Saturday Reflections 12.09.2017

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

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

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

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

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

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Real smiles! Hooray!

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

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

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

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

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

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

my favorite things

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you had a great week!

Saturday Reflections 12.02.2017

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Well, it’s been another full week of nothing really going to plan. Remember how I wasn’t feeling very well last Sunday? It turned out to be a major swimmer’s ear infection. I wasn’t able to get into the doctor until Wednesday morning and by then I was so swollen she couldn’t even see into my ear. Fun times. I’m finally starting to feel relatively normal today, but it’s been six days of trying to push through the pain to still be relatively productive, but also rest enough so I can get better. Balance is always the challenge!

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I spent Monday (very slowly) finishing up all the Christmas decorating. I was right – much easier to do when home alone! I perfected my cozy reading corner for full potential Christmas cheer. I haven’t had a chance to light up all the candles and just enjoy it yet, but I’m hoping at some point this weekend!

Tuesday…I don’t remember! I think I was in a lot of pain. But they couldn’t fit me in at the doctor, so I was just trying to survive the day.

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Wednesday I spent pretty much the entire day writing that blog post about Christmas books. Started at 4am, ended at 7pm. With some napping and cooking and kid and pet things in between!

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Side note – Rory’s been sleeping in Annie’s sewing room bed at night. She usually sleeps on the couches, but comes in by me when I get up. Her reactions to Rory being on her bed are pretty hilarious. She isn’t quite sure what to think about it.

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On Thursday I made a last ditch (yes, last ditch on November 30th because I avoid stores at all cost in December) shopping trip to find stocking stuffers and fun things for St. Nick’s Day. I usually have very good plans in place for these things every year but this year I’m just flailing. I LOVE giving gifts (top love language), but there are also like a million people that we need to get gifts for. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming!! But having that day out was useful. I even made spontaneous plans to meet Greg for lunch at Mod Pizza! I’m pretty sure that’s never happened before. It was really nice!

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The boys’ chromebooks came on Thursday. They’ve been saving their allowance to split the cost of one. We wanted to wait until Black Friday for a particular deal, much to Caden’s extremely impatient dismay. We surprised them by getting a second chromebook so they could each have their own. And hopefully avoid many future arguments and fights. Right now they’re super obsessed with them, but I’m hoping the novelty wears off at least a little.

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And Friday rung in December! Twinkle made his annual appearance with donuts and hot cocoa.

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After school, two months later than we usually do it, we attempted some family photos to use in Christmas cards. This is about how it went. At least we all look happy?! Until five minutes later when we were all either screaming or crying. Photo shoots are always so enjoyable. 😛 But after my edits this morning I was able to pull together a pretty decent card, I think! It’s a little grainy, a little dark, and features my pets more than my kids, but I think it turned out pretty great!

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Friday night the boys had their Christmas concert at school. It’s the first year in our four years at the elementary school that they’ve had a Christmas concert! They did really great! Shepard was pretty nervous, but he did well. And Caden! Caden was SO into it. It was seriously amazing. I think he’s much more of a natural born performer than I’ve ever given him credit for.

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We went to Culver’s for dinner before the concert and then back to our house afterward for ice cream. Except the boys really just wanted to show off their chromebooks to the Grandmas.

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And now today. Catch up day. I spent forever working on cards this morning, then did some sewing, then ran to the dog park for awhile. Shepard’s been in a horrific mood. He’s currently napping, which pretty much only means one thing – he has another migraine. Sometimes he tells us, but more often than not he tries to hide it because he doesn’t want to have to go to bed or miss out on anything. Twice in two weeks is not a good sign for the holiday season.

Anyway, back to work for me. The stress is really hitting me today with how much I need/want to get done in the next two weeks. I basically gave up two very valuable and necessary work weeks to Thanksgiving, Shepard being sick, me being sick. I didn’t even write ANY of my fun end of the month blog posts yet. I need to catch up. Lots of nights and weekends, which will hopefully pay off in me being able to take two weeks totally off at the end of the month. Busy busy!

Saturday Reflections 11.25.2017: Thanksgiving Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Setting out the appetizers.

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

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Thanksgiving Mad Libs.

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Coding things, on the tv.

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

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

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

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

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

I hope your Thanksgiving week went well!

Saturday Reflections and Sunday Intentions 11.19.2017

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This weekend is turning out to be even busier than I expected it to be! I somehow thought I’d get most of today to laze around with a book and candles again. Here it is 5pm and I haven’t even gotten to most of the more enjoyable things I wanted to do BEFORE lazy time today (like write!). Which is a little frustrating. But what can you do? Life just takes over.

This past week has been fairly uneventful. I’ve just been working away, trying to get things done so I can afford to take a breather this upcoming week. As always, I didn’t get as much done as I had wanted. Sewing feels like it’s taking me ten times longer than it used to. It’s really hard to just sit down and work when I’m constantly thinking about everything else. I’m really trying to get out of this mindset, but it’s tough. I’ve lived in this zone ever since Shepard started school full time. I feel like I need to prove my worth, or something like that. If I’m not getting enough done, then I’m obviously failing as a stay at home/work at home mom. It’s not like anyone actually says that to me, but I feel the pressure nonetheless. ALL. THE. TIME.

