If We Were Having Coffee… 8/20/17

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Welcome! Come in, come in. It’s been a few weeks. August gets a bit hectic in my neck of the woods.

We were able to have a great family vacation. We went to St. Augustine, Florida. Our hotel was just a ten minute walk to the beach, so we had daily beach time. This was peaceful, healing, and much-needed. St. Augustine is the oldest settlement in the US and the town has a lot to offer as well. We went to the Castillo de San Marcos monument and the Cathedral Basilica. There was also a lot of shopping. My kids loved the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. Here are a few pics:

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Two days after we returned home, school started. My girls are in eighth grade and fourth grade. They like their teachers and schedules. So far, so good. I’m glad they are back in school, though I’m not ready for the busy routine of homework and extracurriculars.

We are eagerly awaiting the solar eclipse tomorrow. Our town is in the direct path and we will have two and a half minutes of totality. Out-of-staters are coming in to view it as well. School was cancelled so we will be able to view it as a family together.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to our lovely host, Diana at Part-time Monster! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 7/8/17

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Welcome, coffee friends! Look at me having coffee on Saturday (I’m usually a late Sunday person). I’m glad we could meet again. It is ridiculously hot today, so we may want to choose cooler beverages. We will definitely be staying inside in the A/C.

It has been a relatively quiet week at my house. I enjoyed an extra day off for the Fourth of July. We watched the fireworks display at our local park but otherwise had a restful holiday. I also worked a half day Thursday and had the day off Friday. Yay for short workweeks! Thursday I took my daughter to the doctor for school-required vaccinations prior to entering 8th grade. Eighth grade. It is hard to believe. Where does the time go? And my baby is entering 4th grade! It will be her last year of elementary school.

My days off went well because now I have a coworker than can handle things in my absence. I cannot adequately describe the peace of mind that gives me. I did answer several emails from home, but otherwise she could deal with patient results and phone calls and such.

I went for a nice run yesterday on my treadmill. You might remember that I am slowly getting back into running after a lengthy hiatus due to back injury. Yesterday I did well. I did about 20 minutes of running with one 10 minute interval. This may not sound impressive to a seasoned runner but for me it was incredible progress. I even got a pressure bruise on the bottom of my second toe. This happens to me a lot when running.

The TV is currently tuned to Titanic. I enjoy that movie so. Rose is getting rescued out of the water after the ship sinks. Why couldn’t Jack fit on that big slab of wood with her? Poor frozen Jack.

We could talk commiserate about the Cardinals again. It is same old, same old…. bullpen, pitching, field errors, baserunning snafu’s, yada yada yada. We are still below .500. They did win today, though. I love them, but man are they killing me this season.

I participated in Friday Fictioneers this week. Please check out Farewell Fireworks.

So catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (next week back to Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 5/7/17

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Welcome! I missed you last week. I’m glad you come make it today. We are finally enjoying some warm, beautiful weather so maybe we could forgo coffee for a cooler drink. It’s a nice day to be outside so maybe we can go out on the deck.

We’ve had some major flooding here and many roads have been closed. Some areas had to evacuate. I even had to stay home from work this past Wednesday because the interstate was closed (and all of the routes around it were closed). It rained for days, I’m so sick of rain. Luckily, we’ve been clear for a couple of days and the rivers have receded a bit. Unfortunately, the flooding caused us to have to cancel our camping trip this weekend. The roads into the property are under water. We are so bummed. We most likely won’t be able to go again with the scout troops until fall.

We were able to do our lock-in last weekend at the Magic House (STL Children’s museum). We took twelve second/third graders. It was a blast, the girls loved it. Other than sleeping on the floor, the moms loved it, too.

Work was super busy this past week and it didn’t help that I missed a day due to flooding. The new counselor starts tomorrow. Light at the end of the tunnel!

The school year is rapidly coming to a close. The girls only have nine and half days left! Both of my daughters have Transition Day tomorrow. That is where they go visit their classrooms for next year and meet their new teachers. I’m also looking forward to the third grade field trip next week to the Science Center/IMAX theater.

My STL Cardinals are on a winning streak and today we swept the Atlanta Braves (after a grueling 14 inning game). We are now tied for second in the NL Central with THE CUBS. That’s right, Cubbies, we’re coming for you!

I participated in Friday Fictioneers this week. Go check out Room 215.

