Weekend Reflections and Intentions 08.05.2018

As you can see, I’m already completely failing at my daily writing goal. I promised that on August 1st and haven’t written since. Though in my defense, I have barely been home the last four days, and when I have been home, the internet wasn’t working! When I’m home and the internet IS working, I’ve been being plagued by pretty frequent headaches that leave me not wanting to do a single dang thing. But I’m powering through and WILL write today because a lot happened in this past week that is worth recording!

On Sunday, Dianne and I managed to fit in a little time together before I dropped her off at the airport. We talk every day, but it sure is nice when we can see each other in person! I was supposed to visit her last April, but had to postpone because of my broken ankle. But bearing any other accidents, I am booked to go again in October!

We ate at Bel Air Cantina in Madison. Greg and I went there last year, I think around my birthday. The food was great, but it was so crowded with college students we couldn’t hear each other talk. But a Sunday in the middle of a summer afternoon was perfect timing! They have some delicious taco combinations. I picked a salsa verde chicken taco, Korean beef, and Ninja pig, which was like pork with hoisin sauce and slaw. So tasty.

After I dropped Dianne at the airport I did my grocery shopping while I was in the area and without kids! I spent the rest of the night working, desperately trying to make major progress.

Monday another headache hit me. They seem to be happening so often lately. Dehydration? Not enough sleep? I’m actually getting more sleep than I get during the school year, but I’m also rarely getting my daily nap. Whatever the reasoning behind it, it sucks. And I take enough ibuprofen for ankle related pain that I try really hard not to take any extras for things like headaches. Sometimes, like today, I just need to give in.

On Monday night, I had another dinner date with some of my craft night ladies. We tried out a restaurant in Lake Mills called El Mariachi. I was shocked at how busy it was for a tiny town later on a Monday night, but I guess that’s a testament to how good it is!

I had taquitos on a bed of salsa verde topped with regular taco toppings. Maybe not much to look at, but it was really delicious! And fun to have a night out with friends. They’re SO hard to organize that I’ve mostly given up in the last year. But it’s worth it when it does work out.

In the meantime, Greg and the boys were at my parents’ house having dinner with them and my brothers and Hudson. I would have gone, but it was planned after my friend dinner and I didn’t want to back out.

On Tuesday I was bound and determined to get my dolls done. But I also wanted to make sure I had some quality time with the boys. We went on a longer walk along the cemetery in the morning. After lunch we walked to Sharrow’s, a coffee/ice cream/gift shop just a few blocks away that I always forget to go to. The boys had ice cream and I had coffee. It was a fun break in the day. I even found a delightful bonfire scented candle to carry me through August before I can start burning apple and cinnamon scents in September!

On Wednesday morning we went school supply shopping. Wisconsin had five days of tax free school supplies, clothes, etc. This is normally when we’d go anyway, so it seemed like good timing. Everything gets so picked over into August anyway. It was crazy as usual, but we got everything we needed.

I had big plans to FINALLY research vacation things in the afternoon, BUT the internet was down! No reason why, just hours without it working. It magically came back on later in the day, so I spent the whole night planning out my Minnesota trip in a few days. It was so much fun puzzling together everywhere I wanted to go and eat for the perfect itinerary.

It was kind of a spur of the moment decision, but on Thursday I ended up taking the boys to the State Fair. We fully intended on going on Monday with my parents, but I kept looking at the weather and Thursday’s forecast looked SO much better. If it ended up being too hot or stormy on Monday we wouldn’t have gone anyway, so it made more sense just to head over on Thursday. Plus Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson were going to be there that day, so we got to have a few hours with them which the boys were super pumped about.

We spent the first hour just sitting in this spot waiting for them, which in hindsight was a pretty bad idea. I didn’t want to get too far ahead of them in looking at stuff, but the idleness was pushing Shepard into a pretty cranky mood that lasted the entire day. I should have learned from last year when the fair was also off to a bad start because we spent way too much time trying to meet up with everyone. Though that was hard because everyone kept moving! Which is why we decided to stay put this year. At any rate, it was fine once we found each other!

We went to the WI Products building for our yearly bag of apple cider donuts. As usual Hudson has no idea who I am or why I’m taking a picture with him!

Shepard and I had grilled cheeses for our late morning breakfast. That’s all he ended up eating for the day. He was so cranky because he wanted me to buy him a Pikachu stuffed animal at one of their crappy toy booths and I refused because he doesn’t play with ANY toys, least of all stuffed animals! Plus Annie would have taken it and destroyed it in five seconds. Later he was throwing a fit because he wanted to go on the trampolines. And the last few hours he wouldn’t stop whining and crying because he wanted an expandable ball. He didn’t think he could live without any of those things.

Checking out the hot tubs! Hudson likes this one.

Normally the building with all the little booths is one of my favorite parts, but I knew it would just make Shepard want sooooo many more things. So we cut down the middle, which just happened to be the perfect spot because we got to try dip samples at like five different booths! Then we ended at the beef sticks. These were my favorite thing to get growing up and they’re Caden’s favorite now. I’ve never seen this Vienna beef stick in a store, though I did just figure out where to buy them online! Might be a birthday present this year. I’ll buy it the week between Caden’s and my birthday. πŸ™‚

I let them do the trampolines. They did outdoor jumping last year, so I guess this needs to be an annual thing.

We stopped in a little park area for awhile so Hudson could move around. He loved it!

One of the new fair foods Caden really wanted to try was flamin’ hot corn on the cob. I thought I did a very good job describing it to him ahead of time so he knew what he was getting into, but he didn’t even want to touch it when I put it in front of him. He eventually took a tiny bite, spit it all over the table, and cried for awhile. I spent $5 on it, so I took a bite – gross. Timmy reluctantly finished it off.

Trying to get Hudson to settle down for a nap because he was up early.

The new food I wanted to try were WI Hot Chicken Bombs. It was a combination of mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and corn rolled into a ball and deep fried. Then it was injected with gravy and coated with Nashville hot sauce. Unfortunately, I was not really a fan. I mostly ate one and gave the other to Timmy (he took over my dad’s job of eating everyone’s leftover food this year). I’m kind of bummed that this is the second or third year in a row of not finding any super delicious things to eat. I had other things on my list, but by the time I got this I was just tired of spending so much money on junky food and just plain wasn’t in the mood to hunt anything else out. Next year…

Normally we do animal buildings first, but it was our last stop this year. We all loved this super sweet and gentle goat that LOVED getting his face and neck scratched!

Around noon I hit 10,000 steps and my ankle was DONE. Four straight hours of walking was quite the accomplishment. Despite the cool weather forecast, it was also pretty hot in the blasting sun and crowds. I think it was a successful trip overall, though. Shepard was difficult, but he could have been worse. Caden was FANTASTIC. How often can I say that?! And it was fun to spend the morning with Hudson.

Fortunately, I was able to fit in an afternoon nap because I had more plans Thursday night. I went to see the Rachel Hollis documentaryΒ Made for More. It was playing as a special event movie in theaters all around the country. It was really great! Very motivational and empowering for women to watch. They added an additional showing on August 13th, and I highly recommend seeing it! Or at the very least, reading her book!!

I planned to spend Friday morning packing for the weekend, baking a bunch of things, and doing more research for our LaCrosse vacation. BUT the internet was down again. Greg was still home so he called Charter and it took the entire morning to fix. And because our modem and router are in the kitchen, I couldn’t do my internet stuff OR my kitchen stuff. It was obviously nobody’s fault, but it was a very stressful and frustrating half a day of not doing anything I planned on doing. I hate when that happens.

On Friday evening, we headed to Hayes Resort in Fox Lake, where Greg’s parents rented a cottage for the weekend.

The boys were a little anxious and not fans of the concept of RELAXATION, but it was a pretty perfect night of sitting out by the lake. Not too hot, very few bugs, and a nice peaceful breeze.

The property definitely could have used some upgrades. For example, this was “the beach.” Kind of hilarious. But it didn’t stop the kids from loving a big pile of sand either!

I had some problems walking around because the entire resort is on a steep hill. My ankle does not like hills! I was pretty sore Friday night, but I wore my brace on Saturday and it was a lot better. I just kept having visions of myself falling and re-hurting myself all over again, so I had to walk at a snail’s pace.

We had tacos for dinner and ate at a picnic table next to the cottage. Then Steve and Shepard built a fire next to the water and we had s’mores for dessert. It was really nice!

Despite how gross the water looked, they realllly wanted to go in. It’s always so funny when they wade into water and hold their shorts up.

I stayed until about 7:45 and then went home to be with Annie. I was hoping to just chillax having the house to myself – which NEVER EVER happens at night. But I ended up cleaning the bathroom, doing a bunch of dishes, sweeping all the floors, make peanut butter fudge, and then finally settled in to have a snack, read, do a sheet mask, and go to sleep about 10:45.

I was hoping to sleep in a bit, but that never happens. I did, however, lounge in bed and read for an hour which was great! Then I was running around trying to make scones and get everything prepped to head back to the cottage.