Anyway. Tuesday was our last day of yoga class. Or so I thought!! Apparently it’s actually an eight week class. But I was pretty psyched about it ending, so I decided we’re done. Shepard was being super uncooperative at the kid class again. I’m not sure what changed from the earlier weeks, but it’s just not worth bringing him back. And I can’t go this week anyway, so I’m done. It was definitely a good experience! I don’t LOVE yoga, but I did like most of it! I just wish the class were in the mornings. Or – A class was in the morning. I think I’d just do so much better with any type of exercising if I could get it done earlier in the day, rather than waiting for it to be the last thing I do that day. I never, ever want to leave the house in the evenings, especially for a class.

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Wednesday was our one big family meal together of the week. I’m really trying to make a conscious effort to enjoy cooking again. I used to love it! I used to really love to bake. So much so I was considering a career in it. And now? I dread being forced to stand in the kitchen while everyone is whining and starving every afternoon. But I want to enjoy it again. Even if I just focus on one or two big meals a week, I want to put the effort in and have fun doing it. So this week I made some steaks and hasselback potatoes, with chimichurri and rosemary focaccia bread.

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On Thursday afternoon, Caden had another therapy appointment, so I dropped him off there with Greg and then Shepard and I had a mini date. We went to St. Vinnie’s to look for Christmas things to go with my dolls. And then we had dinner at Taco Bell. Which was funny because Greg and Caden picked that for their dinner date too. They were coming in as we were leaving. And then they went to Math/Science night and Shepard and I went home.

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Friday was a big work day. I picked up the boys with Annie. The dog park is closed this week for repairs. I might drive over there tomorrow to see if there’s any update on when it will be finished. Annie REALLY needs that running around time every day. The long walks don’t really do much to settle her down. We’ve been walking twice a day, but she still has cycles of being crazy wound up.

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Saturday morning I finished up ten more Christmas dolls. This is my favorite. I love stockings!

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The boys and I were out and about for most of the day. We had our friend Bronson’s birthday party at Sky Zone. My kids are a year ahead and behind everyone that was at the party, so they just stuck together and at my side. Once they saw kids getting ICEEs, the just had to have one. So I made them share.

After that party we had a three hour time gap before our next party. It was too cold and rainy/sleety to do anything outside or just sit in the car playing tablet (which is what Caden really wanted to do). So we went to Toys ‘r Us to very slowly look at every toy in the store. Then we stopped at a fancy grocery store. I was hoping to actually get the things I needed, but it was too crowded and expensive, so we just looked around. And ended at Barnes and Noble, where they conveniently found Nooks and tablets to play on while I looked around.

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At 5, we went to my goddaughter McKenna’s and her little sister Alaina’s joint birthday party. My kids were having SO much fun playing on the air hockey table and with all the kids at the party.

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McKenna is five! She’s so sweet.

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The gigantic mint cake! It was a fun party! We got home around 8:45pm and I was totally beat. Exhausting day!

Sunday Intentions

So, moving on to the week ahead! It’s Thanksgiving! Which for us means a massive family week. My sister-in-law and her husband are in town for the week and they won’t be able to come this year for Christmas, so the pressure is on to spend every possible minute together! My other sister-in-law and her boyfriend will be here too. We have a lot of things planned!

Monday is still a free day. I think I might treat myself to some fun shopping in Madison. I’ve really been wanting to go to Trader Joe’s to check out their seasonal treats. It’s about an hour drive, so I don’t get there too often. But my all time favorite gift store is across the street, so I think it’s worth the trek.

Tuesday is a work day. I don’t expect to actually get much done, but I’ll hopefully get to something! When Tuesday afternoon rolls around I’m going to be done for the week. If I plan on sewing in between activities it’s just going to stress me out. So I’m officially on a sewing free vacation at 3pm on Tuesday. That evening we’re going to try and do some family photos for Christmas cards.

Wednesday the boys have a half day and then we’re going to go to EAA with everyone. I’ve never been there.

Thursday is Thanksgiving! My in-law’s host every year, and the last few years my parents and brother have been coming too. Which is really nice, having everyone together. Plus the whole not needing to eat two full Thanksgiving meals within hours of each other thing! I’m usually in charge of all the desserts, though this year other people wanted to make things too. I’m making two things and possibly some sort of rolls.

Friday we have another family get together. And then Greg and I are going to his co-worker’s wedding in the evening. The wedding and dinner/reception are all taking place at Fleming’s Steak House. Which is kind of funny to me. The boys will stay at Grandma’s and sleepover.

Saturday is the big Columbus Wine Walk. I’ve never gone before, but a few of my friends asked me to join in. All the small businesses in town will be offering wine and appetizers at each of their locations. We had to buy tickets in advance. I’m looking forward to it! I don’t get enough friend time.

And Sunday, hopefully, we’ll decorate for Christmas! I’m excited to get the trees up. Normally I’m one of those devout after Thanksgiving ONLY kind of people when it comes to Christmasy things. But this year I’ve already been listening to music for a couple of weeks, so I’m ready!

