Posted in Everyday Life

Summer 2022 Recap

Well, all good things have to come to an end. Today, is the official last day of summer for the kids. I was snapped back to reality with a very early alarm clock yesterday!

This summer, we didn’t do a “bucket list” of sorts, and that was fine. We kind of just lived and only planned the bigger things like vacay.

Here’s a look back on summer 2022.

We started the summer saying “goodbye” to baseball, for now anyway. It was bittersweet to see Hayden play his last game.

Baseball has been a big part of our lives since the kids were four years old, but it’s time for him to make choices and follow his passions. We’re forever proud of all that he accomplished and how he handled himself as a teammate through the years. Baseball provided many great memories, but I know we’ll have plenty of sports still in our future.

Hadley started the summer off with her dance recital.

She had many routines: ballet, tap, jazz, and competition. We love watching her on stage!

Then, I found out I had Covid…so I spent a few days in isolation, and then was able to resume normal activity.

Hayden had a track meet in June which was fun to attend.

Of course, we celebrated Travis for Father’s Day.

Hadley enjoyed swim season. She loves being with her friends, and had fun on relays and swimming all four strokes.

On June 24th, Travis and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. We went out to dinner followed by drinks afterwards.

We went to the lake with friends at the end of June.

I caught the NKOTB concert with friends that weekend as well.

Then, we had our big trip to Mexico in early July. We had so much fun, and definitely made memories to last a lifetime.

After being home one night, Hadley headed off to camp.

I think she would have stayed there all summer if we had let her!

The kids enjoyed time with their western Kentucky cousins.

We had lots of pool time in June, and then a few days here and there in July and August when we could.

I read 12 books this summer, and of course, August isn’t close to over yet!

We traveled to KC near the end of July to see my family. Also, we were able to celebrate my Gma’s 90th birthday!

We had family photos taken while we were in KC, and they turned out great!

Then, we spent a couple of days at the Lake of the Ozarks at my college friend’s place.

I think it had been over twenty years since I’d last been there, but I have so many fond memories of the lake while growing up. I’m glad my kids got to enjoy what I enjoyed as a kid.

Hayden had a fun (lowkey) summer basketball season.

Recently, we did some back to school shopping.

We also enjoyed an end of summer/back to school dinner out at Jeff Ruby’s.

Last Friday, we finally made the trek east to the new Buc-ees. Hadley was watching the cousins, so we took a road trip to Richmond to check it out. Exciting stuff, I tell you!

Hayden spent last weekend at the lake with his friend, and he caught yet another fish!

Not pictured, but this summer also allowed for the kids to sleep in some (but, to be honest, swim team started pretty early for Hadley, and Hayden was up pretty early to run most days as well.), lots of driveway basketball, push up popsicles, overnights, movies nights and more.

When I asked both kids what they thought the best part of summer was, they both said having extra time with their friends.

To be honest, this was a bittersweet summer for me. I always cherish my time with the kids, and I try to embrace the bonuses that come with them being older. That being said, I’ve probably mentioned something similar at the end of every summer, but I am usually able to say the kids still “needed” me. I didn’t feel that way as much this summer which makes me a bit nostalgic about the years when they were younger. Now, they need me to drop them off places and give them money 😉 That being said, I know we all had a pretty great summer, but it’s also good to get back in the routine of school.

With tomorrow being the first day of school and all that goes in to preparing for that, I probably won’t post again until Thursday when I share our traditional first day of school photos.

I hope you have a great day.

Posted in Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: TV Shows

Hello and Happy Monday!

Well, it’s back to school for me today, so that alarm clock is going to be a shock to the system.

Today, I’m co-hosting out monthly link up with some of my favorite bloggers.

Before I get to today’s post, the winner of my blogiversary gift card is…Janice. I messaged her last night, and she chose a Target gift card. Thanks again, to all who read my posts. I appreciate it.

Now, on to Not Just a Mom…

So far this year, we’ve discussed:

  • Favorite bloggers in January
  • Day in the life in February
  • Reading habits in March
  • What’s for lunch in April
  • Go to gift ideas in May
  • Dream Travel locations in June
  • Family food traditions in July

This month’s topic is: binge watching tv shows

Well…I don’t really binge watch tv shows. Instead, I always feel like I’m behind on my show watching! I hardly watch anything in “real time,” and then seem to have very little time for TV these days. I will say that I look forward to summer because I have more time to read, and I can usually get caught upon some of my shows.

Recently, per my dad’s recommendation, I watched Schitt’s Creek. It took me a couple of months, but I finished all six seasons. I really enjoyed it, and was sad when I got to the final episode.

IMDb

In March, April, and May of 2020, when we were home more, I watched two or three seasons of the The Crown. For years, many people had told me that I would like it, but I didn’t think I would. Well, I was hooked after the first few episodes.

I also watched three seasons of Selling Sunset during that time. Now, I’m not as in to that show.

Also during that time, we got Apple TV for a few months, and I watched The Morning Show and Defending Jacob (and then I read the book).

We also got HBO for a month, and Travis and I watched Mare of Eastown pretty quickly.

Of course, I always wish there were more episodes in a season, but I do crush The Home Edit and Dream Home Makeover when those new episodes are released.

I just watched the latest season of Dream Home Makeover last week.

Travis and I watched each season of Ozark pretty quickly, because we both loved that series so much. We really did binge the second half of season 4 because we wanted to see how the series ended.

