Halloween Festivities

Happy Halloween! Okay, I know Halloween is still a couple of days away, but the past few days have been packed full of festive activities and my kids don’t have any more public opportunities to wear their costumes, so it’s basically over around here! It’s been a lot of fun, though.

I wasn’t in the mood to buy costumes this year. On one hand, I’m totally all for buying costumes if it makes your life easier. We’ve gone the store bought route for the last four or five years. But this year it just felt like a waste of money, plus the boys never even care what they dress up as. Why spend the money if it means nothing to them? So I basically put it on Greg to figure out what kind of handmade thing they could come up with while I was on my trip. I think his mom is the one who really put it all together with some of their old costumes, but it turned out great! Shepard was originally going to be a Minecraft youtuber that nobody would have recognized or heard of. But when shown a PURPLE wizard costume that Greg wore in sixth grade, he went that route instead. Of course second grade Shepard is drastically smaller than sixth grade Greg was, so I had to alter it quite a bit. Hopefully nobody bigger ever wants to wear this costume again!! Caden wore part of some Star Wars costume one of his aunts wore at some point – turned into a Harry Potter type of cloak with his sorting hat and some black glasses. It worked, it didn’t cost any money, and they thought they looked pretty cool! Greg liked it so much he decided we need to do handmade costumes every year now…

Anyway, we went to SpookFest on Thursday night, something the schools put on for grades K-5 every year. Caden had no interest in going (shocker), but we lasted about half an hour. Shepard had a good time running around with his friends, until he decided he wanted a soda, we said no, and massive seven year old on the floor kicking and crying tantrums ensued. Oh well.

After dinner on Friday we carved our pumpkins. Greg and I did most of the work, but Shepard was very excited about it. I washed all the seeds and made my three usual flavor combinations. I was pretty exhausted, but also had a fairly rough day (more on that in my next post today!), so I decided to try and gather everyone to go to the community bonfire for some cheer. The boys didn’t want to go – until their friend Leverett got permission to come with us. Then we ran into Greg and Annie who were already on a pokewalk and all of us walked over to the park for the fire.

It was a lot of fun! It was just cold enough to enjoy the fire, but not so cold we were miserable, like last year. There weren’t a ton of people there, but enough that it felt special and fun. There was a group of kids that the boys joined with and had a BLAST dancing by the DJ. Some of my friends were there, so it was fun to chat with everyone. And Annie just loved being out and about.

We stayed for an hour and a half and then had to drag the boys home because I was just so exhausted. It was a really great night, though! It’s so rare to have Caden raving about how excited he is to be somewhere. It was like the best night of his life running around with friends in the dark with good dance music on!

I spent all of Saturday getting ready for our annual Halloween party. It was extra special this year because Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson were coming, plus all the parents/grandparents, and my brother Tyler – for a full celebration. We were also sort of celebrating fall birthdays for me, Brittany, and Tyler. I tried to keep the food festive and easy to prepare with a good mix of healthy and treats. I love the simplicity of these clementine and celery pumpkins!

Monster mouths! I only had teeny apples, so not quite as effective, but definitely yummy.

White cheddar cheeto bones.

Flamin’ hot cheeto bones.

Our pumpkin seeds – dill, salt, and chex mix flavors.

These were all supposed to be different kinds of bugs.

The flourless chocolate cake Brittany requested for her birthday dessert. With a spiderweb on top to go with the theme. My mom also brought her famous kit kat bars for my birthday dessert, but I never got a picture of them.

Jalapeno popper mummies. I usually do hot dog mummies, but nobody really eats them, so I gave this a shot this year. I didn’t like them much because they were missing that salty component I’m so used to when I make jalapeno popper dip and eat it with chips. But they looked cute!

The famous pizza snake that makes an appearance every Halloween party. I thought this year’s tasted especially good because I made the effort to cut all the inside toppings into the tiniest possible pieces so it all blended together better.

I never decided if this is supposed to look like blood and guts, or brains. Maybe it looks more brainy with the raspberry seeds. With mini candied pecan brains?

And “monster fingers.” Basically just enormous beef sticks I got at Costco that nobody in my family liked, so I needed to set them out to get rid of them!

Cindy and Shepard put together a veggie skeleton for the centerpiece of it all. Very cool! Shepard loved his broccoli hair.

Hudson was getting over a bunch of illness, but he was in high spirits! It was so cute how proud of himself he looked every time anyone would laugh at something he did. In this instance he was hitting Shepard with a hammer because he kept whining. Probably shouldn’t encourage that, but it was pretty hilarious.

A tricky selfie snuck in only because we were standing at the window and he was smiling at Daddy.

The only picture I got of our finished pumpkins. Sometimes Shepard seems so big and sometimes he still seems so tiny.

I was hoping for a nice trick or treating picture of the cousins all together, but my boys couldn’t be bothered to even be in our yard at the same time and Hudson just wanted to be cuddled with Mom because he didn’t like wearing his costume very much. But we tried!

Steve stayed home to hand out candy and the rest of us set off to trick or treat. Caden and Shepard immediately ran to Leverett’s house right as he was coming outside, so they just rushed ahead with him. The rest of us stayed back with Hudson, but he was just very confused about what was happening. We only lasted about two blocks before it started sprinkling and we realized we’d never keep up with the older boys, so we all went back home. I’m kind of annoyed my kids couldn’t even stay with our group for five minutes. Or even a single house. But…they’re getting older, I guess. This is what happens. Caden’s almost never happy anymore unless a friend is involved in whatever he’s doing.

But back at the house we still had some fun with Hudson and Annie. He realized how exciting it was to hand Annie all of his food. Everyone stayed for awhile longer and then Greg took over handing out candy the last half an hour. I probably bought at least 500 pieces of candy and we went through all of it. Plus a big bowl of goldfish crackers for little kids and a bowl of dog treats. We live on quite the popular street!

