Posted in Everyday Life

January: A Sentence a Day

Hello!

So, I thought I’d try a new blogging idea thanks to Joanne of My Slices of Life Blog. After reading one of her posts a couple of months ago, I thought I’d try to do a “sentence a day” in January as a new blog idea for 2021. She actually shared her January “sentence a day” post earlier this week.

Let me just say that much like my “Day in the Life” posts, this post was harder than it may seem to keep up with on the daily! I ended up setting a daily alarm on my phone 😂 to remind myself to add to this post each day.

And…y’all, I have to give thanks to the compound-complex sentence structure, or this post wouldn’t be possible! #Englishteachernerd

So here we go….

1.1.21

(off to a great start the first day…no picture!) This is when I decided to put an alarm on my phone to remind me to take a photo each day.

We took down the Christmas tree, and I made a Target run; I came home with my new favorite tray for the coffee table.

1.2.21

Hadley wanted to use her gift card for a manicure, and she needed a ride; I got my first manicure in almost a year.

1.3.21

The 3rd was the last day of break (for me), and it was a dreary cozy day where I sat by the fire and enjoyed coffee out of my new mug.

1.4.21

The kids had a “back to school” party and the skating rink with their pod; I showed them that “mama’s still got it!”

1.5.21

We had a faculty meeting Zoom to kick off the semester.

1.6.21

I helped Hadley with her Girl Scout cookie sales pitch to share with family, friends, and Facebook!

1.7.21

The kids headed back to school on the 7th, and it was a pod day.

1.8.21

Hadley went to a birthday party at the movies and said, “Mom! I feel like I haven’t been to the movies in forever!” #shehasnt

1.9.21

Both of the kids were with friends, so Travis and I headed out for an impromptu date night where we sat on the enclosed patio.

(*This was my first time in a restaurant since the summer which had outdoor patio seating.)

1.10.21

Our church is still not back to in person service, so Hadley and I tried another church for the time being and have been enjoying their Sunday service.

1.11.21

I co-hosted the first Not Just a Mom post of 2021 with Adrienne, Dara, Joanne, Lauren, and Sarah.

1.12.21

Hadley got her second set (phase 2) braces on January 12th.

1.13.21

I spent the whole day at school, and it felt good to be productive and get caught up.

1.14.21

We celebrated my birthday with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants followed by cookie cake at home.

1.15.21

I had a hair appointment followed by Hayden’s basketball game. #ragingFridaynight!

1.16.21

I had lunch out with some friends followed by a spa day to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

1.17.21

The Chiefs won the divisional championship against the Cleveland Browns, and we were all excited! #evenHomer

1.18.21

We didn’t have school, so I spent the day relaxing at home; I didn’t even leave the house. (and clearly didn’t take a picture!)

1.19.21

The sun finally came out for the first time in four days and the snow started to melt.

1.20.21

I went to the eye doctor for the first time in two years; I have an astigmatism and she adjusted my prescription slightly.

1.21.21

Thursday, January 21st was a big day; I received my first dose of the vaccine.

1.22.21

While Hayden had baseball and basketball, Hadley requested take out Chinese food for dinner. #anotherragingFridaynight

1.23.21

This Saturday was filled with two basketball games for Hayden.

1.24.21

I felt down for the count post-vaccine, and the Chiefs won the conference championship and are headed to the Super Bowl!

1.25.21

I started a new Beach Body workout program….Muscle Burns Fat.

1.26.21

Hadley earned the You are Special red plate to celebrate straight A’s and earning a spot on the Principal’s List.

1.27.21

Then it was Hayden’s turn for the red plate, and we celebrated a good report card.

1.28.21

On the 28th, we woke up to 3 inches of snow which would have a been a snow day if we weren’t doing online school.

Part Husky Homer loves the snow…
Ready to play!
We made snow ice cream for our afternoon snack.

1.29.21

Again, Hayden had basketball and baseball on Friday night, so Hadley and I tried out a new restaurant!

The grilled salmon was delish!
She loved the lemon pie for dessert.

1.30.21

On the 30th, I picked out my new glasses at Warby Parker, and then we were all excited that our favorite Girl Scout cookies were delivered.

The new Toast-yay! cookie is delish.

1.31.21

I wrapped up the month putting out a few Valentine’s Day decorations including my favorite door hanger.

While posts like these are a lot of work, I do enjoy them because it forces me to focus on both the big and little pleasures of each day.

I know some people feel this way about the month of January…

but overall, it was a good month for me!

See you back here tomorrow for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Posted in Everyday Life

2020: Year in Review

Hello and Happy January 1st! 1/1/21! Can you believe it?