Last month, I got caught up on The Rookie. I love that show, but had fallen behind in watching it during the school year…

…and then same with The Goldbergs.

Hayden and I love that show, but it’s hard to find time when we are both home to watch it. We still have a few more episodes left of last season, but I want to get caught up before the new season airs in September.

Well, maybe I’m not giving myself enough binge watching credit. Clearly, there are a few shows that I will watch. That being said, it’s very rare for me to watch more than an episode of something in a sitting.

What shows do you binge watch?

If you are a blogger, we hope you’ll join us next month (the 2nd Monday of the month) when our topic is favorite workout places.

I hope you have a great Monday. I have a feeling my day may end with a nap!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#121}

Happy Friday!

How was your week? I really tried to savor this week as it was my last full week of summer. I was able to run errands, tackle to do lists, sleep in, go to the pool, read, and more. This week was a good mix of productivity and down time.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a traditional Friday Favorites, but here are…

some favorites from this week:

Thanks so much for the blog birthday love! I really appreciate all the nice comments, and I will announce the gift card winner on Monday.

Backing up to last weekend…

We were headed to Louisville, so we decided to make a pit stop at the outlet mall on the way for back to school shopping. St. Travis had already taken the kids the day before to get shoes at the mall, so we were on the hunt for a few clothing items. We were there about an hour and a half, and actually only bought a few things, but got some good deals.

Then, we met Trav’s family at Mike Linnings for dinner. We ate, the kids ran around a bit, and then we headed back home.

After we got home, we watched our July family movie (on the last day of the month!) Hadley chose Family Camp. I didn’t know anything about it, and it was ok. We got our monthly movie in, but Hayden said he was choosing the August movie. haha

On Monday, I used a gift certificate (anniversary present from Travis) for a relaxation massage. I hadn’t had a massage in over a year, so it was a good way to start the week!

When we got back from Missouri, we immediately noticed how much the flowers had bloomed! Travis is always proud of his yard!

I typically get my flowers from Trader Joe’s, but this week, I just plucked them from the yard!

We went school supply shopping last week, and I went ahead and picked up my planner and new pens. I always start the school year with a new planner and pens. This is my second year using a Happy Planner, and this year I decided to try out the smaller version of the one I used last year. We’ll see how I like it!

Tuesday night, Travis and I had some time to ourselves, and we watched the Shania Twain special on Netflix. I’ve always loved her music, and some of the very first CDs I ever purchased were hers; I know all over her songs. We enjoyed the documentary.

Y’all, I have been wearing my new sandals non-stop! They were a bit of a splurge (and not a part of the N-sale), but I knew they’d pay off per wear. I love the big buckle, and they are my go to sandal. I know they will be my #1 choice for shoe wear for school as summer wraps up.

The kids were running around the neighborhood with friends, and Hadley sent me this photo of the sunset earlier this week. So pretty.

I had a couple of pool days this week, and finished Book Lovers. It was cute.

Hayden’s team wrapped up their summer season. It’s always fun to watch him play.

The kids had Open House at their school. Man, times have changed. Open House used to mean meeting the teacher and dropping off school supplies. In middle school, it means social hour, popcorn/Kona ice, club sign ups and more. Also, parents are welcome, but I guess not needed. (sad face!). Hayden and Hadley will get their schedules on the first day, but they did learn which team they will be on and met a few teachers.

After Open House, they wanted ice cream. We let them do that while my friend and I grabbed a glass of wine.

On Wednesday night, we went out to dinner at Jeff Ruby’s. That had been on our summer list, and we wanted to get family dinner in before school starts back next week.

Of course, we took a few photos…

…and got a good family pic too…

Not pictured, but the kids have had lots of fun with friends this week. I feel like they went full force in June with pool time, overnights, late nights, etc., and then most friends (us, included) did vacation and summer camps in July. Now, everyone is back home from camps and vacays, so everyone is back to squeezing in summer fun while they can. I can’t say that I blame them. They’ve played outside, had overnights, and had some pool time this week as well. I hope they look back on these years as some of the best in their lives.

Favorite Mom Meme:

Nothing..and I mean nothing makes me lose my mind more than when I’ve given a time frame to leave…and no one is ready…by a long shot!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday:

These photos from 2014 were in my Facebook memories this week. We’d been to Trav’s grandparents’ land and had some family photos taken.

When I look at our dinner family photo from this week and then this one, I just can’t get over how big the kids have gotten…and how Travis doesn’t age!

Hadley’s bow and Hayden’s hand on Trav’s knee…I just can’t! Too cute.

They had tons of fun exploring the barn and playing on the tractor.

Not Just a Mom:

Monday is our Not Just a Mom link up.

If you are a blogger, we’d love to have your join us. This month’s topics is…binge watching tv shows.

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from the week:

What do you have planned for the weekend? I’m clinging to my last few hours of summer! (Side note: I really enjoy my job…I just also like the extra time at home with my kids and not setting an alarm!) 😉

Thankfully, I don’t think we have much on tap, and I’m looking forward to our Back to School Brinner.

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Posted in School, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Tips from a Teacher

With less than a week until school starts, of course all I’m thinking about is school.