Overall – great party! It was a lot of fun! Now all that’s left is actual Halloween, but the boys have dentist appointments after school that day, so really not the best of days! But maybe I can throw together one more festive meal. We shall see.

Happy Halloween!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 10.14.2018

I am in such a rebel mode this week. Really, this entire month. If it’s something I feel like I’m supposed to be doing, or something someone else expects of me – I just don’t want to do it. Plain and simple, I am avoiding basically all responsibilities and obligations and going into hiding. I just don’t want to DO anything. I’m sick of sewing and I want to step away from it for awhile. I’m tired of being the organizer of all plans and am refusing to keep stepping into that role. I haven’t been in the mood to write, so I haven’t been, even though it’s supposed to be one of my main focuses these days. I’m so tired of clutter and mess and somehow letting my kids get away with basically doing nothing for the last 10 and 7.5 years of their lives. I need a break. And some clarity would be nice! I’m sick of all this mental flailing that is pretty much leaving me a useless shell right now.

Anyway, here’s a recap of the week. It was pretty good overall. I’m just having some mental challenges that are really messing up my productivity.

Monday I was feeling pretty sick. Probably a combination of the antibiotics I was on, too many days in a row of restaurant food, and not getting enough quality sleep. I ran a few errands around town and did some general housekeeping and laundry, but I just felt so icky. I took Shepard to piano lessons in the afternoon and the school turtle crossed the whole cage so he could sit right there and stare at me while I read. It was a little bit creepy.

Tuesday was more of the same. I tried to work, but spent most of the day lazing around because I just felt like crap.

I took Annie to the dog park after dinner. Even though nobody was around to play with, she was just SO HAPPY to have the space and freedom to run around. I really need to get back into the habit of taking her as often as possible before it gets icy. I still took her quite frequently on the ice last winter, but I don’t think that’ll be happening this year. I never want to break a bone again.

Wednesday night Shepard and I watched aΒ Great British Baking Show. We watched the last few episodes ofΒ Making It a few other nights this week. It’s so fun to sit down and watch a show with him that we both equally enjoy! I realize this is quite normal for most families, but it’s pretty much a foreign concept around here. We very rarely watch tv together – or at all for the boys – and when we do, there’s always at least one person who is really not that interested.

Wednesday was a scheduled late start and I was bound and determined to get some work done in the morning. I finished up this custom Anne of Green Gables doll for a friend. I LOVE how it turned out! It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the bodice fabric has images of Green Gables and Anne’s silhouette and the skirt fabric is a bunch of Anne’s most famous quotes. The friend who I made it for is opening it on her birthday tomorrow, so I can’t wait to hear if she likes it or not!

I spent the rest of the day running errands and working on the rest of my doll batch. We were having some issues with Caden in the evening – a pretty common occurrence these days. And always? We were all going to go to his first archery meeting, but Greg ended up taking the boys so I could keep working and have an hour of quiet.

I finished up the rest of my dolls on Thursday morning. It’s so hard to figure out if doll making is really what I want to do for the rest of my life. Or…the next five years, or whatever. The monotony of just doing the same cycle of creating over and over and over again with every batch has gotten so old. I obviously do have creative freedom in what I choose to make, but…they’re all still dolls. I’ve been venturing out from strictly making red striped Raggedy Anns these last few months, but I’m not sure it’s enough to satisfy whatever it is inside of me that’s crying out for MORE. Or less?? I really don’t know anymore. I decided to take a small break from it for the next week and a half, at least, in hopes that I might get some fresh perspective on how to proceed, or not, in this particular career path.

Late morning, my mom came over and we went to Waunakee to celebrate my birthday – my last celebration. There are a few really cute stores we stopped in at and then had lunch at The Lone Girl Brewing Company. The restaurant was really cute, but I’m not sure the food was intriguing enough to go back. It was a fun time, though!

It got really cold this week! Actually, it was in the 80’s on Monday and in the 30’s on Friday. Just a typical Wisconsin fall week! The boys flat out refuse to wear coats yet, but they were digging out all the extra winter accessories.

I finally finished up my book corner with my remaining birthday presents – a new lamp from Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson, and a fun book themed pillow from my mom. The top shelf is books that I really like and want to own a copy of. The lower shelf is my all time favorite fiction that I most definitely want to read again and again in my lifetime (and a short stack of currently reading). I actually have a few more bookish art prints to hang up around the area, once I find frames for them. Then it’ll really be complete!

On Friday morning I had a coffee date with my friend Laura. It was great to catch up! Then I took an extremely long nap/lazy lay in bed reading afternoon. Still so tired and both mentally and physically exhausted. Right after school Greg’s dad picked up the boys and took them to the Kalahari and Greg and I went on a date night to Sake House. I just could not make another restaurant decision, so this was Greg’s choice. It was good. We came back home and watched a movie. Not the most exciting night, but it was nice to spend time together and have some good conversations.

I got up early on Saturday to hit the farmer’s market. There are only a few weeks left and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go again. I didn’t buy much, but it’s always fun to be there! I stopped at Trader Joe’s and Target on the way back home and then spent the rest of the day being pretty lazy! Theme of my week, apparently.

Today has been mostly lazy too. I didn’t feel very well this morning and just wanted to read. Then I worked on finishing up my new birthday shelf organization. It took me so long because I wanted to go through my eleven binders of printed recipes, plus three year’s worth of printouts I never put IN binders, to take out the ones I never use and combine them down into just five binders. All of my tried and true recipes are in there and there are just so many great options that I really don’t need to ever look online or in a cookbook for inspiration again. I just need to remember they exist when I’m desperate for ideas! The top two shelves of the bookcase are books I haven’t read yet. Yikes! They’re almost all nonfiction too. I need to get on that! The bottom two shelves are my most used cookbooks. I love this shelf!

