Bits and Pieces

Life’s a little crazy lately (more on that below), so it seemed like a good time for a little list-making!  Here’s what’s been going on around these parts lately…

loving || Living Proof Restore shampoo. You guys, this stuff. This stuff!!! It is changing my life. Let me explain. I do not love the grooming portion of my day. Especially the hair-washing portion. Maybe in another phase of life it won’t seem like such a chore? But for now, it’s just a necessary evil. In an effort to speed along the process, I try to wash my hair less often. It’s long, so washing/drying/straightening can be quite a process. If I use regular shampoo–even good regular shampoo like Pureology–I really have to wash every other day. I can maybe eke out a third day with a healthy dose of dry shampoo, but I won’t feel good about it. However, with this shampoo, I can get FOUR days. The first two to three days are fine, and the last one or two I need a bit of dry shampoo. But for real…it’s crazy. I know it’s expensive, but for the amount of time and hassle I save, it’s worth it.

watching || The Office. I just finished my second run through The West Wing. I felt so demoralized after the November election that I wanted to numb my political heartbreak with the help of my good friends Josh, Donna, Sam, CJ, and Toby. I liked to imagine their sagas were real and this circus we’re currently experiencing was the fiction. Alas, my binge is over but the circus continues, so I decided to lose myself among Jim, Pam, Michael, Dwight, and the others. However, I never watch the “Scott’s Tots” episode because of the horrifying disappointment aspect, and I decided that this time, I’m not watching the stuff after Michael leaves. It just wasn’t the same.

reading || The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner, and highlighting practically the entire thing. It is so, so good. It’s about identity and relationship with God and the intersection between the two. It makes me want to investigate the contemplative practices of faith. I’m also reading the Emily trilogy by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I recently finished the first one (Emily of New Moon) and was absolutely enchanted. What a delightful and vibrant novel! I actually didn’t start the second one yet because I wanted to sit with the first one for a little while. As well, I don’t want the series to end too quickly!

wondering || about the Young Living weight loss/cleanse program. I’ve seen what appear to be some great results, but I’m reluctant to take essential oils internally except on the rare occasion. But I’m super tempted!

struggling || to wrap up our school year. I’ll have more on our first year of homeschooling another day, but the quick version is that we still have a few weeks’ worth of hours to do, but everyone is feeling really burned out. I’ve learned a lot this year that will help me to adjust our structure for next year, but for now I’m just trying to keep us focused on finishing (at least somewhat) well.

enjoying || the sun. It wasn’t a long, hard winter this year, but it sure has felt like it took a long time to get warm enough to open the windows. We spent much of the holiday weekend outside and I even got to enjoy a few outdoor runs.  And we had dinner on the patio tonight, too. Lovely!

missing || photography. I used to take so many pictures, and it just hasn’t been happening lately. I don’t know if this is true for every woman, but I’ve found my soul thrives when I have a creative outlet.  But when life gets crazy, those soul-care items shoot straight to the bottom of my list. I’m thinking I have it backwards.

and finally, the biggie…

preparing || for surgery. I’m <gulp> having a hysterectomy in 2 weeks. I’m terrified. I don’t want to do it. What I really want to do is roll the clock back about 5 years and have one more baby. But since time travel hasn’t been invented yet (although Gabe would really like to try) and since I’m nearly 40, and since my last pregnancy was so difficult, I just don’t feel comfortable going through one more pregnancy, let alone if I could even actually get pregnant given my history.

Since Jude was born, my cycles have gotten progressively more difficult. I’ll spare you the details, but I’m at the point where it’s entirely unbearable. Also, I spend 2-3 days a month (stretching into 4 now) unable to do much other than walk back and forth from the bathroom to my kids. All. Day. Long.  I can’t do much of anything with them and I certainly can’t make any fun plans to leave the house. Add those days up, and I’m spending approximately one month of every year house-b0und and practically nonfunctioning. My period takes up nearly 10% of my year.  It’s too much!

Long story short, nothing the doctors tried has appreciably improved things, so this is all that’s left (this, being a robotic laparoscopic removal of my entire uterus and fallopian tubes but retaining my ovaries). I considered options for a year, and I decided that reclaiming a month of each year would be worth it. I’m nervous about the surgery, nervous about complications, nervous about recovery. My eye has started spontaneously twitching, which only happens when I’m super stressed, and I’ve and inhaled three different dip/chip combinations in the last 36 hours (thank you, Tastefully Simple), which amounts to something like two bricks of cream cheese and a cup each of sour cream and mayonnaise? Perhaps that essential oil cleanse is a good idea…Despite my anxiety, I think this is the right decision. If it goes well, I expect I’ll feel incredibly relieved (and probably not constantly anemic anymore, which will be nice), and odds of it going poorly are super small, while odds of things getting worse if I do nothing are pretty high.

If you’ve had this procedure, I’m all ears for any tips or insight you might have to offer!

