5 for Friday

Happy Friday!  What a crazy night of summer thunderstorms we had last night!  The dog was up.  The kid was up.  We were up!  The electricity was off.  I’m happy to report that it wasn’t off for long, and the kiddo decided to wise up and sleep in this morning after last night’s craziness!  Here are five things on my mind this Friday…

{ONE}

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If you are near a Trader Joe’s at any time, I highly recommend picking up this inexpensive dessert.  Then, do not share with others.  Just kidding!  I totally didn’t share with the boys though.  Sorry!  These are delicious, but there aren’t a ton in the container.  I think it was $1.99 a box.  It says NOT to let it defrost, but I think letting them sit out a minute or two before eating is best.

{TWO}

The Mr. and I have been enjoying watching one episode per night of the series, “The Men Who Built America.”  It was a Father’s Day gift.  I confess that I’m learning a lot of information about this formative time in our nation’s history that I didn’t know.  The Mr. feels that as a history major I should know EVERYTHING.  Ha!  I took a lot of specialized history like American women’s history (P.S.  no one was investing any money in women’s ideas back then!), modern European history, and Asian history.  I also learned a lot about African politics 1950s-ish.  So…this leaves a lot left to know!  Link to buy from Amazon.  

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{THREE}

Yesterday, Holden and I went to Cloud 9 trampoline park in Chesapeake.  Well, we were having a good ole time with some minor boy drama – an impromptu one-sided game of dodgeball.  I even jumped into my teacher role and laid down some rules since a few parents seemed to be MIA.  Towards the end of our time, Holden lost his footing on the trampoline and landed funny on his legs.  This resulted in a big, loud scream that scared me to death!  Holden will typically cry for a few moments and then move on especially if there is something going on that he wants to take part in.  Well, this was not the case today.  He didn’t want to jump anymore.  He walked funny on it and cried after every few steps.  I’m the first to admit I HATE to make judgement/parent calls on illness or injury.  I’d much rather see a professional and let them tell me it’s all going to be OK.  I tried to get his mind off of it by changing the subject and even bribery!  Nothing worked, so off to the doctor we went yesterday afternoon.  When I woke him up from his nap to go to the doctor, I could tell he was already on the mend.  The doctor confirmed that she thought rest, meds, and some more ice would be the ticket.  However, she gave me a dr.’s order for an X-ray just to have if things don’t look promising today.  Whew!  We may never jump on a trampoline again!  The people working at the park try their best to blow their whistles when things aren’t safe.  I’m just surprised by how wild the 6 and under hour is.  I can’t imagine what 6 and up is like!

{FOUR}

Popsicles!  We made some homemade popsicles using a cheap $1 popsicle mold from Target.  Well, they were delicious!  However, they were very hard to get out, and we broke two of the handles plus on actual mold.  Bummer!  I’m not giving up on this project!  Here are some tips from Mix and Match Mama for better popsicle success.

1. Spray the inside of the molds with cooking spray.
2. Don’t fill the molds to the top with liquid (allow about an inch).
3. Wait 45 minutes after they’ve been in the freezer before inserting the wooden sticks.
4. I think freezing them at least 7 hours is ideal (if you remove them too soon, they get stuck).
5. run the bottom of the mold under very hot water for about 30 seconds and then the popsicles slide right out.
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Love sharing popsicles with my boy!
{FIVE}
Swimming!  We need to swim more!  it has been so warm here this week {except for our rainy day today!}.  Holden and I met friends at the beach on Monday and played in the itty bitty pool in the backyard with Daddy.  The pool was a freebie from another teacher at my school.  It was all the Mr.’s idea to make it a part of a water slide.
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Aren’t they cute?!?!?  Not too long after this picture, they ganged up on me and Roscoe!  We were wet!  I was not a fan, but I think Roscoe kind of liked it.  He even hopped in the pool too.
ONE BONUS NOTEWORTHY FACT – It’s our five year anniversary!  I’m so thankful to get to hold hands and walk through life as husband and wife with this man.  Best day ever!
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Well, that’s it!  I hope you are ready for a great weekend!  We are beyond excited to be visiting family and hopefully have some beach/boating time this weekend.
Natalie

