5 for Friday

Hi there!  It’s finally here!  Last day of summer vacation!  I truly feel that summer has been satisfying.  Last summer was a lot about work with the moving process, but this summer the theme was FUN!  The Mr. told me the other day that he got zero projects done that he had planned for the house this summer.  I’m pretty sure I was a bad influence in this department.  🙂

We are thrilled to have the Mr. off with us today.  A dentist appointment is on the agenda for H today.  However, I’m sure we’re head on to more exciting things as the day progresses.  Here are five things on my mind this week…

{ONE}

New mattress – We are loving our new mattress!  I was a little concerned that the mattress was too firm, but I think we’ve both adjusted to it.  H loved having the old mattress in the den for about 3 days.  He used it to jump his heart out!

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Have you ever seen anything cuter?!?!?

{TWO}

Multitasking v. Monotasking – We all know about multitasking.  We say things like – Women are good at it.  Men aren’t.  I have to multitask all the time in my professional and personal life.  I’m a master at doing a million things at once.  I escaped to Barnes & Noble for a bit of tabloid magazine reading when H was at his summer camp time.  I did feel slightly bad about reading 3 of these priceless works of fiction, so I grabbed a couple yoga/healthy living magazines as well.  One magazine had lots of interesting articles like the one below…

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The article was basically saying that we are spreading ourselves so thin that we aren’t allowing for awareness of our current spot in life (even if that happens to be washing dishes or driving to work on the route you’ve taken for 25 years).  The article continued by saying that greater awareness can bring greater joy where we might least expect it (again think dirty dishes, boring old road).  I am admittedly a multitasker.  As a mom and teacher, I am probably doing several things at once like driving, talking on the phone and also having a broken conversation with my child.  Perhaps I’m grading a paper, watching the class work, and talking with a student.  It makes me a little dizzy thinking about it.  Since reading the article, I’ve been trying to reduce my level of multitasking.  Case in point:  turning the radio off while driving…just drive-no radio switching, checking phone (only at a light, people), talking on phone…gosh, maybe that phone is the real issue!  I did the dishes the other night like I actually liked doing them…isn’t that a weird concept?  I took my time – no rushing, no hurried hit-or-miss job with the kitchen clean-up.  It was actually kind of nice.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll monotask a little at work too and get really crazy.  Here are 12 myths that Health magazine shared associated with multitasking.  

{THREE}

Calling/Seeing/Generally Stalking the Mr. – I’m bummed to give up my stalker day job for this teaching thing.  H and I really enjoyed all the extra time with the Mr.  We’ve met him for a couple picnic lunches.  He’s come home for lunch a few times.  We’ve visited him randomly.  We call him throughout the day.  Basically, we are groupies.  Yesterday’s Example:  Cooked pancakes so he would be forced to go to work later and have breakfast with us, Met him at the bank for some business matters (and hung out there for 40ish minutes due to bank computer issues), AND Called him to catch up at lunch time.  🙂  Unfortunately, I’m way busy during the school day.  I’ll have to restructure my call time to 3:30 and give up midday meetings until next summer.

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Waiting for Daddy at the fountain…

{FOUR}

Meal Planning – Although I didn’t totally throw in the towel with this, I did take a more relaxed approach this summer.  It’s no big deal if I don’t have things planned out!  I can stop by the store leisurely and pick up milk, fruits/veggies/etc.  I can worry about prep in the afternoon when I’m already at home for H’s rest time.  Well friends, those days have ended.  It’s time to make a more concrete plan about what’s cooking (M-F).  I did a little research about Americans’ eaten habits and was once again saddened.  These two facts were particularly sad to me.

20% of all American meals are eaten in the car.

Americans spend 10% of their disposable income on fast food every year.

Although I don’t think 20% of anyone’s meals should be consumed in a car.  I do really feel for the kids.  How can we expect them to make healthy choices and enjoy eating them if they’re gobbling up fast food on the go?  As with many things with parenting, you have to be the role model, set the example, practice what you preach.  You can read all the frightening facts here.  P.S.  I did check the sources, and they seem to be reputable.

