Posted in Holidays, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Shop the Holidays

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I feel like our weekends lately have been lopsided with a very busy Saturday followed by a more relaxed Sunday.

The kids had state cross country meet on Saturday which took up most of the day. Sunday, per usual, we did laundry, I picked up groceries, and we kind of regrouped for the week ahead.

Travis is super busy with work right now, so he gave me back his Super Dad cape πŸ˜‰ Seriously, when I think back to scheduling my surgery, we got so lucky with the October 14th date. It gave me just enough time to get back to my normal routine before he got busy with work. I’m still needing a daily nap and do feel worn out some days, but I’m glad to be back in a pretty normal groove.

Today, I’m linking up with Lauren, Ashley, (and others!) for their Not Just a Mom series. Today’s topic is: shop the holidays.

This meme always cracks me up.

November and December are always slammed for us with sports and school, the kids’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other fun activities and traditions that come with those holidays. That being said, I know things will look differently this year for all of those things.

To be honest, it all can be too much. Having to give ideas for birthday and Christmas to so many relatives in such a short amount of time can stress me out a bit. Even when I figure it all out, I still have to have ideas to the kids from us and from Santa.

Through the years, we’ve pared down who we purchase gifts for at Christmas, but, again, it’s still a lot to organize when adding holiday stress and birthday stuff too.

This is the point of the post where I’m asking for advice. πŸ˜‚

I do know it’s a blessing to have family near and far, traditions to continue, and we still see the joy of the holidays through our kids’ eyes…so I usually just take it day by day and list by list.

Birthday

I know the kids’ birthday isn’t an actual holiday, but it’s first on my list right now with it being in just a couple of weeks. For their birthday, I really do try to stick with the idea of “want, need, wear, read.” This might sound crazy, but I don’t really ask them what they want for their birthday…at some point they’ve probably shared what they “want,” and I just fill in the blanks for the other gifts.

We always get them a book and Christmas pjs; they probably end up with 5-6 gifts each when it’s all said and done because I pick up an extra thing or two along the way.

10th birthday breakfast

I also like the idea of giving the kids an “experience” when possible. When they were little, we bought tickets to Sesame Street Live. In the second grade, Hadley was begging to get her ears pierced, so that was one of her gifts which was so fun for her! The past couple of years, I purchased tickets to our favorite cookie decorating class for Hadley and me which is always fun.

Christmas

Trav and I usually just focus on the kids at this point. I typically buy what I want when I want it throughout the year…Travis is shaking his head “uh huh” as he reads this. πŸ˜‚ …so I never feel like I “need” anything. That being said, we usually end up having the kids pick out something that’s from them to us…and Travis never follows the rules and usually gets me something I’d never expect.

For example, his brother took the kids’ pictures a couple of years ago, and he surprised me with a couple framed faves. Of course, this brought tears to my eyes! He is a thoughtful gift giver.

We purchase family gifts for my mom, dad, grandma, and Trav’s mom. We also purchase gifts for my brother’s kids. Since it’s just the four grand kids on my side, and they are still little, it’s fun to get them a gift or two.

Our elf, Red, visits and always leaves the “want, need, wear, read” paper. I found this online years ago, have it saved, and just print it each year. I do love this tradition because it does give ideas that I can pass on to grandparents. Red takes the paper to the North Pole the next night after they’ve filled it out.

Of course, they also share ideas with Santa when we visit him. I’m not sure if that will happen this year. At our house, Santa’s gifts are unwrapped and left near the fireplace or tree.

When I was a kid, stockings were always my favorite to open, and I think my kids feel the same way. That’s probably where I end up going overboard. πŸ˜† I just pick up little things here and there: Chapstick, socks, underwear, nail polish, scrunchies, shaving cream, a card game, candy and more is what my crew typically finds in their stockings.

Christmas 2019 gift exchange

I also love our tradition where the kids choose a gift for each other that’s from them. It’s always fun to see what they pick out and give to each other. We usually let them open it the night before Santa comes.

One year I tried to buy all of the gifts in November, but I wasn’t 100% successful in that endeavor! I do at least like to start making a list in November and get organized.

I try to support local small businesses as much as possible as well as shops on Etsy. Target is typically is my “go to” place for the kids, and Amazon has certainly eased the shopping stress the past couple of years.

I will say and they’ve started to ask questions about the elf and Santa. Hadley’s the inquisitive one and Hayden still seems to believe. Of course, I cling to their innocence, but know that they are at the natural age to start wondering. To be honest, in second grade, they had tons of questions, and I really thought that was going to be the last year. I’m thankful all of that subsided, and we’ve had a few more Christmases of pure innocence.

So that’s how I shop the holidays. What about you?

Next month’s topic is special holiday traditions.

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts! I hope you have a great week.

Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello and Happy Friday! How was your week? The weather here was beautiful, so that combined with a day off on Tuesday left us having a pretty good week!

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

Favorite Food:

Halloween candy. Too much of it. haha Snickers are my fave…I usually put a couple of them in the freezer to have as a sweet afternoon treat.

Favorite Moment:

This…

I never decorate until closer to Thanksgiving. We usually get a real tree for our living room, and typically do so the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, and it deserves its glory…but…this year, for me, anything goes! I’d had my eye on this “cashmere” pencil tree at Michael’s. A few influencers shared it on Instagram, and said it usually sells out quickly. So, I went ahead and purchased it. It was on sale for $60 (marked down from $140). There’s another option that’s $50 that is the same height and pencil style just not “cashmere.”

