Sunday Intentions 09.29.2019

It has been such a gloomy day. I’ve been trying really hard to stop my “I hate weekends” attitude, but this weekend is proving once again that if we’re not staying super busy, our weekends at home kind of suck. I just wanted two days to totally chill and try to recuperate from the last few weeks. Plus my body is practically dead after all that wet hilly grass I walked on for hours Friday. My ankle does not like uneven ground. But, as always, everyone is moody and restless with a healthy mix of wanting to be lazy but feeling obligated to be productive. It’s just annoying. I’ve really done nothing today except read, so I’m trying to break out of my funk by focusing on the week ahead.

My highest priority at the start of this week is to MAKE APPOINTMENTS. I loathe making appointments. I loathe GOING to appointments. And somehow all this stuff came up at once. For starters, I need to actually go to the DMV tomorrow morning to renew my driver’s license. I kept putting it off because I was so busy, but now I’ve run out of time. I also need to make a well child appointment for Caden, something I also hate because the receptionists always make me feel like I’m asking too much to request an after school appointment and if they can also add Shepard and I to the appointment for flu shots (this is ALWAYS such an inconvenience to them!). I need to schedule Jack for his bi-annual blood panel and blood pressure reading, which is really just a way for the vet’s office to take a whole lot of my money to tell me he’s still getting older and in kidney failure. And finally, I need to figure out how to make an oil change appointment for my car because I’m well past the limit and Greg keeps brushing it off and has become increasingly resentful of it being his job to always do the car stuff, so I need to grow up and figure it out myself. I also need to make an appointment to get his recalled airbags replaced because they’ve sent us so many notices over the last year (the airbags potentially have metal particles inside of them) that he has received a court order to get them replaced NOW. The possibility of metal particles bursting out and killing everyone in the event of a crash apparently is much more distressing to me, so I better also figure that out myself. I’m hoping I can at least schedule all of these tomorrow and then my life will feel a lot less strained once things are on the calendar! The fact that all of this stuff also needs to be done right around my birthday is just plain pissing me off. I hate losing control and freedom around the days that are most important to me. But life always gets in the way. And just to throw some more appointment annoyances into the mix, I also need to take Annie to the groomer on Tuesday and I have my own annual doctor’s appointment (which fills me with dread) in two weeks. UGH.

Anyway, sorry about the vent. I just like to be HAPPY around this time of the year and not have a million unexpected things to take care of that will bring me zero joy! Also, totally random out of town errands that will probably happen one per day and take away all chance of routine and you know – WORKING TIME. At any rate, I’m going to try and add some fun in and have another coffee morning with any friends who want to come over on Wednesday morning. Hopefully it will be as successful as last time! There are no more solid plans on the books for the rest of the week (unless those appointments get booked!), but I’m sure it’ll fill in. Pre-birthday festivities, perhaps.

My other priority for the week is to get some dolls made. I think I might take a brief break from Halloween/fall and do a few random things. Maybe birthday themed? (I’m often accused of making too big of a deal of my birthday, but I’d like to point out that nobody else is going to make it a big deal for me, so I might as well do everything in my power to make it the best time of the year FOR ME and if you don’t like that, then keep it to yourself! Or better yet, start making a bigger deal out of YOUR birthday because YOU CAN.) I really wanted to make some apple dressed dolls too and haven’t had a chance yet. We’ll see where inspiration takes me tonight or tomorrow when I start digging through my fabric.

My meal plans this week are pretty simple and based on what we have in the freezer again. Last week I decided to give the subscription service Butcher Box a shot and I now have like 15 pounds of selected meats in the freezers that I need to get creative with. I also have a few other things I need to use up.

Monday – Garlic Lover’s Roast Beef

Tuesday – Grilled Cheese with Tomato Dill Soup (as a dip)/Canned Soup for Caden (who won’t eat grilled cheese)

Wednesday – Pico de Gallo Chicken and Rice Tacos (meal kits that were on clearance at Target)

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Jalapeno Popper Pretzel Pizza (my favorite)

Saturday Reflections 09.28.2019

It has been a monumental week for me – I accomplished six days in a row of exercise goals! ūüėÄ In all seriousness, though, that’s kind of a big deal for me. I am an absolute control freak and want to have a perfect handle on everything, and I usually do (within my control of to do lists and tasks and general family and household upkeep) – until it comes to taking care of myself physically. I suck at eating well and I hate exercise. It’s certainly gotten a lot harder since I broke my ankle, but that was a good 19 months ago now, so I can’t keep using it as an excuse, even though it does still give me pain every single day. Too bad! Get over it! TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

It’s started to really hit home that I’m about to turn 35 and I should not be as broken and unhealthy as I am at this age if I want to live for decades more. Right around this time last year is when I also came to these conclusions and spent about three months really focusing on my health (mostly because my doctor was counting on me to after we found out my liver is NOT in great condition). And then a lot of crappy stuff happened at the beginning of this year and the months went by and I totally stopped caring again. I have excuses galore, but I don’t want to focus on that anymore. I want to just take one day at a time, decision by decision, doing what will be GOOD FOR ME. It’s so easy to make the choices that will be right for me mentally. WHY is it so hard to take care of myself physically as well?

I don’t have any grand plans or programs the way I did last fall to get back in shape and lose weight. But I’ve decided to make one simple change that I’m hoping will be a catalyst to more and more positive choices. That change: write down one exercise goal every single day and DO IT BEFORE ALL ELSE. Well, technically, this week I woke up around 4am every day and I didn’t get to that goal until after the boys went to school at 7:30. But, as soon as they’re out the door, I WILL do my task before anything else because it is my highest priority of the entire day. And doing it first thing is key because that’s the one and only thing that will inspire me to follow suit and ALSO make better eating choices throughout the day. So far, while the weather is still amazing, I’m trying to focus on mostly going on long walks. But this week I alternated each day with a yoga video and I liked the variety. I’ll probably keep the plan simple like that for now.

