Friday, August 18, 2017

Five on Friday - Date Night, Soccer, School, & Other Faves

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Before I get started on my post today, I do want to say thank you for all of your kind comments on my post yesterday.  I’m behind on responding but I have read each and every one and you ladies were all so kind to lift me up when my spirits were down.  It felt pretty great to get it all off my chest even though I hate to complain in this little space of mine.  Today is another day and I have a much, much more upbeat post for you because today we’re focusing on all of the GOOD from the week!

O N E – Date Night

B and I were on a roll with the date nights at the beginning of the year, but lately we have been a bit too busy to plan anything.  Wednesday night, however, one of our very favorite singer/songwriters was performing nearby, so we bought some tickets and headed over because we don’t ever miss his shows. 

One of Brian’s co-workers joined us for dinner and drinks at one of our favorite restaurants beforehand, and then the three of us headed upstairs for the show. 

Chances are you’ve probably never heard of him, but Paul Thorn is one of those rare amazing talents who still plays at smaller venues, but in my opinion, he should be a superstar. If I had to categorize him in one genre it would probably be blues, but some of his songs are folksy, some rock-ish, some quirky, and some are religious.  He has an incredible voice – it’s so powerful – and he writes song lyrics that are equally as powerful, plus he is an excellent storyteller.  He always has a few clever and often hilarious things to say in between songs, and he is very charismatic in an unassuming way.  In case you can’t tell, I basically adore him.  B and I have been seeing him in concert for fourteen years and I will continue to follow him wherever he goes for the rest of his career.

The majority of the shows that we’ve seen have been acoustic shows – just Paul and his guitar – and that is my favorite way to see him.  His stories are always a bit longer, his voice a bit more soulful, and his lyrics seem to have more meaning, probably because they are so stripped down without the band playing behind them. 

Last night’s show was with the full band and it was a packed house.  They played their entire first album cover to cover (which is my favorite) and then they threw in a few of their other songs afterward.  It was a really great show and they had the crowd up and dancing by the end. 

We always stop by and talk to Paul after every show, and since we’ve seen him so many times and for so many years he always remembers us.  After the show last night when I walked up to say hi, he looked at Brian and then back to me and said, “You haven’t kicked him to the curb yet?”  Haha.  He then asked about the babies and then we chatted for a couple more minutes before finally snapping a picture.  He is so nice and so humble and I just can’t gush about him enough.  If you’ve never listened to his music, you really should.  You can find all of his albums here.

Also, my dress is currently on clearance and you can also get an additional 20% off of the clearance price for a limited time.  That brings the price down to just $16.78!!  I love that it's dark in color because I should be able to carry it into fall with some open-toe booties!  It's currently in stock in all sizes and it also comes in green.

T W O – A Whole Day with My Little Girlfriend

Monday and Tuesday Olivia’s school was closed for teacher’s planning, so B took Monday off with her and I took Tuesday.  She and I dropped Jacob at school that morning, shared a cinnamon roll at Panera, did a little bit of shopping at Target, and then all she wanted was for us to go home and watch Moana together.  We turned it on around 10 AM and snuggled up on the couch together, and it wasn’t long until I started dozing.  I had been sick the previous day and I was still pretty exhausted, so I letting myself snuggle up with my girl and do some light napping was exactly what I needed.  The movie was over around lunchtime, so I made some sandwiches for us and then we played her Matching Game.  She is so good and always remembers where everything is, so she held her own against me even though I was trying my very best.  Her memory is excellent. 

After the game, it was nap time for her and blogging for me, and then when she got up we had a snack and then got ready for “nastics.”  I rarely get to spend one-on-one time with her, so it was a real treat to have the whole day for just the two of us.

T H R E E – Jacob’s First Soccer Practice

It’s official:  I’m a soccer mom!  One of my co-workers has called me “Soccer Mom” for years, pretty much ever since Jacob was born, so that nickname now has a lot more meaning.

Jacob’s practice was at 6 Tuesday evening, but Olivia had “nastics” from 5:10 – 5:55, so she and I had to head over a few minutes late.  Jacob was already out there doing some drills when we arrived and he was loving every second.  We met a lot of the parents whose kids are on the team, and everyone was so nice and very welcoming.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a great season!

