Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day

Hey, y’all! 

I decided to take the day off from blogging today, but I wanted to pop in for just a minute to express my gratitude to all of those who have given their lives while serving our country and working to preserve our freedom.  And to those of you who have lost loved ones, thank you for your sacrifice, too.  It does not go unnoticed, and we are thinking of all of you today. 

See y’all back here on Wednesday with a weekly recap!

Friday, May 26, 2023

Five on Friday - Favorite Bingeable Summer Reads

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I do the majority of my reading for the year in June and July when the kiddos are out of school.  There’s just something about warm weather and laying by the beach or pool with a good book that makes me feel like I’m living my best life! 

During summertime, I tend to read lighter, easier reads – nothing too heavy – but I also want them to be page-turners that I don’t want to put down.  Today, I’m going to share a few of my all-time favorite bingeable, but also light, reads that are perfect for summer break.

O N E – Something Borrowed and Something Blue by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin is the queen of chick lit in my opinion!  If I had to pick a favorite book of all-time, Something Borrowed would probably be it, and Something Blue is the sequel that’s also a must-read! 

While she’s a traditional chick lit writer, her books do tend to be a bit meatier which I love, and she’s truly a great writer.  I actually own (and have read) every single book that she’s ever written – she’s my favorite author – but, in my opinion, these are her two best ones!

From Amazon:

Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship.

But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcy's fiance, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

The smash-hit debut novel for every woman who has ever had a complicated love-hate friendship.


T W O – The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisburger

I’m pretty sure that most people have already read this one, but I couldn’t not include it as it’s one of my all-time favorites, too.  It’s well-written and witty, and it keeps me turning the pages every time.  I’ve actually read this one more than once!  If you haven’t read it, grab a copy ASAP… you have been missing out!  And the book is most definitely better than the movie, as they usually are.  So if you’ve seen the movie already, don’t let that turn you off from reading the book.

From Amazon:

Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child.

Andrea is sorely tested each and every day—and often late into the night—with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get her a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not it’s worth the price of her soul.


T H R E E – People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

I just read this book for the first time earlier this year, and y’all, IT WAS SOOOO GOOD.  The two main characters, Poppy and Alex, are truly just the most likeable people, and I couldn’t get enough of this story about their journey together over a decade.  This book also weaves in many stories about traveling, and that’s always a fun topic for a summer read!  I can’t recommend this one enough!

From Amazon:

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?


F O U R – In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I read this book a few years ago and I still think about it frequently because it was that good.  It is most definitely one of my favorite reads of all-time.  This one is a bit heavier than the others in this list, and it will likely bring you to tears, but it’s most definitely a story that you’ll never forget.  I think I read this one in less than two days because I could not put it down.

From Amazon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers. She is nothing like her lifelong best friend - the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.

But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight - but it is one hour she cannot shake.

F I V E – The Thousandth Floor Trilogy by Katharine McGee

This book trilogy is technically categorized as young adult fiction, but y’all, do not let that turn you off from reading it!  This entire trilogy was fantastic.  I was hooked from the very first page of the very first book.  It’s juicy and gossipy, and it will have you wondering what’s going to happen until the very end.  I pretty much put everything on the backburner for a few days while I binged these three books.  They are all so good and they are quintessential summer reads. 

From Amazon:

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: Everyone here wants something...and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole's flawless exterior belies a secret addiction - to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson's beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers' job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world - and a romance - she never imagined...but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: He knows everything about everyone. But when he's hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall....


Friday Funnies


On the Blog This Week

 Red, White, and Blue Apparel for Kids

Our Week – The One with Olivia's Dance Recital


Happy Friday, y’all!

*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Our Week - The One with Olivia’s Dance Recital

Well, we officially made it through another recital weekend… Olivia’s fifth one to be exact!  Each year they get a little more intense since she adds new classes every year, and they’ll continue to get crazier and crazier the older she gets.  She loves dance soooo much, though, so we’ll be supporting her as long as she wants to do this. 

I have 84,000 pictures to share (pared down from about a billion thanks to our shared Google drive where all of us moms popped all of our pictures in), so settle in, friends… it’s gonna be a long one!

