Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Weekend Recap

I feel like I’m partially to blame for all the snow and cold.  Not so long ago I thought, “this winter has been relatively mild – not too much snow, it hasn’t been that cold…”  Don’t tempt Mother Nature, people.  She’ll fight back hard.  Monday, all the guys had a snow day thanks to the 7ish inches of snow we received on top of the foot we already had.  Luckily Mondays are a work from home day for me.  School is closed Wednesday (tomorrow) and so is my office (but I have to work from home – boo) because temperatures are not expected to reach higher than -11 with a low of -21.  That’s the actual AIR temperature.  The guys also have no school on Thursday as the high temperature for that day is -3.  Holy moly.

Anyway, our weekend was somewhat busy.  Friday, we were told to work from home because it was so cold.  I won’t argue with that.  We had to take the kittens to the vet for a check-up that evening.  Franklin and Theo are 7 months old now, but I think they’re still kittens?  The vet tech loved them.  They are very social cats and she couldn’t get enough of their cuddles.  Afterwards, we picked up pizza and headed home.

Saturday, S woke up way too early AGAIN.  We grabbed lunch and attended a memorial service for my Great Uncle who passed away a couple months ago.  My kids are 6 and almost 4 and they’ve attended at least 5 memorial services, probably more.  It makes me sad.

Sunday, we went to church and then walked over to W’s school for a pancake breakfast and Open House.  We visited W’s classroom and oh my gosh, they do the cutest projects.  Puffy paint bears, igloos, penguins.  On one of the projects, the students listed their favorite thing to do at school.  The majority said playing, seeing friends, free time, etc.  W’s said doing math.  Yes!!  I really love his teacher and it always catches me off guard when she refers to me as Mrs. W.  Haha.  We are really struggling with where to send S for preschool next year.  It turns out that the 3 full day preschool program at W’s school we were considering is already completely full with kids who are already in the 3 year old class and had early registration.  We are leaning towards keeping S at his current preschool, which I love, but we’ll be left with the same challenge of finding someone to watch him during the afternoons.  Ugh.  It's never easy.  This will be the last year we need someone to watch him so hoping things work out.

Sunday afternoon, I went to a dear friend’s house for a hot cocoa party.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was the cutest.  We each made several different hot cocoa mixes: raspberry, peanut butter, chai, mocha, gingerbread, peppermint, and more and then taste tested them.  So so fun!!  I brought home three different mixes to keep me warm on these chilly days.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I'm Sorry!

It occurred to me yesterday that I hadn’t received any blog comments in a long time.  I don’t have a lot of readers and I don’t receive many comments, but it’s unusual for me to get none.  I clicked on the Comments Awaiting Moderation tab and lo and behold, there were quite a few waiting for my approval to publish.  Previously, I had always received an email indicating there was a comment waiting for me and for some unknown reason, those email notifications stopped.  I love blog comments (except for those annoying spam ones) and I promise I wasn’t purposely ignoring you.  And if you asked a question, I will surely respond!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Weekend Recap

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

We had a winter storm warning and snow was predicted to fall Friday night through Saturday morning.  We had no weekend plans aside from our usual errands and I had visions of sleeping in, awaking to a beautiful snowfall, and sitting across from the fire place enjoying a cup of coffee while the boys played quietly with their toys or read a book.  Let’s all just have a good laugh at that unrealistic vision.  Hey, a girl can dream.  S awoke at 5:45 Saturday morning for no good reason and remained a cranky terror for the remainder of the day.  There were two cups of coffee, but they were not consumed quietly while enjoying a fire.  Rather they were guzzled in between time outs and talking tos.  Instead of sitting under a blanket easing into the morning, A and I worked on cleaning the filters and jets on our bathtub (so so gross) and playing about 15 rounds of Memory with W.  The boys did venture out at one point, but it’s been really cold (single digit temps) and they only lasted about 30 minutes.

Sunday, we ventured out of the house for church, Starbucks, and grocery shopping.  At least S slept a bit longer and was in a better mood.  A made a prime rib for dinner – the first time he’s ever attempted to cook one and it was so yummy.

Monday, we all had the day off for MLK Jr. Day.  It was the first time I can recall having the day off.  Unlike Saturday, I did get to ease into the morning a bit.  S wanted to watch Paw Patrol so we cuddled on the couch while I had my coffee and W slept in.  A headed out to get a haircut, only to find out the barber shop was closed, but brought home coffee and juice.  That afternoon, we headed to a basketball game at my high school.  The boys had never been to a basketball game before and to my surprise, W really seemed to enjoy it.  S was bored, but he’s still 3 and I wasn’t expecting him to be very interested.

