Typed While Snacking on Graham Crackers

Is it really Friday already? Where did the week go?

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We spent our Fourth of July in Breckenridge with family from out of town. Normally we just drive up for the parade and head back in the same day, but this time we all rented out condos and stayed for the weekend. Our first stop was at the fire station so that we could go on bucket rides on the ladder truck. (Perks of being married to a fire fighter.)

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We spent the rest of the weekend participating in the parade/ Independence day festivities…

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… and just simply enjoying the mountain town atmosphere and each other’s company.

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(Oh yeah, and the bubbles… you’re never too old for bubbles.)

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Unfortunately, Penelope came down with a fever and ended up puking all over our bed during our stay. By the time Monday rolled around the rest of us were coming down with Penelope’s cold. Our out of town family had already left so the girls and I dropped Brent off at work before having a breakfast picnic and heading back down the mountain.

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As we made our way down we descended into gloomy rainy weather that didn’t let up for three days solid.

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The temperatures were in the 60’s but it was a welcome reprieve since we all fell victim to Penelope’s cold. Soup was on the menu and snuggling/Netflix was the only thing on the agenda. With the weather being crappy I didn’t feel too guilty about it. When the clouds finally parted I made my way to the garden to see how it had faired while we were gone and was surprised to see that it had grown a ton in just a few short days!

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This is perfect timing because after enjoying all of the holiday fair my body was craving something straight from the ground.

(Typed while snacking on graham crackers.)

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I’m such a hypocrite…

It’s okay though, because I can feel my arm muscles twitch every time I shovel a cracker into my mouth due to an unusually hard yoga class in which I almost suffocated in my own boobs. But that’s a story for another day…

I Don’t Know What Happened…

Hi guys. I don’t know what happened…

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One day I’m at IKEA and the next thing I know… it’s a week later, my legs are speckled in paint and I have a deep desire to hunt down the previous owners of our house and give them a good talking to about their poor choice of paint colors. (Black trim and brown paint- it took me two solid days to paint over the black.)

I could not, would not stop until this project was finished!

It was an obsession really, but the results paid off. By the time Brent came home from work his man(ish) cave was ready after he put the furniture together himself. He finally had a nice place to sit back and watch his Cardinal’s baseball games. And then during commercials he could admire the Cardinal’s memorabilia he’s been waiting to hang up.

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You can take the boy out of St. Louis but you can’t take the St. Louis out of the boy, I guess.

I owed it to him after all because 1.) Father’s Day was coming up and 2.) He has stayed at home with the kids to let me hang out with my friends a lot lately.

Like that one time I got to go see Wicked!

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(I’m really just telling you about Wicked so that I can post this picture of me wearing lipstick.)

It’s a new discovery, lipstick. I never wear it, but Penelope got into my makeup bag and found the obnoxious lipstick I bought a few years back to compensate for my shortcomings as a woman. I never wore it because it was a bit over kill, but on this particular day when I had nowhere to go I decided to give it a whirl. (After I wiped it off of Penelope’s forehead, of course.)

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And I liked it… kind of.

Maybe I just needed the color after having chosen not to wear makeup for three days in a row. Having gone for so long without makeup meant that there was no mascara residue left over to indicate that my blonde eyelashes actually existed. One swipe of lipstick and a pair of sunglasses made it look like I had actually taken the time to fix up my face. I was impressed.

So I did what anyone does when they are overcome with vanity. I took a selfie. (And then kind of regretted it because it was so… well, vain.)

I was scheduled to see Wicked the next day but didn’t have anything fancy enough to wear to the event. I decided to overcompensate for this fact by accessorizing with a huge necklace and bright lips. It worked and I ended up having a blast that night!

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The day after Wicked was the IKEA day and then all time was lost. Three days and three buckets of paint later I was free to meet Brent in the mountains for the Frisco BBQ Festival.

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Brent’s fire department was participating in a cooking competition to raise funds for our friend, Jason, who just found out that he has cancer.

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Cancer is common among firefighters due to all of the toxins they encounter in fires, so a Presumptive Cancer Act has been passed to make sure the financial burden does not lie on the fire fighter. Jason, however, has a rare form of cancer that does not respond to chemo or radiation, nor does it fit into the CPFF Presumptive Cancer list. Therefore,  treatments aren’t covered and his family will ultimately have to cover the costs out of pocket.

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Jason is the shirtless guy…

(From a far it looks like he’s taking donations to fund his protein shake habit.)

He’s shirtless because a few ladies kindly offered to make a sizeable donation if he took his shirt off. Plus, he looks good without a shirt sooo he’s just doing us all a good favor. Brent is the union president for the fire department and has been racking his brain trying to come up with ways to raise funds for Jason and this cook off is just one of them.

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Plus, Brent’s super competitive and really just wanted to win.

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 (They got 2nd place. He doesn’t want to talk about it…)

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I jumped on board because this Texas girl will find any reason to head for the mountains. It’s always so beautiful!

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Besides, the girls love participating in the festivities.