Monday, May 15

Monday morning, I got the kids off to school and then I headed home to work all day.  B was home some of the morning because he was leaving for a business trip, and then he headed out mid-morning to catch his flight.

I worked on laundry and blog stuff all day, and then I picked the kids up from school at 3.  Jacob and I dropped Olivia off at her dance studio for her last ballet, tap, and jazz class of the school year, and then he and I headed to piano lessons.

When we arrived, his teacher had him open his book to the song they’d been working on, and Jacob looked bored, so his teacher asked him what he wanted to work on.  Jacob told him he wanted to learn “Everglow” by Coldplay, so his teacher obliged, and told him they could stray from the book for a lesson.

His teacher didn’t know the song, so he pulled it up on YouTube.  He listened to the first few seconds of it, and then immediately sat down at the piano and started playing it by ear.  It took him a couple of tries to get the chords just right, but my mind was just blown.  To be able to hear a few seconds of a song for the first time ever and then just sit right down and play it is such an amazing talent to have!

Once his teacher had it down, he started scribbling all of the chords down on the dry erase board, and then he showed Jacob exactly where to place his fingers on the piano, and then Jacob sat right down and started playing the song, too.  Within a couple of minutes, Jacob was playing the song with one hand, and by the end of his 30-minute lesson, he was playing it with two hands. 

My mind was completely blown, and Jacob’s teacher’s mind was blown, too.  He just looked at me wide-eyed as Jacob picked it right up and barely made any mistakes.  Then he told me for about the millionth time that Jacob has a true gift for music, and he told me yet again that should Jacob ever decide that he doesn’t want to take lessons anymore to do anything we can to encourage him to stick with it. 

He did stress the importance of learning to read music, though, and he told Jacob that while it’s great to indulge your creative side (especially since Jacob apparently has the gift of being able to play by ear), that it’s most important to continue learning to read the music. 

After Jacob’s lesson, he and I went home for a bit so I could do dishes and prep for Tuesday, and then we had to turn right back around and pick up Olivia from dance.  Brian usually picks her up on his way home from work so I can cook dinner, but since he was out of town, we were on Olivia duty.

Once we got home, I reheated leftovers from Sunday dinner (hot dogs, mac n cheese, baked beans, chips and guac), and I cut up some apples to get something healthy on the kids’ plates.  Haha.  The kids and I sat down for dinner after that, and then when that was done, I got in a stair stepper workout while they got showered.

After showers, we Facetimed with B since he was out of town, and then I got the kids in bed.  I spent a few minutes downstairs with Maui after that, and then I got her into bed before heading upstairs to bed myself. 

Tuesday, May 16

Tuesday morning, I was flying solo with the kiddos, but everything went smoothly, and we got out the door on time.  Once they were at school, I headed back home to work and do laundry all day, and I also got some other random things done on my list.

After school, the kids and I headed home.  They didn’t have any homework to do, so they grabbed snacks and played until it was time to get Olivia to dance.  Jacob and I dropped her off and then swung by Publix to grab a couple of things we needed, and then he and I spent the next hour playing piano together. 

I hadn’t played in a while, so I had to go back a few pages in my book, but I picked it back up quickly and then we moved forward a bit.  It’s really gotten tough for me at this point, but I realized Tuesday that I think it’s because I might be moving too quickly through the book.  I think I need to slow down and really master each step before moving forward.  Also, I really need to be taking formal lessons.  Haha.

At 6, Jacob and I headed back to the dance studio to wait for Olivia to get out of class, and then we all drove home together.  It was pitch black and so windy on the way home, and I could tell a storm was on the way.  We pulled in the garage just in time for the bottom to fall out, and then it poured.  The rain was very brief, though, and it stopped within five minutes or so.  I was just thankful we didn’t have to drive in it!

When we got home, I whipped up some eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, and toast, and then the kids and I ate dinner together.  By the time we were done and the kitchen was all cleaned up, it was way past time for the kids to get showered and ready for bed, so they headed upstairs to do that while I got in an arms and squats workout.

Once everyone was in PJs and ready for bed, we all sat down and Facetimed with Brian for a few minutes, and then I got the kids into bed and headed downstairs to spend some time with Maui.  That poor girl was so confused with Brian being gone all week. 

