ignoring the six of us that were there to be with him! Afterward we went back to our house to eat the pie.

On Friday, unfortunately, school was cancelled due to flooding and because the buses were needed to help people evacuate their homes. I read somewhere that this is the biggest snow melt in 130 years. Cities all over Wisconsin are flooded right now after a big spike in the temperature Wednesday and Thursday. It’s really sad how much damage all the flood waters are doing.

Meanwhile, Greg had three different air conditioning companies coming in all day to get quotes on installing a real a/c this year. They’re expensive! Plus because we have two furnaces we’d have to get two air conditioners if we want to cool the whole house. We’re not fully committed yet, but I think we’re going to get one this year for the main level and keep using window units upstairs at night. Maybe we’d get an upstairs unit a few years down the road.

We went on a walk Friday night to check out the flooded streets. Three of my friends live further down this street.

River Road, where we lived for five years in our apartment, has now been completely evacuated. The entire street is under water. We happened to get there right when a news anchor was live on the scene. The waters are expected to continue rising in the next few days. It’s really so sad.

Today there was supposed to be a Winter Fun Day for Shepard’s school, but it was cancelled since the road to get there is flooded and blocked off – plus most of the snow is gone. So we went on a date instead, since it was one of my goals for the month. Though it was actually Shepard’s idea. Totally out of nowhere the other day he announced he wanted to go to Mod Pizza with me. So we went!

We stopped at Marshall’s after – because I always have to go to Marshall’s. Then he insisted on looking for new shoes. He didn’t really NEED them, but Caden got new shoes earlier this week (he DID need them), and Shepard has been obsessing over it. So we went to Kohls and Famous Footwear and finally found some that he is very happy with. We finished our date at Target getting some Starbucks frappuccinos. It was a really nice little date!

So maybe I shouldn’t have started this post by telling you how emotional I was all week without ever explaining why. It’s complicated? I don’t know. I’m fed up with winter and ice and feeling trapped. I had to sign whatever the opposite of a DNR is for Jack when I dropped him off at the vet and it seriously freaked me out that he might die and I’d never see him again, or get terrible news when I picked him back up. We watched Pen15 all week, and it brought up so many emotions about childhood and friendship and loss and how desperately I miss that time in my life when I felt so connected and needed and wanted by my friends. I’ve also just been thinking about how much I emotionally depend on some people and the feeling is absolutely not mutual. And that makes me…weak? Pathetic? A total loser? I wish I were a stronger person on my own. The boys have also been insanely stubborn lately, arguing about EVERYTHING. I had a ten minute stand off with Shepard before our date because he refused to bring his coat in the car. It was 33 degrees outside and above freezing means no coat, don’t you know? He also informed me that when you turn eight you don’t need to listen to your parents anymore. We’ve also been talking about our so far nonexistent anniversary vacation this summer and I’ve been feeling very resentful about how hard it is to plan a trip when we have two kids and three pets and two different sets of grandparents to arrange everything between first. It’s the main reason I go on most trips by myself. SO MUCH EASIER. Anyway. That’s the gist of it. Or at least all the not so fun stuff.

And that was my week! More tomorrow. 🙂

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 03.10.2019

This past week has truly been an exercise on keeping myself focused on just one task or intention at a time. I’ve come to the realization that I’m a much happier person when I’m not trying to do a million things at once. Unfortunately, I’m really dropping the ball on so many things. Mainly, probably, all things social media. I have a sewing business that I should be whole heartedly promoting every single day. I don’t. I have this blog that if I truly wanted to grow, I’d be highly prioritizing my instagram account and start by actually letting my regular facebook friends know I do this. But, I don’t. It’s a little niggling thought that pops into my head a handful of times a day and I just dismiss it. I’m hoping that at some point in the future I’ll have more head space and actual time to make these things happen. For now, it’s more about survival, and all the smaller things just have to be ignored. It’s the only way I’m not going to burn out. And honestly, even saying that, I feel like I need to justify myself. I know that I do less than a lot of people. I’m often ashamed to admit things like how I take a nap almost every afternoon, or how I take random days off just to go to my favorite stores, or go on full blown vacations totally on my own. I hate people thinking I’m lazy or spoiled or entitled. I would like to think that I’ve grown enough as a person in the last few years to realize that I may not be amazing at everything, but I know how to focus myself and work incredibly be hard to be great at the few things I choose to direct my energy toward. This last week has really come down to picking and choosing where my time would best be spent. I think I had some really good days this week. And I had a few days where I was really stressed out and angry for not doing as much as I expected from myself. Always that search for the elusive state of complete balance. I’m doing my best.

Anyway. This past week. 🙂 On Monday, I finally got that cavity filled. I left early to do a bunch of errands and fully intended on taking myself out for a great lunch afterward. I somehow completely forgot that my mouth was going to get numbed at the dentist. The whole procedure was fast and painless, I just couldn’t feel my face for FIVE MORE HOURS. Which means I couldn’t eat or drink or talk. I really felt cheated out of a reward I was highly anticipating! I was also starving since I hadn’t eaten anything at all before the dentist and couldn’t feel my face until dinner. So annoying!

Tuesday was the first Chess Club at the middle school. When I first brought the idea up to Caden he immediately said yes and then immediately rethought it and refused. Too late, bud! He really needs some more social activities. He had such an amazing time last fall at lego league, but it’s not offered in spring. I think a lot of his refusal to check it out is that he didn’t know how to play. So Greg taught him on Monday night and on Tuesday morning he was all about it and taught Shepard. I thought chess was hard to play?! Apparently not to them! When I picked him up afterwards that day he was the happiest I’ve seen him in ages. He LOVED chess club and is now angry it’s not offered twice a week!