I dropped Annie off at my mom’s for the day so she could have some fun and then joined everyone. Greg’s aunt and uncle and cousin and her family were there too. Sometime overnight they managed to find a boat they could use. The boys loved it, but it was a lot of work for Greg!

It was a pretty hot day, but also very windy which balanced everything out – a bit. All the kids had a blast running around and playing. The adults had a little more chance to relax! We had a big lunch of brats and hot dogs, which the guys expertly cooked over the fire, corn on the cob, fruit and veggies, chips, and a variety of desserts.

Shepard and Trevor were kind of off in their own worlds, but Caden and Melody were having so much fun playing together! Caden is always so good with younger kids and babies.

Sitting on the docks while Shepard “fished,” Caden swam, and Melody kept running back and forth between them. It was making me too nervous so I didn’t stay long. πŸ™‚

No qualms about the green water after he got in the first time. Ick.

It was a really nice day! I’m wildly impressed with how organized Steve and Cindy were with so many full meals all prepped and ready, plus all the towels and toys and chairs and accessories. I’m sure it was super exhausting, but they never let it show! We all had a really good time. Greg and I went back home for the night, but the boys stayed with them last night too.

That’s it for the week! It was packed! But really fun too. The way summer is supposed to be, right?!

Sunday Intentions

This week I just intend to have more fun! Tomorrow is our only normal day of the week with Greg at work and me madly trying to make sure everything is ready to go. Because early Tuesday morning I’m heading out on my solo Minnesota vacation! I revolved the trip around going to a Colleen Hoover signing/presentation. But I’m planning on checking in at all my favorite stores, eating a lot of delicious food, driving by our old house and apartment, possibly stopping in at Panera to see if anyone I know still works there 10 years later, and basically just enjoying 2.5 days of being entirely by myself! It will be AMAZING.

On Thursday I’m driving back and meeting up with Greg and the boys in LaCrosse for two more nights of family vacation. I have yet to plan that one out, other than noting a few restaurants that looked good. So that’s on the agenda for this afternoon. There’s A LOT on today’s agenda and I still have this terrible headache. We’ll see how much gets done!

Have a good week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 07.22.2018

One more week of summer behind us. One week closer to school starting again. While this week wasn’t as emotionally destroying as last week, it was still very busy and kind of rough. My kids sure know how to push my buttons to wear me down. Overall, they’ve actually been behaving pretty well. But they need SO MUCH direction and corralling and negotiating and it just sucks the life right out of me. Especially since the worst of it happens before seven in the morning. I am DESPERATELY missing my alone time, missing my quiet mornings, missing having any semblance of control over my life without having to argue and plead and beg to make things happen. It’s EXHAUSTING. I don’t want to wish away the rest of summer because I feel like we haven’t even done any of the things I wanted to do yet. But I’m also pretty dang tired and the appeal of fall and new starts and having seven blessed hours to myself again is getting stronger every day.

Anyway, I will start my reflections with last Saturday, since I last wrote on Friday. It was a good day! My mom took the boys and brought them to Shepard’s friend’s birthday party at the pool. Timmy, Brittany, and Hudson met them there and they swam together. Meanwhile, Greg and I went to Milwaukee for his cousin Corrin’s wedding.

The wedding was at the Milwaukee Public Museum. It was really hot out, so they advised that we stay inside the lobby until right before the ceremony started. All the chairs were set out in a little tree filled courtyard that was really cute. The ceremony lasted about five minutes – or less, but hey, I’ll take it!!

There was a lot of down time in between the ceremony and dinner, so Greg’s uncle brought us over to the hotel where most of them were spending the night. We hung out with a lot of the family in their room and then went back to the reception at the museum. It was pretty cool because we had the whole museum to ourselves! There were tables set up in the old Milwaukee portion of the museum and food stations with a variety of unique dining options. It was definitely the most unique weddings I’ve ever been to.

I especially enjoyed the mini desserts! Overall, it was just a really great night. Possibly one of the only drama free weddings I’ve ever attended. πŸ™‚ I was originally bummed that kids were not allowed because the boys LOVE wedding receptions, but it ended up being great to have an adults only evening. We don’t get many of those!

On Sunday I decided to check out the Columbus farmers market and bought a giant pretzel and a package of bacon. Greg wasn’t feeling the greatest, which was unfortunate. We had our annual CDW paid for Mallard’s tickets, the game each summer where we get to sit in the TDS seats which include unlimited food. We take my parents every year as a Father’s Day present. Sadly, it was just SO HOT, nobody could enjoy it at all. Greg didn’t even watch any part of the game. He was walking around with the boys. I think we left in the third inning. It was disappointing because I usually have so much fun at this game each year. The weather just made it miserable, though.

Back at home we had a very low key afternoon, trying to cool off. I heated up and added salt and butter to the pretzel I bought in the morning. It was delicious! And it came with four different dips, which was awesome. I really wanted to go to this Ping Pong Float thing that was happening at the pool at 6:00. I planned on just bringing the boys because Greg still wasn’t feeling the best. But of course, 5:30 rolls around and the boys say they don’t want to go. I tried to explain how fun it would be and all the prizes they could win. Nope, didn’t want to go. My theory is that they didn’t want to go because I’M the one that did. I decided not to push it and just went about my work. At 6:20 they came running up to me begging to go to the pool. No! I was so angry! They just want the power and control over everything and I’m so tired of it.

On Monday morning I had that appointment with the podiatrist to check on my toe. She looked at it and said that it no longer looked infected, but if I want a better chance of it never happening again, she’d be happy to cut off half my toenail. I was like uh…no? It really felt like at this point it would be making the problem so much worse. The whole appointment was pretty bizarre and we left it with me saying I’d call her if I change my mind. I don’t think I’m going to change my mind, especially after googling exactly what a toenail procedure might look like…

Anyway, I’ve been trying to come up with healthier things to feed everyone during the day. So we stopped at the store for a few ingredients and I made my first green smoothies for lunch. I used spinach, pineapple, banana, and cantaloupe. They weren’t terrible! But I probably should have used some ice since none of those ingredients were particularly cold to begin with. I prepped a bunch of other smoothie bags for the freezer that I fully intended on using every day. I have yet to make a second batch.

Of course I counteracted my smoothies by making a twix pie to go with dinner. Anyway, most of Monday just turned out to be pretty stressful. I’m worn down by kids always around and ALWAYS needing things from me. I’m stressed out that I’m not getting any of my actual work done because other things constantly need my attention. I was also angry because when I told the boys about the plans for Tuesday morning – which were written very clearly on my big weekly calendar on the fridge to avoid these things happening – they both FREAKED OUT because they had a Minecraft date set up with their friends. I’m glad they’re having so much fun with their friends this summer, I really am. It does make my life easier, overall. But I feel like I’ve lost all control. I can’t plan anything without them feeling like it’s a huge conflict with their own plans. This kind of stuff wasn’t supposed to be happening yet when they’re only 9 and 7! We can’t even go on our morning walk with Annie without them constantly telling me we have to be back at a certain time. THEY ARE NOT IN CONTROL. And yet, they are.

Despite the freaking out, Tuesday morning went pretty smoothly. We left very early and went to Yahara Heights Dog Park in Waunakee. It was so beautiful! All the Dane County dog parks seem to be amazing! I so wish we didn’t have to drive 30-60 minutes to get to all of them. It’s basically a full morning commitment anytime we want to go to one.

We picked this out because it had water access, but it ended up being pretty scary for Annie. Up until now she’s only been in water twice and that was when it had a beach type opening. This one had huge rocks along the edges with a dock going into the water. Most of the dogs were just jumping off the dock. There was a ramp at the edge of the dock going into the water and Annie eventually walked on it and started swimming. And then she realized she didn’t know how to get back to shore or back to the ramp. She was pretty much drowning and flopping around going underwater while she was trying to figure out how to get back up to the dock. I had to reach down into the water and pull her in. The whole thing only lasted a few seconds, but it was pretty traumatic!

She got over it pretty quickly and started doing her crazy mode running through the long prairie fields and then started rolling around like crazy in the long wet grass. It was hilarious!

Tuesday was also Prime Day, so I spent most of the afternoon just wasting time online looking for details. It was also release day for the latest Colleen Hoover book. She’s my favorite author – the reason I’m going to MN next month so I can see her at a book signing for this book.

Caden had another therapy session on Tuesday afternoon. I’d say it went pretty well this time. Well, he spent the majority of the time talking to Caden at least. I like when that happens.

The only big event on Wednesday is that we took Annie to a new groomer that just opened up in Fall River. This is only Annie’s second grooming experience, but she desperately needed it. Her long hair gets SO matted around her legs and ears. She won’t let me cut them out myself, so grooming is necessary. I think it went really well! She looks all cleaned up now.

Thursday was just a busy day of doing all kinds of odds and ends. It was our at home date night, but also my craft night, so the date portion was pretty short! I made this BLT salad for dinner which was pretty delish. Then three of my friends came over for the night and we worked on our crafts!

Friday, more work. I had a custom order for a dark brown skinned Annie. I posted this picture on my Heartstring Annie page and people went nuts over her. I made two others to list on etsy, but so far no takers. Sales have really been down the last few weeks, which is frustrating. Especially after how well I did last month.

