Posted in Everyday Life

May: Sentence a Day

I’ve been trying to do a Sentence a Day post every other month in 2021, and today I’m sharing what I did in May. To be honest, when I look back at the month of May, I feel like we did so much. So many things to celebrate and the busyness of activities sure made for a great month.

5.1.21

Well, the month started off with Derby day; Hadley and I traveled to Gatlinburg for her dance competition where we spent some time seeing all the sights!

5.2.21

On that Sunday, Hadley’s team did amazing at their third, and final, dance competition of the season.

5.3.21

On the evening of the 3rd, Hayden had a baseball game.

5.4.21

After school on May 4th, I made a trip to library to return The Wife Upstairs and pick up Hayden’s books that were available.

5.5.21

On Cinco de Mayo, I made a trip to Kroger to buy all the May cards that I needed: three graduation cards, one Mother’s Day card, and four birthday cards!

5.6.21

At school, I had a full day of watching AP presentations followed by an evening full of baseball!

5.7.21

Hadley had recital photos taken on May 7th.

5.8.21

The weather on Saturday, May 8th was beautiful, so I went for a walk before going to the grocery store and then celebrating our niece’s graduation with family.

5.9.21

May 9th was Mother’s Day, so we went to church, had brunch, and then I took a two hour nap!

5.10.21

Mondays were for baseball games this season, and I also purchased new cushions for our front porch chairs!

5.11.21

Travis and I met after school to buy some flowers for the back patio.

5.12.21

May 12th was cake ordering day: a bundt cake for my mom’s birthday and ice cream cake for 5th grade graduation.

5.13.21

On the 13th, the kids had field day, my mom and Gma arrived, and I attended our sitter’s graduation party!

5.14.21

Friday the 14th was busy as the kids had an equine visit at school (“field trip” that came to them), followed by Hayden’s baseball game, and then we enjoyed the bundt cake for my mom’s birthday.

5.15.21

We enjoyed a Saturday night dinner on the patio at one of our favorite restaurants for my mom’s birthday.

5.16.21

May 16th was baptism Sunday!

5.17.21

On Monday the 17th, the kids had fun at school tie dying shirts and eating pizza while I got fun mail in my school mailbox and helped with graduation practice.

5.18.21

Tuesday, May 18th was the last day of school which meant 5th grade promotion and a grilling out get together with friends.

5.19.21

I had my last day of school, attended my school’s graduation, and then went to Hayden’s baseball game.

5.20.21

The 20th was my first official day of summer; the kids went to the Cincinnati Zoo with friends while I lounged at home and then went for my monthly facial.

5.21.21

The kids enjoyed the beautiful weather while attending the UK softball game with their cousins, and Homer went to the groomer.

5.22.21

This day was a Saturday filled with errands, the grocery store, and I made time to get a pedicure.

5.23.21

We attended the baptism of our friends (twins!) and then took our kids to a nice dinner as one final celebration for the end of elementary school.

5.24.21

On the 24th, I had plenty of summer errands like getting my car washed, popping into school for a bit, and going to the library while the kids cleaned out their backpacks; then, I started a new workout program.

5.25.21

We hung out with cousin Wyatt for most of the day.

5.26.21

The pool opened, and we enjoyed most of the day there!

5.27.21

We spent some time at the pool before attending cousin Layla’s birthday party for a bit before Hadley’s dance class.

5.28.21

The 28th was a rainy day, and we spent much of it at home doing some work and chores around the house.

5.29.21

Hayden’s first summer ball tournament (pool play) was this past weekend and it was cold, windy, rainy, and only 48 degrees!

5.30.31

The baseball tournament weather was much better for day two with the sun out and 55 degrees, but that still didn’t feel like regular Memorial Day weekend weather.

We were able to get together with neighbors that evening. (oops! two sentences for May 30th!)

5.31.21

Of course, the 31st was Memorial Day; Hayden and Travis went to the Cincinnati Reds game with friends while Hadley and I went to the pool and hung out with lots of friends.

