Friday, June 27, 2014

apparently the week for crappy weeks

Disclaimer: Lots of whining and complaining. My blog, my right.

Anyone still reading this have an extra crappy week this week? The kind where day after day, it feels like hot steamy piles of poo are raining down on your head over and over? Seems like I know at least a few people that have had an extra terrible few days.

Just wondered.

Rather than go into a long list with bullet points detailing the variety of craps I dealt with this week, I'll just say that it's got to go up from here.  Right after my kids get over Hand, Foot, and Mouth (nice way to end the fantastic week).

This time last year, I was probably crying a million tears into my pillow because this Friday 52 weeks ago was the last day that my boys spent with their beloved babysitter....their original, first, one-in-a-million babysitter who can never be replaced. I love their little Montessori school and I'm excited for Dexter to start attending in August, but things are still...just not the same.

This time last year they probably never would have gotten Hand, Foot, and Mouth.

I miss the closeness and relationship. I miss the details. I miss that I could look at the clock anytime of the day and have a pretty good idea of what my kids were up to. Now I really have no clue what the structure of their day is like.  I don't know if they spend the whole day in front of the TV or if they get along or fight. Just about every day is a "good" day. Which is good, I guess.  I just miss the way it used to be.  Maybe we were a little too enmeshed with our old babysitter at the time, but it worked for all of us.  The communication was helpful most of the time.

Our relationship with her has grown and transformed - now we are friends instead of business partners. I'm glad she and her family are still very much a part of our lives. But that doesn't mean that I don't still miss the way it used to be.

I've cried more this week than I've cried in a year.  It seems like something is backfiring, getting canceled, changing, or unpleasantly surprising me at every turn. At the end of the week, I've had enough. I'm ready for a change in mojo.

I hate feeling this way. I look around and see summer, feel summer, smell summer. The Spring and Summer months make up my favorite time of year. We have had some really great weeks this Spring and Summer. But this week has taken it's toll and I'm done.

Bleh. Done with this depressing post. I just had to get it out.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

catch the moment 365: week twenty-five

Let me start this week with an apology. My pictures are not the most inspired.  I feel like I've been rushing around so much that just getting a picture -- not getting a picture I love -- was the priority. I've overbooked us/myself the last couple of weeks with plans every single night so I'm looking forward to (hoping for) some low-key days in our very near future. I love being busy and having fun but eventually, duty calls. So does the couch.

169/365: June 18th. Lunch date with a friend from work at the historic Willard. Great food and great ambiance.   

170/365: June 19th. Just one of a few photos I shared in a previous post about my grandma's recent visit.

171/365: June 20th. A hurry up and take the picture kind of day. A friend at work gave me her iPhone 4 to borrow until I can get an upgrade in September. I feel like I've gotten a HUGE upgrade since the phone I had before (Ryan's OLD phone) barely held a charge for 5 minutes.

172/365: June 21st. What better way to welcome the official start of summer than spending a day jumping in a lake with my kids?  My cousin visited with her sweet little cousin (see day 173) and we spent the whole day maxin' and relaxin' on the water. Perfection. By far my favorite day of the week!

173/365: June 22nd. Sweet little J playing on the playground before they headed back home on Sunday. I wasn't much in the mood to take photos that day but I wish I'd gotten more of her sweet face.

174/365: June 23rd. While I was working really hard to relax and entertain the boys, Ryan and his dad were doing ACTUAL work. Monday night they finished installing our new over-the-range microwave.  Now we just have about 2 million other things to do before our kitchen remodel is complete.

175/365: June 24th. Another get-it-over-with kind of picture day but as it turns out, I really love this one. It was raining when I took this so I didn't even get out of the car.  I'm kind of in love with this barn apparently. It always looks different based on the pretties growing around it. Remember the poppy picture? And the snowy winter scene?

Wow, Theo didn't even make an appearance this week and there's one measly shot of Dexter. I have taken pictures of both of them, for sure, but for some reason, these are the photos that stood out to me as the ones I wanted to use for week 25. I hope you enjoyed them -- at least a little bit.  I love day 175 - the barn & day 169 - lunch at the Willard.  Which is your favorite?


Monday, June 23, 2014

making memories - that's what matters

I have been taking at least one picture a day since starting the Catch the Moment 365 photo project, but sometimes I will go almost a whole week before looking through the photos on my camera. Tonight I started feeling like I was getting way behind on sorting, deleting, and editing photos so I popped my memory card in the computer and starting scrolling through.