Laying Down My Plans

I’m a planner.  I confess.  I can make planning into a hobby.  It is obsessive.  I will say that it does make me more efficient, but I think it lets me feel like I control life.  Let’s face facts.  I do not control things.  A recent example is today’s plans.  I planned for Holdie and I to go to the trampoline park, return/pick up some new library books, and then head home for a nice, quiet afternoon.  Well, our AC decided to kick the bucket {temporarily} yesterday.  This was also the same day that I decided to cook a casserole.  Our kitchen reached 5,000 degrees!  (I started these dinner plans before I realized that there was no cool air coming out of those vents.)  The maximum temperature on the house thermostat was 85 degrees.  I’m pretty sure it was in the 90’s in the kitchen.  Whoa!

We spent the night trying not to move too much and stay under one of the ceiling fans and our one box fan.  There was a loud and bright storm around 3AM that woke up Holden and the doggie Roscoe.  The heat was just so oppressive in the middle of the night!  It got me thinking about those poor colonial settlers.  Can you imagine parading around and working like a dog just to survive in that humidity and heat in the little shack you built?!?!?  Goodness!  I’m thankful that we don’t have to do all that.

After a hot morning at home waiting for the AC man, we were thrilled to meet Mr. Butch {Holden introduced himself and showed him his sword} around 10:30.  Here we are laying under the fan before he got here..
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These changes in our day’s plan got me thinking about how much I struggle with surrendering my plans.  I so, so, so struggle for control.  I get so hot and bothered when my plans get hijacked!  The biggest example of this is what happened last October.  In September, we found out that I was pregnant, and we were very happy.  You know me, I had planned that THIS would be the best time to have another child.  I actually got really impatient when I didn’t get pregnant last summer.  To get pregnant, I was using every possible scientific/calculated means.  I had my first doctor’s appointment scheduled for late October.  There was no joyful first appointment.  I was about 8 weeks pregnant when I had a miscarriage.  I have never known such emotional distress and frustration with my body.  However, I was blessed not to have any physical complications.  The calculated due date was this month, June 15.

I’ve thought for a long time about sharing this very personal information on here.  I think it is something that no one talks about, and it can be hard for others who have not had this experience to understand.  If you know me, you should know this – it has changed me irrevocably for the rest of my life.  I would say that I think about this lost child/lost pregnancy daily.  Any small thing can take me back to those terrible days in October, and I mourn the loss.  I confess that I have been trying to control things again.  I have been so wanting another child, another chance.  Each month, it has been a bitter disappointment.  I’m pretty sure the Mr. never wants to hear the word “ovulation” or “basal body temperature” again.  We have talked and talked and talked.  He has remained so supportive throughout the past 9 months.  I can’t say enough how thankful I am for him and how thankful I am for his love.

This crazy obsessive planning/calculating, I know, is not the way.  People say, “Oh, relax!  You’re stressing too much.  It’ll happen.  You’ll have other kid(s)”  I know those words said by friends and loved ones mean well.  The fact of the matter is it is not up to my will, your will, relaxation, stress, anything!  I know in my mind that God’s plan/His will for me is a perfect plan that I can not imagine.  It is so hard to just let go though.  I’ve heard some terrible saying that the only cure for the sadness of a miscarriage is another child.  What pressure is that!  Although I’m by no means perfectly happy  and content everyday, I do know that when I take all my frustrations, sadness, and longings and talk it over with God I feel better and lifted up.  Well, here goes my {more authentic} letting go of my plans!  We’ll see where He intends to take me and my family.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. -Proverbs 3:5-6

Natalie

A Wedding Weekend Away

Don’t you just love a wedding?  I get excited when we get invited to attend a wedding as I know that will mean a night out with the Mr.  Well, we were invited not only to the Mr.’s cousin’s wedding but also to the rehearsal dinner!  2 nights!  🙂

We decided to really make a fun time out of it, and the Mr. took off Friday.  After depositing Holden with my parents on Thursday evening, we were free to pack up and head out of town early Friday.  We started off our trip with a little bit of traffic.  Always traffic in this area!  We arrived at York River State Park by about 9:30.  This park was just beautiful with lots of activities to choose from.  We hiked from the trail center down to Fossil Beach.  Fossil Beach is essentially a beach along the York River where the coastline is very steep.  The land is eroding rapidly and abruptly.  You can easily see fossilized shells and the layers from various time periods.

