Weekend Reflections and Intentions 09.15.2019

It’s been another really chaotic and busy week, trying to get back into the swing of things. I’ve been feeling pretty frazzled, trying to get everything figured out and organized for a bunch of parties and celebrations that are happening this upcoming weekend and next week. SO much to think about, I’m having a hard time actually focusing on anything.

I spent last Sunday night and Monday morning making this reading doll that I’m donating to my facebook book club as a prize for an upcoming readathon. I LOVE those readathons, but of course it coincides with THE WEEKEND OF INSANITY, so I’m not going to be doing much reading. But I was happy to make the doll for them! I really like how she turned out.

Annie got her stitches taken out on Tuesday morning. Apparently it was so crusted over they couldn’t even be sure they got every stitch out because it started bleeding so much again.

On Wednesday morning I had a very successful coffee gathering with a group of my friends! We drank lots of coffee and I made Shepard’s favorite sweet and salty chocolate croissants and some peanut butter banana bread. It was a ton of fun and awesome connecting with people after months of basically no contact. I’d like to try and do something like this maybe every two weeks. Hopefully my friends are up for that!

I was pretty drained after that and had a really lazy afternoon. It was our at home date night, but I had zero energy to make dinner, so Greg eventually asked if he should go get food. I finally got to try a curry from the new Thai restaurant and I thought it was pretty good!

I forced myself to just take a break from everything on Thursday. I realize that very little of my time seems accounted for this week, but mentally – it was a lot and I was a mess. Plus my back is still hurting from my weird dog cuddling twisting incident. It was rainy and dreary all week, and I decided I owed myself a day off to just chill. I spent a lot of time reading and resting and taking Annie on a couple of walks. And in the afternoon I ran her over to the groomer where she shaved out the giant mats that had formed under her ears from days of wearing tight gauze around her bloody head.

Greg and the boys were gone on Thursday night, so I broke my no working rule (though that IS the exception) and forced myself to make a lot of headway on a batch of witches. I finished them up on Friday and sold them all this weekend.

I had a long coffee date with another friend on Friday morning, which was great! Then I got my hair cut. My bi-annual cut. And then spent more of the day just trying to get my September organized so it can stop taking up so much space in my head!

Saturday was my big day! I left early in the morning and went to the Urban Farmgirl Main Street Market in Rockford, Illinois. There were 185 vendors there, and every single booth was amazing. You can’t say that about any other craft fair or market, anywhere! So many incredible things to check out. I didn’t end up buying very much, mostly because it was a lot of big things and I just couldn’t deal with trying to figure out the logistics of getting something larger all the way out to the car by myself. But there were oodles of incredible vintage treasures, handmade creations, super cute clothes, and fun household goods. I walked through every booth twice and had carne asada tacos and salted caramel cookie dough for lunch. It was a lot of fun!

Since I was already out for the day, I then went to FIVE TJMaxx and adjacent stores in the Rockford and Janesville areas. I picked up a lot of little gifts for random people on random occasions. ūüôā I also stopped at this amazing vintage store I really like in Beloit. And finished up at Kohls in Madison, just because I had to return a lot of things. It was an exhausting day, but I treated it as a super mini vacation and had a really great time.

Sunday Intentions

Another busy week ahead. A lot of prepping and then the fun happens. Monday will be errands, Tuesday and Wednesday will be cleaning the house and hopefully whipping up a small batch of Halloween dolls. On Thursday night I’m doing another sign painting class. Friday will be food prep and then a mini birthday celebration for my brother-in-law. Saturday morning I’m going to be running all over the Madison area picking up things for various parties. And then Saturday evening we’re having a retirement party for my mother-in-law. And Sunday morning is Caden’s birthday party. And Monday is Caden’s birthday. Birthday season is officially upon us and life is going to be insane for a few weeks.

I THINK I have all the details figured out for next weekend. I’m going totally against everything I believe in, and having about the easiest for me birthday breakfast party I could arrange where the only things I’ll actually have to “make” will be a bunch of bacon that I can cook a few days ahead of time, and sausage links that I can just cook up easily that morning. Everything else I’m buying already made. But it’s going to be good. No skimping for my almost 11 year old! I’ll have to make his school treat then after his party. And because he’ll be at school and Lego League for most of his actual birthday, we’re going to go out to dinner on Sunday to celebrate.

So my only real intention for the week is to stay on top of everything I need to do and not lose my sanity! I’d also REALLY like to get a few more dolls made by Thursday morning at the latest. Monday and Saturday I’ll be running all over picking up things I need for the parties, but I think I can make myself stay home and productive the rest of the week. And I have the sign painting class thrown in for a bit of fun. I broke out my rusty Illustrator skills and designed my own stencil this time, so I’m excited to paint it!

Unfortunately, I don’t have my meal plan figured out. But I need some freezer room, so I think we’re going to be eating from our frozen stock all week. It’ll work out.

Wish me luck, guys. It SHOULD be a really great week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 09.08.2019

What a week! I’d say that the first week of September, the first week of school, was a roaring success. I loved it! I wouldn’t say we’re immediately back into a regular routine yet, but it’s been a good start!

Tuesday was the first day of school. They were both really angry about having to go back. The four of us walked together and dropped Caden at his school first and then Shepard. Unfortunately, it was raining the whole time and then started pouring right when we got to Shepard’s school, so it was a very hasty goodbye. I felt bad about that, but maybe it was for the best because he was really nervous and dragging it out any longer might have made things worse.

I think Caden’s only issue is that he just plain didn’t want to go back to school. He was also a little upset about how few of his 4th grade friends were going to be in class with him again. BUT he came home and announced that 9 of the kids that he was in class with from K-3 are in his 5th grade class, so he was really happy. I’m sure he wouldn’t admit to LIKING school, but it seemed to go really well for him this week. He’s excited about his new teacher and all the parties they get to have this year.

I didn’t realize this until we were walking and it came up, but I guess Shepard was upset about being the only 3rd grade class at his school. I thought this would be a selling point – the oldest kids in the school, they’d therefore be the coolest, right? But I guess he felt like maybe his class was dumb or left behind since all of the non-charter 3rd grade classes switch over to the middle school. He wants to be at the middle school too. I’m definitely a little worried about the transition for him next year, after an entire school year separated from 3/4 of the kids in his grade. But…I’ll have to worry about that next summer. At any rate, I think the first days went pretty well for him. He hasn’t wanted to talk about it. He hasn’t been as happy and excited as Caden. But I know he thrives being around his friends all day.

I spent the first day of school running errands. I didn’t really want to, but it was the only day it was going to work out. Plus it was a good distraction from worrying about how the first day was going.

Wednesday was picture day. They were both SO angry I made them wear button down shirts. Shepard was doing everything he could to get out of it. You know, a few years ago they were both clamoring to wear button shirts as often as possible to look like Daddy. Now it’s uncool.

Shepard said he was going to smile like this. I’m sure the photographer wouldn’t have let that be the final image, but I almost think I’d like it better than the blank stare we usually get. Caden was able to see his photo right away on a printed ID card, but he wasn’t allowed to bring it home. He said the teacher parted his hair and smashed it down against the sides of his head, so I think all my attempts to make it fluffy and cute before school were thwarted.

I spent Wednesday morning working and then took the cats to the vet for their annual check up. The vet commented again and again how healthy they look for their age, so I guess we’re doing pretty good! She thinks they both might have some sort of allergies/irritations, so they were given some shots to try and counteract that. But overall, they’re pretty healthy.