Most of the weekend was spent in comfy clothes with my hair up.  It was nice not to have to go anywhere.  We cooked a couple meals in the IP (love that thing!), cleaned and worked on things around the house, played games, and A and I even watched a movie.  I’m kind of hoping for another snow storm so we can have a repeat – but not until later February, please.  This girl has a few busy weekends coming up. :)

In other news, I met with a financial adviser today.  It was incredibly stressful and scary.  Talking about finances with anyone (even my husband) gives me major anxiety.  I consider myself a smart girl, but 401Ks and investments make me want to run far, far away.  And apparently save some money, but never say no to sale shoes is not the best retirement plan... who knew?!?  The finance guy did say I was still young, which made me want to hug him so there's that.  Though he probably wasn't impressed when he asked what age I wanted to retire and I just laughed and said, "Ummm... is retirement even an option?"  We'll see where this goes.  Apparently I'm complicated enough to need more than one meeting.  To be determined...

Finally, in other random news, I'm determined to walk on the treadmill again multiple times a week.  To keep myself going, I started listening to the Up and Vanished podcast - I find it fascinating!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Weekend Recap

Monday morning after a snowfall…
Me:  Let’s hurry; we still need to get dressed and get coats on!
*Proceeds to help S.  Pants on, shoes on, stand him up to button pants only to realize that pants won’t button.  Shoes off, pants off, new pants on, shoes back on.
Me: W, you need to get dressed, we’re supposed to leave in 5 minutes!!
W: Mom, I can’t get my vest on!
*Helps with vest and haphazardly tucks his shirt in.  Good enough.
W: Mom, I need snow pants and boots to play outside!
*Crap!!  We have approximately 1 inch of snow, but Heaven forbid anyone sets foot in it without snow pants, boots, hat, mittens, etc.  School rules…
Me: Ok, you get the snow pants and boots.  I’ll get your shoes.
*Proceed to help W get his shoes on.  Why did I ever think tie shoes were a good idea for someone who can’t tie shoes?!?
*Realize after getting shoes on that W is wearing the wrong socks.  Shoes back off.
Me: W, go get the right socks (they’re only allowed solid color, black, grey, navy and he’s wearing bacon socks - I would much prefer the bacon socks, but I don’t make the rules).
Me: S, get your coat on!
S: I can’t!
*Proceed to help W get shoes on again and S get his coat on (which I am CERTAIN he can do himself!).
*Everyone appears to have the right socks and shoes on and pants that fit.  Progress!  We’re making progress!
Me: Where are your gloves?
*Blanks stares.
*Mom finds the gloves.  Because mom are the finders of ALL THE THINGS.  Especially those things that are literally right in front of you, but you’ve gone blind to for some unknown reason.
*Ok, everyone has their coats, hats, and gloves!!
Me: Everyone into the car!  Don’t let the cats out!!
*Crap!  S needs his snow pants and boots, doesn’t he?  Again, that inch of snow is wreaking havoc and requiring us to bring ALL THE EXTRA GEAR.
Me: W!  Your snack!  What was your snack?!
*Grabs the gold fish crackers, snow pants, and boots.  Forgets the children.  (just kidding)
Happy Monday.

I’m a person who needs some down time, chill time, whatever you want to call it.  I need quiet time to think, to relax, to unwind.  I haven’t really gotten that lately and I also haven’t been getting enough sleep - it’s turning me into a stressed, cranky, crazy person.  On top of that, I'm meeting with a financial adviser next week to discuss my retirement plan.  I thought I was doing ok and then I read somewhere that you should have 3X your salary saved by age 40 and 2 million by retirement.  WHAT ?!? WHAT?!?  I am freaking the heck out.  I’m sorry, A!  This could be the end of my shopping habits forever... insert bawling emoji.