On Saturday we decided to go on another dog park adventure since the weather was beautiful and we didn’t have any other plans for the day. Annie spent most of the drive on a kids’ lap. Our next vehicle really needs to be a bit bigger! πŸ™‚

This sitting position was really funny until she opened the window with her paw and almost fell out the window on the beltline, which she surely would not have survived!! Fortunately I happened to be looking behind me and was able to grab her and shove her back in the vehicle! Annie is sure having a death-defying week!

This time we went to Lake Farm County Dog Park in Madison. Again – beautiful!

I really liked this one with its rolling hills, fields of wildflowers, and sand paved walking trails. It was a pretty quick and easy drive compared to some of the other parks we’ve been to, so I’ll definitely be back. I can’t wait until fall when I can take Annie on my own and we can stay as long as we want without any child whining! Plus the cooler weather and colored leaves – it’ll be amazing.

I spent the rest of the day working. I’m not doing so well on my no working on nights or weekend rule. It’s just so hard to get things done during the weekdays. So…whatever. I’ll do what I need to do, when I need to do it! I loved how these rainbow girls turned out. It’s another new pattern I made myself. So far no buyers either, though. πŸ™

Anyway, that was the week! Still a lot of emotions over the whole Hudson moving away thing. But…it’s happening and there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m sick of rehashing it over and over. I’m still very sad about the entire thing, especially with how everything happened. But, probably not appropriate to go too much into it on this public space, so I’ll leave it at that! We’re very sad.

This Week

Well, I thought the last few weeks were busy, but this next week is insane! This whole month just blows my mind. I realize MANY people are a whole lot busier than we are and that’s just their life and it’s fine. But we actively try to basically never have things on the calendar, committing to nothing lol. So to have something going on almost every day of the month feels crazy. I’m actually quite proud of how well I’m handling it! It’s good to stay busy right now, otherwise the days feel way too long.

Starting with today, my sister-in-law Sarah is in town and we’re having dinner with her and Greg’s parents in a bit. On Monday morning we’re going to hang out with my mom, Timmy, and Hudson for maybe our last time before they move. πŸ™ On Monday night I’m going to see the newΒ Mamma Mia movie with an acquaintance I’ve never hung out with before. She always seems open to doing girls night type things, so maybe this is the start of a friendship. On Tuesday night we’re picking Greg’s other sister Melissa up at the Amtrak and going to dinner somewhere. On Wednesday I’m planning to run errands in the morning and in the evening Greg is doing something with his family and I’ll be on my own with the boys. On Thursday the peach/blueberry truck comes again and I’m stocking up on blueberries. In the evening, if the weather is good, we’re going to this Summer Bodega festival in Madison. And on Friday, my best friend Dianne is flying in, so I’m picking her up at the airport and we’re having a night out before I bring her to her dad’s. Busy busy!! But it should be a lot of fun too. No annoying appointments this week! Just fun stuff, day after day.

My only intention for the week is to enjoy everything and not lose my cool, thinking about all the stuff I’m not getting done while I’m enjoying family and friend time. I hope to get a little bit of work done, but I’m not going to stress about it. I even let my customers know today that I’m no longer taking custom orders. It’s frustrating and insulting that after every time I list new dolls, I have a handful of people messaging me, asking me to make something very similar to what I just made, but smaller, cheaper, or very slightly different. It makes me angry and I’m refusing to deal with it anymore. At least in the next few months. I feel much lighter because of it!

Anyway, I think that’s it for now. Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions 07.08.2018

Summer is officially here now that summer school is over and I’m back to full time parenting for the next two months. I’m terrified! In some ways it gets easier the older my kids are. In many ways it gets a whole lot harder. If they have friends available to play, they’re happy and content to find things to do on their own. If nobody is around, they whine and argue and have a million reasons why they shouldn’t do any of the things I suggest or ask of them. It makes for some extremely long and trying days.

I think the only way to combat all the problems I see arising in my immediate future is to make lists. Many, many lists. That is my main intention for the week. First, I need to make a list of all the ways they can get a check mark to earn video game time (ten checks = one hour of game time). We’ve been doing this system for a few months now and it seems to work pretty well – except they NEVER want to do actual work. They only want to get the easy checkmarks. And they still ask us eight million times a day what they can do to earn a check – usually by 6am when it is the last thing in the world I feel like dealing with (I HATE starting every day with this question). Especially because they want to argue about or flat out refuse every single thing we suggest. So I’m going to make a list. They ask me, I say look at the list. No arguing, no negotiating, hopefully no more asking me over and over and over again.

I also want to work with the boys on a list of things they’d like to do before school starts. I usually aim for 1-2 day trips a week to different parks, festivals, restaurants, etc. The problem I see with that this year is that they never really want to go anywhere or do anything. Thinking up the list might be harder than it’s be in the past. But maybe they’ll surprise me. Or maybe they’ll reinforce the idea that they really just want to stay in town and do things with their friends. And if that’s the case, I’ll try to respect that choice and try to make more playdates happen, even though arranging them always stresses me out.

I definitely want to make a list of new dog parks to check out in the Madison area. I’d really like to go to one once a week. If I have a solid list of the top ten or so that look intriguing, it’ll make actually going out in the future so much easier.

And finally, I want to make a list of events or things that I want to do to make ME happy. I see so many events on facebook that look interesting, but almost never actually go to anything. Part of the reason is that I just never know who to ask to go with me, and it’s kind of depressing going to everything alone. While I do value my alone time – especially in summer when I never seem to get it – it still kind of sucks going craft fairs and movies and things like that by myself. Experience has told me that my friends never really want to do things in the evenings and it’s given me a bit of a complex, trying to avoid any more rejections because I’m way too sensitive and upset by them. But, whether I do them alone or not, I want a list of things I WILL do. I think I’ll be a lot happier if I have special events on the calendar that I can look forward to every week or two. I find it really easy to get depressed in summer. Much more so than in winter, which is maybe odd. But I think I’ll feel a lot more cheerful if I’m actively making plans to get out of the house for something FUN.

Anyway, looking to our week ahead – I was hoping to kind of ease into this whole new summer routine, but it’s actually a pretty busy week. I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday morning to check out a toe I’ve been having a problem with for over two months. On Tuesday I’m getting a haircut. On Wednesday I have x-rays and an appointment with the surgeon (hopefully the last one) to make sure everything is still looking healed and on track. On Thursday Caden has a playdate over at a friend’s house. And on Saturday the boys and Annie are having a sleepover at Grandma’s while Greg and I go to his cousin’s wedding. And on Sunday we’re going to a Mallard’s game and maybe to a pool event in the evening. Granted it’s just one thing a day Monday-Wednesday, but one thing a day dragging kids along can be exhausting! Especially when we need to also work in a half day to run errands, and hopefully a day to go to a dog park too. All while still trying to put in at least a couple of hours a day working. It’ll all get done and it’s probably actually good we have places to be almost every day. I’m just a bit nervous about everything. But the lists will help!

Once again, I’m not yet prepared to share a meal plan! Though I am planning to have jalapeno popper chicken tomorrow night. And potatoes, I think. And maybe some sort of peach pie/tart/crisp to use up the rest of the peaches. The rest of the week – who knows! πŸ™‚

Sunday Intentions 07.01.2018

I think this might be the most boring Sunday Intentions post I’ll ever write. I’ve really got nothing, guys. I feel LOUSY this weekend. Very much like I did last Sunday, but for different reasons. I caught some sort of cold/cough thing from the boys a few days ago and the coughing part has been rough. I ended up not going to the Mallard’s game last night because I was hacking so much and could barely sit up and thought I just might die feeling like that AND going into a crowd of tightly packed people on a 100+ degree day. The coughing has greatly subsided today, but my body feels completely out of whack. Almost like a flu. But without the fever. At least I think without a fever, I haven’t checked. Anyway, I’ve really done nothing today but read and take short naps. It stinks. I wanted to get so much done on this rare summer Sunday without any plans. But…it’s not happening.

Anyway! It’s July. It’s the last week of summer school, which I have very mixed feelings about. It’ll be nice not to have to get everyone rallied and ready by a certain time every morning. And it’ll be fun to start going on more day trips and dog park adventures. But I really don’t think the boys are going to handle so much unstructured time very well. I’m anticipating twelve hours a day of begging, whining, and negotiating for all their various screen time desires. They definitely know how to wear me down to the point of giving in because I’m just so exasperated and exhausted by it all. I’m hoping I can still work at least a few hours a day, but the days can get pretty unpredictable. But I guess I can stress out and talk about this next week.

This week should be good. 4th of July on Wednesday. We don’t have any solid plans yet, but plenty of options. I always like to watch at least part of the gigantic Columbus parade. It’s just always so hot! Why don’t they have the parade start in the morning instead of noon?? One of Caden’s friends is having a big bash at their house, so we might stop by there in the afternoon. And presumably we’ll walk to the park to watch the fireworks at night. With my ankle and the heat I’m not really in the mood to make solid plans yet. Summer weather makes me grumpy. So does having an ankle that never seems like it’s going to fully heal.