What I’m Thinking About Right Now

get ready…there is no rhyme nor reason to this…


|| grown-up coloring books. i don’t get this thing. there’s a whole cottage industry of this stuff. which means there are enough people with enough spare time to support this industry. WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THIS MUCH SPARE TIME? and will you please come help me do my laundry instead?

|| i went to target today in a t-shirt. it’s december. in wisconsin. i love this so hard.

|| do you leave reviews on amazon? sometimes i do, but usually i don’t. but i almost always read them thoroughly before purchasing. maybe i should be doing this.

|| macaroni & cheese at midnight.  yyuuummmmm!


|| today, one son barked at people and the other son counted to 9. i’ll let you guess which was which…

|| there are TEN DAYS until christmas. so i have to wrap an average of approximately 280 presents each day…

|| side note: maybe i should stop wrapping stocking stuffers…

|| i made almond roca this weekend. i used to try every year, but since each pan takes a stick of butter, a cup of sugar, a bunch of almonds, and–most notably–six chocolate bars, it’s not exactly a cheap recipe to screw up. which i did. multiple times every year. so i quit making it. until this year because tahd wanted it. and it totally turned out! and between the two of us, we ate the whole pan in 24 hours!  do you know how many calories are in that? i don’t think i want to figure it out…


|| jude has screamed so much the last few days that…well…i don’t know what. but i’m losing my mind. this afternoon, he screamed, “HOLDME!HOLDME!HOLDME!HOLDMEEEEEEEEE!!!!” basically the whole time we were in the car picking up gabe. it was delightful.  sorry, dude. seatbelt laws and such.

|| side note: my mom thinks this “hold me” plea is adorable. i think maybe she should do the school pickup for a while and i’ll work at her dental office and she can reassess later.


|| “it’s probably a bone bruise,” they said. “those take a long time to heal,” they said.  at the beginning of 2013, i fell down the stairs and basically rode several on my elbow. it hurt like h3!! and looked even worse. i didn’t go to the doctor, but i think i maybe should have. i just tried to rest my elbow on my knee and it totally still hurts. that’s not normal, right? we’re working on 3 years.


|| i’m in love with my living room christmas decorations this year. like, swooning. i’m still not in love with real trees, though. needles. ugh. someday i’ll even take real pictures!

|| i’m nearly done with my christmas shopping – just a few more things to order. and i’m maybe 1/3 wrapped? probably more like 2/3 if i don’t count those darn stocking stuffers.

|| speaking (again) of stocking stuffers, tahd and i decided to do used books for each other for stocking stuffers. did you know you can get books for a penny on amazon? bless them…i’d rather have a stocking full of books than a stocking full of candy and tiny-and-basically-useless-crap. which is basically what the kids will be getting. which probably won’t help with the screaming thing, will it?

|| i’m so dying to try bullet journaling. but i’m not sure how to get started. starting makes me a little panicky. has anyone done this? do you give tutorials? it looks so perfect and organized and pretty and, maybe most importantly, like the way my brain works.

|| that’s all. to bed with me.


life rearranged

This week was a lovely summer week, full of warm weather, air conditioning, beach time, and play dates!

We had a girls’ week last week – me, Isla, my mom and my sisters.  I came home with quite a haul!  My first ModCloth order arrived on the same day, too, so it felt like a very fun shopping day!4

She’s turning into such a happy girl!

This is one of her new outfits from said shopping extravaganza.  I love it!

Also. She really wants to it up. All the time. By herself.

Hanging out with Grandma at church. I think she was eyeing the rings thinking about how tasty they’d be!

Hello there, double chin!

On Father’s Day we celebrated with Tahd and my dad. We also celebrated spring/summer birthdays – my sister’s, my dad’s, and Tahd’s. It was a very festive day!

I made Tahd a super tasty dessert.  It. looked. AWFUL! Something wasn’t quite right with it and I still don’t know what happened.  It tasted great, however, so it wasn’t a total bust!

Afternoon rest time.

This little seahorse is MAGIC!  Isla cried for 1.5 hours straight on Tuesday afternoon. Or maybe it was Monday. I can’t remember. This was the only thing that settled her. Miraculous!

I think Tahd was chasing Gabe here? Can’t remember. They tear through the house on a regular basis.  Tahd is a very good dad!

Tahd found this box of diapers in the attic from when Gabe was a baby – Huggies size 1s.  I couldn’t stomach the thought of putting them back in the attic again, so we’ve been wearing them on her even though she has long since outgrown size 1s.  It is the box that NEVER ENDS!  They just keep going!  I think we’re down to 6 now, though, so they’ll certainly be gone this weekend!

We spent the afternoon at the beach. It was lovely! I nursed Isla to sleep in the sun shelter and then built castles with Gabe at the water’s edge.  For the whole 15 minutes while she slept.  She fussed a lot while we were there, but she’ll learn. She has to get used to the fact that the beach is the best place in the world!

