Sunday Intentions

Well, I’ll keep my weekly recap a lot shorter than last Sunday! Mostly because I’m feeling way too lazy to get the photos from my phone to try and make this a more visually appealingย post. Can’t do it today, sorry.

Pi Day was fun! The buffalo chicken pot pie was interesting. The filling was basically buffalo chicken dip. Which is delicious. But paired with traditional pie crust instead of salty chips…it was just really grossing me out. Greg ate a ton of it. Caden did eat his with chips. And Shepard refused to eat a bite, throwing a huge tantrum. No surprise, it happens EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The s’mores pie also seemed a little bit funky. It was just pretty weird to bake a brownie mix into a graham cracker crust. I tried to cheat and use a premade crust, when the recipe wanted to fill a big springform pan. So it just didn’t work out that well. But I didn’t want the festivities to be a total failure, so I whipped up a quick apple crostata with a gouda pie crust. THAT was delicious!

My mom and I had a great time visiting that vintage store in Dodgeville and having a tasty dinner afterward. I’m not sure I’d want to make that far of a drive to see the store again during one of their monthly openings, but I’m glad my curiosity was satisfied.

We celebrated Guster Day by playing Guster music all night. Greg’s favorite band. I don’t listen to them on my own, but I’ve been to what feels like a million Guster concerts, so it was kind of fun to be festive. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I already talked about St. Patrick’s Day in my last post! It was a busy week. Followed by a quieter weekend, which we all needed. Greg and I were able to seeย Beauty and the Beast yesterday, which was awesome. We had a family movie night watching Trolls.ย And today we had lunch and caught up with the in-law’s. I’m not feeling very well today, so I’ve basically spent the entire rest of the day reading. Which is partly nice and partly really frustrating because I have so much to do. ๐Ÿ™ I just haven’t worked up the energy to actually do anything. Yet.

This Week

I think my intentions for the last few weeks have been pretty broad. This week I need to get more specific and maybe more will get done!

First Priority: Raffle Baskets and Work

I need to make one more thing to add to my raffle baskets for school. I’m really excited to put them all together! I wish I could have a business making themed gift baskets. I’d be awesome at it. But yes, I need to finish those up, hopefully in the next day or two if I’m feeling better. I also have some half finished things I’d like to get done and listed asap.

Second Priority: Decorate for Easter

I never got around to decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. I never painted these awesome wooden shamrocks I bought a few months ago. I never made more than like 4 St. Patrick’s Day dolls for the shop. Kind of a failed holiday. I need to do better for Easter! Greg dug out the boxes of decorations today, so I need to clean the house first and then hopefully get decorating!

Third Priority: Walking

I really, really, really want to start daily walks again this week. Not just to school in the mornings and afternoons, but longer exercise focused walks too. I was so motivated and I loved it last summer and fall. And then winter happened and everything fell apart. It’s MAYBE getting a bit warmer this week, so it’s time to walk.

Fourth Priority: Anniversary Plans

Usually we are very clear on what we’re doing for our anniversary by this time of the year. But this May’s extra busy schedule is just paralyzing me. It’s always a busy month, and always a fun month. But this year with the addition of joining the city wide garage sale Mother’s Day/Greg’s birthday weekend, is just really throwing me. And it’s still a month and a half away. I want to make our anniversary a priority (May 28th), but the timing just sucks. If you’re not married yet, I strongly advise you not to get married Memorial Day weekend. You’ll be busy with other things every year the rest of your life! Or so it seems. Anyway, I’ve been going back and forth between a one night nice hotel getaway for our actual anniversary, going on a slightly longer but still fairly local trip a few weeks later, or maybe just doing a low key family vacation instead. I can’t make up my mind and I’m having a hard time even thinking about it. But plans need to be made. Asap.

Fifth Priority: Caden’s Half Birthday

We like to make half birthdays special around here. Caden’s is this Thursday. He’s been having a rough time with life lately. Very emotional and angry. We decided lately that the best course of action to try and turn things around is making our best efforts praise him for the good choices he makes. So I’m hoping a day centered around him will cheer him up.

Meal Plans

I haven’t thought this out yet. My brain isn’t working too well today. I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to think out meals and it’s not working. Caden requested tacos for his half birthday. Pizza Friday. I’ve been thinking about a Jamaican Curry too. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Have a good week!

Busy Week Recap and Sunday Intentions

Amy and Caden

Ooh boy, it was a big week. I had plans to write about all that I did,ย right after it happened, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Busy, busy. I feel like these Sunday Intentions posts are becoming much more about evaluating the week past instead of talking about the week ahead. But I like the journaling aspect of these posts and remembering the details of big and small things that happened over the week. So here goes.

Caden

On Monday, Caden had his final IEP meeting. He passed! He is no longer in speech therapy and requiring any type of special education services. Which is awesome. It’s truly amazing how far he’s come in the last few years. When he was 18 months old and still not saying any words, the doctors were becoming concerned and wanted us to keep an eye on things. Around two years old, we moved back to Wisconsin and got him into Birth to 3. Right at three he started taking speech therapy twice a week and was diagnosed with an apraxia of speech, which means the words were not connecting properly from his brain to his mouth. In 4K we still couldn’t understand more than half of the words he said. And that was us, the people who knew him best. He was practically unintelligible to anyone else, and other kids were occasionally making fun of him for it. ย In kindergarten, first grade, and now second grade, he’s been continuing therapy at school, but very unhappy about it because he missed so much in regular class. He was often taken out of class 2-3 times a week, and it was progressively becoming more a lot upsetting to him. And finally, in the last few months, we all decided that he was ready to graduate from it! He’s worked very hard the last six and a half years, and I’m incredibly proud of him. A few years ago, I honestly thought he’d still be taking speech into middle school. He’s done awesome!

