Mexico 2004

Life lately

The past few weeks have been a bit of a fuzzy blur around here. I thought I’d use today’s post to catch you up on all of our happenings.

The Lion King:

A couple of weeks ago, Anna participated in a production of The Lion King. They began rehearsals in September, so it was a big commitment for the whole family, shuttling her to and from rehearsals for 4 months.

She had a small role, but she was happy not to have to a speaking role and she was really happy to get to be a BLUE bird (blue is her favorite color). I also got to hone my stage-makeup skills, which was pretty fun, once I got the hang of working with stage makeup.

After it was all said and done, she had a ball. She really enjoyed the performances, even though she was exhausted after doing 3 performances in 2 days time (we all were).

Then, after a weekend of Lion King madness, we were really looking forward to a quiet weekend with no obligations this past weekend. We got exactly that.

Return to the Library:

On Saturday, we made a family trip to the public library to renew my library card, get everyone else their own card and get our Kindles connected to the library’s online lending software.

About every 2 years or so, I re-discovered the library. I get super excited at the prospect of reading all of the books I could possibly ever want to read–not to mention movies, magazines and even a calendar of events to attend! Then, after a few months of active library use, I get disenchanted with something (likely a random late fee or stressing about a lost book) and then I go off of the library again. But, with our newfound “Budget Bootcamp” mode and with one child who’s a voracious reader–who’s single-handedly busting our Amazon Prime budget up with her constant need for a new book to read because she’s read everything over the course of a weekend–we found ourselves back at the library.

Luckily, we all walked out with books that we were excited about. I checked out several, but immediately got sucked into A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand.

I thought I’d read all of Hilderbrand’s books, so I was excited to find one that I hadn’t read. As with all of her books, I picked it up and have been looking forward to my bedtime reading every night since. (The links above are affiliate links)

Another exciting library happening: (if you follow me on Instagram you saw this already)

This roadrunner was outside of the library, pecking at himself in the windows. Being the certified “bird nerd” that I am, I got way more excited than I probably should’ve and giggled and squealed and snapped pics. Ugh. Bless my heart.

Then Sunday.

We went to church (more on this in an upcoming post) then came home to begin preparing Superbowl snacks. We made a rule for Superbowl this year that we’d eat what we already had in the freezer, fridge and pantry. We had cream cheese, sausage and crescent rolls, lunch meat and cheese so I made the following goodies:

Cubano sandwiches: image courtesy of Pillsbury

Recipe HERE

These were yummy and used up 2 cans of crescent rolls and a lot of the turkey and ham that I’d purchased for Anna’s post-Lion King party that we hosted. Everyone in the house enjoyed these (which is a rarity).

We also made this:

Image courtesy of: www.plainchicken.com

Recipe HERE

I went to lunch with friends last week and had deviled eggs with bacon jam on top. Oh. My. Word. So, I had a hankerin’ for more of those and figured that we could replicate them at home. So, we attempted this recipe for Bacon Jam.

Image courtesy of www.allrecipes.com

It’s with a broken heart that I have to report to you that this was a colossal fail. I’m not going to blame the cook (who was Kevin) but something went terribly, terribly wrong and we ended up with a charred blob of black goop. There were some tears shed, but my deviled eggs went on, albeit without bacon jam.

After spending lunchtime in the kitchen cooking our snacks, we settled in to watch the Kitten Bowl and then the big game.

Captain Thunderpants settling in to watch The Kitten Bowl

 

So, that’s what my life has looked like lately. What’s going on in your world?

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Mexico 2004

5 things I get done before 7 a.m.

My weekday mornings begin early…I mean real early, girl.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. This is partly because I have to get my kids to the bus stop early and I need a few moments to collect myself before they wake up for the day.

Here’s what my average Monday through Friday mornings look like during the school year. All of these things happen before 7 a.m.:

1: Upon getting out of bed, I’m immediately met by 5 (6, if you count the fish too, who’s not pictured) hungry–obviously malnourished–pets, on the brink of starvation. They get fed first because they’re loud until they’re fed. Who owns who?