When practice was over I asked Jacob how he liked it and he shouted a very emphatic, “I LOVED IT!”  Later that night when B asked him what he loved the most about it he replied with, “Everything!”  And then when B asked him what he liked the least about it he replied with, “Nothing!”  His first game is September 9, so we are counting down the days until we get to see our little guy in action!

F O U R – Olivia’s First Day of Pre-K3

Our baby started Pre-K3 this week.  I can’t even believe it.  This will be her last year at her (and Jacob’s old) daycare and next year she will move over to Jacob’s school where both of them will stay through twelfth grade. 

We took some first day of school pictures and then sent her on her way.  Brian dropped her off and said that she was a little apprehensive at first, but that she ended up doing great when he left her.  She came home bubbling over with excitement talking about her day and she told us she had a great first day!

Where has the time gone?

F I V E – I Snagged This Fave

Of all the items available during the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I had my heart set on one beloved top – this Lush Ruffle Bell Sleeve Blouse in white with black dots.  I am not a cardholder so by the time the sale opened up to the public it was long gone.  I checked over and over during the next week and once the returns started rolling in I was able to snag it in a medium.  I needed it in a small, but I figured I could at least try to make it work in a medium, and if I couldn’t, I would just send it back.  Free returns, so why not try?  Well, my shirt arrived on a hanger, and unfortunately one of the threads right in the middle of the front of the shirt had gotten snagged on the hanger, and it had pulled and completely ruined the front of the shirt.  Also – they had left the ink tag on it.  What?!

Needless to say I sent it back, and I was so sad because I thought I had finally gotten my hands on one.  Well, over the next few days leading up to the end of the sale, I continued to check and check and check at random times, and finally, the last day of the sale, one small popped up, and I was able to grab it! 

It arrived late last week and it is so cute!  

I. Love. This. Top.

And what do you know, now that the sale is over the shirt is fully stocked in all colors and sizes once again.  I’m on to you, Nordstrom!  ;o) 

Anyway, I’m really happy that I was able to grab one in my correct size at the sale price before it was too late, and I can’t wait for some chillier weather so I can start wearing it.  If you’re looking for a great top to wear to work, church, or even out for a date night or a night with the girls, this one fits the bill for all of that!

Before I go, if you're lounging around on this Friday and you're looking for some more blog reading, be sure to check out everyone's favorite kind of post - my A Day in the Life post from earlier this week!  I'm giving you an in-depth peek into a day in my life.  :o) 

Hello, weekend.  I’m so glad you’re here.

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Confessions {8.17.2017}

I haven’t participated in Thursday confessions in quite some time so here’s a fresh batch for you.

I confess…

… that 2017 has not been my favorite.  I know things could be and are so much worse for others, so I try to be grateful – and I am so grateful – for this life that I have, but so many little things have piled up this year that it’s kind of starting to make feel defeated.  Numerous sicknesses for me, many failed attempts to cure my chronic pain, lots of tornadoes and weird severe weather, trying and failing to figure out how to quit my job and stay home with the kids, having two grandmothers hospitalized in the last couple of weeks, my parents’ dog being very sick these last few weeks, the current state of our nation… I mean, I’m not one to rush time at all, but goodness gracious, I’m about ready for 2018.  Eventually enough is enough, ya know?

… that I had a feeling that 2017 was going to be not-so-great before it even started simply because it ends in the number 17.  Several of the worst days of my whole life occurred on the 17th of the month, so I’m really not a fan of that number.

… that B and I have spent all of this time and money trying these new treatments for my back/hip/leg pain with this doctor in Atlanta, and after all of that, it’s not even working.  It’s frustrating and nauseating knowing how much money we have wasted these last few months.  Not to mention it’s frustrating and nauseating knowing that I might be stuck with this pain for the rest of my life.  I have my last treatment tomorrow, so I’m basically praying for a miracle at this point.  And I’m sure that this is one of the top two culprits for causing my 2017 to be so trying.

… that lately I have been feeling restless and slightly discouraged with this whole blogging thing.  Some days I feel like I’m on the cusp of something amazing, and others, well… I have felt completely frustrated.  I enjoy every single second of it, but I feel like I really want it to be something more and that I just can’t quite get it there.  Does that make sense? 