So, I spent my Election Day putting up this little tree in our sun room. I also picked up the neutral/metallic colored ornaments and natural woven tree topper bow to complete the tree.

I don’t want to jinx it, but the tree has been up for three days, and none of the shatterproof ornaments have been #homered. Of course, I think he prefers ornaments that are heirlooms. He had a real knack for destroying those last year. πŸ™ƒ

I love it so much that I took pics of it throughout the day. πŸ˜‚

dusk, daytime, nighttime

We will still get a real tree for the living room later. I may move this pencil tree into our bedroom and put our bigger artificial one in the sunroom like we did last year. I have plenty of time to think about it.

For now, the rest of my house is pumpkins…except for this one corner of the sun room. πŸ˜‰

Favorite Kid Quote:

I’ve previously mentioned the Pod President election, and on Monday, the kids gave their speeches to their pod classmates. They did such a great job writing their speeches. They had such fun ideas and their personalities definitely shined though.

Wednesday was voting day, and the kids were encouraged to wear red, white, and blue.

Casting their ballots in the cute pod voting booth.

The three candidates…

The third candidate ending up winning, but I was so proud of my kids’ effort in making their posters, thinking of slogans, and writing their speeches. They had a great time and learned a lot about the election process.

Favorite Pic:

I was out for a walk, looked down and saw this heart shaped leaf which made me smile.

Favorite Clothing Item:

In Tuesday’s Amazon post, I shared about my love for this tank. It’s such a great basic to wear with a cardigan or with leggings.

Landyn shared about these Nordstrom pjs. I wanted something new and comfy for after my surgery, and these are just that! I also like that they are shorts with a long sleeved shirt because that’s perfect for the fall nights where sometimes we have 50 degree temps and other nights are much colder.

There are a few color options, but I went with “grey pavement.”

Other Faves:

No school on a Tuesday is always a bonus! We used that day to sleep in a bit, relax, get caught up on school, and cross some items off our “to do” lists.

Homer is always a fave…even when he brings his bone in the bed when I’ve told him not to.

I finished reading The Jetsetters Wednesday night and LOVED it. I highly recommend it!

Favorite Mom Meme:

I blame the time change, y’all! πŸ˜‚

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

This pic of Hadley ready for the first grade fall festival in 2016 popped up in my Facebook memories❀️ #yeehaw

As well as this pic of Hayden when he lost his first tooth in November 2014. Now he’s in full on braces for the second time. Time really does fly…and kids do get more expensive!

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week in case you missed one:

Thanks so much for reading, and don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Posted in Home Updates

Home Updates

Hello! I have a few house updates to share with you today.

So….as I’ve mentioned before, our house is an ongoing process. We’ve lived here six years (which I can’t believe) and continue to chip away at projects. Some projects have been major and others have been minor, but I do (usually) appreciate that we’ve taken our time to make decisions while living in our home.

Here are a few things we’ve accomplished lately…

Living Room:

Starting with the smallest update…I purchased some new pillows from TJ Maxx.

I actually got these pillows back in mid-September. I’m all about neutral pillows on the couch…

…especially this time of the year when I add in seasonal pillows.

Another new recent purchase was a pair of ottomans for our two living room chairs. We purchased two of these high back swivel chairs about a year and a half ago. At the time, we’d discussed getting ottomans, but just didn’t want to spend the extra money at the time.

After a while, we did decide it would be nice to have somewhere to prop our feet! Well, when I went back to the store (again, it’s been a year and a half), the same gray (“concrete” color) fabric of the chair was no longer an option. So, I brought home a few samples and settled on these two options and put a poll on Instagram…

While, the poll didn’t help much…actually, it made me feel like I couldn’t go wrong with either choice…πŸ™‚…I went with:

The striped option! It took almost two months for both ottomans to come in, but I’m so pleased with them.

And…here’s the other one:

Kitchen:

Moving on to the kitchen…

I’ve previously shared that I picked up these bar stools at the At Home store. This wasn’t necessarily on our list, but our previous ones had lasted over five years, were on the smaller side, and I wanted taller, sturdier ones.

These have been working perfectly for us so far.

Now…moving on to the more substantial updates.

It has been my dream to have a gas cook top. I watch cooking shows, I make dinner most nights, and I thoroughly enjoy cooking. Getting a gas cook top has been at the top of the wish list for quite some time, but we’ve always focused on other areas…and, to be honest, we didn’t know who to call for a gas line hookup. πŸ˜‚

Anyway, we found a very affordable and reliable plumber (we’ve had issues with our previous plumber) who said a gas line hook up would be no problem.

Right before my surgery, we went to Home Depot and chose our cook top. While there, we decided to go ahead and switch out our microwave to one in the same “gallery” as the new gas cook top. I do hate to get rid of a working appliance, but the microwave wasn’t that expensive, and it definitely completes the look for this part of the kitchen.

Our handy man neighbor installed the microwave after the plumbers left. Travis sent me this pic once everything was installed.

I can’t get over how much more efficient the gas range is…and it looks beautiful! I’ve enjoyed cooking on it over the past week.

**I didn’t take a “before” picture of our old range and microwave, but you can see the white appliances in the picture above with the two new stools. I took that pic about a month ago.

Lastly, we purchased a new sink and faucet for the kitchen.

Besides a gas stove top, a farm house sink has always been a dream of mine. That being said, the apron style sink would mean needing different cabinets, and that kind of project obviously doesn’t make sense since we are pleased with our cabinet situation.