So, that’s what the month of May looked like for us! We had so much going on, so it’s nice to start the month of June without much on our (daytime) agenda.

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Everyday Life

Friday Favorites

Hey there and Happy Friday! This is my favorite kind of Friday…the first Friday of summer break. Yesterday, was my first official day of break, and I let myself be lazy. I slept in (kind of), read my book, watched a few shows and the movie The Wedding Planner (I hadn’t seen it in forever), and then I had my monthly facial yesterday afternoon.

The summer is off to a great start. I’m easing into my summer “to do” list, and figure I will be part productive, part lazy today!

It’s the end of the week, so I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

I usually try to celebrate the little things (favorites) of the week, but feel like it’s been such an amazing week of celebrating some of the bigger things in life which have been favorites.

GG’s Birthday:

My mom and grandma came to visit at the end of last week, and stayed for a few days. It was my mom’s birthday, so we celebrated with cake after Hayden’s baseball game.

Then, we all went out to dinner at Merrick Inn which is one of my favorite restaurants. The weather was perfect for their patio seating.

If salmon is on the menu, Hadley gets it, and I always get whatever they have for the fish special. We talked Hayden out of ribeye, and he settled on their steak sandwich.

Kids’ Baptism:

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the kids made the decision to be baptized on Sunday, and, of course, that occasion was a favorite from the week.

5th Grade Grads:

And, another major milestone was celebrating my fifth grade graduates.

Elementary school has certainly been a favorite, and we got together with some friends to celebrate.

Dance Photos:

Hadley’s dance recital photos arrived, and they are beautiful and certainly a favorite.

Cakes x 3!:

Well, who doesn’t love cake?! We’ve certainly had our fair share over the past week. We had a bundt cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday, white cake with butter cream frosting for the baptism followed by an ice cream cookie cake for fifth grade graduation.

The good news is that we celebrated all these occasions with family and friends, so there weren’t any leftovers of the cake! So, I didn’t feel too guilty about having a slice of each as we celebrated.

Hayden and Travis had a little backyard project. They made this little putting green in our side yard! Let’s hope it doesn’t get #homered!

My “super mom” friend took six kids (including my two!) to the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday, and they had so much fun. Their summer break is off to a great start as well!

And…last night, we celebrated cousin Wyatt’s kindergarten graduation. The ceremony was sweet and so was the, you guessed it…cake! I swear, next week I’m going to try very hard to dial in my sweet tooth!

Favorite Mom Memes:

For me, this should say cellphone!

I’m seriously going to need to weekend to recover from all the hustle and (blessed) bustle of this week. #somuchcelebrating! #teamforevertired

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

Look at my two littles from May 2010…back when they didn’t run from me when I tried to take their picture 😉I can’t believe how quickly these years have flown by…

Weekly Recap:

It’s been a busy week full of activities, end of the school year activities, and milestones!

Can you believe it? We have nothing planned tonight and no baseball games this weekend! For once, we don’t have much on the agenda, and I’m not mad about it!

I hope you have a great weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Posted in Everyday Life, Travel

Lexington Top 5

Hey there! Happy Thursday. Today, I’m shining a spotlight on Lexington. I’ve lived here since 2004 when I moved here from Missouri after becoming engaged to Travis.

One of the immediate things I loved about Lexington is the small town feel but in a city. While I miss Missouri, I did feel “at home” when I moved here many years ago. I felt like I was able to navigate pretty easily on my own, I love all that Lexington has to offer, and the activities and restaurant options have only expanded through the years.

Here are the Top 5 things I love about Lex:

Keeneland

Hands down, my favorite activity is Keeneland. “Out-of-towners” always ask about Churchill Downs in Louisville, but I always suggest visiting in October and April when Keeneland has their fall and spring meets. The atmosphere at Keeneland can’t be beat!

At Keeneland this spring with Travis.
I rarely bet…I just watch the horses run!
Fall meet 2018
At the track with dad in April 2018

Restaurants

There are so many awesome restaurants in Lex. Here are some of my faves.

Merrick Inn:

Merrick Inn is a classic Lexington restaurant with a cozy indoor atmosphere and an awesome patio.