Who knew when we started 2020, that after only a few months in, we’d be in the midst of a worldwide pandemic?

Just when I think I could sum up 2020 with “it sucked,” I scroll through my photos and blog posts and see that our normal experiences like holidays, sports, and vacations looked different, but they mostly still happened. Also, we took the time to cherish the small things like going for family bike rides, watching movies, and reading books. We adjusted. (PIVOT!) What choice did we have?

We had some…

highs: We were forced to slow down, spend quality time with family, and simplify our lives.

There were also some…

lows: We missed family. We couldn’t have traditions and holidays like normal. We had to be careful and think about every decision. We lived in fear of the virus.

I still decided to go ahead an recap this year because I do want to be able to look back on it and remember ups and downs of it all. And, as my blogging friend Amy said, “Reflection helps with gratitude.” I love that. I am so very grateful for my family, our health, and this time together.

That being said…Warning: lots of photos coming your way! Apparently, my love language is pictures! 😂

January:

In January, we kicked off the year with my 40th birthday!

Travis threw a surprise party for me. It was so much fun.

A few days later, Hadley and I had the flu…and it kicked my tail! I missed a week of school.

The kids had fun playing basketball!

February:

In February, Travis and Hadley went to the father/daughter dance with some friends.

We went snow tubing with friends which is something we do every February.

The kids had a snow day.

We all enjoyed Hadley’s performance in the school musical.

Our Chiefs won the Super Bowl!

March:

In March, I went with Hadley and her troop on an overnight field trip in a museum.

My dad visited right as we learned school would be moving to virtual learning.

The world officially shut down. We started spending lots of time at home baking, crafting, having fun with sidewalk chalk, reading, and bingeing Netflix.

We came together as a community, as a state, and as a country.

April:

In April, we celebrated Easter at home.

We went on lots of family bike rides.

We updated our sun room.

We admired sidewalk chalk artwork in the neighborhood.

May:

In May, we celebrated Mother’s Day.

The kids had good old fashion fun with the Slip n Slide.

We ate out for the first time in a couple of months at The Stave.

The kids wrapped up 4th grade with virtual learning.

June:

In June, we headed to Florida for a week.

Thankfully, the beach was perfect for social distancing.

I felt rejuvenated by the beach sunsets.

Once we returned home, I sought out some outdoor activities for us to do to to fill our summer days.

We picked strawberries,

and visited the Cincinnati Zoo.

Baseball started back for Hayden.

We celebrated Father’s Day with Travis.

Then, Travis and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.

July:

In July, we celebrated the 4th of July.

We went canoeing with friends.

We celebrated Trav’s birthday.

The kids and Homer enjoyed pool time (I did too!)

We went to Kansas City to see family.

August:

Hayden and Travis played a few rounds of golf during the summer.

As a family, we went on a hike.

Then, school started back virtually. We started the year off with our tradition Back to School Breakfast.

First day of virtual school…

at the pod…

Hadley had her dance recital with no audience. We we received the DVD of the performances a couple months later.

September:

In September, online school continued, we got in the 2020 school groove knowing this may be our reality for quite some time.

Oaks and Derby were finally celebrated over Labor Day weekend with very few fans in attendance which broke a piece of Trav’s heart.

Thankfully, cross country was able to start for the kids with Travis as their coach.

Hayden was able to play fall baseball.

October:

In October, we traveled to Asheville, NC for fall break.

The perfect place to hike and eat outside.

Hadley started playing the flute.

Hayden got braces.

Per tradition, we visited the pumpkin patch.

I took the time to make myself a priority and had my total hysterectomy with an overnight stay at the hospital.

The kids were an M &M, and Patrick Mahomes for Halloween.

November:

In November, we enjoyed the beautiful fall leaves and mild weather.

The kids turned 11!

My runners wrapped up their elementary cross country season.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my brother and his family.

December:

In December, my mom visited and we baked cookies.

The kids were able to visit Santa.

As a family, we continued traditions like decorating a gingerbread house and seeing lights at the horse park.

Mustard Seed Hill was a new outdoor holiday activity for us.

We took Christmas card photos…

and sent those cards out later than usual…

We celebrated Christmas Eve at home after watching church service online,

and woke up to a white Christmas.

We’ve spent the last week of the year with family, moving at a slow pace, enjoying a few more days of the twinkle of the tree lights, and preparing for the new year.

Final 2020 Thoughts:

While this year has been filled with stress and uncertainty, I still feel very blessed. I never knew how much we needed to slow down until we were forced to do so. I treasure the time with my family and the slower pace.