Here’s my first-week-back’s plan:

Monday – Asian Lettuce Cups with sides of rice and steamed carrots

Tuesday – Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing (H will probably skip the greens, but that’s okay! – P.S.  DO NOT put two cloves of garlic in here.  Only a teeny tiny smidge.  MEAT FREE NIGHT!  The Mr. LOVES that.  🙂

Wednesday – Burgers with Grilled Summer Veggies (one ear of corn, zucchini, etc.)

Thursday – Spinach Lasagna Rolls with salad (MEAT FREE AGAIN!)

Friday – Homemade Chicken Nuggets with baked fries and broccoli

Okay, now I’m hungry!  Check out this delicious dessert I found on my magazine perusal…

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{FIVE}

H’s Teacher/New Preschool – I’m so looking forward to meeting H’s new teacher.  We have her name and his room assignment {Wow!  He has a room number!  So official!}.  Next week, I’m planning to go on the Parent Meet Night (the Mr. will be at home with H – no kiddos allowed).  Then, the Mr. will take H the following day to meet her and see his classroom.  I am confident that it is going to be a great year!  However, you better believe I’ve already started praying for this woman and whoever her assistant is.  It is so important to have great people with your little one each and every day!  No one is like a mommy exactly, but a loving, motivating teacher is a treasure.  That is what I hope for H, and that is what I’ll try to be this school year!  After all, my Spider-Man needs lots of opportunities to grow and learn.  I’m quite sure he’s got big things to tackle in the future.

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Reading away!

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Ready for action!

Any final summer plans that you are looking forward to?

What foods do you start to crave when September gets here?

Mantra Monday

Mantra – Statement or slogan repeated frequently

Just a few thoughts…

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All images from Pinterest

We had a busy weekend with a birthday party, new mattress buying, and a beach day with Granny.  Unfortunately, my car decided to be sick and went into the shop today.  It’s going to be okay…several hundred dollars later.  😦  The good news is I could borrow the Mr.’s truck and still get in a playdate with H’s friend (aka mommy talk time), AND I do have the money to pay for the fix.  Yay (mostly)!

Here are a few randoms from the last few days.  Happy Monday!

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Beets and Brussels – reminding me of Christmas colors!

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On a salty snack kick – BIG TIME!

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Turkey meatballs with homemade sauce thanks to all the tomatoes we’ve been gifted  🙂

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Is it weird that I wish I could climb the equipment at the park?

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Flashback to Fall 2009!  What babes we were!  Roscoe P. has a little less white hair but remains just as handsome and sweet.

Do you have any favorite slogans?

What are you up to in these “dog days” of summer?

5 for Friday

This is it.  My last officially Friday with just me and H.  Next Friday, the Mr. will be off to enjoy the day with us.  You guessed it…the countdown to the end of summer vacation is going on in my head!  What a great one it has been!  Here are five things that pertain to this week!

{ONE}

Virginia Aquarium – H and I went off on an adventure to the Virginia Aquarium.  He was a reluctant participant (!) and said that he would rather “stay home all day.”  Umm…you are not the boss here, and Mommy wants to go!  IMG_2728

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H loved checking out this map and asked me to point where all his family members live.


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This scuba diver was kind enough to give H a wave.  He was cleaning tunnel tank.

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Love seeing the animals from a different perspective!


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H said his favorite part was the special dinosaur exhibit.  These dinosaurs were robotic and very life-like.  We visited this room twice.  🙂
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Inside the crab pot

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Pretending to be in the marsh

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The Marsh Pavilion is about a fifteen minute walk (for a preschooler) from the main aquarium building, but I thought it was well-worth it with all the kid-friend activities on the way and once we arrived.

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Gator Ally!  – We jumped around on the logs and pads trying to avoid being eaten!  🙂

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The outside activities (plus many more!) pictured above were a part of the Discovery Path.  Very kid-friendly!  We even dug for earthworms!

I was a little skeptical that we would really “get our money’s worth” out of our visit.  It’s a little pricey at $37 total for the two of us.  BUT…Basically, we could have stayed about a couple more hours.  H was completely beat after about three hours.  He was a busy boy too!  We didn’t take the stroller or the carrier, so he was hoofing it the whole time.  He did a great job holding my hand which made things easier.  I may or may not have given him a big lecturer about “bad people” and how he has to stay close to Mommy in public.  Parenting success or fail?  I’m going with a tough love answers of success.

