Sunday Intentions 10.29.2017

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I am so happy to finally have a quieter week ahead! These past two months have just been go go go and full of a little too much excitement! 🙂 It’s been awesome, but I’m also getting anxious to just settle into the school year, get myself on a better daily schedule, and not have our weekends always be booked to capacity.

Tomorrow will be my errand day. I like getting as much done as possible on Mondays, so the rest of the week can be dedicated to work. I’m also treating tomorrow as a bit of a self care day. I haven’t had much downtime in the past week, so I’m rewarding myself with a browsing trip to Barnes and Noble after my grocery shopping. That’s one of my favorite things to do when I just need a break from life.

Tuesday is Halloween! Though it doesn’t feel like much of a big deal when all the festivities are already over. I am planning to have Halloween shaped spaghetti for dinner. And probably some sort of themed dessert, that is yet to be determined!

Wednesday is an at home date night. We usually have them every week, but this fall has been so crazy there haven’t been many weeks where it worked out. No specific plans, but I usually like to make something for dinner that’s extra tasty.

Thursday and Friday are low key, except for an early release from school on Friday. Saturday I’m early Christmas shopping with Cindy. And Sunday we’re celebrating my brother Tyler’s birthday.

Top Priority – Work!

Doll making is my highest priority for the whole month of November. The last few years I found myself too overwhelmed with family things to do much sewing in December, and I assume that will probably be the case this year too. Which is fine! I always want to actually enjoy the Christmas season. But to prepare for that, I need to work my butt off in November. Today I started a batch of fun/random themed dolls. And after that it’s on to Christmas! I always run out of time to do as many Christmas dolls as I’d like. I’m hoping this is the year I can change that!

Second Priority – Self Care

Perhaps this is a bit counterproductive to my highest priority. But I want to keep it in mind. The last few weeks I’ve been getting up around five and having a bit of a devotional time. Then I start on some sewing while I listen to faith based podcasts. I don’t go on my computer or check anything until after I bring the boys to school. This routine has been a really nice start to my morning. Just to have the peace and quiet to myself, and to have positive thoughts flowing through me. I definitely want to make sure that continues to happen. But I need to take care of myself the rest of the day too. I’ve just been so busy lately that my daily long walks with Annie have really fallen to the wayside. We’ve taken many more trips to the dog park. Which she loves! But the walking time was good for both of us. It definitely needs to be a higher priority. There isn’t a yoga class this week because of Halloween, but I’d like to try and spend some time trying it out at home in the meantime. And I just want to be more aware of what I need to be happiest and to do it. Even if it means a dirtier house, laundry piles that last another day, or very simple dinners. Nobody is happy when I’m full of anxiety and stress. Little pockets of reading time, coffee time, occasional power naps – that’s what will keep me sane.

Meal Plans (still keeping things very simple this week)

Monday – Rotisserie Costco Chicken

Tuesday – Halloween Spaghetti and Ravioli

Wednesday – Date night…Meal TBD

Thursday – Waffles and Bacon

Friday – Spicy BBQ Pizza

Have a great week! 

Sunday Intentions 10.22.2017

It’s a busy week ahead! I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Though it seems like every week is a busy week this fall. There’s always so much going on! I suppose I should be happy that almost everything on our schedules is FUN. It just feels a little overwhelming sometimes when three of the four members of our family just really like to be chilling out at home the majority of the time. Plus I’m trying to you know, work, which is always really hard to do when life is busy. But – we’re making memories and living life and enjoying ourselves. And that’s what matters, right?!

Monday I’m hoping to run all the errands I’ll need to do for the week. Groceries, Halloween candy, a few random returns around Madison. It’ll be a busy day, but great if I can get it all done at the start of the week.

Tuesday night I’m trying the double yoga class thing. I’m not super excited about it, but I feel committed to the six weeks of class. I just hope I’m not going into it as exhausted as I felt last week.

Wednesday is a late start and I need to make things for the school bake sale.

Thursday night is SpookFest for school. Bake sale, costume contest, Halloween crafts. The boys will probably enjoy it.

Friday night there’s a community bonfire that might be fun to check out.

Saturday we’ll have our annual Halloween “party” with the grandparents and trick or treating is that evening. I really hope the weather holds out! This past week has been so nice again and now it’s supposed to get cold and yucky. Which is pretty typical for late October in Wisconsin. But it’d be nice to have one more nice afternoon!

So lots to do, lots to prep, lots to think about. Many busy nights, so I need to make sure I’m being productive during the day with work and household stuff – yet still resting enough so I can survive the nighttime events! It just occurred to me that I haven’t been following through with my Self Care Wednesdays, the way I did last year. I feel like I can’t afford to take those breaks yet. I’m far behind. But…I should do it anyway. Maybe next week. 🙂

Top Priority – Work!

I’d like to finish up the three large sets of pilgrims I’m currently working on. Hopefully by Wednesday. I’m getting antsy to maybe do one more set of non-holiday dolls and then start jumping into Christmas. I really think I might have enough time to do as many Christmas dolls as I want to do this year – which would be a first. I just need to stay focused!

Second Priority – Blogging

It’s the end of the month, which means it’s time for my monthly slew of media posts! I have a few other things I’d like to write on too. I want to figure out how do an email subscribe button. You’d think it would be pretty easy, but I feel so ridiculously technology stupid these days. Coding is NOT my thing. Fortunately, it is Greg’s livelihood, so I might need to get his assistance.

Third Priority – Halloween Fun!

Despite the work stuff, I want to have fun this week! There are only so many years left where the boys can trick or treat and really enjoy the holiday. I want to make the most of them!

MEAL PLANS (I’m doing it this week!!!)

Monday – Leftover soup from my mom with some fresh Costco bread

Tuesday – Chicken nuggets/freezer food/leftovers (because I’ll be at two yoga classes the entire evening)

Wednesday – Some sort of delicious marinated ahead of time chicken stir fry

Thursday – Hot dogs/sausages

Friday – Jalapeno popper pizza

Saturday (Halloween Party) – Pizza bread snake, baked brie, hot dog mummies

Have a great week!!

Sunday Intentions

With the bulk of our fall craziness behind me, it’s time to really settle in, get focused, and get to work! It was really easy to push sewing aside when pressing events like birthday parties and vacations were always on the horizon. And we still have quite a few things happening in the next couple of weeks. But the major things I’m responsible for are finally subsiding. No more excuses. It is time to dig deep for motivation, sit down, and work!

I was thinking that it was a pretty easy going week on the calendar, but now I’m realizing that’s not exactly the case. We don’t have school tomorrow due to conferences. Our conferences aren’t until evening, so the boys and I do have a free day. I’d like to do something somewhat special outside of the house, but the weather has been absolutely crummy lately. I’m not sure what we’ll end up doing yet.

Tuesday night I’m going to yoga again, but I’m also seriously considering taking a second yoga class beforehand with Shepard. It’s for parents and any kids ages 2-6. Not sure why the age limit for an evening class, but Laura was interested in taking her kids and when I asked Shepard if he wanted to go with me he gave a very enthusiastic yes. I’m definitely curious to see what that class will be like, but I’m kind of dreading two straight hours of yoga. I’m not sure I can handle it.