So, we went with this single basin drop in kitchen sink. I always assumed we’d get a white sink after having a standard stainless steel double bowl sink. But…Travis found this one on build.com.

The sink and faucet decisions were being made after my surgery, so Travis ventured out on his own to a local store, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery, to look at the color options for the sink. He sent me pics of the concrete gray and metallic gray colors. We decided on metallic gray because I liked that it was darker and would be a good contrast with our light gray cabinets.

Travis picked out the faucet on his own. He knows my style by now! haha…and he even made sure to choose a “spot resistant” faucet which was a genius move!

Like the gas stove top, I love this sink so much. I’m glad we waited, looked around, and made a decision that was perfect for the space when the time was right.

And…

Well, you know how it goes…We made all of these decisions, and then…our washer went kaput.

Pretty new front loading washer and dryer appliances came with our house when we bought it in 2014. The owner before us used them pretty minimally, so we kept them when we moved in. That being said, the front loading washer has been nothing but trouble. So, when it started giving us issues…again…we decided it was time to get something more efficient and reliable than try to get the front loader fixed again.

I was still out of commission, so I told Travis I trusted him with whatever he picked out. I also made it easier on him because I said to only look at top loader washers! πŸ˜‚

This washer arrived last week as well, and, again, I can’t get over how efficient it is to use. I was able to do three loads of laundry in the amount of time it would have taken me to do one with the old washer.

While we are certainly crossing off items on our house “to do” list, we always just try to prioritize, save money, and complete as we can. Technically, the dishwasher is the only appliance that doesn’t match the kitchen, but we’ll live with it for now.

The hall bathroom is the only other room that hasn’t had a face lift. I’m not sure when we’ll get to it, but we will some day.

We have other future projects in mind that are smaller, but I continue to be pleased with all of the updates and all that we’ve accomplished so far. Our house definitely feels more like home with each decision we make.

I hope you are having a great week. See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites!

Posted in Amazon

November Amazon Lately

Hey! How’s it going? Since it’s Election Day today, we are off school. So, for us, that means a slow start to the day mixed with crossing some items off our “to do” list….and, by “our list,” I mean I will be bossing the kids around today. πŸ˜‚

I’m linking up with Tanya for her monthly Prime Purchases post. I do have a few purchases this month, and some were for me, some for the kids, and a couple items were just general items for around the house.

For Me:

Y’all…this tank is THE BEST! I saw Jen Reed share about it in Insta Stories a few times, and I purchased it in the glacier grey color, but loved it so much that I immediately ordered it in black. It’s perfect to wear under a cardigan, but I find that I wear them under most sweaters or sweatshirts. I love the hi-lo length, so the tank covers my backside! So, this tank comes in handy especially when wearing leggings. I’m sure I will order another color at some point to add to the rotation.

Also, seen on Insta Stories…these workout leggings. Michelle (@ellerydesigns) chats about them pretty often on her stories. Then, she shared them again on Prime Day, so I went ahead and purchased them in the navy marl color because they were $23 that day. The material is thick, there are many color options, and they suck you in… in all the right places!

Then, I ordered my favorite OPI color: Funny Bunny because my other bottle was all used up! I paint my nails once a week, and this is my “go to” color.

For the Kids:

Hadley recently chose the flute as her band instrument. We quickly realized she needed cloths to clean her flute. Thankfully, she seems to be taking pretty good care of her new instrument so far!

Hayden kept it pretty simple with his Patrick Mahomes Halloween costume. We’d already ordered the KC Chiefs sweatbands, but realized eye black stickers would solidify the costume.

For the House:

I’ve had the same recipe cards forever…and finally needed to get a few more. While I do rely pretty heavily on blogs and Pinterest for recipes, if I make something I know we’d all like to have again, I like to write the recipe down. So, I purchased these recipe cards. Colorful and cute! 60 recipe cards for $10…these should last me awhile!

Lastly, we are going to try One. More. Time…to keep the wireless computer mouse out of Homer’s reach. I’ve purchased this same mouse three times in about as many months. Good grief.

So, that’s a little peek at my Prime Purchases. What have you been Priming?

Tanya’s next link up is December 1st…and the theme for that post is “Best of Amazon”….where you can share what you purchased in November but are also encouraged to share your favorite Amazon purchases of 2020!

As always, thanks so much for reading!

Take care,

Posted in Holidays

(Happy) Halloween Recap!

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a really good one. Of course, Saturday was Halloween, but then Sunday was a great slow paced day to get caught up on life and prep for the upcoming week. On top of that, the weather this weekend was beautiful.

Today, I’m sharing a recap of our very 2020 Halloween.

Andrea shared this meme last week, and I laughed! It’s so true! I know I say all of these statements multiple times!

And…I saw this meme and thought it was very 2020.

Friday Night:

Our “festivities” started off Friday evening with our “Spooky Dinner.” I started this tradition last year, and the kids asked for it again. “Bloody finger” hot dogs, green grape eyeballs, ghoulish green mac and cheese, and this year I added in orange cheese balls because….they’re good πŸ˜‰…and paired the orange with a black spider for Halloween colors.

kids’ plates…I added the mac and cheese after I took this pic. oops!
my plate

Trav said we should play Halloween music while we ate dinner. Hadley found a Halloween playlist with some fun music. This was a great idea until the kids started arguing about song selection. Ugh!

Then, I went to bed early. I feel like I overdid it a few days last week, and it all caught up with me. I was in my pjs by 6:00 and in bed by 9:00.