Anyway! Back to the week’s recap. Caden’s birthday was Monday, but I already wrote all about that. I believe I started some dolls on Tuesday. I saved my errand running for Wednesday, though I didn’t actually need much – it was kind of more of a fun run. I have been VERY unmotivated this week to be super productive. Last week kind of did me in.

On Thursday I got my act together and finished up seven more Halloween dolls. They’re not selling as well as they usually do, so I’m wondering if I should just move on to something else. Maybe it would be fun to make a batch of birthday dolls. I don’t particularly like Halloween, so it’s hard for me to get really excited about making witches and spooky dolls. No excitement means no motivation.

Thursday was also my mother-in-law Cindy’s birthday. We all ate dinner together at Tipsy Cow in Sun Prairie and then came back to our house for present opening.

Friday was the day I look forward to all year – Cranberry Fest day! My parents picked me up at 5 and we headed up to Warrens for the festival. Unfortunately, it rained the entire day. BUT it wasn’t so hard that we had to change into our backup clothes at any point. It was just a tad uncomfortable and annoying. We spent about five hours there and then moved on to all the stores we like to visit each year in Tomah, Onalaska, and the Dells. We finished up the night at a deli for a late dinner. It was a really fun day!

My favorite finds of the day were all these black and white tin signs. I already have a whole black and white gallery wall going on in my kitchen, so I was excited to find a few more things to add (I’m pretty sure this will use up all remaining space, to my great dismay!).

This is my very eclectic mix of random things I actually bought AT Cranberry Fest. Nothing crafty at all. But I’m quite excited to try out all the different garlic varieties and see if I can taste a difference! I’ve been eyeing up that pink trimmed green leather business card case for years and finally decided to get it. I’m always wishing I had business cards on me, but never actually find a way to get them into my purse. No excuses now! I also bought Shepard some soap (he think bar soap is an amazing new concept), the boys some fancy treats, and a calzone dog treat for Annie.

I also found some great additions to my large stock of delightful smelling candles. I’ve been a little obsessed with candles lately. I LOVE smell and how such a tiny change in your atmosphere can alter your mood and uplift your spirits. Unfortunately, I’m married to someone who is super sensitive and revolted by most smells, so I’m pretty limited to when I can light them and what they can smell like. You better believe I’m lighting about ten candles at once when I’m home alone during the day, though! They make me so happy. I also found some cute new cat bowls to match my rainbow sewing room at TJMaxx. It ended up being a pretty great day for shopping finds, even if I didn’t get most of them at actual Cranberry Fest!

And that was my week! I keep hoping that life might start settling down and being a little less chaotic, but I’ve realized in the next couple weeks I need to make and go to like ten different appointments for different family members, pets, and cars, so I’m already stressed out and feeling drained. It was also pointed out to me that Christmas is less than three months away. But I’m going to continue to fight for my down time and soak up every possible minute of the beautiful fall weather while walking with Annie, reading good books in my favorite chair, and breathing in the lovely scents of my apple and pumpkin scented candles!

Caden’s 11th Birthday and All the Things

This past week was PACKED with fun activities and celebrations! I was a little apprehensive about so many things happening in so little time, but it ended up going really well! It helped that I didn’t actually end up having a ton of prep work to do (plus Greg did most of the housework), so I had a pretty healthy mix of down time and party time. And NOTHING stressful or dramatic happened. I think that’s a first!

I don’t remember much of what happened earlier last week, except that I ran a lot of errands and made six new dolls. I still wish I were producing these dolls at a faster pace, but I need to just accept life is too busy for this couple week span of September to get to everything I want to. And it’s okay.

On Thursday I had a pretzel dinner with my mom and the boys again, just like we did last month before our sign painting class.

Then we painted! I designed both mine and my mom’s sign ahead of time. Brushed off my rusty Illustrator skills and it was so much fun! I wish I had picked a slightly different color scheme for mine, making it a little easier to read. But I’m mostly happy with it. I think I’m going to take the class again in October. If anyone wants to join me, it’s right after my birthday and is SO MUCH FUN. ūüôā

On Friday afternoon I took Annie to the dog park for the first time since her attack. We were the only ones there and didn’t stay that long, but she loved having the chance to run around for a little bit. I think she’s just dying to have some playtime and the longer I wait the more insane she’ll probably act around other dogs, so I should just bite the bullet and take her at a busier time one of these days. It’s just been so nice out this week we’ve been going on long walks instead.

Right after school I took the boys to Beaver Dam to meet up with all of Greg’s family to have dinner together and celebrate my brother-in-law Alex’s birthday a week early. He’s never been in Wisconsin anywhere near his birthday, so it was the first time we could celebrate with him in person. That was probably the only issue we had the whole weekend – Caden kept bursting into tears and shouting that he just wanted to be alone. CLASSIC introvert behavior. He’s also had a really bad cold the last week or so and he’s been very short tempered and emotional. Once we got to the restaurant, though, everything was fine.

We told the waiter that we were celebrating all three birthdays, so they got to wear sombreros and eat sopapillas. It got a little rowdy!

Typical silly boy.

Saturday morning was a little crazy because I had a lot of errands to run. I got up super early and picked up the bagels I had ordered for Caden’s party. Then I did a quick rush around the farmers market because I hadn’t been there in so long. A storm was brewing, though, so it wasn’t very relaxing or enjoyable as I was rushing to get back to my car before the rain started. Then I had to pick up a few groceries before heading even further west to pick up the cake for the retirement party. I went back home and crashed for a few hours while Greg took care of all the house cleaning for the birthday party. I finally rallied some energy and got the kitchen mostly set up and then got dressed up for the retirement party.

We had a small, but very nice retirement party for my mother-in-law Cindy in a private room at Buck and Honey’s in Sun Prairie. The food was excellent, the atmosphere was jovial, and the restaurant itself was fancy enough to feel special, without being over the top.

