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Showing posts from July, 2016

Day 213: Fitbit!

After almost a year without one, I got a new Fitbit this week! My mom got me my first one which I used well for a year and a half before losing it last summer. 
It's silly that I need a little step counter in my pocket to get me off my keester, but I do. I love seeing steps add up and challenging myself (even if my "goal" is just to be average). 

I have the Fitbit One and I like it very much. I had thought I wanted a bracelet one but after having the little guy with the clip who can also be in my pocket, I can't imagine having a different one. 
I've hit 10,000 steps every day but one this week and I'm having a lot of fun competing with the kids, since we put pedometers on them today. I have a super competitive oldest child, so this could be the best or very worst thing we done. To be determined! 

Dad 212: Saturday Schmaturday

Saturday was a day in which I lived, so I'm most definitely grateful for that! It was hot, I was crabby, and my best laid plans did not come to fruition. 

I got a couple of boxes packed, though. At times a couple seems like it's not making a dent, and at other times I totally feel like I can manage this daunting task with ease. It helps to be reminded that progress is progress, even if it's only one box at a time.

Day 211: Saucy

It's only within the last year that I discovered how much sugar and sodium are in jarred spaghetti sauce, and how easy and cheap it is to make my own. Last night I made some that was pretty great, if I may say so myself. Which I may. Because this is my blog. 
It was a Pinterest recipe but not really much of a recipe. Canned tomatoes, garlic, oregano, a little salt and sugar, and the crowning glory, fresh basil. Basil happens to be the one and only thing we have growing this year, and it's delicious. 
Even the kid who claims to hate spaghetti sauce whispered in my ear that he "actually liked it" and helped himself to seconds. I call that a win!

Day 209: The Livin' Is Easy

Today was just a great day! It was one of those days were nothing is planned, and impromptu gatherings make the day wonderful.

We started with a text at 8:44 inviting us over to play, and an hour later there were 4 moms and 11 kids in my friend's living room. We laughed about how it wasn't very long ago when we weren't outnumbered by kids! For the most part, the kids played well together. The babies tolerated face touching by one another and much coloring, swimming, swinging, running and giggling took place. It is a great joy to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and kids.

We hung out and all the small people took much-needed naps. Like, so much needed. I enjoyed the quiet immensely, and I got exactly one box packed. Progress is progress, right?

Our after-nap outing was a trip to the library, and miraculously, the Wiggle Room was empty. The little introverts played peacefully until it was time to go, and the baby toddler didn't even pull 100,000 books off the shel…

Day 208: Dad Duty

I have something brewing for my Tuesday post, but I can't thumb it out on my phone, nor do I have the energy to make coherent sentences at this time. 
Grateful today for my spouse who took over all parenting duties when we got home from work. I was spentsville. I've been lying in bed since 8:30. I did put the baby down (which is easy) and he got two overtired monsters to bed without me. Whew!

Day 207: The Swears Were Kind of Quiet

Well, I'm delaying Monday's post because we had to leave the lake (sad), drive for a long time (annoying) and the kids' behavior was worse than I'd hoped (disappointing). I'm glad we made it home safely and without me uttering swear words too loudly. So there's that.

Day 206: The Waiting

I made the rookie mistake of leaving my (almost completed) book locked in the bedroom with a sleeping baby. Not to worry, thought I, because there was also a Kindle in my bag. Battery: dead. Finally, I had coveted time to read, and no book. Luckily for me, my dear sister had brought a couple of books for mom to read. I grabbed the one that looked most interesting and headed outside to get started. 

It look me just a couple of pages to be hooked on The Waiting. The story begins in 1929 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, when a young girl was raped and conceived a child. She gave birth and placed the baby for adoption. She then spent decades writing letters, missing her baby, and healing from the wounds she suffered at such a young age. Her life moves across the country and eventually into a new century. The writing is compelling and I couldn't put it down. I stayed up way past my bedtime for two nights, and had my nose buried in the book for two days. 
I had no reason not to finish the boo…

Day 205: All The Things

I barely remember Saturday. It was a great day, I remember that much. Rain turning to sun. Cousins. Tubing. Swimming. Gin Rickeys (because we ran out of tonic!). A compelling book to read. S'mores. Hometown pizza. Yes, all the things for which to be grateful.