Of course, all these pictures remind me that there were times that we were still busy even in the midst of “the great pause,” but kids keep you busy. We were blessed that they were able to be safe while doing their activities. We never would have gone on vacation if we didn’t have a family house to stay in. We adjusted our thinking and allowed the kids to go to a pod a couple days a week to maximize their virtual learning experience, and more.

These photos literally are snapshots of reality. At sporting events, there should have been family members besides immediate ones in attendance. Hand sanitizer doesn’t belong at the beach. Holiday decisions shouldn’t be stressful ones (or more stressful than usual 😉) The list goes on and on…and on.

I feel like in 2020, no decision was made without my over-thinking it…😅

Honestly, though, that has taken its toll on me. I, at times, have felt mentally and emotionally exhausted.

This year has been one to remember. It’s brought times of stress, worry, and sadness. There have been times of uncertainty and times of strength. I hope that 2021 can bring us a sense of peace…and relief. I know we are all ready for a fresh start which is exactly what the new year always brings.

2020 is also the first full year I’ve had this blog. I continue to be grateful for this community.

Weekly Recap:

In case you missed a post this week:

Happy New Year and prayers for a blessed (and less stressful!) 2021!

Take care,

Posted in Everyday Life

Money Diaries

I know. I know. You shouldn’t talk about religion, politics, or…money! 😂But…

Amy has shared a Money Diaries post a time or two on her blog. It made me think about what a rather typical week may be for our family, so I thought I’d log my spending for a week to see where my money goes. (Spoiler alert: The answer is two parts: 1. Kids 2. Food)

There are definitely times of the year when we spend more money and then months where I try to reel in the spending. For example, November is the kids’ birthday and birthday part(ies)….and of course, December means Christmas…and presents. Then, in January, I always make a point to not make any necessary purchases. (Read: delete Nordstrom and Amazon apps)

In the summer, we are usually at the pool or do other activities like going to the movies or putt putt golf. Some of those activities are on hold this summer, but I’ve made a point to try to plan some kind of activity once a week.

I chose to document my spending last week (Monday, July 6- Sunday, July 12) and we actually stayed home most of the time besides a few outings and then baseball games.

Monday:

Mondays tend to be when I get caught up on my “to do” list, get groceries, and make other purchases that I’ve put off. So…Monday is usually a bigger spending day.

  • As I left to pick up groceries, I realized I didn’t have much gas. The Kroger I was going to doesn’t have a gas station, so I got $10 gas before heading to pick up Clicklist order.
  • Before picking up the order, I went in to Kroger to pick up other essentials for Trav’s birthday the next day. Hadley was with me and helped me pick out a cake, a card, and candles. I also picked up hamburgers and hot dogs as well as my weekly flowers for the house. Total: $58.53
  • Hadley had been wanting to try the S’more Frappuccino from Starbucks. There’s one in the Kroger, so I let her get one. Total: $0 because I had a gift card.
  • Clicklist order: Total: $111.70 for groceries for the week. (We tend to spend $150 or so on groceries weekly)
  • Hayden got a haircut. Total: $14
  • I purchased neck gaitors from Amazon for the kids to try as masks. Total: $11.65
  • Then….I got an email from WordPress. My annual subscription was due. Total: $66 for the year. (Which means…I’ve had my blog for a year! I did my first post in August of 2019 even though I purchased the domain in July 2019)

Tuesday:

We stayed home most of the day getting caught up on chores and prepping for Trav’s birthday dinner.

  • We are seeing family soon, so I did go get a COVID test. (I was negative) Total: $0
  • Travis picked up a few baseball things for Hayden at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Total: $55.46

Wednesday:

On Wednesday, the kids played outside a lot, and again, we hung out at home during the day.

  • Total spending on Wednesday: $0!!!! 🙂

Thursday:

Thursday morning was spent with Hayden at the orthodontist. He had his Herbst appliance inserted. We spent the rest of the day at home before his baseball game.

  • Ortho – too much money to talk about 😂
  • A&W root beer float for Hayden after his appointment (and ice cream for Hadley…moral support) 😉 Total: $5.70
  • The kids hit me up for concession stand snacks and Gatorade after Hayden’s hot baseball game. Total: $8

Friday:

We ate lunch at home because we had leftovers from Thursday night’s dinner. Also, I knew we’d go get ice cream for our afternoon activity and most likely get carryout for dinner.