Catch me up! What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

I will leave you with a little glimpse of cat harmony, enjoying today’s lovely weather…

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Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (created by Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 4/22/17

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Happy Weekend! Come on in and let’s grab a cup of a steaming hot beverage. It will definitely be a hot beverage since it is cold and rainy here. Our warm weather has taken a temporary vacation.

I had a very busy week at work, trying to catch up from having two days off. My presentation on Friday went well and I’m glad it’s over. I have no other presentations on the horizon, thank goodness. Public speaking is not something that I enjoy. Also, we had someone accept the counseling position so I am finally getting some help! I will no longer have to do the work of two people. She starts in two weeks.

The school year is starting to wind down with about a month left. Both girls are taking MAP tests this week. My older daughter was chosen for All Stars (which is similar to student of the month). My younger daughter brought home reading evaluation results and she made great progress this year. This is huge for her and I am so proud of her hard work.

I finished my last lab evaluation with the physical therapist for the low back pain study. I also found out that I was randomized to receive another physical therapy session. My back pain has been minimal lately (knock on wood), for which I am thankful.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (created by Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

Weekend Rewind 9/13/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Weekend Rewind, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.

Let’s get random…

So I realize that if I am going to change the name of my weekly feature to Weekend Rewind, then I need to develop a new graphic. That’s my new project for this week.

Let me just mention work and get it out of the way. I actually had a great week. It was not as busy and I actually caught up with all of my paperwork. That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to jinx it.

The worst part of the workweek was my morning commute on Friday morning. I was in fairly thick traffic moving along at a good clip when an 18-wheeler jack-knifed about 3 cars in front of me. I saw the truck’s cab swerve toward the median and hit the guardrail and then all I saw was brake lights and cars coming to a screeching halt. Blind panic took over for a few seconds (amazing how things like that seem to happen in a split second but somehow also seem to move in slow motion). Amazingly, no one hit the truck. I managed not to get hit though the car next to me in the right lane got rear-ended. As the chaos settled, people slowly started to get out of their cars and check on each other. We made sure the truck driver was okay and began to mill around and survey the damage. After I came down from my adrenaline high, I started to think about how lucky we all were that things didn’t turn out much, much worse. I am so thankful that there were no serious injuries.

We had a glorious fall weather weekend. It was crisp and cool with beautiful blue cloudless skies. It was a promise of what is to come. It was a perfect weekend to break out our firepit and roast hot dogs and s’mores. I know some people move to Florida or California or Hawaii to live in perpetual summer but if I could I would move somewhere where I could bask in perpetual sweater and football weather.

In our first football weekend, the Rams managed to beat the Seahawks. Color me surprised.

The school year is plugging along. Our first parent-teacher conferences are already in just under two weeks. We spent some time this weekend working on science with my sixth grader. She is studying the scientific method and creating hypotheses (and independent variables and dependent variables). She is a straight-A student and she loves science but she has been slow to warm to these concepts. I think we made some progress, though. Caitlin, my second grader, is looking forward to the fall field trip about a month from now. I already have the day off work so that I can go. She also went all week without a checkmark for talking!

We had a housecleaner come to our home on Saturday morning to give us an estimate on her services. I am hesitant to hire someone to clean my house. She used to work for my dad cleaning at the school and she is the mother of my husband’s homecare client. She has a great reputation so I am not worried about that. And she is very affordable so that is not my problem. Hiring a cleaning lady is admitting I need help and that, to me, is a fail. I feel like I should be able to be superworker and superwife and supermom and get it all done. But with my work hours and my dwindling energy level, I have a hard time keeping up with the cleaning. After all, I live with two small humans and a man (therefore the equivalent of three children), none of which are very good at cleaning up after themselves. Oh, and then there’s the hair machine dog. The amount of hair in my house borders on insane. So I am considering hiring this woman. It would let me spend more time enjoying my family. That is how I rationalize it anyway.

I have another short workweek this week because I am off work Friday for a dentist appointment. But guess what came up for Saturday? A bake sale for Girl Scouts. So guess what I will likely spend my day off doing? Baking. Packaging. Pricing. Is it worth it? Yes, definitely. We are raising money for our camping trip next month. This is the same camp that I went to as a scout eons ago. The girls will get to do archery and horseback riding. They will get to hike and sleep in cabins and eat s’mores around the campfire. So I will bake my little heart out.

Have a great upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays (Weekend Rewind) – 8/14/15

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Happy Sunday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Sunday edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

I am thinking about changing the name of this feature to Weekend Rewind. Thoughts?