Caden was being a little whiny again. It’s hard to have a lot of things going on your birthday weekend that don’t have anything to do with you. Even I get that way around MY birthday and Mother’s Day, so I get it. He was allowed to get a sundae in place of cake and then proceeded to completely ignore the whole table of people singing to him.

The original Noe family. We did get a photo with everyone, but it’s probably going to be a Christmas card picture, so I don’t want to spoil it.

We decided to treat the boys like toddlers who are incapable of understanding restaurant/party etiquette and let them just play games and watch videos after they were done eating. It was really nice for Greg and I to finally just be part of the adult group without constantly having reminders that we’re mom and dad to kids who like to be verrrry difficult around other people. Throwback to the last time everyone was together in July and Caden had his biggest most epic meltdown/tantrum of all time. I didn’t want a repeat performance.

On Sunday morning we had Caden’s birthday party bright and early! I decided to give myself a break with so much going on and ordered/bought most of the food so I didn’t have to worry about making much ahead of time. I did cook all the bacon on Friday and made a batch of granola. And I cooked the sausage Sunday morning. I got two dozen bagels from Gotham Bagels in downtown Madison. And I ordered three kringles from Racine Kringle to be his “cake.” It’s one of his favorite foods and I almost never buy them, so he was really happy with that surprise. I also picked up some yogurt, set up a coffee station, made a harvest punch, and Cindy brought berries to go with the yogurt and my mom made a beautiful berry filled fruit pizza. It was A LOT of amazing food. So tasty.

Annie was being so needy during the party. She usually only makes me hold her hand during car rides, but apparently she needed some support in the house that day. She also had an abundance of energy since it was raining all weekend and she didn’t get any exercise – plus cooped up in her kennel quite a bit while we were gone.

It was a nice and relaxed party! Before it started I was looking at timehop photos from his third birthday when I took really nice pictures of him with every single person who attended the party. I was determined to do that again, and then only got as far as one photo with the aunts. Oops. It’s very hard to get kids to cooperate once they’re past age 2 or 3!

I took a nap after everyone left and then made some chocolate chip cookie dough cups for his school treat.

We weren’t sure what to do on Sunday night – I wanted to go out as a special treat, but restaurants aren’t treats to Caden. He hates them. And we’d already gone out three nights in a row. But he finally agreed and we went to Bel Air Cantina – what has quickly become “our” family place in the last year. It’s the only restaurant we go to just the four of us!

The boys are WAY more excited about eating the unlimited chips and unique salsas than the actual meal food, but Greg and I like it. Caden was given Mexican s’mores for a birthday dessert.

And finally Monday was Caden’s official 11th birthday!

It was also the first day of fall, so I broke into my bag of Brandywine Small Wonder fall blend coffee. I do have to give a little PSA – this brand of coffee is AMAZING. It is what’s broken me from only drinking flavored coffees and opened up a whole new world of what coffee can actually taste like. Every single blend I’ve had is so delicious. My only problem is that when I only drink one cup a day, I have so much to use up and they release new blends every single week that sound so good! I need to have more coffee mornings. Speaking of, I wanted to have one this week, but I’m just too exhausted from everything that’s been going on. NEXT WEEK.

It was also Annie’s 4.5 birthday. I forgot to get her anything, but she definitely helped Caden open his gifts – she loves opening presents. Originally we thought we’d have a pretty rushed evening because it was Lego League night, but we decided to let him skip it just this once. We’ve been so busy and he’s had this awful cold that he deserved a chance to just chill out and have a good night at home.

It was a VERY low key night – all Caden ever wants from life. I made tacos for dinner and brownies for dessert. He loved all his new gifts and spent the whole night playing some new video games. He was very happy.

And that was our week! We survived! It went WELL. And now I’m in recovery mode. I’ve been working a lot yesterday and today, but also went on some long walks and did a yoga video for the first time in ages. Life really isn’t going to settle down for a few more weeks. Cindy’s birthday is Thursday and Friday I’m off to Cranberry Fest. I have some appointments and things I need to get done next week. And then it’s MY birthday. ūüôā And then things will slow down a little, at least until November when I head to North Carolina. Today, though…I’m just exhausted. But we made it.

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 09.15.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Reflections and Intentions 09.08.2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

Monday – Rotisserie Chicken from Costco and Roasted Vegetables

Tuesday – Jamaican Jerk Chili (without the beans)

Wednesday – Spicy Peanut Noodles with Leftover Rotisserie Chicken

Thursday – Cheddarwursts/Leftovers

Friday – Jalapeno Popper Pretzel Crust Pizza

Have a good week!

September 2019 Goals

Well, we’re down to the final few hours of summer vacation. I know about midday tomorrow I’m going to be thrilled to get back to a normal routine with so much more time to myself to actually work and get things done. But it’s really hard to shake that first day of school anxiety, even if I’m not the one going to school. I have no reason to be nervous about this school year. Caden’s basically an old pro at middle school by now. A few of his best friends are in his class. He’ll be fine, even if he’s not happy about being there. Shepard is in his last year at his charter school and it’s the year where they basically do nonstop awesome things. He’s the life of the party around his friends and once he’s back in the thick of things he’ll be so happy. But change is still hard. Even if it’s not as significant as the years when they’re changing schools and entering unknown territory. I’ve been trying so hard to distract myself today and do basically anything besides think of tomorrow. As hard as summer is on me, the end is always sad.

I’ve also been racking my brain today on which goals I should focus on this month. There are always a million to pick from. But September is such a hard month as we transition back. I don’t want to pile too much on my plate as I’m also transitioning back. Plus, September is always a crazy busy month for us too. It’s filled with a lot of amazing things that can be so much fun. But it can also be really overwhelming if I’m not rested and organized and both physically and emotionally prepared for it. So I’ve decided to focus on that and choose my goals around things that will help me feel more on top of my life, rather than add anything extra that might be impossible to achieve.