I cannot believe I’m starting my 21st year in education. Where has the time gone? I also can’t believe my kids are starting 7th grade. My mom taught 7th grade Language Arts for 31 years. I don’t know how she did it! She has remained friends with so many of her colleagues, and I always looked up to them ( and still do). They made teaching look so fun.

Today, I’m putting on my “teacher hat” to share to few things.

Even with 20 years as a teacher, I’m still no expert, but here is what I’ve learned through the years:

Teacher to Teacher:

  • Make your expectations very clear on day one….and stick with those rules, expectations, and standards: Kids, even your toughest ones, like structure and routine. Actually, your most difficult kids need it the most, and all kids like to know what to expect. Also, we don’t give kids enough credit…they are smarter than we think! Once you cave even a little, then it’s hard to get that control back.
  • Keep your sense of humor: Thankfully, I’m naturally sarcastic 😉 …but really…my students keep me laughing, and I try to make them laugh too! We’re all in this together.
  • Try to leave school at school: Being a teacher can be all-consuming…in good and bad ways. It took me a while, but I’m pretty good at setting boundaries now. Also, with my students, I always preach to them about using time wisely (I say this to my own kids too!) If I give 100% while at school and use my time wisely, I very rarely have work to do outside of school. I’ve also learned, that I don’t need to read school emails outside of the school day very often, so I do try to check email very minimally or not at all past 4:30. I know some who don’t keep school email on their phone, but I do. There are times it comes in handy, and I need it accessible.
  • Be approachable and relatable; show students you care: I feel like we say this now more than ever, but you never know what kids are going through (adults too!), so lead with kindness and compassion. I tell students all the time that I will give them grace, but I’m not a mind- reader…they may have to let me know why they need to put their head down, and I can understand they may be tired or sad and will check in with them but give them space.
  • Have a plan, and then have a plan B and C!and be prepared: It took a long time before I could fly by the seat of my pants as a teacher, but I still always have a back up plan for a back up plan. If students have too much time on their hands, then that may not end well.

One of my first blog posts was about The Four Agreements, and I still try to remember them both while at school and at home. I’m not perfect, but I try to keep these in mind, and do better every day.

Also, stay positive! You’ve got this.

Teacher to Student:

While going through the transition to middle school with my own kids last year, I found myself telling them some of the things I tell my own students:

  • Ask for help/advocate for yourself: This is something my kids really had to work on. They are both pretty quiet in the classroom, and would rather blend in than ask for help. I’ve told them to see teachers at the end of the day or send an email, but at least reach out and communicate with their teachers.
  • Use you time wisely during the school day: Honestly, most teachers don’t give much homework, and lots of times, homework is started during class in case a student needs help. I remind my kids to complete and turn in classwork by the deadline as to not get behind.
  • If your teacher lets you make corrections, do it!: Again, even if my kids earned a decent grade, I tell them they may need those extra points some other time. Not all teachers allow for corrections to earn back points, so definitely do so when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Learn how to study: Kids needs to be taught how to study. It’s not a given. Last year, I encouraged my kids to rewrite notes they took in class, use note cards to make flash cards, complete practice problems, and more. Also, I reminded them that all study habits don’t work for everyone. You have to find what works for you.
  • Plan for the week ahead: My kids are very busy, so I told them that Sunday would be a great day to plan ahead for the week. If Hadley knows she has three hours of dance on Monday, then the should know that Tuesday would be a great day to study. Also, I’ve encouraged them to study a bit each day for any upcoming tests, so that they aren’t cramming the night before.Planning ahead is definitely something they need to continue to work on this year.

Twenty years of saying these things to my students paid off as I began to preach this advice to my own kids last year.

Student to Student:

Sometimes I feel bad for my kids –having a mom that’s a teacher isn’t easy. My standards are high. That being said, I want them to be self-starters and driven, but I also am not asking for perfection. If I know they’ve given 100% and still earned a B, I’m ok with that. I refuse to get wrapped up in labels and test scores for my own kids. They are more than one test on one day. I want them to be well-rounded: join clubs, play sports, have outside extra-curriculars, be involved at church, play with their friends, be kind, be inclusive and more. That being said, like my students, they need structure and routine too in order manage their time and see what works best for them.

To wrap up my “tips from a teacher,” I decided to ask them what they think students should know going into a new school year, and here is what they said:

Hayden:

  • Go over new material when you learn it
  • Make friends
  • Pay attention in class

Hadley:

She texted me her response, and this is what she said:

  • Be organize (like with your backpack and schoolwork)
  • Don’t be worried about all the work people say you have (it’s not that bad)
  • Keep your old friends but also try and make new ones too.

*Maybe they have been listening when I talk 😉

One more thing before I go…

Blogiversary:

Today, is the 3rd “Blogiversary” for Show Me and Sweet Tea.

I started this blog in 2019, and to be honest, I’d wanted to start one for years. I love having this creative outlet, I look forward to writing posts, and I love sharing about family, fun, recipes, books, and more. This is my very own scrapbook of life, and I only wish I started it sooner. This SMST community is so amazing, and I appreciate my readers so much. I never imagined that I’d get to “know” so many of you and even grow as a blogger through the years.

As a thank you, I will choose one winner for a $30 gift card to one of my favorite places: Amazon, Trader Joe’s or Target. Your choice!

I believe when you comment, I will see your email address. So, I will email you and share the winner in Monday’s post.

Make sure to comment and let me know: What was your favorite year/grade in school and why?

