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It’s been a while…(long read)

I decided to take quite a few weeks off from blogging during the holiday season. It was one thing that I could take off my To Do List guilt free even though it is one of the few things I do for myself. I did miss writing and getting my thoughts ‘down on paper’ per se. Then once the New Year started I found it hard and almost daunting to start up again. Silly I know, but that is how I felt. So I decided my first post both in the New Year and back from my hiatus would be a summary of the last seven weeks filled with a few stories and pictures!

One super exciting thing that happened the last weekend in November was I got my hair colored. Not like a ‘normal’ hair dye job like I usually get, but a fun color! Aquamarine is how I would describe it. I absolutely LOVE it! I have always been hesitant with pushing certain boundaries. After my daughter had her hair colored to be a magical mermaid or galaxy-esque color in September I have endured – yes ENDURED – some major hair envy. So recognizing my growing desire to have her hair made into a wig I could wear as unnatural, I decided to take the more mature adult option and get my own hair colored so I could feel like a unicorn also.

This was a big decision. Many times when I have thought about taking the leap into the fun zone I chickened out. Thoughts of: what will people think, what if I hate it, will my work be okay with it, lingered and pestered me until I placed the idea of getting my hair colored on the back burner. One thing that TM has taught me is that you have to live in the present and enjoy what you have because you never know when something will change your life forever.

One of the best things about getting my hair cut, colored or both is spending the day with my Sister and Momma! Plus the super awesome, amazing, phenomenal head massage! We talk, joke, ponder and harass each other all day long with coffee in hand…and it is truly the best! These two women are some of the smartest, funniest, most loving people you will ever meet. I am very lucky to call them family. Plus, they are pretty cute too!

On the second weekend in December Taylor and I went to a ballet together. For the last few years we have made it a tradition to dress up and have a mother / daughter dinner date and ballet night. We have been planning our night around Taylor’s cousin, Peyton’s, performances. This year she danced in the The Little Matchstick Girl.

We enjoy these nights out for so many reasons. Just to name a few:

  • Getting dolled up – Tay doing her own makeup
  • Quality “us” time outside of the house – away from all things distracting
  • Yummy food – SUSHI
  • Gossip & Giggles – boys are now a topic of conversation!! She be crushin’.
  • Watching Peyton dance ballet with elegance and grace beyond her years

This year we chose to eat at Tavernakaya, a trendy sushi joint on the capital square. After we were sufficiently stuffed we walked a few blocks to the theatre stopping only to take a few pictures. The ballet was beautiful. The dancers did a fantastic job and expressed so many emotions in both their movements and facial expressions. The made a childhood favorite of mine come to life.Peyton danced beautifully, as always, and Taylor was in awe watching her solo en pointe.

Over the last month I have made it a mission to make a variety of hearty comfort food dinners. This was made slightly more complicated by avoiding dairy due to my lame lactose intolerance. Creamy baked potato soup, chicken pot pie and beef stew were my dishes of choice. They all turned out delicious, thankfully. I think the pot pie was my favorite. It is something I can rarely eat and it was loaded with some of my favorite vegetables. It is one of those dishes that warms your soul, not just your stomach.

I also tried my hand at making a dairy free Peanut Butter Banana Creme Pie. Holy cow, it was so freaking good that I ended up eating two thirds of it within three days. It was smooth, creamy and delicious. The best part of this dessert was that i could savor it without getting sick. I will definitely be making it again. When I do, I will be making two pies – one for me and one for everyone else (seriously, not joking).

Wine. Oh yes, wine, wine, wine. Wine is something that I have been working on during my hiatus. Working very hard at it too, I might add. Lol. I am relearning what kinds of wine I enjoy. For some reason since I got sick my tastes for specific wines has changed. This started out super annoying because all of my previous favorites became instant duds. But I have made amends with the predicament and decided not to be upset by it, but instead use my situation as an excuse to taste many flavors and types of wine. I even found a couple wines that I enjoy through wine tastings at Wine Styles and Table Wine.  French, Italian and Washington (state) are my favorite, for now any ways.

In December we did a few craft projects: Gingerbread houses, yarn ornaments, embroidered ornaments just to name a few. We also spent time as a family at home. This is a special treat. Just to enjoy being home with each other without rushing from place to place. Board games ensued, as did many movies and snuggles on the couch. We even made a batch of sugar cookies. The sugar cookies we made were not only a lot of fun to make and decorate, but also delicious!

For Christmas I decided I wanted to take a family photograph since it had been a while. Plus we did not have a good family picture with the pooch. This idea come as a spur of the moment ADHD thought. If any of you also have this super power you know that these ideas are fast moving so if you would like to retain them you must act on them immediately (or write them down somewhere you will see regularly as to not lose them). So that night I set up our family room and my camera. Then I sent my husband, who was at the Packer game these pictures to let him know what would be happening the next morning before we drove to see his folks. The pictures below will give you a glimpse into how much fun I am!

Our holidays went relatively smoothly. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our various Christmas Events. Having four generations in one pictures is always a treat. I also really love this picture of my in laws smiling, laughing and enjoying each other.