Saturday/Halloween:

I woke up Saturday feeling a lot better, and, thankfully, we had no plans until having our friends over around 4:30. We kept the menu very simple this year. I made Shay’s Chicken Tortilla Soup like I usually do, but I didn’t make appetizers or chili like usual. The soup was for the adults, and then we picked up Little Caesar’s Pizza for the kids.

Our trick-or-treat time was from 6:00-8:00, so I had our friends and my brother’s family come over at 4:30, so we could enjoy the nice weather, hang out in the the backyard, and eat before trick-or-treating.

Usually, we eat after trick-or-treating, and of course, it’s dark outside by then and we hang out inside. So, with Covid, we changed it up a bit to be able to space ourselves out and enjoy the fresh air.

I pulled a few decorations from my Halloween tub to use on the food tables on our back patio.

My sister-in-law (and the kiddos) made these fun Minion Rice Krispie treats. So cute and delish!

We snapped a few pics before heading out around 6:00 for trick-or-treating.

Hadley was a blue M&M with her group of friends. Hayden was Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I loved that both costume were their idea, and very simple to put together. Hayden even wore his Adidas (rather than cleats) because he said that’s who Mahomes endorses. Kid doesn’t miss a detail! πŸ˜‚

I do have to give a shout out to Amazon for most elements of Hadley’s costume, and my friend Amy who cut out the m and ironed it on the girls’ sweatshirts.

I swear…they were just this little!

2010

Then, it was time for cousin pic with Princess Jasmine, and a Power Ranger!

We were excited to see our friends who we don’t see very often. These girls are five days apart in age and besties even though they don’t get to see each other as often as they’d like.

Fun fact(s): we’ve trick-or-treated with these families for 11 years, all these kids have November birthdays, and 80’s girl and kidnapped by alien are boy/girl twins too!

They are all growing up on us too quickly!

Here they are on Halloween 2010.

Hadley was able to trick-or-treat with the other M&Ms for a bit…

while Hayden caught up with some of his crew…

and then we all met back up to finish up trick-or-treating.

Most of the houses we went to had fun tubes to dispense the candy or individual bags out on tables…which is what we did.

Hadley helped me bag the candy Saturday morning.

After over an hour of trick-or-treating, their buckets were full…and it was time for the candy swap. πŸ˜‚

We had such a great evening. We were able to see so many great friends, hang out with family, eat delicious food (and candy!), and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Lots of things about 2020 have been a bummer, but Halloween didn’t disappoint…and the kids have the full size candy bars to proved it!

and now…it’s November! How is that even possible?!

…which means the kids have started their birthday countdown. 18 days and counting!

What did Halloween look like where you live? Of course, I hope you had a great Halloween!

Take care,

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays

Friday Favorites

Hello and Happy Friday! We’ve had a pretty good week around here. Of course, we were busy with school and work, but we also found time for a few Halloween activities which made the week even more fun.

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

Favorite Food:

Amy shared about these rice rollers in a recent blog post. I rarely go into the grocery store, so I’ve forgotten to look for them when placing my online orders. Anyway, the other day I went into Kroger to pick up Halloween candy and saw the rice rollers!

They are a perfect snack, and really delicious.

Favorite Moment:

Well, y’all…we’ve hit a milestone! The kids carved their pumpkins on Tuesday night with minimal help from mom and dad!! #praisehands I love this tradition, but I’m not mad about them doing the work! Hayden wanted his pumpkin to have crooked teeth and the tongue sticking out while Hadley just wanted her pumpkin to say “Boo.”

Both pumpkins turned out pretty cute!

Here they are lit up on the front porch:

Favorite Kid Quote:

Hayden was on a roll this week and two memorable quotes.

Last weekend, Hayden was on the computer and said, β€œUgh, every time I’m on You Tube, there are commercials. β€˜I’m Amy McGrath. I’m Mitch McConnell. Hi! I’m Josh Hicks. I’m Joe Biden. I’m Donald J Trump.’ I’m over it. Just show me a Geico commercial!” I literally laughed out loud.πŸ˜‚

Then, the other morning, he was fed up with Hadley and said, “Mom, I’m moving my toothbrush into your bathroom. Hadley takes too much time to get ready and all she does is Tik Tok dances in the mirror!” I guess I have a new bathroom buddy.

Favorite Pic:

My favorite pic this week comes from my friend who runs the school pod. They had a Halloween party on Wednesday, and here’s the crew:

As we all know, 2020 is a year to remember. I’m very thankful they’ve had a sense of normalcy by going to school with a group of friends and having fun activities like holiday parties.

Favorite Clothing Item:

I shared the links for these in my What’s Up Wednesday post, but I’ve been living in this lightweight tunic jacket from Walmart.

and…I’m officially in love with my new robe from Target.

Other Faves: Halloween Fun:

Tuesday afternoon Hadley helped me add a few more touches to the front of the house. It’s no secret I love my pumpkins on the porch for fall, but then we usually add some cobwebs on the front bushes with some spiders the week leading up to Halloween.

Last weekend, when we were in Walmart, Hadley spotted these skeletons, so we picked up a couple to add to the cobwebs.

Other favorites from the week include the pod Halloween party activities.

Hadley’s ready to bob for apples.

Hayden’s turn…He took off his glasses, so he could really bob for apples! He was the champ of his round.

My friend joked that this activity was CDC approved because there were fresh apples, fresh water each round, and siblings shared tubs when it was their turn.

I joked that their big mouths apparently came in handy! πŸ˜‰ #momjokes

Then, they decorated cookies.

and then ate the cookies…

I think they had a sweet afternoon filled with fun.