I loved 4th grade because my teacher taught next door to her best friend. Our classroom had a wall that opened, so the classes would often be combined. Also, my teacher worked at an animal rescue, and would bring in animals that she would foster and care for until they could be adopted or released. Also, I remember being excited about being in the older grades, but not being the oldest in the school.

Anyway, I can’t say “Thank you” enough! I appreciate my readers so much.

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Me

Little Miss + Enneagram

Hello!

I’m not sure why or where these Little Miss sayings started, and I think people either love them or hate them. haha

I follow @the.enneagram.mom (Tess) on Instagram, and loved looking at her recent Enneagram types posts.

I think it’s been two years since I took the Enneagram test, and I’m a 5w6. Sometimes, I think I’m more of a 6 than a 5 when I see different references, but I think it’s fun to analyze.

Here are the Little Miss sayings that most apply to my Type 5w6 self:

Type 5

@the.enneagram.mom
  • Little Miss “All Black Wardrobe”: While I don’t wear all black (mostly because of Homer hair haha!), my winter wardrobe is usually black, gray, and navy!
  • Little Miss “Give Me Space”: I definitely need my “me” time every day.
  • Little Miss “Doesn’t Like the Spotlight”: I definitely don’t like the spotlight. I’m happy to blend in.
  • Little Miss “Probably Overthinking”: All day, err’y day!
  • Little Miss “This Could Have Been an Email”: I like to be as efficient with my time as possible. I hate when I feel like time is being wasted…or a meeting could have been an email!

Type 6

@the.enneagram.mom
  • Little Miss “Needs the Schedule”: How can a person live without a schedule?!?
  • Little Miss “Planner Addict”: The best thing about “back to school” is a new planner and new pens!
  • Little Miss “Online Shopping Addict”: Did you see yesterday’s post? I don’t think I’d call myself an “addict,” but I do prefer to shop online. That being said, I also think that goes with my tendency to want to be efficient…and stay home.
  • Little Miss “Little Miss Overpacked”: I wrote about my over-packing tendencies in this blog post. I’m a work in progress. I’ve also admitted that I’m a “home body,” so I think that’s why I overpack. I just want to feel “at home” wherever I go. Also, I used to overpack a large suitcase. Now, I just overpack a medium one. #babysteps
  • Little Miss “Makes Tons of Lists”: I love a list…or 12. I have lists on my phone, lists in my school planner, lists on sticky notes, grocery lists and more. I also make “to do” lists for my kids for their chores or even schoolwork if they need to stay on top of it. I’ve even added things to lists after I’ve already completed the task just so I can cross that item off. So satisfying! Am I normal? Actually, don’t answer that! 😉

What Enneagram type are you? You should check out Tess’s posts, and let me know which Little Miss you relate to the most.

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Amazon

Prime Purchases: August 2022

Hello! I can’t believe it’s already the beginning of August. The summer flew by!

I love this link up with Tanya when we share our Prime Purchases for the month.

I’m sure you’ve seen all the “Little Miss” sayings going around, and I feel like I can relate to so many of them, but this one takes the cake:

#amIrightorwhat?!

When I started to organize this post, I did a double take.

Y’all, I swear I went at least two weeks without buying anything from Amazon, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. A few items were bought in June before our Mexico trip, a few after, and then, of course, we’re on a Back to School time crunch, so I made a few purchases over the weekend.

Here are my purchases:

Summer Staples:

  • Y’all know I love a beach hat. I have a tried and true beach hat that I’ve had a for a few years, but I wanted one that I wouldn’t mind if it got wet and that’s easy to pack. This one fit the bill, and it perfect!
  • Before vacation, I got a pedicure, and chose Mexico City Move-Mint as the color. I decided to order it in case I needed a touch up, and it’s officially my summer color!
  • I’ve shared my love for this cover up last month, and I wore it in blue so much, that I decided to snag it in navy. This cover up is the best.

My lake outfit is brought to you by Amazon. 😂 I’m even wearing my favorite swimsuit from last year under the cover up. Even my sunglasses are from Amazon back in the spring!

Clothes:

I wanted a few clothing options before Mexico and picked up this dress and sleeveless top.

  • This dress is perfection. It’s perfect to wear and then also easy to wear as a base with a cardigan or sweatshirt. I wore it on vacation a couple of times. Then, I wore it home on the plane with a sweatshirt on top. I know I will wear it to school with a cardigan for sure!
  • This sleeveless top is great with jeans, white denim or shorts! It has a sheer lining, but I added a tan cami under it to be on the safe side. It ties in the back which is cute.
  • Hadley needed a “super hero” shirt for camp, and chose this one (women’s sizing), and it was perfect.
Paired this outfit with my fave summer sandals.

Accessories:

Let’s just say that I was definitely influenced with my accessory purchases this month. Landyn shared this watch band, and Amy shared these headbands.

  • I never have been one to change my watch bands, so it was time for a new one. I love that this one allows for the watch to just slip on your wrist, and there are many color options.
  • These headbands are just what I needed, especially for day 3 hair! 😂 I decided to get the three pack, and I love them all. I’ve worn them all day a few times without any issues.