Besides all that, I’ve also been making cookies for conferences tomorrow, baking some breakfasts for the week, and doing a bit of cleaning. We also got the very unfortunate news that the boys had bedbugs in their hotel room Friday night. AGAIN. So we, though mostly Greg because I’ve been otherwise occupied, is a bit in crisis mode again, doing massive amounts of laundry of everything the boys have touched in the last 24 hours. He’s decided none of us are ever going to a hotel again. Not fun times, you guys.

Sunday Intentions

The week ahead is looking good! It’s conference day tomorrow, so no school. The boys don’t have conferences until late afternoon, so it should be a pretty laid back day. Hopefully some friends are around to play and I can work on going through my closets. I desperately need to figure out my winter clothing situation. I’m never prepared for the drastic temperature drops every year. I’m also not quite sure if I have any jeans that fit and I need to know that asap so I can go buy some on Tuesday if I need to. But yeah, then conferences, then Shepard’s Culver’s night fundraiser for school, and then he and I get to WORK at the fundraiser. At Culver’s, cleaning tables and stuff. Can’t wait. πŸ˜› He is SO excited, though.

Tuesday will probably be a general errands day, plus packing day. Trying to get everything organized for Greg and the boys being on their own for five days. Wednesday I have a follow up appointment with my internal doctor to talk about how the BP meds are working. I thought they were making me really sick, but now I think it was actually the antibiotics. They’re working, because my BP is within range pretty much every day. But we still need to talk in person, I guess.

And on Thursday I’m flying to DC! My long last postponed vacation from April. I’m super excited to get away for a few days! Dianne has so many great things planned for us. We’re even heading to the town of Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia for a day. I’m slightly worried about how my ankle will hold up to extra walking, but I think it’ll be fine. At any rate – it’ll be so worth any pain that might occur! A real vacation, sharing fun times with my best friend. It’s EXACTLY what I need right now. I’ll be there until I fly back Monday afternoon.

And that’s my week! Like I said earlier, I’m taking a break from work. Not a whole lot of time this week to start new dolls anyway. I just want to focus on getting the rest of my life more organized and in order. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll feel a lot more clear on what I should be doing with myself!

Have a good week!

Birthday Week Reflections 10.07.2018

Hello! Well, today is my 34th birthday and I’m at the end of celebrating my birthday week. I feel like I’ve kind of been getting some passive aggressive flak for all of my mini celebration pictures I’ve been posting online the last few days. I’m not going to apologize for it, guys. If you want a birthday week, YOU CAN HAVE ONE. The only person stopping you is yourself. πŸ™‚ I like to think of my birthday as a weeklong celebration because it really takes the pressure off of having one really special and perfect day. Because let’s face it – if you have kids, a job, a life of any sort – it’s pretty hard to pull off a perfect day. So to try and stave off that disappointment, I spread things out so I have something little to look forward to every day. Plus, the only way you can really celebrate with everyone is to have a big party. And maybe it’s just me, but it feels a bit more embarrassing to throw yourself a huge party every year, as an adult. πŸ™‚ I had a hard enough time just asking a couple of friends to give up a night to come out with me. Anyway, little daily celebrations it is!

So! Monday started off with Caden waking us up super early because he was sick. Already interrupting my plans. But after a lot of extra sleep he was feeling a lot better, so I left him with a package of saltines, video games, and his open chromebook so he could keep in constant messaging contact with me, and ran out to do the errands I desperately needed to do as fast as possible. And then I squeezed in a fast lunch at Qdoba. I was dying to try their Chicken Diablo nachos. They were so tasty, but crazy messy!

The rest of Monday was packed with cleaning out the pantry and fridge, doing a lot of housework and laundry, and making a big batch of chicken noodle soup for dinner. After school Shepard had his first piano lesson. He was SO excited about it!

I was super excited on Monday night because the announcement came through that Book Bonanza 2019 tickets were on sale! They had their first book bonanza this last August, in Denver, at the same time we were in LaCrosse. I found out about it way too late to have gone, but I was so jealous of everyone there! It is organized by Colleen Hoover (my favorite), but features a ton of authors. Rachel Hollis was even one of the keynote speakers at that conference. Anyway, I was anxiously awaiting to hear when and where next year’s bonanza would be and at the beginning of September they announced it would be in Dallas. In August. Blech. It was also more expensive than I was expecting and just kind of wrote it off and not going to happen, even though I was super disappointed. ANYWAY, come Monday, I was telling Greg that tickets finally went on sale and he told me I should buy my ticket! I couldn’t believe he was serious, but that’s the kind of guy he is. πŸ™‚ So even though it feels like a totally self indulgent and expensive solo vacation, I am going to Book Bonanza next year!!!! 48 hours of author panels and signings and keynote speeches and yummy food all in an amazing looking hotel filled with fellow book lovers just outside of Dallas. I’ve never been to Texas, so that’ll be exciting too, even though I don’t think I’ll see anything besides Grapevine, the city where the hotel is. But still! Even though it’s 10 months away, I am so psyched. I have my room booked too because it’s all at the same place. So I just need to find a flight, sometime.

On Tuesday morning I had to go back to Fitchburg to get some quick lab work done. I had originally planned to stop at World Market afterward and then spend an hour or two at the big Barnes and Noble before getting back home in early afternoon. Instead I overbooked myself, AGAIN, and went to like ten stores. By the time I got to Barnes and Noble I was so exhausted that I left after five minutes. It was still a nice day, but I was kind of mad at myself for not just sticking to the thing I was really looking forward to.

Tuesday after school we lost Shepard again. This time it was a mixup because the boys had a new meetup plan, but Shepard forgot about it during the day and never found Caden. Caden ran to school, talked to all of Shepard’s friends who hadn’t seen him, and ran all the way back home to get me. Once again, it was pretty scary, but only lasted a few minutes before we found him. It made me realize that we just need to be a lot more consistent. It’s unfair to expect a 7 year old to remember all the different plans every single day.