Favorite Mom Meme:

I saw this on the ‘gram and laughed! Too funny not to share.

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

I shared Hadley’s kindergarten “All About Me” pic a few weeks ago. Hayden’s turn popped up in my Facebook memories this week. #pinchycheekcute

I remember how much he loved reading The Magic Tree House series which he wrote down as his favorite book. Ugh! Some times I really do miss this age.

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week in case you missed one and are interested:

Before wrapping up this post, I do want to say thank you for the love on Monday’s post about my surgery and recovery. From blog post comments and Instagram love, I really appreciate the support and kind words. The blogging community is a good one, and I’m certainly grateful for my readers.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a great Halloween!

Posted in Books and Shows

October: What I’ve Been Reading

Hey! It’s the end of the month, so I’m sharing the three books I read in October. The Flatshare and The Guest List have been on my reading list for a long time which meant I was on the library wait list for a few months. I’d say both were worth the wait. I love Colleen Hoover’s books, but hadn’t heard of November 9 until I read about it on another blogger’s list.

So here are the three books I read this month:

The Flatshare:

The Flatshare was a sweet read with short chapters. The main characters are Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy’s boyfriend has broken up with her, so she needs a cheap place to rent. Leon works nights and knows sharing the flat will be a way for him to help his finances. So, Leon sleeps in the flat during the day while Tiffy occupies the flat the rest of the time.

Tiffy and Leon haven’t even met as his girlfriend interviewed Tiffy for the placement. So, Leon and Tiffy get to know each other with notes left as their form of communication. They do get to know the ins and outs of each other’s lives as well as other aspects of life such as crazy ex-boyfriends and the drama going on with Leon’s brother.

This was definitely a cute, at times predictable, read, but definitely one that I enjoyed.

November 9:

November 9 was a great read full of emotional moments and a twist or two as well. I really enjoy Hoover’s books, and I can say the same about this one.

Ben and Fallon meet right before Fallon plans on moving from LA to New York. They have such a great few hours together that they decide to meet each year on the same day for the next five years. While they don’t communicate the other 364 days in the year, Fallon becomes the inspiration for the novel Ben has always wanted to write.

Fallon deals with personal insecurity while Ben has family issues that complicate his life. Of course, with each passing year, there is the suspense of if each one will arrive at their agreed upon location. Then, there’s a major twist in the plot that definitely kept me turning the page.

November 9 is an important date for a few reasons in this book.

I enjoyed this book, and it was one that had me wanting to see how it ends. That being said, I’m not sure the ending was realistic for me…but I see why Hoover wrapped up the story how she did.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

  • “Why didn’t you tell me that the foundation you taught me to stand on is made from quicksand?”
  • A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside. And you are full of gifts. Selflessness, kindness, compassion. All the things that matter.”
  • Youth and beauty fade. Human decency doesn’t.”

The Guest List:

The Guest List is a Reese Witherspoon Book Club choice, and I can see why! This thriller was told through various points of view as guests gather on a coastal island in Ireland to celebrate Jules and Will’s wedding.

The first person perspective of the chapters alternate between the bride, groom, best man, bridesmaid, wedding planner, the plus one and others. Some of the wedding guests have been a part of the bride and groom’s lives for many years while others are just meeting and making connections the weekend of the wedding. The ominous setting of the rocky coastal island where it’s dangerous to be outside at night pairs well with the underlying suspense of doom. Then, during the reception, someone is found dead.

I really did enjoy this book, and I like books written with various perspectives with pretty short chapters. It was slow for me in the beginning, but the last quarter of the book was really good once pieces of the puzzled plot started falling into place.

Reese knew what she was doing by adding this book to her book club πŸ˜‰

So, there’s a little recap of what I’ve been reading. Are there any books you’ve read lately that I should add to my list? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Posted in What's up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday

Hello! How is it already the last Wednesday in October? October is my favorite month, and I feel like it needs at least 14 more days! haha Y’all, it’s completely flown by!

As always, I’m linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for their What’s Up Wednesday series.

WHAT WE ARE EATING THIS WEEK:

I’m back to cooking this week which has been good for me!

  • Sunday– Chicken chili and cornbread
  • Monday- easy pork loin, Bob Evans mashed potatoes, and veggies
  • Tuesday- leftover chili and cornbread
  • Wednesday – Baked chicken thighs (my dad’s recipe!), Trader Joe’s Risotto, and fruit
  • Thursday– leftover chicken, bagged salad
  • Friday Spooky Halloween dinner (hot dogs, mac and cheese, and grapes)
2019 Spooky dinner
  • Saturday– It’s Halloween. I usually make chili and/or Shay’s Chicken Tortilla Soup and some other family faves.

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

This pic of Hadley popped up in my Facebook memories from 2016 when she dressed up for the 50th day of school. I can’t get over how the elementary years have flown by and how fast this crazy school year is going!

WHAT I’M LOVING:

I’m loving this Chex Mix that I whipped up after seeing it on Instagram Stories.

  • Chex cereal
  • Candy Corn
  • Peanuts
  • Reese’s Pieces

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

I’m just continuing to rest up and heal from my surgery. I have my two week appointment with my doctor today. This week, I’ve definitely been easing back a bit more into “real life” with cooking, laundry, helping the kids with school and continuing to work from home.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

This week we’ve had a little more down time now that baseball is over. Cross country and dance have continued, but we’ve had a few extra weekend days and weekday evenings just at home rather than running around everywhere.

