Thursday, December 28, 2017

White Christmas

We usually get snow a few times a year but hardly ever on Christmas.  And if it does snow on Christmas or Christmas Eve it doesn't stick.  This year it snowed Christmas Eve and stuck around through a few days after!  I couldn't believe it.  And not just at our house but at the in-laws, too.

We went there Christmas Eve and spent the night, came home after a nice turkey dinner and then it was back to work for me on Tuesday, but only for three days and now I have another 4-day weekend!  Woo-hoo!

Olivia got a ukulele...

And a new bike

Kayley got a hoverboard and LOVES it, I might add.

Kona got a toucan

My mantle 

Kayley delivering gifts via hoverboard

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Good Weekend

So I missed a few days of my 25 days of blogging.  Oh well, it was inevitable.

I had been looking forward to this weekend even more than I normally look forward to weekends (which is obvioulsy A LOT) because after a few pretty busy ones we have absolutely nothing going on and I have a new project I started last weekend and couldn’t wait to continue.  I am pretty good about purging my closet a few times a year and donating clothes I don’t wear anymore and what-not, but there are several household items in all parts of the house that I’ve been holding onto thinking that I will get around to using them or selling them but I never do, so my new project that I started last weekend and am going to continue over the next several weekends is going through every. Single. Room. In the entire house and getting rid of absolutely EVERYTHING that we don’t want or use.  Last weekend I did the master closet, Friday evening I did the linen closet and yesterday I did the master bathroom and my bedside table (and Paul did his and his portion of the master closet).  I still have a long ways to go but I'll do a little more today and just keep doing a little every weekend until I've gone through the entire house.

Friday night the girl's school had a Winter Bazaar. The girls and I went and did a little Christmas shopping.  Then one of their friends came home with us for a sleepover, but she ended up going home at midnight (she lives just a few houses away) because she couldn't fall asleep.  But she came back in the morning for breakfast and played some more.

Yesterday afternoon I took a break from my project to take Kona for a walk.  The weather lately has been gorgeous.  A little cold, but sunny.  We walked on some trails around our neighborhood and it was so nice.

It hard to snap a picture while holding your phone and a leash attached to a moving dog in one hand

After dinner we decided last minute to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  We do that every year, but this was pretty short because the girls were going to a friend's to watch a movie, so we will go out again next weekend and do it right

Today the girls get to go visit a friend who moved away in June but is in town visiting other friends.  That means that Paul and I can watch the Seahawks game in peace.  Except I'm still going to be working on my purging project and hopefully wrapping gifts.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Olivia's Choir Performance

On Monday the 4th and 5th grade choir had a field trip to the Seattle Center to perform for Winterfest.  Paul had the day off because he had to take his friend Joel to the airport and the timing worked out so that he could go watch Olivia.  I was really impressed with how they sounded at the first performance so I can only image how they sounded here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

On the News

We live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and we have lots of wildlife (bears, coyotes, bobcats, deer, etc.) that was here before all of our homes took over their habitat.  People are always posting animal sightings on FB, because it’s just cool to see a big ‘ol black bear ambling down the side of the road, and also to warn people that might be about to head out on an evening walk that there is a bear/coyote/bobcat in the area.

Lately there has been a huge increase in coyote sightings in particular.  Last Thursday a friend/neighbor texted a group of us to say that a coyote had been in her driveway while her son (6) was out playing (we both have homes that have the driveway/garage in the back with alley access).  She shooed it away, and a short time later it was back and all the way up to her patio this time (she has a pretty long driveway).  We were all like “Whoa” but then we got on with our evening.

Meanwhile, the next door neighbor girl was over playing with the girls.  Her dad and little sister were outside on their porch hanging Christmas lights.  An hour or so after the first neighbor’s text, another neighbor was texting us all about offering to drive everyone to choir practice the next morning.  Our next door neighbor whose daughter was over at the time and whose husband and 3-year-old daughter where outside hanging Christmas lights is part of the choir group and responded to the text with something like, “by the way, our daughter was just attacked by a coyote…She’s ok, but…”.  So anyway, it made the news, and since they are right next door you could see our house on TV.  Pretty cool, except for the reason it was there in the first place. :(

Link to news story

When they show the front of their house, ours in the one right to the left on the screen.