1¬†–¬†Meal¬†Plan¬†Every¬†Week

Honestly I think all food related aspects of having my kids home all day over the summer is what overwhelmed me the most. They were grabbing snacks ALL THE TIME. They were looking for more food five minutes after dinner was over every single day. They were complaining about what was on their plates at every meal. They (ahem, Caden) were refusing to do ANYTHING to learn how to serve themselves breakfast or a healthy alternative to a bag of chips or pieces of candy. It wore me down like nothing else because it was so essential to our life (obviously) and I just could not keep up or keep them happy and I finally just plain gave up. I don’t think I made more than one or two real dinners a week in the last two months. This last week and a half we’ve gone to restaurants or gotten take out almost every single day. This is clearly not a healthy or sustainable way to feed your family. SO. I will start with meal planning. It will take away all the last minute stress of trying to pull a meal together. It will make me actually excited about what I’m going to make since I can pick the meals myself and look forward to them. It will help me grocery shop better. It’s really just the easiest thing I can do to bring stability back into our evenings and a whole lot more peace to my life.

2¬†–¬†Watch¬†Less,¬†Listen¬†More

I really love to watch tv while I work. But I’ve noticed this past month when I’ve mostly been watching Queer¬†Eye, that I’m so distracted by the show (how can you look away?! They’re having so much fun!) that I’m really not being very productive! I always have a ton of podcasts available to listen to, but ideally I’d like to start trying audiobooks again too. I think I could really increase my productivity if I took away that extra visual distraction. Not ALL the time. But most.

3¬†–¬†Read¬†Atomic¬†Habits

I really need to add in some sort of reading goal every month, just because it’s fun for me. This month it feels like I need to challenge myself a bit more and start reading books that could inspire me to be a better person. I’ve heard great things about this particular book and it feels especially fitting for September.

4¬†–¬†No¬†Working¬†on¬†Weeknights

I’m not going to go crazy and say no nights or weekends. Though honestly every Saturday in September is already booked, so I don’t have a ton of available weekend time to work anyway. But I DO think I need some sort of work/life balance and the best way to do that is to establish a cut off time for myself those five days a week. I’m thinking maybe 4:30, about when I’d start making dinner. If for some reason the guys are all gone for the night and I WANT to work, then it’s allowed. But I’d like to give myself the freedom to do whatever I darn well choose in the night, even if it’s just laundry and dishes. And guilt free too. It’s not like most of the workforce is coming home after their 8-10 hours and feeling like they still need to be working the rest of the night. Just because I’m surrounded by my work doesn’t mean I always need to be paying attention to it. This is a boundary I’d really like to try and keep.

5¬†–¬†Take¬†Care¬†of¬†Me

One thing I’ve really noticed in the last few weeks is how little joy I have. Sure there have been plenty of fleeting moments of happiness and contentment. But I want to feel joy all the time. I want to be the best person I can be without feeling like I’m killing myself over it. I want to take a break if I need one and not feel an ounce of guilt. I want my worth to stop being determined by the way other people treat me. I want to find a reason to be happy with who I am and what my life is from within myself. And really the only way I can think to do that is to start taking a whole lot better care of myself. Move more. Eat less, eat better. Rest when I need it. Laugh with Greg. Be more lighthearted with my kids. Find time to see my friends. Play hooky. Or work really hard if that’s what’ll bring me the most joy that day. I mean, my “work” can be insanely fulfilling when I’m not overwhelmed by it. I’m not proposing that I shirk all my responsibilities this month because there are a lot of them and everything would fall apart if I stopped caring. But I want to be extremely in tune to what I NEED every minute of every day. I want to live the best life I can make for myself. And if I consider my own needs first maybe everything else will just fall into place.

I think that’s enough for September! Happy first day of school!!

What I Watched August 2019

It hasn’t felt like the most interesting month for tv. My list is relatively short this month because I haven’t been working/watching as much as usual.

TV¬†–¬†Alone

Sex Education

I actually rather enjoyed this somewhat odd show. Though I think I mentioned it in last month’s post too – it’s a little alarming to me how normalized sex is in high school on tv. I hope that’s not how it really is.

Queer Eye

WHY did it take me so long to start this?? It is maybe one of the best tv shows of all time. So many happy cuddly feelings. I love it so much. The first season almost killed me, though. I binged most of it in one day and cried during every episode. The fab five just seem so genuinely kind and happy and are just having the best time of their lives helping other people find the joy in their own best lives. I had to start slowing down on watching, however, because the emotional hangover from each episode was REAL. I love it, but one or two a day is about my limit now.

The Bachelorette

Did this really end in August?? I wrote it down, so it must have. I’m pretty unimpressed with how everything ended after such a ridiculous drama filled season. All that angst and Hannah ends up alone. Also, WHY did she pick Jed over Tyler or Peter? It makes zero sense.

Jane the Virgin

Finally finished. I like how it concluded. I still wish they had never brought Michael back, but I guess they resolved that little thread too with his newfound life with Charlie.

Bachelor in Paradise

I keep thinking I don’t care about this show and then I get sucked back in. A few thoughts. Demi has such a totally different personality than what she showed on Colton’s season. I don’t understand why so much of the season had to be devoted to her gender fluidity and support, when she essentially acted exactly like Jed – but so much worse because she was still in a relationship when she went to paradise! But he gets attacked for it and she gets applauded. I just felt so bad for Derek who seems like a genuinely really great guy. Also, what terrible editing on Blake. I was cheering for him HARD on Becca’s season last year. He seemed like such a great guy and now he’s such a player?? It’s a little disturbing. John Paul Jones. Ugh. I mean, I get that he’s maybe entertaining. But he’s also just so gross! He’s always burping and throwing up and laughing hysterically over nothing. I don’t like him. I’m also very sick of Caeylynn. And we are not getting nearly enough Wells, who is seriously the cutest of all bachelor related people ever. But I started following him on instagram and am getting my fill over there. Such a cutie. And engaged to Sarah Hyland?!

The Other Two

I had two episodes to finish up and really liked it. This turned out to be an unexpectedly warm hearted show. I liked it a lot.