Caden has therapy Thursday, so I have to take the boys out of school early for the fifth time in five weeks. I hate doing that. If my kids actually came out of school when the bell rang it would be easier to schedule things just a shave later. But I can never, ever depend on them getting out of the building on time. Not THEIR fault. But annoying.

Friday night there’s some sort of Harry Potter parade about 45 minutes from here. We originally talked about going, but I guess it’ll depend on the weather and how enthusiastic we feel about it by then! It sounds like the whole weekend festival is quite the big deal, so it might be insanely crowded and not that much fun.

Saturday we’re babysitting Hudson! Which will be lots of fun! It’s also Brittany’s birthday, so we’re celebrating with her on Sunday. I think. Oh, and I want to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. I think there are only two outdoor markets left and I haven’t been there since early September. Need to go!

Highest Priority This Week : SEW

I really need to get my act together. I need to sit down and focus and sew, sew, sew. I was doing so amazingly well in August and early September. And then I let everything else get in the way. I want to get back to finishing a batch of dolls every few days, accompanied by sales every single day. I don’t get those sales if I’m not constantly putting out new dolls. I also want to start working harder at my social media presence. I kind of feel like I need to apologize for posting often, which is why I’m not great about it. But I need to remember that for Heartstring Annie, people are there because they want to be. And I always have such great response the more I share. So I want to be a little more open about the process and share more than just the perfect finished project.

Second Priority: Blogging

It feels a little counterintuitive to my main goal of SEWING to also want to start focusing more on blogging. But…blogging is kind of my favorite thing to do right now. Writing energizes me in a way that nothing else does. It was my first dream as a child and with every day lately I realize how much it still is my dream. And I don’t want to give up on it. But to hopefully someday make it a bit profitable, I need to do the research required to start building Everyday Crumbs. More than just writing. I need to figure out what steps I need to take for people to actually see and read and care about what I have to say. I made an instagram account for it a few weeks ago, though haven’t posted anything. I need to make a facebook page. Perhaps even a twitter account. I’d like to figure out how to put a subscribe button on the main website so people will get posts every time I write them. I have lots of ideas swirling around, but let’s start with that!!

As usual, I’m totally unprepared to make a meal plan yet. We’ll have weird eating schedules on Monday, Tuesday, and possibly Thursday and Friday, so it’s hard to really plan anything. I’ve really lost all motivation to cook lately and we’re just kind of making due with whatever I decide at the last minute. I need to work on that. I need to work on a lot of things.

And that’s the week ahead! Have a great day!

Saturday Reflections and Sunday Intentions (on Monday)

I’m so behind on my posts! I made the decision this last month to start writing more. I’ve set up a loose editorial calendar for myself on topics to write about, especially all my end of the month favorites and recommendations. I’m also trying to write a Saturday Reflections and Sunday Intentions post each weekend. The problem is that all of that coincided with my mother-in-law’s birthday and both of Caden’s birthday parties the last week of September. It was a crazy week! So I’m going to try and play catch up today and see how far I can get. I realize blog posts probably shouldn’t all be written and released on the same day! But this is an area of my life I truly love and I don’t want to fall so far behind on it.

Saturday Reflections

Last week was so busy! On Sunday I helped Greg start hanging the shelves I bought him for all their lego creations. We added shelves to the boys’ rooms, my sewing room, and the family room. It’s quite the labor intensive project, but I think totally worth it. We didn’t finish them up until Thursday night and from the looks of it, Greg is going to need more shelves if he ever gets another set that he wants to display!

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On Monday I was running around all over the place, trying to get all the necessary grocery items for Caden’s birthday parties. I really didn’t want to have to make any unexpected trips later in the week. No time for mistakes!

Monday night I was madly sewing up these dolls for Cindy’s birthday, on Tuesday. I know, I know. I’m not normally so last minute about gifts. I knew I was going to make these and bought the fabric months ago. But the last few weeks were just so busy with Door County, feeling sick, Cranberry Fest, getting ready for Caden’s birthday and birthday treats for school. SO MUCH STUFF. I finished them up and wrapped them about three hours before we saw her on Tuesday. Close call. 😛

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On Tuesday night we took Cindy to Mod Pizza for her birthday dinner. It was her first time there. Caden got his usual sub at Potbelly next door. Convenient location because now we can always go to Mod and he can’t complain!

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We went back to our house for peanut butter bars and presents. It was a fun night and good to catch up with Cindy after her Scotland/Ireland trip.

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Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were just full on party prep mode. There was a lot to do. I think I spaced it out pretty evenly, but it was still pretty exhausting spending so much time doing it all. I was feeling a bit resentful and burnt out and emotional by Thursday night. It seems so unfair that I can work SO HARD every day and not even make any money. I worked so hard and didn’t even do my JOB all week. It’s hopeless to think I’m ever going to get my act together with a proper work life balance. I seriously have no clue how working moms do it. If I worked outside of the house I think I’d literally die from daily brain explosions. 🙁

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Friday was spent cleaning and setting up and finishing the baking for Caden’s friend party after school. It was quite the rowdy group of boys for the night! They all seemed to have a blast, though, and thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter theme.

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On Saturday, we went to Waldvogel’s with Cindy, Melissa, and Andrew. I think this is the first time in like five years I was able to go with everybody for the first time of the season (they usually go when I’m at Saturday’s Cranberry Fest).

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There were lots of new activities this year. It was pretty crowded, but there are so many things that you don’t really have to ever wait or realize just how many people are around you. I think the boys had fun! I’m looking forward to maybe doing some more low key fall activities in the next few weeks.

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And Sunday was Caden’s family birthday party! More on that in a different post. 🙂

Sunday Intentions

One more week of crazy and then life will MAYBE settle down a bit! At least this week is pretty much all fun. It’s my birthday week and I have restaurant dates planned with different people on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I love that I won’t have to cook things for those meals!! It’ll be great fun and feel special since it’s kind of about me. 🙂

Today I’m hoping to just catch up on blog posts and basically relax after this past week. I also have like twenty tabs open on my browser of book and music articles I’ve been wanting to go through. I can finally let myself read them!

Tomorrow I’m contemplating getting back to work. Originally I wanted to take it easy this week, but I haven’t sewn anything for the shop in like three weeks. I’m anxious to start drumming up some new sales and that only happens if I put out new product. But I also feel like I’ve been living my life entirely for other people these past two weeks and I’m selfishly leaning toward just doing whatever I dang well please this week. I’ll get back to work hard core next week.

The boys also have dentist appointments on Tuesday afternoon and I’m going to my very first yoga class in the evening. I’m nervous! But I really hope I love it. I still dearly miss the cardio drum class I took last fall. It bums me out so much they don’t plan on coming back to Columbus. It would be so great if I could find another class that I like as much. Yoga feels promising, as long as I don’t get there and feel totally out of my league.