Am I a headband person now or what?! 😆

Few more faves:

  • Ok, I’ve shared before that my only Homer “regret” is not reading the fine print on his fur length. He’s a shedding machine. We’ve had him now for three years, and through the years, I’ve bought a hand held vacuum and a super heavy duty tape roller to try to control the hair situation, especially on our couch and blankets. Jenn shared this on stories, and it’s the best answer I’ve had so far to collecting hair. Better yet, you just empty the roll after each use…no sticky tape or batteries required. I’ve been using it for a month, and it’s helped so much. I now see why it was has over 116,000 reviews!
  • Travis wanted a smaller tumbler for water (beer) before Mexico. My Gma needed a birthday gift idea for him, and he suggested this 20oz tumbler as an idea. He’s used it so much, and took it to both Mexico (to keep his cervezas cold) and KC this summer (to beat the heat and drink water). It comes in a variety of colors.
  • We’ve belonged to our pool for five years, and I’ve never purchased chair clips to secure our towels. Before vacation, Travis suggested getting some to take in our pool bag. I saw these straps, and they were perfect (& easy to pack!)

Back to school

I’m prepping for our Back to School Brinner. While I tend to use the same supplies, I wanted to add a few more decorations to the kitchen and the table.

  • This banner is perfect for the mantle.
  • I picked up these table decorations too. I just thought they’d be a fun edition.

Every year, I buy the kids books that usually have the upcoming grade in the title. That’s been a little more difficult in middle school but I found a couple books I think both kids will like. Also, they both appear to be books in a series, so if they like them, I can buy other books in the series later.

Lastly, Hadley needed a new back pack. My kids seem to be on an every 2-3 year back pack rotation (Hayden got a new one last year). She chose this one, and I told her it should last her until college!

Shew! So many things, but Amazon sure is the place to go for vacay, back to school and all the things in between.

What have you been Priming lately?

{This post contains Amazon affiliate links…Thank you for supporting my blog!}

Posted in Family

Family Fun: Photo Sesh Edition

Hello and Happy Monday!

Womp. Womp. This is my last Monday of the summer with no school. This time next week, I will be sitting in meetings and preparing for the first day of school. I’m going to make the most of this week with a few last minute errands, crossing off our “back to school” list items, and hopefully pool/reading/tv time to round out the summer.

While we were in KC for my Gma’s 90th birthday, we had family photos taken on my mom’s side of the family.

Rachel has taken some of my favorite photos. She was our wedding photographer…

…and then took the kids photos when they were 4 months old…

…and their first birthday photos …

It was so great to see her again after so many years. If you are in the KC area, I HIGHLY recommend her!

I joked that this was forced family fun, and I think we got every combo of photo imaginable! The high temp that day was going to be 100+, so we met at 9:30 for these photos. While I’m always sad to think about how big my kids are getting, I will say some things are easier…like taking photos. We took all of these in about an hour!

This photo was our #1 goal:

…but then we got so many more!

The great grand kids with Gma:

Gma and her daughters (my aunt and my mom)

Gma with the grand kids (+spouses) and great grand kids.

The ladies!

My mom with her kids and grand kids.

The grand kids! I love this photo.

Then, my family and my brother’s family…

My family (these turned out so great!)

It’s been a long time since we’ve had photos taken in the summer, and I love that we are all tan and look relaxed. haha!

My kids! Getting so big…

Hadley:

Hayden:

(I think y’all know that Hayden isn’t big on having his photo taken. He was still sitting on this box after a group shot, and Rachel just had him look up and smile! Easy peasy! We tricked him!)

Hadley is easier to smile for the camera.

The last time Rachel took our photo was 2005! Love life with T-rav.

My brother’s family:

Then, my brother said we should take a sibling pic back to back. He’s so funny.

Happy 90th birthday, Gma! She’s the reason I love to play Solitaire (cards!), bake cookies at Christmas, and enjoy a good day on the lake! She’s a gem.

Even I’m not big on having my photo taken, but I’m so glad we had these photos taken.

I hope you all have a great week!

Linking up with Sarah and Holly for Hello Monday!

Posted in Travel

KC Recap

Hello!

We spent a few days in Kansas City visiting family last week followed by a couple of days at the Lake of the Ozarks with friends before getting back to Lex late Tuesday night.

Today, I’m recapping our trip…

…and linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites because of course a KC and lake trip include lots of favorites.

We try to get to KC every summer, but we were intentional about doing so this year in order to celebrate my Gma’s 90th birthday!

Last Wednesday was our travel day. It’s about a nine hour drive from Lex to KC. Times really have changed now that the kids are older…that drive sure is easier!

Once we got to KC, we went to my dad’s house and met up with my brother’s family who had also travelled from Lexington. We had tacos for dinner and then went to my mom’s for a few hours. We were in bed by 10:00 after a long day of travel.

Thursday we had a slow morning. Hayden’s been training all summer for cross country season. With the heat indices over 100 for our entire visit, he had to get up early to get his workouts in. I will give him credit….he did so every morning we were in KC with no complaints. I did a workout using the Beachbody app (another reason I love it!). We got ready, and then met my mom and Gma for lunch.

In order to beat the heat, we took the kids putt putt golfing which was fun.

After putt putt, we went to Rally House to pick up some KC Royals gear for the game the next day. Hayden had outgrown his last KC hat, and I couldn’t find mine…we all had luck picking something out.

Later in the evening, we went to my mom’s friend’s backyard pool. He always lets us come over when we visit, and the pool is a great spot to cool off!

Piggy backing at he pool is apparently all the rage, and my brother wins for most fun (and strongest?) uncle.

