The Life & Times of Mommiehood

Here I am finding my way through uncharted waters.

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still tired.

We finally made it to our destination after our pit stops in Minneapolis and Wisconsin Dells. Awesome to give my mama a big hug and have two excited grand kids want to tell her everything. At once. They are now in bad and hopefully won’t decide to wake up at 6 am. A girl can dream right?

We had a great, albeit short, time in Minnesota. While there were a few people I would have loved to see and didn’t get to, we got to see all of the hubby’s aunts and uncles and my aunt as well as my gram and three of our cousins. We stayed at “cousins house” where our kids have a blast with second cousins or whatever your cousins kids are in relation to your kids.

The one thing that makes me batty is how bonkers my kids act when we are on a trip. It’s like they completely forget anything they have been taught. We catch them jumping on furniture, yelling or screaming for no apparent reason, taking things apart, tormenting each other and, well, bouncing off the walls. Too much excitement to be contained in their little bodies I guess.

After Minnesota we decided to stop on our way to Illinois in Wisconsin. The Dells. When I was younger we did this once as a family. Had an initial visit, where my parents took us on one of the boat tours and that was it. We never went back. I thought we could do the same thing. While the boy would have probably seriously enjoyed one of the water parks I knew the girl was totally not ready for that kind of excitement so figured we’d find a reasonable hotel with a pool and go on one of the Duck rides. Check out what the Dells had to offer and maybe in a couple years head back for more of the water park fun.

We were disappointed. The Duck ride was fun, but I was not prepared to get soaked. It wasn’t cheap. We decided to go to the “downtown” and look in the shops. Where one goes to pay far too much money for everything. So … yeah. The little scouting trip did not make me want to go back any time soon. I’m sure that as the kids get older we will stop again and maybe stay in one of the resorts with a water park as part of the hotel or go to Noah’s Ark, but really I’m ok if we just keep driving through to Illinois. If I’m going to spend far too much money on stuff I’d rather go to Estes Park or Breck.

Glad to be at my mom’s now.

Maybe I can find some energy.

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Road tripping. Part 1.

We made it through yesterday.

Left the house at 8am and rolled into the hotel around 9:30pm. Granted there is a time zone change in there but that is still a really long day on the road.

I’m super sore now but we finished our trek to visit family near Minneapolis getting in this afternoon and enjoying a BBQ with aunts, uncles and cousins for dinner. Really thankful they all came by and our hosts put together a great evening. Looking forward to seeing my cousin and gram, aunt and another cousin, as well as maybe less time in the car tomorrow!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of the trip so far. She spent a couple hours under this “tent” … until she fell asleep and then I woke her up trying to move the map away so she didn’t end up with a paper cut. Granted we only had a few minutes left in the car at that point but man she was a tired puppy today! So was her brother for that matter, though neither wanted to admit to that.

How the girl reads a map in the car.

How the girl reads a map in the car.

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Thankful Thursday.

Today I’m thankful …
… the kids are old enough to help pack.
… and fight over helping to unload the dishwasher among other sibling squabbles.
… the hubby made it back from work in time to go to the recital.
… that we got a parking spot in the lot at the recital, in fact we were EARLY! That never happens.
… that the kids did a wonderful job with their songs, practice helped them both rock it!
… that I didn’t forget where my hands needed to be and was able to play my song without screwing it up! Even had a couple people tell me they liked my song and my teacher told me I did a good job too.
… that we have a lot packed and there isn’t too much still to do before I can get some sleep since tomorrow morning is going to be kinda early.
… that we have two whole weeks to spend together as a family!!

What are you thankful for today?

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Practice, practice, practice. Pack, pack, pack.

My day has been pretty busy.

I slept in after the concert yesterday. Woke up and ended up spending most of the day convincing the kids to practice, practice, practice before the recital tomorrow night. The boy did finally and I’m so proud of him, he feels more confident with his song and even has it pretty much memorized. He was so excited and proud of himself as well. The girl has practiced a lot and I think will do wonderful for her first recital. Then there’s me. Hope I don’t screw up my song, I’ve practiced more than the kids combined!

Met with our contractor about painting the halls and entryways and the other small bits of wall and trim in the kitchen. I can’t wait to come home and see it all finished. This has been in my head for MONTHS! Then maybe we can finally get some of our pictures on the wall. You know, after almost two years in the house. He will also be repairing some of the deck and getting down some stuff to hopefully extend the life of our deck a few years. I’m not ready to have to replace that quite yet. Will be nice to have here projects done while we are gone!