Top Priority: ENJOY MY BLESSINGS

I live in my head way too much. I let myself be ruled by my to do lists and sometimes have a hard time keeping my priorities straight. I like to accomplish things and sometimes just sitting around and chilling feels like a huge waste of potentially productive time to me. I’m constantly thinking about what else I need to be doing and it’s hard to let that go. But this week, it’s going to happen. I’m going to RELAX and ENJOY and LOVE and LAUGH. I’m fortunate to have family that lives nearby and wants us around. I’m blessed to have a supportive husband and two kids that are pretty great. I have a lot to be thankful for and it’s the week to really focus on that. Work can wait.

Second Priority: Annie

The downside of all this family time is that Annie is going to be spending a whole lot of time in her kennel home alone this week. 🙁 It’s been a pretty big source of anxiety to me this past week. I tried to talk to Greg about it and he basically said I asked for these problems by getting a dog. So. Annie is back to being MY dog and my dog alone and I have to deal with it. I’m planning on really long walks every morning. I’m hoping the dog park opens back up earlier rather than later, so we can go there too. And I’ll probably have to leave a few things early. I know, she’s just a dog. But she’s a super social dog that needs a ton of exercise and interaction and I don’t want to just ditch her for the entire week.

And that’s about it! There are certainly other things I’d like to do this week. Blog posts that never seem to find time to be written. But I’m not going to put the pressure on myself. If I get to it, I do. If I want to just spend a day enjoying the little things in life, I’ll do that instead.

Have a happy Thanksgiving week!

Saturday Reflections 11.11.2017

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Whew! This busy week of nighttime activities has come to an end. And I’m exhausted! My photo project the other day made me realize how truly active I am first thing in the morning. It makes sense why I crash every afternoon. And explains why it’s so hard to function at night. Five nights in a row is a lot of stuff. Hard for me to handle. But overall, it was a fun week! I’m just very, very tired today.

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On Sunday we celebrated my brother Tyler’s birthday. And spent lots of time with Hudson. 🙂

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I couldn’t believe how into the book he was! He’s only four months old!

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They have matching coats!

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Monday morning was an early one with daylight’s savings in full effect. The boys didn’t have school. They were dressed and playing a board game around 5:40. We celebrated the day off by going to Ponderosa with my parents for lunch and then wandering around Toyland at Fleet Farm.

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On Tuesday I was feeling really crappy and SO not in the mood for yoga. But I knew we’d be the only ones there this week and I couldn’t stand the thought of the teacher showing up with no students. So I compromised by only going to the kid class.

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Wednesday was supposed to be my one night home alone. Greg was seeing Thor with a friend and the boys were going to Grandma’s. So I decided to “celebrate” by spending the day out and about on some fun errands. I got a bunch of new Christmas fabrics and then had a late take out lunch from Panera. By the time my few hours alone rolled around I couldn’t really relax enough to enjoy it. There was so much to do. There’s always too much to do.

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I did finish up my first batch of Christmas dolls. This was my favorite one. I was really tempted to keep her. But someone bought it today.

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Thursday was my busiest day. I was doing that #ONEDAYHH photo project, so you can read about it there. It was a great day!

I was pretty wiped by Friday. I was hoping to work all day, but I just couldn’t find the motivation. I spent quite a large chunk of the day reading in bed. In the evening I went to the Peddler’s Barn sale with my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. I found a few fun treasures to go with my dolls. It was so cold and crowded! We had dinner at Culver’s afterward.

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This morning we were up super early again, so Shepard and I went to the Dane County farmer’s market. It was their last outdoor market. I was making a list of all the delicious treats I wanted to get since they won’t be available to me again until May! But we got there and only about 25% of the booths were there. 🙁 I’ve only been to the winter indoor market once and it seemed pretty lame. But I see they’ve moved to a bigger venue, so I’ll definitely have to check it out again this year.

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Since none of the other pastries and breads we wanted were available, we got a half priced loaf of hot and spicy cheese bread to try and warm up. So good, but not really worth it’s $12 full price.

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We stopped at Starbucks in Target on the way home for an extra treat. When we got home I dropped off Shepard and took Annie to the dog park for an hour. Got back again and Greg was still sleeping because it was the first time  probably ever that nobody woke him up. When he did wake up, I went back to bed! Busy morning. Cold morning! I’ve been working the rest of the day. Not really in the mood for it, but I’m trying to get ahead. Will it ever happen?

Anyway, I realized I should probably at least address my Sunday Intentions from earlier in the week to see if I actually did anything I wanted to do. I don’t know if I treated work as my highest priority, but I did put more time into it than in the past few weeks. I completed two batches of Christmas dolls, so that’s good. I did not learn any new blog things. I have a list of some things I want to talk to Greg about. We just haven’t had time. It’s a ships passing kind of week. And decluttering – I did enough that I at least feel better about the state of our house! I had the boys help me with some stuff on Monday morning. And I did some more before Katy came over for coffee on Thursday. Inviting people over is always the biggest guarantee I’ll actually clean things!

Well, I’m off to fold laundry that’s been piling up all week. I think I’m going to take tomorrow off from work and everything. I need a lazy day. Motivation is seriously lacking right now.

Hope you had a good week!

Saturday Reflections 11.04.2017

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It was really nice to finally have a quieter week! Not having something on the calendar every single night was such a relief. Especially when it falls before weeks like this upcoming one, with something going on every single day! We really need those calm weeks to reset the balance.