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We also hiked on some more connecting trails back to the trail center.

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The view above is our picnic spot.  I just love a good picnic.

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We rented a canoe and paddled back on this twisty and turny Taskinas Creek.  Lots of wildlife was spotted all day.  Squirrels, deer, eagles, and a muskrat!  We had a great {sweaty!} time here.  Unfortunately, I concluded later in our trip that I picked up some nasty little chiggers from our exploring.  So, so itchy!  If you don’t know what a “chigger” is, read about them here.  

After our outdoor adventures, we headed over to Colonial Williamsburg.  The rehearsal dinner was at Le Yaca in Williamsburg, but we had about an hour to step back in to colonial times prior to getting ready to go.

Pictured below is the beautiful Williamsburg Inn.  We stayed at the Lodge, but I couldn’t resist a picture of this place.

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The Governor’s Palace –

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Anyone have a clue what kind of tree this is?  Looks like a big tree with green beans on it to me!

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This was the place we celebrated with a delicious dinner on our 1 year anniversary.  Little did we know that I was pregnant!  Great memories in Williamsburg!

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We browsed a souvenir stand, and I took a picture of this book.  I caught a few minutes of the AMC series “Turn” while at the gym recently.  It looked really good.  Next book?  Anyone seen the series?

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I know H would have loved the wooden item below, but the boy is ALWAYS making a gun out of something (case in point:  his roll at dinner last night!).  We are trying to be PC and prevent him being kicked out of school later in life for folding his paper into the share of a G-U-N.  The struggle is real, people.

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My handsome dinner date –

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Day 2 of our weekend away took us to Go Ape! at Freedom Park.  We took on some obstacles and zip lining.  This was our 5 year anniversary gift to each other.  The traditional gift is wood, so I guess hanging around up in the trees like monkeys for the day counts?!?!?  Here’s a video via YouTube of some other people doing the course.  At about 50 seconds in, you see a ring obstacle that required you to put your foot in and out and swing to move along.  It was so, so, so hard!  My shoulder (including the not-so-great one) were pinging!  I made it across though (so did the Mr.!)!  We had a FABULOUS time.  Both of our days provided lots of FUN exercise.  I absolutely love doing things like that!  It is always so fun, and the Mr. is the perfect partner.  Good thing I married him, huh?!?!  Now, I so want to go to another one!  There is a local park in Virginia Beach at the Aquarium, Adventure Park.  Here’s a preview video I found on YouTube of this park.  The picture below shows the check-in cabin and the kids’ course.  Those kids looked like they were having the times of their lives!  Holden will LOVE this in a few more years!  P.S.  That’s a dad in the picture.  He looked like he was having an OK time too.  😉

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We had a nice lunch at an off-the-beaten-path restaurant called The Carrot Tree.  Totally a great stop if your in the Williamsburg-Jamestown-Yorktown area.  Great reviews on TripAdvisor!  IMG_2057 IMG_2058

Soon, it was time for the main event, the wedding!  The setting was beautiful at the Inn at Warner Hall.  We lucked out and avoided some potential storms, and it was just a beautiful night!


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Two letters from Robert E. Lee framed above –

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I just love a second story balcony!

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So pretty!

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Sunday was spent saying our goodbyes and traveling to pick up our little ones, Roscoe P. and Holden.

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We wished the Mr. the happiest of Father’s Day.  He is my rock, my constant that grounds me.  No words can express how thankful and blessed I feel that I get him to do this parenting thing with.  If Holden ends up just like his daddy, I will be thrilled {okay, maybe 90% his dad!}. He works very hard at everything he does and every role including that of “dad.”  Happy Father’s Day, my darling!