TV¬†–¬†Together

Veronica Mars

I wasn’t that impressed with this reboot season. I just don’t really like Veronica. Did she always have such a rigid and sarcastic personality? She seemed to think she was so much better than everyone and I kind of hated her for it. But still, did she deserve that ending??? Maybe that means if another season comes along someday she can get hot and heavy with Leo like she did in that dream. ūüôā Max Greenfield for the win!

Barry

We’ve watched about one and a half seasons now. I really liked it at first because it was so funny watching Barry try to fit in with normal people. I’m not that into it anymore. I just don’t particularly like any of the supporting characters and Barry’s personality is now also pretty rigid. I guess I prefer softness in my favorite tv characters?

Fleabag

I loved this! Well, again, I really liked the first few episodes the most. What a bizarre show! It’s definitely funniest when she’s looking into the camera and making telling faces. I’m not sure how much I like the serious undercurrent of grief. We’ve only watched the first season so far, but definitely one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in awhile.

Movies

Searching

Okay, so I appreciated the unique way this movie was filmed. But that doesn’t mean I actually wanted to watch the entire length of the movie in that format through their laptop. It was kind of weird. But an interesting movie. I’m glad it had a happy ending.

Five Feet Apart

I’ve been putting this movie off forever because I knew how it ends. Except, I can’t exactly remember, but I think it ended a little bit differently in the book. At any rate, I also had to wait to watch it when I was prepared for something that was obviously going to be sad. I wasn’t a fan of the Cole Sprouse casting choice, but he surprised me. I can really only see him as Jughead and he did come off with those same vibes at the start of the movie. But he impressed me as it went on. I liked it.

What I Read August 2019

August was a big month for reading! I always figure that in September I need to focus most of my time getting back to work and routine, so August is like a last ditch excuse to read as often as I want. I set a goal of 15 books, thinking I’d have so much time to read while I was in Texas that it wouldn’t be a problem. It didn’t work out that way, though, and I read more than half of them in just the last 10 days or so. I ended up just meeting that goal by throwing in a handful of middle grade graphic novels. Which was kind of cool because Caden read them all immediately after me. He usually flat out refuses to read any book I recommend to him, so I’ve stopped doing it. I guess those biases don’t apply when it’s a graphic novel. Anyway, I actually ended up with 16 books, though I technically finished the last one at 2am today (September 1st), after being up with Shepard massaging his cramping foot in the middle of the night. But that last book ended up being my favorite, and it officially is released this week, so I wanted to get it on my August list so you can pick it up sooner rather than later! Overall, it was a pretty diverse genre month, though maybe a little heavy on the romance/love story side. About half of the books were middle of the road and half of them were really great.

Savaged by Mia Sheridan
Rating: 5 stars

I really enjoyed this part mystery/thriller and part romance. Trail guide Harper is asked to help with an investigation involving two murders and a “wild man” who is a potential suspect. Lucas has been living in the mountains for 15 years with only minimal contact from one of the murder victims. Harper, Lucas, and the supporting characters were so well written. The story was so sad, yet hopeful. It was unique and interesting and kept me reading at every available chance.

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway
Rating: 3 stars

If you’re experienced with the world of internet dating and are burned out by too many jerks and want some sort of fictional justice, this book is for you. If you have zero experience with internet dating and don’t really care about it at all (like me), you’re probably not going to find this book particularly exciting or interesting. I enjoyed the main character and her strong group of female friends. I was so uninterested in all the online dating stuff. And that’s the whole book. This is a book I probably should have just set aside because I found almost no enjoyment from it, but it’s not because the book was bad, it just didn’t interest me.

Maybe This Time by Kasie West
Rating: 3.5 stars

I’m always excited to see a new Kasie West book come out (I LOVED P.S. I Like You) because they’re guaranteed to be a solid yet tame YA romance. They’re sweet, they’re fun, they’re not overly complicated. This was about Sophie, an assistant florist with lofty dreams to escape her small Alabama hometown to become a New York fashion designer, and Andrew, son of a famous chef who is in town for a year to help Sophie’s best friend’s father’s catering business. I enjoyed the book, but found it frustrating that even though they all lived in this small and boring little town, the three teenagers only saw each other every month to couple of months when they came together for a big event that required both catering and floral arrangements. I wish there had been a lot more interaction and development over the rest of the year, though I also obviously understand why it was formatted that way. I liked the book a lot more as it progressed, particularly in the final few events. This wasn’t a favorite, but it was enjoyable.

A Five Minute Life by Emma Scott
Rating: 5* stars

Wow, what an emotional rollercoaster. I’m warning you now, this book will take you on a ride. But it was so beautiful. Thea was in a car accident that gave her a type of brain damage that only allows her to be awake and have memory in five minute spans before she resets and starts over again. Jim is a loner with a stutter who becomes an orderly at the sanitarium where Thea lives and becomes captivated by her. Everything about this book focuses on love and living life to the fullest and never giving up on those closest to you. It was such a fantastic read. My only regret is the cover that makes this book feel like it’s going to be so much less than it is.

The Prenup by Lauren Layne
Rating: 4 stars

This was a fast and fun light hearted book about two people who marry to get their inheritance and green card, respectively – and then don’t see each other for the next 10 years until one of them wants to get a divorce. Before the divorce can happen they realize there’s a clause in their prenup that requires them to live together for three months first. I did find the whole thing to be a bit ridiculous – why be so worried about immigration coming after them in the final three months of their marriage, but not in the entire ten years beforehand? It also took me a long time to start to like the main character, Colin. There’s a difference between attractive brooding and a character that says and does so little that he’s downright boring. I’ll also admit that I thought this was going to be a pretty sexy romance that I felt like reading while I was at this mostly romance author book convention. In the end, it is VERY PG. Which is totally fine! I love YA like that. This book just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it as a fun palette cleanser.