Now, I know that last Thursday was...well, just last Thursday.  But my heart swelled a little and I got a little lump in my throat as I clicked through the pictures below.  My mom drove 6 hours to visit my grandma then drove her another 2 hours in pouring rain and rush hour traffic to my house for dinner. Usually, we are visiting her so it felt like a treat and honor to have her in my home. This sweet lady turned 80 last week.

Their mutual joy... I almost can't take it.

Our little visit was short and sweet. My grandma became a widow almost two years ago and while she is a healthy lady, it's impossible to ignore the awareness that every visit with her is precious. I want my boys to remember her presence, be in pictures with her, and have sweet memories of her kind personality. When Ryan and I met, we had all 4 of our parents and 7 out of 8 grandparents.  Now my grandma is 'our' only grandparent (and the boys' only great-grandparent) and my dad is gone.

Life is so short. Celebrate. Say yes. The dishes can wait. Spend time together.  I'm not going to remember the chores that didn't get done...I bet you won't either.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

a 2014 weight/fitness resolution check-in

I had big dreams for 2014.  Big dreams for myself in 2014.  I got on a roll with running in 2013 and completed Couch to 5k. Running had always scared me because of my less-than-stellar knees.  No, I didn’t play sports…no I didn’t have a car accident or an injury. I just inherited really crappy knees.

So I was surprised that the more I ran, the less they bothered me.  Maybe getting 25 pounds off was what helped my knees.  Who knows.  I learned to like running. I won't say I loved it. I kind of hate it during but love the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. It’s euphoria when I am able to push myself to meet or surpass a goal. I’m not and don’t ever plan to be a long distance runner. The furthest I’ve ever ran continuously is three and a half miles.  I was completely okay with that distance, but I wanted to just be consistently getting good, challenging exercise.

For 2014, I planned to run 25 miles per month or a total of 300 miles this year.  Unfortunately, in the first 6 weeks of 2014, I also experienced some unplanned obstacles. Like 2 separate stomach bugs, the flu, and 2 separate rounds of strep throat.  I ran 15 miles in during the month of January somehow but obviously fell short of the 25 mile goal I needed to hit to stay on track for running 300 miles for the year.

February rolled around and I ran again but there was trouble. Not far into my run, I had a debilitating pain in my left knee.  I tried to walk it off and run again but the pain got worse. Nothing popped or snapped, I never knew where the pain was coming from or why it was happening. I gave up after three attempts that day and decided to let my knee rest. That week, my knee hurt… all the time.  Standing up from my chair at work. Walking towards the back of the grocery store.  I was really worried. I continued to rest it. I ran once in March and it was a little better, but still hurt. 

By this point I was wondering if my running days were over. I was debating seeing an orthopedist but didn't have much luck the last time I went to one. They wanted to do an MRI that would be $1800 out of pocket and we were in the middle of moving so I put it off and eventually my knees stopped bothering me as much. 

I fell in April, badly scraping both knees, which gave me another excuse not to run. About a week after the fall, I noticed that I hadn't had any (internal) knee pain. I waited for another week for the scrapes to heal and could no longer resist the urge to run.  I was able to run over two miles and have been running off and on ever since then, but not with the consistency I would like.  Some days my knees hurt a little, some days they hurt a lot.  Occasionally...rarely, they don't hurt at all.  

I've given up on my dream of running 300 miles this year - obviously - but I still like getting some exercise every day one way or another. Lately it's been too humid for me to run. I'm just not that hardcore and it's too hard to breathe.

My weight has crept up a little as I haven't been watching what I eat as well as I used to. Well - I'm still watching. I’m still using MyFitnessPal to log calories and exercise daily.  I have just been eating a lot more of what I WANT than what I should.  My original goal was to lose 20-24 pounds and last year my weight loss hovered around 25-27 pounds.  I'm back to about a 21-22 pound loss, which is okay, but I liked 26 a whole lot better! 

So I'd love to hear any ideas people have about keeping motivation high long-term in order to keep the pounds AWAY long term.  Maintaining just isn't as fun or rewarding as losing, ya know? Neither is gaining.  If anyone has had long-term success at keeping weight off, please feel free share your tips and secrets. It’s so easy to slip into old habits.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

catch the moment 365: week twenty-four

I'm sharing yet another week of photos and linking up with Mindi from Simply Stavish, Stephanie from Behind the Camera and Dreaming, and Sarah from Nurse Loves Farmer for Catch the Moment 365.  I feel like a broken record saying "I can't believe we are {insert any number between 3 and 24} weeks into the project" and / or "we had such a great week." And while life ISN'T all roses all the time, this project is great for making me realize how good I've got it. Whether it's the big things or the little things, every day we're making memories and enjoying the ride down this crazy road we're on.

Speaking of moving on...