Heart Model

On Tuesday morning, we had to take Shepard to the Children’s Hospital for an echocardiogram. He’s been sick a lot this winter and in January the doctor noticed a heart murmur. She thought it was probably because he was dehydrated, but wanted him to come back to get it checked out again later. She could still hear it that appointment, so we were sent to a pediatric cardiologist for a more official consultation.

Silly

It was a long morning. The doctor listened and said, “That’s not a murmur, that’s a click! A click is a lot worse!!” She was quite enthusiastic about it. She wanted to get us in for the echo, which apparently we weren’t actually scheduled for. So we had to wait to get fit into the schedule and then we had to wait for insurance to decide if they would cover it or not. All while thinking about what the words “that’s a lot worse!” could mean.

Echo

Long story short, he is totally fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ He did a great job laying on the table during the echo. It lasted about an hour. A very long hour! The doctor came back when it was over and declared that he was totally and completely fine. We asked what the click was and she shouted, “I have no idea!” She thought perhaps he just has an acoustic chest… Then she stood there and repeatedly asked Shepard to promise he’d never smoke because that’s the worst thing he could do for his heart. He kept staring at her blankly and I suggested that he probably doesn’t even know what smoking is because I don’t think he’s ever seen a smoker. But she continued to say she was serious and she needs a promise from him. It was an interesting appointment. But we’re so grateful that everything turned out to be great.

Plants

On Tuesday night, Greg was called out to help my brother with a broken down car situation. So I was alone with the boys at night, which practically never happens. We decided to use the time to finally look through the Gurney’s catalog and plan out our gardens. We went out and took measurements, made an official gardening notebook, and drew a to scale plot for us to plan it all out. Caden re-wrote our list of seeds we bought, and a few extra plants we’ll want to buy when it’s time. We’re planning to start a few things in one of those early seed starters too. I’m pretty excited about it! The boys aren’t often interested in things they can do with me, and I’m not particularly interested in the things they love the most (i.e. video games), so it’s really exciting to have this big project the three of us can work on together throughout the next many months.

Ballerinas

On Wednesday, I was working hard to finish up a big batch of dolls. I was looking forward to finally catching up and making some sales. And then because of construction and/or a truck hitting a line and/or a windstorm blowing down a tower, we were without internet and cell signal for the entire day! It was pretty crazy. Definitely makes you realize how much you rely on that technology to feel connected to the world. Being home alone with the insane winds, not having any way to contact anyone, was kind of freaky. And also extremely frustrating because I couldn’t get anything listed until very late that night. On a positive note, I did go with Laura to the Rio Drumfit class. It was fun to be there again. I think we’ll continue going on weeks that it works out for us. But I still wish the class would come back to Columbus. Much more convenient night and location.

Lego Batman

On Thursday I decided to catch up on cleaning the house. When I’m in the middle of a big batch of dolls, I tend to let a lot of the housework go. So I spent the majority of the day just putzing around.

On Friday, there was no school (no idea why), so Greg took the day off and we had a family day. We went to see the new Lego Batman movie. It’s the first time all four of us have ever seen a movie in the theater together! I thought it was pretty funny!

Friday night the boys went on a sleepover and Greg and I had a date night. We were feeling pretty lazy, so we just stayed in and basically watched six hours of tv. But it was kind of awesome! It’s pretty rare we spend such a solid block of time together. And a treat to actually binge watch a show (Superstore!) all in the same night. Reminds me of life before kids when we’d watch episode after episode of 24 every single night. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, it was fun.

Galena

And finally, my girls weekend in Galena! We’ve been planning this for over two months and it was great to finally have happen! Life has been crazy and I really needed the break from everything. It was also just really cool to connect with my friends longer than the two minute conversations we barely manage at the playground after school.

We spent most of Saturday going through some of the unique little shops in the downtown area. We all found some fun treasures! We also went to two wine tastings. I’ve never done wine tastings before, but it was really fun! I’m so unaccustomed to alcohol, so I liked trying out things I would never consider buying if I just looked at the bottle. We also went to a couple fun restaurants and pubs and then spent most of the night just chilling out at our two bedroom villa with pizza, cheese, and our favorite wines. We all caught up on sleep and reveled in a day and a half of not needing to be moms! I had a really great time and look forward to doing it again in the future! ๐Ÿ™‚

THIS WEEK

So onto this week! Thankfully, the calendar is looking a lot more open. Except for that it’s Pi Day on Tuesday, the Ides of March on Wednesday, Guster Day on Thursday, and St. Patrick’s Day on Friday. I’m not really sure how to celebrate on Wednesday and Thursday, but Greg always likes to make special note of those days!

Focus: Work!

It’s a working week. I need to make up for getting very little done last week. I volunteered to make some raffle baskets for the school spring carnival coming up, which I’m very excited about, I just don’t have a single thing made for them yet. So that’s my first priority, and then I need to get going hard core on Easter dolls and bunnies. The clock is ticking!! I still feel so very behind. My new system of writing down my hours has really been interesting. I’m realizing that my goal of five hours a day is nearly impossible between errands, laundry, meals, and school pick ups and drop offs. And last week at least, almost all of those hours were put in after dinner. NOT the way I want it to be.

Second Focus: Me Time

This last week really left me drained. Getting away this weekend was a lot of fun, but I now kind of feel more tired than ever. As much as I want to get a lot of work done, I don’t want to do it at the expense of my health. So I’m planning to try and get to bed early, take naps if I need them, and try not to work so much at night. I’m also hopefully going to a fun vintage store with my mom on Wednesday night. Weather permitting. But it will hopefully work out and be a really fun mid-week treat!