2: Before I do anything else, I take my multivitamin. I LOVE this multivitamin because it’s a liquid and it tastes divine (peach mango flavor). As soon as this stuff hits my system, I feel like I can take on the world. For real. I buy it from my local holistic health care practitioner, but Amazon sells it too. Link HERE

3: Next up, coffee. In between the vitamin and coffee, I guzzle a glass of apple cider vinegar/lemon water. By then, my coffee is cool enough to drink. I got Kevin this coffeemaker for Christmas and we love it. Turns out that, when you have a 12 year old coffeemaker, you’re drinking some shitty-ass coffee and you might not even realize it. This new coffeemaker has upped our coffee game considerably. Link to coffeemaker HERE

This photo was taken one morning last week when it was particularly cold here. Tino was questioning my bus stop wardrobe judgement.

 

A few things happen between coffee and taking the kids to the bus stop. Actually, a lot more than a few: I empty the dishwasher, do my blog reading, make breakfast for the kids and assemble lunches for the kids (they make their lunches the night before, but I pack everything into their lunch boxes for them in the morning). None of these things are particularly photo-worthy though…

4: After all of that, it’s time to go to the school bus stop at the end of our street. The bus comes at 6:30 a.m.–which is stupid early, but when my kids ride the bus, it saves me from making the 20 mile (roundtrip) drive to their school, which takes about an hour out of my day. The kids like riding the bus–it’s social hour for them–so that makes it easier.

5: As soon as I get home from the bus stop, I make all of the beds in the house (provided that my husband is up already–sometimes he’s not and so I passive-aggressively slam bathroom cabinets and turn on lights around him to show my jealousy and remorse that he gets to sleep later than me). #supermaturewife #alsowelladjusted

To be fair, I enjoy getting up early. I need quiet time to myself in the mornings to prepare for my day ahead. I don’t think that I could function as well if I had to start all of my “mothering duties” the minute that my feet hit the floor. So, this is what works for me and my family. 

What about you? What things do you get accomplished in the morning? 

This post contains affiliate links, which help to support the maintenance and upkeep of this blog. 

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Mexico 2004

So very thankful tag

Megan and Wendy participated in the “So very thankful” tag and I enjoyed watching their video on YouTube, so I’m going to participate too. 

so-very-thankful
Image courtesy of http://www.meganandwendy.com/

 

1. Name a color you are thankful for. Turquoise. Always turquoise–especially this time of the year because I love seeing turquoise accents, amid the red for Christmas.
2. Something your spouse does that you are thankful for. Kevin plans and cooks dinner every Thursday. It’s so nice to have one night of the week where I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner. 
3. Something your kids do that you are thankful for. Anna’s superpower is exceptional manners, so, while I still remind her to use her best manners everyday, I really don’t HAVE to. Jack is such a hard worker. When he sets his sights on a goal, he’s driven like none other. 
4. A food you are thankful for. I love my recipe for cornbread dressing that is a hybrid of both of my grandmother’s famous recipes. It tastes like my childhood and home. 
5. What recent good news are you thankful for? This one is tricky right now, but I’m going cop-out and say that I’m thankful for the news that it’s finally going to get cold here this week? Sorrynotsorry. 
6. Name a drink you are thankful for. Coffee. Err day. 
7. Name a restaurant you are thankful for. Panera Bread. My kids have finally discovered Panera Bread so now, they’ll willingly choose it over other fast food and I can finally eat something healthy when we go out to eat.
8. Talk about an animal you are thankful for. How much time do you have? I’m very thankful for the opportunity to foster a mama cat (Jacobien–“Bean” for short) and her 4 babies (Booger, Tux, Bandit and Pinto) for our local no-kill animal shelter. It’s so rewarding to know that we’re able to give these sweet kitties a new beginning and a safe, warm home to live in for a few weeks.
9. Name a beauty product you are thankful for. I’m enjoying all of my Rodan+Fields products right now. I drank the R+F koolaid hard, y’all. 
10. Name a cleaning product you are thankful for. My homemade granite cleaner (recipe HERE)
11. What social media platform are you thankful for? Instagram. I love Instagram and I’ve purposely kept my personal account locked down, so only my nearest and dearest get to see what I post–unlike Facebook that is too big and wide right now. 
12. Tell us why you are thankful for the last person who texted you. My dearest friend, Erika. She gets me like no one else (and somehow loves me in spite of it).
13. Name a candy you are thankful for. Sour Patch Kids. I’ll rub the roof of my mouth raw from eating too many then keep going back for more. I can’t quit you, SPK. 
14. Name an app on your phone that you are thankful for. What’s App. That’s how I stay in touch with my close friends from all over the globe. We have almost-daily text chains that range from the philosophical to the ridiculous (and sometimes ridiculously philosophical). Thanks to What’s App, we can stay in touch in almost the same way we did when we all lived in the same city. 
15. What are you looking forward to that you are thankful for? Hosting my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s rehearsal dinner in mid-December. When we bought this house, we knew that it would be great for assuming some of the entertaining burden from my mother-in-law and I really enjoy throwing a good party and planning every little perfect detail–especially for those that I love. Party hosting is my love language. 