I guess the most exciting news this week is that Hudson turns ONE on Friday!! It was a fast year! I’m very excited to see him at his birthday party next Sunday. Love that little guy so much!

My main intention for the week is to just survive it! πŸ™‚ Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling a whole lot better than I did today. I originally planned on running some errands on Thursday night, then Friday night, then Saturday morning, then at any point today – and it didn’t happen. And each day I think of more stores and more things I need to pick up, so tomorrow is going to be full blown errand running as quickly as possible while the boys are at school. The rest of the days I hope to get a lot of work in. Or if I don’t feel like working – revel in my last few mornings to myself before two months of kid filled chaos.

And that’s about it. Happy 4th of July!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 06.24.2018

We’re halfway done with summer school and almost done with June, and I finally feel like I’ve got a little bit better of a grip on summer life. I tried to be really in tune this week to what I needed and made it happen. I took the days a little slower, didn’t push myself so hard – at least not every day – and enjoyed everything a bit more. I hope to get better at this in the next few months, fully taking advantage of this short season of life before schedules get rigid and hectic again come September.

On Monday I had an early dentist appointment and ran a few errands. It was raining (most of the week, actually), and I was exhausted, and I was finally able to take an afternoon nap while the boys did some gaming. It was weird to take an entire day off of work. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, which was a bit disconcerting, but also a nice change from the frantic stress I usually feel every day.

Tuesday was pretty slow too. I’ve been trying to start my days by reading instead of working. It’s so hard to get past that NEED to be productive the second I’m out of bed. But I feel so much happier and more calm when I slowly ease into the morning instead. The only other thing of note that happened Tuesday is I walked to the library! Exciting stuff this week, guys. πŸ™‚

On Wednesday, I was in the mood for a little fun! I stopped in the morning at a grocery store to buy a bunch of produce. Then I went to the Pardeeville Antique Mall and found all these goodies for my dolls. I haven’t been there since last fall, so it was fun to poke around. I haven’t been feeling super inspired with new ideas lately, and finding fun accessories always sparks my imagination.

On the way home I stopped at Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe for the first time. I was way too excited to go into a big meat market filled with pre-marinated meats and new flavors of things we love. We haven’t tried any of it yet, but hopefully this will be a new source for meal inspiration!

I then spent the entire afternoon cutting up produce. Literally. I wish the pre-cut stuff wasn’t so expensive! My reward for all my hard work was a big batch of mango salsa, which was DELISH. Also – have you had honey mangoes? I’ve never bought them because they look smaller than normal ones and if I’m already going to the work of cutting mangoes I want the biggest value! But honey mangoes were on sale too and Caden and I LOVE mangoes and oh my goodness, these were amazing! The sale is on for a few more days, so I’m planning to go stock up on a bunch more tomorrow.

Wednesday was also another pretty lame at home date night. I made bourbon chicken and we took Annie to the dog park. I think it’s about time we have another real date one of these days. It’s already been a month since our anniversary!

Thursday was a BIG work day. I had a Craft Night planned, so I needed to get my dolls to a certain point (stained and dried) before the craft night started, so I’d have something to work on that didn’t take up the entire table. I thought I’d reach that point by like 11am, but I was still madly rushing to finish at 4. I was stressed out and mad at myself for not planning better. I kept thinking I should just work on a different FUN project in the evening. I used to have those! Embroidery and mohair animals that take up minimal space and give me a break from doll making. But…I wanted to finish the dolls. Anyway, Laura is the only one who came to the craft night, which was just fine! We had a good time catching up while getting a little bit of work done!

I finished dolls up on Friday morning and after school we went over to my mom’s house to help her babysit Hudson. Except the boys were in awful moods and I’m sure we just made the afternoon a lot more exhausting to her!

We only stayed a few hours and then went home.

Still trying to have some positive and memorable interactions, I had a farmer’s market date planned with Caden. But then despite the fact that he was fully ready to go at 6:30 on Saturday morning, he refused to walk out the door. So after an exasperating five minutes of pleading, I left with Shepard. Again.

It was a good morning for the market! The weather was great after raining all week and it wasn’t that busy yet. Shepard was LOVING all the samples, especially cheese. Which was funny because he’s not really much of a cheese eater. But samples are samples, right?! He picked a giant cinnamon roll for his breakfast again and we got another one for Greg and a donut for Caden. I had my delicious morning bun, which I saved for today. And cranberry walnut bread, which is my all time favorite. We splurged on those homemade crackers which are AMAZING but so expensive. Shepard thinks we’re sharing them, but I hid them away to eat with brie because he can’t appreciate how good they really are. πŸ™‚ We also got radishes, cilantro, and two kinds of that bread/fry cheese. Shepard was so obsessed with it!

Saturday turned out to be a lot crazier than I was expecting! If I knew we were going to be so busy, I wouldn’t have gone to the market. But it was all a lot of fun! Around noon Timmy and Hudson came over for a pizza lunch and then we went to the pool. Hudson wasn’t much of a fan, so I spent most of the time sitting with him and observing the swimmers while he downed a ton of goldfish crackers. The guys all got to do some real swimming then.

We went back to my parents’ after swimming for an impromptu cookout and campfire. It was a little chaotic, but a fun evening!

My mom found the first doll I ever made when I was around eight years old! A few years ago when they were thinking about moving and we were looking through our old things, I was trying to find this doll. I didn’t, so I assumed she was gone forever. Nope!

I was finding great amusement in watching Hudson try to feed himself sweet potatoes while the dogs swarmed around trying to get a taste!

Finishing the night with s’mores around the campfire.

Annie was trying to get into more things than Hudson, so it was kind of an exhausting day! I’m pretty beat today! Between keeping Annie from jumping fences and eating food off tables and stepping on Hudson, carrying Hudson around a lot, being outside most of the day during the worst of allergy season, walking on uneven surfaces all day without my brace on, and just plain not getting enough sleep – I am pretty much dead today. But I think it was worth it! πŸ™‚

Sunday Intentions

It’s a pretty quiet week again – thank goodness! The only real thing on the calendar is another therapy session for Caden. I can’t believe it’s already been a month since the last one! The peach and blueberry truck comes on Thursday, so I’m looking forward to getting more fresh produce. They have the best fruit! And Greg took a random vacation day on Friday, so I’m hoping we can maybe have a morning movie date while the boys are summer school. And Saturday we’re going to a Mallard’s game with Greg’s parents.

My intention for this week is to keep being aware of what my body and mind actually need, instead of just pushing to keep checking things off my to do lists. I’d like to walk a little further each morning with Annie. My orthotics have really been helping keep the plantar fasciitis pain at bay, so I think it’s time to challenge myself a little bit more. But also take rest days when I need it. Like today, when I’m swollen for the first time in weeks. πŸ™ I want to start a fresh batch of dolls, but also not freak out about getting to a certain point every day. I think the best way to keep myself in check is to stop letting myself work in the evenings. I rarely do these days, but I know from experience how much better life goes if I insist on giving myself actual work hours with a real stopping time. So, 1:00 when the boys get home, or 4:00ish when I need to start dinner, if they’re off with their friends in the afternoons.

Well, I think I need to end this post. I’m just feeling SO fuzzy and out of it today. I need a reading break! And maybe a nap. πŸ™‚

Late Weekend Reflections 06.18.2018: Summer School, Alice in Wonderland, and Father’s Day

I’ve been struggling with what to say about this past week. It wasn’t an easy week. I felt very overwhelmed, stressed, completely wiped out, overworked, irritable, and angry. There is really nothing to blame for any of it, except that it was a busy week. The busiest I’ve had since I broke my ankle. It also felt like the first week in almost four months that I suddenly had to take back over all my original responsibilities. Walking the boys to school, walking Annie, taking Annie to the dog park, actually taking her outside to go potty because she refuses to go for the boys anymore, running errands four of the five days of the week, driving the boys places, picking them up, packing not one, but two meals a day for them, while also still making them breakfast and a late dinner and snacks in between. It was just a lot. While I was also working from 5am to 9pm with my only “breaks” being everything listed above. I was mad at myself for my workaholic tendencies that I just can’t seem to shake, while also wanting to lash out and blame the all the circumstances around me that make me feel like I NEED to work and cook and clean and do laundry every single waking minute of my life. This isn’t how I want to live. But it was a mindset I just couldn’t seem to get rid of last week.

At any rate, there were definitely a lot of high points to the week. The boys started summer school on Monday morning. Even though they had a lot of moaning and groaning about it, they ended up really like their classes. Even the running club that Caden was so mad about doing! He was actually pretty angry the alternating days this week where they did stretches and indoor activities instead of running outside. They’re both taking a class called Maker Space where they just create things out of everyday objects that has turned out to be both of their favorites. They’re still not thrilled about needing to go to school in the summer, but it definitely helps that they each like all four of their classes. And they have a meeting spot so they can sit together at lunch! It was pretty cute listening to them work out those details on the walk Monday morning.