Meal Planning – I actually did it this week!

Monday – Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas – I always have chicken and a lot of peppers – easy peasy.

Tuesday (PI DAY) – Buffalo Chicken Pot Pie, based off of this recipe. It might be gross, it might be good, I can’t make up my mind. I don’t really like regular chicken pot pie, but maybe if I make some sort of buffalo concoction it’ll be good. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, perhaps this Peanut Butter Brownie S’mores Pie.ย 

Wednesday – Guys are on their own, assuming I can get to that shop

Thursday – Costco’s St. Patrick’s Day ravioli. I would save it for Friday, but we haven’t had pizza a couple Fridays in a row, so I want to get back on track.

Friday – Pizza. Maybe green pizza. Or at least shamrock shaped pizza. I made some quick jalapeno popper naan pizzas for dinner tonight which were pretty great. So maybe I’ll do that again, with extra jalapenos on top, and call it Irish!

Have a great week! Enjoy all the mini holidays! Though you probably don’t know who Guster is lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Sunday Intentions

Well, last week did not turn out to be as productive as I had hoped. It started with that Zumba class Monday night and kind of went downhill from there. I hated the class. I really, really wanted to like it. But it’s just not me. I’ve never been good at dancing and I’ve always been super self conscious about it in any sort of situation that requires dancing. And being in a room full of people dancing super fast and actually being really good at it? I felt like such a fool! And like I was going to die. I was going to try out the Zumba Toning class on Wednesday night just to see how it differed, but I couldn’t do it. My friend Laura and I were then going to go to the Drumfit class in a neighboring town, but it ended up being cancelled due to snow. Maybe this week… Otherwise the search for an awesomely fun exercise routine continues. I did find a cool website called Fitness Blender with loads of workout videos to do at home. I haven’t explored it too much yet, but I’m hoping to take advantage of it in the future. Soon.

I did make a change to my work routine that I’m hoping will help me be a lot more productive. It’s so simple, but – I’m going to start recording my hours. This has two advantages. First, it will help me think of sewing time as my actual work time. Sewing shouldn’t be something I’m trying to fit into the rest of my to do list. It NEEDS to be my top priority during the day. And because I love to see that I devoted a big chunk of time to it, once I “clock in” I’ll feel a lot more inclined to keep at it and not be distracted by other things. The other advantage of writing down my hours is that I can see when I’m putting in the most time and try to rearrange my schedule to a way that I’d rather do it. For example, most of my working hours this week have been at night. That’s not what I want. And yesterday I started at 6:30 am, ended at 8:30 pm, and only took minimal breaks to make and eat meals and run to the grocery store. That shouldn’t be what my average Saturday looks like. I don’t want to be the workaholic mother that is in the house, but not at all present. But I also feel deeply conflicted about this, because I’m genuinely behind at work and if nights and Saturdays are the only times I can sew, then I really need to do it! It’s so tough to find the balance. I did give myself the day off today to do what I wanted (mostly read!), but I still haven’t had any real connections or time spent with my family and I just feel yucky about the whole weekend. I don’t want weekends to be like this. But…I don’t want to feel behind either.

So my other priority last week was to take care of myself. It started with a bang and by the end of the week I was eating like crap and not even trying to exercise. But I did have some me time and really enjoyed the Vintage Shop Hop with my parents all day Friday. I didn’t find as many cool treasures as last year, but it was still really fun to check out some new stores and admire so many handmade gifts and creations. It was great just escaping responsibilities for a day too. Being driven around to loads of vintage stores is pretty much living the dream. ๐Ÿ™‚

Top Priority: Be Present

It’s kind of a busy week ahead. There’s something important going on almost every day. And while I really want to get a lot done this week, I’d also like to be fully present for the people that need my attention. Life isn’t all about work!

Tomorrow is Caden’s last IEP meeting. We were told that he’s graduating from speech, but he just told us tonight he has to have his final testing tomorrow afternoon. So hopefully, presumably, he’ll be testing out! It’s been six and a half years of very hard work for him and we’re so proud of how far he’s come. We’re going out to dinner with the grandparents afterward to celebrate his huge achievement.

Tuesday morning we’re taking Shepard for an echocardiogram. When he was sick in January the doctor noticed a heart murmur. She thought it was probably because he’d been sick with various colds and strep for three months and the result ofย dehydration. But when he had his well child visit the other day she could still hear it. So it needs to be checked out at the children’s hospital. It’s hopefully nothing, but still scary thinking there might be something wrong with my baby’sย heart.

Friday it looks like we might finally get a date night! I’m assuming we’re probably just going to stay in, but it’ll still be nice to be kid free for the night. It’s very hard to connect when the boys are demanding Greg’s attention every waking moment.

And then Saturday and Sunday I’m going on a girl’s getaway weekend with a few of my friends! It’ll be SO awesome to have some girl time. I feel like I’ve barely had an adult conversation with anyone in months and months. I need this trip. I’m also looking forward to some more fun shopping and restaurant food!

Second Priority: Work Hard

So in between everything, I really need to keep working. Keep writing down my hours and try to keep it to daytime only, as much as possible. I’m in the middle of a really big batch of dolls and I’m hoping to finish them up in the next day or two. Then I need to focus on Easter and start churning them out. Lots to do. Always lots to do!

Meal Planning

Well, I haven’t really thought about this much, but I’m not going to sweat over it either. We have a lot of food in the freezer that we need to start eating up. It’ll be another easy week. No use stressing over meals that take too much time or effort.