The kids have been focused on their Pod President campaign. Over the weekend, they worked on their slogans and signs before taking them to their class pod. The election is next Wednesday, I believe. Before then, they will each give a speech and participate in a debate with the other candidate (three kids, total, are running for the position).

Pod President gets to choose the seating chart for the day, bring their favorite snack to share, and choose the recess activity.

Hadley upped her campaign game with buttons! 🀣

WHAT I’M DREADING:

Nothing really at the moment. I’m just always overwhelmed with the school situation (even though we have a great routine going), and now I guess we need to start thinking about the holidays. I’m not sure how all of that will shake out.

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

My Missouri Tigers beat Trav’s Kentucky Wildcats in football last Saturday.

They say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it…” Well, I have an MU garden flag, and it’s flying! πŸŽ‰#zerochill Hayden noticed right away, and I’m not sure if Travis has noticed I changed it yet or not.

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

Last week, I binged Million Dollar Beach House on Netflix in a matter of a couple of days. In my defense, there are only six 30 minute episodes.

Then, I moved on to Virgin River which a few people suggested. I just finished episode 7, and I really like it. A perk to be late to watching VR is that I will finish Season 1 and Season 2 will be out next month! (Side note–Travis saw me watching it, and said he’d watched it back when shut down/quarantine started! I had no idea. πŸ˜‚ )

I’m almost finished with The Guest List. This was definitely a popular read, and I was on the library wait list for quite some time. It’s pretty good. I hope to share about the books I read in October tomorrow or early next week.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Honestly, I haven’t been listening to my regular podcasts recently since I mostly do that on my walks and while working out. I hope to get back on track with listening to those very soon!

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Landyn shared about this Target robe that she’s had for years. Apparently, Target quit selling it a couple of years ago, but a follower of hers shared that they saw Target was selling it again. #rundontwalk This is the best robe ever. I had a Target gift card, so I felt even better about the purchase.

I was in Walmart recently and saw this lightweight tunic jacket. It comes in a few colors, and I picked up the dark gray. I like that it’s lightweight, so I can wear it in the house or layer it to wear outside.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

It’s Halloween! This is one of our favorite holidays. Cool weather, candy, and costumes. So fun.

Hayden and Hadley’s costumes through the years..

2019: Ghostbuster and nerd

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

The kids’ birthday! Hayden and Hadley will be 11! How is that even possible?!

I think we wrapped up the birthday t-shirt tradition last year. I loved it so much, but I thought 10 was a good age to move on. I’ve said before that Hadley probably would have let me buy a her a b-day t-shirt until she’s 50, and Hayden was over it a couple of years ago.

We haven’t made any solid birthday plans just yet. This year, their birthday falls on a Friday, so we may let them hang with a few friends and keep it kind of simple.

Thanks so much for reading my What’s Up Wednesday post! Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Me

Monday Memo: Surgery Thoughts and Update

Hey! Hey! I mentioned in last week’s Currently post that I’m continuing to recover from my surgery. As I also mentioned, long story short, it was a long time coming. I thought today I’d share more of the longer part of the long story short.

Caution: long post where I get deep in my feelings and the details 🀣

That being said, this is one of those posts where as I sit here writing it, I know people will either be very interested or very uninterested in this topic. If so, come back for other light-hearted posts later this week 😊

That being said, when Shay shared her story last December, it was was actually quite helpful in my decision to start making plans to move forward with my total hysterectomy. So, I know there may be someone out there, even one, who may benefit from hearing my thoughts and feelings about this surgery.

I didn’t know how to really start this post, but I saw this recently and it resonated with me…

My thoughts:

This decision, for some, would be very easy. I’ve been in discomfort or pain for quite some time, so why not just go for it? Just get rid of the problem. My brain doesn’t operate like that. I have to have time to process my feelings and to get a plan. So, this has been many years in the making.

I also want to reiterate that this is my experience. I didn’t take making this decision lightly, but I also don’t take for granted that I was able to make the decision without it being completely forced on me. I know there are many women who have had this decision forced on them out of necessity because of Cancer or other health related issues.

The quick time line is that it took us some time to get pregnant with Hayden and Hadley. But we finally welcomed them into the world in November of 2009. After a couple of years, I was experiencing some pain, and my OB performed a laproscopic surgery in June of 2012. There, she found scar tissue all over my right ovary which made it non-functioning. Then, there were other pockets of scar tissue and my uterus had so much scar tissue that it was adhered to the lining of my stomach. Of course, she tried to laser off what she could, but the post-op conversation was that my right ovary was of no use and the only way to be pretty pain free was to get rid of everything when I felt ready for that.

Of course, at the time, I was 32 and we still hoped to add to our family. With the help of the same specialist who we saw for H&H, I did get pregnant in 2013…but then miscarried. So, we tried for a few more years with no luck and lots of heartache.

I’m sure I could write a whole post about infertility, but I will save that for another time. I can honestly say my infertility struggles and that miscarriage changed me. To be honest, both of those experiences even seeped into my everyday life. Whether I was thinking about starting a family or adding to the family, doctor appointments, medicines, shots, counting days, and then, years later, just figuring out that right time for the hysterectomy, I’ve had all of this on my mind for 12+ years. The infertility and miscarriage even shattered my confidence. (hence why the meme above is so perfect) It’s easy to feel like a failure when your one job as a woman , to produce children (if you do choose to do so), isn’t happening easily or naturally, you start to question what you’ve done wrong and what you’ve done to deserve it.