Wednesday was the only day I took Annie on a longer walk and then I had my first Writing Wednesday, writing a few blog posts. Annie had a grooming appointment in the afternoon. While she was gone my birthday present from Steve and Cindy arrived – a new bookcase!!!

The guys spent the night building it for me while I read on the chair.

Annie found the most awkward spot to sleep while it was being built! πŸ™‚ It took me until Saturday to get my books set up, but I’m not quite happy with my arrangement yet. I’ll get a picture up when I figure out the rest!

On Thursday morning Shepard lost a tooth that’s been barely hanging on for the last six weeks. He HATES losing teeth. But I think he was really relieved that it came out with little fanfare this time around. He just woke up and it fell out of his mouth!

Thursday was mostly a workday, pretty uneventful. Then I went out to one of my favorite restaurants, Monk’s, with two of my friends.

I really appreciate that they made time to come out with me. I was in kind of a depressed mood earlier in the day, thinking about how drastically my friend situation has changed in the last few years. On my 30th birthday I had about 14 awesome friends go out to Chili’s with me and it was amazing. And now every year I have fewer and fewer of those friendships left. Everyone is so busy. It’s just a whole issue I’m having a really hard time reconciling with. But it’s also not really something I can talk openly about without probably hurting or ruining the friendships I have left. At any rate, it was nice to go out. It hasn’t happened in a long time!

On Friday I worked for a couple more hours and then went to seeΒ A Star is Born by myself. It was so good!! I wasn’t really prepared for the ending which left me in a pretty somber mood, but I thought Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper had amazing chemistry. I really enjoyed it. It’s also been so long since I’ve been to a movie! It’s one of my favorite things, going by myself during the day. I hope I can make it a more regular thing now that better movies are going to start popping up again! After the movie I FINALLY spent some more time at Barnes and Noble. πŸ™‚

Then for dinner I met Greg and the boys and my in-law’s at Willie Ty’s. I really just wanted to go there for all their flavored aiolis! I wasn’t feeling super hungry, so I just picked a regular grilled cheese and savored my sweet potato fries with habanero aioli.

We came back to our house for birthday cupcakes and a couple more gifts. It was a really nice night!

Birthday flowers, from Cindy.

I had a pretty lazy Saturday. I contemplated going to the farmer’s market, but I’ve been running around so much the last few weeks it just wasn’t appealing to me. So I spent a few hours working and a few hours reading and resting. We made a pizza for lunch that turned into a monster.

Mid afternoon we went to my favorite place to get pumpkins in Horicon. Shepard and I had a great time picking out a big variety to decorate the porch with. (Caden was having a fit and Greg was dealing with that.)

Then we went to my parents’ to celebrate with them. They made an amazing meal, like always! As much as I love eating in restaurants, it was great having a more wholesome homemade meal!

We just hung out and laughed at all of Annie and Gracie’s doggy antics. I opened my presents and got this awesome stack of books, among other things. Can’t wait to dig into them! I think I’ll start withΒ It’s All Under ControlΒ as one of the nonfiction books I’d like to read this month.

We had chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. I had a really nice evening!

And that brings me to today, my actual birthday! I didn’t want to commit to any plans specifically until I knew what I felt like doing today. Weekend birthdays aren’t really my favorite because kids are just around and not making life so easy. But they were actually great all day! We had Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants for an easy breakfast and then I spent most of the morning finishing up a good book.

My big reading chair was my main birthday present, but they also gave me a few treats they picked out at Walgreens and some spices I had asked for.

I set up the pumpkins and we got this nice picture!

One of the things I kind of wanted to do today was check out this craft fair in Sun Prairie. I rallied everyone to go and then it started raining. You had to pay to get in and it just didn’t seem worth it. So we continued on to Madison and had lunch at BelAir Cantina. It’s where I really wanted to eat today, but didn’t really want to bring it up because it was such a long drive. I was also worried the boys wouldn’t really like it because SHOCKER, no chicken tenders on the menu! But it actually turned out to be an awesome lunch. The boys kept shouting that it was the best restaurant EVER. They loved all the different salsas. It’s pretty rare that the four of us go out to dinner by ourselves ever, and when it does happen there’s usually a lot of complaining about something or other. But no complaints today! It was really great! And the food was fantastic. I actually ate here last year on my birthday too, with just Greg. The atmosphere is so much nicer on a Sunday at lunch than later on a Saturday night!

I stopped at Starbucks for my free birthday drink on the way home. I just got the Starbucks app a few weeks ago – I’m glad I didn’t miss out on that reward! πŸ™‚

Back at home I took a long nap with Rory, my favorite nap buddy.

I didn’t really have any dinner plans and wasn’t super hungry, but Greg wanted to figure something out so he took the boys to Subway to pick up something easy.

I decided to make myself a caramel apple pie for my official birthday dessert, but I stupidly decided not to use a recipe. I totally forgot to use some sort of thickening agent and the store bought caramel I added to it must have been more of a dip than an actual caramel because the whole pie was totally liquified! The crust was good! I did use a recipe for that!! At least I got a picture with my boys giving real smiles!

And that was my birthday week! I think 34 will be a good year. The last year before I have to start checking the next age bracket in every survey people put out. πŸ™‚ I still have a couple more minor celebrations coming up, but I’ll try not to be obnoxious about it. Many thanks to the family and friends that gave me a great week!

Saturday Reflections 09.29.2018

Happy Saturday! It’s been a good week. Even though it wasn’t a SUPER productive week, I felt like I was really in the groove with everything and enjoyed myself. I like weeks like that!