On Monday afternoon the boys had their first play practice! It was three hours long and they learned the rules, had auditions, learned their parts, and started practicing! I ended up staying the whole time because I was waiting in great anticipation to see who was assigned which parts! The whole audition process was pretty crazy. Though after watching the play on Saturday I think they cast everyone perfectly. It was kind of amazing. Caden got the roll of Cook and Shepard was part of a very long caterpillar where they stuck all the youngest kids they didn’t know what else to do with. Shepard, who was most worried about the play, ended up really enjoying it. Caden wasn’t very happy with all the boring parts, but I think he enjoyed actually putting the play on in the end.

Tuesday was a big day because it’s the first time I took Annie for a walk since my broken ankle! I was a little nervous, but it went pretty well. I walked her every morning after that too. It feels good to get out with her, but also – painful. I have plantar fasciitis back in full force on my right foot. Something I suffer from every summer with the extra walks I do – though it tends to alternate which foot and never both at the same time. But one is painful enough to make walking kind of miserable. πŸ™ I’m supposed to be walking more to keep strengthening my ankle, but now it’s at the expense of my foot which is supposed to be rested when it gets this bad. I tried to compromise by only walking in the morning and having the boys come home on their own after school. I ordered some new orthotics and a special ice wrap for my foot to use during down time, so hopefully I’ll find some relief.

I’ve spared you guys the sight of my ankle/leg until now, but here’s how the scar is progressing. The shorter one on the inner part of my ankle looks the same. It’s quite the battle wound! Anyway, I’m showing it off because on Tuesday, at the end of my physical therapy session, the therapist told me I’m done! I was supposed to go a couple more weeks, but I’ve hit all my goals. In the previous week I started doing all those final things that I’ve been putting off – walking the boys to school, walking Annie, etc. I still need to work on strengthening exercises at home, but there wasn’t really anything else they could show me. I was really happy! Therapy was always fine once I got there, but I still hated having that on my schedule every week. Now I am free! Well, I have one more appointment with the surgeon next month, but after that I will hopefully be done with this. At least in an appointment sense! I heard it takes at least a solid year to be totally back to normal. πŸ™

On Wednesday I was already feeling the mental effects of doing too much, so rather than sit at home surrounded by my work, I decided to get out of the house to celebrate the end of physical therapy. I ran a few necessary errands and then got MOD for lunch, mostly so I could also buy a gift card for one of Greg’s Father’s Day gifts.

For fun, I meandered around Half Priced Books hunting down deals. I recently finished the bookΒ Life From Scratch and it reminded me how much I LOVE food memoirs. I’ve realized this year how much I love memoirs in general, but I particularly love ones that revolve around food. Food is such an integral part of every single person’s life and it’s fascinating to learn how many ways it touches people and influences their story. Half Priced Books turned out to be a great place for food writing books. I also picked upΒ Off the Clock from amazon to try and get myself better focused both on and off the clock to live a more meaningful life!

Thursday and Friday were more work days. It somehow always turns out that I’m racing against the clock trying to finish dolls while I still have enough natural light to take a good photo. I get frustrated on those days when I have to work at a faster pace than I’d like, rushing the final touches that make the dolls most unique and special. It made me extra crabby. I ended every night just feeling depleted. Even though the boys were out of the house for most of the day all five days of the week, I was just SO run down at the end of every night. And I hated it. I don’t want my summer to continue in this manner.

Saturday was the big day with two performances ofΒ Alice in Wonderland!Β I honestly had my doubts about how good this show would be after only a week to learn everything. But it was great! The kids did amazing! And everyone was so perfectly cast to fit their roles.

I had wanted to pick them up early on Friday to try and get a glimpse of how things were going, but I was too busy madly trying to get dolls listed before they were done. I’m glad I wasn’t spoiled for the show in the end. It really blew me away how great everyone did! Shepard made the most adorable little caterpillar.

Caden actually had a bigger part than I thought, with this trio doing a bunch of singing and dancing and a little comedy routine. He did great each show, but the second one he was SO into it. I loved watching them!

As of right now, they’re not interested in ever doing this again, but I think it was a good experience for them. And really fun for the family to come watch since the boys never really participate in any extracurricular activities. I’m a strong believer in letting kids be kids and not forcing them into things they don’t want to do. But for just a week of their time they got to learn new skills, make new friends, and ultimately really did have fun during the performances. I was very proud of them!

To celebrate, we went to Culver’s for dinner after the show with the family. Fun times!

Oh, so before the show on Saturday, I spent hours working on this crepe cake for Father’s Day. I wanted to make something fancy that I’d never make for just the four of us. Crepe cakes have been on my mind since I saw one on a blog I like a few months ago. That recipe looked a bit too futzy, so I went with this one instead, knowing Greg really likes dark chocolate and raspberries. It took me six tries with two different pans and two different types of spatulas before I even made one successful crepe. But once I got the hang of it it was pretty easy, just took forever. I let them cool, made the raspberry cream, and then stacked them all up into this beautiful creation!

I put it in the fridge and checked on it five minutes later finding this. Devastating!!! I tried to slide it back together, but nothing was cooperating. I ended up taking it out in sections and piling it into a springform pan, with paper plates around the edges trying to hold it into a shape. My hands, arms, and the entire counter and fridge were covered in cream. It didn’t help that it was crazy hot and humid that day. Maybe I should have frozen the crepes for an hour or something to make them cooler. Or not put so much cream between the layers. Or just stopped at 10 layers instead of going to 20. I read so many different crepe cake recipes before landing on this one, and was so sure it would be easy to do. Nope! I was pretty upset about the whole thing. But also determined not to let it, and my entire morning that I really should have spent resting, go to waste.

I’m sure the troubleshooting of this cake is of no interest to anyone except me, but I take my dessert making VERY seriously. I spent the whole night agonizing over what I could do to fix it. A ganache covering seemed to be my only option. Except I didn’t have any more whipping cream and couldn’t stand the thought of going to a grocery store for like the sixth time in a week. So I googled it and found a very successful way to make ganache with good chocolate, butter, and milk. It worked perfectly! I re-layered the cake, cut around the edges that were still lopsided, topped with ganache, topped that with slivered dark chocolate, topped that with fresh raspberries, and garnished with a few chocolate mint leaves from Shepard’s herb garden. As good as it could get!

Moving on. πŸ™‚ It was Father’s Day! Greg said we could wake him up with breakfast in bed at eight, so I made some freezer cinnamon rolls. We went up and left him alone with his food, waiting downstairs another stressful hour and a half before he got up. In the future, I hope if he wants to actually stay in bed until 9:30 he just says that from the get go, so I don’t have to deal with two boys freaking out for that long about wanting Daddy to get downstairs NOW. Hint, hint, Greg. It wasn’t the best start to the day.

Greg always complains that we give him too many presents. So we tricked him this year thinking he just got one gift. Until he opened it and found like 30 individually wrapped small gifts. Like it or not, I think he deserved to be a bit spoiled!

Mostly a lot of treats and snacks, with a few restaurant and movie gift cards thrown in. And a few garden tools he specifically asked for.

The guys settled in for a morning of video game playing while I kept working on the cake and made some jumbo cookies as a backup dessert. We had an easy lunch of frozen chicken strips and fries.

We went to the pool right when it opened and stayed for a few hours. It was packed because of the awful heat, but the water felt great! It was my first time there this year. I was a little nervous about my ankle, but no slipping occurred. My only slight hiccup was climbing the ladder to get out of the pool. It was an awkward position for my foot to take my full weight and not something I’m looking forward to doing again soon. But I’m glad I went along this time because it was fun! They all had ice cream cookie sandwiches for a treat before we left.

Back at home, I really couldn’t stay awake any longer. This week – whew! I ended up taking a two hour nap! I woke up just minutes before Greg’s parents came over for our celebration with them.

The boys were soooo hyped up.

It was a pretty low key evening of video games, ordering pizza, opening gifts, and eating cake. And for the record – Caden and I thought the cake was great. Greg and Shepard did not like it. I think it was a texture thing. I’ve never made crepes before, but I do occasionally make dutch babies which have a similar eggy texture and Caden and I are the only ones who like those too. I should have realized. Oh well – they had cookies.

Anyway, I think it was a pretty nice Father’s Day! It was really nice to have a slower paced day after the crazy week we all had. Everyone was in good spirits and enjoyed each other’s company. I think it was the kind of day Greg likes best, so I’m glad he was able to have it. He’s a pretty awesome dad. Seriously the best I could ever ask for as the father to my children! He had a wonderful example in his own dad and I’m so happy to have them both in my life. My own dad refused to celebrate Father’s Day, but we are going over there next weekend for a cookout to slyly celebrate in a different way.

New Week Intentions

And that brings me to this week! All I know is that I don’t want to spend the rest of the summer feeling the way I felt last week. I want to be rested. I want to be happy. I want to feel totally okay with taking a day off of work. I should be a mom foremost during these months. I also need to keep putting my health and healing as a priority above all else. I want to find a balance between getting the minimum done – laundry, basic decluttering, putting relatively healthy meals on the table – and actually just sitting back and enjoying life – reading, writing, going to dog parks, laughing with my kids. I’ve been on a bit of an errand running high after so many months of not having that option. It’s also hard to convince myself it’s not worth going when I know in three weeks the boys will be with me all the time and going then won’t be an option – again! BUT I should be reveling in my time alone AT HOME too. At least more often than I did last week!