Some would think if the parts are causing so many issues, get rid of them…but when you’ve been wanting something to work for so long, you cling to hope that one day it will. #imnoquitter For me, it was actually easier to pray and hope than to give up. Until…

I realized I could be a better, more present, and more active mom to Hayden and Hadley if I went ahead with the surgery…and just tried to move on. There was never going to be a good time. Travis is super busy with work in September, November, January, and July. I work full time. We have two very busy and active kids…and the list goes on.

After talking to my doctor at the end of August, I was relieved when she said the surgery would be on October 14th. October is probably one of our least busy months. And…it’s cheesy, but 14 is my lucky number and October is my favorite month. I figured it was a sign to go for it.

Surgery:

So, leading up to the surgery, I was a bit emotional and anxious. I was at peace with the decision, but anxious for the day. I told a few people as the time got closer, but waited until the week before to tell Hayden and Hadley. I waited for a moment when I was feeling strong to let them know. Basically, I shared with them that I wanted to go to the pumpkin patch before I had surgery. The recovery time is 4-6 weeks, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Both kids had questions, Hadley more than Hayden, but it was a good little conversation.

Two days before the appointment, I had a Covid test and blood work as well as just going over what to expect.

The night before my surgery, one of my friends brought over some food. She’d written funny sayings all over the paper bag. So funny and just what I needed.

My surgery time was moved from 1:00 to 10:00 the day before the surgery. I was up pretty early after a somewhat sleepless night and missing my coffee. We woke up the kids, did the usual breakfast and backpack routine and then we dropped the kids off at the pod at 8:00, and headed to the hospital.

I checked in, and Travis sat with me in the waiting room. That was only a few minutes, and then they called me back to pre-op. Due to Covid, Travis couldn’t come with me. That being said, I was thankful to have had my phone with me. Also, my brother actually works in the OR, so he had access to me and sat with me for about an hour. My sister-in-law is a nurse at the hospital and stopped by as well.

While I was waiting for the surgery, Travis had to run home for his computer. He sent me a pic of these flowers my sweet Mom Gang sent me. #getyourselfamomgang

Also, one of my friends texted me because she knew I was a little nervous. She said, “When you’re sad or anxious, it means you’re about to do something really brave.” So very sweet…and true.

I finally saw my doctor around 11:45. Once I saw her, tears sprang to my eyes. I was just ready to get it over with. Once I saw her, things moved quickly and my 10:00 surgery finally started at 12:15. The 1-2 hour surgery lasted close to three hours. My doctor said it basically looked like last time but worse with more scar tissue and more lesions. I was so happy when I woke up (I was very nervous about the anesthesia). The nurse asked how I felt, and I said I had a slight headache. She gave me a sip of coffee, and it was the best coffee I ever tasted. πŸ˜€Then, they wheeled me to my room around 4:15 where Travis was waiting. Again, due to Covid, he had to wait in the waiting room (or cafeteria) and then was escorted to my room. I was so happy to see him. I was like, “Travis, I did it!” πŸ˜‚

A laproscopic hysterectomy is a one night stay at the hospital. My doctor had mentioned if she couldn’t get everything, then she’d have to make an additional (bigger) incision which would mean two nights at the hospital. Thankfully, my procedure was completed all laproscopically with three little incisions.

Visiting hours were only until 5:00, but the nurses said Travis could stay for a couple of hours since I’d arrived at my room so late. He stayed until about 6:30, and I rested after taking a couple of bites of mashed potatoes from the hospital dinner.

Around 8:00, the kids Face Timed me which was sweet. I shared in my Friday Favorites post my sweet conversation with Hadley that evening. I told Hadley I was proud of her for her first flute lesson that day. She said, β€œNo, mom, I’m so proud of you” because she knew I was nervous about my surgery, and she was a little anxious about it too.

Dad held down the fort while I was gone ❀️

Then, I watched a couple of episodes of Guys Grocery Games and dozed off and on. Of course, the nurse came to check on me and take my vitals every few hours. I fell asleep, and woke up from a hard sleep…I thought that it must be morning…uh! It was 11:55 PM. 😳

I was up off and on through the night to use the restroom but then slept pretty solidly from 4:30-6:30. Around 6:30, my night time nurse said goodbye, and I met my day time nurse.

For breakfast, I was so happy to have some Sprite and black coffee. I ate the muffin and a piece of bacon while waiting on Travis to come visit.

My brother actually stopped by around 8:30 for a bit, and Travis got there around 9:00. My doctor checked on me, and said if I ate a decent lunch, I could go home. So, Travis hung out with me. I napped off and on, answered texts, and watched the Golden Girls. The kids were at home with the sitter doing school work. I was discharged around 2:00.

I was so excited to get home, see the kids, and was so shocked by all the goodies friends and family had left for us.

Care packages, honey from Savannah Bee company from my dad, a candle, a lantern, goodies and breakfast items from Wolferman’s Bakery from my mom and more.

I also mentioned last week that the kids made monster cupcakes with the sitter. So sweet.

So, I’m almost at two weeks of asking for help, relying on others, taking it slow, and healing. My days are mostly filled with taking it easy, napping, and Netflix. BUT…with each passing day, I’ve been able to be productive around the house and school work.

This meme is me right now: 🀣

I will say that the pain has been very little. Honestly, I spent so much time before the surgery bloated or in discomfort that I was kind of used to it. I only took the occasional pain med the first few days because I was afraid that the pain could catch up with me even though I was mostly just feeling soreness. Then, I just relied on Ibuprofen for a couple more days. My biggest side effect has been exhaustion. Going into this surgery, my doctor said the 4-6 week recovery was more about taking it slow and resting because tiredness would be my number one issue.

