Weekend Reflections and Intentions 01.13.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions 01.06.2019

I have felt like quite the slug today. Desperate to finish a novel that has been taking me six days to read (too many! so many books waiting!!), I thought I could sit down this morning and knock it out in an hour. Well, I finally finished that book around 1pm, even though I spent almost the entire morning in my chair trying to read. So. Many. Distractions.

Anyway, then I went to take a nap, even though I didn’t really need one. And finally I forced myself to hook up Annie and go for a real walk. I missed out on yesterday’s nicer weather completely. I went out once at 6am and once at 9pm. What a shame! It’s colder today, but I needed that fresh air and movement. I also assumed after yesterday’s warmth, all the sidewalks would be free and clear of lingering ice. Well, they weren’t. There were just enough people that left their snow from earlier this week and their sidewalks are now thick slush/hard puddles of what is surely mostly ice. So that’s my little PSA for the day – SHOVEL YOUR SIDEWALKS. Seriously, just do it. And if you have a neighbor that hasn’t shoveled theirs, just assume that they have a very good reason and do it for them. It doesn’t take that long and it assures the walking safety of so many people. I can’t even tell you how much walking outside stresses me out when I come across even the tiniest sight of slick ground ahead. I don’t want to be a total hermit for the entire long winter either. Just shovel!

Moving on! This upcoming week life is picking up its pace again, though mostly just for my own schedule. I have a coffee date with a friend on Tuesday, a craft night scheduled for Thursday, and a lunch date with a different friend on Friday. I’m giving the renewed friendship thing my best effort this week! I probably can’t have three friend meet ups every week and still expect to actually get any work done. But I deemed it a very high priority for this week.

So my main intention for the week, social engagements aside, is to try and live the same way I did for those three normal days last week. I’ll have to run errands tomorrow morning, but the rest of the week I want to keep focusing on balance. Get Annie to the dog park and exercised in the morning. Or walked, if it doesn’t snow anymore, though I think it might be coming again. Then put in a solid few hours of work. Have a leisurely afternoon to take care of myself with sleep and books. Make a full and complete meal for my family and spend time with them if they’re interested. And then finish out the evening with something that brings joy to my soul. It’s a pretty simple plan, but I think it’s exactly the kind of life I’ve been striving for all these years. I just didn’t realize how easy it was to get, once I let go of most of my neurotic need to constantly be DOING.

I’m hoping to start adding meal plans back into these Sunday posts, mostly to keep myself more organized, but also to provide some easy ideas for you guys. But…I’m not yet prepared. I still have a stack of new cookbooks I bought myself for Christmas that I’d love to look through before committing to anything. I CAN tell you that I’m planning to throw together a bunch of leftovers and create a chicken tortellini soup for dinner tonight. I also have some steak in the freezer that I’ll probably take out for an easy dinner tomorrow. And I’ll probably have another week of spicy chicken and rice bowls for my lunches. Last week I decided to splurge on a package of Kroger Chicken Verde at Pick ‘n Save for myself. I expected it to be like most pre-cooked meals – kind of gross, but edible if you’re desperate. But, it was surprisingly delicious! The chicken was grilled and the sauce was plentiful and tasty. I think the $6 price is worth it for at least three delicious and incredibly easy lunches for myself!

Well, that’s it for now. Have a great week!

Sunday Intentions 12.16.2018

It’s a new week! And it’s going to be a good one! I’m really excited that we’re officially in Christmas week (at least around here lol). Four and a half days of school for the boys, a few days of errands and prep for me, and then the fun begins. Actually, I think this whole week will be a lot of fun as long as I can stay on top of everything.

On Monday morning I’m going to run most of my grocery errands in time to get back to Columbus for another friend lunch. I’ve become a lady who lunches! Then the boys have their final day of piano lessons and lego league. I think Shepard will be happy to be done with piano (unfortunately), but Caden LOVED lego league and we’re all sad it’s over. It’s the only extracurricular activity he’s ever enjoyed.

I’m hoping that Tuesday can be a me day. I was so disappointed I didn’t have time to walk down State Street last week when I was RIGHT THERE. We normally get to State Street every December for a date, but it was too cold for our annual Christmas date last week. But I really miss checking out all the cute shops with their holiday inventory. So hopefully, if I’m on track with everything else in my life, I’m going to spend the day hopping around to fun shops that I want to go to just because I like them!

Wednesday is going to be my baking day. I’m planning to bake a lot less since I’m not gifting homemade treats to the neighbors this year. But I’d still like to make three or four batches of our absolute favorite Christmas cookies. And after school we’re heading to Beaver Dam to spend the evening with Greg’s family.