This was a busy week in our house since school started on Thursday. Summer is officially over. Once supplies were organized, we took them to open house on Tuesday. New clothes were washed and closets were cleaned out and organized. We took the first day pictures and posted them on facebook. Lots of papers came home and our calendar is quickly filling up with events. Suddenly I am drowning in paperwork. So far so good, though. Both kids are adjusting well to their schedules – even my reluctant sixth grader is getting used to switching classes every hour. The new band parent meeting is this week for instrument rental. So by the end of the week, we will add daily flute practice to the agenda.

We are also making a schedule for the upcoming scout year. With two troops, this gets a little hairy. We strive to keep the troops active and the activities varied and interesting so it is extremely time consuming. I am thankful that I can share this experience with my girls, though, so we make it work. The girls are excited to get “back to troop.”

The first three days of the week at work were quiet. I was caught up and feeling pretty good about things in general. Things hit the fan on Thursday and Friday, throwing my little world off kilter. By the end of Friday, I felt completely buried and overwhelmed. One step forward, two steps back. We dance.

This weekend has been about relaxation. Friday night (kid-free) night was ice cream and redbox night. That is a perfect way for me to unwind. Saturday I got a lot of rest. I also had a headache so I kind of hibernated. Today we cleaned house in the morning and have been relaxing this afternoon. My husband cleaned out the garage (again, thank you, Adderall). He moved everything out and powerwashed and he will put things back in a more organized manner. We actually have a big garage so there is quite a bit in there besides the two cars.

One week from today is the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead (the companion series of the Walking Dead) on AMC. I am SO excited. It will be a six episode run and then it will be time for TWD new season to start.

I have decided that I want to make a Home Management Binder. You know, where you print sheets and keep all of your details in one binder (budget, bills, calendar, health info., accounts, passwords, to-do-lists, etc.). I have been on Pinterest lately scouting out free printables. I’m not sure why I haven’t jumped on this bandwagon before. It is the perfect thing for my little obsessive-compulsive heart. I can’t wait to get all of my sheets and pick my binder.

That’s all for me this week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 7/31/15

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Happy Saturday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Saturday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It is August!! How did that happen? We are knee-deep in back to school mode in my household (my kids go back to school in 12 days… but who’s counting?) and it still feels like summer but turning the corner into August means we are one step closer to my favorite time of year. It means that we are almost to September and October. This girl can almost smell the bonfires, taste the s’mores and feel the soft warmth of my hoodie. Soon, sweet fall, soon.

School supplies are bought and middle school orientation was attended. My daughter has her schedule and posed beautifully for her picture. I wrote a million checks. We still have to shop for clothes and shoes. The only other thing that stands between us and the first day of school is Open House night. Of course, the second grade and sixth grade decided to have open house on the same night so I will have to pull off that mom-magic of being in two places at once. They do overlap but thankfully one starts earlier than the other so we will do that one first and then mad dash to the other. My second grader is desperate to find out who is in her class. She only knows that her closest friends are not in her class which has made her cranky.

This weekend is the Seminary Picnic. Let me tell you about the Seminary Picnic. I live in a small town of about 8,000 people. It is a typical small, midwestern town. People are nice and friendly for the most part but everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business. About three-quarters of the town goes to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has an old seminary – St. Mary’s of the Barrens – that was built in the early 1820’s and was the first seminary west of the Mississippi River. The seminary grounds have a breathtaking old cathedral, cemetery, grotto/shrine and just happen to be one of my favorite places on earth. The old church still has one mass every weekend but most people go to the newer church down the street. So back to the picnic. It is the small-town church picnic that trumps all other small-town church picnics. It has been going on for over 100 years and draws people from all over the area. On the sprawling seminary grounds, the picnic has tons of food stands, beer stands, games, rides, bingo, live music and sit-down dinner in the dining hall. And the best homemade ice cream you have ever tasted. And quilts. There is a committee of women (most of them over 75 years old) who make quilts all year long for the picnic. People pay top dollar for these elaborate, hand-stitched quilts (or get lucky and win them at bingo). My dad has been going to the picnic since he was a kid and so have I. And so have my kids.

So the Seminary Picnic will be the social event of my weekend. I am an introvert with social anxiety so you can also imagine how that goes. The crowds make me anxious and I run into everyone – and I mean everyone – that I know. It is exhausting. My kids absolutely love it. They mostly like the games and rides. I am happy to sit with ice cream or maybe even a mixed drink and listen to a live band. They want to walk around and see everything. And, of course, I indulge them because I remember how excited I used to get for the picnic when I was their ages. I am looking forward to ice cream and a funnel cake. Did I mention the ice cream?