The rest of my day was spent getting some packing done. The kids helped me get some of their clothes together. Finishing the last of the wash. We have learned to pack bags for the destinations and not the people in our family so there is a bag for the first hotel, the first family stay, the second hotel and then the big bag for the final destination. On the way home we just make sure there’s one bag ready for the midway pit stop. Then there’s the toiletry bag that’s with us everywhere. Works well and we don’t end up having to take in scads of luggage at every location. Takes a bit more planning and coordination though.

I still need to finish packing my clothes and make sure the food is all ready for the cooler … stuff for the kids in the car … but we are getting closer. Hoping we can be mostly ready to go tomorrow because Friday is a LOOOONNNGG day in the car and we need to get started early!

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Sunday driving.

This morning was beautiful so we took the convertible to church.20140713-211409-76449486.jpgSo much fun to go for a drive with the top down this morning before the weather turned and it wasn’t too hot either.

After lunch we ran an errand and then headed up north to see nana (& papa too). Good to see her and spend time with her. The kids miss her so much lately and it helps them to see her doing better every time we go. This time they also briefly saw uncle and his fiancé.

The kids and I were able to give nana and papa a little preview of the recital coming up Thursday. I’m not actually playing in the recital, that’s more for the kids, but I played my song that I’ve been working on for them too. Fun way for me to get the kids to practice their songs before the recital.

We stopped for dinner on the way home and got back right about bedtime.
Over 150 miles today.
The kids should be ready for our super long drive later this week!

This picture is from the way home. The clouds looked so cool.


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Who knew landscaping work was so expensive. I mean crazy expensive. I realize we have some issues most homeowners do not, mainly the retaining walls which of course are rotting and ugly and not completely doing their job in some places. We also have a pretty massive back yard.

I would like to fix my kitchen. Aside from keeping some appliances the kitchen pretty much needs to be gutted, new cabinets, some boards replaced in the wood floor, new counter tops and back splash. Hardwood extended into the dining room (who leaves carpet in a dining room?) and maybe a new pantry area.

When I could most likely do my kitchen for significantly less than the backyard … The landscaping is expensive.

Our first quote made me cry. Give up. Frustrated me.

We had a second person come look. My MIL had her stroke before we got that quote but I got the same impression that it’d be a crap-ton of Cleveland’s.

Found a guy in our neighborhood who does landscape design, had him come look and did not get the impression he could handle the project. Or at least not in a way to make me confident or comfortable trusting him. He is retired so he contracts things with others, making estimates and costs potentially INSANE and unmanageable because it’s with so many different people. With all the things we need done his solution was to pull out my loathsome bushes and “start there” … What next? Who knows. That scares me more than the overall cost of the retaining walls. Which he seemed to avoid altogether.

That was Monday. I decided to finally call the grandfather of one of the students at my school. I’d heard good things about the work he’s done shortly after moving into our home but never called because we always knew it would be expensive, just not the magnitude of expense we are discovering. I’ve had his number in my phone for a year and a half and even back in March wanted to call but just never had the time.

He came this morning and brought his “wall guy” and we talked about what we wanted (no more decrepit wood walls, no more weeds and awful bushes on the top tier, can take or leave the “planter boxes”, possible sprinkler system fixes that makes sense to take care of) and things we were hoping for (easy maintenance for my black thumb, play area for the kids) I made it clear that they are the ones who know what they are doing and I trust them to make it look good.

Meeting these professionals just felt right. Hard to explain that. It seemed like when we met this was who we should have do the work. When we were walking around outside he talked about giving us separate bids for each part of the project. He got that we can’t just drop $40,000 at once on the project to get it all done at once. I know they took measurements and will be emailing bids to me later, and I’m praying that these are doable for us, that we can get started maybe this fall and do another step next spring. That maybe my kitchen doesn’t have to be put off too much longer.

For the first time since we had that first meeting and quote I’m hopeful.
Pictures of the yard right now … Hoping we can go from the top down and then out to the sides. Thankful the south neighbors are willing to help with the fence that borders our properties, that will be huge! Oh, and maybe we can get the cable buried too, wouldn’t that be nice.

The middle tier in our yard and a close up of some of the bushes and stuff that's overgrown.

The middle tier in our yard and a close up of some of the bushes and stuff that’s overgrown.

Mostly what the yard looks like, the middle and sides.

Mostly what the yard looks like, the middle and sides.

The uppermost tier and the broken fences, all the weeds. The one tree or bush I like is the reddish purple one.

The uppermost tier and the broken fences, all the weeds. The one tree or bush I like is the reddish purple one.

The sides of the yard. More fence issues because apparently when the north neighbors redid their fence the previous owner did not follow suit.

The sides of the yard. More fence issues because apparently when the north neighbors redid their fence the previous owner did not follow suit.


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