Our actual schedule is pretty light this week. I had a dentist appointment this morning and picked up a few groceries before coming home. I’m guessing I might need a few more things later in the week, but I really want to focus on being at home as often as possible. On Thursday I’m having my monthly craft night, which will be fun. And besides that? Just summer school!

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

Sunday Intentions 06.10.2018

Hello! It’s been another eternally long lasting Sunday. It’s cold and rainy, so the pool plans for the day didn’t happen. I’ve been alternating between working and reading and cleaning, and the day is still lasting forever. I finished up this gigantic book doll earlier that I originally planned to keep for myself. It matches my living room and book area perfectly. But then I hesitantly listed her, thinking if she didn’t sell in the first few days I’d still keep her. But, about a minute after listing, she was gone! Oh well. It’s good to feel validated. She’s all packed up and ready to fly to Hawaii tomorrow. This is actually the fourth dollΒ this week going to a new customer in Hawaii! I forgot to mention this yesterday, but this week I also celebrated selling my 1000th doll through Etsy. I’m guessing I’ve made at least 200 more than that for gifts, craft fairs, and non-etsy sales. It’s crazy to think how many of my creations are floating around in other people’s homes!

Anyway! We’re back to business tomorrow. It’s our heaviest scheduled week of the summer. The boys start summer school from 8:30-1:00 every day for the next four weeks. This is the first year they’re doing a four week session instead of the usual three. I’m not so sure how I feel about it. Three weeks in a row, five days a week, kind of felt like long enough. Then again, after how bored and whiny they’ve been today with their friends unavailable to play, I guess it’s better to keep them out of the house and busy as long as possible!

They are also doing a theater camp type thing, working on a production ofΒ Alice in Wonderland. I really don’t know anything about it, though a friend vouched for how much fun her daughter had doing it last year. I feel like Caden would be really good at acting. He certainly has a lot of big emotions and knows how to bring on the drama! And I signed Shepard up for the experience. He’s quite the ham around people he knows, but he really clams up in front of an audience. I’m curious to see how this goes for him with a lot of strangers, but also Caden and Leverett and some of his friends from school also participating. Anyway, it’s only a week long, but pretty intense! They have auditions, are assigned parts, and start right in on rehearsals tomorrow. They have three hour rehearsals every night and on Saturday they put on two performances. I can’t wait to see what parts they get and how it goes! Though I’m sure I’ll also be dealing with a massive amount of whining and complaining about both things.

Other than a physical therapy appointment, those are the only things on the calendar this week. And considering they take up the majority of the day, every day, I’m okay with that! My biggest challenge is going to be figuring out when to feed them! I’m expecting they’ll be hungry after summer school, not eating much of the food at school. They get a snack break at rehearsals, but I probably shouldn’t pack a full meal, even though it’s over our usual dinnertime. It might be the week for convenience foods. I’m not really planning any big meals since everyone’s schedules will be so off. It’ll work out, somehow.

I’m a little apprehensive about getting back into a routine where I actually need to be showered, dressed, and ready to go every single morning. After over three months of not being on that schedule, it might be tough! I’m always up really early, but timing when I can use the bathroom and getting myself ready in between getting the boys ready is always a bit tricky. I’m hoping I can walk well enough to at least walk them TO school every day. With Annie. Getting us both a bit of exercise before the afternoon heat creeps in. And then I’ll either walk or drive to get them afterward, depending on how I feel. With the exception of all my running around yesterday, I actually think I’ve been doing really well! I have almost no pain, unless I’m up for hours on end. Most days I’m barely even limping! Tomorrow marks 15 weeks from my fall, and it’s amazing how much has changed since then. Granted it was a really long 15 weeks. But I think I’m actually healing faster than most, so I shouldn’t complain.

So my main intention for the week is basically just survival. Getting back into the swing of actually taking responsibility for my children’s transportation to and from multiple activities a day, plus figuring out how to feed them well enough in between everything! While they’re busy at their activities, I’m hoping to work like crazy! I want to be able to slow down a bit in July and August, but I should take advantage of my alone time to get a lot of dolls made while I can. I’ve been on quite a roll this last month and I don’t want to break it! I’m ready to start a fresh batch tomorrow and I’m thinking of doing another pattern that I create myself. It will hopefully be a very productive week.

Sunday Intentions 05.27.2018

Ready or not, the big week is here! Last week of school. It’s also our 12 year anniversary tomorrow! Memorial weekend seemed like the greatest time to have a wedding so long ago when we were planning. Guys, the last twelve years have proven it is NOT ideal. But we try to always make the most of it by at least getting away for a single night or weekend, if we can’t go on a full trip. Despite everything that’s happened this year and how crazy doing this on the last week of school is, we’re going for it again. Just one night away. But it should be fun! WE are worth celebrating.

That’s really the big excitement the first half of the week. We’re staying in the Cedarburg area. It’s only about an hour away, but we’ve never been there. I hope most things are still open, despite it being a holiday! The boys are having a sleepover at one Grandma’s and Annie is having a sleepover at the other. Should be an exciting day for all!

On Wednesday, I’m hoping to finally get to my favorite little grouping of stores in Middleton. I just want one fun shopping day before the boys are home all summer! My ankle is telling me today that I really can’t handle doing much. But maybe just three smaller stores? Hopefully?!

And then Thursday and Friday are it. Last days of school, last days of peacefully enjoying having the house to myself! I’m trying not to freak out about it. I should probably use every spare minute to SEW, but I’m guessing I might be too distracted. I have all my end of the month book posts to write this week too. Lots to do!

My main goal in the next few days is to try and just chill out and enjoy everything as it comes. I was originally pretty disappointed we could only have a single night’s vacation this year. Ankle surgeries are ridiculously expensive. But…one night is better than none, right? And we have spent quite a bit of time together in the last few months! I’m still hoping we can maybe have another shorter trip later in the summer or early fall. But I’ll enjoy this one we do have! And hopefully Wednesday through Friday I can hold it together and not let my stress about summer show. Or better yet – figure out how to get rid of the stress and be excited. It’s not exactly that I’m unexcited… I’m just nervous. And frustrated with how slow I’m still healing. And feeling like I’m not going to be able to do enough or be the kind of mom I want to be when my kids are home with me all day. And I am just flat out dreading the constant arguing and negotiating and fighting and bickering. But we’ll make it. We always do.

Have a good week!

Mother’s Day, Greg’s Birthday, and Weekend Reflections and Intentions 05.20.2018

Happy Mother’s Day, one week late! I kept meaning to write a post immediately after the big day, but I never had the chance. It was a busy week! Really busy. I feel like I’m back to doing about 80% of the things I used to do before my broken ankle. And that last 20% are all the things I did to take care of Annie out of the house. Day by day, things continue to get better. It’s hard to see that after a really rough and pain filled day, but honestly – compared to how much pain I was in walking around the antique mall last week to how easily and pain free I was doing a ton of stuff around the house yesterday, just a week later? It’s a pretty significant difference. So I’m getting there. Tomorrow marks 12 weeks since that dreaded day.

Anyway, Mother’s Day turned out to be a pretty great day! I’m the kind of person who always has a lot of expectations for important events and inevitably is disappointed. But I can genuinely say this year that it was fantastic! The boys were in good moods all day, no ridiculous fights arose, the weather was decent albeit a bit chilly, and everyone was just happy!

I woke up early because I’m back to doing that on a regular basis. I took a shower and then went back to bed to laze around for a few hours. The boys brought my breakfast in bed – the morning bun I bought at the farmer’s market the day before. So delish!

I opened my presents next. I love presents! I got this beautiful “diamond” bracelet. I had one when I was a kid that my grandma gave me and thought was the best bracelet in the world. I’ve been wanting one as an adult for awhile now. Love it!

Always one for practical gift giving, I also got a PopSocket for my phone, accompanying mount to use it in the car, and a drain cover for baths. I’m not much of a bath person, but it does really help when my legs are super achy, so I’m trying to get more into it.

A new water bottle.

And a bird bath! We put it out in the front yard the next day, in the middle of this random patch of hostas we have next to the driveway. I’ll have to try and take a picture of it soon, to see it outside. I really like it! And Greg picked this one because it’s my favorite color and looks antiqued.

I got ready and then we went for our annual mother sons photo shoot outside. I can’t believe how horrible my hair looks in these pictures, after just curling it. Greg takes the least flattering photos of me ever. πŸ˜› At least the boys were smiling, even though they were being silly!

Shepard kept running away from me to do this…

Caught him!

I ventured into the backyard to see my Mother’s Day gift from Annie! It’s in the far back of our property, but it’s the only shrub I can see from the house and I love the pop of color! Hopefully it survives. We haven’t had a lot of luck with anything we plant back there.

Next we dropped Annie off at my parents’ and then went to Greg’s parents’ for their big Mother’s Day party. Shepard gave me another gift that he made at their house. I love the little ladybug!