  • Gas at Kroger because I was really on empty. I did get $.20 off/gallon and got a full tank of gas for $38.
  • We could finally drop off books at the library. I’d had about 12 books since mid-March! We stopped by the library before heading to a part of town called The Summit.
  • I thought we’d get popsicles from Steel City Pops but the kids requested milkshakes from The Shake Shack. Total: $10.60 We walked back to Steel City Pops and I got a popsicle for $4. (I have enough points that next time my popsicle is free.) We hung out and ate our treats before heading home.
  • Travis and Hayden went to hit baseballs and picked up Dominoes Pizza for dinner on the way home. Total $20.
ice cream on Friday

Saturday:

Saturday was one of those days that we ate out for lunch and dinner. Hayden had a baseball game that wasn’t over until 1:00, and after that, we had to pick up my car because I got 4 new tires.

  • New tires. Again, I don’t want to talk about it 😂 #adulting
  • Chick-Fil-A lunch for the 4 of us: Total $31
  • I treated myself to a pedicure because it had been quite some time…and I’m worried the little place I go to won’t make it with how the economy is right now. It was a very safe experience. Masks, gloves, Plexi glass to separate client from technician. Total $40
  • Chipolte for dinner. Total $36 (& everyone had leftover Chipolte for Sunday lunch)

Sunday:

Sunday was spent mostly at home, but with a stop at Kroger for a few necessities and 3 prescriptions.

  • Hayden had a (bug? spider?) bite that worsened over a couple days. We were able to have a TeleHealth appointment with the Little Clinic. She prescribed an ointment and antibiotic. I also had a prescription to pick up for myself. Total $40.83 (Technically, I used my health care spending card)
  • I also picked up about 20 items while I was in the store. We had most of what we needed for the week, so instead of a ClickList order, I decided to just pick up what we needed since I was in the store. I feel like I can’t catch a break with groceries. Even when I think it’s going to be a “light week,” I still end up spending $100 or so because I needed my expensive nasal spray, a birthday card, cleaning supplies, and other odds and ends that add up. Total: $111.39

Other Thoughts:

Each week seems to be similar and different during our normal months of spending.

I cook Sunday-Thursday, so it’s rare for us to eat out during the week for dinner. Even for lunch, we typically eat at home during the week. Once we started with quarantine life, I started letting the kids choose a lunch place on Friday for take out/ drive thru. It was like a reward for making it through a week of home school and a way to support the food industry! 😉

Even on the weekends, Saturday lunch carryout is hit or miss. Some Saturdays if we are out because of a ball game (like this past Saturday), we may get something to take home and eat. Most Sundays we have lunch at home because I’ve usually picked up groceries, or I’m just forcing the family to eat what leftovers we have.

There’s usually a day or two where I think we won’t spend money and then a birthday present needs to be purchased, Homer needs to go to the vet, or, apparently, a bug bite gets infected needing a prescription.

If I know a week is going to have some extra expenses, I definitely try to plan accordingly. Also, this week was abnormal in the sense that I had two major Kroger runs in one week even though it’s technically for two weeks of food.

It’s always eye-opening to see where the money goes…but it’s also sometimes cringe-worthy too!

We definitely try to instill a sense of hard work and savings with our kids. I know we don’t do a perfect job, but they have saved for major purchases in the past, are walking a couple of dogs this summer, watering neighbors’ plants, completing chores around the house because they live herenot for an allowance, and they often get told “no” when they ask for things they think the “need” when really it’s something they want. haha (Listen, I get “want” vs. “need” mixed up at times too!)

Take care,

Posted in Everyday Life

Winter Break Highlights

How does school (and real life) start back tomorrow? (insert crying emoji!). We’ve had a great break. Holidays, traditions, games, family outings, house cleaning, oh my! I thought I’d share some of what we did with some of our time off!

Family Time

Besides family time, I can honestly say the #1 highlight was having Travis home for over a week and a half. The down time was nice and so was just having the balance of kids and parents for fun times as well as getting s#!@ done times too! No alarms were set, no real agendas, and the understanding that we needed to use our off time wisely as far as productivity and relaxation were concerned. Travis is the hardest working person that I know. On top of that, he loves his job more than anyone I know. Also, the blessing and curse of a cellphone is he’s always available and can still work from home. Like me, it takes awhile for him to relax and have downtime. So, for him, having that time off was better than he probably realizes for all of us. The night before he went back to work he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had this much time off work!” Not sure if he meant that in a good or bad way. 😂

Christmas

We had a great Christmas at home and spent a couple days after Christmas purging the house and getting organized. Travis and I even rearranged our bedroom, and I love the new set up.

Reading

I wrapped up reading holiday books and started a couple new ones over break.