I never expected them to remember in the midst of all this new stuff going on, but they hatched a plan in the morning for Shepard to meet Caden at a certain spot and then they would walk to meet me at the library and we’d go to the farmers market after school. And shockingly, they showed up! They were giving away apple cider popsicles this week. It was so nice!

I was determined on Thursday to finally sit down and actually get a good chunk of work done. It was NOT a productive week. Well, it WAS, but not for doll production. I was just about finishing stuffing when I ran out of polyfil. I ALWAYS have a backup box in the basement, so I can’t believe I was out. I had to go to Beaver Dam anyway to spend some time with my mom and brother’s pets while they’re in Nebraska, so I just left earlier to go to Walmart and get more polyfil.

Caden came home happy again. Immediately got comfy with his seeds and book to hang out on the porch all afternoon.

He’s been reading a lot this week. In part because he lost screens for awhile. But he also seems to really be enjoying it again. He mostly stuck with graphic novels all summer, but he’s back into the bigger books again now.

I spent a little time this week slowly switching over to fall decor. I don’t plan on putting a lot of things out – we just don’t have shelf or counter spaces to change up decorations anymore. But I LOVE swapping out fresh blankets and pillows. I’ve been stocking up on fall candles too, and lighting them at every opportunity. And I switched over to my fall mugs. I thought I had more than this! I’ve been on a roll finding cute Halloween mugs in stores lately, but I don’t want to take those out until October.

Midday Friday everything went downhill when I went to check on the pets and while I was trying to cuddle with Gracie on the couch I twisted my back and pulled a muscle that hurt SO BAD. I was in immobilizing pain the rest of the day, rendering myself completely useful other than reading this amazing book. Strangely, at about the exact same time, Caden was at recess playing gaga ball and pulled a muscle in his groin. I guess they gave him a heating back to set on his lap for a few hours, but it wasn’t helping so he ended up coming home early. It seemed to scare him to have such a weird pain, more than the pain itself bothering him. He just took it easy the rest of the night too.

I was proud of myself for sticking with my 4:30 cut off time for sewing every day this week. I think it’s the healthiest boundary I can choose to start living by regularly. It gave me so much freedom in the evenings to do housework and read. The problem, though, is that I wasn’t actually getting nearly enough time to work before 4:30. Too much running around this week. So I had to put in a 12 hour day yesterday and FINALLY finished up my first batch of fall dolls for the year. I really liked how they turned out!

Greg and the boys were at Cedar Lake for the day, helping bring in the docks. Caden ended up staying in Beaver Dam for the night. I was hungry for some type of tasty and filling snack, and ended up making this peanut butter popcorn. It is SO GOOD. Shepard wasn’t very enthused after his first few bites, but I loved it. It was a good end to the week.

Sunday Intentions

I’m hoping to get back on top of things and start writing separate weekend posts again. I gave up over the summer because I never had that much to be intentional about in the week ahead. I was just trying to survive. But September is all about getting back on top of things – PLUS I need a place to be accountable for keeping up with my meal planning!

This week is all about falling back into a more normal routine with hours during the day to actually work. Though it’s still a slightly busier than normal week. I’ll need to run errands on Monday. Tuesday Annie gets her stitches taken out. On Wednesday I’m going to throw a coffee gathering at my house, open to anyone who wants to come. I haven’t actually asked anyone yet, but I hope it will be successful. And on Saturday I’m going to a big vintage market in Illinois.

My highest intention for the week is to make two smaller batches of dolls. I’m going to make a few apple themed dolls first and then my first few Halloween dolls. I think if I can stay on task I can get them done.

My second intention is to connect with a few friends again. Hopefully with this coffee morning! Otherwise, make some plans with a few people in the coming weeks. As much as I often feel like giving up all my hopes and dreams of amazing female friendships, I don’t actually want to give up. I’m ready to give it another shot.

Meal¬†Plans¬†(I’m¬†not¬†set¬†on¬†exactly¬†what¬†days¬†these¬†will¬†be¬†served,¬†but…an¬†approximation)

Monday – Rotisserie Chicken from Costco and Roasted Vegetables

Tuesday – Jamaican Jerk Chili (without the beans)

Wednesday – Spicy Peanut Noodles with Leftover Rotisserie Chicken

Thursday – Cheddarwursts/Leftovers

Friday – Jalapeno Popper Pretzel Crust Pizza

Have a good week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 07.28.2019

It’s been another really busy week with a lot of highs and lows. Also another week that felt really balanced between laid back at home work days and out and about memory making days. That’s one thing I really like about summer – the ability to try and balance it all out most of the time. Of course that can get overwhelming too, when I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. But I think the boys are having a pretty good summer and that’s what it’s all about it.

I was up early last Sunday and spent an hour or two finishing up some sewing room organization I started weeks ago. I’ve been really getting into being more creative with my doll hair – blending a lot more colors and textures for a look that’s unique to my artistry. But more options means more yarn – a lot more yarn! – so I had to do a bunch of rearranging to make room for it all. I love it!

We spent most of Sunday at a family reunion near Milwaukee. It was at such a pretty park, filled with trees, a huge pond, and walking paths. We brought Annie with us and it was a fun day talking to relatives we haven’t seen in awhile! We were also able to connect with Melissa for a little bit and give her some birthday presents. Even though I was DEAD TIRED by the time we got home, I went out and ran all my errands for the week, sneaking by without needing to take the boys with me once again! I’m getting very good at it this summer! Though it did occur to me that they’re probably old enough I could just leave them home and run out by myself during the day. But I’m not so sure I trust them together for more than a very short amount of time. Next summer, hopefully.

Monday was a big work day, finishing up a custom order Anne of Green Gables and Diana set an internet friend asked me to make. She sent me a whole list of literary themed dolls she’d like to see me make in the future. That’s not really the direction I’d like to go with my dolls in general, but I’m contemplating it!

On Tuesday morning we had a park playdate with a friend and her kids. The weather was so beautiful! We decided to bike there. Only my second bike ride since my broken ankle and I survived it! When I tried in May it took me a full two weeks to stop feeling the pain. Maybe it just wasn’t as rigorous of a ride this time, but maybe I’m also still hopefully getting stronger! I brought a batch of scones and she brought a box of donuts and we all had a really good time!

On Tuesday night we had a big date! Guster was in Milwaukee again (they seem to ALWAYS be touring since we seem to see at least one concert a year!) and I gave Greg tickets for his birthday. I let him pick the restaurant too because I always pick. He went with a pizza place a block or two away. We didn’t have to wait and were seated around the pizza oven where we could watch the chefs make the pizzas. It was fun and really delicious!

The traffic was terrible, so we thought the whole thing would be rushed, but we ended up with plenty of time to just chill in the theater before it started.

The concert was great! My only complaint is that this is the first Guster concert we went to where people stood up for the whole thing. I am adamantly against standing concerts! My feet were so sore from standing up all day on Sunday at the reunion, so I sat down during songs I didn’t know as well. I could still see between the bodies. ūüôā It was a late night, but a really fun one!

Wednesday was kind of a bummer day because I got an ingrown toenail removed. I’m embarrassed to say it’s the same toenail that I visited the podiatrist for an entire year ago. At the time we decided to wait it out and hoped it would get better. It was infected for a very, very long time, to the point I was too embarrassed to bring it up again. But I finally had enough when the infection went away and it was very clear it wasn’t going to fix itself. I assumed the procedure would be fast and easy and wasn’t prepared for how much the numbing agent they shot into my toe was going to hurt! Shepard wanted to be in the room with me to watch, so he was getting a kick out of my cringing and wrenching away from the pain. Ouch. But then it all went fine and I’ve just been trying to take it easy the last couple of days.