Also, for now, my hormone replacement is an estrogen patch to delay menopause. So apparently #thisis40 πŸ˜‰

I’ve been going to my OB for 15 years. She’s amazing, and I trust her and appreciate all that she’s done to help me on this journey of infertility, pregnancy, loss, and now the hysterectomy. At the hospital, the nurses, technicians, and anesthesiologists were all great. I couldn’t have asked for a better team during my time at the hospital.

Of course, I want to thank all my family and friends who’ve checked in on me, said an extra prayer or two, taken my kids where they needed to be, dropped off food, sent cards and text messages, and more. In the grand scheme of life, I know this wasn’t the biggest surgery in the world, but it was a big decision for me that weighed heavily on my mind and my heart for quite some time.

Of course, I need to give a shout out to T-rav. His Super Dad cape has been working overtime. I have leaned on him the most through the ups and downs of life, and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive spouse. Hayden and Hadley have stepped up to the plate as well, and I appreciate their extra love and hugs.

If you made it to the end, thanks for reading. It’s pretty vulnerable to put my thoughts out there. It’s weird for me to say this because I do have a blog, but I’m a pretty private person. That being said, this blog is a journal of sorts for me…so it feels kind of natural to share my feelings this way. And, as I said above, I know that Shay’s posts provided me with a sense of peace moving forward with my decision. Maybe this post will be that for someone else along the way too. ❀️

Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

(Flashback) Friday Favorites

Hello and Happy Friday! This week has been so different for me! I’ve had lots of time spent on the mend with napping and Netflix. That being said, Travis has definitely had to wear his Super Dad cape this week! I greatly appreciate all he does for me and for our family to keep us a float while we are a (wo)man down!

The kids still had activities, I still worked from home, friends continued to bring us meals and desserts, and we are just taking one day at a time.

Today, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for their weekly Friday Favorites post.

Today’s Friday Favorites has a Flashback twist. With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d share the kids’ costumes through the years.

2010:

Lil Pumpkin and chubby skeleton…

2010

2011:

M&M’s…

2011

2012:

Fireman and Princess…

2012

2013:

My favorite costume combo: Batman and Robin! (Being Robin was 100% Hadley’s idea after Hayden said he wanted to be Batman)

2013

2014:

Captain America and Elsa (from Frozen)

2014

2015:

A ninja and a pink Power Ranger…The neighborhood was very safe that year πŸ˜‰

2015

2016:

A bee and Luke Skywalker…

2016

2017:

Super Girl and KC Royals player Mike Moustakas…

2017

2018:

Soccer player and 80’s party girl #omg

2018

2019:

A Ghostbuster and a nerd πŸ˜‚

2019

Last year, our Halloween trick-or-treating was moved due to weather. So, we had a fun dinner at home on Halloween. Andrea had shared about her spooky dinner, and I recreated the fun. I hope to do this again this year.

I thought that would be a fun trip down memory lane! Now, on to some favorites…

Favorite Picture:

After a string of dreary days, the sun finally came out! I went outside to tell Hadley to come in for dinner and saw one of our front yard trees showing off.

now…who is going to rake up all those leaves? πŸ€”

Favorite Clothing Item:

My pjs or comfy clothes on repeat.

Favorite Food:

Again, we’ve been enjoying so many wonderful foods that friends have brought us for dinner. We’ve had soups, lasagna, chicken enchiladas, and a quiche. As well as too many delicious desserts.

Cupcakes made by H&H

Favorite Moment:

When I had my surgery last week, my goal was to rest up and be able to attend the kids’ district championship cross country meet on Wednesday. I’m so glad I was able to attend! The boys and girls teams have come so far, and I’m so proud of Travis for taking on the coaching responsibilities again this year. They’ve had a pretty good season considering the late start due to Covid.

Hadley finished with her best time and highest finish yet with 4th place. Then, Hayden finished again in first. They’ve grown so much as runners in the past year, and again, it’s so awesome to see teammates cheering each other on!

I caught this pic of Hayden right as the race started. He had on his new bright cleats and was chasing the daylight!

On the run…

left: Hadley and her friend leading the pack; top right: Hadley almost to the finish line; bottom right: Hayden at the finish!

Twinsies with their hardware.

Their cousins came to cheer them on πŸ™‚

It was such a beautiful day, and definitely a fun race for all.

Favorite Kid Quote:

This quote goes back to last week. Hadley had her first band class via Zoom for playing flute on the Wednesday of my surgery. That evening, when I Facetimed the kids from the hospital, I asked Hadley how band went, and she told me how the teacher taught her a few notes. I said, “Hadley, I’m so proud of you!” She said, “No, mom, I’m so proud of you.” ❀️She knew I was anxious about my surgery that morning, and that I was so relieved to be on the recovery side of it.

She’s such a sweet girl…when she’s not being sassy πŸ˜‰

Favorite Mom Memes:

This one popped up in my Facebook memories. Thankfully, I haven’t had to cook in over a week! πŸ˜‚

Travis is the real MVP this week getting the kids where they need to go. Technically, I’m not supposed to drive yet, so it’s on him to get them to school pod and activities…as well as other errands.

Weekly Recap:

It was a short blogging week for me, but here are my two other posts from the week:

Y’all, by some miracle we don’t have any real plans this weekend. No sports or other major commitments on the schedule which means I will continue to get some much needed rest.

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend!