14 Books in 2014-Book Two

Wow! I’m so behind on my reading. I need to pick up the pace!

But I wanted to take my time with this last one. It was so good.

I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

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I had heard a lot about this book before I started reading it. Let me say, it did not disappoint. I thought it was fantastic. It was a long one and I loved it. It is an engaging story that follows the life of Theodore Decker, a 14-year-old living in Manhattan with his mother until tragedy strikes and Theo’s life is turned upside down. It’s about all that life involves; tragedy, death, friendship, love, ethics and morals, but it’s not at all predictable.

It didn’t take long for me to really get into this book and once I was half way through I had to make myself put it down at night.

I couldn’t always relate to the character’s tragic story, but I could relate to his emotions. They were real and I became invested in the story right from the start. It was thought-provoking and when it was over, I was left wanting more. I didn’t want it to end. I will most likely read this one again some time in the future.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars. I would most definitely recommend this book to a friend!

 

Happening Now

Celebrating my birthday this week. It’s on Sunday and the weather is supposed to be fantastic! Hooray!

Looking forward to my official business launch party in a few weeks. Hopefully this will be the jump start that I need.

Getting excited about garden plans.

Starting to Spring clean and it feels good.

Using this printable from Ask Anna as my cleaning guide.

Selling baby stuff that I’ve held on for too long.

Reading Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider. Love it.

Working on Project Life finally! I drove all the way to Lincoln to get the Kiwi edition because it’s still sold out online and in Omaha. I’m so glad a did because I really like it and it was the only one they had.

Feeling better this week and looking forward to getting things back to normal around here.

Eating clean…well, as often as I can.

Grilling our dinners lately. Yum!

Exercising.

Making some new projects that I’ll be posting about soon. The creative juices are flowing again.

Taking photos  Lots of photos. Always.

Thinking ahead to birthday parties, holidays and all that is to come this season.

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When It’s Cancer…

For the past six months, my family and I have been waiting, as patiently as possible, to find out if my mom had cancer. Back in September she had to have a chest x-ray before she could switch to a new RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) medication, and to everyone’s surprise, something showed up on the x-ray. A very tiny spot on one of her lungs. It is common for RA patients to have nodules grow on their lungs because of the medication that they have to take, and because of this fact, the nodule wasn’t all that alarming. They told her that because it was so small and because she has RA, they weren’t super concerned with it and she would just need a follow-up x-ray in six months.

Waiting those six months was very hard on my mom. She could not shake the bad feeling she had. Finally after waiting six months, she had her second chest x-ray to see if the spot had grown. It had in fact grown ever so slightly. The next step was to do a PET scan to determine if it was cancer. She had to wait two more weeks. Once the PET scan was completed, she had to wait some more for the results. Four very long days. It turned out that the scan showed a slight glow that could possibly indicate cancer.

My mom was devastated. We were all devastated. The next step was to have it removed immediately. She had surgery last Friday and during the surgery they dissected the lump, sent it to the lab and found out that it was definitely cancer, so they removed the entire thing. It was a major surgery and the recovery is long and painful, but she’s doing pretty good.

It’s been very hard on everyone and I don’t think I realized just how much it was affecting me until after I found out she made it through surgery and was okay. I hadn’t cried at all, not the entire time, until I hung up the phone with my dad. Then I broke down. I couldn’t stop crying. My mom had cancer. It was gone, but it was real. It was so hard to wrap my head around, so I think I powered through as best I could with the information I had. But once I knew she was going to be okay…well I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I haven’t felt much like myself since Friday. I’m still trying to work through all my feelings. I’m so relieved that the cancer is out. I can’t believe how lucky she was and is. If she didn’t have RA, she wouldn’t have needed a chest x-ray and if she hadn’t had that x-ray, she wouldn’t have found out about the cancer. Her cancer was stage 1-A, which means they found it the earliest they could have possibly found it. For that reason, I’m so thankful that she has RA. Her cancer could have gone unnoticed until it was too late. Instead they found it early and removed it before it could spread anywhere else in her body. She is now cancer free!