A “Happy Father’s Day” to my dad as well!  He got to enjoy the role that many dads get promoted to, grandfather aka “Poppy.” I know Holden just had a blast with him as well as his “Moochie” this weekend.  Thanks again!

Whew!  After that weekend, this Monday had to be low-key with a quick beach trip for some kiddo play time with our new friends and a grocery store trip.  Hope your weekend was great and that you stayed cool!

Natalie

Belated Five for Friday

Well, today is definitely NOT a Friday.  However, I didn’t have time to post this before we headed out of town early Friday morning.  Here’s my belated 5’s.

{ONE}

Breakfasts with my boy!  We’ve been having such a good time with our leisurely breakfasts.  We’ve had cheesy eggs, pancakes, and even oatmeal with all the fixings this week.  We made these banana bread protein pancakes from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.  Click here to see her list of healthy pancake recipes.  I have no photographic evidence of these pancakes as I (and Holden) devoured them too quickly!

{TWO}

A new cute clutch – I needed a new clutch after I discovered that my white, old faithful from Charlotte Rousse (only maybe a decade ago!) had literally changed color due to have a black clutch on top of it!  As you may have guessed, my white clutch was not of the highest quality and who knows what “it” is/was actually made of.  I picked up this cute clutch from TJ Maxx for a decent prices especially considering it was a nicer brand.  Perhaps this one won’t turn colors in say a decade or two.

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Image via POSHMARK

{THREE}

Prayers for Charleston – As you may remember, I really like Charleston and traveled there with my mom and sister back in April. I was so saddened to see a shooting at a place of worship in downtown Charleston.  Those poor people were having a BIBLE STUDY when the shooter entered the church.  There really is no such thing as  a “safe place.”  Not our schools, churches, or even our homes.  Personally, I get angry.  I’m sure there is some sordid past that led this individual to make this decision and take this action.  Is it weird that I’ve actually had the thought of what happens if someone enters my church while we are all kneeling in prayer completely unaware long before this incident?  (P.S. I’m aware the answer is yes.  It was a rhetorical question.)  What should we do?  Obviously, pray.  Obviously, seek justice for those who were killed.  But what then?  What about our policy on guns in the United States?  I’m not sure.

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{FOUR}

On a lighter note…we tackled letter Rr yesterday and review letter Mm!  Little summer homeschooling if you will – in 30 minutes or less!

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http://www.starfall.com {totally free!}

{FIVE}

Absorbine Jr. – I have a little bit of an achy shoulder.  Fortunately, we have some Absorbine Jr.  Have you ever used this stuff?  I even love the stinky smell of it!  🙂

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Image via Amazon

You can’t keep a teacher from teaching!

Can you believe it is already Wednesday?!?!  Time is flying by for us.  I guess that means we are having fun!  Two randoms before I share what adventure we had today…

{ONE}

I’m loving this new dessert of plain yogurt, two spoonfuls of our homemade strawberry jelly, and a spoonful of chocolate morsels {special dark to be exact}.  Mix and enjoy!  I’ve had that the past couple days for something sweet with a handful of the Cinnamon School House Cookies from Trader Joe’s.  So satisfying!

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{TWO}

I finished my book, Spring Chicken.  Click here to see book on Amazon and read reviews.  This book focused on the aging process and the science behind *trying* to beat the aging process.  Very detailed!  I enjoyed reading in-depth discussions of the history of aging products, tried-and-true healthy living, and then some surprising suggestions.

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Okay, here was our day today!

I started off with a jog/run with Roscoe the Dog and followed that with a breakfast with my main squeeze, the little Mr. Leatherbury.  Then, we “played school.”  I introduced the letter Mm.  We looked at some pictures of things beginning with the /m/ sound.  Next, we listed to the letter on Starfall.  Great site for primary grades!  Especially PK-1!  We went back to the table to pick out some “M’s” from a group of other random letters.  We read a page in our Chesapeake Bay ABC book for the letter and counted how many muskrats were on the page.  In case you don’t have a clue what this m word is, click here to read about muskrats and see a picture.  We also worked together to make a monkey mask.  I love some alliteration, thank you very much.  This took a grand total of 30ish minutes.  Probably less.  I think he actually liked it.  The key to working with younger kids is to have lots of activities and move on quickly.  This helps them to stay focused.  Getting up and down is important too.