Wednesday and Thursday are pretty up in the air, with my planned dinner dates at night. Greg’s parents on Wednesday and a couple of my friends on Thursday. Of my four restaurant choices I’ve only decided on one that I actually am going to so far. It’s so much pressure to pick the perfect places! The problem is that I really like places that serve deliciously spicy chicken sandwiches. But I probably don’t want to eat chicken sandwiches four days in a row…

Friday I’m spending the day with my mom. Girl’s day! I probably want to hit up Ulta and Sephora and maybe World Market and Marshall’s. We’ll have lunch out somewhere on the west side. And get back in time to watch the Homecoming parade with the boys. And pizza for dinner.

And Saturday is my birthday! It’s weird having a weekend birthday and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. I’m vaguely considering going to the farmer’s market, simply because I’m running out of days that it’ll still be there. But I also think going will make me too tired for the rest of the day, so I should probably stay home. We’ll hang out as a family in the morning, have lunch at home, and then go get pumpkins, my favorite birthday activity. And then the boys are going to Grandma’s for a sleepover and Greg and I will have a grand date in Madison. Details still to be determined! But we haven’t gone on a “real” date in a very, very long time. I’m excited about it. Even if I feel a little guilty ditching my kids for half of my birthday…

And that’s it! Still quite a bit going on. But it should be a really enjoyable week. I hope everyone stays healthy so we can fully enjoy it!

Sunday Intentions

It’s another busy week ahead! Probably one of the busiest because birthday parties are a lot of work! That’s the main thing on the agenda all week. Getting ready for Caden’s friend party on Friday afternoon and his family party on Sunday. Plus my mother-in-law’s actual birthday on Tuesday, which I’m guessing we will be spending with her. She’s on her way home from Ireland at the moment and we haven’t seen her in two weeks, so they’re sure to be at least one get together this week!

Top Priority – Make the birthday parties happen and happen well! 

The friend party is in five days and I still don’t have a clue what we’re serving. His party was supposed to be on Saturday during the afternoon and non-meal time. But nobody could come, so we had to change it to Friday and now need to serve a meal. I’ve never served a meal at a kid party before! I think most people just serve pizza. But Caden doesn’t eat pizza, and I’d like to put out something he will enjoy too. Bonus points if it’s Harry Potter themed. Except I don’t really want to spend much more money on this party because even though it’s fun to go all out, I don’t think the kids really care. So…we’ll see what happens!! I wanted to do a little more research and come up with a concrete plan today, but I still don’t feel that great and we’re still working on putting up shelves and reorganizing everything in the house. So, first thing tomorrow morning. A plan will be made. Grocery lists written. And then I’ll feel a whole lot better.

Second Priority – Clean and get back on track

With the room rearranging and new shelves being put up, there’s a lot of chaos going on. Some rooms look better than usual. But some rooms definitely need some work. It would be so nice for ALL rooms to look pretty and done by the family party next Sunday.

Third Priority – Work lists

I’m at such a loss on what to sew next. I’m not feeling very inspired or motivated. Granted, it’s been a really busy couple of weeks. And the next two are super busy as well. But I’m just not feeling it. I asked my customers for suggestions on what they’d like me to make next and I didn’t really like anything they had to say! Mostly because it was all things I’ve never made before, required extra clothing or style components, and basically just more work for the same – or less- money. I’ve been on a roll sticking with what I know the last few months and it serves me well. Everything I try something new it never goes over as well as I expect. So. I don’t know. I probably won’t get much actual sewing done this week, but I would like to make a solid plan for what to do next.

Fourth Priority – Blog Posts

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been trying to write a lot more often! I started writing longer book reviews for each individual book I read. I’m also splitting my super long weekend posts into two segments – Saturday Reflections and Sunday Intentions. I’ve decided to split up my huge end of the month post into three separate categories as well. And it’s the last week of the month, so I have a lot to write! One on tv/movies, one on podcasts, one on books. Plus posts about Caden’s parties. I’m realizing lately how much I really love writing. It energizes me in a way that nothing else can. And I want it to be a bigger part of my life. Even if nobody ever reads it, I still want to write it.

Meal Plans – Tentatively

I’m going to try and eat from the food we have for the next week or two. I go to such extremes in my meal planning and cooking. Either I want nothing to do with it, or I want it to be amazing. And amazing almost always requires trips to the store for unique ingredients. With the expensive party foods I need to buy, I want to be more frugal about daily meals. So…what we have is what we’re eating!

Monday – Pork Roast

Tuesday – Birthday with Cindy, food unknown!

Wednesday – Chicken shakers

Thursday – Pizza, maybe

Friday – Party…I think the main food will be a sub sandwich shaped into a snake form

Saturday – Chicken nuggets, sandwiches, something easy while we prep for Sunday’s party

Sunday – Taco Feast!

Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions

I’ve decided it’s about time I revert back to what this weekly post is supposed to be – my intentions for the week. Maybe I’ll have to introduce a new segment called Saturday Reflections or something, where I go over what I did the week before. Because I like writing about that a lot, but it really has nothing to do with the week ahead. I want to go back to Sunday posts being about looking forward instead of behind.

So! It’s a pretty busy week ahead. We are officially entering birthday season with Caden’s birthday on Saturday, my mother-in-law’s the following Tuesday, my brother-in-law’s that Friday, and then mine the next week. This is also the week of Cranberry Fest. It’s my favorite day of the entire year, but it’s such terrible timing! Most years his birthday happens right before or after, but last year and this year his birthday is on the actual day, so I can only go once. 🙁 Normally I like to go both Friday and Saturday. Oh well. Birthdays are important too! It just makes things a bit more tricky when I need to have a birthday treat for school ready on the day I’ll be gone, and have all his birthday stuff figured out and baked, knowing I won’t be home until very late and crazy exhausted the night before. Lots of planning and organizing involved to make it all run smoothly.

Top Priority – Birthday Week

That being said, this needs to be my top priority! I’m really not very on top of things this year. He wants a Harry Potter themed birthday. His parties are next weekend, but I still should really plan them out this week so I’m not running around wild in the final few days. This week – preferably today, though he’s not really on speaking terms with me at the moment – I need to nail down what he wants for a birthday breakfast, dinner, and dessert. We’ve only settled on going to Taco Bell for lunch so far. I also need to figure out his school snack. He requested dirt cake cups, but I’m not sure that’s logistically possible since they’ll need to be refrigerated. And I’m not so sure I trust him carrying those to school without a massive disaster. I could suggest he have it at his friend party instead, but that really has nothing to do with the Harry Potter theme… Anyway, I need to figure it all out! Asap. I also need to wrap his presents and make sure we’re squared away with everything.

Second Priority – Fall Decorations

It may not technically and officially be fall yet, but…it’s fall, people. Despite the 90+ degree day we had yesterday. Today the chill is back in the air. The tree in front of my house is completely orange and covering our driveway with leaves. It’s fall. And time to get out my decorations! I have more fall decor than any other season because it’s my favorite. It’s a little sad I haven’t gotten it out before now!

Third Priority – Keep Working!

I didn’t get a whole lot of work done last week with the whole Door County vacation and all. This week I need to finish the batch I’m currently working on and make a few more. It’d be nice to have all of those done by Wednesday. Improbable, but I’ll do my best.

I really do have the best of intentions for getting back to meal planning in these weekly posts. But my brain just can’t wrap around it right now. It’s been a rough weekend around here. Perhaps I’ll feel more optimistic later tonight and edit in some plans!

Happy fall!

Sunday Intentions

We’ve made it through the first (almost) full week of school! It was surprisingly easy to jump back into the routine this year. I never have a problem waking up early, but it’s nice to have more purpose to my mornings. When things like packing lunches and signing off on homework absolutely need to be done, procrastination cannot enter my mind. I love starting my day with a lot more focus and drive. Lazy summer or weekend mornings have their place, but I really like getting up and moving first thing in the day. It helps the rest of the day go so much more smoothly.

I think I was right in assuming this might be the best school year yet. Caden hasn’t had a single complaint! After school on Friday he told multiple people that the day was “AWESOME!” That kind of enthusiasm from him is extremely rare. Shepard seems to have eased right back into how he left off school last year. Very comfortable and a little bit naughty! He’s wracked up quite a few “take a breaks” during class this week. Not that I’m proud of that fact, but I am really happy he’s not the shy and terrified kid he was at the beginning of last year. He’s even gone to the bathroom in school (albeit after school) four of the first five days. First day with Greg inside with him. Second day with Caden. Third day with Caden in the hallway. Fourth day with Greg in the hallway. I think there’s maybe actually a really good chance that within a few weeks he’ll be going on his own. During the day. Okay, weeks might be pushing it. But THIS YEAR. Which will be so awesome.

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To recap the week – on Monday, Memorial Day, we closed out the pool, which has been our yearly tradition since getting regular passes. It was pretty chilly, but the boys and Leverett still swam quite a bit and had two popsicle breaks.

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Besides that, I spent most of the day finishing up all these teeny dolls. It was also the last day of Etsy’s first huge site wide sale and I celebrated having a record breaking number of dolls sold in such a short time frame. It was pretty awesome.

On Tuesday I got my haircut. I went back to Trends in Beaver Dam with a new girl and I really like how it turned out! I pretty much never like how my hair looks, but this was a nice cut. Afterward I ran a few errands and then rested in the afternoon. Before I knew it, it was time to get the boys. That’s the one major downfall of the school year. I feel time so differently. During summer, 2:00 still feels like early afternoon. During the school year, it’s basically like the day is over. Those seven hours without kids speed by WAY too quickly.

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On Wednesday I had big plans to work all day and make myself a big pot of labor intensive, but oh so yummy, mango chicken curry. And then I realized I didn’t have any curry paste. And there isn’t a single store in Columbus that sells it. So I had to go all the way to Sun Prairie, and since I was already there, I ran more errands. Couldn’t waste the drive just on curry paste. But in the end, I was too tired and hungry to make the curry that day anyway.

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We had an at home date night on Wednesday and I made monstrously sized calzones. I think one of the best parts of fall is that I suddenly care about cooking again.

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Thursday must have been uneventful, I remember nothing. And Friday was an exciting day. Caden’s class had their first trip to the community garden! It sounds like they go once a week during harvest and planting times. This time he was assigned to picking tomatoes. Then in the afternoon we went to Noe’s because both of my sisters-in-law were visiting. We all spent a long time out in their garden picking raspberries and more tomatoes. It was a fun little family get together around a big taco fiesta. Despite being the end of the week, everyone was in very good spirits.

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Caden opened some early birthday presents from Aunt Sarah.

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And birthday cupcakes for Cindy and Caden. Shepard was very jealous of Caden’s new light up Harry Potter wand.

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Saturday was a big day! Caden and Greg and the rest of his family went to the Badger game (Caden’s first). So Shepard and I had an all day date. We started by getting to the farmer’s market right at 7. He was in a great mood and we had a ton of fun looking at all the booths. He gets so into finding the samples, though he doesn’t understand yet what a “sample” of something actually means. He couldn’t make up his mind on what to get for breakfast, so on our second time around he finally settled on a giant apple fritter. At first he liked it, and then decided it was too appley. So I ate the other half.

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Then we waited in a huge and crazy slow line at Gotham Bagels. I needed my fix. Afterward we went to Barnes and Noble because Shepard wanted to look at Lego Ninjago books. Instead he found a Hermione light up wand and we negotiated each of us paying for half. I knew it’d save a whole lot of fights in the coming weeks over Caden’s wand. Next, we went to Hobby Lobby to try and find some things for Caden’s birthday parties and Target for a couple things we needed. Then back home for about a twenty minute break before heading back out to the library’s Fall Festival. Our main goal was getting hot dogs at the brat fry for lunch. Except they didn’t have hot dogs. 🙁 So after a walk through the vendors and crafts, checking out the book sale again, and getting a balloon sword, we headed back home for sandwiches. And soon headed out again with Annie for the dog park. Half hour there, back home for a short reprieve, and then back to Beaver Dam for another family night. It was a super busy day. But Shepard was so great during all of it! He’s such a joy to be around when he’s not overly tired and whiny.

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Our haul from the market. Lots of produce this time! I feel like in the spring markets I just buy pastries and cheeses. I love the fall ones so much more. Lots of color and variety!

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Everyone was pretty tired after our respective eventful days, so it was a lazy evening. But we managed to get one Badger family picture before the night was out.

Overall, it was a pretty fun week as a family. But personally? I definitely struggled getting back in my own swing of things. It’s so hard to focus and stay on task when I’m also joyously reveling in having the house to myself. I actually spent most of the week out and about running errands. I’m hoping in the weeks that come I can start streamlining that better into a once a week thing. Though the next few weeks are super busy, so it might be tough. I also still really struggle with hitting a wall around noon every day. If I’m not absolutely loving whatever task I’m doing, I need to break for a nap. Or at least some reading time. I hate that I need this so often, but I also can’t really seem to survive without it. Especially since every day this week I woke up around 4am. 😛

THIS WEEK

It’s an odd week ahead! But also very exciting!! 🙂 On Wednesday, as early as I can get out the door, I’m heading to Door County for my solo vacation!!! I can’t wait. Though I’m also a little bit sad because I feel like I’ll miss out on something important happening at home. But seriously, I need this. After summer, I desperately need to get away from everything and regroup. I’m really just looking forward to nobody NEEDING anything from me for three whole days. No kids whining about being hungry and not knowing what to do with themselves, no family to cook for, no pets that never leave me alone anymore since they started getting fed soft food again, no Annie that needs to be taken outside ten times a day and thorough exercising every single day or she becomes a hyper maniac. It’s only three days away. Which might not be enough to really rejuvenate. But it’s a start! And it’ll be awesome.