Day 204: The Crowes for the Win!

Our 250-mile car ride Friday was a comedy of errors. As they always do, things tensed up for the last 80 miles or so. Everyone needed naps and only one person seemed interested. We needed something to keep us from falling apart. 
It was this:
It looks terrifying, like someone you definitely wouldn't put on for kids, but it's probably my favorite Crowes album. The big boys chimed in after the first few seconds and I was reminded that they like this one! Yay! The oldest kid sometimes even sings "Go Faster" or "Kickin' My Heart Around" while he's rambling around the house.  
I thought of the way I feel about the Oak Ridge Boys, the music of my childhood. It reminds me of taking hot meals to the farm during harvest, and long drives to my grandma's on Christmas Eve. I wondered if, maybe, the Black Crowes could be that to my kids. Will "By Your Side" forever remind them of exciting trips to "grandpa's lake"? 
Maybe. Maybe not. Eith…

Day 203: Moonlight Path

Sounds romantic, eh? It's not. 
I had much to be grateful for yesterday, but I didn't notice it because I was super cranky and whiny. 
I finally showered after three hours of being outside in crazy heat. For some reason I reached for the lotion I rarely use, mostly because I'm a hoarder of good lotions. It was my old, almost empty bottle of Bath & Body Works Moonlight Path. I don't even know if they still make that scent, but it's always been my favorite. 
Just like music, scents can evoke memories for most people. Moonlight Path will always be Molli, one of my closest friends from growing up years through college. We don't see each other more than once a year now and I miss her so. Our relationship will likely never be the same, but she'll always be dear to me, and I'll never smell Moonlight Path without thinking fondly of her.

Day 202: Hot in Hrrrrrrr!

We've reached the week in every North Dakota July when temps climb up near 100 and humidity climbs up near 1000%. It must be time for the State Fair! Yesterday morning was actually pleasant while we sat at tee ball and then played at the baseball field for a while. But it heated up quickly during naps, and my 4-year-old exclaimed, "It's a million degrees out here!" so we stayed inside all afternoon.

A week or so ago I sent my husband out to look for those Ziploc brand bags that you can use to make your own freezer pops. They're apparently impossible to find, but he did get some Popsicle molds. I was certain they'd be crappy and impossible to actually use, but we've used them a couple times already this week and they are fabulous!

Cantaloupe/strawberry/yogurt/orange juice didn't go over super well, but strawberry lemonade was a winner! I like that we can have fresh fruit pops without loads of sugar, and they're a teeny bit less messy than regular g…

Day 201: The No Planning Plans

It all came together in a matter of minutes. A few text and Facebook messages and suddenly I was dropping my kids and an iced coffee off with a friend and meeting another friend for lunch! We'd been trying to get together for a while but, life keeps happening instead.

I appreciated the reminder that sometimes impromptu plans are the best kind. Hey! Guess what? I don't have to plan every moment of my life.

We had a great chat about pizza, life, babies, pregnancy, birth, and all sorts of other stuff. It was such a terrific couple of hours with this former coworker, whom I haven't seen since I quit work almost a year and a half ago. Funsies!

Day 200: SOLD. The sign at least.

Day 200! Wow! I wish I had something more profound to say. 
Then SOLD sign went up in our yard last night. I'm not letting myself get too excited yet as we haven't gotten the appraisal back yet, nor have we found a place to live. I'm still grateful that things are progressing, though.