 

This was fun! If you’d like to participate, please link below to your post so that we can see your answers too! 

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

Quirks

Quirks!
Quirks!

…we’ve all got ’em and today, I’m letting you in on my inner-workings. I’ve got me some quirks and here are just a few: 

1: I positively cringe when I hear people use the term, “You guys” in possessive form such as “You guy’s” (or, even worse, “Your guy’s”).  God love him, but Chip Gaines of HGTV-fame and “Fixer Upper” does this every. blessed. episode. Example: “We’ve decided to add on to you guy’s patio and install a hot tub for your guy’s enjoyment!” Just say YOU and YOUR. This legitimately makes me twitchy. No, it actually really makes me crazy

Chip Gaines, master offender of "You Guys"
Chip Gaines, master offender of “You Guys

 

2: I have to shower before bed. I can not sleep at night if I’m not clean. It’s not uncommon for me to shower in the morning and at night. It has very little to do with cleanliness as much as it has to do with warming myself up. My feet are always cold–especially at bedtime and I can’t sleep with cold feet.

3: Speaking of always being cold…last year, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Yes HYPER…the less-common thyroid condition (because I love to take the <medical> road less-traveled, I suppose). Hyperthyroidism is the one that makes you LOSE weight. And no, I didn’t lose a ton of weight. Instead, I was eating cream cheese EVERYTHING during the holidays and didn’t gain any weight. That should’ve been a clue. I’ve also always been “cold natured” which is a symptom of a thyroid disorder. But, what sent me to the hospital (and, eventually, landed me a diagnosis) was heart palpitations. I don’t wish that on anyone. It’s very scary to feel like you’re having a heart attack. My thyroid condition is now under control but my heart still races at least once during the day, most every day. 

4: I’ve always wanted to foster animals. I work closely with shelters and rescue groups for a freelance writing gig that I do, so I’ve known about the importance of foster homes for pets for quite some time. I always wanted to do it, but was too busy with my young kids and was afraid that I’d never be able to take in animals, only to give them back to the shelter when it was time for them to be adopted.

Recently though, my kids have gotten old-enough and responsible enough to help with our pets and we have a guest room that’s vacant 99% of the year–a perfect, quiet place to let some kittens hang out. So I turned in my foster application at our local animal shelter. Later that same week, we had a mama cat and her 4 babies living in our guest room. They’ll be with us for about 3 weeks–until the babies are big enough to have all of their shots and be spayed/neutered, then they’ll go up for adoption at our local no-kill shelter.

Fostering animals is an important way that you can help animal shelters. By fostering, you give animals the opportunity to live in a household and be socialized–which greatly helps their chances of being adopted. Fostering also makes room in the shelter for more animals in need. It’s a rewarding opportunity, and it will also hurt really badly when it’s time to take the kitties to their new homes. Someone, hold me. 

 

Such a good mama
Such a good mama

 

Mama kitty, who we've named Jacobean (Bean for short)
Mama kitty, who we’ve named Jacobean (“Bean” for short)

Ok, I’ve told you some of my quirks…now, let us hear some of yours. It’s only fair…

Truth

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

Rebuilding your spiderwebs

 

I’m thinking I might ditch the “On The Wagon Wednesday” concept and just keep Wednesdays open to posting whatever seems fitting. How do you feel about that? Chime in in the comments and let me know how you feel…

Now that the weather is changing, I’ve started walking Angie on the hiking trails that snake through our neighborhood. The trails are remote in parts and closer to civilization in other parts, but they afford Angie an opportunity to sniff all manner of interesting critter-scents while giving me the opportunity to appreciate the scenery–all without having to dodge traffic. 

Rebuilding your spiderwebs

One obstacle that we encounter daily on the trails are spiderwebs. Every day, there are new, mostly-invisible spiderwebs that stretch across the trail–right at face-level. 

 

spiderweb-in-your-face
Truth

There’s nothing that gives me the heebie-jeebies more than walking through a spiderweb…and then I’m just sure that I can feel a spider crawling on my back for the rest of the walk.