Monday, December 4, 2017


I had another post in mind for today but it's after 9:00 and I still need to finish making lunches before I can finally relax with a TV show or a book for a bit before going to bed, and I'm really tired because I've been awake since 5ish.  So here's a picture of Cleo sleeping on the fence instead, taken through the kitchen window.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Engagement Anniversary

12 years ago today Paul proposed.  You can read about it here.  I can't believe it's been 12 years.  It really has just flown by.  And unfortunately, I never got the typical ring shot or any other photos.  I'm so bad about that stuff, plus back then we weren't in the habit of taking pictures with our phones.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Snowflake Lane

Paul has a friend in from out of town.  He's a big Eagles fan (not sure why, he's lived in Washington or California all his life, I think) so he came up for the Eagles/Seahawks game tomorrow.  Tonight we all went to Snowflake Lane in Bellevue (a Christmas Parade with fake snow they do every year, every night between right after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve).  It was a great way to kick off the holiday season.  Afterwards, we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  Yum.

Olivia doesn't like cheesecake so she got strawberry shortcake instead.  It was huge, and true to form, she barely touched it.

Salted caramel.  Yum.

Friday, December 1, 2017

25 Days of Blogging

So, it's December 1st and I've decided once again to try and blog everyday between now and Christmas.  I've tried the last 2 years and failed miserably, and I probably will again but not a big deal, just fun to try.  I'm thinking of trying to make it all Christmas related, but we'll see.

I was just realizing the other day that I never posted about Halloween, or lots of other things since school started, but oh well.  I don't have a whole lot to say about any of it though, and not many pictures because the girls never let me take any.  Just to catch up, here's what's happened in the last few months:
  • the girls got a second ear piercing
  • their soccer team was undefeated until the last game of a double header in which they played a team that was fresh, and then they played in a tournament and went 1-1.  So pretty awesome season for them.
  • they were both doing 4th/5th grade choir, but Kayley quit and Olivia and the rest had their first performance last weekend at our town's annual tree lighting festival.  They were all just on the ground with a bunch of people all around so I couldn't see anything.  I ended up standing on a picnic table but still couldn't see Olivia.  This was my view:
Olivia is in there somewhere
  • We went to my brother's for Thanksgiving and spent the night with my dad and stepmom.  On Friday morning we went to visit my mom (in an Alzheimer's care facility), went out to breakfast with my dad and stepmom and then did a little shopping before heading home.
Last weekend we started decorating for Chirstmas.  The girls started going through all my leftover decorations that I wasn't going to use and decided to decorate their rooms with them.  It was really fun for them, and it looks really cute.

The girls each got a mini white tree from Target

Friday, October 27, 2017

New Work Location

So, I found out a few months ago that my work group is moving to a new location, in MY neighborhood,  5 minutes from my house!  That was the 4th happiest day of my life!  (The first two being my wedding day and the girls’ birthday, in no particular order, and the 3rd being the day the girls could bathe themselves independently :))  This is going to improve my quality of life exponentially.  Instead of getting home at 6:30 or later and never getting to eat dinner as a family except on weekends and never being “done” for the day until at least 9:00, often much later, and never being home when the girls get home from school and never being available to drive them to their activities (although I do get to pick them up sometimes) or volunteer in their class (although I have taken days off to chaperone the occasional field trip), I will now get home at a reasonable time between 5:30 and 6:00.  We can eat dinner together as a family.  I can come home on my lunch break and let the dog out (she is currently going to “doggie day care” at a friend’s house).  And on Fridays when the girls have pain-in-the-ass early dismissal, instead of scrambling for a sitter I can take a late lunch, be home when they get home and then work from home the rest of the afternoon or even work from home the whole day.  If I get the dreaded call from the school nurse I can be there in 5 minutes instead of 35 or more.  If there is an event or program going on at school I can go!  This is the best thing EVER!!  Factor in the new Safeway minutes from home that saves me a good 30-40 minutes a week by not having to drive 15 minutes to the next town and the fact that the girls are involved in fewer activities this year, and my stress level should drop dramatically!  I am SO excited!  

I was a stay-at-home mom for the first 6+ years of the girls’ life.  Then, 3 ½ years ago I returned to work and I have been a stressed-out wreck ever since.  All I ever do is work, get ready for work, commute to and from work, fix meals, clean (we have a housekeeper but she only comes once every two weeks), grocery shop, run errands and help with homework and next-day prep.  Like I said, I’m never “done” until at least 9, sometimes later (and that’s because I’ve given up and not that I’m truly “done”), and then I watch a little TV or read for a bit before bed.  That is literally all I ever do, even on weekends, with very few exceptions.  I mean, I do go to most of the girls’ soccer games, and occasionally I will find time on a weekend to organize a closet or go for a walk or something, and we certainly have the occasional family outing but the fun stuff is VERY limited and has been a constant source of stress since I started working.  I rarely get to scrapbook or paint or craft or work on my long list of projects.