… that I feel the constant need to create (writing, taking and editing pictures, painting, house decorating, clothes styling, organizing, etc.) and that I really wish there was some way to channel all of my creativity into something that could help me earn enough money to stop working at my corporate job.  I feel like life with two small kiddos is slipping right through my fingers because I’m wasting all of my time at an office.  While B and I could probably survive on his salary alone, we would also have to give up some of the frivolous things that we’ve grown accustomed to, and that would definitely be hard.  The hardest thing, though, is that I would feel so guilty spending a penny if I wasn’t bringing something in.  Stay at home moms… how do you do it financially?  And if anyone has great ideas how to make money from home, do tell!

… that I get 15 days of vacation every year at work and I have already used every. single. one.  And our new vacation doesn’t even start over until April 1, 2018.  I know.  We still have fall break and Thanksgiving break and Christmas break and spring break and Easter break and all of the other days in between that the school is closed and I don’t have a single vacation day left to take for the next seven months.  Working moms, who the heck watches your kids for the 18 million days that they have off and/or are sick during the year??  We have been utilizing the services of our two retired dads so much that I’ve gotten to the point where I feel plain awful every time we have to ask them to watch one of the kids.

Well, sorry for this bummer of a post, but I always try to be honest in this little space of mine and this is just what came out when I started writing.  Overall I am truly happy the majority of the time and I know that I have been blessed above and beyond.  I know that this is just a trying season and things will be on the up and up eventually, but I am a worrier by nature, so the whole “taking it in stride” thing during my season of waiting is challenging for me. 

I do promise to have a much happier post up tomorrow! 

Thank you for listening to me vent.  Sometimes you just have to do it.

*Linking up with Sparkles and Lattes for Confessional Thursday and Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Day in the Life - Stay at Home Mom Edition {8.7.2017}

I, much like other bloggers, like to try to do a couple of day in the life posts per year so I can one day look back and see how we spent our days.  In the past, each of my day in the life posts have always been regular working days, so this time I thought I would do something a little different and document a week day when I took the day off. 

This was last Monday, August 7, and it was Jacob’s first day of school.  Since he had a half day with no extended day care, I had to take the day off to be there to pick him up when he got out of school. 

Here we go!

6:06 AM – I’ve already been up for 6 minutes, and since I failed to put a post-it on the bathroom mirror to remind me to document my day, I have forgotten to… start documenting my day.  I finally remember to snap a picture after I put my contacts in.

6:30 AM – Still getting ready.  I shower, wash, dry, and curl my hair every single morning so it takes about 45 minutes to get ready every day.  Yes, it’s exhausting, and no, I can’t skip the hair washing even for a day. 

6:45 AM – I head downstairs to check on the kiddos.  B has already gotten them up and started their breakfasts.  Jacob is not a morning person, therefore, they are all sitting in the dark kitchen with the only light coming from the light over the kitchen sink.  Lol.  We are at the end of the eastern time zone, so it doesn’t start to get light outside until around 7 AM.  I normally eat breakfast at work, but since I’m off today I grab a couple of blueberry toaster waffles and a big S'well Bottle full of water and I eat quickly at the counter while packing Jacob’s snack and unloading the dishwasher.  Multitasking at it’s finest!

7:00 AM – The kids are done eating so we all head upstairs.  I help Olivia get her outfit down from the closet and she starts getting ready while I run in my office to make sure my blog post for the day has gone live and I also do my link-ups.  On the way out of my office, I peek in Jacob’s room where I see that he’s almost ready for his first day of First Grade!

7:15 AM – Back downstairs to get the car loaded – purses, book bags, thermoses, etc. get loaded into the car, and then it’s time to head outside to the front porch to take our traditional first day of school pictures.  On the way out, I turn around and see that Olivia has found Jacob’s toboggan in the coat closet and she looks like she’s prepared for a blizzard.

7:20 AM – First day of First Grade pictures on the front porch… and Olivia wants to join in the fun, too!  After snapping a few quick ones we all load into the car – Olivia wants to ride with me and Jacob wants to ride with Daddy.  Since B is coming with us to drop J for his first day of school, it doesn’t matter who rides with whom today.