On Sunday morning, we went to the dog park. Shepard was eating a popcorn ball on the way there and his loose tooth became extra loose. It was his first loose tooth and I thought he’d be really excited about losing it, but he was actually incredibly angry. He was pouting and stomping his feet. Then it suddenly popped out and for about twenty seconds he was excited and let me take a picture. And then he got sick! Well, he didn’t actually throw up, but he thought he was going to, so we had to rush back home where he laid down for a couple of hours.

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Sunday afternoon Caden was invited to a friend’s birthday party at the roller rink. Greg was spending the day with a friend, so Shepard and I went along to skate too. We are all really bad!! The boys were falling so much I finally rented them a trainer to share. I never fell, thank goodness, but I could also barely move. I’m pretty sure I made it around the room twice in the two hours we were there. They had fun, though. We left a little early after Caden fell and hit his side really hard on a bench. He didn’t want to skate any more after that.

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Shepard wrote me this note to send to his teacher on Monday. I had a good laugh about it! When Caden has therapy I need to pick them both up at 2:45, so Shepard thought it was about time we had another appointment.

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Tuesday was Halloween! We had a pretty low key celebration. I tried to get orange and black out for everyone to wear.

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I made Halloween shaped spaghetti for the boys, Greg and I ate ravioli, and I made dark chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips and m&m’s.

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After dinner we listened to spooky music and put together our Halloween treat puzzle that we do every year. It was a nice night!

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On Wednesday night, we were back on normal schedule and the boys went to Grandma’s house. Greg suggested we go on a real date with our night off. So we headed to Salvatore’s in Sun Prairie. Such good pizza, but I never feel too great after. 🙁

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Every night we watch tv together and every night Rory acts like he’s the happiest cat in the world snuggling with Greg. It makes me so happy to see him so happy! It’s a constant point of amusement for me to see how cozy he can make himself. He still spends most of his time hiding out in the basement during the day. Annie has yet to walk down the scary stairs, so it’s Rory’s very chilly haven from her. Though Rory has been spending quite a bit more time upstairs this week.

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I spent Monday running fun bookish errands. And Tuesday-Thursday working hard. I made six new dolls. So far only sold one and tentatively sold one to a lady who always insists on paying by check in the mail, which drives me a bit insane. But she buys often, so…

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I’m working on Christmas dolls next, so I hope they’re a bigger seller.

Thursday, Caden stayed home from school sick. He wasn’t actually sick. But I wrote about all that in my last post, so read it there.

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Early Friday morning. I woke up with a terrible headache and had a stomachache later. Been kind of a rough week. But I distracted myself by going to Hobby Lobby to look at Christmas things. Tis the season! Almost. 🙂

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I spent most of Saturday doing some early Christmas shopping with Cindy. We love going to all the discount stores like Marshall’s and TJMaxx. I didn’t find many gifts, but it’s always fun to dig around and get some unique ideas for people! We also had a delicious lunch at Panera.

Saturday night, Greg and Shepard went to Grandma’s for dinner. Caden was throwing too many fits about things, so his punishment was staying home with me. 😛 We took Annie for a long walk and then finished up this dog puzzle we started on Halloween night. It ended up being a nice bonding evening. Puzzles are another thing the two of us can do together.

And that was our week!

Saturday Reflections 10.28.2017

Well, this week turned out to be busier and more stressful than I was anticipating. Mostly because I spent all day every day working on those stupid pilgrims. I had multiple customers ask me for pilgrims, so I found a pattern and bought it. Never expecting they were going to be so annoying to work on. It was NOT a fun work week. But I survived.

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On Sunday, we got together to celebrate Brittany’s birthday. Fall is pretty crazy with Caden’s birthday, mine exactly two weeks later, Brittany’s exactly two weeks after mine, and then Tyler’s about two weeks after hers. Lots of family time!

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Hudson wasn’t feeling very good and slept most of the time we were there, but I still snuck in my selfie!

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Happy 28th!

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I made a flourless chocolate cake with salted butterscotch sauce, vanilla whipped cream, and candied pecans. So tasty.

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Most of us carved pumpkins. Good fall family event! It was a pretty laid back day. Rainy and gross outside, so we all just chilled around the house and (some of us) watched football.

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I spent Monday running errands all day. Tuesday I must have started working on the pilgrims. Wednesday was a late start and the day I had to make some things for the school bake sale. It was also the last relatively nice day before the weather took a terrible turn on Thursday. 🙁 The boys went to my mom’s house for Halloween crafts.

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Thursday night was SpookFest for school. They don’t have costume days during school, so it’s always fun for them to dress up for something with their friends.

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No dance this year, but they enjoyed decorating cookies, decorating slime, doing a science experiment, and eating some treats.

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Friday was really cold! Both boys were going to the woods for field trips and had to wear full winter gear. I took Annie to the dog park each of the cold days and she absolutely loved it.

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On Friday I finally finished sewing up the pilgrims and prairie dolls I worked on all week. I have never hated sewing anything as much as those pilgrims. Never again. Especially since it seems like people aren’t even interested in actually buying them! I had to price them pretty high because they were so big, used so much fabric, and took me so long to make.

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I was actually pretty pleased with how they turned out in the end. This is the set I liked the most, and the only one that has sold.