I still need some time to heal emotionally. We all do. Especially my mom. So, I’m going to spend some time with her and I know that will make all the difference (I didn’t get to be there for her surgery). Hopefully by next week, I’ll be feeling back to my normal self and be able to focus attention on other things again, but for now, I’m giving all my attention to my mom.

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This is my mom with my uncle at Christmas. She will say she looks terrible in this photo. She always says that, but I think she looks happy.

Love you Mom!

See you next week!

Weekend Favorites

There wasn’t any thrifting this weekend, but there was lots of fun!

Date night with my cute hubby! I love date nights and they just don’t happen often enough.IMG_1890

 

Painting birdhouses with the kids outside on our deck. The weather was beautiful! The kids had so much fun and we crossed our first activity off our Spring Bucket List.IMG_1897IMG_1898

 

We all made a rainbow craft for St. Patrick’s Day. By the way, I learned from watching the Today show this morning that it is incorrect to call it St. Patty’s Day. It should be Paddy’s. Very interesting. I learn something new every day!

These are rainbow windsocks that I found on Pinterest, but you can find them here. The kids love these. They decided that they looked like jellyfish, so we glued on some googly eyes. Lots of fun and we crossed another activity off our Spring Bucket List.IMG_1909IMG_1914

 

 

And last, but not least, my favorite photo from the weekend. I’ve always loved watching my babies sleep and I still can’t get enough of it. She looks so peaceful and beautiful.Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

 

How was your weekend? Did you get to spend time outside? We were outside all day Saturday, but then it was cold again on Sunday. I did get a bunch of painting done while I was stuck inside though. So that was good.

I hope you’re having a great start to your week!

Spring Bucket List

I mentioned yesterday that I was thinking about making a Spring Bucket List/Spring Family Fun List. Well, I made one and I’m sharing it with you today. It is available for you to download.**PLEASE NOTE: This download is for personal use only**  To print your own copy simply right-click on the image and save it to your computer and print.

I hope it inspires you to get outdoors and enjoy the new season!

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You might notice that some of the activities on the list are repeats from previous Summer or Fall lists. I decided to repeat a few that were on the lists that either never got crossed off because we didn’t get to them or were activities on the list that we did when Harper was a baby and she couldn’t really participate in, such as painting birdhouses.

I can’t wait to start having some Springtime fun!

Enjoy!

Linked up at Thirty Handmade Days

 

Spring has Sprung!

I think it’s safe to say that Spring has finally arrived here in the Midwest…well, my part of the Midwest anyway. Bright blue skies, lots of sunshine, warmer temps and Robins are all good signs that Winter is on its way out. We’ve had four days that the temps reaches 60+ within the past week or so. And looking ahead at the forecast, it shows 50’s & 60’s. I’ll take it! I’ll take anything above 40 at this point!

With temps on the rise, I’ve been thinking about all the things I want to do outside this Spring and Summer. Here is a list of everything I would like to do and get done outside the house. You know I love a good list!

  • Host a launch party for my photography business (I would love for this to be outdoors instead of in, but it’s definitely up to Mother Nature)
  • Plan & Plant a garden (I want to involve Jeremy and the kids this year)
  • Get a swing set for the kids
  • Remove about 7 bushes from our backyard
  • Plant tall grasses where we remove the bushes
  • Powerwash and stain our deck
  • Seed and Fertilize the lawn
  • Plant flowers…a lot more flowers this year
  • Empty the sandbox and refill with pea gravel instead of sand
  • Plan a family vacation
  • Take the kids camping for the first time
  • Lots and lots of family outings (I’ll be listing these on our Summer Family Fun List again this year. You can check out last year’s list here.)
  • Get a new front door
  • Wash the windows
  • Spray paint projects (I can’t spray paint all winter because it’s too cold out, even in our heated garage)

Whoa…that’s a lot of stuff! I could probably keep going, but I think I’ll stop there before I totally overwhelm myself! Ha ha! I hope the weather sticks so that I can get going on this list as soon as possible.

I was also thinking about maybe creating a Spring Family Fun List this year. I have a list for every other season, so it seems fitting to make one for Spring as well.

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What are your plans for the new season? Are you as excited as I am?!