So in light of all that, I am over the moon about this move.  I still won’t have a ton of time for fun stuff, but getting home a little earlier and being able to grocery shop on a weeknight (or, get this:  I could shop on my lunch break, take everything home and put it away, let the dog out, and then go back to work!  Ha!) will help.  AAAAGGHHHH!  I’m so excited!

One more week at the current location, then the weekend of the 4th/5th the movers will move us, and we will report to the new location on the 6th! Can't wait!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Introducing Kona

We've been wanting to get a dog for awhile now but wanted to wait until after the cruise.  Since then I've been looking off and on on Craigslist and Petfinder and haven't found much until Saturday.  I found the cutest dog and she was being offered for adoption through some rescue organization where I had to fill out an application and because we work and the dog would be alone for about 6.5 hours per day (I should have just lied) they turned us down.  I wrote back and explained that my job is moving in a few months and I will be able to come home as needed during the day to let the dog out and also we have a friend who could dog sit during the day until I move.  So lame.  I mean, how many people have dogs who work for a living?  TONS!

Anyway, while waiting to hear back from them (and figuring I never would, which I haven't) I got back on Craigslist on Sunday and found two groups of the most adorable puppies ever and they were in the same general vicinity.  I called the first one, which were our favorite, and left a message.  Then, I emailed the second person and she got back right away and we set up a meeting at 4:30.  It was about noon at the time and she lives a little over an hour away.  So we left around 1:15 because we were going to stop for lunch on the way.  Meanwhile, the first lady texted me and she was available to meet also, which worked out great since we were going to be in the area anyway.  So we ended up going there first since we had plenty of time before meeting the other lady at 4:30 if we skipped lunch and just grabbed a quick snack from Safeway.

Those puppies were super cute, but really skittish and shy.  Whenever we would (calmly) reach for one to pick it up it would pull back and shy away.  Neither Paul or I had a very good feeling about them.  We were worried they wouldn't be very energetic or playful.  It might have been that they just hadn't been very socialized yet (the owner lived alone on a big farm and they hadn't been around many people), but my gut just said no.  So we told her that we loved them (they were really cute) but we had another appointment at 4:30 so we would have to let her know.  Then we went to see the second batch and fell in love with Kona (we named her in the car on the way home).  She's some sort of Australian Cattle Dog mix.  The lady we got her from said she was blue heeler and Australian Cattle Dog, but those are two names for the same breed, so I wonder if she meant heeler and Australian Shepard.  Don't know.  We will eventually do a DNA test because I'm dying to know.  She is happy, energetic (but not overly hyper) and playful, SUPER cute and just what we wanted!  She slept all night on the floor in our room (the girls were in there too because we're having another heat wave and our room has a window a/c unit) and didn't make a sound. The girls just adore her.  We all do!

In the car right after picking her up

We are definitely finding out that puppy ownership is hard work, and not unlike having a newborn.  Up several times a night, constant stream of visitors, cleaning up pee and poop...

Lucky for us our friend who is a stay-at-home mom and has 3 dogs of her own offered to puppy sit for us during the week for as long as we need or until it becomes too much for her.  As soon as my job relocates it will no longer be an issue but I'm so thankful to have her help in the meantime.  And Kona helps keep her smallest dog entertained so it's a win-win.

Kona and Shrimp (friend's dog)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday, normally hosted the last Wednesday of the month by Shay, Mel and Sheaffer was postponed until today due to Hurricane Harvey.  Continued prayers to the victims.

What we’re eating this week
Homemade pizza, crock-pot chicken tacos, and tri tip roast from Costco.  Tonight we are going out to a restaurant that donates 20% of your bill to the girls' school on the first Wednesday of every month.

What I’m reminiscing about
Now that school has started, I've been reminiscing about being a stay-at-home mom.  Every morning on our drive to school I see moms walking with their kiddos and wish I could be one of them, not to mention my constant daydreaming about all the stuff I could be doing while they are at school.  And I wish I could be home at a reasonable time so we could eat dinner together as a family and just be there when they get home.  Sigh.