The next day was Father’s Day and we surprised Brent with photos of the girls for his locker at work…

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And then I made him some of his favorite St. Louis style foods…

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Gooey Butter Cake, Rich and Charlie’s Salad and Toasted Ravioli

Luckily our air conditioner wasn’t working properly and I was too hot to eat too much of it. However, I did suck down the iced tea with a vengeance. After partaking in BBQ festivities and Gooey Butter Cake I decided to set my alarm on Monday morning to ensure I woke up for an early morning run.  It was time to get back on track!

It was then that I rediscovered why I love  early summer mornings so much…

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Hotair Balloons! (Ugh and black trim paired with brown paint…)

It’s here! It’s Really Here!

It’s here! It’s really, really here… Summer!

Last week Bridget and I took our last day of school photo to commemorate the occasion.

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(After we got into a fight over how short her last day of school shorts should be…. I won.)

I thought this day would never come. During Memorial Day weekend I ended up throwing my back out and was bed ridden, all dreams of frolicking in the sun were banished. I still had a week left of school to survive and I couldn’t even get off the toilet without screaming.

On that Saturday I had backed my car out of the garage to take Penelope for a bike ride. I had let her sit in the passenger seat for the ten foot journey because that’s a super awesome thing to do when you’re three. I tried to lower her out of my car while I was still seated and the next thing I knew both Penelope and I were on our hands and knees in the driveway. The twisting, lowering motion caused something in my lower back to shift and pop. I didn’t realize just how high up I was in my SUV and in one swift moment I ruined my life.

(Yes, that’s a bit melodramatic, but that was the thought that popped in my head as I watched an ant make its way toward my hand on the pavement, mocking me.)

I totally thought I was screwed for summer, but by Wednesday of my last week of school I felt just fine. (FALSE ALARM!) I was a little sore but I was walking normal, and I no longer looked like I was 98. And thankfully I didn’t have to endure grunting every time I moved in front of a room full of middle schoolers. At this point, I didn’t really have time to think about all of the things I was going to do when I was free for summer, I was still swept up in the hustle and bustle of ending the school year.  Summer still felt like a distant dream.

Then Friday came around and I found myself standing in my empty classroom with nothing left to do. For the first time in ten months I allowed myself to take a deep breath.

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I did it… I survived my first year of teaching!

It wasn’t until yesterday rolled around that it really hit me. It was Sunday and I didn’t have to scramble to get everything done in preparation of  the next week. It was true… I was free!

For the first time I actually took a long hard look at myself. My once taught legs are speckled with cellulite (a new development) and I’m soft, flabby and pale. I looked over at my kids and somehow they look older. Where have I been?

I’ve been so focused on surviving my first year of teaching I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten to live. So many things have gone neglected. Sure, I was a great teacher who took really good care of her students. But somewhere along the way I stopped taking care of myself and so many little moments with my kids and my husband have been missed.

It hit me, I have a lot of catching up to do.

So I did what any self-conscious, flabby, pale 30-something would do. I put on my bathing suit…

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…and I went outside to play!

(Notice I didn’t take a picture of me in my bathing suit. Ha!)

So far we’ve gone on bike rides…

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have been hunting for frogs…

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we’ve picked our first home grown strawberries…

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and of course we’ve been gardening…

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So far we’re off to a great start. I’ve resumed my healthy eating schedule. I’ve marked every fun festival and free activity on my calendar. I’ve planned outdoor movie nights at my house. And I’ve arranged a summer job for Bridget walking an elderly neighbor’s dog.

I can’t quite run yet due to my back but I’m on a mission to find my muscles and a sense of balance before we return to school in the fall.

In the mean time, I plan on getting reacquainted with the blog and myself in the process. You can expect two to three blog posts a week. Just like the old days 😉 But as for now… I need to put on some sunblock in preparation for a bike ride to my friend’s house for a coffee date.

Have a great day everyone!

Lately…

Well hello dear friends!

I haven’t written a blog post in ages… I miss you.

I’ve been busy trying to keep my job. I have a temporary position and have been offered a full-time position teaching 6th grade Language Arts and Creative Writing next year. But I recently found out that they offered it to me prematurely and I now have to jump through the proper HR hoops to ensure that I have a job next year.

The unknown has got me a bit stressed out. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the blog is always going to suffer near the end of the school year simply because I’m just too busy to frolic around.

Plus, the weather around here has been awful. I’m pretty sure I went two weeks without seeing the sun. It actually even snowed on Mother’s Day.

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When the sun did decide to make an appearance while I wasn’t working the last thing I wanted to do was sit down inside and write a blog post. Sorry but it’s true. Instead, during those short snippets of time when the sun would peak out through the clouds I felt compelled to hunt for puddles with Penelope…

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Then slowly but surely the clouds would roll back around and we would be stuck inside again. And that made me want nothing more than to cuddle up with a blanket with a hot cup of earl grey and get lost in a book.

My current obsession is Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, which takes place in the Highlands of Scotland.