Anyway, busy days ahead. Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions

It was a pretty good week as far as productivity goes. I finished a bunch of dolls on Tuesday and had my biggest day of sales to date. It always feels amazing to sell so much right away, but also frustrating because I feel like I’d consistently sell that well IF I could keep my shop constantly stocked with new items! I just can’t seem to make more than a handful of dolls a week – if even that. Life keeps getting in the way, despite the fact that I’m starting work around 5am a lot of days and still working late into the night. Figuring out how to properly balance my time continues to baffle me.

At any rate, it was a good week – work wise. It was also a good week exercise-wise. With the nicer weather I got a lot of long walks in. I’m hoping I can continue that this next week. I’m also going to my first ever Zumba class tomorrow and I’m hoping I’ll love it as much as Drumfit. Unfortunately, the Drumfit lady decided coming to Columbus was no longer worth her time. I really miss it.

It was also a nice week with family time. As I talked about in an earlier post, the boys and I had a great hike together on Monday. Last night my brother and sister-in-law came over for a game night. Greg and I used to have game nights all the time when we lived in MN. Then kids happened and tv is the only thing we can manage to think about once they’re put to bed! But it was really fun to play games for once! And then today we went to their big gender reveal party – I’m going to have a NEPHEW! I was rooting for a boy, mostly because everybody was so certain it was going to be a girl and sometimes I like to be a little bit ornery. But I would have been very happy either way. ๐Ÿ™‚ It feels a lot more real now, knowing in just a few short months there will be a little boy joining the family! My boys will have so much fun with their first cousin.

So moving on to this coming week. I feel like life is finally settling down a little bit after the excitement of February, but the schedule also seems to be picking up at the same time. After months of nothing, it looks like there are school events almost every week now. I wish they’d space the events out a little better! But I guess that gives us something to do. On the nights when nobody ever wants to leave the house…

Top Priority: Work!

Between parties and holidays, it has not been a productive month for Heartstring Annie. But I finally have some more time to really dive into it. I also did something that makes me super happy – I put a stop on custom orders until after Easter. I know I should be happy about custom orders because it’s automatic money. But I find so much more enjoyment in making what I want to make and then seeing it sell. Especially in this quieter time of year when I can stray from strictly making holiday and seasonal dolls. I have more freedom right now to really get creative and my head is just exploding with ideas. By tomorrow I should be able to finish up my last batch of custom orders and then I can jump in to some new things.

Second Priority: Me!

As I mentioned in the post I wrote yesterday, I’ve really been feeling overwhelmed and stressed with just the mundane household responsibilities and more frustrating aspects of parenting. So this week I just want to remember to take care of myself too. Go on lots of walks if I can. Take that Zumba class. Eat healthy. Read a lot. And what I’m looking forward to most – going on the Vintage Shop Hop with my parents on Friday. I’ve gone the last few years and this past year my dad took off work to chauffeur us around Illinois and Wisconsin, going to as many shops as we could fit in. Finding those unique vintage and gifty type stores is one of my favorite things ever. So I’m incredibly excited that we’re doing it again this year. I’m also really excited that I don’t have to make the boys breakfast, I won’t have to pack their lunches, and I won’t have to make them dinner! A day without meal arguments sounds like a slice of heaven. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m really looking forward to Friday!

Tentative Meal Planning

Monday – Pulled Pork Sandwiches (marinaded pork roast from the store mixed with a store bought Chili’s sauce mix)

Tuesday – Mongolian Beef – This might just be a meal that everyone will eat without complaint!

Wednesday – Chicken Tenders (hopefully homemade) mixed with Chili’s honey chipotle sauce (I love Chili’s and was really excited to find these sauce packets at the store last week!)

Thursday – Leftovers, probably. Unless I take pity on Shepard and make pizza.

Friday – The guys are on their own! Well, presuming I’m not home yet at dinnertime. But yeah, they’ll be on their own no matter what. Ha!

Anyway, I think it’ll be a good week. Lots to do, but lots to look forward to. Hope you have a good week as well!

Sunday Intentions

Well, I have some good news for once – I actually feel like I accomplished as much as I set out to last week! I had a big list of custom orders that needed to be done and I finished them all. I didn’t have many (or any?) other sales, but it also occurred to me just how low my inventory is right now. I think it’s just impossible to catch up to where I want to be with my workload. But I’ll keep working on it. Maybe next school year I’ll finally hit my groove with the work at home/life at home balance!

I also implemented a Self Care Wednesday this week! There’s been all this random shopping I’ve really been wanting to do. No regular errands, just fun things for myself. I actually ended up going Wednesday and Friday because Friday required a few necessary errands. I wandered around Ulta and looked at so much makeup. I even found a new lipstick brand and style to brighten my week. I tried on clothes at Kohls and found a pair of $10 jeans that actually fit and I liked. I went to Barnes and Noble – TWICE – to find more books to add to my list. I meandered JoAnn’s and found some fabrics and supplies for future projects. It was all very leisurely, mostly browsing, but really just a lot of fun.

I feel like I had a good amount of family time this week too. The boys were off of school Monday, so we ran a few errands and then went to lunch with my mom for her birthday. We worked on Valentines together and went to a rec department button craft night. Greg and I had our usual tv nights and a quiet at home date night. And we all spent the day together in Chicago yesterday. We also spent all of today working together to rearrange the house. Lots of family time this week.

And as an awesome bonus for the week – Greg finished our taxes AND he bought and installed our new toilet. No more fighting over the one toilet every morning!

So looking ahead to this next week – it’s a big one! Valentine’s Day and Shepard’s birthday and two birthday parties. Lots to get done in the next few days!

First Priority: Finish Straightening Up the House!

