Summer Bucket List

I don’t know about you, but I have a list of things that are quintessentially summer that just need to happen in order for my summer to feel complete. I like to roll with it, for the most part. But I do have a running list of things we need to accomplish in just two(ish) short months!

  • Sleep late.
  • Stay at the pool until our toes are wrinkly.
  • See a baseball game.
  • Eat ice cream for lunch.
  • Catch fireflies.
  • Ride with the windows down.
  • Sleep in a tent.
  • Spend a day at the zoo.
  • Go on a road trip.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Chase down the ice cream truck.
  • Make milkshakes.
  • Watch fireworks.
  • Roast marshmallows over an open fire – bonus if we makes s’mores with them!
  • Have a water balloon fight.
  • Take a turn on the slip ‘n’ slide.
  • Grow something.
  • Go to the fair.
  • Eat a snow cone (or shave ice).
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Make sun tea.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Play mini golf.
  • Eat from a food truck.
  • Have a movie marathon on a rainy day.
  • Make ice cream floats.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • Listen to an outdoor concert.
  • Visit an amusement park.
  • Send a postcard.
  • Shop at the Farmer’s Market.
  • Host a BBQ.
  • Paint something.
  • Find a rainbow.

What have I forgotten? What are your must-do summer bucket list items?

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It’s National Donut Day!

I haven’t announced this here yet, but I recently began writing as a contributor for the Omaha Moms Blog. I told literally no one that I’d applied, because I was sure I would never be chosen. It was such a wonderful surprise to receive the e-mail asking me to join the team!

I have a post up this week in honor of National Donut Day…which is today! I had a sweet model to help me get a great pic for the post, so stop by and check out my list of places to find a great donut in Omaha! Leave a comment if you’re feeling really generous. 😉

The Last Day of School

It’s the last day of school. When I see my kids again, they’ll no longer be a 3rd and 6th grader. And don’t they look really excited to be just a day away from summer break? (ha!)

This transition is giving me lots of feelings. Next year, for the first time since they began school, my two kiddos will be attending different schools. Aidan will move on to middle school and leave Neely behind in elementary. The next time they attend school together will be Aidan’s senior year of high school. 

I don’t know why that feels like such a big deal to me. Maybe it’s because my brother and I only went to the same school for one year. He was in kindergarten, and I was in the sixth grade. I probably wasn’t nearly as nice to him as I should have been. But I’ve seen my kids get excited to pass one another in the hallways at school, give each other high-fives and hugs. It’s sweet, and I’m fairly certain the dynamic will have changed greatly in six years. She’ll always be the pesky little sister, but will senior Aidan want to give freshman Neely an encouraging high-five in the hallway of their high school? I hope so. And yes, I know I’m borrowing trouble from years in the future.

Staying Ahead of the Calendar

The month of May. It’s insane. We’re in the throes of the last few weeks of school. We’ve got band concerts and soccer practices and middle school open houses and soccer games and doctors’ appointments and finding the perfect Mother’s Day gifts and field day and trips to the dentist…and, oh, by the way, all the other regular stuff like work, laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning have to happen at some point as well.

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

I have a long, crazy list that I’m using to try and keep my life together. And a paper planner. And the calendar in my phone. And about a billion and one reminders and Post-It notes. Despite all of that, I know that at some point, I’m going to forget something. I just hope it’s not something earth-shattering, like the snacks for the soccer game, or to leave my makeup on for my Zoom conference meeting this evening, or to mail those Mother’s Day gifts on time! My mental load is through the roof, and that’s with all my handy helpers like ClickList and Eat Fit Go.

Hit me with your best tips, tricks, and time savers for when life gets a little crazy!

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Vacation Post-Mortem

Vacation.

I breathe a huge sigh of relief the day we drive (or fly) away. Why? Because I’ve done all I can. All the laundry that can be done is done. The house is either left clean, or it’s not. Hopefully, I’ve finished any work tasks or projects that might loom over my head. I’ve set up my email auto-reply and my vacation voicemail and packed my bags. If I’ve forgotten something, there isn’t anything I can do.

This past weekend, we attended a wedding (kid-free!) in Temecula, California. We added an extra day to the trip for relaxing and exploring the area. This post isn’t really about the trip itself, but if you’re ever planning a trip to the area, I highly recommend a stay at The Inn at Europa Village. Chef Dean’s breakfasts are phenomenal. The Europa Village winery was one of our favorites, and we also stopped in at Peltzer, Chapin Family Vineyards, Doffo Winery, and Avensole Winery (where the wedding was held – gorgeous venue). If you’re hungry, Goat & Vine, The Public House, and 1909 are all great places to dine. The sun was shining. The weather was wonderful. We met up with friends, old and new. It was a great weekend.