Merrick

Carson’s Food and Drink:

Carson’s is a favorite as well. The inside is fun and has a rustic feel. It’s known for it’s cocktails and craft beers as well as it’s wonderful menu.

My birthday dinner this year at Carson’s
Carson’s oscar style salmon

Native Cafe:

The Native Cafe is fairly new and located at Michler’s Greenhouse. The outside atmosphere is picturesque and quaint. Native Cafe is tucked in and quiet while in an urban setting.

June 2020

Windy Corner and Wallace Station:

Windy Corner Market and Wallace Station Deli and Bakery are both located just outside of Lexington. They are great places to go to for outside sitting and great for families. Both have plenty of green space for kids to run around and picnic tables for diners to enjoy their meal.

July 2020

The Stave:

The Stave is another restaurant just outside of Lexington with a wonderful outdoor space and great food.

May 2020
Fun in the creek while we waited on our food.

Bella Cafe:

Bella Cafe is another new restaurant in town. It’s “everyday dining elevated.” I love their grilled salmon salad, and Hadley gives their lemon tart two thumbs up!

Bella cafe

Others Faves:

We also love:

  • OBC Kitchen – bacon in a glass as an appetizer is a MUST!
  • Malones – great steaks…I love their oscar style twin filets!
  • Graze – lots of classic food options, hamburgers, and more!
  • Puccinis – Italian food, affordable, and family friendly!

This is the just tip of the iceberg for restaurant recommendations in and around Lexington.

Sports:

Y’all knows the the city of Lexington bleeds blue. While I’m not necessarily a “super fan,” I do love all of the sporting events and athletics that UK has to offer.

From football, to basketball, to volleyball, along with baseball and softball, there’s something going on every season of the year!

We usually go to one to two volleyball games a season. We often try to hit up the MIZZOU/UK match when it’s in Lex.

In the fall, you’ll find us at most home football games.

So many fun photos through the years.

2019

The girls…

2019

and their moms…haha

2019

Parks:

There are so many great parks and hiking opportunities in and around Lexington.

UK Arboretum:

The Arboretum is always beautiful!

2018

Shaker Village:

Shaker Village is outside of Lexington and is filled with history and has great hiking trails.

July 2020

McConnell Springs:

I took the kids to McConnell Springs last year for the first time, and we had so much fun exploring.

June 2020

Other Parks:

Other parks we enjoy include:

  • Jacobson
  • Masterson Station
  • Woodland Park
  • Raven Run Sanctuary

Activities:

There are so many fun activities throughout the year.

Winter:

The Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop Santa is the best in Lex!

Santa visits through the years…

Mustard Seed Hill was a fun place to visit. It’s located just outside of Lexington in Millersburg, KY. We went there for the first time this past December, and the lights were amazing!

December 2020

The Horse Park’s Southern Lights are a fun family tradition for us.

Ice Skating at Triangle Park is also fun, but the rink is only open for a couple of months around the holidays.

December 2017

Spring:

I already mentioned it, but Keeneland is lots of fun in April.

The Children’s Garden at the Arboretum offers activities and trails.

August 2016

UK baseball and softball games are always fun to watch.

The blue and white football game is a fun way to get a glimpse of the football team for the upcoming season.

April 2016

Summer:

We picked strawberries at Evans Orchard for the first time last summer, and we hope to make it a summer tradition.

June 2020

Picnic with the Pops is a fun event that happens in August. There’s always a theme, and people decorate their tables, wine and dine, and listen to the classical music.

C/o Kentucky.com

The Mid-Summer Nights run is neat activity. There’s a mile race as well as a 5k. There are also booths and snacks like popcorn. We always end up running into friends and others that we know.

fun run August 2016
5k in August 2018

Fall:

My favorite thing to do in the fall is to head to Evan’s Orchard to pick out our pumpkins and get the apple cider donuts.

October 2019
2019

As I mentioned before, we often attend the UK football games at Kroger Field. Tailgating is the best part!

UK games through the years…

Keeneland fun continues in the fall with more racing in October.