I sat with her for about 30 minutes and then got her into bed, and then I headed upstairs and went to bed early.

Wednesday, May 17

Wednesday morning, I dropped the kids at school and then I headed home to get a bunch of stuff done.  On deck for Wednesday was lots of blog work and lots of summer break prep. 

After school, the kids and I headed home, and we had a very early dinner (turkey and cheese biscuit sliders, steamed broccoli, and sweet potatoes) because Olivia had a voice lesson at 6.  Since she had her dance rehearsal Thursday afternoon/evening, we had to move her voice lesson to another day and Wednesday at 6 was all that was available.

After dinner, we cleaned up quickly, and then headed straight to the music school.  Even though she ended up hating doing the recital, she has decided to stick with voice lessons.  We told her she doesn’t have to participate in the recital in December if she doesn’t feel comfortable with it, so we’ll just see how it goes!

While she was in her voice lesson, Jacob and I hung out in the lobby as we always do, and that place was bonkers.  We usually have the place all to ourselves when we’re there for piano and voice at 4, but apparently Wednesday evenings are nuts.  It’s a dance school, too, so all of the dance classes were in session, and it was pure chaos in there.

When we got home, I did a mixed cardio workout while the kids got showered and ready for bed, and then we Facetimed Brian one last time before he came home on Thursday.

I put the kids to bed early (around 8:15) because both of them had been pretty irritable all evening, and then I sat downstairs with Maui until 9 before putting her to bed.  I ended up going to bed before 10 because I was so tired.


Thursday, May 18

Thursday was Kids Rule the School Day, so Olivia got to wear pajamas.  She was thrilled.  Haha.  Back during our school auction a few weeks ago, parents were able to bid on different teachers so their kids could be that teacher for a day.  Kids Rule the School Day is the day that all of the kids get to do that, so it’s always a fun day for everyone.  It always raises a ton of money for the school, too, so if you’re in need of a fundraiser idea for your school, I highly recommend that one!

While the kids were at school, I worked on blog stuff and housework all day and then I packed up everything for Olivia’s dance recital rehearsal.  I also squeezed in a quick arms workout because I knew I wouldn't have time to do it later that evening.


I made sure to get in the car line early, so I was near the front because we needed every single spare second to get ready for the rehearsal.  Once the kids were in the car, we headed straight back home to drop Jacob off with Brian.  Thankfully, he’d just made it back home from his business trip right in time.  We had my parents on standby just in case his flight got delayed or anything, though, because Jacob wasn’t allowed to come with us to the theater.  They only allow one parent per child during rehearsals so the theater doesn’t get too crowded. 

When we got home, I quickly prepped lunchboxes and thermoses for the next day while Olivia got changed into her leotard and tights, and I got her hair pulled up.  Once she was ready, she and I hit the road and headed downtown to the theater.

Her dance studio does a full production for the dance recital, so it’s not just your basic dance recital.  It’s held at the largest theater in our city and it’s open to the public, and people purchase tickets to come to the show and everything.  It’s basically like a Broadway play put on by kids ages 3-18 and it includes a full stage set with different scenes and props, and the older girls play the main characters so there’s not only dancing, but acting as well.  This year, they did The Rescuers, and in previous years they did Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty… it’s pretty much always based on a Disney movie.

Because their recital is a full production, we have a rehearsal on Thursday night and a dress rehearsal on Friday night, and then there are two productions, one on Saturday night and one on Sunday afternoon.  Yes, it’s a LOT, but it’s one of Olivia’s favorite weekends of the entire year, and we love to watch her do what she loves even if it is exhausting.

Olivia and I arrived at the theater at 4, and we got settled in with all of the moms and girls in her classes.  On rehearsal night, the girls just sit out in the audience with us, and they do the production out of order (youngest to oldest) to accommodate the littles so they can get home and get into bed.  The rehearsal and dress rehearsal run LONG and LATE so they try to do everything they can to get the little kids out as early as possible.  Olivia was excited because her bestie from school was in two of her dance classes this year, so they got to hang out all night.