7:40 AM – Arrive at the school and the first day of school chaos is all around us.  The parking lot is slam full and there are moms and dads taking pictures everywhere.  I see one of my BFFs (we went to high school together at the same school where our kids are now all going) and we ooh and ahh over each other’s cute little nuggets.  B and I snap a few more pics of the kids in the parking lot and then it’s time to head in to the school! 

7:53 AM – Jacob is all settled in at his new desk.  He takes out a fresh box of crayons and gets started on his morning worksheet.  He cheeses for us so I can snap a final picture of him in his classroom, and then he barely looks up as we head out the door.  I, naturally, tear up on the way out.  At least one of us handles it well.

8:00 AM – B and I part ways in the parking lot.  He has Olivia in tow and will take her to school, and I head home to tackle a few projects until it’s time to pick up Jacob at noon.

8:24 AM – But first… a stop at Starbucks for a tall decaf skinny caramel latte!  If I’m gonna be a SAHM for the day then I’m going to do it the right way! 

8:41 AM – Just as I pull up at home, I receive a sweet text from Emily and it makes my day!  I sure do love my sweet blogger friends turned real friends!

8:42 AM – Then one minute later I get a text from my Daddy saying that my grandmother is going to be taken back into surgery for her pacemaker soon.  She ended up not being taken back for several hours after that text, but I don’t find that out until later.

8:43 AM – Since I was out of my original routine, I had almost forgotten to take an OOTD pic!  Time to remedy that now!

8:57 AM – I turn on my favorite morning show, the Elvis Duran Morning Show (anybody else listen?) and it’s time to get down to business.  The next 2.5 hours fly by as they are a whirlwind of cleaning out my entire closet, trying on old clothes, bagging up the old stuff to give away, throwing in a load of laundry, folding a load of towels, and “washing” our dry-clean only clothes in the dryer with Dryel.  Love that stuff!  If you have "dry-clean only" clothes, just use these babies and you're good to go!  I've never once been to a dry cleaner for our clothing!

11:28 AM – Out the door, check the mail on the way out, and head to the school to pick up Jacob.

11:44 AM – Arrive at the school and the car line is already going strong.  There are already about 30 cars in front of me and school doesn’t get out for 16 more minutes.  I respond to some emails, check Facebook and Instagram, and hang out until the line starts moving promptly at 12:01.

12:19 PM – This happy little face is finally in the car to greet me and now we still have to wait in the crazy long line at the red light to finally get out of traffic.

12:40 PM – We have made it out of the first day of school carline alive and we meet B at Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  Jacob tells us all about his first day of First Grade while we eat, and spoiler alert – he loves it!

1:10 PM – We leave Chick-Fil-A and head straight for Publix to do our grocery shopping for the next two weeks.  I am reminded over and over why I never bring kids to the grocery store.  Haha.  I have requests for Hot Wheels fruit snacks and Star Wars Cheez-Its and Oatmeal Cream Pies and popsicles and 18 million other things that I normally don’t buy!

2:00 PM – We arrive at home.  Jacob is off to play with his Hot Wheels and Legos and I unload the groceries and put everything away.  I also take advantage of the fact that I’m already home for the day and it’s only 2 PM so I throw some stuff in the crock pot for dinner, I clean out the refrigerator, and I clean out and organize the pantry.  Ahhhh.  Organization.

3:00 PM – Maui needs to go out, so I step outside with her.  It starts to POUR as we get inside so I run out to the front and put my ferns out so they can get a good soaking.  

3:20 PM – Just as I walk back inside, I check my phone and see that I have texts from my Momma and my Daddy saying that my grandmother has finally made it out of surgery and she is doing fantastic.  I tell Jacob that he can watch one show on Netflix and then I head upstairs to my office to do the next day’s blog post. 

4:40 PM – Run downstairs, stir the crock pot meal, run back upstairs and iron the few things that need to be ironed, tidy up our bedroom, and then it’s back downstairs to hang with my Boo for a little bit.  We lay around on the couch making silly faces for a while and then he’s ready to get up and do something.  He’s just like his Momma… never sitting still!