{TWO}

Picnic Lunches – We’ve had tons of picnics this spring/summer, and I plan to keep it going as much/as long as I can.  We had a little one this week with Daddy.  We topped off our lunch with some coin tossing and chocolate.

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We went to the Royal Chocolate, a favorite dessert treat for us.

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See that blonde blur in the foreground?  Someone was a LITTLE excited about the chocolate!

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Love this quote on their sign! – Seven days without chocolate makes one weak…

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Town Center was looking mighty pretty on this sunny day!

{THREE}

No Dessert and then DESSERT! – Let me tell you why we were all so excited about dessert…we’ve had no dessert since the weekend!  I know, I know…first world problems!  I put into effect a dessert law which I can do since I do the grocery shopping.  Instead, we’ve been having fruit and graham crackers (Thanks Moochie and Poppy for the dessert idea!).  Today’s treat was extra special and extra sweet.  The Mr. got two chocolate covered Oreos, and H got a chocolate and sprinkle pretzel rod.  I pieced out a big (no mini for me!) dark chocolate peanut butter cup.  I ate the first half at the shop, but don’t think I didn’t polish off the other half once H was resting!

{FOUR}

Super Serious Yoga Class – I purchased a 10 class pass at a local yoga studio on Groupon for less than 50% of the regular price!  Although I feel a tad silly paying for a class when there are so many good resources online + the DVDs I already own, the class was great!  It really was nice to just chat with the other women in the class and be in a relaxing atmosphere.  The place was beautiful, and the studio rooms had padded floors!  No knee pain or uncomfortableness!  Let’s face it…sometimes our homes aren’t relaxing.  Especially when you’re trying to do down dog and your kid is trying to jump on your back!  I plan to go once a week until my classes are up.  Then, I’ll make a decision about how I’ll continue to practice yoga.

{FIVE}

Christmas Shopping – OH.MY.GOODNESS – I admit that I’ve been doing a little Christmas shopping this summer…mainly for H. We do Secret Santa for some family members, and this Christmas will be all about my sister and brother-in-law’s (to be) wedding for my side of the family.  We can’t forget about the kid though!  In an effort to budget our money better, I like to buy a few things as I go along.  I usually end up buying enough to set some aside for his birthday in March.  I know!  I’m a planner.  I’ve bought a book, a board game, and a toy so far.  I got Magna-Tiles after ready great reviews online.  I purchased from Zulily for a great discount.  Here’s an Amazon listing.  I also got Count Your Chickensa cooperative game – praying beforehand may be necessary for cooperative purposes. 🙂

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Image via Amazon

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Image via Amazon

Do you do any Christmas shopping this early?  If so, what do you buy/who do you buy for?

If you practice yoga, what style do you prefer?  I’m a relative newbie, but I do like Vinyasa.

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DIY: How to Stay Chill When Life Gets Tricky

Hi there!  This post is dedicated to my previous behaviors that were SO not chill.  I am admittedly a worry-wart, pessimist, negative Nelly, and generally “the sky is falling!” gal.  Over the course of the past month, I’ve been making some conscious efforts {more successful on some days than others} to up my “chill out” ability.  Now, this is practically fighting genetics!  Even though these things/actions that I’m going to list may seem simple or well-known, they are what have worked for me.  The trick is to actually DO IT.  🙂  Why do I want to chill out you may ask?  Well, the truth is that my natural tendencies can be very handy when there is an intense day at work or perhaps an issue happens at home, but I am pretty sure that it is not good to demonstrate these not-chill behaviors over a prolonged period of time aka life.