Thursday I need to run out again to Costco to pick up some more timely things for Friday and Saturday. Greg has a vacation day, so maybe I can convince him to go with me and we could have a lunch date. Or he’ll have to go put those bikes together if he hasn’t yet, which I’m guessing will be the case. We’re giving them on Saturday, so they need to be built! Hopefully that’ll be rather quick and the rest of the day will be spent cleaning and making sure everything is in order since Christmas basically starts Friday!

The boys have a half day of school on Friday and then my family will be coming over to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Except he most likely won’t even be there because FedEx drivers don’t get done with work by dinnertime four days before Christmas! But we’re going to order pizza and enjoy the night. I’m so excited to see Hudson! It feels like forever since we’ve seen him. Two months is a very long time.

On Saturday morning we’re celebrating our family Christmas. We like to get it in early when the boys are still in good moods and not burned out by huge gatherings. I’ll probably just make a nice breakfast and we’ll open presents and it’ll be over by 8am. Sometime in the afternoon all of Greg’s family will come over. I’m really excited that we’re doing something with both families at our house this year! I always decorate so nicely and then we spend the entire week at someone else’s house. Maybe with a few things happening at our house, the boys won’t act up quite so much.

I’m guessing I won’t have time to write next weekend, so continuing on – Sunday is Greg’s huge extended family party. Happening in Beaver Dam this year, thank goodness! I can’t remember if it was last year or the year before, but we had to drive through a blizzard and it took about three hours each way of driving for that party. Never again in those conditions. It was such a stressful start to our Christmas.

And Christmas Eve is our biggest day, spending the first half of the day opening presents and eating brunch with Greg’s side and then spending the rest of the day with mine.

And Christmas Day everything finally settles down! Santa comes, we open gifts, we play with our gifts, and depending on how everyone feels, we maybe head off to a grandparent house later in the day. It’s usually pretty up in air. Considering we’re having a solid four days of partying before that, I’m guessing it’s going to be a stay at home year. Caden usually can’t even handle one big day of festivities, so four days is a lot. I’m hoping with so many aunts and uncles around, though, he’ll be too distracted to throw the kinds of fits he’s still prone to at 10 years old. 😛

Anyway, I’m feeling very optimistic about all things Christmas this year! My only intention for the week is to just enjoy everything. The house is still pretty clean and clutter free since my party a few weeks ago, so there won’t be a ton to do on that front. There’s definitely some food prep to work on this week, but not so much that it’s going to overwhelm me. I think, hopefully, there will still be plenty of time to read and relax too. The last few weeks have not felt that Christmasy to me yet, so I’m hoping it’ll all come flooding in in the next few days. I’m ready to celebrate!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 12.09.2018

What a week! I am EXHAUSTED. It was a really great week, but I feel seriously hungover and depleted today. December is flying by and oh so busy. Last week was a lot of fun, but I’m hoping life in general gets a bit less chaotic these last few weeks of the year.

Shepard got his glasses a few days early on Tuesday! He’s adjusted to them remarkably well. I thought it would be a pain getting him to wear them all the time, but he’s taken responsibility for them like a pro. He cleans them twice a day, picked out a couple different cases to keep in different spots if he needs to take them off, and has generally just happily accepted them as part of his life now. I think he looks adorable in them!

We had a great family night on Tuesday, making perler bead ornaments that Twinkle (the elf) brought us. I never got around to buying us family ornaments this year, but I like these even better.

Trying to be festive, I bought a bag of chestnuts and we roasted them while we worked. The internet told me they had to be peeled while they were still hot, so I proceeded to burn the pads off all ten of my fingers getting the shells off. I legitimately burned all my fingers and it’s caused me quite a lot of issues trying to do EVERYTHING else this week. So annoying! And I thought they tasted disgusting. A few people have told me since that I probably should have roasted them longer than the directions told me, but I have a hard time believing I would have liked them at any level of roasting. Ick.

On Wednesday there was a scheduled late start and I spent the whole day prepping the house for my Favorite Things party. I should have been working on it earlier in the week, but I was too distracted trying to wrap presents. Even though I did most of the decorating weeks ago, the house was finally clean enough to take pictures of it!

Our main advent calendar. Greg gave this to me the first year we were married, I think. It’s held up pretty well! I’ve gotten pretty lazy the last two years and mostly just stuff it with different kinds of Andes candies because they fit the best.

The family room at its cleanest. You can see part of the twinkling white lights Greg and Shepard strung up around the entire room.

Our little skinny tree that brings more festive cheer to the room most of the family spends the majority of their time in.