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Friday night I made pretzel crust pizzas. It doesn’t require that much more effort than regular crust and has the added benefit of needing to be individually sized, so we can each pick our own toppings. I made jalapeno popper for myself. Greg picked buffalo and Shepard wanted bbq.

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It was a pretty nasty night, weather wise, but Shepard, Annie, and I bundled up and headed to the community bonfire for about twenty minutes. The fire was nice and warm! I was impressed at how well Annie did, even though there were quite a few other dogs there.

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Today has been pretty lazy so far. The only thing I’ve managed to do was run to Pick n Save for a couple last minute food items. Shepard came with me because they were doing trick or treating in store for the kids. And in case it seems like I’m favoriting a child in these posts, just for the record – they are BOTH always asked to do things with me, and only one of them ever actually wants to go.

And now we’re just gearing up for our Halloween party and trick or treating. It’s pretty low key this year, I think only the grandmas and one grandpa are coming. I’m making a few spooky foods, but not going all out like most years. It’s bumming me out how awful the weather is. 35 degrees, windy, no sun. It’ll be even worse once it gets dark tonight. We really lucked out with how nice it turned out last year. I’m dreading spending hours walking around tonight.

More on how it goes later. Happy Halloween!

Saturday Reflections 10.21.2017

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I feel like this past week we’ve finally started settling into the quieter routines of autumn, school, and regular life. It was the first week without a ton of extra stuff going on, which I thought would induce a little restorative peace into our lives. Somehow I think it all just made us a bit crankier and less tolerant of each other.

I feel like I did make some strides with my own emotional and mental wellbeing. Sunday was a pretty chilly day and I just plain wasn’t in the mood to work or clean or do laundry. So I lit a bunch of candles, made myself some tea, wore pajamas all day, covered myself in blankets, and just read. For hours. It was kind of amazing. I love all those cozy extras that make a house a home, but I rarely actually take advantage of them. I love having candles lit for ambiance and smell and seasonal cheer. But I almost never, ever light them. I decided it’s time to start! I think when our schedule allows this fall and winter, I’d like to try and make this a regular Sunday occurrence. For at least a couple of hours a day. Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest after all, right? There is zero reason for me to feel guilty about just snuggling in and reading by candlelight for a couple hours every week. It was relaxing and honestly just made me so happy.

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I was so chilled out that I even felt like baking! Baking used to be such a massive part of my life. And since sewing aspirations came along, baking really fell to the wayside. I went from baking things almost daily, to only doing it perhaps twice a month. The decision was partly for actual health reasons. But still. It used to bring me joy, so when the moment hits these days I don’t want to waste it! Shepard and I made a huge double batch of apple cider donuts.

On Monday, there was no school for conferences. It wasn’t super exciting, but the boys and I went to Animart in Beaver Dam and then ran some errands. They liked playing with the puppies at the pet store and we picked out some new treats and toys for Annie. We had lunch out at Wendy’s and then relaxed in the afternoon before conferences.

Conferences went well. Shepard is doing great. Still no progress on the bathroom usage IN school, but his teacher said he’s not super squirmy or anything either (like he was last year). But academically and everything, he’s good. And Caden’s conference was student led with the teacher having nothing to do with it, so presumably he’s doing well too. It would be nice if she checked in, but I guess that’s not how they do it as they get older. Caden showed us what he’s working on in each subject and his goals for the future. It was interesting!

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On Tuesday, I ended up chaperoning Shepard’s field trip to Olbrich Gardens. I’ve never chaperoned before and never planned to (that’s Greg domain), but his teacher asked me directly if I could do it the night before and I didn’t have a good enough excuse to say no. I was a little bit terrified, but it went well! My group of boys had no interest in staying with me, which was a little bit annoying. But we were mostly in a large group, so it was fine. It was fun to see what field trips are all about. And I was much more interested in going to Olbrich than some of the other places they go (children’s museum = nightmare).

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On Tuesday afternoon, Shepard and I tried out a kid/parent yoga class. For some reason it’s supposed to be for ages 2-6, which is why Caden didn’t go. That night’s theme was superheroes. It was just us and my friend Laura and her family. Four little boys running around. There wasn’t a whole lot of actual yoga going on, but all the kids seemed to love it. We had to pay for the whole session, so I guess we’ll be going back the next few weeks!

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They made capes. He was quite proud of his. I wish this sweet part of childhood could be bottled up forever. Shepard is just so enthusiastic and FUN. 🙂

I was SO tired that night and skipped the regular adult yoga. For the remaining three weeks I’m hoping to do both classes. But I don’t think I’ll go after the six week session is over. I’d rather drive twenty minutes and take the cardio drumming class. Or try and find a class I could take during the day, which would be way more convenient.

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Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were mostly work days. Caden had therapy Thursday afternoon, so Shepard went with me to run errands after we dropped Caden off. He was so excited about it too. Maybe I need to take him out of the house more often! I’m just so used to Caden who never wants to go anywhere or do anything.

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I had some custom orders I did on Wednesday, and on Thursday I started a new pilgrim pattern. I really didn’t want to do pilgrims, but so many people asked me for them. And this pattern was killing me. I could not figure out how to make the dresses. So I ended up just kind of winging something, though after I made the man’s clothes the dress instructions made more sense. At any rate, I’m still not positive these will even turn out. They’re going to be really big too, and sold as a set, so people might not be willing to purchase them in the end. But at least I made them! I’m getting antsy to start on Christmas dolls. The last few years I’ve had very little time for Christmas, but this year I think I can pull it off.