Group photos are a lot of fun to take, especially the silly ones 🙂

In the pictures below a few family members were missed due to them living out of state. We missed them and made sure to talk about them since they were not there to defend themselves.

We had some good moments over Christmas Eve and Christmas, however we also a couple scares. Apparently excitement and adventure will always be apart of our lives. Christmas Eve I had very severe chest pain (right side) that radiated through to my back making it hard to breathe or move. The pain intensified if i moved my neck, torso or right arm. This didn’t subside after twenty minutes so we called the nurse line and went in for tests. After an EKG, x-ray and blood tests they ruled out a heart attack, stroke and blood clot I was told that I was ‘healthy’. Apparently I managed to pull multiple muscles in my chest and back…yup, at the ripe ole age of 31 I did this all while rolling out sugar cookie dough. Seriously though, you can’t make this crap up.

Then Tay gave us a scare on Christmas night. We were on our way home from grandma’s when she said her tongue was swollen and she had a lump in her throat when trying to swallow. Since we were next to Walgreens we grabbed her benadryl before talking to a nurse and popping over to the ER. By saying ‘popping over’ it sounds less terrifying. In all honesty I was quite shaken with fear, but was able to stay composed for Taylor’s sake. The doctors took great care of her and were beyond attentive. Apparently she had a Severe Sensitivity not an Allergic Reaction. Whatever they want to call it, she was reacting to something – unfortunately we were not really able to pinpoint the exact item. The only thing that Taylor consumed that day outside of her normal diet was “old fashioned candies”. After a few hours of being under observation we took our sleeping little girl home, grateful that everything turned out okay.

Moving on to happier things… We vamped up Taylor’s dye job over winter break and took some photos, directed by this spunky 9 year old. So neat to see what she comes up with. She spent most of her time at home after Christmas in her dance warm up booties (her something to wear gift). Oh yes, if you did not get the chance to read Tis the Season for Stress you may not know that we do a Four Gift Christmas for our daughter. Now before you think that she is being deprived – I PROMISE you, she is anything but.

As for the Four Gift Christmas it is as simple as it sounds, four gifts. The gifts fall into these categories: something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. This helps her focus on her wishlist, making it have direction other than EVERY toy or item out there that is plastered on t.v. or catalogs. It has helped up focus on what is important and reduce the pressure to get her everything she wants or is the new IT toy this season. It has made Christmas in our home less stressful and more enjoyable. This tradition has also opened up some great conversations about giving just to give, obligatory gifting and valuing people more than things.

We had a few weeks of temperatures well below zero. Our short haired rescue pup was hating it just as much as I was. So, she became a sweater wearing dog while inside our home and she borrowed Tay’s sweatshirt to wear under her doggie coat. Walks were kept very short and at a fast pace. Thank goodness for paw wax to protect the pads of her feet! Shiva even got the royal treatment on the nastiest days. When she came in the house she was met with a warmed blanket and snuggled until she warmed up.

The frigid temperatures took quite a beating on my body. Although I try not to complain or talk about it often those two weeks were very tough. Not only did the temperature increase the nerve pain in my legs and feet, but it also increased my muscle stiffness In turn this messed with my sleep and walking. I had to resort to using my cane for a couple days which is annoying to use and provokes a mental battle on the issue. Now that the temperature is above zero I am hurting a little less, but dreading any more cold fronts moving through.

In an effort to try and distract myself from the discomfort and pain I tried to apply false eyelashes for the first time. Boy was that a learning experience! The first eye went smoothly, but the second – YIKES! Not sure why that was the case, but man oh man, the second eye was crooked and not all the way stuck. I have included a picture for your viewing entertainment.

Taylor and I spent one day at the Children’s Museum for a Wizard Academy. When we first arrived Taylor was assigned to House Ravenclaw. There was a station to create a magic wand. Taylor chose to go with a simple design of wood and wire. She was also able to sculpt a Mandrake out of clay. The scavenger hunt was a lot of fun and quite challenging. Taylor even was able to play a modified game of Quidditch. After spending the day at the museum we walked to a local coffee shop and got fancy coffee and hot chocolate.

Below is a picture of Taylor after she scored the winning shot and her ‘game face’. This made me laugh. I was also able to make a few kids and parents laugh at my commentary during the game. The fun banter always reminds me of my dad, causing trouble and making people smile.

Taylor and I also got a couple weeks alone with each other while Nick was at Annual Training. We spent time playing Swish and Laser Maze which Taylor got for Christmas. In addition to reading an adolescent version of A Thousand Paper Cranes, A Hundred Dresses and Hidden. These were great books that provoked some new conversations. I love getting to see how her mind works and the way she processes new information and scenarios. We were able to break up the two week stint by meeting Nick halfway and doing dinner and a game of bowling.

2017-12-31 14.10.14.jpgIt is crazy to look at my little girl and see her growing up before my eyes. Some days she looks like a young lady and others I still see my baby looking back at me.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this! I hope you enjoyed my update. Until next time…