Life Lately, Part 1

Well, that last post was a downer, no?

To answer the questions I’ve been getting a lot lately: No, he’s still not back and yes, we’re still constantly checking the shelters. My heart still hitches a little every time I hear Cullen go crazy barking at the front window, and I still have dreams that he randomly shows up in the backyard.

Ugh.

Anyways. Let’s talk about something else.

I’ve been a bit very absent lately, so I thought it would be appropriate to catch you up on what’s been happening in our home lately. It’s a two-parter, because ain’t nobody got time to sit a read an entire novel on what’s up with my life.

Here we go:

This perfectly sums up how I felt about the end of the school year this year.

The spring semester was absolute insanity in our house. Corey is the co-director for the One Act Play in our district, which meant he had practices almost every night (and often lasting until past Jackson’s bedtime). They performed well which meant more and more competitions, several of which were far enough away that he had to stay overnight. In addition to that, he was very involved in UIL (an academic competition), and was gone several Saturdays in March and April for competitions. So, Jack and I had a lot of mommy-baby time in April and May!

We spent lots of time on FaceTime with dad, and Jackson learned to get very excited when I put the phone on speaker. It was so sweet to see how excited he got when he saw Corey’s face on that screen, and it made the time apart (a tiny bit) easier.

As hard as it was to do so much solo parenting over those few months, it definitely helped Jackson and I bond even more and gave me a ton of confidence as a parent. I felt like superwoman for getting everything accomplished all by myself, and I’ve never liked being alone so I think it was probably healthy for me to learn how to handle it better!

My second Mother’s Day was a total partial success. We had a baby dedication at church in the morning…who schedules these things for Mother’s Day? The last thing I wanted to be doing on Mother’s Day was wrestling my toddler into being quiet and still in front of the entire church while he screamed and tried to run away to knock all of the microphone stands over. Maybe this is why most people do it when their babies are younger? Unfortunately our church doesn’t do it very often and we missed out on the last one, so this was our only chance – it was important to my family, and to me, that we got to do this, so we soldiered on but my goodness I wish it had been on a different day! After that we celebrated with my family at one of my favorite restaurants and spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying ourselves – which was needed after our hectic morning!

Oh yeah, and let me tell you about that beard. I mentioned that Corey is co-director for One Act Play? Well, he has a superstition (left over from when we were in high school) about not cutting his hair throughout the length of the competition. This year, it extended to not shaving as well. He already hadn’t shaved since September-ish, so by the time practices started in January I was already desperate for him to shave…and we still had five months to go! Let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite look of his, and you’ll see it grow (and grow, and grow) throughout this post.

This was such an incredibly busy time for us, so on the nights where we were all at home and together we cherished every second. Like I said before, I’m not awesome at being alone so I definitely struggled with these few months!

At the beginning of May we got to focus on my job for a bit and headed to our local Special Olympics track meet. We go every year and always have a blast. This was Jackson’s second year going but last year he wasn’t mobile so it was a whole different ballgame this time around. He spent half the time running around and practicing his track poses as you see above…and the other half doing this:

Okay so maybe he didn’t spend half of the time screaming, but it felt like it. He didn’t really love the idea that he was supposed to just watch everyone else have fun and not actually participate.

We got a new dresser for our bedroom (more on that in a different post!) and Jackson had a blast at Ikea “helping” us push the cart. Can I just say this is the best age so far? I love that proud little grin!

The spring semester was mostly about Corey’s job and his accomplishments, but I had one major victory – getting asked to present at an education conference! It was a huge deal for me and so exciting to be asked to participate. I just attended the conference a couple of weeks ago, and the presentation went well – definitely a big and exciting first for me in my career!

I don’t know how far exactly this all made it in the news, but our area had some serious weather issues in late May. It rained for what felt like a billion days in a row, there was insane flooding all over the place, and I think we had more tornado watches/warnings in a two-week span than we have had in my entire life so far. There was one particularly scary day when Corey was out of town (it was right before the State One Act competition) where I had to spend a couple of hours holed up in the garage with Corey’s brother and dad and the weather was scary. Jackson handled it like a champ, but towards the end I did have to break out my laptop for some videos to keep him occupied – a real treat since he almost never gets screen time!