Day 199: My Favorite Ugly Knockoff Sandals

I thought of my gratitude item for yesterday while we were out for an evening walk, but it's kind of silly and trivial so I was too lazy to type it up once we (finally) got everyone to bed. 
My sister gave me some pink Crock-knockoff sandals many years ago. She picked them up at a little boutique in her town and figured they'd be good to have at the lake. I used them mainly as garden and lake sandals. They're bright pink and about as attractive as plastic shoes can be, but man are they comfortable. 
In recent years, as I've made about a zillion daily trips in and out of the garage/yard, they have become invaluable. They are also more comfortable than even my tennis shoes so I often wear them on walks to the park and around the neighborhood. They look pretty ridiculous, but I am at a point in my life where I definitely choose comfort over style!

Day 198: Ooopsie!

I know I've mentioned The Simple Show podcast several times. The other day I listened to episode 23 with Anne Bogel of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. It seems all my favorite bloggers follow and love her, but I've resisted checking out her website for the simple fact that I already read so many blogs. I'm a loyal reader, so I read almost everything my favorite few publish, which can be a lot. I didn't want to add another to the mix, BUT I so enjoyed the episode that my determination started to waiver. When she mentioned a daily Kindle deals email she sends out, I was hooked.

I don't buy a lot of ebooks, mostly because it hurts me to spend $10 on a book that I will likely read once and can't even really loan out or give away. I know you can loan Kindle books in a limited fashion with Prime, but still. I do purchase them with giftcards or Deals of the Day specials. Anyway, Anne researches the best Kindle deals every morning and emails them out, so I subscribed. I ha…

Day 197: The Bare Minimum

Well, around lunchtime today I started to get a headache. I thought I got ahead of it with some Tylenol, but it kept getting worse and by the time #2 woke up and we were headed outside, I was feeling pretty rotten. They "washed" the van while I laid on the picnic blanket in the yard. In the Lord's infinite mercy, the baby took an epic nap (3+ hours) and I thought I was feeling better by the time he woke.

From there it only got worse. By the time my husband got home from work, any movement made me feel like I was going to ralph so once we made eye contact I headed straight for my bed.

My gratitude today was definitely that the kids, the big boys especially, behaved so well. They ran around the front yard and driveway for almost 4 hours entertaining themselves, and keeping track of the baby toddler for a couple of those hours. They didn't destroy the house, van or yard. They didn't wander into the street or drink too much hose water using our recyclables as cups, a…

Day 196: Ice cream you scream!

Have you tried a Magnum ice cream bar? If you haven't, get thee to a grocery store! The double chocolate caramel has to be a foretaste of heaven. The dark chocolate works, too. The creamiest of ice cream, perfectly crispy chocolate shell. I'm not sure ice cream treats get much better.

Day 195: Two TRs

I'm still coming down from the high of finishing the super long but interesting, (Kindle) page-turning, addictive book The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris last night. I know I've mentioned it before but it was so terrific! I purchased it for $1.99 impulsively a couple of years ago, around the time the PBS miniseries came out, I think. It's been sitting on my Kindle, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to start a book like that. Turns out it's exactly what I needed this summer.

I'd like to produce some sort of intellectual review of it for you, but I probably can't in the 6 minutes I have to sit here and type. I didn't know around 99% of what I read (because I missed the TR parts of the miniseries, I suppose) and every section fascinated me. I realized that I do not and mostly likely won't ever understand politics or military strategy, but Morris did a decent job of dumbing it down enough that I could follow what what happening. The b…

Day 194: H two O

Did you know that for a billion people in the world, the closest safe water is four miles away? I recently read that in the book Beautiful Mercy and reflected on it as I stepped into my hot shower. 
I've taken for granted the easy availability of clean, safe water on demand from my closest tap. For my whole life, I've been able to have a hot bath or shower or a cold drink almost whenever I want it. What a luxury this is and how often I take it for granted! I'm sure it will fade as quickly as it came on, but I'm definitely going to try to be more mindful when I'm using water, and to say a prayer of thanksgiving when I do.