I started The Hate You Give and A Woman is No Man. I felt like I might get my English teacher card revoked if I didn’t read The Hate You Give. I know it’s a pretty popular book for high schoolers, so I checked it out from my school library. I started A Woman is No Man based off a book review from Shay. Both are pretty heavy reads considering the amount of light reading I did in December.

Out to Dinner

We went out to dinner a few times over break. It was nice not planning dinners as much and just kind of going with the flow. We started break taking the kids to pick out gifts for each other followed by brunch at one of our favorite places: Winchells.

One night we went to dinner as a family at Drakes. I joked that Hadley lives a blessed life because she ordered the salmon (with a side of tots!). She could eat her weight in salmon.

The kids had lots of time with the cousins and we went out to dinner a couple times with them for Mexican food at El Tapatio and then burgers (and grilled cheese) at Oscar Diggs last week.

Activities

My most favorite activity was not setting an alarm 🙂 followed by purging the house and getting it somewhat organized.

We also played some games as a family including a new one: Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza.

We also went to the movies. Travis and Hayden saw the Star Wars movie while Hadley and I went to see Frozen 2. Good reviews from all of us in regards to our movies.

Last week, we went bowling with the cousins and ate pizza. We had a great time.

On January 1st, we gathered as many friends as we could find to complete Hayden and Hadley’s 4th grade Science Fair projects. My kids both chose activity based experiments. Next year, we are growing a plant or two! haha

Movies thanks to Disney +

I may be enjoying Disney + more than anyone else in the house. haha. I loved my afternoon naps while watching a movie or two. On Disney +, I watched my all time favorites: The (original) Parent Trap and Swiss Family Robinson. I also watched Turner and Hooch and While You Were Sleeping. Before Christmas, Hayden and I watched A Christmas Story. At some point over break, I also watched Home Alone.

As a family, we watched The Mighty Ducks (DVD) and Cool Runnings (Amazon) because they aren’t on Disney + yet.

Blog Posts

Most bloggers whose blogs I read took these last couple of weeks off. I was kind of random with my posting, but since I had extra time here and there, I continued to post sporadically.

Two of my favorite posts were: 2019 memories and Homer’s DNA results.

A few photos from break

Once the holidays were over, I didn’t take too many pics, but here are a few.

Bottom middle: Hadley with her salmon and tots! #blessedlife
Science project helpers, ringing in 2020 at home, my charcuterie plates were basically a daily meal, and fun with cousins at Oscar Diggs

Final weekend of break

With such a late date to return to school, all of the activities started back up this weekend. Both kids had basketball games yesterday, and Travis and I did squeak in a date night last night. Today involves more Science Fair work, volleyball, indoor soccer games, grocery shopping, lunch packing, etc. #Imcryinginacornernow

basketball and date night beverages

All good things must come to and end. We had a pretty great couple of weeks at home together….yes, there was occasional fighting, but overall, I’d see we enjoyed each other’s company. It was certainly nice to have some downtime before life gets hectic again! (well, it already has!)

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Everyday Life, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: 2019: Year in Review

Happy Friday. I’ve seen a few bloggers do a Year in Review. I thought that would be a great way to take a look back on all that’s happened with my family in 2019 and share my (Friday) Favorite memories for the year

So, *warning* lots of pics 🙂 (Thank goodness for my Shutterfly app organized by months of the year). I love the idea of so many memories for the year being in one place with this post.

Like with most years, we’ve had our ups and our downs, been busy, been blessed, and made many memories along the way.

January

The beginning of January started off a little rough with both Hayden and Travis having the flu. I’ve never seen either of them as sick as they both were.

Then, both kids were excited for a snow day or two in January!

First snowfall of 2019

February

Hadley, Travis and some friends went to the annual Dads and Daughters dance. They had so much fun. (The moms all hung out that evening which was fun for us as well!)

Great group of dads and daughters.

In February, we also went on our annual Perfect North tubing day with friends.

Basketball wrapped up at the end of February with Travis coaching Hadley’s team to victory in the tournament championships. Hayden’s team made it to the Final Four of the tournament out of 20+ teams! #hardwareforeveryone

March

March started with a visit from my dad…

Unfortunately, we said goodbye to our sweet Shiloh in March as well. We still miss her daily.

March Madness (Sweet 16, Elite 8) was in KC this year and during our spring break, so we made a visit. Travis, Hayden and my mom went to the Sweet 16 game. The four of us and my mom went to the Elite 8 game. Hayden learned about the heartbreak of loss while cheering for your favorite team (from the front row!)

April

The kids stayed in KC while Travis and I went to Las Vegas for a few days.