44 Chapters About 4 Men by BB Easton
Rating: 3 stars

I’m not sure what to make of this book. So. It’s a mostly true memoir of BB Easton’s three ex-boyfriends and her husband. I saw her on a panel at Book Bonanza and was intrigued by the concept and picked it up to read right away. The premise of the book is that she’s bored with her married sex life and decides to start writing down the memories she has of her past boyfriends in an online journal which she then leaves out for her husband to find. It’s a psychological experiment to see how he’ll react – either get incredibly angry, or up his game. Honestly, knowing that most of what she wrote about is true made me fairly uncomfortable! I can’t imagine being so explicit about my past and assuming my husband would be turned on and eager to impress in the same ways. It’s kind of bizarre to me. And kind of mean? I read the book very quickly and was definitely most interested in her actual happy ending with Ken – not the three boys she left behind. But as a whole…it was just hard for me to really accept simply because it was true. BB also wrote four full length books about each of them and I’m definitely curious to read the one about Ken. But I have zero interest in the rest. It’s kind of a weird thing to write a memoir about.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Rating: 5 stars

This was the perfect suspenseful thriller I needed to break up the string of romance books I read this month. It was quite the page turner! A well written story that was interesting, creepy without being terrifying, and still full of heart. This has definitely been my favorite Riley Sager book thus far. Highly recommend!

Finale by Stephanie Garber
Rating: 3.5 stars

Let me begin by saying that I’m really not a fan of fantasy or anything magical when it comes to books. It’s okay in small doses, but it’s never my first, second, or third choice when it comes to picking up a book. But I was looking for something different and figured it was time to finish up this series. And I liked it. But I also found myself reading it as fast as possible to just get it over with. The magic and extremely colorful details were so distracting to me. It’s unique in a story, for sure. But it was hard for me to stay focused when things were always changing and I was never sure what was real and what wasn’t. I also kept mixing up the magical abilities of this series with ACOTAR – a reason I don’t like to read fantasy series – so many details to keep straight! There were also just SO MANY MIND GAMES. The action was fast paced and the characters were all over the place. I think it was a fitting end to the series, but I’m also glad to be done with it.

Love Online by Penelope Ward
Rating: 3 stars

Okay, I have to admit I was pretty judgy about this book in the beginning. A lonely, but also super rich and hot guy, finds himself looking for porn one night and comes across an intriguing and beautiful cam girl. He immediately becomes attached to her and uses his money to buy more and more of her time every night for private chats – where all they do is talk to each other. The reason I read this book in the first place is that I got it in a grab bag from Book Bonanza and it’s called “Love Online” which led me to believe it would be more of an email/chat kind of romance and not of the video variety. Anyway, this isn’t a literary masterpiece by any means. But I actually did enjoy it and liked the way it concluded so perfectly. Realistic? Probably not. A little creepy if it were real life? Of course. But it was a nice little escape that I read very quickly.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell
Rating: 4 stars

This is the first of many books I picked up to power through at the end of August, trying to meet my personal goal of 15 books for this month. This seemed to be the most popular and well loved of the books I found at the library, so it was my first choice. And I liked it! It’s clear from the start that it’s a memoir of when the author had meningitis as a child and became deaf. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it never even occurred to me that people had varying levels of deafness. Something I found most interesting, but also still can’t really grasp, is that with her hearing aids Cece could HEAR, but she still couldn’t really UNDERSTAND people without also reading their lips. Overall, the book was definitely interesting to me, but also fairly repetitive. This is written as a children’s book, but I’m not sure it’s something either of my kids would be interested in enough to follow through on. But overall, a really nice graphic memoir on a subject that everyone should know more about.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Rating: 4 stars

This was a really fun graphic novel about a 12 year old girl who finds herself when she joins a roller derby summer camp. Again, this was a subject matter that I knew very little about and it was interesting to learn more. I think it would be a great book for all kids to read as it teaches awesome lessons about friendship and perseverance even when things are hard.

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen
Rating: 4.5 stars

I really liked this fast and very simple, but poignant look at what it’s like to bottle up your feelings and how harmful it can be in the long run if you do. The illustrations are beautiful and done in a limited color palette that made the whole book full of autumnal glory. The words are very limited – I do wish there had been more conversation instead of so many “…” bubbles. But it was sweet and a little sad and perfect for a short read.

Introverted Mom by Jamie C. Martin
Rating: 3.5 stars

I picked this up at the beginning of the summer, sure it would help me survive. Unfortunately it took me until the end of the summer to finish. On one hand – I actually finished it – something that doesn’t happen very often with the tons of amazing looking nonfiction books I buy but never get around to reading, or at least finishing. On the other hand – it wasn’t exactly enthralling. I liked it for sure. Some of the chapters really hit home as I consider myself on the extreme side of introversion. But there were also a few chapters, particularly those about living in the midst of needy toddlers and babies, that I just skimmed through and didn’t find that relevant to where I am in my life right now. Overall, I think this is a good resource if you’re introverted and a young mom. It gives you permission to be yourself and tells you that you are more than enough just the way you are. Sometimes I’m surprised by how many people are supposedly extroverted in the world, because I’d guess 90% of the people I know are introverted. None of this stuff is shocking because nobody is ever challenging me to be different. But if you ARE surrounded by extroverts, this might be the perfect life affirming book you need.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
Rating: 4 stars

This is the kind of book you need to read in its entirety before you realize just how good it is. A story of three women over the course of about 60 years. Edith who takes great pride in her famous pie baking skills, but also wants zero recognition for it. Her sister Helen whose only goal in life is to make great beer to the point where she becomes estranged from everyone who loves her after convincing her dying father to leave his entire inheritance to her. And Diana, Edith’s granddaughter who also finds herself passionate about beer making after a series of unfortunate events in her youth. Honestly, this book did not sound all that interesting to me. I’m not particularly fond of books without any sort of romantic storyline. This is also very, very much about beer. I don’t like beer at all and know nothing about it (though I know a lot more now!). But I do live in Wisconsin and I’ve lived in Minnesota, and this book just has a general midwestern coziness about it that made me keep picking it up again and again. I really enjoyed the main theme of finding your passion in life and living for it, but never forgetting to love and support the ones who have loved and supported you. It really was a great book.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
Rating: 4.5 stars