Day 193: Video Monitor

Today's gratitude item is totally a first world luxury: my video monitor. 
Six years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest and working on the inevitable Target baby registry, I heard strong opinions from both sides of the monitor opinion aisle. "We love our monitor! You have to get one!" And "Is your house so big that you can't hear your baby cry?" 
In the end (or beginning, I guess!) we ended up receiving a Summer Infant Video monitor as a shower gift and I've been so grateful for it many times over the years, and grateful for replacement rechargeable batteries when I thought our beloved monitor was dead and gone! 
Yes, I can hear my babies cry from almost everywhere in our house, but the monitor is useful for other things, too. Instead of rushing in when I heard the one-year-old this morning I watched him mess around in his bed, chatting with his stuffed animals and being generally adorable before starting his daily reign of terror. 
I've been able t…

Day 192: Craaaaaaaaaaaaap

It's been bothering me for a while now, wondering if the day I was on here on ye olde blog was the correct day of the year. I finally Googled it and found out that it was, in fact, not. Blerg. Many (most?) people wouldn't be bothered by such an insignificant error on a blog that only a handful of people read regularly, but if you know me, you know that type of stuff drives me bonkers. According to the Internet, today is the one hundred ninety second day in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Sixteen. 
I tried not to let it bother me. I really did. But after 3.5 minutes of trying, I gave up and had to fix it. Turns out I had two 162s, so of course I had to edit all of them after that to correct my error. After that was all said and done, I was still behind. Leap year? Did I accidentally sleep through an entire day? Who knows. Anyway, I guess the gratitude item for this post is that I'll be grateful at the end of the year not to look like a complete idiot when I round out …

Day 191: Blessed is She

I'm sure I've mentioned it here several times already, but I really enjoy my Blessed is She email subscription. It includes the daily Mass readings and then a short reflection by one of their many contributing writers. Most of the reflections give me something worthwhile to think about throughout the day, and it's an easy way to work daily scripture reading into my schedule.

Another thing I love about it is their weekly wallpaper. I don't use them every time they have a new one, but most of them are just so pretty that I can't resist. Here's this week's:

So pretty!
I shouldn't look at my phone as often as I do, but it's nice to have a beautiful painting and a verse of scripture (most often from the Sunday gospel) when I do. 
Today's reflection by one of my favorite bloggers on the reading we all know about the Good Samaritan, kind of blew my mind. Check it out here.

Day 190: Iced Coffee

I don't think I need to write anything about iced coffee. I love it and it makes me happy. But I will write something, because if I get up I have to clean up lunch dishes.

I was first introduced to McDonald's iced coffee by a former coworker, Heather, way way back around 2007. We often picked it up for each other on our way to work, and we bonded over it. Yum. You can get a big one for under $2! 
My domestic hero friend, Crystal, introduced me to The Pioneer Woman's iced coffee recipe a few years ago. Mostly I would just invite myself over to her house to drink it, but since her cute, harmless pets frighten my kids, I had to bite the bullet and make it myself. There's some steeping (right?) on my counter right now and I can hardly stand it. 
I love waking up to the prospect of refreshing iced coffee in the summer. As you can see from the photo, I also make coffee ice cubes, because in the rare event that I don't chug it before the ice has a chance to melt, I do not…

Day 189: New Used Clothes and Gregorian Chant

It makes me giggle a little to have two gratitude items in one day that are not even remotely related to each other.

The first one is my latest ThredUp box. ThredUp is an online brand name consignment store. I've had varied experiences in the past with both buying and selling there, but my latest order nailed it! It's not like Stitch Fix where you have a stylist; you have to pick out your own stuff. I've had the best luck when I stick with brands I know (Gap, Limited, Banana Republic), because I trust the sizing a little more. This time I kept 8 out of 8 items! I "needed" a denim jacket but of course I had to order enough to get free shipping, because I'm offended by paying shipping (thanks, Amazon!). I got a maxi skirt, capris, two pairs of shorts, two tank tops, a tee shirt and a denim jacket for just under $80. A couple of thinks didn't fit perfectly, but were good enough for the price. Here's my referral link if you want to check it out: http://ww…

Day 188: Aaaaahhhhh

Isn't it the best feeling, waking up but not having to get up? Leisurely tossing and turning, the only goal complete comfort. Pushing back the realization that either the alarm or the child alarms will call me to action shortly, I just lie there. Would I rather be sleeping? Probably. But then I wouldn't feel the gratitude of not having to do anything, if even for a moment.