Back to the original point of this post, the weekend recap... After getting home at midnight on Wednesday and waking up every week day at 5am, I was really looking forward to a little extra sleep on Saturday.  And S woke up at 5:04am.  A very kindly ran out and got me coffee.  I really tried to be in a good mood, but man, I was tired and just feeling defeated.  After coffee and breakfast, we headed out around 11am.  Our plan was to have a quick lunch and then head to Chicago for Paw Patrol Live.  We were supposed to get a “dusting of snow”, but the weather report indicated zero inches and I wasn’t too worried.  Ha.  We went to lunch at a brand new restaurant and it was crowded.  I probably should’ve planned better, but just wasn’t expecting a crowd since we were early.  I should also mention that snow was coming down steadily.  So definitely NOT a dusting.  Lunch took longer than expected, our drive took longer than expected, but we eventually made it to the show – just a couple minutes late.  I have to say, lunch and the drive were a bit frustrating, but totally worth it every time I looked at S.  The boy loves his Paw Patrol and I couldn’t help smiling at A as we both took in our mesmerized boys.  After spending too much money on popcorn and souvenirs, the show was over and we headed back to the parking garage to begin the long drive home.

Our drive home took forever.  The roads were terrible and there were quite a few accidents.  We had to stop for a bathroom break.  Finally, 3 hours later, we were home.

Sunday, I had to head to the mall to get one ring repaired and another sized.  That was a bit of a disaster.  One jewelry store couldn’t tell me the cost of repair – just that they’d call me.  Ok?  And then when we tried to pay for sizing at a different jewelry store, their computer froze three times so that process took forever.  I did find some super cheap pants for the boys – Gap was closing in the mall and had everything at a deep discount.  Seems like all the malls are disappearing and it makes me sad and nostalgic.  When we arrived home, the boys played in the snow for an hour and a half and I made chicken and risotto in the instant pot.  I'm kind of obsessed with the IP!!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Thoughts

We survived the first week back to school, but holy moly, it was busy!

On Wednesday, I had a school board meeting.  It lasted 6 hours and I finally pulled into my driveway at 12:06am.  I get up at 5am so Thursday was definitely a rough day.  While this has proven to be a much bigger time commitment than I anticipated, it’s been a very rewarding experience and has sparked my interest in becoming more involved with education (particularly in low income communities) from an administrative perspective.  It seems unlikely that S will return to this preschool next year and I’m extremely sad about it.  The preschool only has half day classes and I definitely don’t want the same baby-sitter we have this year.  As a result, we will probably choose a preschool that offers a full day class.  I’m still hoping we can find a way to make the current preschool work for us, but preparing to make the switch.

On Thursday, W had his first chess club meeting (is meeting the correct word??).  My kindergartner is in the chess club and also does his homework on the bus (which is no longer than a 10 minute ride – ha).  Since I consider myself a nerd, I think his nerdlike tendencies are adorable. J

S is obsessed with Paw Patrol.  It’s the first time either of my boys has been super into a show.  They would watch various cartoons before, but nothing comes close to the Paw Patrol love.  As an early birthday treat for S, A and I are taking the boys to Paw Patrol Live tomorrow.  They have no idea and I hope they’ll enjoy it.

In other news, just when you think our President can’t get any worse, he shuts down the government and throws a tantrum over a wall.  So. Over. It.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Case of the Mondays

I think yesterday was the Mondayest Monday I’ve ever experienced.  It was the boys’ first day back to school after Winter Break.  I jumped out of bed at 5am and made sure I had backpacks ready, lunches packed, clothes selected, etc.  We were doing great.  And then I opened the mud room door and realized (smelled) that one of the cats had peed somewhere.  Gross.  Cat pee might be the worst smell ever.  I will also pause here to say if any of you are cat experts, I’m open to suggestions.  We have two litter boxes that get cleaned daily and I thought we were doing well, but every once in awhile the cats will pee outside their box.  It drives me INSANE.  So I cleaned that up, found an air freshener, and we were off.  Only we weren’t off because I didn’t have my key and had to run back inside.  After two drop offs, I was working at home and felt cold.  Checked the thermostat and realized it was only 65 degrees in the house, though the thermostat was set to 70.  I’ll spare the other boring details, but it was clear our furnace wasn’t working properly.  Great.  Picked up S from school and he asked for McD’s.  I said no, but then he told me he’d gone potty twice at school (something we’ve struggled with) so I said as a reward, we’d grab McD’s for lunch.  I arrived at the restaurant only to realize I’d left my wallet at home.  Fail.  I sent my coworker a message asking IS THE WEEK OVER YET?? - it was only 12:30pm on Monday.  But here’s the thing that was very clear to me…  Were all of these events annoying and frustrating?  Sure.  And in the past, a day like this would have really thrown me for a loop.  But not anymore.  At the end of the day, the mud room was clean, the furnace was fixed, and S had his McDs.  I can handle annoying and frustrating.  I can’t handle any more tragic events in the form of miscarriages, lost loved ones, and lost pets.  In a weird way, I was grateful for the annoying and frustrating.