2016….Hayden’s horse lost by a nose!

Other Lexington “to do’s”

  • Waveland Museum
  • Explorium
  • Ashland: Henry Clay Estate
  • Bourbon Trail (surrounding Lexington)
  • Mary Todd Lincoln House
  • Horse farm tours
  • Kentucky Horse Park

Shew! This ended up being quite the list! I could get a job at the Kentucky Department of Tourism! 🙂

Anyway, this is just a glimpse of the great things, places, and food that Lexington has to offer.

What’s the best thing about where you live?

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Posted in Day in the Life, Everyday Life

Day in the Life

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve written a Day in the Life post, and now that life feels pretty “normal” again with our return to school and heavy spring sports schedule, I thought I’d capture a random day last week.

Here’s what life looked like for me on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Per usual, I woke up to my 6:00 alarm.

I had my quiet time with about twenty minutes to sip my coffee, watch the morning news, and read a few blogs.

(**I’ve mentioned this before, but I wake my kids about 15 minutes earlier than I did in previous years because their school starts ten minutes earlier now. I seriously miss 15 more minutes to myself in the morning, but I can’t even bring myself to set my alarm fro 5:59 am! haha)

Time to wake up the kids!

Hayden requested cinnamon sugar toast, and Hadley had half a bagel with peanut butter and a side of yogurt. I finished packing Hadley’s lunch and then put dinner in the slow cooker.

The kids were out the door at 7:15 which gave me 30 minutes to finish getting myself ready. Travis had made the bed, so I had a couple of minutes to sort the kids’ laundry for them to put up after school. I refilled my coffee mug, gathered all my school stuff and left around 7:45 for school.

I arrived right on time to school and made my way to my classroom.

While my mornings at home are pretty routine, school looks kind of different for me each day.

I always start my morning by logging on the computer for the day and glancing at my schedule before answering emails and printing any resources I need.

At 9:00, I enjoyed my protein shake (I’m trying to get better about meeting my protein goal each day!), and then I switched back to my coffee.

I graded credit recovery work for about thirty minutes.

Then I met with some students to work on their English 2 papers.

I answered and sent more emails before an 11:15 Zoom appointment with a virtual student.

At 12:00, I ate my lunch and then worked with two more students to prep for a test.

Then, I had a 1:00 meeting.

From 2:00- 2:15, I answered more emails and made a parent phone call.

Then, I met with some students who needed help with English 1 assignments until 3:00.

For the last few minutes of the day, I graded a few more credit recovery assignments and set my schedule for the next day with student appointments.

Before leaving at 3:45, I looked over ACT materials as I’m proctoring that exam this week and printed grades for students who I would meet with on Wednesday.

I got home around 4:00, chatted with the kids about their day, checked the mail, cleaned my lunch dishes, and got dressed for my walk.

Instead of my normal Beach Body workout, I went for a 45 minute walk. (I’m still doing at home workouts 4 days a week and then decided to incorporate two afternoon walks a week which gives me time to enjoy the weather and listen to my favorite podcasts!)

As soon as I got home from my walk, I made cornbread muffins to finish off our dinner. We ate at 5:30 which is unheard of for us but needed due to a busy evening of activities. (We had Shay’s King Ranch Joes which we eat pretty often!)

I then helped Hayden get ready for his first game of the season! Homer wished him “good luck!”

At 6:30, Hadley left for her church reading group…

which gave me some more “me time.” I read for about 20 minutes and caught a few minutes of my fave: Wheel of Fortune.

At 6:30, I picked up Hadley and a couple friends and dropped off the two friends before heading to Hayden’s game.

We got there at about 7:45 and his 7:30 game didn’t start until after 8! It ended at 10:15! It’s fun to see him back on the ball field, but this mama was ready for bed!

Hadley and I left right after the game which gave me time for my quick evening shower and skin care routine.

I tucked Hadley in right as Hayden and Travis got home…apparently, they made a pit stop at Taco Bell!

Hayden got to bed a little before 11 (I know, I know!)…and I caught a few minutes of my favorite ladies before dozing off!