After “school,” we packed up and headed on, I guess, a field trip!  We went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden today and had a blast!  I was actually worried that it would be a little slow for Holden.  We ended up staying almost three hours!  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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Holden loved smelling the flowers and looking for bees.

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He “rode” around a little bit, but I have to say that he was a trooper and walked a lot too.

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Holden said that the “tree tunnel” below was his favorite part!  We pretended to be on the look-out for bears and dragons.

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Below is a snake we saw in the Renaissance Gardens.  Um…yuck.

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These frames were all over the place encouraging you to take pictures and upload to social media with a #norfolkblooms hashtag.  I think it was in conjunction with one of the local art museums.

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This was Holden’s favorite spot due to the “blue flowers!”

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IMG_1955We had a little snack in a peaceful spot by the eagle statue pictured above.  I know I will remember today for quite some time.  It was so nice to just sit quietly {with his randomly interjected questions} and enjoy each other’s company.

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The bush {?} above reminds me of my grandmother.  She used these leaves to decorate with inexpensively as she found them in her yard!

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We swung here forever in the shade.  It was H’s idea to take his shoes off.  No shoes, no problems…I guess.  🙂

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I had no idea they had a splash pad at the children’s center…but lo and behold, tons of kids in bathing suits!  Holden played just enough to get his pants only slightly splashed and some wet feet.

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Last stop was a huge sand pile.  He had a blast climbing up, digging, and sliding down.  The only issue was a group of brothers playing…ranging in age from maybe 2.5ish to first grade/second grade.  These boys really didn’t want anyone else playing on the sand pile.  Their mom was quite a good ways away and didn’t seem to really be noticing the boys behavior {aka staring at her phone.}  Now, I know that I will text, check email, talk on my phone, and perhaps even check social media on occasion when Holden’s around.  HOWEVER, I am not a fan of doing it for huge chunks of time when I’m with my child.  Since their mom wasn’t really monitoring their behavior or how they might be treating other kids, I felt like I really needed to watch the situation carefully.  Sure enough, they didn’t want to let other kids down the slide, because it would mess up their game.  Eventually, the kids who wanted to go down gave up and went to another spot.  Holden really wanted to join in and play their game which entailed putting sand on the slide.  Very, very technical.  😉  He did join, but they kept telling him that he was messing them up.  He really didn’t seem to be doing so.  I felt my temper flare and the teacher in me takeover.  I told the boys that it didn’t seem to be “messed up” and perhaps they all needed to play together {in my “I’m an adult, and  you better listen to me” tone}.  Well, to say they looked disgruntled is a slight understatement.  I just moved closer and stared at them.  Slightly stalkerish…but I could just see fistfuls of sand go flying.  When it was time for us to leave, I asked Holden if he wanted to go down the slide one more time.  He said no in front of the other boys, but he told me yes when he came over closer.  I told him to run back over and slide.  If any of the boys said anything, I advised him to just say “Excuse me, I’m sliding now!”  He was able to slide down, and we headed home.  Parenting is such a 24/7 job, and I find the hardest part is teaching/modeling how to interact with others especially peers.  Gah!

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All this play made for one sleeping boy on the way home!

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I hope your day has been fabulous so far!

Natalie

It’s in the 90s, feels like 100s…let’s go running!

Hi there!  If you’re like me, today has been a sweaty/hot one!  Holden goes to daycare on Tuesdays this summer, so I took advantage of my kid-less time and went to First Landing, our local state park, which boasts both trails and beach access.  Love that place!  I decided to do a five mile run.  At 8 o’clock, it was about 85ish degrees.  The humidity was insane!  I told the Mr. it was like running while breathing in oven air.  Like an oven that is preheating…maybe not 350 degrees yet but definitely preheating!  😉

This picture does NO justice to the amount of sweat I was producing.  Have you ever seen the pores on your legs sweat?  Not pretty.