I don’t have any major plans for that trip, other than to just enjoy myself! I’ve been saving up my sewing money from the last month so I can go to all the fun Door County shops. I think the last two or three times I was there was with kids. And kids (and husbands) don’t cooperate with going to all kinds of unique shopping destinations. So I’m really looking forward to that. I’m also bringing a stack of books that I’ve most been looking forward to reading, but never can find the time. I’m hoping to get a lot of hotel time to just relax and read. It’s a really nice hotel too, so I’ll get a great breakfast and free appetizers in the afternoons. I also have a couple of good restaurants scouted out for lunches and carry out dinners I can eat while I read. If the weather’s nice I’d like to visit a few of the more scenic parts of Door County too. I’m sure the time will just fly by, but it’ll be so great.

But before Wednesday comes along, I still need to get everything prepped and ready on Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully finish up some dolls tonight and get them listed right away tomorrow morning. Pick up a few more groceries for easy meals Greg can make while I’m gone. Write a list of all the school related things that he’s not accustomed to doing. Do a little more research so I don’t miss out on the best shops and places to go. And pack! It’ll be a really busy two days.

So with all that in mind, my only priority for the week is to have fun! Relax! Enjoy myself! And DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. About anything. I need this, I deserve this. And it’ll be fantastic!

 

Sunday Intentions

This past week has been about all the feels. So many emotions, all over the spectrum. I’m glad to have it over with! It was a fun week, for the most part, but also the end of a season and a fresh beginning. Change always brings so much anxiety, and my kids especially, don’t deal with it very well.

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On Sunday, we made somewhat spontaneous plans to go to Curd Fest in Madison. Seemed like a very Wisconsin thing to do with our last weekend of summer. Caden ate at home first (because he doesn’t eat cheese), but Shepard was “STARVING.” Never a good thing for him to be when we go somewhere and it happens way too often. Anyway, it was fun! Just a big football field filled with various kinds and styles of cheese curds! I bought some right when we walked in. Fried curds with spicy ranch, bacon bits, chives, and shoestring potatoes. They were okay. Then Caden got a lemon sno cone. We bought a bag of buffalo flavored fresh curds from my favorite Farmer’s Market vendor. Shepard got a hot dog. And then we finished up with some freshly made giant Cajun Munster curds that I kept seeing people walk around with. Those paired with their homemade ranch were incredible. If we ever go again I’m just walking straight to them! We were probably only there about thirty minutes, consumed way too much cheese, but it was memorable!

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Since we were already in Madison, Greg suggested we go to Tenney Park. Despite going to Madison a million times in my life, plus going to college there, I somehow never stepped foot in this huge park. We walked through it, the boys played on the playground, and then we walked along the lake for awhile. Caden was being difficult, to say the least. Because we weren’t at home. And we should ALWAYS be at home, according to him. But the weather was gorgeous and it actually turned out to be a fun weekend family outing.

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After one or both of them being pretty upset about all the fun things I had done for them in the last few weeks, I wanted to keep it all pretty low key for the last days of summer. I did a lot of sewing and they had Leverett over to play basically every waking minute.

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Tuesday night was my last obedience class with Annie! I was so nervous about it all week. We did a trial run of the final Canine Good Citizen test the week before and Annie passed everything, to my amazement. But I figured it was a fluke and was so nervous. Then we got there and they said “Surprise! Everything you tested out of last week in the practice, is actually going to count toward the test.” Which was AWESOME, but also, why did they have to make me stress so much for no reason!? The only thing left for Annie to do was pass the anxiety test, where I leave her with the trainers for three minutes without me. She did fine and we got our award! It was a really tough eight weeks. I’m glad I did it and I’m proud of what we learned. But I’m so glad to be done. The boys were at Noe’s for the night, so after the test I picked them up and we went to McDonalds to get Annie her first ice cream cone. She loved it!

Wednesday was another quiet day at home and then we had school orientation in the afternoon. All went well, no surprises. I finished the night meeting a friend for drinks. It was good to catch up. Again, I really need to make more time for my friends this year. It’s so worth it.

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Thursday – the last day of summer! – I decided we needed to keep busy so we weren’t all just sitting at home stressing about Friday. We went to Sun Prairie to pick up some groceries and some donuts for a final donut picnic. It was SO COLD.

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They played at the park for about 45 minutes and were having so much fun! Afterward, we had a quick Costco run and then went to Ulta. Which had no purpose, except that I really wanted to try out some perfumes I’ve been reading about. Despite how much they HATE running errands, apparently they love going perfume shopping. They were having the greatest time smelling everything. I didn’t end up getting any (though I did pick up some seasonal apple cider donut body wash that smells amazing), but they each walked out with their own body mists (after I refused to buy them rollerballs of actual woman’s perfume).

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I wanted to go out to lunch to celebrate the last day. But, (what a shock) Caden didn’t want to. He finally said that he’d only go to a restaurant if it was a sub restaurant. It just so happened we were across the parking lot from Potbelly – with Mod Pizza next door. So we picked up Caden a sub and then Shepard and I had some pizza. It was delish, as always!!

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And it was finally Friday. September 1st. The first day of school. Everyone was up on time, had a good breakfast, and was ready for the annual photo shoot with plenty of time to spare. I’m sure at some point they’ll really resist these first day of school pictures, but so far every year it really seems to alleviate their worries when they can be distracted with making silly faces and poses for pictures.

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This is a sweet one!

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“Ninja pose.”

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We walked them to school. Shepard held my hand most of the way. He was a little apprehensive and kept saying “scary!” but didn’t put up any resistance about going. On the first day everyone meets in the gym and they both walked straight to their class lines, without a backward glance! We followed to give out hugs and then left! Probably our easiest first day of school yet.

Back at home for the day, it felt so quiet!! Greg was working at home so I still haven’t been alone yet, but the house just felt so somber and silent. But it was kind of awesome. We went back to pick them up and it seemed like everything went well! Greg took Shepard back into the school to try and get him to use the bathroom. AND HE DID!! For the first time ever. Greg’s probably been with him to try and get him to go at least ten times in the last year. Never happened. So MAYBE he’s nearing the end of this phase. I’m hoping!! Obviously the real goal is for him to go by himself during the school day. But we’re one step closer!

Shepard started getting mopey soon after and said it was because he only got two chicken nuggets at lunch. This happened to Caden all the time last year and when we tried to talk to his teacher about it, she accused him of lying. I’m SO hoping we’re not in for another year of one of my kids not receiving enough food just because he’s one of the last classes in the lunch room. So Greg took him home to get a snack and I stayed at the playground because Caden was having fun catching up with his friends. We talked about his day on the way home and he seemed really happy about how it all went! I think he’s going to really have a great year.

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At the book fair on Wednesday, Caden saw a lego book about making stop animation movies. Greg didn’t want to pay $25 for the book, but he did charge up my old phones and find an app they could use to make their own movies. It was fascinating for them! They spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday making movies. In between meltdowns. That’s definitely the absolute worst part about the beginning of the school year. Reigning in their emotions at home after needing to keep a tight lid on them at school. It was a ROUGH day.