On a “regular” night, the kids are in bed around 9:30, and I’m usually in bed reading by 10:00, so this was definitely a late night for us.

I love these kinds of posts, and I hope you do too! I always think it’s fun to see what others do throughout a typical day.

Thanks so much for reading. See you back here later this week! Now, I’m headed to give the ACT to a bunch of juniors! I’m not sure who is more excited…me or them! haha

Posted in Everyday Life

March: Sentence a Day

Happy April 1st! As a teacher, I’m thankful that April Fools Day typically falls during Spring Break that way I don’t have to worry about any high school shenanigans. That being said, Hadley is quiet the prankster in our house…Hayden is usually her target.

I shared a Sentence a Day post in January, so I thought I’d share one again for what I was up to in March!

3.1.21

On March 1st, I had my yearly mammogram, and all was good!

3.2.21

My dad was visiting, so we had our traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner a couple of weeks early.

Irish Soda Bread is my favorite part.

3.3.21

On the 3rd, after 355 days at home, the kids had their first day of in person learning!

3.4.21

Major left and GG visited right after.

3.5.21

For Friday night dessert, Hadley helped GG make crepes; they were delish.

3.6.21

We took advantage of having a free sitter, and Travis and I had a sushi date night.

3.7.21

On Sunday, March 7, the kids had their first ever track meet; the indoor facility was amazing, and the kids did a great job!

3.8.21

On March 8th, some high students returned to in person learning; 9th and 12th graders were in the building.

3.9.21

My friend Natalie came over to give me a belated birthday gift, and we enjoyed a glass of wine.

3.10.21

The kids had Picture Day at school!

3.11.21

Hayden’s basketball team played in the semi-final game of the end of the season tournament.

3.12.21

Friday was busy with Career Day at school, and….

Hayden’s team won the basketball championship followed by a team pizza dinner to celebrate the victory.

3.13.21

Saturday was filled with errands, an overnight play date for Hadley and a friend, and then an impromptu pit stop at Orange Leaf for an afternoon snack.

3.14.21

The Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day included green pancakes before

heading off to church.

3.15.21

On the 15th, sophomores and juniors returned to in person learning.

3.16.21

On the 16th, Hayden had an eye exam for contacts; we’re still getting the hang of them.

3.17.21

St Patrick’s Day called for a special after school treat…a green milkshake.

3.18.21

On March 28th, I had my monthly facial which was such a treat!

3.19.21

On Friday, we had school, I ran errands after school, and Hadley and I prepped and organized for dance competition the next day.

3.20.20

Hadley had her first ever dance competition with two team numbers; we were so proud of her.

3.21.21

On Sunday the 21st, we had church and enjoyed the spring like weather at Hayden’s baseball scrimmage.

3.22.21

It was a typical Monday with school, a meeting, dance for Hadley, & I made a new recipe for dinner.

3.23.21

After school, I stopped at Kroger to pick up Easter candy for the kids’ baskets.

3.24.21

We received fun mail with the arrival of Megan’s Miracles with our family photo on the cover.

3.25.21

The weather was so pretty that I opted for a walk outside rather than a workout in my basement!

3.26.21

I started Spring Break by heading to Trader Joe’s after school!

{Trader Joe’s tulips never disappoint!}

3.27.21

On Saturday, I treated myself to a pedicure, and the weather was perfect for a neighborhood/friend Easter egg hunt.

(I was too busy talking to take any photos—those kids find eggs very quickly. 😆 )

3.28.21

We changed our Sunday plans, so I took Hadley to get a manicure. (Her nails turned out so cute…she found an inspo pic on Pinterest)

3.29.21

On Monday, I visited the library; for the first time since March 13, 2020, I stepped foot inside one of my favorite places!

3.30.21

On Tuesday, we traveled to Nashville to stay at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel!

3.31.21

While the kids swam at the Gaylord, my dreams came true and I visited Landyn’s store!

Last night, Hayden’s dreams came true and we had fun at Top Golf Nashville.