One of my favorite Christmas candles to light because I love the cinnamon buttercream scent and woodwick fireplace noises. Unfortunately, two minutes before my party was supposed to start this candle set off the carbon monoxide alarm above it. I didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it is? And because it was carbon monoxide instead of smoke it took me ages to get it to shut off. Fortunately nobody was at the party when it was supposed to start, so nobody had to know! 😀

Still my favorite little part of the house. So happy, especially when I light the fireplace candles. I love all the stockings and the nativity my grandma painted for me.

And my reading corner. LOVE.

My contribution to the party was my big cheese tray. So yummy.

I wrote more about the party the other day, so I won’t rehash it again. But it was so much fun! Annie also loved being in the thick of everything. She was so wiped out by the end that she fell asleep on my friend’s feet!

Thursday was St. Nick’s Day. Greg got mad at me for going too overboard last year, so I tried to reign it in a bit this year. I know it still looks like a lot, but I promise it wasn’t. Everybody got a bag of their favorite candy and a book and the boys each got a box of poptarts and a slap bracelet. The whole family got a new board game and a Christmas puzzle to encourage more family time.

The cats got bags of treats which they apparently are now crazy excited about and kept obsessing over all day Friday. They don’t normally get treats, but now they act like they’re starving to death. Annie too this week. I don’t think she likes the food she has because she almost never eats it, but has been finding tons of naughty ways to sneak people food. She’s really been pretty hyper this whole week. We’ve gone to the dog park every day, but she is crazy wild again by afternoon. It’s kind of frustrating. It’s going to be a long winter.

Greg had an eye appointment on Friday morning and got news that he needs glasses too. He refused to buy them at the huge office markup and ordered a pair online for $35… We’ll see how that goes. Caden is feeling pretty left out and wishes he had glasses now too.

The boys had a sleepover at Grandma’s on Friday night and we had our annual Madison Christmasy date night. It was pretty chilly, though, so we didn’t walk around State Street the way we usually do. Because of lack of non-event parking, we ended up at Lucky’s 1313. It was good! I loved the giant pretzel, which is just our new favorite thing to order anywhere. My tater tots were great too. The wrap was not very exciting. I ate most of it for lunch on Saturday instead.

We stopped at Trader Joe’s before going home since we were in the area. I think I’m finally stocked up on the cookie boxes I wanted to give to a bunch of people this year in lieu of making a ton of my own treats. It was a really nice night. I wish we made the effort to go on dates like that more often.

Saturday was pretty crazy. Greg had to go pick up the boys by 8:15 because Caden was headed off on a birthday party at Cascade Mountain to go tubing. Greg also left at nine to go to an all day gaming party. I was madly working on my (maybe) last batch of Christmas dolls. Then Shepard and I went to the dog park for awhile before heading out to a birthday party he was going to at the YMCA. After dropping him off I had to come back to Columbus to pick up Caden and his friend and head back to the Y for them to swim too. After the party we went to Wendy’s for dinner and then had a low key night with them gaming and me working. The day actually went a lot more smoothly than I expected and I only had to deal with a lot of whining at bedtime. But it was very exhausting.

I started working at 5:30 this morning, desperate to finish up my last six Christmas dolls. I’m pretty disappointed in how few I had time to make this last month. Life is just so busy. I have no problems selling the majority of the dolls I make, so it’s frustrating when I can’t produce up to my own personal standards. But…I just have to be okay with it. I wanted to continue to work this week, but I think there are too many other directions my attention needs to focus on. It took me four hours to finish this batch up this morning and I was stressed out every minute of it. I think I’m ready for the break.

Sunday Intentions

On to this week! I’m feeling pretty stressed out because I find out on Wednesday if I need the bone graft surgery or not. I’ve had this hanging over my head since July, but it’s become a lot more real and overwhelming the last few weeks. We’re starting to feel like even if I do need it, it’s probably not going to be squeezed in this month. Which is a relief time wise, but I’m SO not happy about the potential of starting another year with huge surgery and accompanying medical bills. I’m trying not to stress out about it until I actually know one way or another. But I still feel like I need to be basically ready for Christmas by Wednesday morning and I am NOT ready at all.

My main goal for the first half of this week is to get all the presents wrapped. I’d say I’m about 95% done shopping now. There are just a few more things I need to pick up which I’m hoping to do on my errand day Tuesday. But if I can just focus and get down to business, I think I can do almost all the remaining wrapping tomorrow. If I break out of this funk I’ve been in today. I’ve done absolutely nothing but read and lay around since I finished my dolls seven hours ago.