We celebrated Easter with Trav’s extended family in Elizabethtown.

Travis and I also made time to hit up the spring meet at Keeneland.

Softball and baseball also started up in April causing us to have some kind of practice or game every night.

May

We started off May with our yearly trip to Churchill Downs for Oaks.

In May, Travis and some friends ran a two day team trail run (no thank you!), the kids continued with their softball and baseball games (Hadley’s team was the regular season and tournament champs!), we celebrated the end of the 3rd grade, and started spending some time at the pool!

We also celebrated Mother’s Day and officially joined our church.

Mother’s Day

June

I’m not sure if I even need to post any other pics for June. We added Homer to our family as he helped our hearts heal from the loss of Shiloh (and Scout the year before)

Hayden started pitching for his team which was a dream come true for him.

And…spring baseball season wrapped up.

Hadley had her dance recital in June and both grandmas were in attendance.

We celebrated the World’s Best Dad on Father’s Day!

Travis and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary in June as well.

July

In July, we celebrated Trav’s birthday with our cookie cake tradition.

Hadley had a first with a week away at sleepaway camp. Travis, Hayden and I went to the lake with friends on the 4th of July.

Hayden played summer ball for the first time ever. (It’s such a time commitment that I encouraged him told him to wait playing summer ball until he was old enough for kid pitch). He had a blast playing with friends and learned so much.

We took a 10 day trip to Florida for vacation (+ a day at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and a day at the Magic Kingdom)

August

August was my first blog post! It’s been a goal/dream of mine to start a blog. For so long, my excuse was that I was stuck on what to name the blog and finding the time to start one. Of course, after having a whole summer off, I figure it all out and started Show Me and Sweet Tea right before school started. haha. This blog has been a great creative space for me and a way to share what we are up to with family and friends near and far.

In August, my mom and gma visited to celebrate Wyatt’s birthday. We also celebrated Trav’s mom’s 70th birthday. The kids were also excited for football time in the bluegrass.

We had our annual Back to School Breakfast as the kids started the 4th grade (and I started my 18th year teaching!)

First day of 4th grade

September

September marked the start of all the fall activities. Travis helped start a cross country team at the kids’ school, Hayden started soccer, and Hadley upped her dance game from just doing hip hop to also taking a tap/ballet/jazz combo class.

October

For fall break, we went to Asheville for a few days. We spent two of the three days glamping with our friends.

We went to the orchard, carved pumpkins with neighbors, and went trick-or-treating on Halloween. I also started a new position at my school as a reading/academic interventionist.

November

In November, we celebrated the kids’ birthday #thetwinsturnten

We also went ax throwing with friends, hung out with family, and went to KC for Thanksgiving.

December

In December, the kids visited Santa, and let me take their pics for our Christmas card.

Basketball started and both kids are excited to be on the same team as their best friends.

Holiday parties

Cousin Christmas

Christmas at home in Kentucky.

2019 has been a great year. I’m thankful for two happy, active, (mostly) kind kids who love school. Travis and I are blessed with jobs we love. We have awesome family and friends, and we love our neighborhood and community.

All these pics remind me of why I’m forever tired, but also why we are so very blessed.

High five to 2019 and cheers to 2020.

Don’t forget to check out Andrea’s Friday Favorites and have a great weekend.

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Everyday Life

The Halfway Point- Part 2

Continuing on with all the summer fun we had…

The kids were on our pool’s swim team for the third summer in a row. Hadley loves it while Hayden likes it most of the time. It’s a great summer activity for them as far as exercise and socialization. They moved up to the 9-10 age group this year which was an adjustment, but it was awesome to see them swim faster each meet as well as qualify to swim all four strokes this year. They had so much fun with their friends, and the parents like to socialize too!

Besides adding Homer to our family, I’d say another highlight was going on vacation. We are blessed to be able to use Trav’s aunt and uncle’s house in Florida. Hadley and I left a few days before the boys because Hayden had baseball. We enjoyed our time together, but I know Hayden (&Trav) is more fun than I am (especially when it comes to playing in the ocean and on the beach.) Since we were there for about ten days, we also scheduled a trip to Disney World for a day. We did this a few years ago, and since it’s a long day of travel to and from the park as well as all the park activities, we decided to make it a two day trip. We arrived on a Thursday and stayed at the Polynesian Resort. We lounged by the pool, the kids rode the water slide quite a few times (Travis and I did too!), and then we had dinner at a really neat Italian restaurant in Disney Springs. Then, we made it back to the hotel in time to watch the Magic Kingdom’s amazing fireworks right from our balcony. The next morning, we were up early for breakfast and were at the park by 9:00. We rode every ride we wanted to starting with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster and ending our day riding Splash Mountain (where I ended up the most soaked, of course!) Since we saw the fireworks the night before, we left the park around 7:00 making it back to Siesta Key by dark. Then, we capped off vacation with a few more days at the beach. I’m always worried how the four of us will be while being together 24/7 for so long…but we really do always have a great time and enjoy the down time.