5:15 PM – It’s time to tackle the kitchen.  But first, it’s time to cozy up for the evening.  I turn on one of my favorite albums (I adore Rod Stewart's old standards!), I light my Limoncello candle (it’s been my very favorite all summer!), and I turn on all of my lamps and the twinkle lights in the tree in the living room.  Once the cozy tone has been set, I clean off the island which has become our catch-all for everything which I can’t stand.  I settle Jacob in for a little snack of his new Star Wars Cheez-Its and juice, I cut up the broccoli to be steamed for dinner, and I unload the dishwasher.  B and Olivia come home in the middle of all of this and she settles in with Jacob in the living room to play while B and I discuss our days.

6:07 PM – The four of us sit down at the table for dinner – Fiesta Chicken and Rice with steamed broccoli from Shay's cookbook and everyone gobbles it up!  After dinner the kids ask for a popsicle and we happily oblige as there are hardly any calories or sugar in these and there is also no fat.  Win win!  B does the dishes and I get everything else put away while they finish their dessert.

6:45 PM – I plop down on the couch for a quick breather while the kids play with their Hot Wheels for a bit and then it’s time to go upstairs for the bedtime routine.

7:00 PM – Upstairs, B gets the kids in the bath while I start preparing for the next day.  I quickly change into some workout clothes, stopping to admire the cleanliness of my closet, and then I gather Olivia’s things for her first gymnastics class the next day.

7:25 PM – Olivia is out of the bathtub and has already gotten herself in her PJs and she is picking out a book for us to read together before bed.  Tonight’s choice – Happy Easter, Mouse!  Haha.  When we finish our book, we walk next door to Jacob’s room and Olivia piles in the bed with him while B and Jacob finish reading their book for the evening – a Hot Wheels Vehicles book.

7:40 PM – We all head to the master bathroom for quick hair drying, and then it’s back to the kids’ bathroom to brush teeth.  After teeth brushing, Olivia piles on the playroom couch with Brian to give him some night night lovin’, she then gives Jacob some lovin’, and then she and I snuggle up in her chair for prayers.  We say the bedtime prayer, talk to God for a bit, talk about her day some more, and then I get her all snuggled in the bed.  I head into my bedroom to grab her monitor and while I’m in there, Jacob pops in to give me a quick hug (and show me his fidget spinner) and then he heads to his room with B. 

7:56 PM – I walk to Jacob’s room to join he and Brian for prayers, and on the way, I stop to “check on” Olivia.  She’s still wide awake and smiling.

7:58 PM – After praying with Jacob I head out as it’s B’s turn to lay with him.  On my way out I check on Olivia again.  She appears to be asleep already.

8:13 PM – Nope, she wasn’t.  I check on her one last time, she cheeses at me again, and then it’s downstairs for the rest of the evening.  I give Maui a treat, post a photo to Instagram about our weekend, and once B comes down we turn on The Bachelorette (which was terrible this season, BTW.)  I do some strength training, some ab work, and I do 500 steps on my stair stepper while watching.

9:33 PM – I’ve earned some dessert!  Almost every night before bed I like to have a small bowl of frozen yogurt.  B and I always get the Publix frozen yogurt, but I decided to grab a couple of the Halo Tops to try since I’ve heard such good things.  I pop it open, put half in a bowl for B, and then I take the rest and eat it straight out of the carton!  This kind is amazing!!

9:57 PM – I pull out the kids’ One Line a Day books, log our days, and then put them away just in time for The Bachelorette to end.  If you’re looking for a really easy and unique way to make a keepsake for your kids, I highly recommend these books!  They have just a few lines for you to write something short and sweet each day for the first five years of their lives so it only takes a minute a day.  I didn’t know these existed until Jacob was almost two, so I didn’t start his book until his second birthday, hence the reason his is not done yet.  Olivia’s was started on the day she was born, so I will do the last entry the day before her fifth birthday.  They have a blue version for boys and a pink version for girls.

10:00 PM – B and I head upstairs to get ready for bed, and once he’s all ready he heads back down to do some more work from home.  He’s been having to pull some late nighters recently so I’ve been going to bed alone.

10:21 PM – I finally settle down in the bed with my Ava Bracelet on, I read my daily excerpt from my devotional, Jesus Calling, and then I read a chapter of The Identicals, my current read which I’m loving!

10:38 PM – Lights out!

And just like that, my stay at home mom day is over!  And I’ve loved every minute.

*Linking up with Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.