We all watched the teeny tinies go first – it’s always the sweetest thing – and then they eventually moved on to Olivia’s age group.  Olivia took five classes this year – ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and musical theatre – so she had five routines (and costumes) in the recital this year. 

First up, the girls did their ballet routine, and it was the cutest thing!  They danced to “Hard Knock Life” because they are “orphans” for that particular skit.  Olivia said her instructor told them that they had to look mad during the routine, and she said it was so hard remembering not to smile.  She is always BEAMING on stage, so it was funny to watch her try to be serious.

For their second routine, they did jazz, and for jazz, her group was called “Bayou Buddies” and they danced to the song Cotton Eye Joe.  Again, it was the cutest thing ever, and I was tripping out because I actually danced to that very song in seventh grade at the school talent show.  We’ve come full circle.  Hahahaha. 

For the third routine, the girls did their tap routine, and they were “Enchanting Emeralds.”  She got to wear a sassy, sparkly little costume for that one during the performances and it was so cute.

For the fourth routine, the girls were “Pawn Shop Antiques” and that was for her lyrical routine.  Lyrical is always my very favorite to watch because the dances are always so dramatic, and they’re always set to really beautiful instrumental music.  I think Olivia is at her very best during her lyrical performances.  She is always so graceful.

And finally, for the first time this year, Olivia did musical theatre, which combines jazz with acting and singing.  During the performance each year, they always do an interlude in the middle of the production to split up Act 1 and Act 2, and this year, they did a Salute to Classic Television.  For her musical theatre routine, she and the girls in her class were “TV Cartoons” and they did their routine to a combination of songs from Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, and Smurfs.

Their musical theatre routine was very reminiscent of the type of dances that the Radio City Rockettes do, complete with the girls lining up and doing the leg kick and everything, and it was super cute.  After seeing The Rockettes in New York City last year, Olivia informed us that she wants to be a Rockette one day, so I’d say she’s already on her way!  ;o)

After she finished up with the last one, we were able to leave, and we were out of there by 7:30 which might be the earliest we’ve ever gotten done for rehearsals!  Olivia and I were both starving by the time we got out of there, so we swung through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through and grabbed a late dinner.  Olivia ate in the car on the way home, and then I ate when we got back home while she showered. 

She was exhausted by the time she got out of the shower, so we got both kids in the bed, and then B and I watched a little bit of American Idol before heading to bed.  We had a lot of catching up to do on TV since he was out of town for a few nights.

Friday, May 19

Friday morning, I dropped the kids at school and then I headed to pick up flowers to give to Olivia after both recitals.  Then I headed home to work all morning, deep clean the floors, and pack for the dress rehearsal.

After school, the kids and I headed straight home, and Olivia and I got her hair and makeup done.  Once that was done, it was a very quick, very early dinner for Olivia, and then we headed back to the theater.  We did snap a quick picture of her in her first costume, though! 

We had to be there at 5, but they didn’t get started until nearly 6:30, so there was a lot of waiting around.  After the girls went backstage to their dressing rooms, I found a spot near the front center of the theater and that’s where I camped out for the rest of the night.  The dress rehearsals are crazy long, so I had come prepared with comfy clothes, a sweater (because it’s always freezing in there), a book, a portable charger, and lots of snacks, as well as my dinner (which consisted of a sandwich and chips). 

For the next six hours, the girls ran through the entire production from start to finish, pausing here and there along the way to tweak stage queues, movement of props, lighting, etc.  It’s always the most exhausting night of the entire weekend. 

Since photography and videography is strictly prohibited during the actual performances, Friday night is the night that the parents are allowed to take pictures and videos of the girls on stage in their costumes.  Olivia nailed all five of her routines, and I got some great pictures of all of the girls on stage. 


They wrapped up at 11:15 (oh my!), and Olivia and I couldn’t get home and get in the bed fast enough!  The boys were waiting for us when we arrived – they had been living their best lives at home all evening eating Chipotle and watching Jurassic Park – and then we shut everything down and all went to bed at the same time.

Saturday, May 20

Saturday morning, I slept in until 8:30, and then I made homemade waffles.  Olivia didn’t get up until 9:45, so she was able to get a full night of sleep despite going to bed early.  I was relieved she slept so late because I knew she had another late night ahead of her. 