We had a late dinner and then headed to bed.

Friday morning we were up early for family photos. With 103 degree highs that day, we knew we needed pics early, so we wouldn’t melt.

Here’s a sneak peek:

The photos turned out so good. The photographer was the same one who took our wedding photos as well as the kids when they were babies. I will share more next week 🙂

After the photos, we all went out to brunch. Then, we went to my mom’s house for a couple of hours. We had pizza at my dad’s before heading to the Royals game.

Of course, we are “crazy” for going to the game in that heat and the Royals aren’t having the best season, but it was still fun to do. We knew since it was a night game, it wouldn’t be too bad…and it wasn’t. It was definitely humid, but that’s better than being hot.

I joked that Travis purchases tickets based off the price of beer in a stadium and the team’s record…haha The $12 seats were all we needed.

Hayden and Travis walked around before the game started, and Hayden was pumped because he got Bobby Witt Jr.’s autograph on his new hat!

During the 4th inning, Hadley joined the younger cousins at the “Little K” where they met Sluggerrr and rode a couple of rides.

On the way back to our seats, Hadley got this pic of the sunset. So pretty!

Unfortunately, the Royals lost, but we were all still smiling…

…because it was Firework Friday after the game.

These fireworks were spectacular!

Definitely worth more than the $12 ticket price!

It was past 11:00 when we got home, so we showered and hit the hay!

Saturday was our hottest day in KC! The heat index was above 106! That being said, we had a slow morning, and then Travis and I went to see Where the Crawdads Sing while the kids hung out at my mom’s house.

I loved the movie as much as the book. Travis really enjoyed it too!

Then, we went to celebrate Gma’s birthday with dinner and dessert. She had over a week of birthday festivities which included a happy birthday yard sign from my mom and aunt, lunch and cards with her Bridge group, dinner out at a Mexican restaurant (she sent me a photo of her wearing a sombrero and having churros for dessert) with neighbors, and then my mom and aunt organized for many friends and family near and far to send her cards for her birthday. Then, of course, she celebrated with us!

On Sunday, we were headed to the Lake of the Ozarks to meet friends, but we were able to have a slow morning and then go to Whataburger with my mom for lunch. My mom has been there, but we all were excited to try it. Patrick Mahomes owns a couple of them, so Hayden asked me to let Patrick know (via Instagram) that Hayden approved of the burger. It really was a good meal.

Then, it was time to say goodbye to our family which is always tough. We’re always sad to leave.

Then, we drove the 2.5 hours to the lake! My college friend’s family has a condo on the lake near the dam. I grew up going to the Lake of the Ozarks with my grandparents, and have so many fond memories. I don’t think I’ve been back there in 20 years!

This was our view from the bedroom:

We all got changed, and got on the boat for a few hours.

Leslie and I were neighbors in Jones Hall at MU and have been friends ever since.

Her son just turned 12, and her daughters are just a couple of years younger. The kids had lots of fun together.

The kids all took (many) turns tubing.

We all swam and floated in the lake a bit…

…before the boat ride back to the condo.

The sun was setting as we parked the boat, and the air temp was definitely cooling off with rain on the way.

Since it was about 8:00, we had pizza for dinner and were in bed around 10.

It rained overnight, and we took it easy on Monday morning. The slow paced morning with cooler temps was amazing.

Leslie and I went for walk, and then we went to check on the guys who were fishing off the dock.

Around 1:00 we got on the boat, and went to Dock Knockers for lunch. There’s nothing better than lunch on the lake.

The kids fed the fish…

…and then we had lunch.

After that, we spent the next few hours on the boat.

Everyone took turns tubing, and then it was the moms’ turn! We held on for dear life, and had lots of fun.

After we were finished tubing, we noticed smoke coming off a nearby boat…and then we saw people jumping in the water! We motored over there, and a couple other boats were helping out. Thankfully, all was ok, but that was a sight to see!

We pulled over into a nearby cove, and swam for a bit before heading back to the condo.

We grilled out for dinner and then played the Disney version of Apples to Apples. It was a great way to cap off the day.

On Tuesday morning, the plan was for the guys to go fishing before we headed back to Lex. Even though it was raining, they did get up early….so early that I didn’t even hear them get up. I got up around 8:30 and enjoyed another cup of coffee on the screened in porch. We went from 106 degrees on Saturday to 66 on Tuesday morning. It was bliss.

The rain was coming down pretty hard, so the guys came back early from fishing. Everyone had breakfast, and we packed up. We said our goodbyes and were on the road around 10:30.

We really enjoyed our time at the lake and appreciate our friends for being such gracious hosts!

As the kids get older and get busier, sometimes it’s more difficult to get back home. When we do, I love that we are able to do things that I enjoyed doing when I was growing up like go to Royals games, and going the lake was the icing on the cake.

I hope you have a great weekend! Next week is August. I have a love/hate relationship with August. haha

Posted in Monthly Musings, School

Monthly Musings

Hello! How has your week been? We got back from Missouri late Tuesday, so I’ve been trying to get us back on track with all the things…unpacking, groceries, errands, and more.

I can’t believe it’s the end of the month already, so I’m linking up with Holly and Patty for Monthly Musings.

This month’s topic:

I can’t believe it but we have less than two weeks left of summer break before school starts! I’m definitely savoring these days for sure! Here’s a peek at Back to School Prep.