After a long night of travel, we were excited to relax on the beach.
We eat dinner early most evenings, so we can catch the sun setting on the beach.
Hadley was excited to see her brother on day 4 of vacay.
Reunited!
We definitely hope to go back to the Polynesian one day.
The Magic Kingdom
Family Fun = this year’s Christmas card pic!
Dumbo ride
This pic was one of my favorites 🙂

The last few days at the beach were the best. The weather and the water were perfect.

That beach life..
Boogie boarding Boo
Sis found a sandbar and knows how to relax
These guys ate their weight in oysters on this trip. Hadley and I aren’t about that life…

Our flight wasn’t until later in the evening, so we had time to hit the beach for a couple of hours on the last day. We always take the time to say goodbye to the ocean. “If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt mixed with water.” – Nayyirah Waheed

After we packed up, the kids let me take one last pic. It’s a family tradition to take a pic in front of the palm trees at Aunt Catherine and Uncle Jim’s Florida house. Many family members have done so through the years.

Until next time…that’s a wrap on our SK vacay

We arrived home to see the biggest zucchini ever that had been plucked from our garden (See previous post about the recipes we made using it)

The kids participated in a couple of camps this summer as well. This was the first year Hayden signed up for basketball camp; he also played summer basketball for a local league. Hadley has loved the volleyball camp at my school for the past three summers.

Ballers!
Ready for volleyball camp!
Everything is better with a bestie!

We had lots of family time over the summer with visits from out of town grandparents and in town cousins.

Wyatt and Layla cheered for H&H during one of their swim meets.
Dinner with cousins! (photo cred: Uncle Chet!)

Both of the kids learned to ride their bikes a few years ago thanks to the help of a neighbor friend. After an accident a couple of years ago, Hayden swore off bike riding….so much so that we sold his bike in a garage sale. Well, two years later and Hayden decided he wanted to ride a bike again. After riding Hadley’s pink bike for about a month, a friend of ours gave us a bike that they didn’t need anymore. Hayden’s been riding all over the neighborhood! (with a helmet, of course!)

Bike riding Boo

One final “to do” on our Summer Fun List was to see a movie. This summer, we saw Aladdin, Toy Story 4, and to wrap up the summer, we saw Lion King. We all loved it, but I probably loved it the most!

Final Friday of summer break

For the final weekend of summer, we celebrated Trav’s mom’s 70th birthday at a local restaurant in Louisville.

Mamaw and most of the grandkids
The siblings celebrating Maryla’s 70th birthday

The final fun of summer break 2019 was that Travis and I went out to dinner at a nearby sushi restaurant. Sushi and chardonnay for dinner…followed by an early bedtime for me.

Sushi and Chardonnay. My fave combo.

That’s a wrap on summer 2019. I know we still technically have a few weeks left of summer, but the fun is over for the most part around here. haha

Tomorrow, the kids start 4th grade (how is that even possible?!) Truth: third grade was no joke, so I’m hoping that this will be a smoother transition and the best year yet…and I start my 18th year teaching. I know what you are thinking…I don’t look that old! 😉

I’m blessed to have this time with the kids. I know I’m not stay at home mom material, but I love having these pockets of time with them throughout the year.

Enjoy these days. They fly by! It’s basically almost 2020 😉

Happy reading,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Posted in Everyday Life

The Halfway Point- Part 1

Summer before having kids: sleeping in, watching an endless amount of Golden Girls in the morning, sipping coffee, lounging by the pool, and then spending 4:30-5:30 cramming in all the things I was supposed to do during the day to make it appear to Travis that I had actually been a productive member of society.

Summers with young kids: planning every moment of the day, living for nap time (for the kids and for myself!), endless snacks, and then gladly handing them off to someone better equipped than myself (we had the best sitter- Ms. Joan), to spend 8+ daytime hours with them, and hightailing it to school.

Summers with older elementary age kids: I cherish this time. Our days are mixed with learning, being productive, but also relaxing. Pool time, camps, swim team, time with friends, seeing movies, vacations, late bedtimes and more.