I’ve really wanted to get a Lego area set up in the house again. I can’t even remember why Greg moved them to the basement in the first place a couple months ago. At one point he was thinking about setting up a play area down there, but then we had all of our water emergencies. Between the constant thawing water trickling through and the pretty low temps down there, it just couldn’t happen. But I had already rearranged the family room to give him a desk/office area, so the Legos didn’t have anywhere else to go. We finally tackled that puzzle today, which led to basically rearranging every room on the main floor of the house.

We ended up moving one of my big bookshelves from the living room into my sewing room. And redistributed everything I had in that space into new spaces. Which in turn meant I had to reorganize everything in my sewing room. But now the Legos are set up in the living room. I think I’m going to take some real time to readjust to this. The living room was the one room I could always count on to be clean, peaceful, and pretty. Nobody had any reason to be in here except me and I loved it. I gave that up today for a mess that’s guaranteed to NEVER be cleaned up again. I figured it was for the greater good and a sacrifice I could make. I’m not the only one that lives here, after all. But when Greg said he plans on using the window seat as the spot to display all the finished sets….yeah, I couldn’t really swallow that one. ๐Ÿ™ Goodbye picture perfect peaceful room. I guess my concession is that we were able to move the family room back to the way we had it, so it doesn’t feel too cramped and overwhelming. And without any Legos in that room, it’s hopefully easier to keep clean. Then all our rooms can be half clean, half messy…

Anyway! I need to find a rug for our new Lego area. Hopefully a rug that can strictly be enforced as the only portion of floor Legos are allowed on! I also need to do some major kitchen cleaning and bedroom cleaning before the weekend and Shepard’s parties hit.

Second Priority – Valentine’s Day

So Valentine’s Day isn’t a HUGE holiday, but we do like to celebrate. It’s fun to always find reasons to celebrate! I’m hoping we can have a nice family night on Tuesday. I’m going to make heart shaped ravioli and pasta for dinner, with a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. I also have small gifts for each of my boys. My goal for the week is to feel prepared, calm, and open to just enjoying the night together. I’m also hoping if the boys go to Grandma’s this week sometime, Greg and I can get a real date in.

Third Priority – Shepard’s 6th Birthday!

I’m a little nervous about birthday festivities this year. I feel like every single year I go so out of the way to make Caden’s parties awesome. And Shepard’s always feel like an afterthought. I finally planned out some food, but I have nothing that fits his Mario theme. He wants sundaes for dessert, so I won’t even have a cake to decorate. This is also the first year that he’s having a friend birthday party. AND the first year we’re having a party on his actual birthday. I definitely wouldn’t have ever done that if I could have found a way out of it. But with it falling on a Saturday, this is just the only way it could be done. Before party mode is always super hectic and stressful around here, but I want to try soooo hard to avoid that this time since it is his actual birthday. My perfectionism mode needs to go away on Saturday and just let things go. The house will probably be a bit messy. But the party is only two hours and we’re only eating one food. We’ll survive. And then his family party is on Sunday. He’s pretty easy to please, so I’m sure it will all go smoothly.

And if in between all of that I can have time to sew and build up my inventory – that would be AWESOME. But I can’t depend on it. Today was supposed to be my big work day this week. And then I spent the entire day rearranging and reorganizing. ๐Ÿ™ So we’ll see what happens.

Finally, no meal plans yet this week. I’m so sick of making dinner, you guys. I’ve been sick of it for months. There doesn’t seem to be any meal anymore that everybody likes. And making a meal knowing one person is going to complain through all of it – it takes all the fun out of cooking. So we’ll just see what comes to me at 4:30 every afternoon!

Have a good week!

Crazy Fun Weekend!

20170203_172152 great wolf lodge

It has been a couple of crazy days! I thought about dividing this up into a couple different posts, but I’m just going to cheat and throw them all together into one big compilation of our fun weekend.

On Friday morning I picked up my goddaughter, McKenna, and spent the day with her while her parents closed on a new house. We went to see the movie Sing, which I really liked! Maybe I do like animated movies. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then we had lunch at Monk’s, did a little grocery shopping, and I dropped her off at her new house and got to look around for a few minutes. I can’t wait to see it when they’re all moved in! It was fun to spend time with McKenna, though I think I need to do it more often so she gets more comfortable hanging out with me.

I had just enough time back at home to take a half hour nap before it was time to gather everything up for the Dells. Shepard had a cold this week and Greg and I bought caught it on Thursday. Caden caught it on Saturday. Of course, because vacations are always the best time to get sick. ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, we were going into the weekend a little worse for wear, but we made the most of it.

20170203_173545 fireplace

The Dells

For Christmas, Greg’s parents usually give the boys a weekend in the Dells as one of their bigger gifts. We really appreciate the experience gift and it gives us all something to look forward to in the long winter months. This year we checked out Great Wolf Lodge for the first time. We left right after school, had a quick dinner at Taco Bell, and then got settled into the hotel. Our rooms were gigantic and had nice fireplaces and sitting areas. The boys were ready to swim immediately after getting in the room. We all went down for a little bit and explored around the waterpark. Their favorite of the night was the family “hot tub,” which was more like warm bathwater. ๐Ÿ™‚

20170203_193828(0)dippin dots

After some time in the water, we explored the rest of the hotel and stopped at the sweet shop to share a container of Dippin’ Dots ice cream. Greg had never had it before (or the boys), so his parents had to buy him some. ๐Ÿ™‚

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More exploring. I was about to keel over from cold induced exhaustion at this point. But we still had to stop at the game room!

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Just a couple of games before turning in for the night.

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Before we got to the game room, Caden was running really fast down the halls and he ran into one of those penny smashing machines. He hurt his arm pretty bad and wasn’t in the mood for any more pictures. Fortunately, they both fell asleep really quickly. It was adorable because after awhile Shepard kept trying to roll over and snuggle into Caden’s arm in his sleep. Caden would start stirring, Greg would get up and move him back to his side of the bed, and then he’d immediately roll back over to Caden. I couldn’t stop laughing. But it was also really sweet.

frog pond

Despite the late night, the boys and I were up before 6. Fortunately I had the foresight to bring some donuts on this trip, so we just ate donuts and played tablet/read for a couple of hours. Then we were back at the pool when it opened at 9. This little bridge contraption is always Caden’s favorite at any waterpark we go to. This time he was honing his skills on getting across without even touching the rope.

caden ball

waterslide

It’s kind of funny to me how we keep going to waterparks, but the boys are mostly just interested in actually swimming. They both LOVED the wave pool this time around. Wave pools freak me out after feeling like I was going to drown in one at Noah’s Ark as a kid. But of course super swimmer Caden kept going as deep as he could and never wanted to leave! Shepard enjoyed going down the lazy river tube slide a bunch of times with Greg, but other than that had no interest in the slides. So Greg and I decided to check out one of the milder slides together. It was pretty fun, but the line was too long to feel like it was worth going again.

20170204_123234a ll the tickets

After swimming, we went back to our rooms for a little while. Steve ran to Culver’s to get lunch to bring back to the hotel. As much as I love going to delicious sit down restaurants, simplicity really is the best when you’re in situations like this with kids. After we ate we headed back to the game room to use up the rest of our points. Caden had some sort of meltdown and went back to the room, so Shepard got to play all the rest of the games and claim the tickets.

ticket prizes

Without any prompting, he spent his tickets buying two of everything, so Caden could have prizes too. He really loved his new purple bracelet and Love ring. ๐Ÿ™‚ He also bought a bunch of candy bracelets and tootsie rolls for Grandpa.

20170204_141416 greg and amy

The Ice Castles

It was time to check out of the hotel, so then we headed to our final destination – the Dells Ice Castles.

20170204_141442(0) ice castles

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20170204_141556(0) greg and caden

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20170204_142330 cool blue ice

These were definitely quite the thing to experience! It would have been a little more enjoyable if it weren’t so cold or crowded, but we all had fun. Shepard never wanted to leave!

20170204_142521 caden

20170204_143951(0) slide

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20170204_144901 chute

Overall, it was a really fun trip. Thank you, Steve and Cindy! We all agreed that Great Wolf Lodge was our favorite of the waterparks we’ve visited the last few years. I’d definitely be okay with going back again someday.

IMG_0455 dips

Mom’s Birthday

Now on to today! Today we celebrated my mom’s birthday. She requested spinach dip, one of her favorite things I make. When my dad found out, he requested “normal dip.” So – both dips!

IMG_0457 brie

I had another brie in the fridge and some berries that needed to be used, so I made another batch of that brie from earlier in the week. Yummy!

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Pull apart garlic cheese bread.

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Roasted potatoes.

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And Cuban chicken with chimmichurri.

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Shepard drew a picture of Grandma’s dog Gracie saying “Please don’t disappear, Mom!” I have no idea what made him think to write those words. They were equally disturbing and hilarious! I like the dandelion he drew on the front.

IMG_0467 cadens card

Caden also drew a picture of Gracie. Apparently she’s the only of the three dogs that make an impression on the boys.

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I made her an Annie and pig set with some pig fabric she mentioned loving a few weeks ago. Timmy and Brittany gave her some coveted Lipstick Queen lipstick. Jealous!

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My dad brought a white raspberry cake from Carl’s Cakes for dessert. It was delicious!

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Shepard, the ham ball. He was trying to show off his “blue” lips after he tried on Grandma’s Hello Sailor Lipstick Queen lipstick.

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday Intentions

And finally, my last segment of this very long post. My intentions for the week are pretty simple – WORK! Last week was fun and crazy, but I didn’t get any sewing done. Even though I almost never get custom orders, last week I got an onslaught of them. Sometimes I like custom orders because they make people happy. But most of the time they frustrate me because I don’t have any time to work on the things I really want to work on. Which right now is a lot! So I need to get those done so I can move on to other things. Next week will be full of Shepard’s birthday related things, so this is my one big work week of the month apparently!

Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions

Well, I thought I was setting myself up for a pretty easy week with my intentions last Sunday. But I epically failed at all of it. I didn’t have any super meaningful experiences with my kids, I read maybe one chapter of Present Over Perfect, and I didn’t give myself a Self Care Day. It didn’t help that Caden was home sick on Tuesday (more of a mental health day I allowed him) and Wednesday was another snow day. I planned to have a self care day on Thursday instead, but I didn’t feel like I could afford to take a day off from everything I desperately needed to work on. Another messed up week and many more days of plans I made for myself that didn’t work out.

This next week is busy. Compared to how quiet our schedule usually is, this next week is insane. It’s a lot of really fun stuff, but I’ve been very stressed out over pulling it all together. Last night I was nearing panic mode over everything I needed to figure out and get done. But today I sat down and made my lists for each day and I know it’s all going to come together. And it’s going to be great, even if it’s not “perfect.”

Top Priority: HAVE FUN!

I’m getting my hair cut for the first time in six months tomorrow. I’m looking forward to actually having a reason to make an effort again.

I’m having a Valentine party with my friends on Wednesday. Desserts and cocktails. I’m really looking forward to hanging out with people after basically two months of not seeing anyone since my last party! Wisconsin winters are hard for the social life. There’s obviously some prep I need to do to get ready for another party, but it’ll be well worth it.

I’m spending Friday with my goddaughter. I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet, but I’m looking forward to getting to know her better. I kind of miss having fun filled weekdays with a kid. It should be a lot of fun.