The second half of the week I will hopefully be excited and relieved to know that I don’t need surgery and then I can finally relax and enjoy the rest of the holiday season! I want to do a ton of reading. A little bit of baking. And I want to start exercising again. With the snow last weekend I drove the boys to school every day this week and I’m starting to feel it. Driving them allows me a no excuse way to head straight to the dog park every morning, but I think we could both really use the walking time too. I’m pretty sure all potential icy spots are gone by now, so I need to get back out there. And if it snows/rains again, I NEED to find a way to exercise in the house and actually do it!

And that’s about it! I will surely post an update on Wednesday after the doctor. Pray for good news!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 11.18.2018

The weekend is already almost over! They usually seem to drag on and on around here, but this one went mighty fast. This whole week has been fast as November zooms on by. It wasn’t a particularly exciting week, but I did have a few interesting things to share.

I wrote about it a little in my last post, but on Monday I made the official decision to stop counting calories. It seems to be going pretty well overall. I’m down 7.2 lbs since I started trying about three and a half weeks ago. Progress has definitely been slower after the initial two weeks, but most days the scale is still going down tiny bit by tiny bit, so I must be doing okay with keeping myself in check. I’ve had a few lapses (see my restaurant dinner below!), but nothing I felt I had to beat myself up over either. My biggest problems continue to be feeling like I’m starving to death while surrounded by my biggest temptations when I’m out of the house and running errands for long periods of time. I know there are definitely things I can do to try and avoid that happening, but it’s still pretty rough. That’s when I get crabbiest. But just general meals every day have been going pretty well. I’m trying to keep my portions in check and avoid excess snacking and only have one (or none) very small dessert a day. I’m hoping if I continue to focus on what my body actually needs and make my decisions based on what will make me FEEL better, I’ll continue to lose weight and get healthier.

That being said, I did plan a Qdoba lunch for myself after running errands on Monday morning. I even got nachos, which are probably about the least healthy thing you could get there! But I avoided all the temptation filled aisles at the stores, ate a very low calorie breakfast, and planned a light dinner to compensate treating myself at lunch. And the next day the scale dropped some more! It helps to know that I don’t need to deprive myself ALL the time. I just need to not eat like that every single day!

Okay, enough weight loss stuff! Monday was just a super active day with errand running and doing things around the house. Then both of the boys’ evening activities were cancelled due to teacher illness, so we ended up having a quiet night in.

On Tuesday morning I took Annie to the dog park. We were the only ones there, but she was having the time of her life! Just nonstop running as fast as she could the entire time we were there. It brings me so much joy to see her so happy and in her element! I love going on walks because it gets ME more exercise, but letting her just run and play unrestrained is the best. I even decided to do a little hiking around on my own, walking laps around the park. The dog owners often do that, but it’s been quite a struggle for me since I broke my ankle. All the uneven ground and big hills. I was definitely sore on Wednesday because of it, but I was proud of myself for making the effort!

On Tuesday night I had my date with Caden! We went to The Mineshaft in Hartford. It was about a 40 minute drive, but I think it was worth it. 🙂 We settled on sharing a giant soft pretzel and an appetizer platter with chicken tenders, haystack onions, and mozzarella sticks. I really should have made a better choice with the mega platter of fried food, but the pretzel was AMAZING. I will definitely be back someday to get another pretzel. Best I’ve ever had. The spicy cheese sauce that came with it was also fantastic.

The reason I picked this restaurant was because they have a huge arcade on the second floor. So after a really nice meal in which Caden shared more about his school life (which he NEVER talks about at home), we went up and bought ten dollars worth of game tokens. I assumed he’d want to play more than that, but he was pretty content to just use it up and then be done. He asked me to play a Pac Man battle game with him and he used the rest on his own. When we were picking out prizes with all the tickets he won, his first thought was to decide on what he should get Shepard. I love when that sweeter side comes out. It really was a great night and I hope I can follow through with making this happen every month. Or at the very least, every other month.

I went back to the dog park on Wednesday morning and Annie had the greatest time wrestling with a dog we hadn’t met before. They were so evenly matched for playtime. I just stood there and laughed at them for a solid half hour. I spent the rest of the day just working.

Thursday I was supposed to be working and I ended up spending a huge chunk of time working on Christmas present shopping and doing other things online. This is why I try to get my shopping done in November – it’s such a distraction to me! We have so many people to buy for and it just weighs on me until I get it done. I LOVE getting presents, but having such an overload all at one holiday is a bit overwhelming. I’ve made a ton of progress in the last few days, though!