But, the thing that strikes me about these spiderwebs is that, although I (inadvertently) destroy their carefully-crafted webs every day–the following morning, there are new, larger and usually more spectacular webs stretching across the trail in the same, exact places.

These spiders are nothing if not tenacious, y’all. 

This got me to thinking about our own “webs” that we build and how every day, there are things that chip away at and destroy our webs. Your “web” might be your self-confidence, self-respect, body image or sobriety and these things are torn down, snagged and penetrated every day–but we must do the hard work to rebuild everyday–rebuilding stronger for the next day’s assault. 

Every time our “web” gets torn through, maybe (just maybe) it’s those micro-tears and even the catastrophic, complete, tear-downs that force us to come back better and stronger…ya think?

And, in some cases, if your “web” is repeatedly getting torn down, over and over, maybe it’s time to move it to a new trail–a trail with less opportunities for destruction? A trail where you can build, coddle and nurture your web a little before it gets threatened? 

Tell us about your webs…

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

5 things I do every morning

I like to write the kind of posts that I enjoy reading. I always love to get a glimpse of a blogger’s ordinary life–call me a voyeur, but it’s what I like.

So, in the spirit of voyeurism (this should amount to some super-strange Google traffic) here are the 5 things that I do most every morning. 

5 things I do in the morning

 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar/Lemon Juice cocktail: I drink a full glass of water with about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in, as well as a few squeezes of lemon juice, first thing when I walk in the kitchen, after waking up. I had a trainer at my old gym who first turned me onto apple cider vinegar years ago. She claimed that it’s a miracle, cure-all. Judging by her perpetually glowy skin and taut body, I went along with her advice. I’ve read that ACV lowers blood sugar levels, which wards off diabetes–among many other health benefits. I’m going on about 7 years of drinking ACV every day and it’s the first thing that I crave when I’ve been away from home and am settling back into a routine. As for the lemon juice, I’ve read a lot about the benefits of lemon juice–especially for those of us with Type A blood. So, just like the ACV, I figure that it can’t hurt. And it’s important to hydrate upon waking, so I feel like I’m killing 3 birds with one stone. (But I love birds, so I’d never kill one, of course)

lemon coffee

 

  • Coffee with coconut oil: After my ACV/lemon juice concoction, next up is my cup of coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil in it. Again, another tidbit harvested from Dr. Pinterest, but I’ve read that coconut oil speeds up your metabolism and boosts your immunity. Plus, it tastes good. Bonus: my lips get a nice glossy-look, thanks to the coconut oil. 

IMG_2642

  • I make our bed. I have to make the bed for a number of reasons. If I don’t, our room looks that much messier. Also, I can’t stand to get into an unmade bed at night–sheets all wrinkled and tangled. (First world problems, fo sho) Besides, it’s rare that there’s not an animal snoozing on our bed at any given point in the day, so I like to keep the sheets clean and fur-free by making the bed first thing in the morning.

 

  • I empty the dishwasher. We run the dishwasher at night and my least-favorite morning chore is unloading the dishwasher in the morning but, if I don’t, our whole world falls apart. We don’t eat off of paper plates in our house, so we use–and thusly–dirty-up lots of plates, bowls and cups at each meal in this house. If we forget to set the dishwasher to come on before bed, then the next morning is a bust, so it’s important to me to stay on top of the Managing of the Dishwasher. 

IMG_2640

  • I walk the dog. Angie is a Weimaraner, which is a “sporting breed” (although, if you could hear her snoring and farting, while sleeping on the sofa with Judge Judy on the tv right now, you’d beg to differ) so she needs a good bout of exercise daily. I’ve found that, if I walk her at least 2 miles a day, she’s calmer for the rest of the day and doesn’t get into as much mischief when left alone. The walk is good for me too. During our daily dog walks is when I dream up the majority of these blog posts and get all of my good thinking done. 

On any given school day, all of these activities happen before 8am. Morning is my favorite. Mornings are way better now that I don’t drink. I don’t ever take mornings for granted anymore.

Tell us about your morning rituals.

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

Meet the pets–Tino

Today is our final installment of the “Meet the Pets” series…that is, until we get another pet. 

Tino

 

Meet Tino. Ah…sweet Tino. He’s a mess (and yes, his tongue is always sticking out).

Tino, (short of Valentino–which was a tad too prissy for life in our house, so we shortened it to Tino) is a highly-bred Persian, who came to us–along with Stewartwhen a family member got into a position where he couldn’t care for them anymore (alcohol: it’s a bitch).