  • SLEEP – I’m trying to sleep more.  It’s a struggle.  I’m the type of person who gets excited about the next day or invested in a project when I should be in bed.  I’m aiming to be in bed by 9 each night.  This is really the best time for me as I plan on getting up about 5:15 each day once the school year starts.  I’ve also accomplished the ability to nap occasionally.  I think I may have taken 4 or so in the past month.  This is a record, people!  I’m usually too excited to get something done when H is sleeping/jumping on his bed in his room.
  • JOURNALING – I use my journal as a place to record Bible verses that really hit home with me.  I also use it as a place to record my worries, blessings, etc.  I think this is very helpful, but the key is to be brutally honest in your journal and just dump everything.
  • YOGA – I’ve made it a habit.  FINALLY!  I’ve been doing yoga almost every day but at least every other for about four weeks now.  I love all the breathing and flow of it.  I even purchased a membership to a local studio through Groupon to really help me make sure I’m practicing some of the moves correctly.  My strength training has taken a back seat to yoga. Who would have thought it?  It has been very helpful for my achy shoulder that is still in recovery mode.
  • MEDITATION – This one is tricky.  I’ve been doing a few of theses ranging in time from five minutes to fifteen minutes.  Some days go better than others.  I would say I’ve been doing this about three times a week.  YouTube is my source for different ones.
  • RELAX EXPECTATIONS – I’ve really tried not to set myself up for failure {i.e. a to-do list a mile long} or put myself in negative situations.  I think as women we have a tendency to have ridiculously high expectations of ourselves AND overextend ourselves.  The end result is tragic and ultimately destructive.  I’ve tried to make conscious choices about setting a relaxed pace for the day {thank you summer vacation for the possibility!} and remove myself when things/people are a bit too much.
  • SWIMMING – I’ve really enjoyed swimming this summer.  I’ve been swimming everywhere!  In the bay, in the ocean, the gym’s pool, friend’s pool, mother-in-love’s pool…anywhere there is a pool!  It’s so peaceful.  If you have a chance to swim and some goggles, my favorite thing to do is lay on my back under the water and look up.  Everything is quiet, and the world seems far away.  You can let an air bubble or two trickle out just to watch them float up to the surface.  So relaxing!
  • DRINK HOT BEVERAGES – I quit coffee, but I’ve replaced it with tea and/or hot water with lemon and honey.  I like to have it twice a day or shoot…maybe three times!
  • GET SOME SUNSHINE – I’ve been going outside without sunscreen!  Don’t tell my dermatologist, but I’ve been taking morning walks or afternoon walks without sunscreen to get some Vitamin D.  Great facts about how good it is for you!  P.S.  H only skips the sunscreen if it’s pretty early in the AM.
  • TALK LESS – Try to talk about your worries less {this is when you could use that journal!}.  Focusing too much time on worries/complaints is a major bad habit of mine.  Instead, spend an allotted time thinking/praying about them, and move on!  Give those negative thoughts less “air time” in your brain.

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Preschooler Art Time – Can be Your Chill Time too!

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Beach x2 and Summer Foods

Hi there!  Happy Monday!  It’s officially my next to last Monday of summer vacation.  I am admittedly a little sad about it, but I’m also looking forward to the fall.  These summer days have been full of so much fun.  Friday, H and I went to Grommet Island Park, a playground on the beach that is totally accessible to wheelchairs.  I loved how this playground incorporated lots of sensory play for children with special needs.

Here’s a little info about it from the City of Virginia Beach’s website:

JT’s Grommet Island Beach Park and Playground For EveryBODY is the first of its kind in America: a 100% accessible oceanfront park. This 15,000 square foot beach park features wheelchair accessible entrances and an incredible playground that includes poured-in-place surfacing, raised sand tables for sandcastle building at an accessible height, a sensory board for children who are autistic and visually impaired, and a sway boat. 

The playground also boasts sculptural features such as dolphins, a surfboard, and a wave that are all fully accessible for children to pretend to ride the waves and swim with the dolphins. Wood polymer decking extends from the playground to accessible seating areas with an umbrella and hand-operated sand scoop designed to be used by a person in a wheelchair, allowing everyBODY to play in the sand.

Isn’t that just awesome?


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H played for about an hour-ish on the fun equipment.  We also enjoyed some sliced apples on the nearby benches as we watched lots of boats/ships going in and out of Rudee Inlet.  There was also a lot of setting up for the East Coast Surfing Championship which meant heavy equipment zipping all around.  H was in heaven!

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We went swimming for about thirty minutes and practiced our wave-jumping skills.