We had an at home date night Thursday evening. It was pretty lame. Like super lame. Next week when we’re back to normal schedule, I’m insisting on a real date out of the house. Hold me to that!

On Friday morning I FINALLY finished up those custom order dolls and shipped them out. I can’t believe it took me all week. I also finished up this single doll that’s still available for sale! 🙂 I LOVE this huge size doll. But I can’t make them often because people don’t usually want to spend that much money on one.

Right after I finished the dolls, my mom came over for coffee! I wanted to show her my french press and aeropress and share some of my favorite Bones brand coffee with her. We hung out and had our coffee and then went on a mini shopping morning. The apple orchard I like to go to was having a holiday craft fair, so we stopped at that first. Then checked out two local stores we don’t get to often. It was a really fun morning! Exactly what I needed after a somewhat stressful couple of days.

Friday night I gave myself a real break! I had a pile of books, two of my babes, all the candles lit, and read in my chair. It was so wonderful. I want every night to be like that. Every night WILL be light that starting next week when the Christmas tree is up in the place of where that little chair is!

Saturday morning was pretty lazy. Then in the afternoon we were invited to a friend’s board game party. The four of us went over. I just hung out, but Greg had an awesome time playing games well into the evening. Caden and I left late afternoon because I had some things I needed to get done around the house, but Shepard and Greg stayed until bedtime. It was nice to be invited to something and have some unique social time.

Today has been pretty laid back too. Greg worked on Caden’s room for awhile (I cleaned Shepard’s room last weekend). I went to the dog park again – Sunday mornings are usually pretty busy which is a nice change from the weekdays when we rarely run into another dog. Then I took a nice nap and we headed over to the in-law’s house for dinner. Cindy and I ran over to the local candle outlet first and I bought yet another candle. I seriously have an addiction this fall. I want candles lit ALL THE TIME. Cozy overload. And now we just got home, had some shower battles with the boys (showering is apparently THE WORST), and now Shepard and I are ready for some Great British Baking Show before he heads to bed.

Sunday Intentions

My main intention for the week is to just go with the flow, don’t put too much pressure on myself for production, and enjoy family and friend time. I’m definitely a little bit stressed out with how few Christmas dolls I’ve made so far and would love to knock out a batch this week. But realistically I know it’s probably not going to happen. And I just have to be okay with that.

Monday will be errand running, as usual. I still haven’t made my grocery list or even made a final decision on my Thanksgiving desserts. I’m sure that’ll take most of the morning and then I’ll take my usual nap and make a fast dinner between the boys’ activities. Hopefully I can at least start a doll batch at some point tomorrow.

Tuesday will hopefully be a full work day. No other plans.

Wednesday is just a half day of school, which will zip by. I want to make my Thanksgiving desserts right away in the morning to get that done. Then in the evening Dianne and Jack are in town, so we’re going out to dinner while the boys and Annie spend some time with my mom. That’ll be a fun night!

And Thursday is Thanksgiving! I’m hoping to go on a long walk and/or take Annie to the dog park for a long time in the morning to burn some calories and energy. She’s coming along with us on Thanksgiving this year, if I feel like she’ll be calm enough in a new house! We’ll head over to Greg’s parents’ midday and enjoy Thanksgiving! My parents and brother will be joining us over there so we only have to eat once. I really enjoy this tradition we started a few years ago making the day a bit less chaotic (and food stuffed) for the four of us.

And I’m really looking forward to decorating our trees on Friday! We have the local Christmas parade in the evening. Probably more decorating on Saturday and my goddaughter’s birthday party in the evening. All in all, it should be a really enjoyable week that I am definitely looking forward to.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday Intentions 11.11.2018

I keep saying it and then a million things come up, but I think this just might be the week when life actually slows down a tiny bit. There’s not much on the calendar! I hope I can use that to my advantage and finally make some headway on a few projects.

I was hoping to go see Bohemian Rhapsody tomorrow morning as a treat to myself after all the crap of last week, but I just noticed that they no longer have any daytime showings, even though it just came out like a week ago. So that’s annoying! Maybe something else new and exciting will come out in the next few weeks, or I can fit a nighttime showing in sometime.

So I’ll stick with running errands on Monday morning and then the usual after school activities with a fast and easy dinner in between. I’m also hoping to work on organizing our back door area where everyone just dumps all their backpacks and coats and boots and shoes. It looks AWFUL right now. I wanted to do it today, but ended up cleaning Shepard’s room instead. I think it’ll be easier to do all the coat stuff when I’m home alone.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I’m hoping to just keep my head down and WORK. I feel so incredibly behind. It’s already halfway through November and I’ve made a whopping three Christmas dolls. I still have those complicated custom orders I need to take care of first. I’m not sure why my productivity has gone down so much in the last few months when the opposite should be happening. But I need to tune out everything else and just GET STUFF DONE. No excuses this week.

Tuesday night I’m planning to go on my date with Caden. In an attempt to go somewhere new and show him that I can care about the kinds of things he likes to do, I think we’re going to go to The Mineshaft in Hartford. The menu looks great, but they also have a big arcade room. I remember going there a few times as a kid and it’s one of the places I kind of wanted to take the boys all summer, but never got around to. So this is the time to check it out.

Thursday night is our regular date night. It’d be nice to get out of the house this week, but since I’m already going out on Tuesday and Greg has a lunch date with a friend on Friday, this might not be the week for it. We’ll see. We could really use a real date, though. It’s been an extra rough couple of parenting weeks.

On Friday I’m contemplating going to a holiday craft sale at my favorite apple orchard. We’ll see how far I am on dolls by that point. It’s probably not worth taking a big chunk out of my morning, but maybe I’ll want the break.

And so far no plans next weekend! I think it’ll be a good week to just hunker down and get as much done as I can so I can enjoy baking and Thanksgiving festivities next week.

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday Intentions 11.04.2018

Let’s just start by saying daylight savings with kids is THE WORST. It’s also just the worst for people like me who absolutely cannot sleep in ever no matter what the circumstances, so now I get to start my day 4 instead of 5 every day for awhile. And then I get the added bonus of my kids up at 5:30 yelling at me and whining because I won’t let them play games and then retaliating by being as loud as possible and letting the animals through the french doors so it’s guaranteed Greg will also wake up way too early and be crabby with all of us. Fun times, daylight savings.

Anyway, it’s a new week and another busy one. The calendar really filled up fast. Though it’s mostly really fun things, so I can’t complain!

Today we’re off to Chicago to see all of Greg’s half of the family. The siblings and significant others aren’t able to come for Thanksgiving this year, so it’s the only time we’ll all be together before Christmas. Which is just super rare to begin with, so it should be fun. If the boys behave. Experience from the last few months tells me they won’t. But I can hope!

Tomorrow, unfortunately, is a no school day. Caden tells me it’s because the quarter ended. I’d like to try and do something fun with the day so we’re not just all sitting at home whining about and/or playing video games. I would really love to finally get to that Verona dog park we tried to go to a few times in August, but the area was too flooded. But it’s going to rain all day today and there’s a chance of rain tomorrow, so it’s not looking very promising. I don’t really have a backup plan, so at the very least I’d like to take them out to lunch or something to mark the day as being a little bit special.

By Tuesday I’ll be desperate to get out and grocery shop. Trying to keep the fridge stocked with an abundance of fruits and vegetables that I actually want to eat is probably the biggest challenge of this whole weight loss thing. I’m also tempted to go see Bohemian Rhapsody on $5 Tuesday, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough time. Maybe next week.

Wednesday will hopefully be a full blown work day. In years past I try to get all of my Christmas doll making done in November so I can just spend December enjoying everything else. But considering I haven’t even started a single Christmas doll yet, I have quite a lot of ground to cover in the next four weeks. I also have a few custom orders I need to work on first.

On Thursday my favorite vintage shop, Twisted Sister, is having their holiday open house. I plan on being there right when it opens to check everything out! Then Shepard has a Literacy Night event at school.

Friday morning I am going to be anxiously waiting at my computer to sign up for a limited spot craft retreat I REALLY want to be part of in January. It’s at the Whatever Craft House in Kansas and sounds amazing. But there are only 16 available spots, a ton of people that want to go, and it’s first come first serve. I’m telling myself that if I don’t get in then it wasn’t meant to be and I’ll be okay. But I really, really want to go. One of my fellow Wisconsin doll makers is also hoping to get in and then we’re going to carpool together. But I feel like the chances of both of us getting in is pretty slim. We shall see. I’m trying to push it from my mind so I’m not stressing about it all week.

On Friday night, my other favorite vintage place that’s only open two or three times a year, is having their annual Christmas sale. I missed the spring one because of my broken ankle, so I’m really excited for this one!

And Saturday I’m having a Christmas shopping day with Cindy, something we do every November. Should be fun!

Overall, a pretty good week ahead, I think! I want to keep focusing on sewing and following my healthy eating plan. And writing every day!

Have a good week!