We went to the park with friends.

They love each other!

Also, note the laundry behind them.


Just hanging around after a little quiet time. I’m trying to institute daily reading time. Gabe reads a ton so I’m not overly concerned about his overall amount, but it would be nice to have an established quiet time each day.  He’s pretty resistant, though, and Isla’s not particularly consistent with sleep, so it may not work out for me.

Gabe was creating a whiteboard version of a video game.

We were opponents.

I did not win.

This is a teeny bit of the chaos and clutter that lives in our home.  I really need to do a giant purging. I think I’ve narrowed down the problem to the fact that we have TOO MUCH STUFF!  There’s not enough space for everything!  I have plans…big plans!


Around Here

Here’s what we’ve been up to lately…

We ended the school year with Gabe’s class’s Author’s Tea.  I think I mentioned it before, but I’m only now getting around to my camera’s memory card so here they are…three weeks later!

They were working on “Fancy Nancy” words for their writing, and this tea was a way to celebrate what they’d learn as well as show off the portfolios they’d been working hard on at the end of the year.  They were all so proud to show off their work!

Gabe loved it – he read me every word he’d written!  He also showed off his fancy ninja moves.  Which look totally natural in a suit.  Or as Gabe calls it – his “President’s costume.”

Gabe’s been spending every day of summer break building creations out of his various building toys.

This one is supposed to be a Pokemon.  Don’t know where that came from – he’s never been into Pokemon before.  But he had to build some so we could have a battle.

We finalized our Summer Bucket List. This year we put fewer items on our list (last year’s had 40…too many for us!) and used oils pastels instead of markers.  Gabe had a lot of fun experimenting with a new art medium!  I do have to say, however, that I did all the drawing on the Bucket List poster.  He was busy using pastels to illustrate exploding volcanoes and battles.

At the end of last year I decided I wanted to keep up with our 2012 photos by using Project Life.  I’m woefully behind but stumbled into a little time to start getting caught up.

So far I have January and February photos in the book. All I have left is March, April and May as well as the journaling for ALL THOSE MONTHS.  No biggie, right?

I have found a new love through Project Life, though – washi tape!  It’s so much fun, and so simple to use!

I do like how it’s coming together, though. If I were more on top of things I’d try to be more artistic with it, but at this point I’m just going for “complete.”

It’s so much fun to go back through the photos from the last several months!

Somebody got her first foods!  I intended to wait like we did with Gabe.  I think he was 6.5 months when we finally started him on solids.  He was not a fan – still isn’t, really.  Isla’s different.  She has been very curious about our foods and has been attempting to get some of them close enough to her mouth to eat.  When I noticed it again the other day I decided I was being silly to wait just because we waited with Gabe.  I figured I might as well capitalize on her interest!  She loved it.  So much!  I gave her some banana and she gobbled it up!  Today I steamed some peaches and she tried those with the same response.  I’m not sure I’m going to know what to do with a baby who actually wants to eat!

She just loves Gabe!  She watches every little thing he does.


He’s pretty fond of her, too.

So that’s us lately.  And at this moment I hear Isla waking up, ready to be fed.  So that’s all for now, I guess!

An Evening Drive

After several hours in the middle of the night with a crying baby and a day in which she didn’t want to be put down I was ready to make a quick escape when Tahd got home – later than normal, I might add – from work.  When I spend my days willing another human being to sleep I find my world gets pretty small and I get very eager to rediscover the world!  I found this to be true when Gabe was younger, too, and it’s one of the part of parenting I most struggle with.

But that’s another post for another day…

For today, I hit the road when Tahd got home – camera in hand – off to search for a little evening inspiration.  I’ve been having lots of photographic fun with Instagram lately, but I missed my big camera and it was a little bit like taking a friend out for a drive.

We live in a more urban-t0-suburban area, but not far from here the road greets rural, and I decided it was the perfect place to live in the golden hour and watch the sunset.  I didn’t quite know what I was looking for, but eventually I found a few things that made me smile.

I found this first little building nestled between some trees.

I especially liked it because I could play with the sun flares as they filtered through the trees in the foreground.

Not longer after I rounded a corner on this field.  Truthfully, I didn’t quite get the picture I wanted.  The weeds spotted the crop in such a distinctive way, but I didn’t think the farmer would appreciate me traipsing through his field uninvited to get closer.

A group of cows were pastured in a small roadside field.

Cows aren’t usually my thing, but these cows looked happy.  They wanted to have their pictures taken.


When I finally found this crooked little shed I was already driving by it and had to pull a fast u-turn.

There was just something interesting about it. I wonder how much longer it will stand.

All in all it was a lovely evening – a few hours to myself, beautiful scenery, the smell of the country…

and the knowledge that Tahd would wrestle Isla to sleep and I wouldn’t have to! 😉


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