First of all, do yourself a favor and read this wonderful graphic novel in OCTOBER. That’s really the only time to read it and get maximum enjoyment. I was trying to figure out which of my graphic novels to end with this month and all of them except this brand new one looked too depressing. Rainbow Rowell is always a delight and I was happy to read another winner. I really enjoyed this sweet and nostalgic graphic tale about two teenagers working their last night at at a beloved pumpkin patch. It was cute and fun and just gave me all the warm feelings. Read it! In October. ūüôā

Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Rating: 5* stars

This was the perfect end of summer read. I adored it! A 25 year old recently dumped woman moves in with her sister and niece to help out for a few months and finds herself roped into joining a summer long Renaissance Faire. She’s immediately thrown off by the rigid and cranky English teacher in charge who seems to feed into all her insecurities. Until Faire starts and he slips into his flirtatious pirate persona and treats her like his beloved. I will say that the first few chapters felt pretty slow to me. But trust me, keep going. This book was the perfect love story between characters who are flawed and struggling, but find what they need in each other. It was so sweet with plenty of swoon worthy moments. I loved it!

August 2019 Reflections

We did it, guys! We survived August! Whew, what a month. It really flew by, but the things I did at the beginning of the month feel like a lifetime ago, so I guess it actually dragged on. I was busy! A mini vacation with Greg, a string of days with my family, my six day vacation in Texas for Book Bonanza, a ton of daytime activities with my kids, prepping for school, and ending with Annie’s bit up ear fiasco. A lot happened! I’m glad I kept my goal list pretty short. Overall – I think I did okay. Honestly, the best that I could.

1¬†–¬†Family¬†First

I almost didn’t even feel like I had a choice in the matter, but the boys really did come first during all of our days together. I kind of went MIA in the evenings, trying to either work or read. I haven’t spent much quality time with Greg. But I put the kids first and really tried to make every day special in some way. Even if it was just going to a park or walking to a local coffee shop for ice cream. We did SOMETHING together just about every day. And that feels like a summer well lived to me.

2¬†–¬†Read¬†like¬†crazy!

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have set a goal of 15 books for the month because I was frantically trying to cram in more than half of those in the last week and a half. Why do I instantly rebel against so many goals I set for myself, but things like this I absolutely cannot let go of? Maybe because reading is fun?? 15 was a lot, though, in the midst of everything else. But I did it! I actually read 16. Though I sort of a little bit cheated by adding in a handful of graphic novels. Middle grade graphic novels at that. After August I’ve hit 99 books for the year. The pressure is really on for whatever book I pick next when I hit my goal of 100!

3¬†–¬†Enjoy¬†Texas¬†to¬†the¬†Max

I did my best, I really did. I was so worried about missing out on things at Book Bonanza that I was constantly walking back and forth between my room and the conference center to just be part of the exciting book lovers’ paradise. I do regret not trying a little harder to make friends with people and for getting a little too obsessed with exploring Grapevine on the third day instead of just doing all the BB stuff. But I had fun nonetheless! The Dallas half of my trip wasn’t the greatest – it was SO DANG HOT. But I had a lot of time to read and rest and just relax, which was the point of that half of the trip anyway. My favorite thing was checking out all the amazing food at their farmers market.

4¬†–¬†Prep¬†and¬†Plan¬†a¬†Ton¬†of¬†Dolls

This did not happen. Well, I did make 12 dolls for the shop. And I decided to take on 3 custom orders because so many people keep asking me for them. But then one of those custom order recipients decided to complain and argue with me that I did not use red thread on her doll’s nose (it was “burgundy,” she claimed), making it clash with her RAINBOW hair and dress. I apologized that she wasn’t happy about it and explained how I have only used one shade of red crochet thread for years and years and definitely did not accidentally use a shade darker for her doll (as if I even had any!). The whole ordeal upset me so much and basically turned me off from ever wanting to make custom dolls again. They’ve never been my favorite, but it’s nice to make people extra happy with something that has special meaning just to them. At any rate, I reallllllllly wanted to have a batch of fall dolls ready to list on Tuesday morning after I walk the boys to school. It’s not going to happen. There’s just no way. I haven’t even started and don’t want to spend every waking minute the next two days working. I’m frustrated, but I don’t know what I could have done differently to end this month on a better note. I’ll just have to make up for it in September, somehow.

And that’s it!

Saturday Reflections 08.31.2019: Otherwise Known as the Week that Broke Me

I know nobody wants to read posts where I just whine about hard life is. And this was a HARD week. So I’ll try to keep things brief. Mostly because I realized it’s the last day of August and I have like five end/start of month blog posts to write this weekend and maybe it would be a more productive use of my time and energy to focus on the happier posts.

Anyway. Last week of summer. Time to cram in as much as possible or say you’ve done enough and chill out. We kind of had both. On Monday we did need to get a few groceries, but I chose to run those errands at stores we don’t normally go to like Trader Joe’s. Stores I love, but aren’t exactly convenient. Our main objective was to end up at Popeye’s to see what all the hype is about with their new chicken sandwiches. We got there at 10:45. There were probably at least around 100 people waiting between the indoor line and the drive thru. Everyone was buying bags full of sandwiches – like 20 per person. It was crazy. I felt like such an idiot for being there too! But we drove all that way and I wanted to see it through. The verdict? I definitely liked it, but I think because I just like Popeye’s chicken. It’s so flaky and crispy. The spicy sauce? I couldn’t taste it at all. It was just a very thick chunk of chicken (I’m anti thick chicken) and pickles. But I ate it all. The boys liked their tenders. I was just so mad at myself for not remembering to buy myself a biscuit in the midst of the chaos. Popeyes has THE BEST biscuits. But there was no way I could wait in that line again.