1. How do you get organized for the school year?

The last couple of weeks of July, I start tackling the last items on my summer “to do list” and then I really start thinking about the school year on August 1. At that point, I’ve made appointments for back to school haircuts, and we have the supply list for back to school shopping. Also, I go to my classroom and get unpacked for the year. Once that task is completed, I feel like I can savor the rest of my summer at home.

2. Favorite places to shop for back to school clothes?

Well, that used to be Target, but as the kids have gotten older, their taste has changed.

This made me laugh:

Also, I’ve always just bought one new outfit for them to wear on the first day along with new tennis shoes. Hayden usually doesn’t want anything new, so often times he just shops his own closet whereas Hadley and I may visit the mall or find something on Amazon.

3. Do you meal plan? Favorite back to school meals?

This summer, I’ve been pretty relaxed with meal planning which is a summer perk for sure! I will definitely get back to meal planning as school begins because I will have to maximize my time as much as possible.

We (maybe mostly me!) look forward to our Back to School Brinner. When the kids were in K-5th grade, I always did Back to School Breakfast, but decided to shift to dinner a day or two before school started because middle school starts later than high school rather than before like during the elementary years.

breakfast
brinner

4. What are your kids favorite things about going back to school?

I asked, and both kids had similar responses. Both are excited about getting their schedules and seeing what friends they have in their classes.

Honestly, I thought Hayden would say “nothing,” so I will take that as a win.

5. Best place for school supplies?

I very rarely go to Walmart, but they do seem to have the best prices on school supplies. We usually start there and then check Target or Amazon for anything else that is missing.

6. Any first day of school traditions?

Besides the breakfast or brinner, I always buy the kids a book to start the year. I usually get lucky and find books with the grade level they are going in. Also, we always have a back to school photo!

7. Best lunchbox tip?

Pack the night before…which we almost never do! That has to change this year! I need to pack the night before too!

8. Buy lunch? Bring lunch? Both?

In elementary school, the kids went through phases of wanting to take their lunch or buy their lunch. Last year, Hayden bought his lunch every day, and Hadley took her lunch every day. I pack a lunch every day too.

9. Does school start before or after Labor Day?

TOO SOON! I swear it feels even earlier this year. Our first day is August 10. (And, it usually is the second Wednesday in August, but it still feels too early)

I hate to say it, but “when I was a kid..,” our summer was Memorial Day to Labor Day, and I think that’s how it should be.

When we were visiting family in KC, I heard all their back to school dates on the news…and school districts can’t start until nine days before Labor Day to help with tourism in August. I feel like that’s a great idea!

10. Best money saving tips for back to school?

I always feel like all I’m doing is spending money in August. From new shoes to school supplies to school fees, and more it just feels never-ending. I do try to space out spending as much as possible. Also, school supplies will never be cheaper than they are in July/August so stock up while you can.

It’s always good to get back in a routine with the start of school, but I also always cling to summer! Time is just flying by too quickly.

Posted in Books and Shows

July 2022: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello!

Well, nothing makes me happier than the fact that I have been able to get back on track with my reading. This month, I was able to read six books due to a bit more downtime and vacation time. They were all so different, but I would recommend them all!

This month I read…

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines:

Summary:

A woman returns to her small southern hometown in the wake of her mother’s sudden death–only to find the past upended by stunning family secrets–in this intimate debut novel, written with deep compassion and sharp wit.

Lila Bruce Breedlove never quite felt at home in Wesleyan, Georgia, especially after her father’s untimely demise when she was a child. Both Lila and her brother, Henry, fled north after high school, establishing fulfilling lives of their own. In contrast, their younger sister, Abigail, opted to remain behind to dote on their domineering, larger-than-life mother, Geneva. Yet despite their independence, Lila and Henry know deep down that they’ve never quite reckoned with their upbringing.

When their elderly mother dies suddenly and suspiciously in the muscadine arbor behind the family estate, Lila and Henry return to the town that essentially raised them. But as they uncover more about Geneva’s death, shocking truths are revealed that overturn the family’s history as they know it, sending the pair on an extraordinary journey to chase a truth that will dramatically alter the course of their lives. The Sweet Taste of Muscadines reminds us all that true love never dies.

Quick Thoughts:

I’d been on the library wait list for quite a while, so I downloaded this as soon as it became available.

This book caught my attention on the first page. It’s beautifully written; the setting in the south coupled with the description of Wesleyan allowed the words to flow on the page. The family dynamic of Lila and her sister and brother was also interesting to me. The sadness and uncertainty of their mother’s death brought them together but showed how people respond differently in times of sadness. There’s also some suspense and family secrets too. I loved how this book ended.

Favorite Quotes:

  • Truth, like beauty, reveals itself as you notice it; the more you see, the more you see.
  • Maybe your home is more something you carry inside you than the ground on which you stand.

Rating:

4.5 stars

One Italian Summer:

Summary:

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Quick Thoughts:

I love The Dinner List and In Five Years, so I had hoped that I would enjoy this one too! Newsflash: I did. Like her other books, this one tugged at my heartstrings a bit. There were definitely a couple of twists and turns that made me stop and re-read to keep up with the plot, but I really did love this book. I actually finished this book on the plane on the way to Mexico, and it was a great way to start my vacay reading.

Rating:

Meant to Be:

Summary:

The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country.