After breakfast, I got some laundry started and then I headed out for a two-mile run.  I usually do a mixed cardio workout on Saturday mornings, but I hadn’t been able to get out for a run in over a week, so it was overdue.  Plus, I knew a run would be quick, and I didn’t have much time on Saturday.

After my workout, I got everything all packed up for Olivia’s recital, and then we all sat down to a light lunch.  After lunch, it was more recital prep, and then I had a few minutes to catch up on a couple of things around the house before it was time to get myself ready.

Once I was ready, I got Olivia’s hair and makeup done, and then she and I had a little photoshoot in the rest of her costumes (minus a couple of the headpieces because we had limited time) while Brian went out to pick up dinner. 

He got home with Panera around 5, and then we all ate quickly and headed out at 5:30 to get Olivia to the theater.  She requested the Taylor Swift Midnights album for her hype jams on the way there.  When we arrived, we had just enough time to snap a few pictures, and then I got Olivia all settled in her dressing room backstage while the boys went to wait in line to get decent seats.  The seats are first come, first served for these productions, so we always try to get there a little earlier than everyone else.  Once everyone was settled in, Brian and Jacob and I all headed to the concession stand to grab beers and snacks before the show started.  Yes, yes, they do serve beer, wine, and cocktails at these performances.  They are at the biggest theater in town, and the theater treats this recital just like any of their other productions since it's open to the public.  

My parents and my MIL and step-FIL joined us for the production on Saturday night, and our girl totally rocked all five of her performances!  She truly just shines on stage!  It is one of my favorite things in the world, watching her do what she loves.  There’s just nothing like it.  And I'm so grateful for the dressing room moms who always take lots of fun pictures backstage and send them to the rest of us moms to have!  One of these days, I'll probably volunteer to do that, but for now, I'm happy just watching.  Haha.


The production was four hours from start to finish – Act 1 followed by a 15-minute intermission, followed by the Jazz and Musical Theatre Production, followed by Act 2 of the main production.  It didn’t end until 11 PM, so every single person in that theater was exhausted.  Haha. 

After the show was over, we all showered Olivia with flowers as well as her show trophy, and then we hit the road and collapsed in the bed since we had to get up and do it all over again on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, May 21

Sunday morning, I slept in until 8:30 again, and then I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  After that, I watched church while I did a yoga workout, and then I had to go in Olivia’s room and wake her because it was 10:30!!  I’m not sure she’s ever slept that late in her whole life.  Haha.  Bless.  She was just so tired. 

Once she was up, I got showered and ready for the day, and then I did her hair and makeup, and then we all had an early, light lunch before hitting the road again.  We didn’t want Jacob to have to sit through the entire production again, so we dropped him off at my MIL and step-FIL’s for the day, and then Brian and Olivia and I headed back downtown to the theater.  Olivia's hype jam requests on Sunday were Lil' Jon's "All I Really Want for Christmas" (LOLOLOLOL) and more Taylor Swift Midnights. 

We snapped a few more pictures, and then I got her settled in her dressing room backstage while B scouted out seats again.  Emotions were running high backstage on Sunday because all of the girls were so tired, but you wouldn’t have known it when they all took the stage because they all looked like professionals up there yet again!  Gosh, I’m just so proud of every single one of them.  They work SO HARD all year for these productions, and it sure does pay off every single time.  They are true athletes, these girls.  And yes, I totally snuck one picture of her during her actual performance on Sunday.  ;o)

My FIL joined us on Sunday for the production, and my BFF and one of her kiddos also attended as they had several friends and family members in the show, so Olivia was excited to see all of them afterward. 

By the time the show was over on Sunday, it was 6 PM and time for dinner, so we grabbed Jacob from my in-laws’ house and then we picked up barbecue from our favorite local place and took it home to eat. 

By the time dinner was done, it was time for the kids to get showered and ready for bed, and we got them in the bed on time since everyone was so tired.  B and I watched some of the American Idol finale, and then we headed to bed, too. 

Olivia and I ended up logging 19+ hours at the theater for her recital this year.  What. A. Weekend.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!