Thursday was split between sewing and cleaning and prepping food for my party on Friday.

And Friday night I had a taco party! I’m not sure the emotional turmoil over planning a party is worth it for me in the end. I can’t stand putting myself out there knowing I’m going to feel rejected when people can’t, or don’t want to, come. Plus the pressure of cleaning the house when nobody else wants to help me out with it. So much anxiety. But it turned out to be a really nice time. Because I messed up which days she was visiting Wisconsin, my friend Dianne was in town for it. And a couple other friends came and some of their kids. We had way too much food, but it was a perfect amount of people and a really nice way to relax and enjoy each other’s company on a summer Friday night.

I spent Saturday finishing up eight dog and cat themed dolls. They were a hit and seven of them sold within three minutes of listing! The eighth sold a few hours later. It’s always so validating when they sell quickly! But it also really adds on the pressure to make more STAT. Greg and the boys were gone for most of the day, so it was just nice to have the house to myself finally, so I was able to read and take a nap after they were finished.

And today has been pretty lazy! I only went out to have lunch with Dianne before she flew home. I have a few things I’d still like to get done today, but I have a feeling it’s not going to happen. I’m so tired!

Sunday Intentions

Well, this is the week all the fun stuff really picks up. Monday and Tuesday are free – I need to do some household things and hopefully finish two more dolls I started this morning. But then on Wednesday Greg and I are going on a two night getaway to one of our favorite places. I’m looking forward to lots of time to just read and relax! Then next weekend my brother and his family will be in town and we’re keeping the days open to spend time with them. And later that next week I’m off to Book Bonanza!

My intention for the week is to try and stop letting my emotions rule my life. Sometimes I really hate how deeply and intensely I feel EVERYTHING. Nothing rolls of my back, nothing is ever forgotten. I’m not the greatest at actually expressing my emotions, but they overrule my thoughts and really dictate whether I’m going to have a good day or bad. I want to have good days. But summer is a trying time.

That’s about it! Have a great week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 07.07.2019

It’s been quite a week! Every day seems to last about five days long, yet summer is also flying by. Officially, our summer only started on Wednesday because Tuesday was the last day of summer school. We’ve fit in so many things already!

I spent most of Monday stressfully trying to figure out what to do with all of my overripe peaches. The 25 pound box was hard as a rock on Thursday, I force ripened some to make peach crumble on Saturday morning, and then they were all ripe to overripe by Sunday. If your life doesn’t match up with the ripeness schedule of your box of peaches you’re in big trouble! I think next year I seriously need to find someone to just flat out split a box with me. Then it’ll be less stressful. I was feeling pretty lazy this year and used most of my remaining peaches for salsa. Unfortunately, it was only good for a day and one of the people I made a bowl for wasn’t home to give it to that night.

It was a really hot week! While we did get a new air conditioner this spring, it only cools the lower half of our house. We have a window unit in our room, so Shepard fell asleep in our bed every night and then Greg moved him to his room when he came up.

On Tuesday I tried to just relax and soak up my last day home alone for the next two months!

Determined to jump right into my goal list for the month, we left early Wednesday morning to go to Token Creek Dog Park. We’ve only been to it twice before and that was before I broke my ankle. It’s a really nice enormous field with a hilltop in the middle and woods around the edges. Despite the early hour it was already SO hot, but the bugs were a lot less annoying than at the dog park in town. I’m really hoping I decide on a few solid favorites this summer and continue taking Annie to dog parks in fall when things cool off and the trees start changing. It’s probably the most exciting way for both of us to get some fresh air and exercise. This one is definitely a contender because it’s one of the closest – about 25 minutes away.

Because it’s on the way home, we stopped in at Mounds for Annie to pick out some treats. I’ve always wanted to bring her into a pet store like that! I think she was having some sensory overload. The boys thought it was really cool, though!

We were back home by 9:30 and it was a VERY long first morning of the no screens before noon rule. They were at least pretty good natured in their complaining, but they also wouldn’t leave me alone. We’ve really only had two days of the rule being in place, but I’m still optimistic that it was the right choice.

Greg was home early and came with us to the farmers market. Annie came too, though it was crazy hot by then. I bought a loaf of bread and some cheese. They were doing a brat fry fundraiser and Caden had a hamburger. Shepard bought a ceramic pot that he was able to paint and will be able to pick up this week after it’s been fired.

The 4th was a good day! The weather seemed so iffy all week. Actually, we were getting random short storms almost every day. Fortunately, they held off until afternoon so we were able to go ahead with our plans to visit Cedar Lake.

Because it was just going to be us and Greg’s parents and grandparents (there are usually many more extra relatives and kids at these parties), we decided to bring Annie along. She loved it. And it made the day a little too chaotic. Within ten minutes she somehow managed to break apart her pinch collar and took off. I was screaming and chasing her and she never even looked back. I literally had just told the boys the day before at the dog park that I bet she wouldn’t be a runner anymore because she always stays so close to me at dog parks. She decided to prove me wrong. Luckily, Greg caught her. It could have been a much worse outcome.

The three of them were having the time of their lives playing in the water. Annie never left the depth where she could still touch the ground. Maybe if she hadn’t been on a leash she would have tried swimming, but she already proved she can never be trusted! We also managed to break her retractable leash by submerging it into the water, which meant I had to hold her on her four foot standard leash the rest of the day. She was so hyped up about being there, but also wanted me to be right next to her and kept getting fully wet and then running back and shaking it all over me. It was fun to see her happy, but stressful to maintain that for the entire day.

I was switching back and forth between the beach and further up the hill under the shady trees where it was a bit cooler. The weather really was great for the first few hours before the heat overtook it!

The boys were having the time of their lives just swimming and playing on the tubes. They were getting along so well and having so much fun! Another reminder that the simplest of plans are what make them happiest. They did some tubing out with the boat too. I don’t go on the boat rides anymore because I can’t stand the blasting sun.

Annie and I spent the last few hours trying to cool off in the shade. It was a really nice time! Worth missing my beloved once a year fire station fundraiser cheese fries.

The rest of the day didn’t turn out as well, thanks to Mother Nature. We stopped in Beaver Dam to get some fireworks to do at the in-law’s house right when the first storm rolled in. We waited it out and the guys went to pick up some Culver’s for an easy dinner. We tried to do a few at their house, but the post-rain humidity was deathly! I had to continue holding Annie on her leash for another three hours because she kept terrorizing the cat. We went back home with half hearted plans to go watch the fireworks, even though Greg and I didn’t really want to. But, how can you say no when they’ve been so good all day? Unfortunately, more storms hit right when the show was about to start. There was a ton of confusion on if they would be postponed or not. I think most people at the actual park eventually assumed with pouring rain and nonstop lightning that it wouldn’t happen. We gave up and went to bed. And then we HEARD the whole show as we were trying to fall asleep. Oh well. It was terrible timing, but still overall a really good day.

I thought everyone would sleep in on Friday, but no deal! They LOOK tired, but they were wrestling and attacking each other all morning.

Shepard and I decided to make some beignets. He’s been wanting to do it since we saw them make beignets on The¬†Chef¬†Show. That show is seriously just a wealth of food making inspiration. I think we’ve created something from almost every episode! I was watching one of the last episodes this morning when they were making and eating breakfast tacos – I was so insanely jealous. I think I’m going to watch the season all over again and actually write down all the ingredients they use for the more complicated recipes.