Monday started with the boys biking to school on their own for the first time. I’m not sure I’ve ever let them bike at all during the school year, only once or twice during summer school. All the morning traffic going down the street they have to bike is pretty busy before and after school. But I’m trying to let them have a bit more independence and it worked out pretty well. Caden, who I expected to want to bike every day forever, was over it after day one. Shepard thinks it’s awesome, though, and I’m sure will be biking as often as possible now. The only thing I don’t like about this new freedom is that every single day we have to decide what the coming home procedure will be depending on which combination of transportation we each use in the morning. I’ve also haven’t been picking them up most days because it’s just such a huge waste of my time when they’re perfectly capable of getting home on their own. Plus it doesn’t make sense if they’re on bikes! It’s just an added little problem solving we have to not only think about, but talk about every single morning, which is already stressing me out a bit. But we’ll get used to it.

Monday is also after school clubs day. Week two, Caden still hated running club. This upcoming week he has an option to try a different class at the same time, but he’s been very noncommittal about it. I don’t want to force him to stay with it if he genuinely hates it, especially with his lego league later in the evening. But I hope he’ll give it at least one or two more weeks.

Monday was a very productive work day and I was able to get these six little Halloween dolls finished and listed by Tuesday morning, which was nice. I had time to go out and do a bunch of errands after listing, though I wasn’t feeling very good. My new blood pressure medication seems to make me feel pretty sick. I’ve had all kinds of mysterious new ailments in the week since I started taking it. I asked my doctor if there was something else I could go on and she wants me to stick with this. I’m currently testing a theory that a certain brand of coffee I’ve been drinking a lot of might also be contributing the my overall nausea, and after two days without it I’m thinking that might actually be the culprit. But I’m pretty sure my the medication is also giving me a potassium deficiency, causing all kinds of extra muscle cramps and aches this week. SIGH. I’m figuring it out. But…meh.

On Tuesday night we had a bit of a scare. We were watching one of the neighborhood boys for a few hours and he and Shepard asked if they could bike to the library together. We said sure, but an hour later when it was almost dark and they still weren’t home I was getting pretty nervous. So Greg and Caden walked to the library and they weren’t there. The next ten minutes were pretty terrifying as Greg ran back home to get his car and the neighbor got on his bike and they had to conduct a little search party around town until they found the boys on their way back home. It was so scary not knowing where they were. It really shook me up, especially since this was only the second day Shepard has had more adventurous biking privileges. But it was hard to be mad at him because he was so dang happy about the bag of books his older friend helped him pick out at the library. He normally hates to read, but he was so excited to read those books.

I spent Wednesday baking this birthday cake for my mother-in-law, Cindy. Like literally the entire day – ha! It was fun, though! I used to bake SO much, before I discovered my non-food related creative outlets. Spending an entire random day in September just giving myself over to the baking was really great! I saw this recipe a few weeks ago in my new cookbook, Bravetart. I had it mentally bookmarked as something I could possibly make for my own birthday, but decided I’d make it for Cindy instead. The recipe ended up being a lot more complicated and sciencey (SO many temperatures to follow for every single step!) than I expected, but it turned out great! πŸ™‚

We had a pretty low key celebration as Steve and Cindy just got home from two weeks in Greece the day before. We ordered pizzas and hung out at our house for the night. It was nice to catch up after not seeing each other in awhile.

The boys had coffee for breakfast on Thursday. It was a one time special deal because we ordered this coffee from their friend’s fundraiser and they really wanted to try it. It was also Homecoming this week, though none of their dress days were particularly exciting, so I didn’t take pictures besides this day (hat day for Shepard).

It’s amazing how much older they both look with pants and hats!

Overall, Thursday was a pretty weird day. I had planned to work all day, but just couldn’t get motivated. I was tired, yet jittery. All I really wanted to do was read. Reading and prepping for Friday was really all I accomplished.

And Friday was Cranberry Fest day! My parents picked me up at 5:15 and we got to Warrens by about 6:45. Despite the original forecast of downpours, there was not a drop of rain in sight! It was definitely chillier than I was expecting, but manageable. We walked around for about five hours checking everything out and it was a lot of fun! The uneven ground was tough on my mom and I and our various physical issues, but I’d say we did pretty good overall.

My biggest and most surprising find was a new rug for our family room. I haven’t been super thrilled with the one we have because lots of kids plus dirty dog plus cream/gray/yellow colors is the perfect recipe for grungy icky looking carpet. This new one will be much better!

After Cranberry Fest we hit up Starbucks and all the Tomah shops we like to go to. Then headed over to LaCrosse for a few shops and our annual trip to Ulta. We usually always get HuHot for dinner, but this is the year we ate more food at Cranberry Fest and none of us were hungry enough for unlimited Mongolian bbq. We finished the day in the Dells at the craft barn and then had a late night dinner at new deli. Despite the physical pains, I think it was a really good day! I always have so much fun on our Cranberry Fest trips. Most years we go Friday and Saturday, but I think just going the once this year was about all we could handle. I definitely don’t feel like I missed out on anything, though. Perfect amount of time at every location!

Here’s most of what I bought. Last year I just got dip and two candles, so I guess I was much more successful this year! I also bought the rug, and a couple of Christmas gifts, and an antler for Annie. The cannoli and donut and bag on the right are also dog treats. πŸ™‚

It was hard to get a good picture of the colors, but it matches this room perfectly! The browns match the furniture, the tan matches the wall, the blues match the ottoman and footstools. It’s like it was made for that room!

Greg was not super thrilled that I bought it, but then he found the exact rug on amazon for $500 (I paid $125), so I think he’s okay with it now… I like that it now perfectly matches the more mint green ottoman I got a few weeks ago online and thought was going to be more teal.