Then…and then…we came home. It’s like all of those things I did before we left, in hopes I wouldn’t return to a disaster, didn’t even happen. The laundry regenerated. That empty work to-do list piled right back up in my absence. The girl had to be taken to soccer practice. I had a Derby themed event I’d agreed to attend and only one day to buy and assemble a hat. Sheets and towels need to be washed and the house needs to be cleaned to prepare for another set of house guests this weekend. (This is not me complaining. I love having company!)

To cap it all off, I haven’t managed a decent night of sleep since we returned. What is that about? I didn’t have any trouble adjusting to the bed at the bed & breakfast in California, but I have to deal with an adjustment period returning home??? So frustrating.

It will all be fine. I’m still smiling and loving life. I am so thankful for the weekend away. I think my brain still wants to be on vacation. I’m having trouble catching back up and finding my “normal” rhythm again. I have a vacation hangover.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this! What do you find hardest about returning home from travel?

Take Care of Yourself, Mama

Who here is not so great at taking care of themselves? So often we (I’m looking at you, Moms) are so busy taking care of other humans that we forget about ourselves.

Trying to do it all is hard work. We feed our people three meals a day, keep them in clean clothes, go to work, pay the bills, do housework, make sure homework is done, drive them to school, church, sports, and then we rinse and repeat over and over and over again…am I right? Husbands are helpful, and I don’t know about yours, but mine isn’t always here to assist with the daily grind.

It is important to be really intentional, so that I don’t lose my ever-loving mind, about trying to do something just for me every day. Yes! I said that. Every. Day. I also said “try.” 😉 It doesn’t have to be something huge or earth-shattering, but I want you to learn to take care of yourself, too.

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Self-care looks different for everyone. Here are a few ideas to get you rolling.

Take a shower, and blow-dry your hair. I’m looking at you, moms of babies and tots. I know it’s hard to sneak that shower in some days, but it will make you feel human.

Spend an hour reading a book. While you’re at it, sip a cup of hot tea and snuggle up under a cozy blanket, too.

Sleep late on a Saturday. If your little humans are still very young, this may require the help of a husband or friend who’s willing to stay the night and wake up early to take care of the tiny terrorists. I’m kidding! Your kids are perfect! It’s just mine who are terrorists. (haha!)

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Exercise! Start the day with a good workout, and get those endorphins going. Or end a long day with one to relieve stress.

Go to that yoga class you keep saying you want to try out.

Find a babysitter or a Mom’s Day Out program. Even if all you do is go grocery shopping by yourself, it will be money well spent.

Have a spa day. Get a massage, a haircut, a manicure…shoot, make an appointment for all of the above!

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Wear your favorite outfit, even if it is “too fancy” for the grocery store, school pick-up, whatever you’re doing today. It makes you feel good, so wear it!

Spend time with your friends. If your kids are in school, like mine, take advantage and plan a fun lunch outing! If your children are younger, plan a play date and invite them to come to you. They may need an excuse to talk to another adult, too. 😉

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Remember to be YOU. You aren’t just somebody’s mom, somebody’s wife, the PTA president, soccer coach, snack mom, etc. It is absolutely OK to take time out for the things you enjoy most!

 

Thanksgiving Preparations

“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” –1 Thessalonians 5:18

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Thanksgiving is a tricky holiday. I seem to either feel thankful and happy and exceptionally blessed, or I don’t. I know, logically, that I have plenty to be thankful for. We are all healthy. We have a roof over our heads. All of our needs are met. I just don’t feel myself riding high on a wave of gratitude. I find myself, more than anything, missing the rhythm and traditions we’ve built over the last few years in our last home. I’m going through the motions: making a grocery list, timing out the best way to prepare for Thursday to prevent feeling overwhelmed, and trying to think of ways to keep the kids occupied and entertained over the next week while they are out of school. But this year, we don’t have the friends we’ve been celebrating with these past few Thanksgiving holidays, the friends we most love celebrating with, eating with, drinking with, laughing with, watching football with, arguing with. It feels strange, planning for just the four of us.

Family doesn’t often come to us for Thanksgiving, and we don’t generally have the time or the money to commit to traveling a long distance for such a short period of time. For the last little while, I’ve at least had “Friendsgiving” to distract me from that, but this year, I’m feeling a little lost and lonely. And I’m feeling guilty for not being 100% satisfied with what I have. This is Thanksgiving, after all. I’m supposed to feel thankful, especially when I have so much more than so many people. When life brings us to hard places, gratitude doesn’t immediately follow. Yet, the Bible says to give thanks in all things. That means all the good things and all the bad things, all the blessings and all the messes, all the joy and all the pain. I just need to figure out a way to focus on those positives instead of the negatives that so often occupy my thoughts.

I believe that I will get there. I’ll get swept up in the grocery shopping and the preparations. I’ll force my children to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with me, and I’ll bake more desserts than side dishes. I’ll pray that we don’t catch the turkey pot on fire again. We’ll call our friends and family, and we’ll make the best of our celebration, no matter how small.