This is how many we had left after we already ate our fill! I thought they turned out okay. Not really as good as I had imagined. I’d like to try the famous ones in New Orleans someday.

I’m not sure what I did the rest of the day other than make pizza!

Saturday was another fun family day. I woke up really early and decided to go to the farmers market because it’s been a long time since my last visit. Unfortunately, storms struck AGAIN and I never even got out of the car. I waited out the thunder and lightning at a grocery store, but it was still raining too hard to stop at the market. If I was just heading home afterward I probably would have risked it, but I didn’t want to be wet the next few hours.

I met Greg and the boys at the theater and we watched the new Spiderman movie. It was really good! We had lunch at Portillo’s before coming home and spending the rest of the day just relaxing.

Today, amazingly, it was in the low 60’s when I got up! So we packed up the cats in their stroller and took the pets on a long walk around town. It was so nice! I wish every morning was like that. The boys were being extra cooperative, even cleaning out my car the first time I suggested it, in hopes of me not enforcing the noon rule on weekends. The rest of the day has just been very chill. Overall – a pretty great week!

Sunday Intentions

Oh, I just remembered what I did on Friday – spent THE ENTIRE DAY doing research, trying to plan a spontaneous vacation for the boys and I when I realized this upcoming week is basically the only one until the end of August that we don’t have some random plan on a Tuesday or Wednesday that would interfere with having a midweek trip. This is something I really wanted to do with them this summer, and just hadn’t gotten around to figuring out the logistics yet. After entertaining a ton of different options, I ended up going with the hotel that started my search in the first place – two nights at Three Bears Resort in Warrens. I’m really excited about it! We’re leaving on Tuesday morning and coming home on Thursday night. I think it’ll be a lot of fun and great opportunity for long lasting memories together. Most of the time I’m totally fine with being the unfavored parent, but sometimes it feels good to be the one that can do something spontaneous and special with them. Plus it gives Greg a few nights to himself, which NEVER happens. Annie’s even going to go on her own mini vacation to Grandma’s, so Greg won’t have to deal with her.

Since that trip is basically our whole week, there’s not much time for anything else. I started some dolls last night, which I intended to finish today, but I’m not making much progress. Hopefully I can get them done by morning since I won’t have time to work the rest of the week. I also need to do a bit more research and figure out something we can do on Tuesday before our 4pm check in time. Despite only living an hour away, we don’t spend much time in the Dells, so surely there is something unique we can check out before heading further north.

So my intentions for this upcoming week? Have fun, be patient, make memories. I want to totally go with the flow and let the boys dictate how we spend our time on the trip. I realize I’m very lucky to have the option of doing things like this and I want to make the most of it.

Have a good week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 06.30.2019

So much for writing four blog posts in one day, huh? It ended up taking me almost the entire day to finish up the batch of dolls I was working on. Reminding me once again, that as awesome as it is to finish them up and make some immediate sales, I NEED to stop working so much on weekends and nights. I’d really prefer to use this time for more enjoyable and relaxing pursuits. It’d also be nice not to have my usual weekend meltdown because – gasp – my children actually want to be fed real meals and I need to force myself to stop what I’m doing, no matter how important it feels TO ME AND ME ALONE, and take care of other things. But at the same time, it feels great to set myself up to start fresh on a Monday morning. Or in the case of this week, give myself maybe a few days off to enjoy the upcoming holiday festivities. Balance is so hard.

Anyway! I’m honestly so tired right now that I barely remember what happened this week. I know it rained a lot! Many storms, with increasingly hot temperatures and sluggish humidity. It really feels like summer now. I still haven’t made it to the pool myself, but Greg takes the boys and a slew of neighborhood kids almost every night. I’ll get there someday… In the meantime, I’m really appreciating our new air conditioner!

We went to the farmers market, as always, on Wednesday afternoon. Annie was the lucky one this week with a new fresh bone and some treats. I stocked up on mascarpone to eat with peaches. And the boys each got baked treats that they ate up right away.

Shepard and I have been watching The Chef Show and getting a lot of fresh cooking ideas, so we made some garlic pasta, cheese bread, and berry bowls for dinner on Wednesday. The pasta was a little too overpowering, but it was a good experiment.

The berry bowls were, in the words of Shepard, “the best dessert we’ve had in a long time!” I just bought a bunch of fresh berries and very slightly macerated them with turbinado sugar about half an hour before we planned on eating them. Then we stirred them up with a mix of the three mint leaves we’re growing (peppermint, sweet mint, and chocolate mint). I made a fresh whipped cream and added a big spoonful of the mascarpone to give it some added depth. With more sugar and a mint garnish on top! Fancy words for something super simple and SO delicious. If it weren’t so expensive to buy that many berries I’d make it every day!

On Thursday morning I went out to the annual peach truck arrive to buy my 25 pound box of peaches. It was SO hot, but I got there early and only had to wait in line about ten minutes.

My mom came over to baby/dog sit while Greg and I went on a long date. Annie was so excited to see her!

We had an spontaneously picked dinner at a place called Right Bauer that I’ve been wanting to go to. I didn’t like my chicken sandwich very much, but the fries were good and Greg liked the pork. It was a really cute place, just with a very limited menu. More of a beer lovers destination. It’s funny how many unique breweries we go to, but I don’t drink beer at all. I’m probably missing out.

Our main destination for the date night was a comedy show featuring Daniel Van Kirk (from one of my favorite podcasts, Penpals). But the time listed on the tickets was 8:00 and we found out just that evening that the show was actually at 10. So late!! With more storms happening, and not much energy (Greg’s been mildly sickish all week), we decided to go see the movie Yesterday¬†in between dinner and the show. It was really good! We also really enjoyed the comedians. It was a very late night, though. Too late for me.

On Friday I had a dentist appointment and ran some errands. Then we joined in the little fireworks and sparkler celebration happening next door. Annie loved taking some dips in and drinks from the kiddie pool!

Saturday was a fun day! Finally some socialization! Shepard and I went to the neighbor’s house for a crafting day. I came home to take a nap after four hours, but Shepard stayed another three or four he was having so much fun. He loved having adults indulge all of his unique crafting ideas that I’m usually too tired or busy to try to figure out for him.

In the evening, Annie and I walked over to my friend Angela’s house for a bonfire. Annie had the greatest time playing with her new friend Ally! It was a really nice night out for me. It’s been forever since I’ve spent time with friends.

And today I worked! And did laundry, which turned into an all day project because the dryer did not want to dry my comforter and blanket. And made food. And took a nap! And now I’m ready for bed.

Sunday Intentions

I’m feeling a little apprehensive about this week. There are only two days left of summer school. I’m still not ready to have my kids home all the time. Caden gets SO “bored” ALL THE TIME. He’s going to make my life very, very difficult for the next two months. I’m strongly contemplating making a no screens before noon rule (I think I mentioned this last week!) to try and eliminate some of the whininess. And the waking up super early because he thinks he can play the minute he gets out of bed. It’ll hopefully help him be more cooperative for running errands and doing some fun activities as well if he doesn’t think he’s missing out on valuable game time. The problem, however, is with this new plan I don’t know when I’m going to work. I’m too tired in the afternoons. I might have to switch to ONLY working at night. Which I don’t like either. But mornings are for being out and about, afternoons are for reading and resting, and nights are for working? I don’t know. Normally I really cut back in summer, but I’m desperately trying to bulk up my vacation funds with two big trips coming up really soon. I don’t feel like I can afford to take time off this summer. Plus I have so many ideas for new dolls that I want to fit in before mid August when I need to start on fall themes.