Anyway, that was my week! Today I’mΒ  just in recovery mode. My legs are so sore from all the walking on bumpy grass yesterday. I’m also so cold today, it’s hard to be productive. We’re not a family to turn the heat on in September. But…after our first freeze last night, it’s pretty dang cold today! I’ve mostly just been reading and napping and doing a little bit of cleaning. I’m trying to get motivated enough to run over to the apple orchard, but I haven’t mustered it up yet. But I’m running out of time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Caden’s 10th Birthday and Weekend Reflections 09.23.2018

What a crazy week! I’m so exhausted right now I’m not even sure how much sense this blog post will make. I’ve been feeling a bit ragged these last few days. Birthday season is exhausting! But it’s been fun too. Here’s a somewhat quick recap of the week!

On Sunday morning we had Caden’s family party. I made a big donut tower as his cake and the main food. I also served apple cheddar scones, cheesy hashbrowns, bacon, and sausage.

My mom brought yogurt and fruit and granola to add a bit of a healthy element to our meal. πŸ™‚

We got to have some Hudson time at the party! He can walk now, so that’s pretty exciting. He’s so dang adorable!

It was a fun party! Everyone cleared out around noon to watch the Packer game – we have no way to play it, we’re not football people. But Caden was happy to spend the rest of the day gaming. We’ve been trying a new rule this school year where they aren’t supposed to have screens during the week, but can pretty much play whenever they want during the weekend. That’s probably not super healthy either, but it’s kind of nice not constantly fighting over the logistics of every gaming session. Those “negotiations” all summer pretty much did me in.

Monday was an errand day for me, and then the first night of Running Club and Lego League for Caden. As much as he LOVED the summer school Running Club, he hates this one. It was also crazy hot and humid on Monday, so I’m hoping when it’s much cooler tomorrow he’ll enjoy it more. This is a year long thing that I don’t want to force him into if he truly hates it, but we’re hoping he gives it a few more weeks before making a decision. This is the first year either of them have shown any interest whatsoever in after school activities, so if he keeps up with even one of them I think I’ll be happy.

Tuesday was a work day. Pretty uneventful otherwise.

Wednesday was busy. The first late start of the year and then I had my first appointment with an internal medicine doctor to discuss my high blood pressure. I was put on meds while I start working on having a healthier lifestyle and hopefully eventually not needing the meds indefinitely. The appointment gave me a lot to think about. I have mixed feelings on all of it. I’m not going to get into it today.

I spent Wednesday afternoon book browsing and hanging out at a few of my favorite stores while I waited for Greg to finish working. I had dropped him off before my appointment because we had a big date night planned and it seemed dumb to drive two cars to Madison when we were starting our days within a mile of each other. My mom took care of the boys at night so we could stay out as long as we wanted.

The main objective of our date night was to try and find a big comfy chair for my birthday present. I’ve been wanting a chair like this basically my entire adult life. We’ve just never had room for one. But I had a corner spot ready in the living room and reallllllly wanted one and Greg said it was time. I was actually surprised at how many chairs like this we found! They’re called chair and a halfs, apparently. It was huge. I really liked the very first one we found, but we decided on this one at the fourth store we went to. I’m actually pretty surprised I found one at all that I liked enough to buy. I am very furniture picky! But I loved it.

We had dinner then at an Indian restaurant in Middleton. Because we’re practically the same person sometimes, I ordered chicken vindaloo and Greg ordered beef vindaloo. With garlic naan. It was all delicious!

We ended our date with a stop at Marshall’s. I had planned to go here earlier in the day, but sadly, there was as terrible shooting in the area earlier in the day. If I had gotten out of my doctor’s appointment earlier, I would have been there when it happened. It definitely added a sobering layer to the day, but we had a good night out. I hope we can start having more elaborate date nights like this more often than just for special occasions.

On Thursday morning I had a haircut. Once again my stylist didn’t go as short as I had asked. But at least it holds a curl again. I wish I liked my hair. It just always looks horrific if I don’t curl it or put it up. I don’t really like the way it looks up either. I don’t think there’s ever been a point in my life when I liked my hair.

I finished up my first batch of Halloween dolls Thursday afternoon. So cute!

I made some jumbo cookies for Caden’s class treat on Friday. Then I spent most of the day getting ready for his friend party in the afternoon.

We decided to have a super low key birthday party this year with just the neighborhood kids and one extra friend. The main goal of the party was to play Minecraft together. They never left this room! Such a nice difference from Shepard’s last party where the kids screamed, ran, and destroyed our house every single minute they were here. We’ve decided we’re only doing video game parties from now on!

He picked a dirt cake for this birthday dessert. I got away without making a single cake this year! Kid birthday cakes are my most hated things to bake.

Things got a bit wild at present time. Caden’s friends picked out some great gifts, though! They know him really well. And I appreciate that they took an interest and picked things out themselves that they knew he would like. I can never get my kids to show any interest in any birthday gifts they’re supposed to pick out. As a love language gift giver person, it almost kills me how little they care!

Friends!

I took a spontaneous trip to the farmer’s market early Saturday morning. I love the fall markets so much, but they also overwhelm me. I want to buy everything, but I don’t want to CARRY everything. I only ended up buying a cantaloupe, peppers, and carrots. And I picked up some bagels for a birthday breakfast. When I got back home our chair was in the lawn! They gave us a window of it being delivered between 8 and 6. Greg got an email at 7:40 that it had arrived (except he was still sleeping). Pretty funny sight to come home to! I figured we’d have to recruit a neighbor or two to help us get it in the house, but we actually squished it through just the two of us pretty smoothly!

Because the weather finally cooled off and the mosquitoes disappeared (hopefully for good!), I ran Annie to the dog park for an hour while Greg gt the chair legs on. This thing is massive, guys. I knew it was bigger than what I had originally envisioned, but I didn’t think it was going to take up the entire length of wall I had available! Well, I had wanted it angled so I could still see the little bookcase I had against this wall, but that just looked ridiculous. So after a bunch of going back and forth on arrangements and lamp options, we ended up with this. I think it looks pretty good.