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I did my post-run stretching by this beauty of a tree.

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I could have gone to the gym.  No shame in the gym treadmill game.  However, there is just nothing that will be a perfect substitution for a hard {physically as well as mentally} run that forces every thought from your mind beside this one – “I may have lost my mind trying to run this today, and I may die/pass out/embarrass myself by vomiting very soon.”  My mind has been far, far too busy, so I was totally okay with torturing myself on this hottest day yet this year.  Just like I thought-all thoughts were banished.  My iPod on shuffle did its job and presented just the songs {with the messages} I needed to hear.  I’m sure everyone has that one thing they do to find some solace and wisdom in this life.  For me, I have to physically exhaust myself to allow my brain to switch off and be open.  What thing(s) do you do to help yourself de-stress, find peace, or perhaps just scare other people with your craziness?  🙂

After that “fun,” I relaxed and journaled a whole heck of a lot.  Then, I consumed a massive amount of sautéed kale and salmon aka leftovers while watching “The Doctors.”  Note:  This NEVER happens when Holden is around.  I compulsively eat in front of the TV or computer when he’s not around.  What can I say?  He makes me live a better/ more adult-like life.

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Cleaning was next on the list.  I’m currently procrastinating the last two rooms.  Roscoe the dog was useless, and I plan to fire him as my assistant.  It’s too hot to send him packing today.  Plus, he’s so cute and such a good cuddler.  I guess I’ll keep the lazy thing.

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Off to pick up the mini Mr.!  Stay cool {in numerous ways, duh!}.

School’s Out for the Summer!

Hi there!  It’s Day 1 of summer vacation, and it has been a little unexpected!  Let’s start from our last official day of work/school.   We had a nice countdown chain made out of construction paper hanging up in our dining room.  Holden loved ripping off one link every day and counting how many days were left until summer vacation.  Friday was a teacher work day, and he was thrilled to do the last link!

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Before I picked him up from daycare, I filled the backseat with balloons.  🙂

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Wow, he looks so, so, so much like his dad in this one!

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He was so over me at this point.  HA!

IMG_1888 IMG_1889 IMG_1890Then, we headed off {with all our balloons} to Skinny Dip for some yummy frozen yogurt and all the fixin’s.

Gotta love ice cream on a hot day!  Speaking of hot, we are experiencing some really high temps!  Saturday was a beach day with Holden’s granny.  He told me that he couldn’t wait to see “his dad’s mom.”  He’s one funny dude!

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There was a great sandbar at the beach that created a nice kiddie “pool.”  We had a great time, but boy, it was steamy on the beach when you came out of the water.  After our beach day, we all relaxed until the Mr. and I went off for a nice date night.

We ate at Whiskey Kitchen prior to heading to Farm Bureau Live Amphitheater to see Matt Nathanson, The Fray, and Train perform.

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I love some sweet potato fries and a crab cake!

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Spending time without a little one is so priceless!  We had a great time…mostly chatting each other up!  You’d think we would have said about all there is to say after 14.5 years together total and {coming up on} 5 years of marriage.

Sunday was filled with pancakes, church, and swimming.

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I actually took a nap on our front porch.  So not me!  We were all sleepy after our big weekend.  Today, Holden woke up with what looks to be poison ivy under his eye.  Yikes!  We spent our first official day of vacay at the groomers for Mr. Roscoe’s pedicure aka dog torture aka a nail trim, for heaven’s sake!  Then, we went to the park until we almost melted in the sun.  By that time, we had to head off to our doctor’s appointment to get said poison ivy checked out.  Thankfully, it doesn’t seem that Holden is quite as allergic as his dad.  The dr. advised some topical treatment and to keep an eye on it for the next week.

Whew!  What a busy few days!  I also attended a neighbor’s 31 party and caught up with an old friend over dinner.  I loved all these fun things, but I’m looking forward to a couple quiet days this week.  How was your weekend?

Natalie