My tentative plan for the week is to spend tomorrow running errands and then trying to figure out what the heck to do with the 15 or so pounds of peaches I have left. Yesterday I made a peach crumble to bring next door. I gave a bunch away to my mom and mother-in-law. The boys ate a ton of them right off the counter today. I made roasted peaches for lunch. I’m planning to make some peach salsa to go with dinner tomorrow. And maybe a peach sorbet. And maybe a peach pie (they made one on the last episode I watched of The¬†Chef¬†Show – more inspiration!). But there are still going to be so many left. And they’re all ripe and need to be used NOW.

Tuesday will be my last day with any time to myself, so I’m hoping to spend it just chilling. I’ve been accepting a few more custom doll orders, so I’d like to work on those this week, but probably nothing else new. A little lower pressure on myself.

Wednesday I’d really like to do something fun to celebrate the first “real” day of our summer. Maybe take Annie to a new dog park or something. Or just go to the pool during the day. We’ll see. The weather is looking very iffy all week, so I don’t want to get too set in any plans. Maybe we could check out the carnival in the evening.

Thursday is the 4th! We decided to go to Cedar Lake this year, IF the weather looks good. We’ll miss out on the parade (and my beloved once a year amazing cheese fries from the fire station fundraiser), but the boys will like going to the lake more. And depending on moods and timing and weather, maybe we’ll walk down to see the fireworks in town at night.

Friday will be a recovery day! And Saturday we’re going to see the new Spiderman movie. It will hopefully be a really fun week making lots of good memories!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 06.23.2019

I’ve been in such a writing rut lately. Not necessarily because I don’t have anything to say, but because I’m struggling with how honest to be. I’ve really been feeling the weight of judgment , or at least potential judgement, from my small audience base. I truly value vulnerability and authenticity when I listen or read things from others and hope to always let my own shine through, even if it’s not a shared opinion. But. I don’t like to be judged. Or rejected. Or seen as a bad parent or person, particularly in these three hardest months of the year for me. Every time someone tells me that summer is their favorite time of the year because they get to spend so much time with their kids it feels like a slap in the face of backhandedly telling me that there’s something wrong with me for hating it so much. I try to make the most of it. I really do. I chose to be a stay at home parent and I chose to continue being one, probably for the entire length of my kids’ childhoods. But I’m also not a stay at home mom at this point in our lives FOR THEM, the way I was when they were babies and toddlers and preschoolers. Now I’m home FOR ME. For my own career aspirations, for my introverted sanity, and for my general contentment with life. And having kids around me all day, with the added pressure of parenting them correctly with the perfect amounts of active time and reading time and limited screen time and proper meal eating – all while I’m TRYING TO WORK – it’s exhausting. And overwhelming. And sets me up to constantly feel like a failure at everything. But I don’t want to be seen as the parent who can’t stand her kids because that’s not the case either. It’s just so very hard. And I don’t often feel like I can be very honest about that anymore. Which stops me from sharing all together.

I’ve also been feeling the weight of loneliness. It continues to amaze me how much almost all of my friendships have fizzled out in the last year or two. Sometimes I’m busy, just like most people, and it’s easy to get distracted from the fact I almost never see my friends anymore. But sometimes it becomes jarringly obvious how empty my life has become without the awesome joy of getting together and sharing life with other women. What’s even more frustrating is that I sometimes meet new people and think that we could be the greatest of friends, IF friendship worked the way it used to when you were younger. If it WERE EASY. I don’t know how to make and keep real and lasting friends anymore. I’m so shy and then maybe I’m too honest and a major oversharer. I never know how to say the right things or just jump into an uncertain situation because I am so completely terrified of being rejected. I’ve become so awkward that I’ve decided it’s really just best to hide away and not even try anymore. But that doesn’t make the loneliness go away. It just makes it more of my own fault.

Anyway. Life slowed down a lot this past week. Which makes me think and dwell in my own emotions a lot more. Which maybe isn’t a very good thing and I should actually hope for the busier weeks? It WAS great to have almost nothing on the calendar. I think we all needed the reprieve after how crazy the week before was.

Because I’m only capable of handling one major project in my life at a time, I realized on Monday that I still really wanted to make a go of a garden, now that the garage sale was over. It felt too late to try and convert the sandbox the way we originally intended – maybe it can be a project for this fall and we’ll have it ready right away next spring. Instead I went the container garden route, putting all the pots right on my back steps where it will be literally impossible to ignore taking care of them. I went a bit crazy at the stores because all the plants were already on clearance. I ended up with EIGHTEEN different types of pepper plants. No doubles! And there were still a bunch of varieties I passed up. I also bought three kinds of mint to hopefully remember to add to iced tea. And Caden has his huge pot of chives that grows back every year that he just eats whenever he’s outside. Because I waited so long to buy the plants most of them already have mini peppers on them, so I think we will have a very successful crop in a few weeks!

On Tuesday I convinced the boys to go to an astronaut ice cream making event at the library. Shepard and Willow went to a slime making event a few weeks ago and loved it, so I hoped this would be similar. I didn’t take into account how busy it was going to be! We were in line for almost a whole hour with the boys touching and irritating each other the entire time. We finally made the ice cream and took it outside to eat, but I didn’t realize the heavy door was going to slam shut behind me and it knocked Shepard’s right out of his hands. Of course he immediately burst into tears, so we rushed home and made some pretty extravagants malts ot make up for it!

Wednesday was a big work day and a big food prep day. My one big labor intensive meal of the week was this huge bowl of corn salsa and some spicy pork tenderloin tacos. Pork is something we almost never, ever eat (except bacon!), but it turned out fantastic! You could barely tell it wasn’t chicken. ūüôā

I ran my Monday errands in Beaver Dam, but realized by Thursday I really needed to make a few Madison stops, so I spent another day out and about. I only had time to get to about half the stores I wanted to (darn those short summer school hours!), but I did make it to Joann’s where they were having some incredible sales on things I use all the time and rarely drop in price. So worth it. Then Caden had a friend unexpectedly come over for rest of the day. Another thing I’m trying to adjust to this summer since I guess it’s now going to be a thing – extra kids here that I’m not used to. Extra kids that sometimes make me realize how amazing the kids I AM used to really are. To all the neighborhood kids – you are great and we are so lucky.

Friday was just a big work day. I also spent a lot of time on food prep making individual pretzel crust pizzas. And I took Annie to the dog park in the evening. Poor girl is not getting nearly enough exercise lately. I hope to make it up to her once the grass allergies settle down. Which will hopefully happen ASAP.

Saturday was a huge day! It started bright and early at the park for a kids mini triathlon. I was obsessively checking the weather all week because storms were forecast, but it ended up being a beautiful day! Shepard’s youngest age group went first biking one mile, running 1/4 mile, and swimming 24 yards. He did it all in about 7 minutes! Caden’s group which ended up being kids 9-15, had to bike two miles, run one mile, and swim 100 yards. He finished in 19 minutes. I was very impressed and proud of both of them! It was a really nice event that ended with t-shirts and medals and free hot dogs and chips and popsicles.

I took Annie to the dog park again afterward for awhile. Then Shepard went to a birthday party for the afternoon, Greg went to play Dungeons & Dragons, Caden played games, and I took a nap.

We finished the night at the Mallard’s baseball game. It was Greg’s work’s annual outing, though this year was a little different because they had us in the backyard section – almost ground level with the far outfield. We had to bring our own chairs, but we still got unlimited food from what they provided. I wasn’t too sure at first, but it ended up being really relaxed and fun. I was worried about mosquitoes with a night game, but I didn’t even notice them!