We took these two fancy-pants boys in and have really enjoyed having them here. (Well, most of us have enjoyed having them here. For some reason, Tino has a personal vendetta against perfect little baaaaby Gary and makes it his mission on the daily to stalk and terrorize baby Gary.)

Tino is about 13-14 years old, is deaf and partially blind (we think) but as soon as you come near him, his motor starts up and violent purring ensues. He’s really a lover, albeit a tad misunderstood. Anna particularly loves Tino. Those two have had a special bond since day one. He looks gruff and mean, but I mean…can you really take him seriously with that tongue? 

Tino
It’s “Tongues Out Tuesday” er’day for Mr. T.
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Mexico 2004

Meet the pets–Stewart

IMG_0199

Meet Stewart. Stewart came to us, along with his companion, Tino (bio coming soon) from a family member who wasn’t able to care for them anymore (another way that alcoholism ruins the life of everyone <and creature> that it touches). Stewart is a fancy-pants, Himalayan boy with crystal blue eyes and a raging snaggletooth–anyone know of a good feline orthodontist?

Stewart is friendly and playful and elicits a SQUEEEEE from everyone who sees him. And, he IS really cute…until he jumps up on the couch next to you and begins enthusiastically making sweet, sweet love to the blanket. Then it gets awkward.

Aside from being terminally randy (and yes, he’s been neutered) Stewart is a fan favorite in our house.

Stewart
Stewart’s whisker-game is strong, bro.

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

On the Wagon Wednesday–OTWW

Every Wednesday, we’ll do some deep thinking and challenge ourselves. The weekend looms on the other side of Wednesdays and it’s important to plan ahead for stumbling blocks and challenges that might present themselves in the weekend ahead. Let’s link arms and lean in…

OTWW

 

This morning, I took Angie for a long-overdue, much-needed walk in our neighborhood. What is typically a quiet walk on an early Saturday morning, wasn’t so quiet today. Somehow, we got mixed up amidst a running club who was following the same path we take on our walks.

As runner after runner passed us, poor Angie couldn’t focus on her usual joyful business–sniffing deer poop, checking crumpled wads of aluminum foil for left-behind breakfast taco morsels and taking care of her “morning constitution.” Angie loves her morning walk. It’s her chance to burn off some steam but also to sniff around everywhere and look for wildlife (I rather enjoy it too).

Today though, as soon as she’d begin the task of going about her business, another group of runners would approach from behind and she’d have to turn around and watch them, while I trudged forward, dragging her by the leash. Angie spent more time looking behind her today, than looking forward.

This got me thinking about how, just like Angie, we are often so wrapped up in what’s behind us (our past) and what other people are doing, that we lose sight of taking care of our own business and the tasks right in front of us. I know how easy it is to get caught in a trap of comparing yourself to others and worrying too much about what everyone else is doing. It’s an abusive trap for sure.

In fact, on this walk, as I watched the other seasoned runners flying past me, I questioned my own fitness and if maybe I should be running instead of walking. Instead of being secure with my own fitness journey, I questioned if I was doing enough…are my legs as muscular as hers? Would they be, if I picked up the pace?

An important thing that I’ve had to remember on this journey is not to dwell in the past and only to focus on what I can do today to become who I want to be.

dont-look-back-youre-not-going-that-way

Are you focused too much on the past or what other people are doing? Are you missing out on the good stuff right under your nose (like breakfast taco morsels)? Tell us all about it…

cheers-jenny

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Mexico 2004

Meet the pets–Gary

Gary

Meet Gary. Gary is Thunder’s brother and was the runt of the litter. He’s always been tinier and more timid than Thunder and I probably say “he’s just a baaaby” 11 times a day, because he is. He’s just a baaaaby.

Baby Gary
When Gary really, and truly was “just a baaaaaaby.” One of my favorite photos of him ever.

 

Gary is the sweetest thing in our house. He’s loving and cuddly and has the teeniest, most adorable little “Mew” on the planet. Although Gary is technically a “dumpster cat,” people always mistake him for a highly-bred Russian Blue, with his round face, eyes and beautiful gray-blue coat.

Gary

Gary has recently decided that Brook, the Betta fish, is his new best friend and Brook humors Gary by letting Gary drink out of his fish tank…Mmmmm. Fish-flavored water.

cheers-jenny

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