One Little Word-February

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I am trying to use my word, choose, as a personal guide throughout 2014 and the month of February it has worked out really well.

I have been determined to get moving, and by moving I mean running on a regular basis. Well, I’m finally really doing it. But I’m doing it on my terms and because I genuinely want to be more healthy. I know I talked about running in January too, but this month I actually got serious about it.

I’ve been choosing to go get on the treadmill everyday instead of doing other things. I visualize my word and myself running and it motivates me to put on my running clothes and get my butt on the treadmill. No excuses. I can choose to do laundry, vacuum or just sit OR I can choose exercise and choose myself first and get to those other things later. They can wait. Sure some days I just don’t feel like running, but I ask myself if there is a good reason or if I’m just being lazy. If there’s a good reason, I don’t run, but if it’s just laziness, then I make myself do it. I make sure to listen to my body and if for some reason it says I need a break, I take a break.

I’m feeling really good! I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and know that I can do even more; push a little harder. I can feel it getting easier and feel myself getting stronger. My plan is just to keep at it until it becomes my everyday lifestyle.

Next on the agenda is healthy eating. The focus for March is working toward eating more whole foods and NO fast food at all (I don’t eat much anyway, but it’s done). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Did you choose a word for the year? How is it working for you?

Weekend Favorites

We kept it very low-key around here this weekend. We were patiently  impatiently waiting for Sunday to roll around because the weather was supposed to be beautiful and it was! I had a baby shower on Saturday and got to catch up with some friends. It was really nice. We didn’t do much else. Just hung around the house. I did manage to get Jeremy to hang hooks on the back’s of the kids bedrooms doors, so that’s something.

We went out for coffee and to one thrift store on Sunday morning. I didn’t find anything cool, but we found a game, a puzzle (in perfect condition) and two books for the kids and it all ended up only costing $3. Pretty awesome. After that we went home to play outside and spent the rest of the day in the sun. The temp got up to 72 degrees. It felt so good!

I didn’t take very many photos this weekend, but here are a few favorites:

A nice quiet moment with my coffee and plants. I’m sure the quiet only lasted all of ten minutes, but it was lovely. Oh, and my donkey’s tail is doing great and even spreading in the pot! Hooray!photo (20)

 

Flip flops are always my favorite and yesterday was the first flip-flop day of the year! The kids love playing in water, so I made a make shift water box until we can get out the water table.photo (18)

 

I bought my favorite Easter candy yesterday. I love these little Nestle Crunch eggs. They’re just the right size. I’ll probably eat the whole package..photo (19)

 

It’s supposed to be sunny and warm again today. I can’t wait to get out and enjoy it! Have a great day!

Frame Gallery Wall

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I’ve mentioned a few times that we hung a frame gallery around our tv and entertainment stand. I collected both black and white frames, laid out the arrangement on my floor, traced the frames onto wrapping paper, cut them out and then taped them to the wall how I wanted them. And after some measuring and adjusting, we finally got it the way we wanted it.

I’m really happy with it, although I will say that I’m not 100% in love with the large black rectangle directly above the large black rectangle. I didn’t really think that one through before hanging everything. And it actually didn’t even occur to me until after a few days of living with and staring at the arrangement.

We have very high ceilings in our living room and we needed something to take the focus off of the tv and draw the eye up. We also needed something that would fill in that massive wall a bit. It always felt way too bare before. Here was our process. Please excuse the crappy photos and my hubby’s hat hair.

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I think it definitely serves it purpose of distracting focus from the tv and filling blank wall space, plus I love having some of our favorite photos, prints and kids artwork where I can see them all the time. Oh, and I want to mention that it is really difficult to photograph. We live in a split-level house and I can’t get back far enough to take a decent photo of the entire wall because of the steps, but I assure you that it is all centered even though the photos look otherwise.

It’s finished for now, but I would say that overall it’s a work in progress. We are in the market for a new tv stand (I’ve been stalking Craigslist), so that will affect it eventually, but I would also like to add  some smaller frames at some point and maybe change out the big frame in the center to eliminate the whole big black rectangle situation.

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So there you have it. Our little frame gallery wall. Lots of fun!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

**Frames are from IKEA, Michael’s and Gordmans.**