After being outside all day, my eyes were in pretty bad shape. Downfall of this whole weekend. I’m still trying to recover and I’ve barely gone outside at all today.

There was a free balloon station, so Shepard spent most of his time there getting additions put on his giant rocket pack. He was also making new friends with kids in line. It was pretty much one of the best days of his life!

We always take my parents to this game for my dad’s father’s day present.

Caden was surprisingly really into the game, watching the whole thing and keeping track of all the outs. Maynard the Mallard came through blasting out t-shirts and he got one! His third new shirt of the day. He was really excited! Overall, it was really a perfect night. We stayed till the very end to watch the fireworks show too. I wish every day went as well as yesterday!

And then there’s today. Would you like to know how my day started and swing back around to how this post started? Caden spent about two hours sitting on a chair next to me while I worked whining and crying and begging and yelling and poking me and tapping his chair, all in attempts to convince me he should be able to play games. Greg wants me to buckle down on limiting his screen time more, so I had to keep saying no. But let me tell you, that was a REALLY FUN TIME while I was desperately trying to finish up these mermaids as early as possible so I wouldn’t have to spend the whole day on them. But I finally got them done around noon, about four hours longer than I expected to have to work on them. I’ve sold six of the eight already, so they were a good idea, I think! Not my favorite of creations, but I do really love their mixed yarn hair. It was fun to do something different.

Sunday Intentions

Ahead we have a medium busy week. The last full week of summer school, and maybe my last week to reserve a little bit of sanity and alone time? I’m hoping to put off errand running until Wednesday, trying to get another batch of dolls done in the next two days. I want to hit up the farmers market on Wednesday, though I’m also contemplating getting to the Madison one as well. And on Thursday night Greg and I are going to see the comedian Daniel Van Kirk at a show he’s doing with Andrew Young (I don’t know who Andrew is, but LOVE Daniel Van Kirk). I think it’ll be a really fun date night and extra nice that it’s actually in Madison so we don’t have to deal with going to Milwaukee! And then on Friday I have a dentist appointment. Not so fun.

My intentions for the week are to pace myself with basically everything. It’s the end of the month so I have all my usual posts to write. Which I absolutely love doing! But it’s time consuming. I definitely want to make at least one, hopefully two, more batches of dolls. They are all selling out so quickly (which is great!), but it’s so hard to keep my shop stocked with enough to bring in new customers. I’d also like to start working on a plan for the rest of summer. I feel like such a slacker when I see all the non-summer school taking moms doing all these day trips and fun things every day, when I can barely even keep my eyes open by the time my kids get home. We always plan our summers this way with fun activities saved for July and August, but we also usually have those activities written down by now. I’m considering implementing an overarching rule of no screens before noon. Perhaps that’ll eliminate most of the fights that always arise when we need to run errands or I want to do something that sounds really fun, but they (“they” being Caden) think sounds like torture. I’m assuming the first few days of that kind of rule will be horrendous, but maybe they’ll get used to it??

Well, that’s about it for now. I have lots of mermaids to pack up and more dolls to start. Hopefully this week won’t be filled with quite so much emotional angst.

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 06.16.2019

Today I’m celebrating the fact that the hardest week of summer is already behind me! Well, I’m assuming it will have been the hardest week. The dreaded garage sale week. I have a huge sense of relief that it’s now behind me, though I’m not exactly jumping for joy because it was a pretty tough week. Again. Mostly because I somehow thought having a garage sale that would require me to be outside every possible minute for a week straight smack dab in the worst of allergy season would be a good idea. Um, no. It was a TERRIBLE idea. No wonder I’ve thought I had my allergies mostly under control the last few years – I was just being smart and going outside as little as possible! This year I was STUPID. Ugh, these last four days have been terrible. Can June just be over??

Ignoring the fact I was pretty sure I was going to either go blind or flat out die multiple times a day, the week went pretty smoothly. We were all too busy to have time to be in bad moods. (Trust me, it caught up to us this weekend, though!) The boys both started summer school on Monday and found enough friends in their classes that they’re pretty content with going every day. Caden also had a basketball camp immediately after school Monday through Thursday. He was disappointed he didn’t know anyone there and I think it was a hard pill for him to swallow that he wasn’t instantly a basketball star. But he didn’t complain about it and I’m proud of him for actually wanting to try something. Three of his summer school classes are basically gym classes, so after six hours of being fully active every day, we really just let him play video games all evening. Shepard alternated between games and friends and helping us set up the sale.

On Tuesday my mom came over and we worked all day to get just about everything set up that we could in the garage. But my greatest accomplishment was making this Chile con Carne from my Tex¬†Mex cookbook I raved about a few months back. I’m not really a fan of chili in general because I don’t eat beans, I don’t like beef (only in tacos!), and big chunks of tomato are a turn off. (I don’t like noodles either, though we’re not noodle in chili people where I grew up!) But I was intrigued by this recipe with no beans, no tomatoes, WITH BACON, and a cacophony of amazing spices with a homemade chili paste. I made it in the crockpot in the morning and the smell all day long was driving me wild. It didn’t disappoint either! SO delicious. But also crazy spicy. Greg seemed irritated with the spice level and Caden kept smacking his head it was so hot. Shepard, who usually tends toward milder eating habits, actually loved it as much as me, though. I was just so excited to find a new beef recipe that we’d all at least eat!

I spent Wednesday morning running errands and afternoon making a couple batches of chex mix and cookies. Then we went out to dinner with Greg’s parents to celebrate Steve’s birthday a few days late and Father’s Day a few days early.

Shepard just really loves trying to take over every holiday and celebration and make it about him!

Thursday was go time! I made a couple more batches of cookies in the morning, just to be safe. In hindsight, I really should have made the cookies smaller, but I wanted them to be big and soft and extra appealing, so I used the muffin scoop for all of these. I’m pretty certain we didn’t even come close to making a profit since each batch only made about 10 cookies! I got smarter when I was making cookies late Thursday night and used the next size scoop down.

I somehow thought it was going to be pretty leisurely getting everything set up, but my mom and I were practically running to get everything up and going by noon like I had wanted. We had SO MUCH STUFF. And I wanted as much out on the driveway as possible for all the people that just slowly drive by to see if it’s worth stopping. Our garage is so far from the road that we need a good driveway draw!

We stayed open until 7pm on Thursday and sales were pretty steady. It might have been busier if I had had more time to strategize my advertising tactics. I just ran out of time. We had our prices super cheap because we were really just desperate to get rid of everything, not trying to make a lot of money. It was fun how excited all the customers were about the prices. I think almost every single person told us what they were going to use the things for and how happy they were to find such great deals. That part of the sale was really fun! I have so few interactions with people in my daily life that it felt really good to have so many positive ones in such a short span of time.

I let the boys stay home from summer school on Friday with the agreement that they had to help me run the sale and could not play games. You can see in the photo that Caden went against that from the start. Then they came up with some sort of rule that whoever was at the stand when a customer came was the one who would get the money and only one of them could be there at a time. So they were at each other’s throats fighting all morning about who got the customer and the money. We kept saying that they should just split the money evenly, but they were way too competitive to make that happen. Just dealing with them fighting and crying and screaming at each other made Friday much more stressful. Annie was also a lot more antsy and was sitting at the window behind our heads whimpering and whining ALL EIGHT HOURS.

It wasn’t anyone’s fault, though I also don’t think it would have happened if one of them had actually been sitting at the stand, but it was super windy on Friday and it knocked the umbrella over that was next to the lemonade stand and everything crashed to the ground. We got it all cleaned up and remade some more lemonade in a pitcher, but they were both just totally over it by then.