In late May (the last week of school, actually), it was finally time for the State One Act Play competition. I was so incredibly proud of Corey and his cast for making it this far but so incredibly ready for it all to be over! I took a half day off of work to go watch them perform, and I’m so glad I did – it was an incredible experience and I can’t express enough how awesome it was to see a team Corey worked that hard with accomplish that much. Corey and I started dating while doing One Act Play in high school, so it holds a very special place in both of our hearts, and I’m so glad he gets to be so involved with it.

Y’all. Do you see that beard? He looked like a homeless lumberjack! You can’t see the hair well in this photo, but let me tell you it was not cute either. Corey knows how I felt about this look, so let me be straight with y’all: it took every ounce of willpower in my body to not shave his entire head every night after he went to sleep. I wanted to throw a party when he finally let me cut it after the competition.

But, the good news is, I guess the superstition worked – Corey’s team won State (which hasn’t happened in our school district in a very, very long time)! I didn’t get home until about 3:00 in the morning after that competition and had to wake up at 5:30 to go to work the next day…let’s just say I was glad it was the last week of school!

Next up? Our summer so far!

What’s your life been like lately? Anyone else suck at alone time?

Summer Bucket List: Personal Edition

When I shared our family bucket list, I mentioned that one thing I want to focus more on this summer is myself and really fostering my own personal interests and hobbies. It’s not something I’ve done enough of ever since I had Jackson, and it’s high time I fix it.

It’s really hard to find time in the normal chaos of my days to really do anything for myself, so now that we’ve got a nice big break for the summer I figure it’s the perfect time to make a change and start some routines that I can hopefully continue into the school year as well. So, here are the top five things I want to do for myself this summer:

1. Do house projects – at least three! I haven’t done a damn thing to this house in about a year and it’s killing me. I miss doing projects around the house and I miss being creative. We’re in a tight spot financially right now so I’ll get to be extra creative with what I do, but this is way overdue. I have a nice long list of cheap or even free projects that I want to tackle this summer, and I’m determined to get a few of them done!

2. Read a book. You guys, I haven’t read at all since having Jackson. I can’t even say why…my time has just been full of other things! I miss reading so much and really need to get back into the habit of always having a book on hand, and this summer is the time. Any book suggestions for me? So far all I know is I have to hop on The Girl on the Train bandwagon, but I’m so out of touch with what else is even out there! Jackson and I took a trip to the library this morning and I picked up Lena Dunham’s book, so I’m hoping that library visits will become a regular thing for us!

3. Exercise. Towards the end of the school year I started waking up extra early to get myself exercising again, and it was great. I hated waking up at 5:00 in the morning, but it was really worth it to feel good about myself and feel strong and healthy. I fell out of the habit a couple of weeks ago due to the absolute craziness of the end of the school year, but this week it’s on. I got up early this morning and ran in our neighborhood while listening to Serial – I’m excited to finally catch up with it and I have a long list of other podcasts to check out, so this should keep me busy for a while!

4. Clean house. There are so many places in our house that are so messy and so unorganized. I have been putting it all off for the summer, and now that it’s actually here I’m a little overwhelmed by all I need to get done! I’m taking it one room at a time, though, and I’m going to get it all done! I’m hoping that I can purge some extra stuff and maybe even make a little money selling stuff along the way. I already dove in with a big trip to a local kids consignment store last week and made $50, so  I think I’m off to a good start!

5. Make some freezer meals. This has been on my to-do list for a long time – we’ve struggled lately to stay on-budget with our groceries and I really want to take control of that a little more. I’m trying to be a little more organized with our shopping and actually track prices of items, but I also want to spend some time this summer prepping freezer meals to make things easier on us on those crazy weeks where we can’t keep up with everything we have to do. My goal is to prep at least 10-15 meals – ideally I’d like to have enough meals to do 1 per week for the whole first semester of next school year!

I’m really excited about actually writing down these goals and having a plan for getting myself back on track. I often complain about not “having time” for any of these things, but the truth is I just haven’t made them a priority for myself lately – and that stops now. I’m so excited to get started and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m actually successful.