No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.

In a beautifully written novel that recaptures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells a story of a love that may or may not have the power to transcend circumstances that seem arrayed against it… and the difficulty of finding your way to the place you belong.

Quick Thoughts:

When I saw this book was coming out this summer, I immediately requested it from the library. I also told myself that if I didn’t get the book before vacation, I would buy it. That’s exactly what I did. I love the cover, and I’m happy to have it on my bookshelf!

The plot is loosely based on JFK, Jr.’s life and his romance with Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy which had me excited to read the book. Of course, I had the time to read it since I was on vacation, but I flew through this book. I think I felt like I could read quickly because there were so many similarities to his life that I already knew. To be honest, at one point, I kind of thought it was too much like the real life version, but then I embraced it and kept reading. This book did live up to the hype and is a great, quick read.

Rating:

The Lifeguards:

Summary:

Austin’s Zilker Park neighborhood is a wonderland of greenbelt trails, live music, and moms who drink a few too many margaritas. Whitney, Annette, and Liza have grown thick as thieves as they have raised their children together for fifteen years, believing that they can shelter them their children from an increasingly dangerous world. Their friendship is unbreakable–as safe as the neighborhood where they’ve raised their sweet little boys.

Or so they think.

One night, the three women have been enjoying happy hour when their boys, lifeguards for the summer, come back on bicycles from a late-night dip in their favorite swimming hole. The boys share a secret–news that will shatter the perfect world their mothers have so painstakingly created.

Combining three mothers’ points of view in a powerful narrative tale with commentary from entertaining neighborhood listservs, secret text messages, and police reports, The Lifeguards is both a story about the secrets we tell to protect the ones we love and a riveting novel of suspense filled with half-truths and betrayals, fierce love and complicated friendships, and the loss of innocence on one hot summer night.

Quick Thoughts:

I read The Jetsetters last summer and really enjoyed it. I honestly hadn’t heard of this book, and then someone shared it (I can’t remember who), and I requested it from the library. It was available on Kindle right as we were leaving for vacation.

I loved the idea of the three moms who were all very different, but had a strong friendship. Their boys also were very different, but had a strong friendship. There was just enough action combined with “who done it,” and background that this was a great read that came together nicely in the end.

Rating:

4.5 stars

The Hotel Nantucket:

Summary:

After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore — until it’s purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling.  Xavier hires Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton as his general manager, and Lizbet, in turn, pulls together a charismatic, if inexperienced, staff who share the vision of turning the fate of the hotel around. They face challenges in getting along with one another (and with the guests), in overcoming the hotel’s bad reputation, and in surviving the (mostly) harmless shenanigans of Grace Hadley herself — who won’t stop haunting the hotel until her murder is acknowledged.
 
Filled with the emotional tension and multiple points of view that characterize Elin’s books (The Blue BistroGolden Girl) as well as an added touch of historical realityHotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this summer drama for the ages. 

Quick Thoughts:

Again, this was another “book of the summer” that I was hoping to read on vacation. I almost purchased it to take on vacation, but I realized I probably had enough books to read. Well, a couple of days before vacation, it was available at the library.

I started this book on our last full day in Mexico and was also reading The Lifeguards at the same time.

I really loved all of the characters. I was rooting for the hotel to succeed and for Lizbeth’s love life. I did like the multiple points of view and sense of history in the story. This is another EH book with a ghost…which I know is a polarizing topic for readers. Sometimes the bits with Grace felt hokey, but obviously EH knows how to tell a story. I did love the ending and there were definitely a few surprising moments.

Rating:

4.5 stars

This Tender Land:

Summary:

In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, the Lincoln Indian Training School is a pitiless place where Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to Odie O’Banion, a lively orphan boy whose exploits constantly earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Odie and his brother, Albert, are the only white faces among the hundreds of Native American children at the school.

After committing a terrible crime, Odie and Albert are forced to flee for their lives along with their best friend, Mose, a mute young man of Sioux heritage. Out of pity, they also take with them a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy. Together, they steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi in search for a place to call home.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphan vagabonds journey into the unknown, crossing paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, bighearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.

Quick Thoughts:

I can’t remember where I saw this book title, but again, I had to wait a bit on the library waitlist. This book felt like a mix of Where the Crawdads Sing + Four Winds + The Girls in the Stilt House, and I loved it. It did take me a the first few chapters to get hooked but after the inciting incident, the plot picked up. I loved the characters and the bond that they had together. My English teacher heart loved the nods to The Odyssey which also connected the parts of their journey together. There was suspense and heartache, but also moments of joy and accomplishment. This was a book that wasn’t on my radar and all, but I’m so glad I read it. It could be a top read of 2022.

Rating:

Summer Reading Update:

Of course, I’ve read other books too, but I’ve made a serious dent in my SRL.

  • Read: Summer Love, The Summer Job, The Summer Getaway, One Italian Summer, The Hotel Nantucket
  • Just checked out: The Boardwalk Bookshop
  • On the wait list: Out of the Clear Blue Sky & Under the Southern Sky (the last two titles have been available on Kindle, but I’ve delayed the checkout because I was already reading other books. Hopefully, I can get one more of these read this summer!)

I was behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, but now I’m caught up. I hope to have another good reading month because I know once I get back to school, I won’t have as much time to read at first.

Have you read any of the books I read this month?