Friday evening –  We headed to my parents’ house to visit for the weekend.  You can see H was getting a little sleepy on the way.

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He was well-rested by Saturday morning and ready for our beach/boat day.  We saw this eagle on our boat ride to the beach.

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Moochie and H are doing a little wading.

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So…apparently, my parents decided that a good way to cool me off as a little one was to dip me in the water on hot summer boating days.  Well, H heard about it and wanted to try it out!  I think he liked it.  🙂

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Almost everyone took a nap after this big day.  For dinner, we headed up to Riverside Grill.  I had a really good Caesar Salmon Salad that was a special entree.  No one was too full for ice cream, so we went to Chesapeake Bay Farms for some fresh, homemade ice cream.

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Apparently, ice cream is serious business.  😉

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What a full, fun day!

Sunday, we just lazed around until lunch time.  Steamed crabs and yummy sides were delicious!  I’m not a big seafood eater, but I could tell from the Mr.’s focused eating that he was loving it!  Meanwhile, H ate TWO hot dogs.


H loves the rocks in his aunt and uncle’s driveway {I loved the rocks in my grandparents’ driveway as a kids, so I guess this is inherited?}.  After using Aunt SB’s legs as bridges and roadways, he then recruited her for some driveway play.

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My sweet little boy finally laid down in the shade.

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Moochie still going strong!

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Needless to stay, we were totally stuffed!  The Mr. and H even skipped dinner as their bellies were still full.  We had a wonderful weekend!  Even though I’m getting excited for fall and the holidays that come with the season, I’m so going to miss these warm, sunny days lived at a more relaxed pace.

How was your weekend?

Anyone else the black sheep when it comes to certain foods?  I’m the seafood black sheep.  I only really enjoy fish (versus the clams, crabs, and oysters that the rest of my family adores).

Hope your week is fantastic!

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5 for Friday

It’s that time again!  Wow, the days are flying by for me {two weeks left of summer vacation!}.  I’ve really enjoyed being home with H, and I’ll miss him so much once we are back in the full swing of the school year.  I think he may even be looking forward to it as he asks me “when will I eat lunch with my friends?”  Really, dude?!?!?  You’re three!  Mommy is your best bud and top priority, right???  🙂  Here are five randoms on my mind this Friday morning…

{ONE}

H’s school bag – Last year, H’s church preschool that he went to two days a week required a book bag.  Well, the new preschool requires a tote bag.  I love consulting Etsy for random buys like this.  I got him this bag.

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I did really like these too.  Images from Etsy.

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He likes to sling his bag over his head.  Kind of reminds me of an explorer or something.  When I see him at the end of each summer camp day, he always tells me he had fun and a good day at his new preschool.  What answered prayers!

{TWO}

No Naps Here – Well, there may be a quickie, but that’s it.  I think we are saying our formal “good-byes” to H’s longish naps.  Most days, he is quiet in his room for maybe 30-45 minutes.  Then, he asks if it’s time to get up.  No, sir.  Ha!  To provide more of down time for me, I’ve been going into H’s room and putting a few books or something on his bed.  I tell him that he can play quietly in his bed until I come and get him.  This usually lasts for 30-45 minutes depending on lots of variables.

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Yesterday’s “nap!”

{THREE}

Reading! – Who can believe it!?!?!  I’ve actually read some fiction this summer….thanks to my mother.  🙂  I tend to gravitate towards nonfiction (i.e. self-help, parenting, etc.).  I still have some of those I’m working on.

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She highly recommended both of these books.  I think I liked The Shoemaker’s Wife better, but Tiffany Girl was a very easy, quick read about a time in our nation’s history.  I’ve been mainly reading after H has gone to bed or a bit during nap time.

{FOUR}

Popsicles – the obsession continues.  These are AMAZING.  When you’re eating one, you become slightly confused like maybe you’re on some tropical island, and a local just whipped this up for you in the seaside restaurant.  Sounds good, right?

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Seriously, try them if you can.  Dee-licious!

{FIVE}

Cookies – H and I baked cookies for the Mr. and as a treat for the weekend.  As you may remember, the Mr. took 6 flights on Thursday to various locales for work.  We were thinking about him all day, and I thought some cookies might let him know that.