Every morning this week I took Annie to the dog park. I decided that even if it continues to be cold or icy or windy, we can spare 10 minutes of our morning there. The fresh air and sunshine do me good, and the chance to run around is great for her. Unfortunately, every single day the only other dog there is another dog named Annie who LOVES to steal things out of people’s hands and destroy them. Last week she shredded my newest and most expensive glove to pieces. A different time she full blown charged and jumped at my body to try and get my phone out of my hand. So now I have to stand there with my hands in my pockets and not even think about taking my phone out of my purse!

It was super chaotic after chess and art clubs, but I recruited Shepard’s help with dinner on Tuesday night. He went from whining about how starving he was to smiling and ready to help!

I wish I had taken a picture of our dish pile in addition to our finished dinner. It was pretty insane. But our curry turned out delicious and our homemade naan was amazing! Greg microwaved the rice and did all the dishes, so it was almost a full family effort. And it was fun! So much more rewarding to all work together to get a great meal on the table. I’m hoping I can get Shepard’s help a couple of times a week.

Have you heard of morning pages? I’m not sure who thought up the idea, but the point is that every single morning before you do anything else you write three pages of whatever comes to mind – a total mental dump which will better prepare you to deal with your day. I decided to give it a shot this week – except on my laptop instead of on paper. I actually think it really helped! I was super focused every day, plus it’s always so cathartic for me to write out what’s going on in my head. It’s a practice I’m hoping to continue in the next few weeks to see if it really changes things for me.

On Wednesday I was supposed to have lunch with my friend Katy, but we changed it to coffee instead. I slept very poorly the night before, so it was good that I had an afternoon to rest up for my first yoga class that night! Yoga was interesting. It was definitely a lot more intense than I was expecting. We found out after the class that the instructor and everyone else have been doing this together for seven years. So my mom and I were definitely the odd ones out. It was kind of disappointing since she clearly didn’t teach it as a class for beginners. But I think overall I did pretty well and I’m looking forward to the next one.

In between everything else I was working hard this week. Bound and determined to get these twelve St. Patrick’s Day dolls done. This is when the stress and anger came into my week. I know better than to make this many dolls at once. It’s so discouraging to me how long it takes to complete them. Instead of creative freedom, I start feeling like a machine just churning out mundane work. I still adore the finished product, but I don’t enjoy any of the process. Of course I had the great reward of selling eight of the twelve within just a few minutes of listing them. But that in itself is discouraging too. If I had more time, if I were faster, if I were getting dolls out every few days, I’d be making so much more money! I’d be keeping my customers so much happier. I’d actually be growing my business. I mean, it IS growing, I just can’t keep up with the demand. And I don’t know what to do about that when I’m also trying so dang hard to keep my life balanced between work and family and health and happiness. I’m only one person and I can only put out quality work at the speed at which I’m working now. And I have to accept that. But some days, it’s really hard.

We had our long awaited date night on Friday at the newish Sun Prairie restaurant Tipsy Cow. Unfortunately, being a Friday, during Lent, in Wisconsin, they had a Friday night fish fry and it was crazy packed. We were put at a table next to the bar with people standing all around us. It was so loud, we only saw the server when she took our order, and it wasn’t romantic at all.

Greg wanted to leave, but I really wanted to stick it out. And the food was great! The pretzel appetizer was so/so, but I thought my turkey sandwich and the fries and dip were delicious. It just would have been a lot better to go any other night of the week. We picked up some Dairy Queen blizzards on our way home and finished the night by watching Bohemian Rhapsody.

On Saturday we went to see Captain Marvel. I thought it was okay. But it was nice to do something as a family. The rest of the day was completely uneventful.

And today I met my friend Laura for a succulent planting fundraiser. We actually met up to do this last Sunday, but we got there too late and the plants were sold out. So we met again for their re-do event today and had a drink afterward. I really like how my plants turned out!

Sunday Intentions

This upcoming week is even busier, but hopefully the last kind of packed week for awhile. Though I keep thinking that and then the calendar just blows up!

Tomorrow is errand day, as usual. Though I might squeeze a few fun things in, depending on how I feel and if I actually get enough sleep tonight. Then we’re maybe going to go to a local Scrabble Night that’s starting up. It’s iffy because it doesn’t start until 7 and we’d have to bring the boys, so if they’re having a bad night then we can’t be taking them out. So maybe I’ll just go. Or…we’ll see. I’m feeling very noncommittal about all plans tomorrow beyond getting groceries because our fridge is once again empty.

One Wednesday Jack is going in for an abdominal ultrasound. His blood test at the vet last week didn’t raise any red flags, but we would like some answers about why he keeps losing weight and why he drinks water nonstop all day long. The vet said the ultrasound could show a couple of different things that couldn’t be tested in any other ways. And then I have yoga in the evening.

Thursday is Science Night at school. That’s the calendar that’s really blowing up in the next month and a half – school events. So many of them. It’s also Pi Day! So I better get planning out my pie. I realized the other day how little baking I’ve done lately. It used to be such a massive part of my life.

And Saturday, if we still have snow by then, is the rescheduled Winter Fun Day for Shepard’s school.

Lots to keep us busy this week. Lots going on at night. Which means I have to be really good about staying focused during the day. Besides tomorrow, I’m just planning on working hard again. I’d like to put out two smaller batches of Easter dolls this week. I think I can do it.

That’s about it! Thanks for sticking with me, even though this blog and writing regularly seems to be one of the things I just can’t get my act together on. I’m doing my best!

Saturday Reflections 03.02.2019

Look at this, I’m actually writing a Saturday Reflections post ON SATURDAY.

I am so behind, guys. These end of the month/beginning of the month blog posts really seem to pile up on me at the worst time. I mean, I know they’re coming. But with this week also being basically the first week all month I could WORK, it was really hard to prioritize blogging. It’s so frustrating. I know this whole thing is entirely voluntary and nobody is making me write but myself. I just like to be on top of things and it stresses me out to no end that I feel like I’m currently about six blog posts behind where I should be. But…this is my start. Well, technically, my book post a few hours ago was my start. I’m avoiding my end of the month February and beginning of the month March posts to just get right down to business with this last week of my life.

It was honestly a pretty crappy week. Or at least the first three or four days of it. I had a cold and it was only adding to all the sleep issues I’ve had these past couple of months. I was trying to work as much as possible, while also needing to run a bunch of errands, while feeling like crap and being totally exhausted. I was also dealing with some heavy misunderstandings and miscommunications with Greg, and if you don’t feel like you have your partner’s support through the rough times, the depression is only magnified. But I’m not going to dwell on that because I think we’ve resolved things. It just made the first few days of the week really, really hard.

I am definitely fed up with my sleep problems, though. Earlier this week I declared ENOUGH and took every measure I could think of to try and make it better. I started drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea every night and taking melatonin before bed. I forced myself to stay up until at least ten every night – for awhile I figured I should go to sleep as early as I felt like it to try and catch up, but that only resulted in me being fully awake by 3:30 or 4 every morning. I also bought lavender linen spray for my pillow. I ordered a new white noise machine/oil diffuser and diffuse sleep blends of essential oils every night. I guess it’s a little early to tell, but my efforts have been mixed. Last night I actually got a full eight hours of sleep, which is almost unheard of! But the night before was a very choppy five. I’m betting once I start getting more fresh air and exercise every day it’ll get better. Unfortunately, another polar vortex is hitting us tomorrow, so daily walks are still a distant dream.

I finally finished up some dolls on Wednesday morning – my first completed batch in weeks! It felt awesome to sell all seven of them within a few hours. But then I’m always brought down by the people who are angry they didn’t catch my announcement and missed out on a doll they wanted. I literally cannot make everyone happy, which SHOULD mean I don’t even try. But I like to make people happy. It really weighs on me when I can’t. Besides just writing, I feel incredibly behind on doll making. It’s so hard to accept my limitations as a solo artist with a very busy life. Especially with some big holidays coming up. I’m just now working on St. Patrick’s Day dolls, when I should be well into Easter. Especially since I didn’t make any Easter dolls last year so soon after my ankle break. My customers are so anxious for them. I also have a list of people who have contacted me in the last month about custom orders. I really hate custom orders. I try to avoid them for most of the year. But I know they’re waiting and I’d like to get to them soon.

Speaking of my ankle break – Tuesday was the one year anniversary of it happening, Thursday one year since the surgery. It really brought up a lot of PTSD feelings for me. Especially with the solid layer of ice covering every single outdoor surface. Even though I can walk again, I still feel so trapped by my circumstances. I don’t even remember the last time I walked the boys to school, or to the post office, or even around the block. I currently can’t even walk to my own sidewalk because the driveway is so icy. On Monday morning I slipped twice – at the post office and the gas station. Places I can’t avoid! I know part of all this is just in my head and my extreme fear of something like that ever happening again. But this also feels like a ridiculously hard winter. So much snow, so much cold, so much ice. It has taken its toll. Annie’s been pretty sad about it too. On Wednesday afternoon I got so fed up that I gathered up the boys and we all went to the dog park for twenty minutes, despite the cold and wind and ice. It felt so great to be outside. I miss it so, so much.

On Wednesday night I did something I feel like I should probably be doing a whole lot more often – I recruited Shepard’s help with dinner. My feelings on making dinner every night are pretty mixed. Some days I absolutely love it. Some days I get pretty resentful that it’s always on me. Shepard is always eager to learn new kitchen skills, so I finally took him up on it and taught him how to make tortillas. He also sliced up the peppers on his own. I don’t often have the patience for it, but I’d like to try a lot harder to teach him how to make more things. It’d be so awesome if in a few years he could take over dinner a night or two a week!

On Thursday I just remember being really busy! Two days later, I don’t even know with what!! But Shepard had an eye appointment after school – his vision is getting better, no new lenses (or patching) needed. We went to dinner at the bowling alley with Greg’s parents which was great.

And Friday was the big Vintage Shop Hop. It’s this huge event that over 500 stores in Wisconsin and Illinois took part in this year! I always go with my parents (except last year, right after surgery). I love the treasure hunt of finding unique things. My house seems pretty complete in terms of decorating, so this year I was on the lookout for doll accessories and inspiration. I think I was pretty successful! It was a good day, I just didn’t feel that great. Very little sleep combined with cold medicine that apparently gives me a stomachache and a headache that never went away.

After my much better night of sleep last night, my mom and I went out to a couple more local stores this morning. I wasn’t as successful, but it was still fun. Of course there are a million other things I could have been doing, but the shop hop only comes around once a year, so it was worth another half day of responsibility avoidance!

The only other big news of the week – I booked my flight to Texas in August! I bought my ticket to Book Bonanza way back in October, but I’ve been waiting on flights for logistical reasons. I then decided since this is currently the only vacation on the books for the rest of the year, I’m going to darn well make the most of it! So I’m extending the trip an extra two days and staying in a fancy downtown Dallas hotel. Even though it was totally unnecessary being five months away, I spent a good two or three hours this afternoon researching the best restaurant options to check out while I’m there. I am going to eat so much Tex Mex that week. It’s going to be AMAZING. I’m super excited about the whole thing!

And that’s about it for my week! Now that life is maybe settling down a bit, I can get back in the habit of writing when I’m supposed to write! After I catch up, hopefully in the next few days. 🙂

Saturday Reflections 02.02.2019

What a weird week! It started with a snow day on Monday. I’m not sure exactly how much snow we ended up getting, but maybe 8-10 inches. Enough that it was a pain to clean up! I was still feeling pretty weak from my sickness, so I didn’t do much to help. I didn’t really do much of anything that day.

Our new neighbor was also snowed in, so she invited the boys and I to come over and see her new kittens. They were adorable!

Tuesday was our one normal day this week. Or, mostly normal. I dropped the boys off at school and then spent most of the day running errands. Shepard was supposed to have his first art club of the semester, but they ended up calling off after school activities because of the impending polar vortex temperatures. It turned out to be one of those days where I REALLY wish I had some way to communicate with the boys since plans had changed. I had told Caden to walk home on his own because Shepard would be at art, but then with it cancelled I wasn’t sure if Shepard would know to come home on his own and I worried that Caden would be too smart and hear the announcement and then go to pick Shepard up the way he usually does since it turned into a normal day. So I went to school half an hour early to try and get a coveted parking lot spot where I could stay in my car as long as possible, but it was already full! I had to park so far away and my feet were totally frozen by the time they let us into the elementary school to get our kids. I grabbed Shepard, we ran to the car (yes, RAN – he was amazed I could “run”), and I brought him home hoping we’d see Caden and pick him up on the way. Never saw him. So I dropped Shepard off and went back to the schools driving up and down the streets until I finally found Caden standing in a three foot snowbank crying. He DID think he had to pick Shepard up and somehow in the chaos we missed each other. I felt really terrible for not parking in a spot that would have made me walk in his direction, instead of the opposite way, just in case.

So no school again Wednesday. Shepard and I went back to hang with the kittens again because he loves them so much.

While we were there, still really early in the day, school called and called for Thursday too.

We were getting pretty squirrely by Thursday. Overall the week went pretty well, but mostly because we’ve lifted pretty much all screen time rules. They get too obnoxious when Greg’s trying to work all day and I’m trying to get other things done.

On Friday everyone went back to school and work! I spent the morning crazily cleaning the house and then I took myself out to lunch at Monk’s. For me one of the hardest things about having everyone home is being the one still expected to make meal after meal after meal for everyone. It really drains me. So Friday’s lunch was a celebration for surviving.

It was kind of last minute, but on Thursday night I put out an open invitation on facebook for literally anyone to come over and join the boys and I for dinner on Friday while Greg was off on his first of three days in a row of social engagements. I was really hoping that other people were feeling the same way as me. Sick of being stuck at home, excited that the cold weather finally broke, and anxious for some friend time with the added bonus of a full and delicious meal they didn’t have to make. I said kids were welcome too and probably made enough food for at least thirty people. I madly cleaned the entire house. I put not only the first, but also a second AND third invitation on facebook trying to get people to come. Then I sat and waited. And nobody came.

I know it was a long shot and I was trying to tell myself all day long I’d be okay if no one showed up. This is the kind of thing I WANT to do all the time. But I always chicken out because feeling rejected KILLS ME. And explaining the whole story again shows you how pathetic my social situation really is. It frustrates me so much that online, in my virtual communities, everyone has these struggles and everyone wants more friends and ways to connect. But in my real life? I seem to be the only one and I don’t get it.

Anyway. It was still nice to have a delicious meal with the boys and mango salsa is basically my favorite food in the entire world, so it was a great treat. And added bonus – my house is now spic and span. And I have enough frozen leftovers for like six meals, so I’m still glad I made the effort, even though it didn’t pan out.

This morning we all went to the dog park! Annie was SO happy. 🙂 The snow is really deep and she was having a hard time running, but she did her best! Then she kept trying to bury herself while eating the snow. I’m going to try and take her back every day possible in the next few weeks.

And finally, only 12 hours after I set the goal, I made the boys get haircuts. They were NOT happy. But I’m glad they’re cleaned up for once!

So cute!

The rest of the day I’m hoping to get some work done. I think I’m so busy next week I won’t have any time to sew. I started a batch of spring dolls the other day and I’d love to get them done this weekend. Greg and Shepard are off on a boys’ day with some friends in an hour, so it’ll be pretty quiet around the house.

Congratulations on surviving this week with me!

Double Weekend Reflections and Intentions 01.27.2019

It’s been awhile! I haven’t really been up to writing lately. Mostly because it’s been a pretty crappy month and it seemed like if I didn’t have anything remotely positive to say, I probably shouldn’t be saying anything at all. This whole month has really just been the pits. Between the unexpected death of my uncle and all the fallout, a lot of snow, and way too much cold weather – basically every single fun thing I had planned for this month had to be cancelled. All very good excuses, but it doesn’t change the fact that it sucked. Especially since February is an insanely busy month and I don’t expect to be able to reschedule any of the things I cancelled this month until at least March when life settles down again. It frustrates me. It’s been a hard month, to say the least.

On a happy note, Greg and I celebrated 19 years of being together on January 17th. We always like to celebrate this anniversary because it was so important to us the six years we were together before we got married, and on our fifth anniversary, Greg proposed. Plus it’s fun to have something special to look forward to in the doldrums of winter. We normally go out for a nice date, but this year we took advantage of a Groupon deal and went to a little inn in Cedarburg for the night.

We were actually just in Cedarburg last May for our 12th real anniversary, but I was just getting back to walking at that point and I was in so much pain that I didn’t enjoy it at all. I also thought we missed out on a lot of the shops, so it would be worth going back to. Greg, though, never made the connection that it was the same city and was kind of disappointed once we got there and he realized we weren’t somewhere new. We picked the first restaurant we saw for lunch, Anvil Pub. I loved the unique ambiance, but the food was just okay.

It turns out that we did actually see all the shops on our last trip and not much had changed! So it was a very long afternoon of slowly strolling down the street, stopping in at a few shops, and enjoying some fresh baked bread and coffee before we could check into the hotel.

The inn was really nice. It was a great Groupon deal! Every room was different and I had the choice of about ten different options.

We took part in the evening wine and social hour and then walked a block down to eat dinner at a Chinese place. Cedarburg has a lot of amazing looking restaurants, but most of them all serve the same types of food and Greg wanted something different.

Their hot continental breakfast was pretty nice!

We checked out of the hotel mid morning and went to Lime Kiln Park to check out the lime kilns. It was pretty dang cold out!

I liked seeing the cool icicles that formed above the river from the trees and rocks. After the park we stopped so I could try another coffee place and then because we’re the lamest people in the world and never know how to take advantage of our time away from kids, we just went back to Beaver Dam to get the boys and Annie by 11:00. Which ended up being good in the long run because a big snowstorm blew in that afternoon.

Fortunately, we have awesome in-law’s who decided to get a new snowblower and gave us the old one this year. With the amount of snow we got it was still pretty labor intensive and because of so much driveway is sandwiched between the two houses there was still a lot to shovel because there’s nowhere to blow the snow. But we got through it! I look forward to in a few years when the boys’ help is a bit more useful. They do pretty well with smaller areas, though!

This past Monday I was about at my breaking point emotionally. I knew I just needed to get out of the house and do something for ME. So I went around Madison and Middleton to all of my favorite shops. I found Annie this nice dog pillow so she’ll be more comfy when she watches out the bay window. It’s even the right colors to match the room!

Shepard got hit with a migraine on Monday night. He hasn’t had one in awhile. I’m just so glad that he’s finally old enough to recognize AND VERBALIZE when it happens. We can usually catch it fast enough now that if we immediately get him some medicine and put him to bed, he recovers by morning.

And by Tuesday morning he was good as new.

Wednesday was our first real snow day. We got another huge dumping and everyone stayed home. I had an extremely hard to plan special dinner scheduled for Wednesday night that we had to cancel. Just kind of the icing on the cake at this point. I don’t know why adult friendship has to be so hard. Even when weather doesn’t get in the way, it’s just nearly impossible to find time to gather. I hate it.

On Wednesday night Shepard got real sick. He insisted it wasn’t his head this time, so we just sent him up to bed with his bucket. He stayed home Thursday and Friday. I started to feel kind of queasy midday Thursday, but I wasn’t sure if I was actually sick or just reacting to a questionable lunch. I decided to just not eat for awhile in hopes that it would go away.

Greg woke up sick on Friday morning, so then we knew this was a real deal. I was working on these tiny Cupid Annies with desperate determination to finish them before I started feeling worse. By early afternoon it hit me too. HARD.

The good news is that the bulk of actual sickness seemed to only last for 12 hours for both Greg and I. But not counting that week I broke my ankle and had surgery, it was probably the worst 12 hours of my life. I was SO SICK. Fortunately, Greg had a bit of a head start and bounced back pretty quickly and was still able to take care of our children while I totally checked out.

I spent all day yesterday in bed. I’m definitely better today, but still so weak and exhausted. I’m really surprised Caden didn’t get sick. Maybe it’s still coming. I hope not.

Sunday Intentions

So I’m hoping things get better this week. Though I’m honestly dreading this whole week. We’re supposed to get another boatload of snow tonight, which feels like another inevitable snow day tomorrow. LOTS of family time this month!! It’s also supposed to be insanely cold all week. Like -50 degree wind chills. And on top of the weather stuff, I have that long dreaded check up with my doctor on Wednesday (the coldest predicted day this week) to see if my liver levels are back on track. And on Friday I have to get two fillings. Basically, nothing fun is going to happen this week.

The good news is that AFTER this week, it’s February and there are so many awesome things on the calendar! So if I can just survive the next five days, it’ll all be worth it. 🙂

I really have no intentions for the week other than to get better and get through it all. I’d like to start my last batch of Valentine’s Day dolls, but no huge rush to get through them. I’m more concerned about everything else this week. And resting up.

That’s about it! Have a good week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 01.13.2019

Despite my highest hopes, this last week went nowhere near as smoothly and joyfully as the week before. Mostly due to circumstances beyond my control, but…nonetheless, it’s been a pretty crappy week.

On Monday it was pouring, but I also really, really needed to run errands. I did them as quickly as possible in the midst of a horrible headache. Then I spent most of the day doing various food prep and trying to get a bit of work done. I felt so disjointed and frustrated for once again expecting too much of  myself and not living up to my own ridiculously high standards.

Monday night brought the terrible news that my uncle had been found dead in his apartment. I won’t divulge all the details, but cause of death is still unknown. He was very reserved and had really isolated himself from the rest of the family for over a year. We’ve all been in varying degrees of shock and grief as we try to deal with everything. My uncle didn’t have a significant other or any kids, so the bulk of taking care of everything he left behind has fallen on my mom and my remaining uncle and a few cousins. It’s an undertaking that nobody was prepared to deal with. But, it needs to be done.

That clearly set the tone for the rest of my week. I wasn’t sure if my help would be needed for anything, so I cancelled my Tuesday morning friend date and my Thursday craft night. I kind of went into a shell and just didn’t really want to interact with anybody. I barely knew my uncle, but it’s still so hard to realize he’s gone, and with it any opportunity TO know him.

Despite being in such a little pit of sadness, I tried to keep busy working and taking time to read and rest on Wednesday. On Thursday I felt like I desperately needed to get out of the house and do something – anything – so I went to Walmart and just wandered around for over an hour and then stopped at a new coffee shop for a treat before heading back home to work some more.

Adding a bit to Thursday’s sadness, I was getting instagram bombardment of the start of that craft retreat I was supposed to be at. The AMAZING craft retreat at The Whatever Craft House in Kansas. The one I had my ticket to and then had to beg to be let out of once I realized my maker friend bailed on me and I didn’t want to do the 12 hour drives there and back by myself in unpredictable winter weather. I know in the end it was probably best I didn’t go. But it was pretty hard seeing everyone’s awesome photos and everything I was missing. I wish it could have worked out for me.

Friday morning brought a spark of joy when I got the email that my 23andme results were ready! I’ll maybe do a full post on this at a later date, but it was really exciting to see everything they could find out from my vial of spit! The ancestry reports were not much of a surprise since my mom’s side of the family has always kept extremely detailed records going back hundreds of years. But I loved that I could look even further in depth to see exactly which areas of the countries my ancestors were from. My Irish ancestors were from all over, but most heavily in the areas that I’ve visited myself AND were my favorite part of the country. My English ancestors are only from London, so I think I definitely need to add that to my travel bucket list. My German ancestors were from the northernmost regions. I didn’t get that far north in my high school trip to Germany, so I’ll have to go back there too. 🙂 Anyway, it was just really cool to see. And since my sister-in-law took the test last summer, I was able to combine my ancestry reports with hers so I can now give the boys definitive numbers on their own ethnicities. It has definitely gotten pretty muddy by their generation, but they are still predominantly 40% Irish/English, which is cool.

Knowing I really just needed to get out of the house, I kept my plans to go to lunch with my friend Laura. I worked in the morning and then she picked me up and we tried this new place called Full Mile in Sun Prairie. It was such a nice place! And really great to just have a chance to hang out with a friend. I desperately needed it. We prolonged our outing by getting Starbucks afterward and then shopping through Menard’s (lol).

I spent Saturday helping my parents, uncle, and two cousins start the work of clearing out my uncle’s apartment and looking for important paperwork that will help everything from now on go more smoothly. Honestly, it’s a task that’s probably going to take weeks. SO MUCH WORK. We all put in a full day and then went back again this morning. I bowed out after a couple of hours today. It’s overwhelming. My mom and uncle will continue to work all week while everyone else chips in between their jobs and families. I have another cousin flying in on Wednesday to help too. I hope for everyone’s sakes it starts picking up speed and can be completed earlier than expected. I think we made a lot of progress this weekend, but there is still a lot to go.

Sunday Intentions

Moving ahead to this week. I really need to get some work done. January is just flying by and I’ve not been as productive as I had hoped to be! I have eight dolls that are half done, so I’m hoping I can complete them by Tuesday afternoon. I also need to run a few errands tomorrow, but I was apparently very overzealous in my shopping last week as we still have a pretty full fridge! I should try and get some walks in with Annie too. I’ve been neglecting her (and my whole family). Actually, we did walk to school last Wednesday and Thursday since there wasn’t any ice and it felt SO GOOD. I think I’d be pretty happy if we just continue on with this almost snowless winter. It sure makes my life easier!

It sounds like Wednesday night as much family as available will be gathering for a dinner somewhere. The one good thing about a death in the family is that it brings everyone else closer. I’m kind of ashamed of how rarely I see my cousins that only live half an hour away from me. Not counting this weekend, it’s been an entire year and a half since we’ve been together. We’re all so busy. But maybe from now on we’ll try harder?

On Thursday, Greg and I are celebrating 19 years of being together. (We keep celebrating this since we were together 6.5 years before we got married, so this original anniversary still feels very significant!) We usually go on a fancy date every January, but this year I happened to see an awesome groupon deal, so we’re going on a little one night getaway. I do feel a bit bad going in the middle of everything that’s happening. But…it’s already paid for and everything and I think Greg and I need the little break from reality. The boys and Annie will have a sleepover that night at Grandma’s and then hang out at her house until we come back Friday, as there’s no school.

And I expect next weekend might be more family or apartment cleaning stuff. I’m leaving it open if I’m needed.

Anyway, that’s about it! A lot of unexpected emotions swirling around these last few days. But I’m trying to keep busy if that’s what it seems like I need or take breaks if that’s what I seem to need. I’m trying to keep my schedule pretty loose and flexible. It feels much better to help out when I’m needed, than to stick to some pre planned agenda. I think I need to work on being better about that in general.

Have a good week!

Saturday Reflections 01.05.2019

Happy Saturday! I’m sure it has a bit to do with my absolute enthusiasm about getting back into a regular routine after what felt like the longest ever winter break, but this past three day “week” has been AMAZING. I’ve never felt so balanced and on top of my life. Can it last?! My pessimistic nature is telling me no way. But I’m feeling like maybe, just maybe, it can. If I learn from these fragile routines I’m beginning to establish and try to live my life this way every single day….things could be really, really good.

Somehow over winter break I managed to reset my sleep schedule and I think it’s really helping me stay a lot more positive. For all of November and December I was getting a max of five hours of sleep a night, usually waking up between 3 and 4, and despite my best efforts I could rarely fall asleep at my usual afternoon nap time either. No explanation for either, but it sucked big time. Suddenly after Christmas I was getting at least seven, sometimes even close to eight hours a night! Plus a good nap on the days I choose to take one. Maybe that’s contributing to me suddenly feeling like I’m on top of my life. The only downside is that I’m not waking up with any of my coveted morning quiet time, or the chance to shower and get ready before the boys are off to school. A lot of the time it’s not a huge deal, but I do really prefer feeling fully ready for the day by the time I need to leave the house with them. At least in winter, giant coats and hats and scarves can disguise how gross I must look!

On Wednesday morning Greg stayed home a bit later because it had snowed some more overnight and then he took the boys to school. I ran out later in the morning to do some desperately needed grocery shopping.

On Thursday and Friday morning I started the day at the dog park. I love being there on a winter morning – when it’s not super cold. It feels so invigorating and inspiring. Annie was LOVING having more outdoor exploring time. I did a pretty bad job at keeping her exercised over break.

I worked for a few hours each on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, today. I think the biggest positive change I’ve made on that side of life is accepting that I’ll get done as much as I get done in those hours and it just needs to be okay. I spend SO much time berating myself for not getting as much done as I think I should have. And I’m sick of it! I’m sick of constantly beating myself up for some sort of unimportant standard that I only put on myself. I like just working for four straight hours, doing my best work, and calling it a day, moving on to something else that needs to get done. I’m not sure I can keep up with this mindset as the pressure for producing as much as possible, as often as possible, gets so intense around the upcoming holidays. But I’m really going to try. It makes me much happier and it keeps me a better artist and business owner.

I think the greatest thing about this week is that I’ve given myself so much down time. As much as I love the simplicity of my Keurig, I’ve really gotten into pourover coffee lately and the 5-10 minute process of waiting for my water to reach a perfect temperature and then slowly pouring it over the ground beans again and again and again until I have the right amount for my cup. I always drink my coffee in the afternoons since I have no problems feeling awake and energized in the mornings. It’s been providing a great transition for me from work day and me time into family time/dinnertime. This particular kind of coffee – Sweetheart Blend from Barnie’s – is literally the best at home coffee I’ve ever had. It’s seriously amazing. If you love chocolate and cherries and sweetly flavored coffees.

The other great thing about this week – BOOKS. Great books! Life giving books. NONFICTION books. When do I ever say that?! With my renewed vigor to read the books I already own this year, I’ve jumped back into many of the books I haven’t given much attention to in the past couple of months. I’m also determined to read all the books I’ve gotten as gifts or bought for myself in the last month as top priority. They’re really great. I’ve also been listening to an audiobook all day that is basically the best and most entertaining self help type book I’ve ever read. I’m dying to finish it so I can write about it. Basically, I’ve been spending the entire evening for the last three, or more, days just in my big chair reading. Which also means I’m totally ignoring my family, which isn’t so great. I mean, they’re busy doing their guy things, video game things, in the other room. We did attempt playing Spoons this afternoon, which ended with both boys screaming and throwing their cards and the spoons around the room because they are the biggest sore losers OF ALL TIME. We have so many board games, but can never play any of them because it always ends in the exact same way.

The only real downside to this week is that I’ve been so excited about eating delicious food again that the scale is slowly sliding back up, instead of down the way it’s supposed to be this month. Case in point – I made this DILL PICKLE BACON PIZZA for dinner last night. It was amazing. I’ve been so sick of my homemade pizza for months and months and months, that I rarely even eat it anymore. Shepard is so demanding about his flavor choices – he hates pepperoni pizza, or anything traditional. He usually just wants bbq week after week after week. That used to be my favorite kind of pizza too, but we’ve overdone it. Making something totally new and salty and filled with fun and bursting flavors just really brought me so much joy. Which is good for my head! But not good for everything else! The candy is still overflowing in the house and my cravings are out of control. Counting calories is what really kicked me into gear two months ago, but I really, really don’t want to resort to that again. I might have to.

Overall, it’s been a pretty great week and start to the year. It’s helped that I haven’t had to leave the house or really DO anything this week, besides get a  few groceries. It’s also proving to be quite liberating, with this no excess spending month. I haven’t been wasting a ridiculous amount of time looking at online sales because I know I don’t have the option this month to buy anything. It’s been making me appreciate the things I have more too – like all my amazing books I can’t wait to read. We finished taking down the trees and getting all the Christmas stuff put away this morning. The sun has been shining, the weather is getting warmer, and the house – at least the part of the house I spend all my time in – is so beautiful and clean and inviting. I’m happy this week. And it’s been wonderful.

Christmas Crazy

Merry Christmas!

The last five days have been such a whirlwind of holiday festivities for us! We’ve been jam packed with family get togethers, lots of quality time, and way too much delicious food.

Friday was my dad’s birthday and the last half day of school before break. I spent the morning running around doing cleanup and then Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson came over! We haven’t seen them since Halloween, which felt like forever. Hudson was in such a smiley and fun mood the whole night!