Then Friday night and Saturday we’re going to the Dells with Greg’s parents as part of the boys’ Christmas present. After this cold and icy winter month, I’m really looking forward to actually doing something exciting and special with everyone. I know the boys will really love having a chance to swim again. It’s been too long since we’ve seen a pool!

And Sunday we’re having a birthday party for my mom. Which will also be a blast.

Second Priority: Cut Myself Some Slack

So that’s a lot of stuff on the calendar. With a lot of cleaning and food prep and packing and planning and wrapping in between. I’m basically assuming I will get no sewing done this week. I’m fortunate I can take these breaks when I need it! Even though a week without working kind of freaks me out. As I mentioned last week, I do a lot better when I stay very consistent! But LIFE is more important this week and I want to enjoy it.

Basically, I don’t want the details to stress me out. Usually I have ONE THING on my weekly schedule – Drumfit. Having things every day in a week sometimes terrifies me. But it’s also been a long and gloomy January, and I’m really looking forward to having some fun in the next few days. Connecting with people again. Seeing my kids laughing and running around without a video game in sight. Celebrating my awesome mom for her birthday. It’ll all come together and it’ll all be great. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meal Plans

Monday – Chicken Fajita Soup (I might have said I was going to make this last week, but it never happened)

Tuesday – Valentine Ravioli from Costco

Wednesday – Party food!

Thursday – Probably leftover soup! Maybe pizza…

Friday – Dells

Have a good week!

 

Sunday Intentions

It’s been another kind of weird week that has left me frustrated with myself for a lot of reasons. Shepard was sick – again, there was no school on Monday, school was cancelled due to ice on Tuesday, and there was a late start on Wednesday – so it was definitely an off week for having them in a regular routine. Greg was also home Tuesday for weather and Friday because we had yet another plumbing emergency. We had to get our sewer pipe snaked for the second time in five weeks. I also had some fun shopping planned for that day that I had to cancel, which always bums me out. Things always come up on the rare day I actually have special plans for myself. I ran my grocery errands on Wednesday, so I really only had one “normal day” this entire week and it’s hard to cram everything I want to get done in a week into a single day. I spent the earlier part of the week really excited about possibly going on an Ireland/Scotland trip later this year, and then the second half of the week bummed because I just don’t think we can swing it. It would be an irresponsible financial decision when we have so many other things we need to focus our money toward first this year. Like a new sewer line. In between all the chaos, I’ve felt very unmotivated to get any of my real work done and constantly frustrated with my inability to just sit down and focus.

So something needs to change this week. I need to be more open to changes in my schedule and personal agenda for one. I think I have gotten better at this in the last few months since sick kids and bad weather have made me cancel or postpone way too many of my plans. But I’m still internally very frustrated when I can’t go through with what I wanted to do on any given day. Being a mom is supposed to always be my number one priority, but it’s something I’ve really lost sight of as my kids have gotten older and more independent. I don’t want to lose them and our relationships because I’m always too busy with my own stuff.

Priority One: Kids

I’ve never been that great with sitting down and playing with my kids at home. I greatly prefer taking them out somewhere – anywhere. Going on walks or bike rides, having picnics at the park, spontaneous lunches at restaurants, checking out zoos and special places throughout the summer. I love doing those things with them, but have an extremely hard time focusing on them when we’re just sitting at home. And in winter months with horrible weather, sitting at home is basically all we do. I’d just like to be more open to finding the fun WITH THEM during these long months. Last night we had a movie night watching Storks and eating popcorn. It felt like one of the best things I did all week. The boys and Greg have tons of movie nights, but I’m usually doing my own thing. It felt very worthwhile to institute and follow through with it myself.

Priority Two: Self Care Wednesdays

This last Wednesday I saw a couple instagram posts about Self Care Wednesday. I love this idea! A couple of weeks ago I went and saw La La Land in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. It felt like such a luxurious treat! It might not always fall on a Wednesday, but I’d like to start devoting one day a week to doing something that really makes me happy. Maybe with that one special day to look forward to, I’ll have an easier time getting serious about work on the other four days of the week. I can think of all kinds of fun things I’d like to do to focus on self care. Movies, special shopping trips to stores I like to go to just for fun, a few hours walking around the antique mall, reading all day, working on a special sewing project just for myself. The list is pretty endless. I really want to enjoy my life beyond the almighty to do list, and this seems like about the easiest and most fun way to do it.

Priority Three: Read Present Over Perfect

I started this book last night and was shocked and overwhelmed to see everything I’ve been feeling these last few months right there in front of me on the page. I’m not alone! The author, Shauna Niequist, talked about how she made busyness and her to do list accomplishments an idol in her life. She talked about her frustrations with how her husband and kids were allowed so much leisure time and her work could never stop. Chapter after chapter was an EXACT replica to everything I’ve been struggling with so much ever since this school year started when my expectations for myself and my time grew to more than I can actually manage. So I’m making reading this book a top priority for my week. I can’t wait to see what she suggests for moving past this crippling mindset I’ve gotten myself stuck in.

Priority Four: Work

Alas, working is still part of my life now, and I can’t forget it! I started a batch of 24 ornament sized dolls the other day and I need to finish them. A batch of 24 is A LOT. But they’re my best sellers and I need to make them for every major holiday. I’m hoping on Monday and Tuesday I’ll be able to get these done and then on Thursday and Friday I can start something new. Maybe St. Patrick’s Day, maybe spring, maybe Easter. I just need to keep going. Whenever I take breaks I have a harder time getting started again. Consistency is key in this kind of work.

MEAL PLAN

Monday – Hot Dogs (I’m all about easy this week)

Tuesday – Tacos (I’ve been craving tacos like crazy lately)

Wednesday – Chicken Fajita Soup

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Buffalo Pizza

Have a good week!