This Week

New week ahead! I’m really excited about getting back in the swing of things. I’m a bit worried about Tuesday’s drop off when we’re back to just leaving the boys at the playground. Shepard doesn’t always do so well with that. I need to remember to tell Caden ahead of time to include him and maybe it’ll go smoothly. There’s sure to still be some anxiety in the first few weeks. But it’ll be good. Especially for me!!

I’m really looking forward to WORKING. All day. In a quiet house. I want the first few weeks of the month to solely because focused on that because the last few weeks get crazy with my trip to Door County, Cranberry Fest, and all of Caden’s birthday festivities. I also want to get up my fall decorations and do some cleaning around the house that I’ve been avoiding forever because it’s useless when so many people are home all day.

There’s nothing major on the calendar except a haircut for me Tuesday morning! Greg and Caden are going to a Badger game on Saturday. Shepard and I will have a date of some sort. He wants to go to Barnes and Noble because he thinks they will have more lego Ninjago books that Caden and I didn’t see on our last trip. We might go to the farmer’s market too. Overall, a pretty quiet week! Which is exactly what we need.

Happy fall, everyone!

Sunday Intentions

With only a handful of days left of summer, I feel like I should be soaking up these hours with my kids, wanting to spend every possible moment with them because I know I’ll regret not having done enough of it once school starts. But honestly? I’m so ready to move into fall. SO, so ready. This past week I’ve found myself wanting to just hide away. Desperate for silence and nobody needing things from me. Every morning when Caden is either awake before me or follows me down the stairs, I just want to cry. It’s good he’s on schedule for school mornings already. But I just want time for myself!! The boys have also had their friend over basically every waking moment for the past two weeks. Which feels really overwhelming after having no friends over all summer long. And nothing against the friend at all – it really helps the boys get along to have a third playmate. But just the fact that there’s a non-family member running around my house all day long, every single day, is just really getting to me.

Anyway! Overall, I’d say it’s been a pretty good week. I’ve let go of my need to go out and do things to try and enjoy time together. We still did go out a bit, but I also spent a lot of the week working while they played. Which was fine too. We did enough this summer and I’m okay with these last few weeks being less eventful than originally intended.

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On Sunday, we went to my brother Timmy’s 30th birthday party. There were lots of people to pass Hudson around to, but I definitely had a few turns! 🙂

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Caden made sure he had a few turns too! He sure loves babies.

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The party was lots of fun! We had some delicious Ian’s Pizza and salads for lunch. Cake pops for pre-dessert. Timmy’s favorite ice cream cake for real dessert. We all walked down to a big park in the middle of desserts for the kids to play on the playground and for most of the group to play a soccer game.

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Hudson needed some cooling off after being packed tightly in his black stroller.

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Birthday boy.

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Shepard actually cooperated for a cousin picture this time! Still refused to hold him, though.

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Another cute family pic!

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A few last snuggles before we left. This is his favorite way to snuggle with me. I’m very cushy lol.

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On Monday, Greg worked from home so he could watch the solar eclipse with the boys. He was pretty cranky that the weather wasn’t cooperating and it was super cloudy. We watched the live Nasa coverage online, which was pretty cool. And when the time came, we actually saw the eclipse pretty well with our glasses.

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Trying to get a selfie when you can’t see a single thing through the glasses to know where to look! It was a fun memory for everyone.

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Afterward, I had to take the cats for their annual checkup. Rory went first and we found out he lost 1.2 pounds. The vet was so excited and wanted to know what we were doing to help them lose weight. I said um…got a dog? Then we found out Jack lost 3.3 pounds. Jack, who has gained weight every single year of his life. So the vet was pretty concerned about that. She did a full blood work panel to see if he had any diseases. I can’t believe how much hair they had to shave off of him to get the blood draw. And apparently it wasn’t working in his neck, so they also shaved one of his legs. Poor baby! Fortunately, we got the results right away Tuesday morning. While his kidney levels are pretty high (though technically still in normal range), he otherwise looks really good. I’ve just been instructed to start feeding them soft food to increase their fluids. Jack will be retested in six months to see if anything has drastically changed.

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Tuesday must have been pretty uneventful, because I recall nothing. Same with Wednesday during the day. But Wednesday night, Caden and I had a date! A monthly date night is something I’ve been wanting to do for years with each of the boys, but Caden especially because I spend the least amount of time with him. The problem is that he never actually wants to go out with me – or go out AT ALL – so I’ve given up on making it a regular thing. I’d like to start trying again, though. Preferably on the 23rd of every month, so it’s easier to remember (his birth date).

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We went to Five Guys for dinner. Caden loved the peanuts ahead of time. He’s a big burger eater, so this seemed like a good place for him. He didn’t think they were any better than other places, though. I had the cheese dog, which was good. We had way too many friends to even make a dent in. And some shakes. I don’t think I’d go back to that particular restaurant, but it was a fun experience!

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Afterward, we went to the mall. Caden wanted to try the demo games at Gamestop. Unfortunately, the only game he was interested in had a man playing at it the entire half hour we were in the store. Caden was pretty disappointed, but he handled it well.

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We finished the night at Barnes and Noble. Now that he’s done with all the Harry Potter books, he’s having a hard time getting super interested in anything else. I thought if we looked through the bookshelves he might find some new ideas. Of course then he wanted to look at the actual Harry Potter things. Overall, it was a really great date! He’s such a different person when you get him one on one. So much better behaved and much more interested in having actual conversations about things. I definitely need to make this happen more often.

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Thursday was a work day. I thought I’d be able to finish up these dolls right away in the morning, but it took me until 4:15 in the afternoon. Which was pretty frustrating! Everything always takes so much longer than I want it to. But within two hours, I sold five of the nine dolls, which always makes my hard work worth it!

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Friday was supposed to be our last big hoorah of the summer. A day at the Milwaukee Zoo with Grandma, Uncle Timmy, Aunt Brittany, and Hudson.

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Hudson looking pretty sleepy.

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We haven’t been to this zoo in a couple of years and the last time we went it was spring break and half the animals weren’t out yet. It was fun to see everything this time. And the weather was so perfect! Sunny and 70 degrees. We also waited long enough into the summer that I think many schools have started already. Crowds were definitely pretty low, which was awesome.

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The baby gorilla beating his chest was the funniest thing!

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They looked so sad! But I liked how he used his tail as a pillow.

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Smiling here, but he was being pretty obnoxious all day long. He kept getting fixated on things he wanted to do ($15 super high rope obstacle course) or things he wanted to eat (Dippin’ Dots) and he WOULD NOT shut up about it. He couldn’t let himself (or us) enjoy anything because he was so obsessed about whatever he couldn’t have in that moment. Meanwhile, Shepard was pouting and kicking me because I made him stop eating all of my mom’s snacks. We brought plenty of snacks too, but of course it wasn’t what he wanted.

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Spent lots of time staring at the giraffes. I love giraffes.

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Hudson didn’t see many animals! 🙂 We’ll have to try again next summer.

