Sunday Intentions 04.28.2019

May begins this week! Eek! I almost had a panic attack this morning when I realized that the three months of kids being around me every minute of the day (constantly wanting food) while I’m trying to work is almost here. It’ll be here in a snap. I’M NOT READY. I’m never ready. It’s certainly gotten easier over the years. But Caden still whines nonstop that he doesn’t know what to doooooooo if he’s not allowed to be playing games at that moment. It’s really fun.

In exciting news, Greg and I are heading out to Colorado on Wednesday to celebrate our 13th anniversary a few weeks early! Neither of us have ever been there and it’s a state we’ve always wanted to visit, so it should be a lot of fun! I’ve been pretty stressed about a lot of stuff lately, but my goal is to seriously just forget about everything else and have a good time while we’re there. Dolls and writing and everything else can be put on hold for a week and it won’t kill me. It might even make me better by the time I get back! I’m a bit nervous about leaving the boys so long during the school year – I’m not sure we’ve ever done that before. It just gets tricky with the longer commute and cold lunches and homework and soccer practices and everything. Not that I think the grandparents can’t handle it, but I still feel bad about it. But it’ll be okay. It’ll be worth it.

That’s about it for my intentions for the week! I’m hoping to make a little more headway on some dolls tomorrow so I’m in a better place to start my giveaway right when we get back. And Tuesday will be spent madly packing for everyone and all the directions we’re going. With Jack’s prescription foods and medicine, even taking care of the pets is pretty complicated right now. But if I can just get through the next two days smoothly, the trip will be amazing!

Have a good week, everyone!

Easter and Other Updates

Happy Easter Monday! I’m not really sure what that is, except that it’s on the calendars. Oh, it’s also Earth Day, so more appropriately – happy Earth Day! It’s been a really busy week with a jam packed holiday weekend. Lots of updates to life around here!

I forgot to mention in my post two Sundays ago that we were supposed to be at Great America that day for Greg’s employee appreciation day. But for the second year in a row the weather was horrible. They didn’t cancel it all together this year, but apparently only four rides were open and they shut down early. Such a bummer! We might be given free tickets to go at some point during the summer, but it’s always fun to go on the employee day when it’s a lot less crowded and they feed us an awesome lunch.

Shepard started soccer on Monday night. Unfortunately, he was the only one there! Apparently only he and his friend signed up for the 4:00 slot and his friend was sick. So the coach asked if we’d stick around for the 5:00 group which was a little bigger and then he spent an hour giving both boys a private lesson on all things soccer. They loved it. Caden was invited to play with them at the 5:00 time too. They decided halfway through the week to eliminate the earlier session entirely, which is kind of a bummer. They also extended it until 6:30, which is making our dinnertime a whole lot more complicated. But it’s only for a month, so we’ll deal.

Jack had another vet appointment on Tuesday to get his blood and urine rechecked after a few weeks on his prescription food. Apparently, this is common with kidney failure – he has very high blood pressure. So while his protein and kidney levels were stable enough that he doesn’t need medication yet, he DOES need to start taking high blood pressure meds. I was worried about shoving a pill down his throat every day for the rest of his life, but so far I’ve been smashing it into a soft cat treat and he gobbles it right up. Whew! The pharmacists at Walgreen’s thought it was hilarious that the prescription I brought in was for a cat.

Shepard had his open house at school on Wednesday night. It was cute to see him so excited to show off everything. He’s really come into his own this year. He’s grown up so much and even looks like a completely different kid!

The biggest news on Wednesday – for me, anyway – is that I signed up to go to a Hope*Writers conference in North Carolina this November! I’ve been aware of the Hope*Writers community for awhile and have had it at the back of my mind as a thing to join when I started feeling really serious about writing. Well, I’m starting to feel that way! The actual community is closed for new memberships at the moment, but the writing conference sounds AMAZING. It definitely felt a bit self indulgent to plan another cross country solo trip when I’m already going to Book Bonanza in Texas in August. But the more I thought about it the more it felt like the right decision. This is a valuable investment into my future and a career I have felt called toward my entire life. I still have a lot of details to work out, but I’ve bought my ticket and I’m really excited about it. I also signed up for a 90 day Directions course through Hope*Writers that is hopefully going to focus my writing and get me on the path I want to walk. I haven’t had a ton of time to delve into the coursework yet, but I paid to be in it, so I’m going to give it my best effort in the next few months.

Back to my reality career, I finished up these 12 little Mother’s Day dolls on Thursday. Most of them sold pretty quickly.

Friday was a pretty crappy day. First of all, there was a lot of pressure to make the day somehow special because it was the one and only day we got off for Spring Break after all the snow days this winter. Fortunately, Greg went to work at his parents’ house which eased up that extra layer of also trying to stay out of his way all day. Because it was so nice out, we went to the dog park for awhile and then got some Burger King drive thru food for an early lunch. Then I just gave in and let the boys play video games for awhile because I desperately needed to get stuff done. I’ll admit I had a pretty poor attitude the whole day. I was a little angry that I felt forced into having an egg dyeing party that I fully intended on not doing this year. I was resentful of how much work goes into parties and holidays and vacations and how little credit I get for doing all that work. Every once in awhile I just want to rant and scream about how it is not easy to make all of these things come together smoothly, even if it somehow appears that way. I’ve also just been terribly stressed out about my doll making plans for the next month. I want to have specials for my six year anniversary, I need to make more Mother’s Day and teacher appreciation dolls – for selling and for my kids’ teachers. I also offered to make raffle baskets for the school auction, which I LOVE doing, but the timing for it is just awful. Plus we have a six day vacation coming up very quickly, I need to have Mother’s Day gifts and Greg’s birthday gifts all settled before that. Greg is having a friend stay at our house next weekend, a friend I’ve never met and our first ever houseguest, and the logistics plus my messed up anxiety around having strangers in my space, has been difficult to wrap my head around. And there’s just a ton of end of the year things going on with school. Plus, you know, kids and pets and cooking and cleaning and laundry, and oh yeah, this intense writing course I just signed up for at the worst possible time of the year. It’s a lot.

But, I made it. A lot of the stress is entirely my own fault because I don’t like to do anything halfway or take the easy route when it comes to having people over. In general, I really do love having parties and the more the merrier. It’s the reason why I keep trying to gather people for taco nights and craft nights and then get so incredibly sad when nobody comes. But the exact timing of this late Easter and everything happening in the coming weeks was NOT GREAT. But it was worth it in the end.

Saturday was the big day! I was really excited about all the egg hunts this year because last year I couldn’t walk yet, so I didn’t do any of them. I seem to remember the year before that everyone was very uncooperative about going, so we skipped out. But this year, we were all gung ho! The boys and I started with the early Pick n Save hunt where there are the least amount of kids and the most and best candy.

I took Annie to the dog park after and Shepard showered and styled his hair…

Next we went to the Culver’s hunt and brought Willow along. She was with us for most of the day, which I really think helped Caden stay in a positive mood. He was SO much more into all of the festivities than he ever is. It was such a wonderful change! Willow and Shepard made out with a good amount of free ice cream tokens and Caden got as many large tootsie rolls as he could grab.

There was about a three hour gap between the second and third hunts, and I totally just chilled out and read and took a nap. I felt really guilty because the weather was gorgeous and basically the entire neighborhood was outside doing various yardwork and such. But I figured I put in my time on Friday and I just didn’t want to do any more work.

The big park egg hunt was insane, as usual! This was the first year the boys were in the same age group (for all of them), which was really nice! Caden still has one more year for the park hunt before he can do the Friday night flashlight egg hunt, which sounds awesome.

I got my homemade salsas and a few other snacks out for the party. Greg’s parents brought some Aldi pizzas for the main course. It was about the longest egg dyeing party ever because everyone came in batches over a number of hours, but it was fun! Caden and Willow were having the greatest time with their egg decorating. And then we had our usual egg pecking contest at the end. Willow was declared the overall winner.

Greg’s family stayed for a few more hours to play board games and I made a peanut butter pie. Super easy, but very indulgent.

We finished the night loading up baskets and hiding eggs. I bought some bigger baskets at Walmart this year so everything actually fit for once! Mine even looked a little bare! Though I realized later I had just gotten some new coffee on Saturday that I should have thrown in to fill it up. I love gathering stuff for baskets and stockings and any other holiday that might include a variety of unique goodies!

Easter morning was surprisingly relaxed! Caden and I were up first and Shepard slept till 7:30! Even Greg was up before that because he thought we were all waiting on him. (Like we usually are!) I had time to make two kinds of scones for breakfast before the boys were ready to hunt for their baskets. The pets found theirs first and were very happy! It was like the best day of Rory’s life getting a nice catnip stick to wrestle with.

We went over to Greg’s parents’ house mid-morning for an outdoor egg hunt. I can’t believe how great the weather was, especially considering it was snowing and below freezing just a week before! I always think it’s so fun to do the hunts outside.

Forced everyone into one family picture. The boys wouldn’t wear the nice polo shirts I bought them for the occasion (shocker), but they did agree to wear the Peeps shirts, which I wanted them to wear on Saturday and they refused.

We had a huge brunch after the egg hunt. Yum!

More board games.

It was a lovely first (second?) Easter celebration!

Next we went to my parents’ and the boys did a scavenger hunt to find their baskets.

MORE board games. 🙂 Caden’s really into them. I was just relaxing and watching Shepard shoot nerf guns outside.

We had a delicious Easter dinner! My dad heated up the ham on the grill with a glaze. Grills are just the best. I hope to have one again someday!

And we finished up the night with pie. Overall, it was a really nice day. It was actually a great weekend! I think it’s maybe the first holiday of all time that Caden was happy and engaged with no blow ups. Shepard was great too. Though he did eat WAY too much candy yesterday and came home from school with a migraine halfway through the day. After a long nap he’s already feeling a lot better, though.

Looking at the week ahead – still pretty busy. I want to plan out all the dolls I hope to make in the next month and get them traced and cut and ready to sew. That was actually my plan for today, but then I got way too distracted by a ton of other stuff. I was hoping to run a few errands tomorrow, but Shepard is probably going to have to stay home, so I’ll work tomorrow. I will. Wednesday is my last yoga class, which I fully intend on going to this time after three weeks off. And Friday is when our houseguest arrives, Greg and Caden and him are going to see End Game while Shepard and I go to soccer and out to dinner. And the four of us are seeing End Game together on Saturday. Meanwhile our Colorado trip is coming up really fast, so I need to finish making plans for that. So much going on!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 04.14.2019

I’m going to try and keep this brief! I really want to put last week and all its negativity behind me. Having a pretty rough weekend has not helped matters any. So I’m just going to quickly skim over the highlights of last week!

We got our air conditioner installed on Monday! It was such a long day. I said last weekend that I was mentally prepared for them to be there all day working, but I didn’t expect it actually would take all day. This is seriously all my own issues with having strangers in my space, but it made for a really, really stressful day. But it was worth it to have a cooler house this summer!

Monday night was the big school board meeting. I don’t even want to get into this again. It was hard to be there and hard to deal with all the things that were said there.

I had a lot of errands to run on Tuesday. I was curious to find out that Costco on a Tuesday is SO MUCH less busy than Costco on a Monday. But Tuesday is stocking day at Target, and all those extra employees with all their huge carts of stuff in almost every aisle makes me a bit crazed. I think I’m going to stick with Mondays for errands whenever I possibly can! My week was off to such a distressing start that I rewarded myself with a special lunch at Tipsy Cow after my shopping was over. I also stopped at a Sun Prairie coffee shop for an iced salted caramel latte that was one of the best cold coffee drinks I’ve ever had. I might try and sneak over there tomorrow too to try something else.

Wednesday I really had to get back to work! I finished up two dolls that I didn’t think I was going to like, but ended up loving. I think it’s the mixed textures and colors of yarn. I should try to do that more often, so pretty.

I should note that the temperature reached 70 on Tuesday and we had every window open. The pets LOVED it, though it also made them a bit crazy after six months of being so cooped up. But Wednesday? 30’s again. And snow. NO.

It was pretty much a full blown blizzard right at the time school let out. I contemplated going to intercept the boys on their walk home, but chose not to. They ran all the way and thought it was about the coolest thing ever.

I made Shepard his favorite breakfast for his concert day Thursday.

We had dinner at Culver’s with Greg’s parents and then headed over to the elementary concert. Shepard did great! We were sitting so far back I didn’t even try to get a picture this year, but he was awesome. He looks so grown up in this picture with his nice shirt (should have seen the battle we had over that one!) and combed hair!

Friday I worked. Fridays are actually turning into my most productive day because of the peer pressure to stay on task with Greg also working from home. It used to really annoy me, but now it keeps me focused.

And finally Saturday was my Uncle Tom’s memorial service, so we were there for a big chunk of the day. It was a nice way to gather family members and remember our happiest memories of Tom. I hope that the service, as well as finally receiving the cause of death this week (heart attack), will help everyone gain some closure over his untimely passing and all the stress these last few months have held.

We went over to the neighbor’s later to play with the kittens. They’re definitely bigger than when we last saw them in January! But super cute and SO friendly. Shepard is absolutely in love with them.

I spent the rest of last night and all of this morning finishing a batch of more uniquely themed dolls. This was my favorite of the batch (the hair!).

Sunday Intentions

Moving on to the week ahead! I really hope it’s a lot more emotionally calm than this last week was!! I can’t handle much else. It’s going to be busy, though. Our schedule just keeps getting crazier and crazier from now until the end of the school year. Lots of fun stuff, but also, just…a lot.

I have tons of random errands to run tomorrow and then Shepard starts soccer after school. That’s every Monday and Friday for the next month. Caden still has Chess on Tuesdays. Shepard has an open house on Wednesday, so I won’t be going to yoga for the third week in a row. (Way too coughing sick last week to even attempt it.) Thursday, nothing! There’s no school on Friday – that one single day is our entire “spring break” this year. I’m hoping to convince the boys we should go out and do something fun, but I’m sure they’d rather just sit and play games all day. We’ll see how the weather is, I suppose. It’s supposed to be wet and rainy and gross all week. Saturday I’m hoping that at least Shepard will go to all three local egg hunts with me. It’s sad that they’ve just about outgrown events like that! But without Caden tagging along to make him think it’s dumb, I think he’ll still enjoy it. And we’re going to dye some eggs after the park hunt. And Sunday is Easter!

My highest intention for this week is to FEEL BETTER. This coughing thing is the worst. It’s a hundred times worse when I’m trying to sleep, but it’s pretty bad during the day if I’m actually needing to talk to people too. I want to try and keep prioritizing rest so I can hopefully get better completely. I really, really, really do not want to still be sick in just over two weeks when we head out on our vacation.

I’d also like to complete 12 small Mother’s Day dolls this week. If I want to try and do some Heartstring Annie 6 year anniversary specials the following week, I really need to get a few Mother’s Day dolls out there first.

And I want to get ready for Easter! I have boxes of decorations that I didn’t even open yet. Decorating is getting harder and harder for minor holidays because I just don’t have decorations out in many places anymore than can be swapped out over the seasons. Most available space is for books or electronics. I even ended up buying new Easter baskets the other day because they were so big (the Noe Easter Bunny brings a lot of stuffers!). But I want to get out the eggs – tomorrow – and make sure everything is set so I’m not stressing out on Saturday night when it’s time to hide everything.

Well, that’s about it! Hope you have a great week!

Sunday Intentions 04.07.2019

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a Sunday Intentions post. Sometimes they feel a bit pointless, though the aim is just to focus my attention on what is most important for the week ahead. I guess that’s always worth doing, right?

It’s a pretty busy week. At least busy for me. Which makes me nervous because I feel so crappy. We’re getting our air conditioner installed bright and early tomorrow. Granted I don’t have to do anything other than be here, but having service workers in the house always stresses me out so much. I don’t know what to do with myself. I have no idea how long this will take either. I’m mentally preparing for the entire day, but hopefully not!

There’s an important school board meeting tomorrow night that I’d like to go to and show support. I’ve never been to one before, so it’ll be a new experience.

Tuesday will have to be errand day this week. And yoga on Wednesday. Though if I thought I was going to be disruptive with my limited coughing last week, I have a feeling it’ll be a nightmare this week. Especially since I can’t be flat without sounding like I’m dying!

Shepard has a concert on Thursday night. Maybe we’ll go out to eat before or after to celebrate. I keep waiting to hear about Caden’s concert, but I’m assuming if they haven’t notified us of a date by now it means they just don’t have one. Which is really unfortunate! Caden keeps telling me he is going to have one, but we’re really running out of time here.

Saturday is the memorial service for my Uncle Tom. There will be extra family in town and a lot going on. And Sunday we’re going to Great America! Definitely a busy week.

So with that in mind, my main intention for the week is to do everything possible to FEEL BETTER so I can get through it all. I’d love to be super productive with doll making, but if I honestly don’t feel like it, I’m going to give myself as break. An actual sick day. Or days. Hopefully not, though.

I’d also like to hit one of my April goals and go through one of my cookbooks this week. I think that’s doable!

Anyway, that’s about it. As usual, no meal plan figured out yet. Though easy is key. I’m thinking leftover tacos tomorrow, a Costco rotisserie chicken on Tuesday, something I actually make on Wednesday, out somewhere on Thursday, pizza Friday. a

Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions 03.24.2019

Well, after another total crap night of barely sleeping, we ended up having a lovely little family outing today! We made it to Bel Air Cantina – a week later than I wanted, but with Greg accompanying us this way. It was also kind of Caden’s half birthday treat, since we never ended up going out last night. The food was absolutely delicious! As usual. I love that restaurant so much, but you pretty much have to go on Sundays when the place is empty and you can enjoy it. Especially if you’re going as a family. I wish it were closer.

Afterward we took a stroll around the Capital and then stopped at Costco to pick a few things up and Cabela’s because Shepard saw the sign and really wanted to go in, much to Caden’s outrage. (Stores = PURE EVIL) I ended up missing Scrabble Club because we got home too late and I was too tired. So many days and weeks and months of messed up sleep. Next time.

Anyway, it’s a relatively quiet week ahead, which is nice. March and April are kind of the calm before the storm. They’re really what feel like the only quieter months of the entire school year. Our calendar is already so booked up for May, I need to enjoy these less busy weeks while I can!

Monday is errand day, as usual. I don’t need that much this week, but I might run to Trader Joe’s. I’ve been wanting to go for weeks, but it’s hard to justify the drive. (Really should have gone today when we were already eating just a mile away from it.) We’ll see how I feel in the morning! I’m also really wanting to try this bread recipe. I had hoped to do it this weekend, but that would have required going somewhere to buy whole milk. Too much work. Even more work for a Monday after running errands, but maybe I’ll feel ambitious!

Annie has a vet appointment on Thursday. And Friday is an end of quarter early release day. Those are about the only other unusual things happening this week. Besides that, I’d like to get focused on work again. Once again striving for some sort of balance between everything that will leave me feeling healthy and whole. I’ve come to the conclusion my customers aren’t that interested in Easter dolls, so I think I’ll just focus on spring, or maybe something new and unusual.

I’d also like to do more writing this week. I’ve had so many things swirling around in my head. I’ve been doing some journaling in the mornings, but there are always more things I’d like to say. I just struggle with where to put them. But part of me feels like it shouldn’t stress me out so much, I should just write what I want and be okay with it. So be prepared, there might be some odd blog posts coming out soon. It’s also the end of the month, so time for all my usual fun recaps! Well, they’re fun to me. 🙂

And that’s it for the week! Enjoy the last days of March!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 03.10.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions 03.03.2019

I’m really excited to finally have a normal week! Not that February wasn’t a ton of fun, but I really need to buckle down and get to work. Looking at the calendar, this might be the perfect week – a lot of time to work, but with a few fun things thrown in.

Tomorrow really won’t be the greatest because I have to get a few fillings in the morning. But this appointment has been rescheduled three times in the last two months, so I’m anxious to just get it done and over with. I can’t remember the post-fillings rules, but I’m hoping to get a yummy lunch afterward to make up for the pain it’s sure to cause me!

On Wednesday I have a lunch scheduled with my friend Katy. Depending on my errand running needs by that point in the week, I might zip over to Trader Joe’s beforehand as a little fun treat. We’ll see. It’ll be good enough just having some friend time! Then in the evening I have my first Graceful Yoga class with my mom. I really hope it’s not too intense! But also active enough that it feels great to stretch around. I really hate making that kind of eight week commitment to something without knowing ahead of time if I’ll like it or not. So hopefully I will!

On Saturday we’re going to see the new Captain Marvel movie as a family. Should be fun!

So that leaves Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to WORK. Definitely my highest priority of the week. I started tracing and cutting dresses for twelve St. Patrick’s Day dolls the other day, so my goal is to hopefully finish those up by Thursday and have time to start my first batch of Easter dolls before the weekend. My customers are anxiously waiting!

We’re entering into another crazy cold day tomorrow, but maybe it’ll start warming up by the end of the week?? I’d love to get some dog park days in with Annie. Walking would be great too, but I don’t expect the ice to go away anytime soon without a real thaw. But hopefully soon.

That’s about it! Short and sweet. Have a great week!

Double Weekend Reflections and Intentions 01.27.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their hot continental breakfast was pretty nice!

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

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

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

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

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

And by Tuesday morning he was good as new.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions

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

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

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

That’s about it! Have a good week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 01.13.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week!

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!