It was little colder than we would have liked, but most of us spent the day outside. The boys were having the greatest time with their second (or whatever the technical term is) cousins.

Shepard and Jeremiah were having a blast playing with this toad they found.

A little too much fun. They weren’t very happy with me when I insisted they had to put the toad back and leave the poor thing alone! We went to a store later and when we came back the toad was in a box in the house, so you see how well they listened to that!

Annual photo of all the moms in attendance.

Cindy gave me some presents too! I’ve been wanting some new sheets forever and it’s hard to justify ever spending money on them yourself. Both of these devotionals also came out recently and look great!

Trying to get a nice Grandma and grandson photo, but they just wanted to stick their butts out for the picture. Always so cooperative!

Most of the women and girl children went to one of our favorite stores, Twisted Sister to check out what’s in stock. Then we came back home to say our goodbyes. Had to get a quick mother son photo.

Next, we headed back over to my parents’ house. This is one of the gifts we gave her. I love it!

Getting a mother daughter pic in right away so we didn’t have to worry about it later. πŸ™‚

We spent a lot of time just hanging around and then we had a big dinner. My mom had steak and mushrooms, which is what she requested. I had this spicy chicken and sweet potatoes. They were so delicious!! Everything is always delicious over there.

Trying to get a nice photo and it went about the same way as the rest of the day. At least Gracie was looking at the camera!

More presents. The boys made each Grandma a fill in the blank book about why they love them. Some of their answers are pretty hilarious.

At the end of the night, we started transitioning into Greg’s birthday so he was able to open some presents too.

He got a couple of cords and stuff that nobody really knew what it was, except it was on his wish list. And some desperately needed new sandals.

Annie was so tired after spending the day running around Grandma’s yard! I was pretty exhausted too. But it was a really fun day!

Moving on to Monday! Greg’s 34th birthday. He went into work, so it was just a regular day at home for me. We had a mountain of laundry, so I decided it was about time I get back to doing that. I’ve been putting loads in here and there the last few weeks, but I haven’t folded or put clothes away since the BA (broken ankle). It took me FOUR HOURS to get everything folded. Obviously there were a few breaks in between waiting for loads to finish, but it basically took me the majority of my day. I was proud of myself for doing it. But also really discouraged with just how slow I am in general. Everything takes me so long.

Greg came home and it was time for birthday fun!

Of course we immediately opened presents. His main gift was a new toaster oven. It’s like his favorite cooking appliance and he uses it for literally everything, and our old one was not in the best shape. (It was a birthday gift he gave me years ago, so I decided I’d give him a nice practical kitchen appliance right on back!)

Most gifts were practical this year because he kept saying he didn’t want anything and I knew he couldn’t complain about something useful. But I did get him one thing from his list I knew he really wanted.

It’s a print from his favorite book. Don’t ask me what book, because I have no idea.

Jumbo beef jerky from Annie. We also gave me a set of pans that fit the toaster oven, a chainmail type thing that cleans cast iron pans, an instant temperature reader, a gutter scooper, a box of Buffalo Wild Wing Sauces, and some fancy dark chocolate.

Birthday picture!

He requested Day One Pizza for his birthday dinner. Easy for me!

We had peanut butter bars for dessert. After dinner we went for a short walk and set up the bird bath and front porch plants outside.

They played Minecraft the rest of the evening. (Isn’t Annie cute?!) It wasn’t anything fancy or spectacular, but I think Greg had a pretty good birthday.

Tuesday was another personal success day for me. I decided to attempt Woodman’s (a huge grocery store) by myself! It’s the first time I’ve been there at all since the BA. And I did it! I was quite proud of myself. I didn’t even feel like I was dying by the end. I celebrated by going to Barnes and Noble next and spending over an hour browsing the entire store. I think I might have even been able to handle a third errand, but knew I needed to conserve energy for carrying all the groceries in and putting them away. That was probably the most difficult task. After I got home, did all that, and ate lunch, I took a nap. There went day two of the week of not doing any actual sewing work. I was starting to get a bit frustrated by that point. I know that moving around and getting back into the swing of my regular life is what’s going to make my ankle heal the fastest. I’m not going to get stronger if I’m just sitting at my work table all day. So it’s great I’m getting better and stronger and more capable every day. But it stinks that I’m getting very little actual WORK done.

Wednesday I forced myself to sit down and work all day. And then in the evening we went out for a birthday dinner with Greg’s parents. He picked Mod Pizza (and Caden always gets a sub at Potbelly next door because he still refuses to eat cheese). We went to Culver’s for ice cream next. And then the school greenhouse to get some plants. Then back home to open presents.

It was a nice night, but I was getting pretty crabby by the end of it. Just so frustrated with myself, irritated with the boys, stressed about school about to end and not feeling ready for summer. I’ve been pushing myself so hard with very little actual breaks. I don’t feel mentally capable of dealing with my kids all day every day. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to feel physically ready to whisk them away on long day trips – the only thing that makes summer fun to me. I didn’t make nearly enough dolls this spring to justify slowing down in summer, the way I usually do. I don’t know if I should use these very few remaining days of school to bask in the silence of being home alone – or trying to hit up as many of my favorite stores and places as possible since I haven’t been able to do that for months and it’ll be really hard (and not any fun) to do them with kids. I’m also just lamenting that our anniversary vacation this year is a whopping day and a half long and I wish we could do more. I also kind of wish we could have a family vacation just the four of us since it’s been years, but I’m not sure that can happen either. Anyway, my brain was just blowing up and I NEEDED a break. So I actually did the responsible thing and bowed out of tv time, went to my room, lit a candle, and spent two blessed hours just reading before going to bed. I need to learn how to do that more often.

Thursday morning I had PT. Worked on a lot of balancing exercises. She still thinks I’m on track with everything. We cancelled my next appointment, so the next time I come I will hopefully be in shoes!

Thursday was another work day, but I also spent a lot of time cleaning. I had my second craft night in the evening. Three people came this month! It was a lot of fun! I’m not sure my work table could really handle more than four people with spread out projects, so that was a good number. It was really great to catch up with a few friends, plus get a whole lot of work done in the process.

On Friday morning, Greg and I went to a big church garage sale. I’m glad he offered to drive me because I definitely ended up getting more than I could carry. All this, plus a bookcase! I put it under my favorite book shelves, right next to where we hope to someday have a big cozy chair. My book situation is a bit out of control and I always want more, so now I have more space to put them all. πŸ™‚

The rest of Friday was spent working. I finished up my first batch of patriotic dolls. I meant to make a lot of progress on my next batch, but….slow. I’m so slow.

Saturday was a pretty lazy day too. I didn’t do a whole lot and then in the evening Greg took the boys to a birthday party at the skating rink. They had a BLAST. Way more fun than any of the times I’ve ever taken them! It was nice to see how many pictures caught them with full smiles. I planned on having sort of a pampering evening to myself, but ended up sitting at my computer working on updating Goodreads and trying to organize my kindle. It’s a bit of a massive project I’ve been working on for a few weeks. It’ll be so awesome once everything is up to date and better organized, though.

And that bring us to this week! Sunday intentions. I guess my biggest goal is to just chill out and enjoy life as it comes. I actually think I’ve been doing a pretty great job of that – until this last week when I started letting myself get stressed out again. I just want to be happy with who I am, what I do during the day, and not feel any regret. I want to LIVE my life, and not just be down on myself for not doing everything on my lists. I gave myself a lot of necessary leeway these last few months, and it’s hard to still keep that perspective when I know I can be doing more.

The biggest thing on the calendar this week is my 12 week post op appointment on Wednesday. This is the big one because he tells me if I can ditch my boot! Something I’m equally excited about and terrified of. I hate wearing the boot. I also hate having to wear a shoe on my other foot at all times so I don’t destroy my back. Technically, I’m not supposed to ever be walking without it, though the last few weeks I kind of go barefoot, with a crutch, every night and morning. And in the last few days, barefoot without a crutch across rooms, occasionally. And I’m so unsteady. I’m scared to death I’m going to break it again. My goal these last few days have been to never use the crutch in the house (except when barefoot) and I’ve been doing great with it. But I went outside yesterday to try and plant some peppers and was just frozen in fear. There are tripping hazards in every direction. Wood chips, rocks, uneven surfaces, kid toys, slippery patches. Everything has the power to knock me down and start this process all over again. It’s really so scary!

I’m also just worried about what life will look like after the boot is gone. It feels so much like come Wednesday, my time is up. I’m supposed to be better. I will no longer have that very visual reminder to anyone who sees me that I have a bit of a handicap right now. I have no more excuses for not doing certain things. And I’m not ready. I’m SO not ready. If I’m scared to death to walk outside in my boot without a crutch, how am I going to be able to do it in shoes?! All of these hazards aren’t going to disappear in four days. How long will it still be before I can take Annie out to go to the bathroom every day? How long until I can take her to the dog park? Will I be able to walk my kids to and/or from school before the school year is up? Will I be able to do it by the time summer school starts in a few weeks? The only thing I’m confident and super excited about is being able to get in my car, drive, and get out – without all the annoying boot to shoe to boot changes! That’s really the main thing that’s stopped me from running a whole lot of errands this week. But once I’m just in shoes – watch out, world!