We had a lull in customers in the afternoon and I was so tired and itchy and sneezy that I was ready to just lay on the ground and take a nap. Instead Shepard and I ran to Kwik Trip to get some “fancy” coffee drinks to try and perk us all up.

I woke up early on Saturday with renewed vigor and made three more batches of cookies – making that 14 total batches almost entirely sold in the 2.5 days we were open!

Caden was at a sleepover birthday party, so the three of us stayed open until noon and ran a $1 fill a bag special. I was enormously entertained at how full people were stuffing their bags! Overall, I think the sale was a huge success. No, we didn’t make a ton of money, but we made enough that I think it was worth the effort. Our main objective was to just get rid of everything and we did pretty good! I basically had an emotional meltdown by the time it ended, I was just so wiped out and sick of trying to shred my eyes out of my head they were so itchy. Greg sent me in to take a nap and by the time I woke up he already had most of the stuff packed for Goodwill and had taken all the borrowed tables back to their owners! I just couldn’t really deal with anything anymore, so Greg took the boys to his parents for the evening and I stayed home to clean the house, trying to bring some sort of normalcy back to our lives for this week!

And that brings us to today, Father’s Day. For perhaps the first year ever, we decided to stay home and have a chill day to ourselves. We all needed the break after how exhausting the week was. Though it’s honestly turned out to be kind of a bummer of a day. Even with low expectations, things never work out the way I think they’re going to. The boys are cranky and full of attitude. I’m cranky because I’m so dang tired. Greg’s cranky because we’re cranky and ruining his day. Instead of just relaxing, he’s spent hours sanding our kitchen table so I could restain it, he worked more in the garage, he mowed and trimmed the lawn. Our meal schedule was thrown off because he sleeps in and eats breakfast around the time we’re all ready for lunch. So we had a “lunchish snack” at 11, but the boys and I were pretty hungry a few hours later. I ended up ordering pizza, Greg’s meal of choice, but then he wasn’t very hungry so it was a waste of the good meal he picked. This is a regular weekend problem we have, but I thought I had it figured out, but…I was wrong. So now we’re all just doing our own thing and maybe by tonight we can be happy and eat the special dessert I made him. Hopefully? I’m really just over holidays. There are too many of them. And they’re always a let down.

Sunday Intentions

So that was probably all WAY more than you needed or wanted to know about our garage sale! But hey – it’s over! I don’t have to talk about it ever again! ūüôā I am now blissfully looking forward to our week ahead. Life is going to SLOW DOWN. For real. I’m going to make it.

The only thing on the agenda for the next few days is summer school! There’s a fun looking library program Tuesday afternoon we might stop in at. And I want to go to the farmers market on Wednesday if it isn’t raining this week. Otherwise…nothing. I am planning to WORK. I am so excited to start sewing again. It always feels amazing after a little break. And it feels reassuring to notice how much I missed it! Plus the end of June and most of July are a rare time of year when I don’t NEED to be sewing for a specific holiday. So many months of the year are dedicated to that, but in summer I finally have a bit of freedom to be more creative.

Our only big day this week is Saturday. The boys are both going to do mini triathlons in the morning! I really hope the weather holds out because I think it’ll be so fun for them! Then Shepard is going to a birthday party. And then we’re all going to the Mallard’s Game for Greg’s work appreciation day. It should be a really fun day if we get good weather!

Well, that’s about it. I think I’m going to head out to the dog park with Annie and finally let her get out some of her pent up energy. And, you know, start up the allergy attacks again. ūüôā

Sunday Intentions 06.02.2019

It’s a big week! Two more days of school and then five days of “summer” before summer school starts. I always feel the pressure to try and make those in between days something special, though the span between the two is shorter than ever this year thanks to all the cold/snow days. I definitely don’t think it’s going to be particularly memorable this year. But honestly, I’m so irritated with my kids this weekend for not helping me clean their rooms after I repeatedly told them how important it was to me, I’m not that concerned with giving them an amazing couple of days. They can make their own days amazing. Or not. I seriously need to stop trying to control everything and everyone and take all of their rampant mood swings as any kind of indicator of how I should be feeling about myself. It shouldn’t be on me to shoulder their anger and internalize it so deeply. I am the parent, right? Right.

To celebrate (or mourn) my last two days alone I am spending Monday going to a few of my favorite stores and getting something delicious for lunch and Tuesday staying home and doing anything my heart desires – probably reading and napping and maybe some writing. I’m hoping the combination of doing all my favorite things will be kind of a closing ceremony to the last nine months of school (and having total control over my schedule). And maybe then I’ll be more mentally prepared for the weeks ahead!

We’re kicking summer off with a donut picnic on Wednesday morning at the park. I don’t even remember the last time I was at that park just to watch my kids play! We’ve been phasing out of that era of childhood, which is really sad! They will surely still play with friends around, though. And it’ll be good to see some of my own friends. I was so focused on just surviving the month of May that I got to the end of it and realized how lonely I am again. I need those people in my life. I wish it weren’t so hard.

Thursday and Friday are pretty open. If I’m feeling good about garage sale prep I might work on one last batch of patriotic dolls. The boys can play with their neighborhood friends/game/probably go to the pool. They’d be happiest just having some freedom to do whatever they want, so that’s probably the path we’ll take this week.

And Saturday we’re going to a birthday party for a chunk of the day and will spend the rest of the weekend starting to set up the sale! Lots to do.

My main intention for the week is to just go with the flow and keep my sanity. My stress levels today have been pretty high and I don’t want all my summer days to be like this. I’m working on some coping mechanisms to start applying when I do start feeling like I’m about to lose it. But…it’s going to take time.

That’s about it! Happy summer!

Memorial Weekend Reflections and Intentions 05.26.2019

So I somehow thought this past week was going to be less busy than the week before. I was wrong. I continue to wallow in this state of disbelief over how busy the month of May has been. Every single night – again! Plus plenty of extra things going on during the day too. It’s so exhausting. But it’s almost over. Shockingly, my thoughts have turned and I think I’m actually excited about summer! At least life can’t continue to be THIS crazy, right?!

Last Sunday I was finally able to start the giveaway celebrating six years of doll making. I had around 400 entries and over 12,000 people saw the post. I don’t often pay much attention the stats – I just want to sell my dolls! But it’s cool to think about how many people glanced at this picture. The giveaway, plus an additional discount code on Friday and Saturday, helped make up for weeks of almost no sales. I just wish I could keep up that momentum all the time. My inventory is pretty low at the moment, so I won’t have any more weeks like this until I’m pushing out a lot more dolls.

The only other thing we did of note last Sunday was go on a family bike ride. I mention it because it’s the first time I’ve ridden my bike since I broke my ankle. I was proud of myself for being able to do. But even though we only biked about half an hour, it somehow messed up ankle up really bad. This has been an awful week, pain-wise. I’d say I’m hurting as bad as I did last summer. Which is honestly just really discouraging. Am I ever going to fully heal? The doctor last December didn’t sound that optimistic about it ever feeling better than it did then. And now it feels worse. The first few days I thought maybe it was a good idea to push myself in a different way. A full week later and the pain even worse, I’m thinking biking is no longer going to be part of my future. It sucks.