Yesterday also marked the one-year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s car accident. I’m thinking about writing a longer post to talk through the aftermath. Maybe I’ll do that tonight or tomorrow.

Oh, and work! It is going okay. I am super busy but I am keeping up. I am trying to not let it bleed all over my life so I think it’s good that it was basically a footnote in Casual Fridays!

Have a wonderful weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 7/24/15

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Happy Saturday! That means it is time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays (Saturday morning edition), my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

Ah, another leisurely Saturday morning. My kids are at a sleepover and my husband is at work. I got up and put on yoga pants and an old t-shirt and was about to take Rusty outside to put him on the zipline. I opened my front door and I saw that my neighbors directly across the street were having a garage sale. People here get really excited for garage sales. They will camp out in your driveway at 5am (even if you post “no early birds.” Early birds don’t care). So what do I see this morning as I step outside in my lounge-wear and bed-hair? Total strangers pulling off the road and parking half in my yard to go browse the deals across the street. I may have had an octogenarian “get off my lawn” moment. Rusty’s zipline time also had to be cut short because the activity in our yard and across the street was giving him fits.

My older daughter has middle school orientation next week. She starts sixth grade. Her fifth grade was technically middle school but they were in a separate building and didn’t have all of the activities the older kids did. It was more of a transitional year. Sixth grade is full-fledged middle school. She will be in the same building with the seventh and eighth graders. She will get to start band. Sports and cheerleading start too, but she’s not into those. The band room and cafeteria are actually in a building that the middle school shares with the high school. She will change classes every period. She will have a locker. There will be more dances and socials. I am not ready for any of this.

My younger daughter starts second grade. Her new teacher is an old high school classmate of mine (who I actually like, ha ha) and I’m hoping that is a sign of a better year to come. We did find out that her “boyfriend” is not in the same class so she’s pretty upset about that.

Work continues to be busy and challenging but I am managing well. I had my first poor fetal diagnosis this week and I had forgotten how truly awful those are. My patient is distraught and she basically cries every time I talk to her. I’m not the kind of person who easily leaves work at work in these situations. I carry some of that with me, I worry about her. I wish I could lessen her pain but I know I can’t. I seem to be her go-to person to call so I guess I am helping her in some way.

Thursday (the day I gave her the diagnosis) was the most draining day of my week. I came home from work that day to two loving kiddos and a husband who had made my favorite dinner and bought me some Dove chocolate. They cast some sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day and I have no words to express my gratitude.

We have a quiet weekend on tap, just the way I like it. We may start some school shopping if I can muster the energy for it. The school supplies are easy, clothes and shoes are more difficult. My kids are both hard to fit and the new middle school dress code is ridiculous. School starts in just under three weeks so I have to decide if I want to be proactive or procrastinate. Procrastination is typically my default.

Have a wonderful weekend and upcoming week, everyone!

Casual Fridays 4/17/15

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It’s Friday! Time for the latest installment of Casual Fridays, my weekly chat post – no structure, no rules, no prompts, anything goes.  And please also check out Casual Fridays over at Helen’s blog, Good Woman.

Let’s get random…

It has been a tiring week. I’ve been getting up early, staying up way too late. Burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. It just leaves me burnt out and exhausted. I am hoping for a restful weekend.

Things are getting busy at my kids’ school, we are in the downward spiral to the end of the school year. Field trips, field days, spirit days, planning for summer camps and summer trips and swimming lessons. Keeping up with all of it makes me dizzy. But even so, this time of the year just makes everything feel… lighter. It is easier to deal with the chaos when you are drunk on sunlight and warm weather.

It is a beautiful day here in the STL. Our midwestern weather is often tumultuous, but once in a while we are blessed with a day like this.  Sunny, blue skies and 80 low-humidity degrees.

Redbox just informed me that my husband rented Exodus: Gods and Kings for tonight. I have The Fault in Our Stars on the dvr for tonight. Hmmm… quite the spectrum of entertainment. This is usually how our movie choices go. I guess I will be on a roller coaster of emotions this evening. So has anyone seen Exodus? Thoughts?

Lab Week is shaping up nicely for next week at work. We have a build your own waffle bar, a baked potato bar, snack day, potluck day (our potlucks are legendary) and it all ends on Friday with a catered lunch and dessert day. I will be lucky not to gain ten pounds next week. I also still need to write that post about my line of work. I will get to it. Promise.