I’m not sure who “they” are (I guess other parents?!), but “they” say you only have 18 summers with your kids, so make the best of them. As this summer comes to a close, it will probably be best for all of us to get back in the routine of school, but I am clinging to this summer extra tight. It dawned on me recently that I’m to the halfway point. I’ve had nine summers with Hayden and Hadley, and I have nine left. I’m guessing as time goes on, they are going to want to be around me less as they gain independence and become the ones at the pool who steer clear of adults….but don’t get it twisted, they’ll still have to swing by my shady spot under the umbrella, interrupt my book reading to ask for money, so there’s always that. As we head into this school year, I thought I’d take a moment to put all of our summer memories in one place. It’s been a great summer; I know I’m blessed to have my summer days with them, but #mamaisstilltired

I’d say the highlight of our summer, for all of us, was adding our dog Homer to our family. We’d lost both of our Boxers, 10 year old Scout and 12 year old Shiloh, within eleven months of each other. My heart wasn’t really ready for a new dog, but my practical side tends to overtake my heart sometimes and summer seemed like the best time to add a dog to our family. After a few weeks of searching on Petfinder, we I found Homer. Travis wasn’t completely on board with a puppy (he definitely wanted another dog—just not necessarily a puppy ;), but I was around the same age as the kids, after losing a dog, then being surprised with a puppy. I knew they’d remember getting him and are also at the age to be of (some) help. When I found Homer, he was named Glorious (and had two brothers Notorious and Victorious). They were 10-12 weeks old and had been abandoned on the side of the road and nursed back to health by the wonderful people at Tails of Hope Rescue in Cincinnati, OH. There was a big name debate in the car, but just as we pulled in the parking lot to pick him up, Hayden suggested the name Homer. (I’m sure thinking about baseball…but I will take a Homer Odyssey reference any day 🙂 We all agreed on the name, and were excited to get him home. He’s supposedly a lab/retriever mix and has been a wonderful addition; we’ve had tons of fun with him this summer. Thankfully, I think we have him house broken, he loves his kennel (although, we realized he knows how to open it, so he’s triple locked in there now!), but of course, nibbles at our ankles and chews on flip flops. Thankfully, he’s cute.

This is the pic that I saw on Petfinder of “Glorious.” Such a sweet face!
The car ride home.
Bow tie collar and welcome home sign!
We HEART Homer
Homer is getting to be a big boy. When we got him eight weeks ago, he weighed 11 lbs and now weighs 27 lbs!

We spend a lot of time at the pool during the summer. To be honest, once we joined this pool a few years ago, summer became a little easier…because activities take less planning…going to the pool is an easy way to burn some energy, see friends, and have a snack or two.

In June, Travis and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary with a nice dinner and then in July, we celebrated Trav’s bday in between baseball games!

Hadley went to sleep away camp for the first time this summer. She was gone from Sunday to Saturday. To say I was more nervous than she was would be an understatement….but as I assumed would be the case, she had the time of her life and barely missed us. She was lucky enough to have a couple of good friends going as well, so that eased my mind with this major milestone! He won’t admit it, while Hayden loved the 1:1 time with us, he missed her. When I picked her up, she said, “Sign me up for next year, and I haven’t brushed my teeth since Monday!” haha I loved ending my day seeing camp pics online! The pics eased my worried heart.

On the 4th of July, we had an awesome opportunity to go to a nearby lake with some friends. It was weird not having Hadley with us, but Hayden and his friends had fun tubing (the moms tubed, too!), swimming, and jumping from the cliffs. We got home just in time to see the fireworks from our favorite spot in town.

family pic (minus Hadley)
Like a fish!
TONS of fun tubing!
Awesome way to end of 4th of July (just missing Hadley!)

While Hadley had a new “first” with camp this summer, Hayden had a “first” with playing summer baseball for the Turkey Feet. He had so much fun with friends, old and new, and learned so much along the way. He loved pitching even if it made me a nervous wreck!

Fear the Feet!
My little leftie
Up to bat

Hayden and Hadley also had a great time attending our church’s Vacation Bible School. The VBS for this summer was “camp” themed. They had an awesome time with their friends (& cousin Wyatt!) singing, playing games, making crafts, cooking s’mores and learning more about the Bible and Jesus.

Real talk: when I set out to write this summer post, I assumed I could fit it all in one post….but I guess we had a busier summer than I thought! Part 2 will be shared tomorrow. If you made it to the end, thanks! If not, this is still a good way to share with family and friends near and far what we’ve been up to…and a way for me to have everything all in one place.

If you need me, you can find me sitting through six hours of professional development today. Summer is officially over for me!

Take care,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea