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!

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!