162/365: June 11th. We traded babysitting nights with friends in order to squeeze in a much-needed, mid-week speed date. We were able to grab a quick dinner at a Mexican restaurant near the movie theater.  We'd been dying to see Maleficent for almost two weeks. Spoiler alert: It was so good! (So was that salsa and queso).

163/365: June 12th. A little water play between dinner and bedtime, which for Dexter equates to taking a bath. Soaked from shoulders to knees!

164/365: June 13th. I had to document a rare occurrence... I painted my nails. It lasted less than 24 hours, but it was fun anyway.

165/365: June 14th. I blogged all about our refreshing weekend visiting friends a couple hours away HERE.

166/365: June 15th. Father's Day. I typed out the interviews I did with the boys about their daddy HERE.

167/365: June 16th. Sun shining through the clouds over a cornfield on my way to work. 

168/365: June 17th. Not the best day ever but we managed to enjoy parts of it.  I had my car scheduled for a 45 minute service that ended up taking 2 hours and 10 minutes. Which overlapped with the boys' soccer clinic. Which was a nightmare because neither of them *really* wanted to play. Meaning Theo was lying on the ground refusing to participate. And while Dexter gave it a decent effort, he saw how Theo was acting and wanted to quit too. I was able to keep him somewhat engaged but Theo was a lost cause.  After we got home, ate dinner, and gave them a shower...THEN we had some nice, not-so-stressful moments picking stickers out of Dexter's Batman Lego sticker book. Then bedtime was kind of a disaster. But that's enough about that. 

Which is your favorite picture this week? Mine is that Father's Day (day 166) picture of Theo hugging Ryan with the "love" art piece in the background. Love, indeed. Followed closely by day 165 - our day at the lake. 


Monday, June 16, 2014

the weekend was just what we needed

Life with a 3 and 4 year old, not to mention a house that needs (and is semi-in-the-process-of) remodeling inside and out is busy and hectic to say the least. I feel like we are going, going, going nonstop but not with anything particularly substantial.  Ryan is working on the house and I'm trying to keep the boys busy and entertained. That's the story of our life lately. It was really. REALLY. fun (and needed) to connect with each other as a family of four, all while reconnecting with some friends we hadn't seen for far too long to live only 2 hours away.

We spent the weekend with Ryan's friend from school and his family. They live in beautiful town with lakes all over the place. We'd only visited in the winter before and didn't fully realize how lovely the surroundings were at the time. I think we're both looking forward to the (warm) day when we can visit again.

Saturday morning started off with a walk to the playground and throwing rocks into a retention pond across from it. That's just about all that kids need to be content. 

Such a sweet family.

Look at these two cuties (4 & 2) and their beautiful eyes! 

After a bit of playing, snacking, and loading up, we headed to their parents'/in-laws' lake house. Plenty to keep the kids, food, and more food.

Oh yeah. And swans.

Taking a cruise around the lake on the pontoon boat.

Little mister was thisclose to falling asleep while mom drove us around.

A milestone! Theo and Dexter got their first rides on a jet ski. And they LOVED it. I love that they are afraid of almost nothing.

Sole bit of photographic evidence that I was actually present.

I love her. I love her eyes. So beautiful. Inside and out.

Charmer. Life of the party. 

Perfection. Bliss. 

A long day winding down. 

Rides on the gator.

As we were loading up to head back to our friends' house, I had to get back out of the car to snap this quick photo.  Oh, to drive up to that view whenever we gorgeous, peaceful, and relaxing there.

So when we planned this weekend with our friends, I don't think any of us realized it was also Father's Day weekend.  In fact, I didn't realize it until last Monday. That's okay - I had time to throw together a book for Ryan with the boys help.  Read their answers to my Father's Day Q&A here. The book had the interviews, some recent photos, some artwork, and tickets to an upcoming pro soccer game. He was surprised, and I think pretty pleased! 

Sleepy boy on the stairs.

After enjoying a Father's Day Feast (I feel like we ate so much delicious food all weekend -- like literally nonstop "all weekend"), we went to a nearby park and then a cute ice cream shop.  The town has these lifelike bronze statues all around right now to promote a local community summer event, First Fridays. I wish I'd taken the time to walk around and photograph more of them.

Some great guys - and a great girl.

There was a little festival going on around the ice cream shop we visited so of course the kids had to play on the bounce houses for a few minutes before Ryan, me, and the boys headed back home. 

It was such a great weekend...returning home to all the chores that failed to get done was a bit of a disappointment after feeling like we'd been catered to by the best hosts all weekend long.  I think we might see how much rent they'd charge to let us just take over their basement...