Our weekend was mostly uneventful and mainly included errands.  It was nice to have some downtime before the boys returned to school.  W has been super into games lately and I think we played about 30 rounds of Uno with a couple rounds of Memory thrown in.  I was also reminded why we have our groceries delivered and avoid the store at all costs (looking at you, S!).  We watched our Bears lose… I’m still bummed!!  But we did enjoy drumsticks made in the air fryer and spinach and artichoke dip made in the instant pot – we’re really loving our new gadgets!!

One other exciting thing I need to mention – A received his Afflovest and has been doing extra vest sessions!!  Since it’s portable, he’s able to use it in the morning while making breakfast and preparing for the day ahead.  I already mentioned it, but I’m so so excited about this vest and the flexibility it allows!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Vacation 2018

Well, that was the fastest 2 weeks ever.  When I mentioned it to A, he responded that all breaks seem to go quickly.  They definitely do, but for some reason, this one flew by faster.  I even had to talk through each day with A because I couldn’t remember last weekend…

My holiday break started on 12/21.  Everyone had the day off except for W.  I think I mentioned that W’s class room mom had sent out a few emails indicating that if they didn’t find one more volunteer for the class party, it would be cancelled.  I hated the thought of W’s class being the only one without a holiday party so I said I’d help.  I wasn’t given clear instructions on what the heck I was supposed to be doing, but I eventually figured out that I should bring some type of holiday themed game and I needed to pick up the class craft from the office.  Stupidly, I created a game with cups that resembled snowmen and snowballs (drier balls).  The idea was to knock over the snowmen cups by throwing the “snowballs”.  The game itself was adorable, but I failed to realize that I’d be stacking cups 793,068,603 times over the course of the party.  All in all, I had fun meeting W’s classmates and observing W.  A couple of the kids told me that W was very quiet and didn’t talk much.  This I knew.  But I pointed out that being quiet can be a good thing because it means you’re a great listener.  The kids seemed to take this into consideration and I do hope W will talk more as he becomes more comfortable.  With that said, W has been asking to return to school every day this week so he doesn’t seem to be affected.  We finished the day by heading over to my mom’s house where we checked out all the cute projects W brought home from school, wrapped presents, and ordered a pizza.

Saturday, 12/22 - we headed to the local amusement park.  This is the first time the park has been open in the winter and we have season’s passes so thought we’d check it out.  We invited A’s brother and his 4 kids.  The boys had so much fun with all of their cousins!  They went on more rides than ever before.  It was chilly, but the lines were super short and there were a few inside places to warm up.  I had more fun than I did during any of our summer outings.

Sunday, 12/23 – church, Starbucks, Bears game.  Our best friends invited us over for cookie decorating.  We all had a great time, though I think S dumped an entire bottle of sugar sprinkles on his cookie.  The boys loved playing with all the kids that were over and W took his cookie decorating seriously.

Monday, Christmas Eve – we decided to keep it casual and invited my mom over for deli sandwiches and homemade mac and cheese.  My mom asked if she could give the boys their Christmas presents and A and I were fine with it.  I like to stretch out Christmas (and presents) as much as possible.  The boys opened their gifts and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing with new toys (or more like putting new toys together) and playing board games.  S secretly ate all the cookies that we decorated (the same cookies designated for Santa) so I wasn't sure if Santa would bring him any gifts.

Tuesday, Christmas – the boys were super excited to run downstairs to see if Santa had visited.  After church and Starbucks, we headed to A’s parents’ house.  Dinner was delicious and the boys received so many fun toys and games.  They were in gift heaven.  A and I received an instant pot, which I was really excited about.  We spent a long time playing Rummy Royal (which I know as Tripoli) and it reminded me so much of Christmases past.  When I was a teen, we spend many, many holidays with my extended holiday playing card games and various board games -  I so miss those days.  I loved every minute and it made me want to plan more family get togethers (maybe I need to make that my New Year's resolution).  Once again, the boys had so much fun playing with their cousins.