On Monday night Caden had his first Lego League meeting. He did it last year and really enjoyed it, but was really against doing it again. I think because he’s just rebelling against all things school. But it sounds like the whole thing is much more organized and focused this year and he came back really excited about.

Once again I forgot to take a picture of said playdate, but on Tuesday morning we biked to a park and had a really nice donut picnic and playdate with some friends. The weather was gorgeous and it was a really fun time! One of Shepard’s friends came back home with us for the rest of the day and I vaguely worked on some sewing room organization. I planned to do all this fall doll making over the week and I didn’t even start. So much else going on.

I had planned to do something fun on Wednesday, but the boys were treating each other so horribly, and nobody could get rewarded for that behavior. We had a tense and stressful day followed by a very busy night. We walked to the farmers market and library and then went to Shepard’s school for orientation. After his we went to Caden’s. They unloaded their supplies and talked to the teachers. I was so exhausted by then so we ended up at Culver’s for dinner.

Greg was working in Chicago on Wednesday and had a late night, so after Culver’s we picked up Annie and went to the dog park because it was still so nice out. I guess I’ll probably regret that decision forever because five minutes in she got briefly attacked by a dog at the gate who basically shredded her ear. We didn’t even realize right away until another owner pointed it out to us. At that point there was blood everywhere. She said she had some sort of medical powder at home to stop the bleeding, so we followed her back to to her house, but it didn’t work. We went back home and sat in the driveway for an hour trying to figure out what to do. A neighbor also had that powder so she helped us try to cake it on, but nothing was working. We called a vet in Sun Prairie that was still opened and they suggested cornstarch and wrapping up her head so she couldn’t shake it anymore. That was basically a disaster. At this point it was dark, we were all covered in blood, Annie was so stressed out, and Greg was so mad at me for not confronting the owner of the other dog. It was all so chaotic and even though that dog obviously did the damage, I was also the one who didn’t stop Annie from running at him when he ran into the park. I mean, all the dogs run to see every new dog that shows up. I’ve never really thought twice about it unless it’s a dog I know is extra rough. But I guess I learned my lesson and that if it’s a dog I don’t recognize I should always, always call her back to me.

We put her in her kennel overnight to contain the bleeding and it appeared to have stopped overnight. Until we let her out and she started shaking her head again and the blood started gushing again. I was able to get her into the vet right away, though, and left her there all day Thursday while they worked her in between surgeries. Want to know the absolute worst kind of torture you can put me through? Make me wait all day long for a phone call. Ugh. I cannot relax or commit to doing anything with my time because I’m so paranoid about not getting the call. It was such a stressful day.

Meanwhile, Caden broke Shepard’s glasses on Wednesday, and of course the eye doctor isn’t open on Wednesdays, so we had to wait until Thursday to get them fixed. They were beyond repair this time so they informed me we had a warranty and they fixed him up with brand new frames. Whew!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Caden was sick on Thursday morning. He threw up twice, which is really rare for him. But I think it was maybe just something he ate? He was STARVING by noon and so angry with me for not letting him have anything besides toast and crackers and a banana. A lot of people have been angry at me this week. It’s been real fun.

I finally was able to pick Annie up late afternoon. The vet wrapped her head really tight with super sticky gauze and Annie was FREAKING OUT about it. I think it was really pulling her hair and she was just so confused. I was told she would be really groggy the rest of the night, but she was actually in such a state of panic she was practically hyperventilating and nonstop crying the entire night. It was so stressful.

On Thursday night we were all supposed to go to Ponderosa with Greg’s parents before they took a little vacation, but only Shepard and I went since Caden had such a rough morning. We wandered around Walmart afterward because I didn’t want to face going home yet.

They told me I could take the gauze off on Friday because the bleeding would have surely stopped by then. But as soon as I started unraveling it Annie started violently pulling her head back to help it go faster and ended up ripping a ton of her hair out, and irritating her ear enough that the blood was just pouring out again. Which makes her shake her head nonstop because it’s wet. There was blood everywhere, again, and I just totally lost it. Most of the week felt like one crisis after another with no break in between. My emotions are messed up enough on the last week of summer, with feelings of guilt over basically everything. Plus Greg implied, maybe not on purpose, but that’s still how I interpreted it, that I wasn’t doing enough with the boys, or giving Annie enough exercise. THAT did not go over well when I’m sacrificing so much of myself and my work time and my sanity to try and give them the best summer every single year and then to find out that my own husband thinks it’s not enough. There is only so much of me to go around and I was at my wit’s end. Annie spurting blood everywhere around the house was the straw that broke me.

But I got it together. I went to Walgreen’s and bought more gauze. Then I may have gone through the McDonald’s drive thru and sat in the parking lot slowly eating a sausage biscuit to give myself five extra minutes to breathe before going home and facing everything again. I wrapped her back up with the new gauze – nonsticky – and she seemed much happier.

We went to my mom’s for a few hours after that to just hang out with the dogs in the yard. More beautiful weather to enjoy.

Today I needed out of here. DESPERATELY. I was planning to have a fun day out and about on one of the first days of school, but realized most of my week is committed to other things already and there’s no way I could wait until the following week. Before I could leave today, though, my fitbit broke. Because OF COURSE it would break this week. My fitbits always break, usually around the one year mark and then I get a replacement just under the warranty. This has been my favorite fitbit (the Versa), but it broke after only nine months! I contacted their support and already have a replacement on the way, but still – just one more thing to deal with.

So I finally got out of the house a little later than planned and enjoyed a day of browsing through all of my favorite stores. I bought a couple of new fall candles, had lunch at Chipotle, tried out the new pumpkin spice cold brew (I liked it near the end when the foamy part finally started mixing in with the coffee), and slowly meandered through a couple of bookstores. It was a nice day that I really needed.

And that was the week. I’m so glad it’s over. Now to just survive two more days of all of us being home and no specific plans before school starts Tuesday. I feel a little more mentally ready for it after escaping today.

Cheers to the end of summer!