(Also a little side note about the image above – So, I really like to just use my own photos on here. But at the writing workshop the other night the teacher told us about her favorite free stock photo site, so I think I might be using the occasional stock photo for these posts I can’t find a matching picture of my own for. Just want to clarify that point for future reference!)

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 10.28.2018

My final update for the day! I don’t have a whole lot to say since I just recapped my DC trip and all of our Halloween festivities. But in between all the fun of the last few weeks, there’s also been a lot of sadness and worry and stress. All in all, I’m having a pretty rough October.

On the day before my DC trip, I had my first follow up with my new internal doctor to discuss how things are going after a month on the new blood pressure medication. We discussed all the original tests and bloodwork she had done in September and all the possible things that could be wrong with me and why, and honestly, I just left the office feeling very fat shamed. I realize I am very overweight. But I also try to just love myself as I am and be okay with it. I don’t WANT to be unhealthy, but I also don’t want to focus my entire life around it. At my first appointment this doctor let me feel like I was okay if I felt okay with myself. This time she wasn’t exactly mean or demeaning, but I still left feeling terrible about myself AND scared about my internal health. I had more blood tests to see if anything had changed in that month.

Later in the day I got my results back that a few of the wacky numbers had righted themself – like my thyroid potential issues were suddenly a lot better, which seemed like an odd one. But the scary thing is that my liver panels were not looking good and I’d need to have an ultrasound done to see what’s going on. She sent the actual lab work, which of course I started googling and all the potential problems – cirrhosis, hepatitis, CANCER – were pretty terrifying. I spent that Wednesday night and Thursday night in DC awake more often than sleeping just worrying nonstop about what could be wrong with me.

On top of all that – I just felt very alone in it because Greg was highly distracted by the fact that he thought he found a bedbug on Caden’s ceiling. So he was tearing the entire house apart and freaking out about that, while I was silently freaking out that I might find out in a week that I’m dying. It was a bad few days. Long, long story short on the bedbug stuff – it was actually a soft tick that had come down from the attic, somehow. No bedbug. No bedbugs at our house in August after that hotel fiasco. No bedbugs at our house after the boys’ Kalahari fiasco a few weeks ago. We even had an exterminator search the entire house a few days ago and not a single bug to be found. We ARE bedbug free and always have been, and I just never, ever want to think about or talk about bedbugs again.

Anyway, my vacation proved to be a worthy distraction from the health stuff for a couple of days while I enjoyed friend time, delicious yet not overly fattening food, and got a ton of exercise. But by the time I got on that flight back home Monday morning it all came crashing back to me. I had to get through a very stressful, sad for reasons I’m not going to get into, and really rough few days with Caden before I had my ultrasound on Friday morning. I was almost in full blown panic attack mode by the time Friday rolled around, worrying about what the results were going to be.

The ultrasound was relatively painless. It was just stressful because I had to keep holding my breath for long periods of time and after awhile I started getting pretty panicky about it. I left the office with the tech telling me the doctor would get back to me within a week. I was determined to push it from my mind and have fun over the weekend, assuming it would be at the earliest Monday before I heard anything. But then, less than an hour later, the doctor messaged me that my result was mild fatty liver. Which of course isn’t great news, but it’s probably the least threatening news I could have gotten. I don’t think there’s a way to completely reverse having a fatty liver, but with some diet changes and weight loss, it should get better. She left me with the advice to lose weight and get checked again in three months.

So. It was a relief. And it was also a solid hit to the head that I NEED to make a huge part of my life about losing weight, whether I want to or not. And that scares me to death. A couple of years back I did a three month trial of Weight Watchers. I did lose 18 lbs in those three months. And I HATED every minute of it. I constantly felt deprived and hungry and seriously angry at how much time I was forced to think about what I was eating. Despite how much weight I gained in the last few years after going off birth control pills (post vasectomy), I’ve never wanted to do a weight loss program again. But now, I think I have to. And I just don’t feel strong enough to do it. I’ve had enough crazy life changing thoughts in the last few months already between work stuff and family stuff and friend stuff – how can I handle changing the entire way I eat on top of it all?! Especially when how I eat also affects how the rest of my family eats and they all have their own thoughts and opinions that they are none too happy to complain to me about. It’s so much pressure to change such a massive chunk of my life and I don’t feel like I can handle it.

In an attempt to take a step in the right direction, I signed up for a two week trial with the weight loss program Noom. I think I originally heard about it through a facebook ad and I’ve been mulling the option around for a couple of months now. After some encouragement from my friend Laura at a dinner the other night, I decided to follow through and sign up. So, it’s only my fourth day. And I’m not really sure it’s for me. Part of it is just the stress of suddenly being accountable to a program, especially in the midst of like a Halloween party filled with amazing food and today with all those leftovers sitting around. But part of it just really doesn’t seem doable. I have to track all of my food and stay in an extremely limited calorie amount. Foods are divided into three categories – green, yellow, and red. You’re supposed to eat 30% green (fresh produce and whole grains), 45% yellow (lean meats and non-fat dairy are the only examples I got), and 25% red (sugars, carbs, fats, etc.). In four days, NOTHING I have eaten has fallen into the yellow category. 90% of it is red. I mean, I do generally only eat chicken as a protein, but we also had pizza at Spookfest, pizza on Friday, cheese based food at the party, and cheese food leftovers today. My healthy cereal I’ve been eating every day for breakfast is also a red food. And I only get 300 calories of red a day. Anyway, all that to say, it’s hard. And their food database is very limited. You can’t scan in food labels, import recipes, or build recipes. You have to input each ingredient and assign full nutritional facts to everything that’s not already in their system – which is a lot of things based on my 3.5 days of using it. Trying to keep up with this feels obnoxiously annoying. I would much rather just log my eating and limit my calorie intake using a free app like myfitnesstracker. I’d almost rather do Weight Watchers again when food has a point system instead and fruits and vegetables are almost all 0 points.

The other major immediate downfall I’m seeing on Noom is that they want to track your steps – but they will only track through your phone. Do you know what percentage of the day my phone is actually on my body?? Maybe 10%? Often less, I’d guess. I carry it from room to room, but I’m rarely even wearing pants that have pockets, so it’s definitely not on my person! Why can it not let me sync my fitbit? Yesterday I had ten times more steps on my fitbit than I did on my phone. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Anyway, the reason I picked Noom in the first place is that they provide one on one and group support through the journey. They focus on the psychological triggers between food and health choices, which felt like it might work well for me. But after a couple of days I’m seriously doubting my ability to follow through with this. It’s supposed to be a 16 week program, but they make you pay for six months after the two week trial and it isn’t cheap. At the moment I’m thinking I’ll give it my best effort for two weeks and then use what I learn to try and launch myself into my own monitoring system. Obviously I’d like to lose a lot of weight in the long run. At least to get back to where I was before I rapidly started gaining post birth control pills. But my initial goal is to lose 10 lbs by my next appointment, three months from now. That feels doable. Then I’d like to work on losing 10%. And go from there. I’m not happy about any of this, but I know it’ll be so much better for my health in the long run. There’s just such a huge psychological component to it that’s really making things hard for me at this exact moment. But hopefully, I will get over it.

I didn’t mean to go so in depth about all that, but well…I like to write and I like to share when I’m in a space where I don’t feel judged because very few people are probably even reading this in the first place! Writing about this more often might make it easier for me to follow through. So expect more on this topic!

SUNDAY INTENTIONS

So! It’s Sunday! It is also my self declared lazy day after two very packed and stressful weeks. All I have done today is alternate between writing blog posts, reading a couple of different books, and taking a nap. I’m still in my pajamas, at 4pm. Caden’s friends have been here all day, but I don’t think they noticed. 🙂 I’m too worn out to care.

I’m hoping that this week life might start going back to normal. October has been such a weird month. So many random errands and appointments and school functions that I’ve just been so busy and all over the place. I’ve been having all these mixed feelings about sewing, which have resulted in me just plain not doing it. There are certainly enough other things to keep me busy, but I think after like three to four weeks off, I’m ready to get back to work. If I want some money rolling back in, I NEED to get back to work. So messed up focus or not, I want to work this week. At least make one batch of dolls. Say, three dolls. I can do that. I WILL do that. Despite having things going on every night this week, my days are open, with the exception of a day to run errands. I can work.

Nighttime, though! That’s busy. We have our usual piano lessons and lego league on Monday, Shepard starts art club on Tuesday, the boys have dentist appointments on Wednesday, I’m considering going to a creative writing workshop that’s starting in town on Thursday (I’ll probably chicken out), and Friday there is an early release and Caden has his well child check up. And one of those nights the boys will be with the grandparents, as usual. Busy busy! I really can’t get over how chaotic our fall has been. I suppose it will only get worse as the boys get older and join more activities. It’s been kind of hard to adjust to, though. I’m hoping our winter will be a lot quieter.

Anyway, that’s about it for updates! I’m all caught up! It’s also the end of the month, so I guess you’ll be hearing from me a lot in the next few days with my tv and book posts. Happy Halloween week!

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 a Great British Baking Show. We watched the last few episodes of 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. 😛 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!

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. 🙂

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!