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Saturday was a crazy busy day. I asked Caden to go to the farmer’s market with me because I have so much one on one time with Shepard (especially this week!), but almost none with him. He reluctantly agreed if I bought him beef sticks. We spent a ridiculous amount of time waiting for bagels at Gotham and then had a fun trek around the market. We bought cranberry walnut bread (my absolute favorite), five spicy beef sticks, chili vinaigrette, carrots, peppers, and two giant cookies. It was fun!

Both Friday and Saturday, I took Annie to a fall festival at the dog park. They had an agility course set up, along with some dog food vendors, and they were giving away free hot dogs. Friday was pretty boring, but there were all kinds of new dogs to play with on Saturday.

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Saturday afternoon we babysat Hudson for the first time! It was Brittany’s birthday and they were going to a wedding, so we offered to babysit him during the ceremony. Caden fed him his first bottle of the day. Annie was very fascinated.

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Selfie time. Shepard was making faces at him to get him to smile.

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He’s getting a lot more vocal, which is adorable. They were having a baby talk conversation.

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We walked to school. Shepard LOVED pushing the stroller. Annie was so confused about what was going on! I feel like we’re a circus act every time we go on a walk – even without a baby in a stroller! For a family that walks to and from school every single day, you’d think we would be better about staying on the sidewalk and not tripping over each other. Nope!

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Watching Shepard on the swings.

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Greg held Hudson during his nap and I made more apple cider donuts for Brittany’s birthday treat.

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Annie was trying to hold Greg down during the next feeding.

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Hudson changed into his wedding clothes and me wearing a new shirt because I got donut batter all over the last one. So…time for a new selfie! 🙂 He was picked up soon after. It was a lot of fun watching him! It’s so much fun watching babies get older and turn more into little humans.

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Greg and the boys left right after to have dinner with his parents and I worked on Brittany’s birthday cake and sauce. Then I gave Annie a much needed bath, which was quite the workout!! After that I was pretty much done for. Busy, busy day!

 

Saturday Reflections

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Another very busy week behind us! And kind of an odd week too. I thought it’d finally be the week we start settling back into a routine without all the extra stuff, but there was still quite a bit going on! Maybe this upcoming week will slow down. Or maybe life will just never be slow again!

On Sunday morning I put on the temporary tattoo I bought on State Street during our birthday date. I really liked it! I’m starting to think more seriously about getting a real tattoo. Sometime… I’ve been toying with the idea for a few years and know that I want it to be bird related. I’m thinking four tiny birds, for our family. But I also really adored the vintage bird design on the temporary one, so now I need to make some hard decisions!

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We picked up the boys from their sleepover at Noe’s and headed over to my parents’ house for another birthday celebration.

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I had lots of Hudson time! I need to start saving all my selfies with him in a folder so I can make a big timeline of them when he’s older. 🙂

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My parents made the most delicious lunch! They always make delicious food, but it was exciting I got to pick the food! We had Jamaican jerk chicken, marshmallow fluff salad, grilled/roasted broccoli, mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon, and garlicky rolls. It was all super good!

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Laughing!

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My mom got me a Keurig! I’ve had a crush on this Oasis colored classic model since they first released it at Target only a couple of months ago. I don’t drink coffee, but I do use an instant hot water heater a couple of times a week for when I’m staining my dolls, and I do enjoy tea on occasion. And the boys always like hot chocolate and tea on cold days. I figured if I already had a hot water heater on the counter, I might as well have a much prettier Keurig!

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We were still there for part of the Packer game. I don’t care about football, but snacks are always exciting! 🙂 Oh, and I guess I don’t have a picture, but I had a chocolate truffle cheesecake for dessert. Very tasty!

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Like father, like son.

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Back at home that night, the boys insisted we get the Keurig up and running right away! They were so excited. We each tried something different and it worked great!

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I think this picture was on Monday – but I tried coffee! And realized I actually kind of like it. I wanted to do an experimental week of drinking coffee around lunchtime to see if it would help me not desperately need a nap in the afternoons. I never have a problem feeling awake and motivated first thing in the morning, but afternoons are just the WORST. Surprisingly (because I’ve never felt any different after having a soda), the caffeine actually seemed to work! I think I went the whole week with an afternoon coffee and no need for a nap! So at 33, I am now a coffee drinker.

Monday afternoon Caden had a well child visit and we all had flu shots. Caden is perfectly healthy. He’s in the 65th percentile for height and 57th for weight. He was around 100 for both when he was a baby, but has been pretty steady on this path ever since. Flu shots went well. Last year Shepard needed to be held down by three people and this year he volunteered to go first and didn’t even flinch.

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On Tuesday morning I had my final birthday celebration! I met my friend Dana, my goddaughter McKenna, and Dana’s youngest Alaina for breakfast at Market Street Diner. It’s been eight months since I’ve seen them. WAY too long. It was a fun morning!