What I’m loving
This concealer.
My neighbor became a Younique consultant awhile back so I've had a few online parties and have tried many of their products and I love them, but they are pricey.  But this concealer is the only concealer I've ever used that actually works.  It's awesome!

What we’ve been up to 
Getting ready for school and soccer which both started last week.

What I’m dreading 
Making lunches every night for the next 9 1/2 months and just the busyness of the school year.  But I think it will be better this year because the girls will be involved in fewer activities.

What I’m working on
Organization (always) and meal planning.  I'm really trying to be better about planning and preparing meals ahead so the girls don't have to rely so heavily on mac and cheese, ramen and chicken nuggets.  Which they still will because they don't like anything else.  Or at least Kayley doesn't.  Olivia is pretty good.

What I’m excited about 
My work group moving to a new location 5 minutes from home.  Future post on that topic forthcoming!

What I’m watching/reading
Seinfeld reruns and:

I went to high school with the star of Person of Interest, Jim Caviezel (best know as Jesus in "Passion of the Christ").  I've always tried to watch all of his movies but in the last several years I've dropped the ball, and for some reason I've never bothered to check out this show until recently.  It's really good!

As for reading, I'm current reading In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner.

What I’m Listening to
Nothing in particular.  Just the radio to and from work.

What I’m doing this weekend
Watching the girl's first soccer game and the first regular season Seahawks game.  Go Hawks!

What I’m looking forward to next month
Fall!  Football!  Much cooler weather!

What else is new
We got a puppy!  Separate post to follow.  Someday.

And for this month's bonus question, which I always forget, what are my best lunchbox ideas and tips:  Easy.  Search Pinterest!  I see so many great ideas on there but most of it my kids won't eat anyway, so I make like 3 things all the time: turkey sandwiches (meat, cheese and white bread only), bagels with cream cheese, or noodles with butter and cheese.  Every once in a while Olivia will have peanut butter and jelly or a roll-up/pinwheel of some sort, and they used to buy lunch every Wednesday because it's breakfast food but I don't think they are going to this year.  But the good news is they are starting to help me make their lunches, if not making them themselves sometimes.  Yay!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Last Days of Summer Break

I had off the last 3 days of summer break (Friday of last week, and then Monday and Tuesday) and we had such a good time.  I already posted about our Nelson Family Day of Fun.  Then on Saturday, my oldest and dearest friend, Kristen, came down to spend the weekend of her birthday with us.  She actually ended up staying at or friend Jen’s (who she just met on the cruise last month and who actually has a guest room) house, but we still spent a lot of time together.  We went to a wine release party at a local winery on Saturday afternoon with Jen and Laura, then we all (including husbands and children) went to Jen’s for a cruise reunion get-together.

Women who wine

On Sunday Kristen, Jen and I all went out to brunch and then did a little shopping at the outlet mall.  Later, we just hung out in Jen’s backyard while Paul took Olivia (Kayley didn’t want to go) to the back-to-school barbeque.

On Monday, Paul’s mom and I took the girls school shopping and out to lunch, and then I took them to Rattlesnake Lake with some friends (met them there) for the afternoon, and then to soccer practice.

Tuesday morning I was finally able to just work on a few small projects around the house, then we went to the Meet the Teacher event and then Olivia had a hair appointment.  Then, after dinner (which, by the way, we ate together as a family!) I took Kayley last minute shoe shopping and then for the first time in months, made school lunches!

Having those days off really was reminiscent of my stay-at-home mom days.  Sigh.  I was wishing SO much that I could have had Wednesday off too, so I could have some time to do something (scrapbook, organize, whatever) while they were at school, but alas, I only have so much PTO.  Next year I really hope to take the whole week off when school starts.  We'll see.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

First Day of 4th Grade

By some miracle I have a few extra minutes this morning to whip out a quick post.  Yesterday was the first day of school.  It went really well.  We made lunches the night before and the girls picked out their outfits and laid them out.  Olivia wanted her hair French braided and I don't really know how (I think I could remember if I had plenty of time) so I asked one of their friend's mom who is 3 doors down from us and she was happy to do it and they got up early enough to have plenty of time and all that.

I dropped them off about as early as I could (8:45) because I had a 9:30 meeting to get to, and that went super easy and I made it to work with about 10 minutes to spare.

Kayley has been straightening her hair a lot lately and I love it (but I love her curls, too)

Olivia had a mint in her mouth, thus the weird expression