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You would think that I would have chosen to escape to a place where it never rained but reading it with the rain pelting the window made it all that much better.  Besides, it’s not too shabby when you have this guy to keep you company…

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You know, when you aren’t too busy looking admiringly at your husband as he obsesses over Cardinals baseball 🙂

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Apparently, this is a TV show on Starz but I haven’t been able to watch it. Good thing too or I definitely would not find myself in a rehireable position.

However, when the sun did come out I took full advantage and planted seeds for the garden before the rain came pelting down again.

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Penelope is quite the garden helper these days…

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In addition to mammoth sunflowers and wildflowers, I’ve planted pumpkins and two types of kale. My rainbow carrots from last year took it upon themselves to reseed and take over the garden. While the potatoes I never picked last year have popped up ready for a second chance. Brent also weed whacked my raspberry bush last year (no that’s not a euphemism) and it has come back thriving along with my strawberry patch and herbs. It appears that my years as a failed gardener are paying off!

The other day I found a lot of little green bugs in my strawberries and took photos to show the professionals at the nursery. It turns out that they are aphids, the lady bugs meal of choice. He gave me two choices 1.) Spray the shit out of the strawberries to try to knock them down. 2.) Buy lady bugs and release them in the wild so that they can consume the vagrants.

We chose option number 2 simply because lady bugs are cute…

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This was clearly the best choice. Penelope has observed several of them giving each other “piggy back rides” hopefully that means that they’ll multiply and be around to take care of the spider mites that usually attack my tomatoes.

All of these garden preparations have made me so ready for warm weather and summer fun! I can’t wait for the freedom that it will allow me. I need to get back in touch with myself and reconnect with the balance of health and work.

Captain Hook Adventures

You know what? Monday’s usually suck but today is a great day!

I know this because I woke up to find a hot air balloon hovering over my backyard. (It’s my good luck charm.) It must have been a Happy Birthday hello to my sweet Penelope who turns three today!

As you could tell from my last post, things have been super busy as of late. The trend continued through the weekend but the focus of my efforts was trained on spending quality time with my girls instead of planning lessons and grading papers.

The guilt of being so focused on work somehow landed me on the couch on Friday night watching “Ouija” with Bridget.

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I hated it. At one point I screamed so loud I made Bridget scream, not because she was scared of the movie but because I startled her. Brent came in and out while we were watching it and made the special effort to make fun of it just enough to really get on Bridget’s nerves.

Then he took it upon himself to try to creep her out by writing “Hi friend” on every shiny surface he could find using dry erase marker. We would randomly find them throughout the entire weekend. Bridget acted like she was annoyed but you could tell that she thought it was funny.

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(You would have to see the movie to understand.)

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When Saturday arrived Penelope woke us up at 6:00 with her daily proclamation of… “The sun woked up! It’s time to wake up now!” This is usually followed by, “NOW! Wake up NOW!!!”

…and that’s when she ceases to be cute.

I didn’t fight her too hard because there was a lot to be done for her birthday party that day because up until that point I had done nothing in preparation for the event. Seriously, I had invited a few friends over last minute, but other than that nothing had been bought or prepared. Therefore, there was a lot on the “To Do” list for that day…

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Her party was a smorgasbord of themes. It was a garden, pirate, princess, super hero party and it was divine!

Brent had spent hours beforehand putting together a little garden house for her birthday present, to be located between our two garden beds. It took him hours to complete but the final product was adorable!

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Despite the lack of preparation on my part, the party was a smashing success! Indulge me as I bombard you with photos…

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I think the cutest part was when Bridget and her friend led the little kids on a treasure hunt adventure…

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It pretty much entailed leading the kids on a wild goose chase, enticing them to do weird things along the way until they found a box of goodies.

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It was like The Goonies minus the criminals and skeletons… and curse words.

The next day when we woke up we all looked like this…

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(Baby hangover.)

Despite the fact that we were all exhausted Penelope decided that she needed to be potty trained. It was my intention to take on this endeavor this summer as soon as school let out, but she had other plans. She insisted on wearing her underwear. I can’t deny a woman on a mission so we went for it.

Therefore, I spent my Sunday like this…

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Luckily, she chose the venture when the weather was nice. When I got sick of cleaning up her messes we went outside to pee play.

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(Doesn’t she look like she belongs in a Little Golden Book?)

It was so beautiful outside with the blossoms and the green grass. After I got Penelope ready for bed, I took her on a bike ride to see if we could find the signs of spring…

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We ended up finding Captain Hook in a tree. This entailed sprinting around the neighborhood narrowly escaping his over exaggerated efforts at catching us.

Sadly, I woke up with sore calves and hamstrings. I think it’s time to amp it up in the gym.

When I woke up on this Monday I couldn’t help but feel fulfilled after a weekend like that. Then I stepped on the scale…I weighed in at 198.4. I think a few more Captain Hook adventures around the neighborhood are in order. Luckily, the birthday celebrations are over and I’ve got six weeks before school lets out to trim down for summer.

I’ve also got a toddler trying to take a dump in my kitchen while I cook dinner so the odds of me losing my appetite at any given moment are in my favor… Silver linings folks, silver linings.