The picture below is terrible.  However, the cookies are very good.  Love this lemon {which I change to lime} crinkle cookie recipe! 

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Yum.

Do you have any favorite “summery” cookie recipes?

Any good summer reads for these last few days?

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What’s Up Wednesday!

Hi there guys and gals!  I confess to kind-of wishing this week away yesterday, but a day can make a difference!  I think it was either the lack of sunshine or perhaps I was doing too much heavy thinking…combination of both???  Today has been a winner so far, and I’m looking forward to this evening as well.  🙂  Let’s back up a few days – Monday, H and I went on about a 1.5 hour trip up to visit our cousins.  We don’t see them too often, but there is always lots of catching up to do and food to eat!

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We lucked out and didn’t hit too much traffic on the way there or on the way back.  The Mr. did not join us this time.  😦  However, he did get a “carry package” of chicken and dumplings plus a blueberry dumping {not picture but delicious}.  I did indulge in two country ham biscuits.  Oh my.  I admittedly love some salt!

Enough about the food!!  The family time was great too.  It can be difficult to keep up with those family relationships as time and just the everyday busy-ness of life gets in the way.  Another obstacle is just the life changes that everyone goes through.  However, I really believe that if you can focus on the commonalities that bring you together (versus the negativity and differences) you can maintain and strengthen those bonds.  Everyone annoys someone at some time in life.  I’m sure I’ve already annoyed lots of people today…probably my child when I told him he absolutely could not take his sword in for his haircut.  🙂  We just annoy our family more as we are more comfortable with them and spend more time with them.  OK***stepping off the soapbox now!

Tuesday – The little H attended his half-day summer camp at his new preschool while I enjoyed some fitness time (lap swimming, walking the doggie-do, and a yoga video).  I also rearranged the den/living room for the 118,678 time.  Seriously, a big space always sounds good until you have decorate/style it.  I’m pretty sure the Mr. never knows what he is going to come home to find.  You’re welcome, honey!  Keeping married life interesting…

Pictures below are from when I was *trying* to get H to rest – dude is trying to drop his nap time.  He is a crabby man around dinner time, and I might just be a crabby mom then too.

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Today – Well, the Mr. unexpectedly had to do LOTS of flying for work today (lots=6 different flights starting at 5AM ending at 11PM).  Poor baby.  I tend to get sympathetic to early get-up times, so I was up and seeing him off around 3:30 this morning.  Oh.my.goodness.  My mind was so busy with his travel and others things that I really slept poorly.  I knew we needed to get out of the house and seize the day if there was any hope for this Wednesday.  We headed out to return library DVDs, get H a haircut, buy dog food/check out the pets at Petsmart, buy boring stuff like a pillow and dryer vent cleaner thing (I seriously think about a house fire from my dryer ALL THE TIME = recent obsession), and visit Barnes & Noble.  P.S.  If you’re ever be-bopping by B&N with a small child, check out their kids’ section.  There are story times weekly at all the locations near us.  The lady was great with the kids!  She read three books and then passed out coloring pages plus some free toys (a Fancy Nancy coin purse and paper binoculars).  All in all, it lasted about a half hour.  Highly recommended!IMG_2629 IMG_2632

We also played at a playground that we hadn’t been too in quite some time.  I showed H how to “run the bases” on the nearby baseball field.

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To round out our morning, I decided we needed a treat for lunch since Daddy won’t be home for dinner.  Whole Foods!  I know people talk smack about Whole Foods being crazy expensive and maybe snooty, but I love having lots of healthy choices!  H and I both ate from the salad bar/hot food bar area.  He ate every single thing that we picked out together (fruit, tortellini, sweet potato falafel, grilled chicken, roasted carrots, etc.  I love seeing him eat and enjoy healthy food, and most kids’ lunches are crap.  Just nasty crap.  Seriously, can’t we do better than carbs and dairy CONSTANTLY!!!!!  For the two of us for lunch, it was $15.  This was our food, a bag of sweet potato chips, and two drinks.  Not bad.  Panera would have been more.  Chik-fil-a would have been less.  Again, stepping off my soapbox…

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What’s your favorite lunch place – local or national chain?

Happy Hump Day!

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