For those of you that are parents… have you ever looked at your child and realized that some of the things that frustrate you about them are traits that are most like yourself? It is a very eye-opening moment. When I watch my daughter struggle with her indecisiveness – to the point of paralysis – and anxiety, I realize now what my husband has been dealing with for all of these years with me. The good news is that I walk that road (some might say meander) so I can help lead her down it. Or try. Or at least I can be empathetic. It makes me appreciate my husband as the rock and voice of reason that he is (did I just call him a voice of reason? Shhh, don’t tell him that). Some deep thoughts for this Friday…

Happy Friday, everyone and have a great weekend!

Epic Fail (AKA How My June Went Off the Rails)

Hi! Remember me?

First, let me say kudos to all of my Writing 101 friends who have completed their assignments (or came closer than I did). I have so enjoyed this course and the opportunity to write. I am thankful for meeting some nice folks who have given me valuable feedback and by returning the favor I have found some cool blogs to follow.

That being said, I completed maybe half of the assignments. In the real world, that would earn me an F. So, my first F!

Luckily this is not a brick and mortar institution and I have no real grade hinging on my performance here. Though, I am disappointed that I didn’t keep up. I will eventually catch up. I do have ideas for several posts and I will get to them.

I don’t know if this counts for any of the assignments. Maybe I can use it for the free writing exercise. I think I can do whatever I want so that sounds good. Yes. Free-writing. Check.

So, June. My kids go to a summer camp program at their school district for the entire month of June. They are entertained from 8am-3pm and get two meals. It is quality, fun child care on the cheap. This program is full every summer. Each grade level has one day a week for swimming (walking to the town pool, swimming, lunch in the park, walking back to school) and one day a week for field trips. And these are nice field trips, too. Not lame ones. They also have Friday movie days and water days and all kinds of special events that are impossible to keep up with. Two kids = two schedules. So every day, I am trying to figure out which child needs to wear a swim suit under her outfit (swim day, water day), which one needs to pack a lunch (field trips, swim days) and which one is eating at the school, which one needs to wear their special camp t-shirt (field trips) – which leads to trying to FIND the t-shirt – and which one needs money for something (the answer: they ALWAYS need money for something. The school is a money pit). So you can see how I lost my mind.

Then my husband finally nagged me into going to a long, long overdue GYN appointment. Ladies, I’m sure you know what I mean. I am busy and not really chomping at the bit to schedule my yearly exam. I avoid my yearly exam at all costs. I have two breast lumps. If I were 25, no one would be that worried about them. But at forty, everyone treats me like I have one foot in the grave. So I got my first ever mammogram, my first breast ultrasound (and second and third), my first visit to a breast surgeon and my first biopsy. This ate up the second half of June. Appointments, tests, waiting for results. I had good days where I barely thought about it and I had bad days where I would cry at the drop of a hat. My attitude initially was: I don’t have time for this. I don’t have time to get sick. Of course, eventually I thought about my own mortality and that is a sobering thing. I worried for my kids and my husband. I worried about the financial toll that a cancer diagnosis would take. Thankfully, in the end, everything came back benign. I have fibroadenomas and I am declining surgical removal. They are just a part of me. Call me lumpy. I am no worse for wear, save for a very bruised frankenboob.

Late last week, my husband went for an eye exam. He decided to switch doctors, to see the eye doctor that I recently saw. He has type 1 (juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes. He was diagnosed as a teenager. So he had retinal imaging and a dilated eye exam. He has signs of diabetic retinopathy (the eye changes seen in diabetics that eventually lead to blindness). This is the first time he has been told this. He has been diabetic for 25 years so we expected this at some point. And he’s 40, so we know complications will probably start soon. But it was still a blow. Diabetic complications were always a someday problem when we were younger. Its easy to forget about them when he is young and strong and healthy. I think I even thought that maybe he would be lucky and not have to deal with them. You know, magical thinking. Everything will be okay. Rainbows and unicorns. Head in sand. Unfortunately, reality has reared its ugly head. So we are doing our research and he is making some lifestyle changes in an effort to slow down this process as much as possible.

I have other excuses. My mother-in-law had surgery. My mom was diagnosed with cataracts. Work was incredibly busy. We thought our water heater went out. I stressed for a day about how to pay for a new one. Turns out it needed to be reset after a storm made our electricity blink.

June was not my friend. Well, actually the first half of June was pretty good. Make that: the last half of June was not my friend. I am glad to see June leave. I am hoping July will be better.