Sunday Intentions

Well, I took a week off from thinking about my intentions and I’ve ended that week feeling supremely frustrated and annoyed with myself and my inability to get anything done. Which isn’t exactly true because I’ve still been working on other things, but I’ve also wasted a lot of time doing nothing. I really need a clear cut plan for myself if I want to go to bed every night feeling like I’ve done enough. When I don’t have that plan in place, I usually end up riddled with anxiety and disappointment in myself. I really want to get away from attaching my worth to how much stuff I GOT DONE, but I’m not there yet.

This Week’s Focus: Sew More

Two weeks ago I was on a sewing roll. I put out 16 new dolls in a week’s time, which is really good for me. And I sold almost all of them immediately, which is a really great motivator to keep going! I was prioritizing it during my day, but also working on it more than I should have at night and on the weekend. But I’ve been so anxious to re-establish myself as a consistent creator. Which in turn led to a little bit of burn out, after only a week. It also meant that after five days of no new creations, I’ve had customers asking me what’s going on and if I’m making more. It’s really hard to keep everybody happy and still live the life I’m hoping to carve out for myself. I never expected working at home could be so challenging. Anyway, my plan for the week is to sew more than I did last week! I want to put in a solid couple of hours every day, which hopefully means maybe two batches of dolls to keep my customers happy and some money flowing in.

Also a Top Priority: Mental Health

I feel like I’ve been all over the place emotionally lately. I’ve been feeling very insecure, sad, stressed out, frustrated, and a little bit crazy. I’ve been hiding out from people and just trying to deal, all while feeling like a lunatic half the time – at least in the world that lives inside my head. I usually draw into myself when I feel like this, which leaves very little left to give my family and my friends. Silence and solitude are my best escape mechanisms.

Today I’ve felt myself on the brink of completely losing it all day long. I told Greg I was going to sew all weekend. He told me he was going to work in the basement all weekend. Neither of us were doing ANYTHING to make progress on those goals and I thought I was going to seriously explode if I didn’t sit down at my sewing machine immediately and get started. I hate feeling like this. But I’ve felt myself just sitting on the edge of explosion all week long, and I need to figure out how to move past it.

I think the best thing I can for myself is figuring out how to fit in daily exercise. When I was walking every day – even just to and from school in the mornings and afternoons – I felt so much healthier mentally. The cold weather and icy sidewalks have really put a halt to that habit. But I can’t give up completely. As much as I hate it, I need to find things I can do at home when the weather outside sucks. I also just need to be better in tune to what I can do in the moment to make myself happier and actually do it. Today that meant sitting at my sewing machine and getting to work. Earlier this week it meant going to the theater to see a movie to escape my reality for awhile. Oftentimes it means reading for half an hour or connecting with a friend. I need to be my own caretaker and realize what I need before I get to the point of explosion. I want my mental health to take be a higher priority in my daily life.

Meal Planning

Monday – Herb Crusted Pork Chops

Tuesday – Chicken Curry

Wednesday – Waffles and Bacon

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – BBQ Pizza

Sunday Intentions

annie11

It’s Christmas week already! This month has really flown by. I think as a whole I’ve had the best and most enjoyable December I’ve had in a long time. Spending it in our own house has definitely been a huge plus. With the extra decorations, trees in almost every room, and space to spread out, it’s been easier to breathe and slow down and enjoy life. I had my priorities straight this year, knowing what would trigger my stress and avoiding it as much as possible. Though I’ve also found myself pretty crabby the last few days and feeling a bit resentful about what I set aside in order to get Christmas things done in a timely matter, throw a few parties, and feel totally prepared for this week ahead. Between moving, a major garage sale, and Christmas stuff, this is the fourth month this year I’ve taken almost entirely off from sewing. This is supposed to be my job now, where I put most of my daytime hours and energy. But I never feel like it’s allowed to be my priority. Other things ALWAYS come up. Other things always feel like they need to be more important, even though a lot of the time it’s not really what I want to do. It felt worth it at the time, but it also frustrates me that four months into calling Heartstring Annie my full time job, it’s really not even close to being my reality. But that’s something I need to figure out in the new year. I had my day of resentment yesterday, but I’m pretty much over it now. ๐Ÿ™‚ December has been really good so far. I needed the extra time to relax and I loved having more of myself to give my family and friends. I can buckle down and get to work in January.

Looking at the week ahead, my to do list is pretty slim! Which is exactly how I was hoping this month would work out for me. I need to get some groceries – lots of food for quick, easy, last minute meals. I never know when we’re going to be eating at my parents’ or in-law’s with extra family in town, so it’s easier to keep things really simple around the holidays. No new recipes or elaborate dinner plans. I suppose I should also do some baking this week. I love baking, but can never find much enthusiasm for it around Christmas. I just feel like everybody is so overloaded with treats that it’s pointless to stress over making a lot. I’ll have to narrow it down two or three favorites to bring to the get togethers later in the week. Other than that? Just the usual laundry and housework! I wanted to view this week as my real vacation before the craziness of hyper kids and lots of family time, so I’m totally fine with not much on my lists the next few days.

Basically my only real intention for this week is to be present. I want to be fully available to enjoy every minute of Christmas this year. I’m really looking forward to our family Christmas on Thursday night. We have Greg’s huge extended family party on Friday night. Then Christmas celebrations and present openings with both of our families on Christmas Eve. And finally having Santa come to our new house for the first time on Christmas Day! It should all be very memorable and sweet.

I’m not going to bother with meal plans this week. Whatever happens, happens. If all else fails, we can just eat all the cheese and meat I have left over from my Favorite Things party. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope everybody else has a wonderful Christmas week! Don’t stress over the little things!