On Monday I took Annie to the dog park and then spent most of my day in the kitchen making biscuits from this new cookbook I got last month. They turned out amazing! I shouldn’t make them too often, though, because I wanted to eat them at every meal and for snacks in between. Definitely the best biscuits I’ve ever made. I also made aioli and bacon and jalapeno jam and roasted tomatoes to make the blt on the cover of the cookbook. Unfortunately, the biscuits were so delicate they couldn’t hold up to being a sandwich, so it didn’t work out. But everything was still delicious.

Shepard had a soccer game on Monday night. He decided at the last minute he wanted to bike to the park, which meant Greg, Annie, and I had to speed walk to try to keep him in sight. I think it was a big contributing factor to my pain levels this week. Annie was pretty tired too! The soccer game was a lot of fun, though.

Even though the cats LOVE to be by Caden, this is the first time Jack ever settled in on his lap, so he was pretty happy!

Tuesday I tried to get down to business and work as much as I could. Jack, my ever present daytime helper. He knows how much I love brushing cat hair off of everything and fighting to keep him from sneezing on my finished dolls.

This was new! When Jack woke up and realized Annie had snuck up to cuddle with him he moved on to the arm and fell back to sleep.

On Tuesday afternoon Shepard’s class did a poetry reading at the library. It was short and sweet. ūüôā Greg and his parents came to watch too. Nobody can ever say my kids aren’t surrounded by love and support! I think Greg’s parents came to Columbus SEVEN times this week for them. They are fully committed grandparents!

In the evening Caden had a choir/recorder concert. We ate at Culver’s first. The concert was definitely interesting with all those fresh band students. I’m not sure instruments are Caden’s thing, but he sure loved singing!

Posing with his recorder next to his art project.

On Wednesday the boys decided it was about time they started using the breakfast bar at breakfastime. So far they’ve been fully committed each morning!

I worked all morning and then met my friend Deja at the dog park for a playdate. I was able to sneak in a nap back at home after with my favorite nap buddy.

I met the boys on their walk home from school and we went over to the new farmer’s market. It’s not very big yet, but is getting a lot of buzz. The boys both picked out popcorn, fresh squeezed lemonade, and some hot stix. We’re hoping to get some more meat and plants from Shepard’s school’s booth this week. Hopefully we’ll make it a weekly tradition this summer to head over there and see what we can find.

Shepard had his last official soccer game on Wednesday night. It was intense! For a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds, I think they really learned how to work as a team over the month they were together. They still lost every game, but they really improved each time. The coach was amazing and it was a great experience for Shepard.

I was working up until the last minute before the game and was able to get this batch of dolls listed after. They turned out so cute! Patriotic colors, but only two of them were actually patriotic themed. They all sold by Saturday.

I somehow managed to push off my big errand day until Thursday! We normally can’t survive the week unless I go right away on Mondays. I was happy to finally have some Qdoba for lunch too.

Then I picked Shepard up from school early to get his staples removed. It was much less painful than getting them in, he said. Notice he’s wearing such long socks, though – on Wednesday when he was biking to soccer he took a tumble and has some awful bruising on one of his legs. He was just as self conscious of that as he was about his staples. On Sunday night he was crying for hours because he was so worried people would make fun of his head. I talked with his teacher and it ended up being okay. I know he told a couple of people himself, but I don’t think anyone made a big deal out of it. I was surprised at how upset he was when he’s normally purposely doing things to stand out – like with his fancy hair cut and wearing tank tops and shorts in 30 degree weather.

Thursday night the boys went to Grandma’s and Greg and I had an at home date night to celebrate the third anniversary of owning our house. I can’t believe how quickly those three years flew by!

Friday was a no photo day! I worked all morning, took a really long nap, and then basically had an emotional breakdown over how exhausted I am. And stressed out. And angry at myself for never getting enough done yet never having time to do the things I really want to do. May has been filled with so many fun things and great memories, but it’s also killing me. I can’t be this busy. I’m falling apart.

And then we had to go to the last soccer practice – a parents vs kids game. It rained all day so it was held in the gym, drastically shortening the field and making the game that much more intense. I didn’t play, but still managed to get my ankle kicked three times. It was really fun to watch, though. The kids got so aggressive playing against their parents! Caden and one of the other older brothers joined the kids team too and he was having a blast. It was close, but the parents finally let up enough to let the kids have a victory.

Yesterday Greg and the boys went to Cedar Lake with his parents and I stayed home to clean the house and get a bunch of food prepped. I somehow thought I was going to FINALLY have time to work on my writing class – the class I was determined to finish this month and haven’t even opened up one single time. But no, it did not happen. I was able to get a short nap in before Hudson, Timmy, and Brittany came over, though. We realized pretty quickly our house is almost toy-free, so we walked over to the school playground to wear off some energy. It was so hot out, though, so we didn’t last long. It was the first day that truly felt like summer. And even though I HATE summer weather, it was kind of a nice reminder of the fun days that DO happen only during the summer months.

We were reading some books and I wanted to take our required selfie, but he wasn’t that into it lol.

Timmy and Brittany wanted to take a nap and I noticed our neighbors were outside, so we went to join them for a toddler pool and popsicle party. Hudson wasn’t too sure about that for a long time either, but he finally got in the water and was having a great time by the time my boys came back home.

I made chicken tacos for dinner – basically my standard guest/party food since they always taste delicious, can be made ahead of time, and are easy crowd pleasers. I also made watermelon agua fresca! I’ve been obsessed with agua frescas since I had one in DC last fall, but they don’t seem to be a thing at Mexican restaurants around here. Now that I realize how easy they are to make, it might become a regular summer thing. I didn’t take a picture, but I also made edible chocolate chip and fluffernutter cookie doughs for dessert. The fluffernutter was SO GOOD.

We spent the rest of the evening outside, checking out all of the neighbors’ toys. ūüôā

Hudson wondering why Caden thinks he needs to hold him down a two foot slide. Caden was loving it, though.

We were able to fit in one cousin pic before they had to leave. Such cuties!

Sunday Intentions

And that brings us to today! Another week. MAYBE a less busy one. After my meltdown on Friday I realized that I need to start forcing myself to make some work related boundaries again. I was so desperate to catch up on dolls after our vacation that I fell back into the habit of working every possible minute of the day and night, and stressing about it every time I was doing something else. I can’t live like that. Working at home is hard enough, I don’t need the added pressure of feeling like I need to spend my entire life sewing. So I actually stacked everything up and put it out of sight for the long weekend. It’s still in the back of my mind, but I want to get better about enjoying the time I have with my family. Seeing weekends the same way most people do.

Our only real plans for today and tomorrow are to start working on garage sale prep. Also something I really do not want to do AT ALL, but it needs to get done. And better to do it when Greg is home to help me. It’s a huge undertaking, but it’ll feel so good to get rid of all the crap we don’t want anymore.

Tomorrow the boys are going to walk in the short local parade. Well, Shepard wants to for sure, Caden can maybe be convinced. And that’s about it for the weekend! I’d also like to catch up on some reading, but…we’ll see.

Tuesday is our 13 year anniversary. We’re hoping to go on a date sometime this week, but nothing has officially been planned yet. I’m tired of making plans.

I think the boys have some school field trips and outdoor days this week. It seems like playing outside is almost all they do the last month of school – at least Shepard’s class. There’s also a pool open house…maybe Thursday? And the library program’s kick off is Friday. A lot of nighttime options this week, but nothing required.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide if I should spend my last six days home alone working my butt off, or totally relaxing and focusing on self care before the boys are home all the time and I’m losing my mind. I haven’t come to any conclusions yet. I think I might work to get this next batch of patriotic dolls finished up and then I’ll give myself whatever days are left off. Revel in my solitude before it’s gone.

Well, that’s about it! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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!