Anyway, that’s the main thing this week. It’s still pretty busy with working and end of school year things. Caden has another therapy appointment, I have another PT. The boys have big field trips planned. We have tentative plans for Saturday morning and a dinner and movie double date night planned for Saturday evening with Timmy and Brittany. And our anniversary trip is coming up on Memorial Day. I’m sure the week will just fly by! Hopefully I’ll be back before next Saturday to give you an update on the boot. πŸ™‚

Have a good week!

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 05.06.2018

It has been quite a week! I’ve made so many strides toward full recovery and it’s been awesome! It’s also been a very pain filled week, but at least that pain is the result of getting better. My days of laying around in frustration and self pity are over!

Monday was my only plan free day, so I tried to get as much work done as possible. Annie got to go to the dog park with Harris again. The weather finally started warming up and we could open some windows! The cats are just as desperate for fresh air coming in as Annie. They shared the window for about five seconds and then Jack full on attacked Annie for getting too close.

Monday afternoon I took a two hour nap! It was crazy, but I woke up feeling SO rested. Sleep, especially at night, has been pretty rough the last few weeks. I don’t feel like it’s pain related, but it’s sure different from how it used to be. Greg wakes me up unintentionally every night when he comes to bed, and then it takes me forever to fall back to sleep. Then I usually wake up for good around four and have to try and lay in bed as long as my bladder will let me, because it’s basically guaranteed I’m going to at least wake Greg and Shepard up the minute I start making my way out of my room. I’ve taken to just crawling in the mornings since it makes less noise, but those dang creaky wooden floor boards always give me away!

On Tuesday, I finished up another batch of dolls to be released on my big sale day. More from my own pattern – I just love them so much! I should really start making more patterns ASAP. It’s pretty validating to create dolls ENTIRELY from my own inspirations, not even using another person’s pattern.

Tuesday I also had a physical therapy session filled with a lot of tough love. First my therapist questioned me on why I wasn’t driving yet because I really should be. I told her that I was waiting until I was FWB (full weight bearing) like the doctor said. She said that I basically was and I need to get out there and drive. Then we did all the usual stuff, pushing me to exhaustion. When she realized I was still using my knee scooter for a good portion of the day, she said I absolutely need to hide it away and never rely on it again. I also walked – FWB – for the first time while I was there! Only back and forth between the hand rails for maybe 60 feet. But I did it! It hurt like heck, but I did it. I really never thought this day would come. I left that day feeling proud of myself, but also very wary about the days ahead. But I was determined to follow her rules and stopped with the scooter cold turkey (at home) the rest of the day.

I did still use the scooter on Wednesday for the shopping day with my mom. There was no way I was ready at that point to walk through one store on my crutches, let alone three. But after that trip out, I haven’t used my scooter since! For the last three days, I’ve actually only used one crutch! And I’ve gone without crutches basically every time I’m in the kitchen or walking around my sewing room gathering supplies. I have a massive limp when I go without, which is wreaking havoc on my hip and back. But I’m getting pretty proficient with just the one! I haven’t tried leaving the house with only one crutch yet, but I think I could do it. That push from my therapist was really what I needed to force myself into a quicker recovery. It kind of amazes me how much progress I’ve made in just the last five days.

Back to the shopping day – it was so fun! We went to Hobby Lobby, Marshall’s, HyVee, and Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. There were some random things I needed to get at each place and of course it’s been the first time at any of those stores in months. I’m very grateful to my mom for driving me around and lugging my scooter in and out of the car so many times!

Wednesday was a big night – I DROVE!!!!! It was one of our at home date nights. I really wanted to celebrate my doll making anniversary, but I was still too full from lunch. So I asked Greg to supervise me trying to drive again. We went to the school parking lot and I drove around a bunch of times. It was okay! A bit sore to switch pedals at first, but it got better. Once I was comfortable in the parking lot, I drove to the hospital, back home to get Annie, and then we drove to the dog park. I was quite proud of myself! It’s such a HUGE relief not to need to rely on anyone to take me to PT anymore. I can’t stand being a burden to people and asking for help like that. I think it’ll still be at least a few weeks before I can actually run errands and stuff on my own, but at least I now have this freedom, which is amazing. The only annoying thing is that I have to wear a shoe while I’m driving and put my boot back on to get out of the car. There aren’t going to be any quick running in and out of places for at least 2.5 more weeks when I hopefully get the okay to ditch the boot.

Case in point, it was raining on Thursday and the boys expected me to drive them to school since I can drive again. I said nope, here are some umbrellas! Way too much work, plus my boot would have been soaked, which is not good. If all goes well, by their last week or two of school I might finally be able to walk with them again.

Thursday was a really fun day! It was my five year anniversary of doll making, and I was bound and determined to make the day as special as possible for myself. I know some people might dismiss my career of choice as just a bizarre hobby with no real value. But I work extremely hard at it and am very proud of how far I’ve come in the last five years. No, it will never bring me the full time income that an actual job-job would. But it gives me so much freedom. It’s allowed me to find purpose in my life, while still being able to stay home with the boys. It lets me be creative every day, something I desperately need to be happy. And it’s fun! It’s so fun. πŸ™‚ I deserved a day of celebration!

To start the day off, I drew the giveaway winners and then created a 15% off coupon for that day only. I listed the 14 new dolls I’d been saving up and waited to see what would happen. I sold almost every single new doll that day! It was awesome! There’s nothing quite like the ca-ching my phone makes every time I make a sale! I had a PT appointment at 11 and drove myself there for the first time. Then I celebrated my anniversary and my ability to drive, by picking up lunch at Burger King on my way home. That’s when I had my first real predicament – trying to figure out how to get my cup of root beer up the stairs and into the house when I still need two crutches to get up stairs! But I managed. πŸ™‚ I just relaxed the rest of the day, started packing up all the orders which took forever, and then had a nice dinner followed by this little cake I picked up the day before. It was a really great day!

Friday was my catch up day. I basically spent the entire day at my computer working on all kinds of odds and ends. I needed to order more shippings supplies, including more business cards. Which then turned into hours redesigning my logo, business cards, etc. I had a Craft Night scheduled, but I ended up cancelling. I was just so physically beat and did not feel like sewing all night. It turned out to be a good night to cancel because we had yet another basement emergency. This time the back room was flooded. We never get water in the back room. Greg thinks it was the result of the gutters being full, so all the rain we got last week was coming down right next to the house and flooded the room. He spent hours and hours and hours Friday night and Saturday working on getting it cleaned up. Not fun for anybody.

Saturday was more of the same. There were a few things I wanted to do, but when the driver of the house is preoccupied with a bunch of his own projects, I have to go with the flow. I worked on my next batch of dolls and read a lot. Nothing terribly exciting.

It was such a beautiful day, so after dinner we took the cats outside for the first time in almost two years! Annie was out first and was going CRAZY, so we had to put her back in for awhile. The cats were having the time of their lives! Rory was pretty content to just lounge in the grass, though when nobody was looking he slipped his harness. Fortunately our neighbor was there and she grabbed him before he ran away. He had to go back in after that. Meanwhile, Jack walked Greg around the entire yard! He was loving his adventure. πŸ™‚ We all sat out on the porch with the neighbors and kids running around for the rest of the evening. Small town living at its best!

And that was the week! I’m feeling pretty great about my walking progress. I’m so excited about being able to drive again. The second place I’d really love to be able to drive to is the dog park. But Annie is so crazy excited when we get there, I don’t think I’m stable enough to hold on to her yet. πŸ™ Maybe next week.

Sunday Intentions

Looking ahead to this next week – things are starting to get busy! I have PT on Monday and Thursday. There’s a school carnival on Friday. I have a coffee date on Friday. It’s teacher appreciation week. I donated money instead of contributing food this year, but I still need to make the boys’ teachers some thank you dolls. I need to get Mother’s Day gifts organized too. Greg’s birthday is the day after, but I’m pretty set with him, just need to wrap a few more things. Every week this month gets progressively busier, so I really need to focus on getting better and better with walking. I hate that I broke my ankle, but I really broke it with like the most perfect timing. I was out for the two months of the year that seem to be the least busy. I’m starting to walk again just as life becomes exciting and crazy again.

My highest priority for the week is my own physical progress. My absolute favorite thing to do on Mother’s Day weekend is go to the farmer’s market and stock up on fun treats for breakfast. I don’t trust myself to go alone yet, mostly because I’m not going to be able to carry anything. But I think we’re all going to go – family farmer’s market trip for the first time ever. I want to really build up my stamina this week so I can make it around the square without feeling like I’m dying. That’s my biggest goal.

Otherwise, just work! I really want to get this current batch I’m working on done asap, so I can get back to dolls that will bring me in more money! I got a lot of new facebook likes last week and want to maintain that level of attention. Must stay focused!

And that’s about it! It looks like another beautiful day today, so I’m hoping we can get out of the house for a bit, bearing no future house disasters. Have a great week!