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After we saw most of the animals (with the exception of the Australian exhibits, which possibly exist, yet we’ve never been able to find them-  they’re not on the map or signs, BUT you can see them from the train…), we went on a train ride and Tim, Brit, and Hudson went home. The boys had some Dippin’ Dots to finish it off. I loved the weather and lack of crowds and it was fun to hang with extra family for the day. But the boys were also very exasperating. I don’t feel like it was very much fun for any of us.

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We had a late snack/lunch at a restaurant called World of Beer that I scoped out online. First the boys through fits because they wanted to sit on the soft chairs and I said we needed to be at a real table. Then Caden kept crying because he didn’t like their soup selection. When has he ever ordered soup at a restaurant?! It was just one thing after another. But, my chicken sliders and tots were good. The giant pretzel and beer cheese were delicious. I’m still glad we went, just because restaurant food is almost always worth it!

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On the way home we stopped at a giant Marshall’s and that was our big day. I’m disappointed in how it all worked out. I was so frustrated with the boys. Then I wanted to go home and make something that was quick and easy for Saturday’s plans. I saw a recipe for churro popcorn, which ended up being way more trouble than it was worth. First I couldn’t find the regular popcorn kernels and ended up throwing pretty much everything out of our super messy pantry. Finally found some in the basement and then proceeded to spill them everywhere. Then the first batch didn’t pop enough. Then the recipe wasn’t coating the way it should. And then I assumed it would be too mushy to even bring, so I had to make something else after all. It was just a day that needed to end.

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Shoveling churro popcorn in as fast as he can.

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And finally Saturday. We had plans to go to Cedar Lake because we somehow haven’t gotten there all summer. The boys went Memorial weekend with Grandma and Grandpa, but we haven’t been since. Of course just our luck the weather turned out crappy! It wasn’t pouring at least, but it was definitely chilly and raining off and on. We spent most of the time by the fire! But it was still nice. The lake was pretty quiet!

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Caden still swam and Shepard did a lot of paddle boating.

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The boys were insistent that they get to put their own hot dogs over the fire.

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After lunch we went out on the boat. It was definitely raining at that point, but seemed like it was only going to get worse. Caden really wanted to tube.

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We went around the lake twice and he never fell off! I think he was probably freezing and the water kept spraying right in his face. But when it wasn’t, he had a huge grin. It was really great to see him having so much fun!

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We went home soon after that. Despite the weather, it was a nice and relaxing end of summer day out at the lake. I spent the rest of the night hanging out with Annie for National Dog Day. And hiding from everyone else because I needed a break. That’s about it!

THIS WEEK

The big week is here! Our last few days of summer. I don’t have plans. I don’t think I’m going to make plans. I feel like everything I’ve tried to make special and fun lately just gets thrown back in my face by one or both of my children. So I give up! They can do whatever they want and if they don’t want to be with me, then I’ll work!

We were talking about going to Curd Fest as a family this afternoon, but it’s been raining all night and morning and supposed to continue throughout the day. So I’m thinking that’s not really in the plans anymore. Maybe we can have a movie afternoon or something.

Tomorrow night I was supposed to have dinner out with my friends, but I’m not sure that’s happening anymore either.

Tuesday is our last obedience class. Oh yeah – that’s what happened last Tuesday! It was the most stressful and long night of class because we did trial runs of what we’ll be officially tested on this week. Annie passed everything, but I feel like it was a bit of a fluke. I’m really worried about this week. Do dogs ever fail?? She usually does really great at all the exercises, but one of them requires her to sit and stay while I walk back and forth across the room twice before calling her. I couldn’t believe she did it last week. I’ll be amazed if she does it again. But either way, I will be SO HAPPY that it’s over.

Wednesday afternoon is school orientation. I’m anxious to get all the info and have a better idea of how this school year will play out. I think Caden is going to have a lot of really fun things to look forward to. And while I really like the teacher Shepard will have, I’m not sure she’ll be as understanding about his bathroom issues as his kindergarten teacher was. I can’t even believe we’re still dealing with this. SIGH.

Thursday – last day of summer!

And finally Friday, first day of school. It seems a bit ridiculous to start school on a Friday before a three day holiday weekend. But maybe it eases kids’ anxiety over that long weekend? Who knows. Hopefully it’ll go well. I’ll write more on that another day!

Enjoy your last days of August!

 

 

 

Sunday Intentions

Well, it’s Sunday again. I know I’m in the vast minority here, but I kind of hate weekends. Especially super unstructured ones. On one hand, I definitely enjoy not needing to go anywhere and do anything on the weekend. But when we don’t have plans, our weekends are filled with stress and negativity. The four of us just can’t seem to handle full days together without something going wrong. Usually, almost always, it’s because one particular child just can’t handle something and starts throwing fits which lead into more fits and everyone being upset for one reason or another.

I usually do a lot of work on weekends, not exactly because I want to, but it’s just the best time to put in the hours with fewer interruptions. But while I’m working I feel constant guilt since Greg is usually doing some weekly housecleaning and just dealing with all things parenting. Yes, I get those duties the five other days of the week, but it still doesn’t stop me from being flooded with guilt for not helping out. At any rate, the only weekends I really enjoy are the ones where I have plans to go off and do something on my own. Which still brings other forms of guilt. There’s no escaping.

Anyway, weekend vent over. It’s been a pretty full week. I think I’m happy with how I spent it. A good mix of fun activities, down time at home, and enough sewing hours to feel satisfied. I’m definitely still feeling the melancholy of summer coming to an end and not having done enough. But I’m also starting to really look forward to structure and schedules and TIME ALONE. The first few days are sure to be hard for all of us, but fall will be great. I’m really looking forward to it.

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On Monday, we went to the State Fair. The weather was cloudy and cool, which was amazing! We were basically the first people in the park.

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After biding our time and looking through the animal barns, we met up with the rest of the family and headed to the WI Products building to find some breakfast. We usually get a big bag of apple cider donuts to share, but this year everyone was hungry for a little more! Caden insisted on a giant hamburger, my dad had a ribeye sandwich, Timmy and I had grilled cheese, my mom had a baked potato, and we all had donuts.

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My favorite part of the fair is having an excuse to eat all kinds of crazy and fun foods. Not that grilled cheese is crazy or fun, but it was a good start to the day!

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The boys had a chance to try out these trampoline bungee thingys that they always admire. Caden was having a great time doing backwards flips!

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Shepard was too hesitant to try a flip without the girl specifically telling him he could. But he had a great time bouncing around!

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Hudson slept through most of his first fair visit!

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Next, we watched the pig races and then hunted down our next food mission: The Pickle Barrel for a cone of pickles and bag of Vienna beef sticks. Why do they not sell Vienna beef sticks in the store?? They are so good! This building with all the little booths of things for sale used to be my favorite place as a kid. I’ve given up on looking through it with kids in tow. But I did do a quick run through to try and find some dip and salsa samples!

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Greg and the boys got stuck in the kite and drone booth and ended up buying microdrones. I’m pretty sure they lasted maybe three days before they both broke completely… But I guess fun while it lasted!