We still have a few more days of Spring Break, but so far it’s been a great week! We’ve had a good mix of activities and downtime as well as fun with friends and fun just the four of us.

With April, comes the hustle and bustle of baseball and Hadley has a couple more dance competitions on the horizon. Of course, we are also in “end of the school year” mode. Blessed to be busy, but I will savor these last couple of days of break before we get back at it!

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Everyday Life

Happy Planner

Hello! I mentioned last week, that I purchased this Happy Planner to test out for the next couple of months. (It was less than $10!) I’ve always been a paper/pen type girl, but I’ve embraced the convenience of my iPhone calendar and “notes” app to keep me organized.

Growing up, I remember my mom would always have a planner out on the kitchen desk with what we had going on written down for the family to see. My version of that is the weekly magnetic calendar on our fridge.

I feel so out of whack and disorganized if I can’t see what all we have going on or what I need to do. My Type A personality sometimes needs to chill…but “A failure to plan is a plan to fail!” (y’all!)

While I’ve embraced the convenience of the iPhone, I sometimes use multiple “notes” for reminders, “to do” lists, kids’ activities and more. I thought the “Skinny Classic” planner would be nice to try out because it fits in my purse.

I also ordered a pack of stickers to use, and they make the planner that much better. Who doesn’t love stickers?

There weren’t many of the “Skinny Classic” left when I ordered, but I chose the “Hip Hip Hooray!” one, and it’s super cute.

The “Teacher Edition” stickers are cute as well with lots of options for holidays and other fun stickers.

I decided I wanted a few more sticker options and saw these on Amazon. They arrived and are perfect. The six sheets cover all 12 months and have a variety of different sized stickers and sayings. I plan on using them in the planner, but I thought they’d also be fun to use on birthday cards and lunch box notes.

Like you would expect with a planner, the front pages have 2020 and 2021 months (below, left). Each month begins with a cute quote (below, top right), and a quick glance reference with days of the month. (below, bottom right)

Each month also has a quick reminder of holidays…

The quote and note section for each month provide enough space to jot down tasks, notes, and to do’s…

The back, like the front, is sturdy plastic and cute.

Just a peek at the cute Spring Break sticker…

I have used Shay’s color coding system for years where each family member has a color….including myself!

It’s only been about ten days, but I’m definitely using the planner, and it fits perfectly in my purse! I use it to write down grocery items I need to pick up, appointments I need to make, a book title I don’t want to forget, and more! The stickers are extra added fun!

So…how do you stay organized? Do you use a planner or reply on technology?!

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

{this post contained Amazon affiliate links…}

Posted in Everyday Life, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: One Year of the Pandemic

With Hayden and Hadley finally getting back to school last week, and then this week 9th and 12th graders back in my building, I’ve certainly been reflecting on the upcoming one year mark of the pandemic shutting everything down and causing everyone’s life to come to a screeching halt.

Friday, March 13, 2020 was our last day of school. Friday the 13th will always be an easy day to remember as coinciding with the pandemic ramping up. Teachers always pay attention to a date like Friday the 13th as well as when there’s a full moon 😂

Anyway, just as I was thinking I may write about this past year piggybacking on last week’s Back to School post, I read Shelly ‘s post (at The Queen in Between blog) sharing that she had listened to Laura Tremaine’s podcast10 Questions to Mark One Year of the Pandemic.

I thought I’d use these 10 questions as a guide to reflect on this past year.

1. What was life like in early 2020?

Life was very “normal” in early 2020. I think it was late February when we started to hear more about the Coronavirus. The week before school shut down, I went with Hadley’s Girl Scout troop on an overnight field trip in Ohio. There was definitely talk of precautions that would be put in place at COSI to make the field trip safe. On Tuesday, March 10, we gave the ACT at school while school closure talk was heightened. The governor started holding daily afternoon press conferences. My dad was about to visit, and my brother and I were shocked he still decided to visit as with each day and each press conference more restrictions were being put into place. He arrived on Thursday, March 12. While I made dinner, I asked him to pay attention to the daily briefing because we’d heard that he’d make an announcement about school closures. He then said, March 13th would be the last day of in person learning for a while.