Greg came home from work sick midday on Tuesday. So I took care of things and then set the boys up with their tablets and headed to my second yoga class. It was still hard. I don’t know. I’m going to keep going because I feel bad that only 2-3 people are showing up for this new teacher’s class she was so excited about teaching. But I’m not sure I really enjoy it that much. I’d rather be doing something with more pep and excitement. But zumba practically killed me and cardio drumming is no longer available unless I drive. Sigh.

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Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were work days. Trying to catch up with life, do a lot of sewing, and get ready for another busy weekend. Greg was home sick on Wednesday and worked at home on Friday. I always have such a hard time concentrating when other people are home. It’s not like he’s bugging me when he’s here! But it’s hard for me to get settled, I guess. I made a couple more fall and Thanksgiving dolls and now I’m at a bit of a standstill on what to do next. Nothing is really jumping out at me yet.

On Friday afternoon, Steve picked us all up and we went to the Dells for an overnight mini vacation. Cindy has fall conferences at the Kalahari and if the timing works out she usually adds an extra day for us to join her. We had dinner at Qdoba and then swam and explored the hotel for the rest of the night. Caden was having a blast at the surfing station! He also really likes the rope monkey bars above floating things that he has to work his way across. Shepard liked playing basketball in the water. And we all loved the giant outdoor hot tub! Shepard was so excited that he’s finally old enough to go in it!

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In the morning, we bought some donuts at one of the places in the hotel for breakfast. It was a lot easier than trying to go out somewhere. I had a chocolate croissant.

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We went swimming for another hour and a half and then got ready to check out and go to the game room. The boys were having so much fun with Grandma’s brushes! They’ve apparently never brushed their hair before. They really need haircuts!

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Spent a very long time in the game room! Always a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, especially after a night of rough sleep.

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Caden and Greg did the big rope course! There’s something similar at the Milwaukee Zoo and when we went in August Caden spent the entire time begging me to go on it. I didn’t want to pay the $15 and I was pretty sure that since he’s scared of heights, he’d go up there and freak out. And there was no way I was going to go with him! But since they had one here too, and he was still very interested, Greg agreed to do it with him.

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And Caden did great! I don’t think he was scared at all. He certainly didn’t look it! Unlike Greg who was clearly holding on to his rope for dear life!

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Overall, it was a nice little 24 hour jaunt away from real life. We finished the trip with lunch at Famous Dave’s. We were hoping to go to the Timbavati Wildlife Zoo, but it was cold and raining and Shepard was going on about three hours of sleep and fading fast. We didn’t want him to get a migraine, so we just headed home for a quiet evening. It was good, though!

And that’s it for the week. Always so much going on in fall! It’s great fun, but I kind of hope things quiet down for a month or two. I need some rest!

Saturday Reflections: Birthday Week

Birthday week has come to an end! It was kind of an odd week. I was feeling a lot of anxiety about already being at the end of a two week sewing break (because of Caden’s parties!), but at the same time wanting to spend the week relaxing, reading, fun shopping, and just plain doing whatever I felt like doing. I felt like I earned the break, but was also frustrated by how few sales I’ve been getting lately – because I haven’t been sewing! It was a Catch-22 kind of week full of mental battles that really just left me stressed out and exhausted. BUT there was a lot of fun stuff thrown in too!

Monday and Tuesday I did a lot of clean up and reading. I had to take the boys out of school early on Tuesday for a dentist appointment. For dinner we went to a fun library celebration with free pizza, popcorn, and desserts. And then I went to my first yoga class! I actually really enjoyed it. It was hard work and at one point I felt like my feet and ankles were about to break on me. There were only two people in the class, including me, so I felt the pressure to do everything perfectly. Which was good! But also left me pretty sore for the rest of the week. I’m definitely looking forward to going back and hopefully more people will join in.

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This was also Homecoming week. The dress up days were a little boring this year. They used to do five days of dress up with pajama day always being everyone’s favorite. No pajama day this year. 🙁 Wednesday was hat day. Only Shepard would cooperate. (Weekday mornings are now a battle because Caden wants to READ all morning instead of getting ready because READING is always a good thing and he can do it whenever he wants! :P)

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I spent my morning meandering around the antique mall. Every six months or so I like to go and hunt down treasures. Sometimes I’m looking for accessories to put with my dolls, but most of the time I’m on the hunt for well loved vintage teddies and dolls that need to be rescued! I actually found quite a few Raggedy Anns and Andys this time around, so I had to be picky. I ended up with these two teeny tiny dolls. The one on the right is about two inches tall.

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On Wednesday night, we had my first birthday celebration with Steve and Cindy at Pizza Ranch. I ate way too much! Cindy had bought me a piece of cheesecake and cupcakes for a special dessert too. Very thoughtful!

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Cindy, Shepard, and I harvested all of our gourds and mini pumpkins. We had so many! I was a little sad that I planted like twenty white pumpkin seeds and ended up with a whopping three white pumpkins. Those are my favorite.

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Presents! They gave me a new set of Pioneer Woman dishes to add to my growing collection. And a candle, earrings, spicy dressing, and some fun money that I think I’m going to use to either buy a bracelet I’ve been eyeing up, or a couple of books. I’m pretty book obsessed these days, but also have like a hundred sitting around the house I need to read (plus over 500 on my kindle!!). It was a really nice night!

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Thursday was jersey/team day.