Day 187: Quiet Morning

I expressed exactly no gratitude yesterday at waking around 4 and not being able to go back to sleep. I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 and turned on the coffee pot. I grabbed a blanket and headed out to my parents' delightful covered lakeside deck to continue my ongoing relationship with The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on my kindle.

I made myself take a quiet minute taking in my surroundings before burying my head in my ebook. The water was not glassy smooth and the sky was mostly covered in weird looking clouds, so it wasn't the most picturesque sunrise I've experienced there. Still, Lake Upsilon tops my list of favorite places, and it's a great one to sit quietly while everyone else sleeps.

I looked and listened and, for the first time in the several days we were there, payed attention to the nature surrounding me. I've never been accused of being a nature-lover. I don't hate it, I just would much prefer to sit on a deck and read than to hike or canoe. I he…

Day 186: Old Friends

Weekends at lake go by so fast. I reflected on the last night, and many moments of gratitude flashed through my mind. Two of them weren't really moments, but experiences in continuation of old friendships.

I've mentioned Callie before, my faraway Wisconsin friend. Her brother was a close friend and classmate of mine. Her mom retired and they hosted a party Friday where I delighted to see the whole family. Theirs was a second home to me in high school and after, and being back for a few hours felt so great!
On Monday, I stopped over at the cabin of another dear friend I rarely see. Molli and I were inseparable in high school and stayed close through college. She's got a busy family and career in Minnesota now and we really only get to see each other if our trips to the lake coincide. We had a fantastic, but short, visit at her parents' house. 
It serves me well to be reminded that although we move and may no longer be part of each other's day-to-day life, old friend…

Day 185: When Less Than Perfect is Perfect

Our Sunday lake weather proved less than ideal, and it ended up working out perfectly. It seems like when the temps are hot and the skies are clear, we get busy with our own festivities: pulling kids on tubes, watching toddlers in the baby pool and the like. For some reason it seems easier to ramble over to the neighbors' when the weather is less than perfect.

Our entire lake neighborhood is almost like family, and our actual family is two cabins away. My cousins and aunt ended up stopping over unexpectedly while we kept ourselves dry on the covered lakeside deck. We ended up having snacks and drinks and enjoying the most wonderful funny conversation. We always talk about getting this group of ladies together and we don't ever get around to doing it. I'm so glad they braved the wind and sprinkles to join us for the afternoon.

Day 184: Ragtop Day!

I maintain that there's no better place to celebrate Independence Day than a small town + lake. Specifically my small town and my lake, but I'm guessing there are scores of people who would say the same about their hometown 4th of July celebrations.

Our little town's festivities took place Saturday. We had a lovely lunch in my brother's backyard and headed down to our favorite parade spot. Parade spots at the Ragtop are like church pews; everyone has "their" spot that they return to year after year. Ours happens to be in front of the bar. 

I just love the Ragtop Parade! Yippee!

Day 183: Friday

I totally blame falling behind in ye olde gratitude posts on the busy holiday weekend.

Friday. Friday...I barely remember Friday. I know I cleaned and packed up for the weekend and we had two showings scheduled. 
I mostly enjoyed my 250-mile drive alone. I finished up C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces in Audible. I'm still liking Audible even though it's expensive. C.S. Lewis is always good, and his books are worthy of my gratitude. 
Oh and we got an acceptable offer on the house. Boom!

Day 182: Friends and Pizza

Zoikes! I'm getting behind. The last few days have been crazy.

One of my gratitude moments for Thursday was meeting my work bestie for lunch. Work bestie? I don't have a job! But Tracy was my work bestie, back when I was working. It's coming up on 5 years since I started there and she trained me. We sat almost the whole time I worked there and I do miss her being part of my day-to-day life. She gave up an anniversary lunch with her husband for me! We enjoyed lots of pizza, and I too much Mountain Dew, and it was delightful!