Wednesday, Day after Christmas – for the past 3 or 4 years, we’ve invited my mom and brother over and made a big breakfast.  The boys open their gifts from A and I and Santa on this day.  I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to prolong the gift opening, but this has become one of my favorite traditions.  It was definitely bittersweet this year without my brother, but I’m thankful we could still get together with my mom and Susana came over too.  It’s the one time a year I make an egg casserole and we stay in our pajamas all day.  I definitely enjoy giving gifts more than receiving, but my mom and A really spoiled me this year.  My mom gifted us an air fryer.  Along with that, she gave me a wireless makeup mirror (I enjoy putting on makeup everyday so this was perfect for me and I’m obsessed), a Barefoot Dreams cardigan (softest clothing ever), and two gorgeous rose gold stacking rings.  My mom has a tendency to splurge on gifts I love, but would never buy for myself.  A got me a couple new books to read, boot socks, the softest joggers (never want to wear anything else), a pretty planner to help me stay organized (needed this), and a couple Chicago Bears tops so I can cheer on my team in style.  I absolutely love everything!  Our weather was so mild, we even got to take a long walk while the boys rode the bicycle and car they received from Santa.

Thursday, 12/27 -  A took the boys to a bouncy house place so they could burn off some energy.  This was also the day I did a massive cleaning, boxed up several items to donate, and organized the boys' closets - because it's pointless to clean when they are home.  We played a bunch of games – Memory, Exploding Kittens (another gift from A), Trivial Pursuit.

Friday, 12/28 – I had bid on and won tickets to the Shedd Aquarium at an auction some time ago and we decided to finally use them before they expired in February.  The aquarium was crowded and the boys were just… not fun.  Complaining, whining, etc.  I thought maybe they were just hungry and after lunch they’d be fine.  NO.  They didn’t want to see the fish, they were tired of walking, more complaining, more whining.  I wish A and I would have gone alone.  I really wanted to see the dolphin show, but only tickets for the 5:30 show were available and there was no way the boys were going to make it.  In all honesty, it was really disappointing.  And I won’t go into detail about the ride home, which involved crying, arguing, talking back, etc.  A and I were just done.  I think it was just an off day and I’m still sad that it happened to coincide with a trip to the aquarium.  We won’t be returning any time soon.

Saturday, 12/29 – I got a haircut and we went to my mom’s house for pizza.  We introduced my mom to Exploding Kittens – haha!

Sunday, 12/30 – church, Starbucks, football.  Said goodbye to the Christmas tree. :(

Monday, NYE – A and I tried to go on a lunch date and it was a bit of a fail.  No restaurants were open for lunch.  I guess they were all preparing for dinner and/or NYE parties?  I don’t know?  We eventually found a restaurant, but had to wait 30 minutes and even then, we just ordered sandwiches.  Blah.  I like sandwiches, but was hoping for something a bit nicer since we were out sans children.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning out my closet and getting rid of a massive amount of clothes (I still had a bunch of maternity items sitting in my closet!).  This is also the day that we tried out the new instant pot.  We made creamy tortellini, spinach, and sausage soup and it was amazing!!  I’ve been pinning new recipes ever since!

Tuesday, New Year’s Day – we had a very low key day.  A and I made chicken wings and fries in the new air fryer and they were awesome!!  We’ll definitely make these again.  We played more board games, watched tv, and lounged around.

What else….
A finished a whopping 36 books this year and I finished 12.  I think it’s the most either of us has ever read in a year. 
As mentioned, I spent lots of time watching videos and pinning recipes for our new instant pot and air fryer and I’m really excited to use these throughout the year. 
I started posting Christmas cards on our cabinets and the boys loved looking at them every day and continually told me how much they loved them – they also served as a great reminder that we have so many friends and family members to be thankful for. 
A and I plan to add another furry friend to our house this year – we both miss having a dog so much.  While the cats have been fun, they are no substitute for a dog.  I’ve been checking out local rescue groups. 
We signed W up for chess club.  He expressed interest and I think any opportunities to expand his social skills (and his mind) are beneficial.  We will see how it goes. 
A got a new vest!!  A PORTABLE VEST and I’m more excited than anyone! J  I really REALLY pushed for this at A’s last clinic visit and we weren’t sure if insurance would cover it, but they covered most of it and I’m so excited – did I already say that?? 

Here’s hoping 2019 is amazing!!