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Thursday night I went to dinner with my friend Laura at Monk’s. I had a volcano monk-tini, which was a mango rum concoction. I also had my all time favorite chicken sandwich. It was a really great night of catching up. I really appreciate that she went out with me. I need more friend time in my life. It’s so easy to hide away when things get overwhelming and exhausting. But we still need each other.

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Friday was school spirit day.

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I spent the day with my mom, which is what I usually do on my actual birthday when it falls on a weekday. We went to Marshall’s, World Market, and spent a huge amount of time at Ulta and Sephora looking at makeup and perfume. We had a delicious lunch at Granite City. It was a little bit rushed since we had to drive so far and only had about three hours to fit everything in once we got there, but it was fun! We made it back to Columbus just in time for the Homecoming parade. They hold the parade at the end of the school day so all the kids can sit with their classes and watch. My mom sat with Shepard and I stood by Caden. Right when the parade started it also started raining. Terrible timing!

Friday night we had pizza for dinner, though I was still stuffed. And then we had a family movie night watching Princess Bride. I was worried I would think it was cheesy after not seeing it in so long. But I still liked it! The boys were distracted at the beginning, but then they got really into it too.

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And Saturday was my birthday! I slept till 6, which is the latest I’ve slept in about a month and a half. Without necessarily wanting to, I usually wake up between 3:45 and 4:15 every single morning. SO ANNOYING. Anyway, I got out of bed late enough that Greg took care of the boy’s breakfasts and getting Annie out.

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Shepard wanted to do presents right away, so one by one they ran to the other room and got me a present. Greg gave me a DNA test of Annie. I was shocked by the results!! I’ll have to do a full post on all the info they gave me soon. We were told by the humane society that she was a Shepherd mix, the vet guessed Australian Shepard mix. And that’s what she looks like, so that’s what I tell everyone. Lo and behold, ZERO DNA matches to anything in a Shepherd family. I’m not surprised by the Golden Retriever, just because she has longer hair like that. But the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute?! I guess that maybe explains her mostly black hair and her very strong desire to PULL, but I’m otherwise pretty shocked! It was an awesome gift, though. I like knowing for sure what she is and now I can obsess over it forever.

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Shepard and Greg built me a little family minifig display. I love it! Caden gave me some nice bluetooth headphones to wear around the house. I also got a new kindle case, instant read kitchen thermometer, cast iron melting pot, and my favorite tea in k-cup form.

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And Greg gave me a framed picture of the original Raggedy Ann patent. I love it!

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Cards. 🙂 I love Caden’s Annie picture and Shepard’s tree.

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We went to the dog park together in the morning. It really is amazing how much difference exercise makes in Annie’s personality. She was SO obnoxious and wild on Friday night and after Saturday’s dog park visit she was completely calm and sweet.

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For lunch I made some baked turkey sliders. I had plans to also serve an Asian salad and some chips and dip, but it was kind of a weird morning of everyone eating random things all morning long, so we just had sandwiches.

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I read and took a nap after lunch and then we went to my favorite pumpkin stand/farm. They have all their pumpkins set in their yard with like twenty different varieties of all shapes and sizes. It’s my favorite place to go every year because they have so many and they’re pretty cheap. Annoyingly, it was pouring rain by the time we went. The one thing I wanted to do! We haven’t had rain in about a month and of course it comes on my birthday with all of my outdoor plans. Very disappointing. We still got our pumpkins, but it was a race to get them as fast as possible, with no fun pictures to show for it.

After pumpkins, we dropped the boys at Noe’s for a sleepover. I felt a little bad ditching them for half of my birthday, but I felt like a date with Greg was more important this time around. We needed it.

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The plan was to walk around downtown Madison and feel like cool and trendy adults, maybe getting a cocktail somewhere, browsing stores, and dinner later. But the weather! It was super windy when we got there and by the time we walked to State Street it was pouring again. Without even realizing it until later, about a mile away from where we were walking a tornado touched down! We saw all the tree damage when we were driving home, but never heard a siren or anything. We were going in and out of stores and the rain was pouring almost perpendicularly. But a tornado in the sky we did not notice!

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We had dinner and drinks at Belair Cantina near the capital. While I knew ahead of time it wasn’t going to be a fancy place (not really our style), I also wasn’t expecting it to be quite so loud and crowded either. We were seated at a longer table with other people. And the longer we were there it got so loud we could barely hear each other and people waiting around the bar kept knocking into my chair. Not exactly a romantic date. Which wouldn’t have mattered if we did that sort of thing often, but we don’t. Kind of disappointing. But the food was good! I had a watermelon margarita with a spicy pollo taco, Korean beef taco, and fried avocado and bacon taco. All with different slaw/salsa/sauce toppings. We both really liked the things we ordered.

After dinner I was pretty sick of people. We contemplated going out for dessert too, but nothing was jumping out at me. So we just went home and watched the movie Gifted. And that was my birthday week!

Anyway, good week, lots of fun celebrations. And it’s not over yet! I still have a party with my family today, drinks with my friend tonight, and a breakfast date with my friend and goddaughter on Tuesday. I feel like I’m probably really annoying people on instagram and facebook with all my birthday posts. But…I don’t care. If I want to make my birthday week special for myself I’m going to do and not apologize. You can make your birthday weeks special too. 🙂