2. What was the biggest change?

The biggest change was life coming to a screeching halt! All of the sudden, we were supposed to stay home, learn online, and not socialize.

3. What were your coping mechanisms?

Unfortunately, I think one of my coping mechanisms was cooking and baking! lol

Also, when I feel like life is “out of control,” I try to control what I can! So, I continued with a routine, made sure to get outside for a walk, and keep life as normal as possible for Hayden and Hadley.

4. What did connection in your relationships look like?

Well, as a family, we spent a lot of time together. We went from running everywhere with school and activities to all four of us being at home. We had to be more intentional with family relationships with phone calls, text messages, Zoom, and Face time.

I felt like it was difficult navigating some friendships. No friendships were lost during this time, but there were varying degrees of opinions and following of protocols based on health issues or beliefs.

5. What will you remember the most?

Honestly, I will remember this extra time together as a family of four. I’m a rule follower and an introvert, so when things shut down and we were told to stay home, I kind of embraced it. Of course, once days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, of course, I missed “what was,” but the kids were at a great age to be home. They could be independent, but then we also made time for things that we wouldn’t usually have done like “Game Night” on a Wednesday or bike rides as a family.

6. What was the biggest challenge?

For me, the biggest challenge was knowing the right thing to do. Again, as a rule follower, I had no trouble following the rules of stay home, masking up, and keeping distance. My anxiety crept up when some restrictions were lessened, and it was time to make decisions about the kids playing sports, going on vacation, visiting family, etc.

I also worried about loved ones staying healthy and safe as well as family who live alone.

7. What was a beautiful memory?

One specific memory doesn’t pop into mind, but again, the time at home as a family was very meaningful. I also *mostly* enjoyed being home with them for school. (We had a good balance with them going to the pod two days a week). We are already back to being very busy, so I’m already reflecting on when we were able to slow down and not have 100 things on our plates.

Another beautiful memory was getting the vaccine. Again, I feel blessed that teachers were made a priority, so they would feel safe once students returned to school. Now, that second vaccine knocked me on my tail, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

8. What do you believe now that you didn’t one year ago?

It’s amazing how resilient and adaptable people are when they have to be.

Also, not that I didn’t know it before, but there are so many good people in the world. First responders, front line workers, educators, and others were all tested, but felt the support of people near and far. Also, communities, schools, neighbors and others all came together when needed.

9. What would you do differently?

I’m not sure there’s anything I would do differently. It is just crazy to me how from mid-March to the beginning of April, each day with each daily briefing from the governor added a new layer of severity with the pandemic. We went from thinking schools would be shut down for two weeks to students in our district not returning to the classrooms for almost a year. It wasn’t that I didn’t take it seriously, it’s just that I’ve never lived through anything like that, so, like most, I thought this would all be short-lived. I actually appreciated the layered implementation of restrictions because it gave us time to plan and adjust rather than panic.

10. What will you carry forward?

Besides always having hand sanitizer nearby??😬 I will remember the goodness of others and cherish the memories and time at home with my family.

Final Thoughts:

I can’t believe that it’s been a year of social distancing, mask wearing, and constant hand sanitizing.

I counted my blessings throughout this entire year. I’ve been thankful for a cozy home, a job, food on the table, the health and wellness of my family, and feeling safe and secure during this time. It was never lost on me that there were doctors and nurses working 80 hours a week, people lost loved ones, and others hardly left their homes.

It wasn’t easy, and some days were harder than others. As a mom and a teacher, I sometimes felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted at times. Once Hayden and Hadley returned to school, a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It was only then that I realized the amount of stress I’d sometimes been carrying with underlying worry.

The month of March always brings a sense of renewal to me with the weather, the school year winding down, and summer on the horizon. I’m hoping that we continue move forward, with no setbacks, so that Covid can be in the rearview mirror sooner rather than later!

What was your biggest challenge this past year, and what has been a beautiful memory for you?

I hope you’re having a great week! See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

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,