I had to move over my falling apart cookbook shelf to make room for the little one next to it. This looks pretty dumb! But I don’t have any more wall space, in any room, for my bookshelf and I refuse to get rid of it! I had a fun time going through all my books again to get rid of ones I don’t want and rearranging by color.

Everyone had to check out the new chair!

It’s very cozy!

The chair is right where Annie used to have a dog bed, so I think she thinks we got this just for her. Rory liked it so much that he joined her on the chair in the evening!! Those two NEVER go by each other. (I should say, Rory never willingly stays by Annie.)

Annie snuggling some more this morning while Caden spent his morning doing games in the other room.

Present time! I realize this looks like an insane amount of presents, but I promise it was all really little things I’ve just been picking up here and there. We couldn’t commit to anything big he might have liked, so I’ve just been on the lookout for small things he might enjoy. It was a lot of used books, Harry Potter brickheadz, sunflower seeds, and snacks. He seemed pretty happy with all of it. Again, he’s not much of a gift person – giving or receiving.

He was pretty disappointed to see that he’s only grown an inch in the last year. He used to be one of the tallest kids in his grade and now all of his friends have passed him up.

We had tacos for lunch (also what we had Friday night) and peanut butter bars for his official birthday dessert.

To get out of the house for a bit on this beautiful day, we tried out a new fall fun place called Enchanted Valley Acres in Cross Plains. It was a bit of a drive, but fun to do something different.

We went during the Packer game so it would be less crowded. There were so many activities. I think the human hamster wheels were their favorite. There was also a huge 200 foot slide.

As is often the case, they both got fixated on something and it kind of ruined their ability to have fun. First it was Caden needing a drink and thinking he was going to die until he had one. There was a Hawaiian ice food truck set up so they each got one of those and then they got obsessed with wanting to do the gem mining, which is of course extra money. Finally they were satisfied with just playing in the water.

I liked this giant corn pit type thing.

The guys ended our trip going in the corn maze and I got my own Hawaiian ice. Corn mazes are not my thing. My ankle had also had enough of bumpy ground at that point.

The rest of the birthday has been pretty low key. Lots more video games. They took a short bike ride. They talked to most of the relatives via video chat. And Greg picked up Chinese food for dinner. At the moment I think he’s feeling very overtired, but it was a good day. It’ll be a long time before he has another weekend birthday.

Sunday Intentions

Another busy week ahead as September festivities continue. Greg’s parents are making their way back from Greece and we’ll be celebrating Cindy’s birthday at some point. I’m hoping for one kind of fun errand day – I might see a movie – on Tuesday, and working as hard as I can Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And Friday I’m off to Cranberry Fest as the crack of dawn with my parents. Always one of my favorite days of the year, so I’m very excited!

My only real intention for the week is to try and enjoy life. I get really caught up in how many things need to be done every day and am often feeling stressed and overwhelmed. But this is the best time of the year and I want to enjoy it! I’m definitely really behind at my seasonal doll making, but I don’t want doll making to take over my life the way it has in the past. So…if I get a lot done, that’s great. If I don’t, it simply means I was doing more important life work. I’ll survive either way.

Have a good week!

Saturday Reflections 09.15.2018

We made it through the second week of school with a lot fewer breakdowns! I’d say this has probably been the easiest transitional beginning school period we’ve ever had. Which is surprising with Caden at a new school and Shepard without his big brother to depend on. I’ve even had a pretty easy time transitioning into my own routines again, without feeling like my life has drastically changed. I like it!

Unfortunately, it still wasn’t quite a “normal” week. September is never normal since I’m usually preparing for birthday parties on more than one weekend. Which basically means a ton of running around trying to gather everything I need. My sewing always falls to the wayside, which is frustrating, but I don’t really know what to do about it. I think I just need to accept I’m never going to be as productive as I hope to be in September. Hopefully I can make up for it in October?

On Monday, I began my morning with that two week yoga challenge. It felt great to get it over with first thing in the morning and I was loving how I felt. But by Wednesday I was getting super sore, mostly my ankles, and wasn’t sure if I should power through or not. I don’t think I was actually injuring myself, but it was getting a lot harder to walk and feel good. By the end of the week I wasn’t feeling the greatest either, so the last few days have been very half-hearted attempts. I really want to complete this challenge, but I lost my enthusiasm for it after four days.

I tried going for another long walk after getting the boys to school, but that hasn’t gone very well either this week. The stupid mosquitoes!! There are honestly like twenty mosquitoes on your body at all times the second you walk out the door. It’s an absolute nightmare. And it makes me want to cry how beautiful the weather has otherwise been, but we’re all missing it because the mosquitoes are out to kill. πŸ™ And poor Annie! She’s only getting out to the bathroom the absolute bare minimum of times every day, with almost no additional exercise. I walk her with us to school every morning, but then I rush her home as fast as possible because every time she stops to sniff or go to the bathroom, I’m attacked by ten times more mosquitoes. She probably feels like she’s being punished.

I ran to Walmart for some groceries and then stopped at my mom’s to drop off a few condolence gifts I picked up in Chicago. We had coffee together and then I came back home to try and catch up on all kinds of random stuff I had waiting for me. I hung up this big sign I got at the vintage market at the bottom of my stairs – I love it! I was going to hang up my colorful signs in my sewing room too, but realized they didn’t come with any picture hanger thingys. So I need to figure out where to buy those before they can get on the wall.

The rest of Monday I napped, worked a little bit, Greg took Caden to his first Lego League – an hour late because I never got the memo the time changed – and just laid around because I wasn’t feeling that good. I really haven’t been feeling the greatest all week. Not sick enough to be bedridden or anything, but enough to make every job a little harder and motivation much harder to muster up.

Tuesday I was bound and determined to actually get some work done. But I also had yoga, quiet time, school send off, errands at the post office and library, and I stopped in at a local morning coffee, but people who said they would be there were not and I was frustrated and sick of how often people think my time is invaluable, so I left. I don’t have time for people that waste my time anymore. Or time for people that have zero interest in maintaining a friendship. I went back home and worked, worked, worked, and still went to bed feeling incredibly frustrated with how little I actually got done. I feel like I used to sew so much faster! Am I being more of a perfectionist now? Or am I just plain slower??

I ordered this new bench ottoman type thing from Kohl’s with a bunch of Kohl’s cash I needed to use last week. It ended up being super cheap. I was hoping it would fit in our bedroom, but there’s definitely no space for any extra furniture. So I put it in the family room, hoping it might make the space a little happier. Instead it just looks more cluttered than ever. I’m really not a fan of that room. But I don’t know what to do to make it any better. It serves as our dining room, our main living/tv watching/video game playing space, the electronic charging station, the room we walk in and out of all the time and dump all of our shoes, coats, and bags, Greg’s office area, and where Annie’s kennel and toys and food are kept. How do you arrange a room that has to fit so many purposes? Anyway, the boys and pets love the new stool. I’d like it more if they’d actually keep it in one spot. I don’t know why everything I neatly arrange has to be moved and cluttered about two minutes after I arrange it EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I went to the fall opening of one of my favorite stores, Twisted Sisters, on Wednesday morning. I’m finding that I like the things they sell there less and less, but I always enjoy looking around. I ended up buying a few stems of fake fall flowers. Then back home to work.

On Wednesday evening we met Greg’s parents at the new restaurant/bowling alley/arcade in town, Fast Lanes. We were celebrating Caden’s birthday with them because they’re off to Greece for the next two weeks and won’t be around for the party. I’ve been dying to check the restaurant out since it opened. I ended up just ordering the basic chicken sandwich and garlic tater tots. My only complaint is that none of the food was very hot, but it still tasted good.

We came back to our house for presents and cupcakes. Caden was super excited about a new video game and his very own RED portable charger! We’ve reached the age where gifts are much smaller in size and much bigger dents in the wallet!

His first 10th birthday dessert. It was a fun night!

Thursday was another big work day. I’m hoping maybe if I force myself to work and only work 2-3 days a week it will ease up some of the guilt I feel on busier days. It still wasn’t super productive, though, because I was super tired. Getting up at 4:30 every day to fit in my full morning routine is awesome, but I always pay for it by late morning which sucks. I forget how productive I was in those early hours and just end up mad at myself for how little I got done later on.

I was originally planning to go to that Madison Night Market, which looked so awesome. But by afternoon I was really feeling like my time would better be spent working and getting ready for the big weekend. Plus, it kind of sucks always going to these events by myself. I just wasn’t up for another one. Anyway, Greg offered to pick up a pizza from the other new restaurant in town, James Street Pizza. I was a little annoyed to see that they don’t let you change anything on any of their menu pizzas. (Almost all of them had onions, which is pretty much the most annoying topping to have to try and dig out before eating and we both hate them.) We could have built our own, but it would have been New York Style, and I really wanted to try their Old World Style with the fresh mozzarella. So we landed on the least offensive pizza choice and I just picked off the sausage. I think it would have tasted amazing with some pepperoni, but I did really like the pizza otherwise!

This is Caden’s new favorite reading position. Annie had to try it out on Friday morning. πŸ™‚

I woke up super early on Friday, but was really stressed about my lack of doll progress, so I used the morning to work instead of do yoga. I wasn’t feeling very well all day, so it’s the first day I skipped a video completely. There was just so much to do! Shepard decided to pull a fake out sick tantrum when we got to school so Greg gave in and let him come home. Except he admitted like two minutes later he didn’t want to go to school because they had a substitute teacher who is really mean. TOTALLY faking the sickness. I was pretty livid, but I also had party running errands I needed to do, so I left Greg to deal with it. He ended up bringing Shepard back to school mid morning.

My main mission Friday was to get a ton of different donut holes and pick up everything else I needed for Caden’s birthday party without needing to run back out last minute. I think I succeeded! (I have two more hours to realize I might have forgotten something.) Then back home, a nap, and more work.

The facebook book club I’m in is doing a fall readathon this weekend. Despite it not being the best of weekends to making reading a priority, I decided to join in the fun because there was no hour requirement this time around. And I’m actually really glad I decided to partake because it’s made this weekend so much more fun and relaxing than it could have been! With a lot of Greg’s help doing house cleaning, I’ve had more time than ever to just read the last two days. I think that mentally I really needed to put my dolls aside and only focus on party prep and reading. I kind of want to do this every weekend now. It’s been great doing all the facebook related prompts too, with the reading group. I love being around other book lovers, even if it’s only through my computer.

Saturday was the big party prep day. Again, I was planning to go to the farmer’s market, but made the decision to skip out. Maybe next Saturday. Hopefully next Saturday. πŸ™‚ This was the right choice, though. The boys had some friends over and at first we said they couldn’t come inside because we were cleaning. The mosquitoes were eating them alive, so then we said they could come in if they helped clean. Which they all willingly did, which was kind of hilarious.

We’re taking it pretty easy with this breakfast themed birthday party, so the only real baking I had to do was making apple cheddar scones. I also had to make a couple packages of bacon, cheesy hashbrowns, and sausage. Lots of little prep, but nothing unmanageable or stressful. Caden’s birthday cake is this donut “croquembouche.” (Thanks for the idea, Great British Baking Show!) It turned out pretty well!

Anyway, I’m off now to finish everything up for the party and then HAVE the party. More later!!

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

Hello!

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™ 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™ I was exhausted, but also super hyped up, so I took a long shower and then watched the movieΒ 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

HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!!!!!

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 seeΒ 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. πŸ™

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™

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 watchedΒ 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.Β 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. πŸ˜›

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. πŸ™‚