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The milk drinkers. Actually, Caden doesn’t normally drink milk at all, but he wanted to try it.

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Next mission was a buffalo mac and cheese quesadilla for Timmy, a triple stack slider Sporkie winner for Brittany, and we got some basic chicken tenders for the boys to try and fill them up with “good” food before moving on to all the desserts they wanted.

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I went in search of Ranch-o Tots for my lunch. It’s just tater tots with ranch, bacon, and chives. They were good, but also filled me up too much to try any of the other things I was hoping for!

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Hudson woke up!

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Wondering what’s going on.

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Grandma time. Though I think I held him even longer. Little babies are the best! At least when they’re not crying and hungry. 🙂

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They told me they were reading breaking Packer news.

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Cream puff time. I’m not really a huge fan, but my parents pre-order them for a cheaper price and I usually get one to split with Greg. Except Greg was putting up some sort of silent protest and not eating anything, so I shared with Shepard.

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The happy little family! I’m glad we got to spend the day with them. And that we’ll probably get to spend the day with them every year at the fair! Timmy definitely shares my food enthusiasm for the day. He had a ton! It’s much more fun when everyone is so excited about it.

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He loves these things.

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There was a whole category of pigs made out of food. I couldn’t believe this one didn’t win, it was so cute!

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This was Greg pretty much the whole day. I’m not really sure why he even came. He doesn’t get fair day. Or the excitement of doing pretty much anything outside of the house.

Anyway, it was overall a pretty good day. The weather was intermittently hot in the sun and then cooled off with a fresh breeze. Shepard was a little whiny and obnoxious, but he did better than he’s done in the past. We left around 3:30. Each year we last a little tiny bit longer.

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Tuesday was a work day/recovery day. I’m pretty sure we went for a walk, or possibly the dog park. And that’s about all I remember of it!

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Wednesday we had a lot of errands to run. I wish the boys understood how many errands I’ve been cutting out of my life this summer to make it easier on them. They still complain like it’s the end of the world when I say we have to go to a store. Especially a store allllll the way in Madison! So we had to keep the day filled with treats to keep them behaved and moving. We had to start with cake pops at Target.

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We managed Target, Costco, Stanton Optical, Chipotle, Hobby Lobby, and Woodman’s! It was exhausting, for sure!! But we made it. They’re still not quite sold on Chipotle because they like their particular meat sauces, neither of which a taco/burrito restaurant carries. But Caden discovered he loves Tabasco (I hate it, so never buy it) and Shepard loved their hot salsa and chips.

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Thursday was another down day. I spent most of my day researching hotels in Door County. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and finally brought it up with Greg. I asked for two nights away, by myself, for my birthday this year. Summer just sucks the life out of me sometimes and I wanted something to look forward to. September is also just insane and really draining on me. So after hours of research, I finally booked a hotel for myself right in the middle of September. Still a few weeks before my birthday, but I think it’ll be perfect timing. I am SO EXCITED about this little getaway!!

Thursday night I had dinner out with two of my friends. It was short and sweet, but still nice to get out of the house with friends. I fear I’ve neglected most of my friendships to the point of losing them this summer. It’s so hard to keep in touch without solid reasons to see each other every day. At least a few of us have made the effort to get together every month.

Friday was our long day because Greg had a work event in Chicago. I wanted to fit in something extra special to try and break up the day and make it more enjoyable.

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I asked the boys what they wanted to do before school started. They said go on a hike, go to Rockin’ Jump, and go to the Milwaukee Zoo with Hudson. So we looked at Groupon deals and decided to check out Sky Zone, which opened earlier this year. They looked like they had a few extra things that Rockin’ Jump didn’t have, including a warrior skills course. Looked like the perfect place to go.

While it was a pretty cool place, I think the boys had a lot more frustrations than fun. Everything was geared toward kids maybe middle and high school age. And there were a lot of those aged kids there. Shepard has amazing arm strength and body control and was able to complete a lot more of the challenges than Caden, which really upset him. Caden really wanted to play dodgeball, but older kids were pummelling him with balls every time he got on the court, before he even had a chance to position himself. Then they’d yell for him to get off, so he was understandably upset about that too. The one guy manning the warrior course let tons of kids just go whenever they felt like it, but EVERY TIME one of my kids started to cross he’d yell at them that they couldn’t go yet. Then he’d turn his attention elsewhere and a kid would butt in front of the boys and go. I never saw a single other kid get yelled at. After one particular kid butted in front of them for the third time, with his dad just happily watching on, I went over and got in his face and yelled at him. My Mama Bear side doesn’t often come out – not like that – but I was getting pretty frustrated and upset with the whole situation too. Shepard really wanted to do the stick fighting thing (top left picture), but every time he tried to climb up an older kid would shove him down before he could even get to the top. He never had a fair chance to even begin the challenge, and this other mom kept yelling at him to let her son have a turn, while the other boys on the stands had been there practically the entire time we were there! The boys were genuinely trying their hardest and behaving really well, but they kept getting taken advantage of, or just weren’t strong enough/skilled enough/old enough to complete most of the things there. It was hard to watch them try to deal with it all. 🙁

Anyway, they did have some fun! After our first hour, a huge chunk of the kids left on a bus. Once it was a lot less crowded they were able to do more things. Or at least try more things without the pressure of 13 year old kids trying to shove past them. I’m not sure we’d go here again. But at least we tried it. Afterward we had lunch and came back home where they spent a few hours playing with Leverett. Who has gotten over his fear of Annie and has spent many, many hours over here in the last three days.

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We went to the pool’s beach party Friday night. It was pretty chilly out! There weren’t a ton of people there, but the boys had fun swimming for an hour and a half. Then insisted on getting ice cream treats. I couldn’t bring myself to swim. Way too cold!

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And finally, trying to get ready for bed. The boys and Annie were SO HYPER. But they were also cute, so I had to take some pictures. 🙂

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Caden read a book to Shepard to end the night. I was pretty dang exhausted after all of that! I planned on working that night, but just watched half of a movie instead. Single parenting is a lot of work! It was a fun day, though.

And Saturday I worked! Twelve hours. We went on a short walk to play at the new school playground. And that was my day!

THIS WEEK

This upcoming week is our busiest of August. Lots of things going on! My best friend Dianne and her husband Jack are going to be in WI visiting her dad. So we’re hoping to squeeze in 2-3 little meetups on Monday and Tuesday. I’m thinking on Monday we might also visit the Pope Farms Conservatory to see the sunflower fields. Tuesday night is obedience class. (Just three left!) Wednesday night we’re going to the Dodge County Fair with Steve and Cindy. Thursday we have Caden’s last therapy session and then I’m getting drinks with a friend. And Friday Greg is back in Chicago, so we’ll have to plan another fun day. It’s also Shepard’s half birthday, which we try to always make extra special. Saturday we’re going to a dog swimming event with Annie. And Sunday is my brother’s 30th birthday party. Busy busy!

I want to get some work done this week, but I want to put everything else first. The clock is ticking! Hopefully we can make a lot of good memories this week.

That’s it for my weekly recap!