We all had some Christmas coffee to try and wake up. Shepard was wearing his brand new long underwear, which he’s pretty much been wearing for the last six straight days. I did wash them once in the middle of that span… Two more pairs will be delivered tomorrow, since apparently long underwear is the coolest thing ever!

Getting our selfie in!

Hudson and Annie were pretty much glued to each other’s sides the entire night. They were both fascinated with each other. It was pretty hilarious!

The point of the get together was to celebrate my dad’s birthday, though we weren’t sure he’d be able to even make it. But he switched for a Columbus route and was able to come over during his 30 minute break. I think we set a record for world’s fastest birthday party! We ordered pizzas from a local place, I had Caesar salad and garlic bread made, and we had a giant chocolate Costco cake for dessert. It was a really fun night!

On Saturday morning we had our family Christmas. It was definitely a rocky start because one child did not want to stop playing video games. But we eventually got them in the room and they noticed their new bikes, which we made no attempt to wrap! Both were a little bit too big. I’m not sure Caden will be able to ride his at all yet. We realized later that Shepard’s bike was actually broken and couldn’t be ridden at all. 🙁 It was damaged in the mail, but we Greg didn’t realize until after he had built it and Shepard actually got on it.

Anyway, once everyone settled down, it was a nice morning. The favorite gift was definitely the shared hoverboard. We decided to go with only getting one and having them share, though it’s caused a ridiculous amount of fighting since then. They’re so expensive, though! Plus – bikes. Greg gave me a new end table to go next to my reading chair, a book, a candle, two pairs of earrings, and a couple of Willow Tree figurines from the boys. Oh, and an upholstery cleaner! (lol)

Mid afternoon Greg’s family came over for the night. We just hung out and everybody took turns cuddling under Caden’s new weighted blanket.

Shepard had to show off his hoverboarding multitasking skills. We had Italian roast beef sandwiches for dinner, but also snacked all afternoon on a big cheese tray, veggies and curry dip, and chips and salsa.

On Sunday morning we headed to the big extended family party on Greg’s side. Shepard continued to have epic tantrums every day for one reason or another. I assume they were born from him just not feeling the greatest with a long lasting cold. But still – so annoying to deal with. Besides hoverboard fighting, Caden was shockingly really great the entire week!

Chilling out during the party.

Looking a bit tired!

After the party we took Shepard to Walmart so he could pick out a new bike, again. They didn’t have the same one in stock, but he liked this one more because it was so shiny. It was already built (hallelujah!) and he got to walk it through the whole store and out to the car. Every single person we passed commented on how cool it was and told him merry Christmas. I’ve never seen so many nice people at Walmart!

Greg spent the rest of Sunday playing board games with his family and I took the boys back home for some down time.

Christmas Eve is our biggest day. We got going as early as we could and went to Greg’s parents’ house first. I didn’t really take any pictures besides this one. But we had a big breakfast and then opened all our gifts. The big exciting gift that the boys got to open was our trip to Universal and Harry Potter World in February! Greg’s parents are taking the six of us over Shepard’s birthday weekend/week (because they’ll miss the least amount of school in that time frame, not necessarily because it’s his birthday). I’m so glad they finally know about it so we can talk openly! They were both super excited and immediately started going through the guidebooks to pick out places to eat and rides to go on.

After things died down, I went back home to just sit and chill for an hour. It’s hard to be around people nonstop, even when nothing is going wrong. I also had to get Annie since she couldn’t stay locked up all day. While I was home Greg’s new glasses finally arrived! I brought them back with me and then we had to take another selfie with his new look. He hasn’t really adjusted to them yet.

We ate A LOT of food while we were waiting for my dad to get home to open presents. Gracie was being very protective of my mom and her food!

It was pretty chaotic and crazy once the present opening started. Hudson only lasted a few minutes and then went up to bed. I didn’t take any photos besides this one. But it was a really great day!

Back at home Greg got the boys to bed and Santa came! We have about the world’s biggest stockings, but I still can’t get all the presents into them.

Everyone got up around 7 on Christmas morning – even Greg! We took our time opening our stockings and the boys’ gifts. Santa mostly brought books and board games, but also karaoke microphones and saucer chairs that are supposed to be in their rooms, but they are both using as gaming chairs right in front of the tv.

Annie took it upon herself to finish Santa’s cookies. Jack had to come running to see what she was getting that he wasn’t. He drank Santa’s milk the night before and immediately threw it up everywhere. It was only like five drops, but he is apparently EXTREMELY lactose intolerant!

We hung out at home for a few hours and then went to see Greg’s family for a bit and then mine. It had snowed overnight – an unexpected white Christmas! And Hudson just got new boots from his other grandparents, so he was outside checking out the snow when we got there. Such a wonderful smile!

We had a repeat table full of delicious snacks and then hung out and soaked up our last few hours with Hudson.

And we finally went back home around 4:00 to settle in for the rest of the night. Shepard immediately went to work weaving bracelets together. He also learned how to finger knit on Friday and made himself a gigantic purple “scarf” that he wore all weekend.

I finished up the Christmas night snuggled on the futon with Rory next to me and Annie below me and a pile of books at my side. It was a really nice Christmas and I’m so glad that everyone was able to travel to be there, completing the families on both sides this year. But I do sometimes wish the days could be a bit more laid back with a lot more relaxing and comfy clothes and no responsibilities. I guess that’s what the rest of the week is for!

I hope everyone else had a very wonderful Christmas as well!