What are some things you want to do to take care of yourself?

Hands Free Mama: Month Two

I may be behind on recapping, but I’m totally caught up on reading Hands Free Mama and I have to tell you, this book is doing amazing things for me. I’m really enjoying it and it’s helping me be so much more conscious of how I spend my time and what I focus on.

Today we’ll talk about chapter two (which I read way back in February) – it’s all about making purposeful connections. She talks about opening up about your “hands free journey” with the people close to you, focusing on hands-free time when you’re with your spouse (not just with your kids) and looking for little moments of down time (like in the car) to connect rather than be distracted.

This chapter was big for me because I had to work on opening up about how I’m trying to reduce my time and being honest with Corey about where I’ve struggled and where I think I’ve failed in my hands-free attempts. I honestly didn’t really talk much to him about it until just recently, so it’s had a bit of a delayed effect on me, I guess you could say. The section on being focused/not on the phone in the car wasn’t something that really applies to me much yet (since Jackson and I can’t exactly have conversations while I’m driving) but it was a fantastic reminder to me that I need to be working on my habits now so that Jackson doesn’t ever have to know me as a distracted, always-on-my-phone mom and will only ever know me as someone who is focused on him and connecting with my family as much as possible!

After reading this chapter, here are the three big take-aways that I had, and what I still need to work on:

– I am constantly distracted in the car. I’m not good about just relaxing with my own thoughts and as soon as I get in the car I typically think about who I could call to chat with while I drive. I’ve been trying to spend more time just listening to music, singing, and chatting with Jackson (even if he’s not talking back). I got rewarded for this in a big way one day when my favorite song came on the radio, I turned it up and started singing along and glimpsed Jackson giggling and dancing in my rearview mirror – I want more moments like that!

– I want to be more open with Corey about what I’m working on and I want to ask him to hold me accountable. If he doesn’t know that I’m consciously trying to reduce the time I spend on my work email while I’m at home, he can’t remind me that I should put my phone away when I bring it out for the zillionth time. I need to make myself accountable for what I’m working on, and even though I’ve made a lot of progress towards not being distracted in the evenings, I’ve still got a long way to go!

– One big take-away for me was that as I reduce my technology time, it’s likely the other people around me will as well. The more time I spend focused on being with other people (and not being distracted) the more I notice how much time people actually spend with their nose in their phones! It’s a good cycle for me, because the more I notice that, the more resolve I have to not be like that anymore.

Is anyone else still reading along and working on being more hands-free? I can’t wait to chat about chapter three, because it was my favorite so far!

Life Lately

Oh, hi there! You may have noticed the site disappeared for a few days – whoops! There were some issues on the back end but it’s all taken care of now and we are up and running!

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I’m not going to apologize for disappearing for a month – I know that’s annoying and sometimes it just happens! But I do want to take a moment to remind anyone who is interested that I’m blogging very regularly over on Hellobee as Mrs. Garland. It’s hard to keep up with both blogs, so this one may fall to the back burner occasionally, but if you really need your Jackson fix you can always get it over there. 😉

We’ve been incredibly busy over the last few months. Corey took on a lot of extra responsibilities with his job this year and that has meant a lot of late nights working and several Saturdays with him gone all day. Jack and I have gotten some good quality time together, but it really makes it hard to stay on top of everything when I’m doing things solo so frequently. Let’s just say I’m greatly looking forward to this summer. We’re almost to less than 40 days of school left! Eek!

So, what have we been up to lately? Not a whole lot other than work. Oh, and being sick. Over the last six weeks either Jackson or I have been sick for about five of them. First we both got pinkeye…

Then I developed a sinus infection and was a zombie for two weeks. Just as I was getting over my sickness, Jackson ended up with a double ear infection, a ruptured eardrum, and a sinus infection of his own. We ended up in the ER for a 105.5 degree fever and he spent almost a week home from daycare.

We finally all got well again in time for spring break (thank goodness!) and had a lovely time. We went to the children’s museum, went to a library story time, spent some time in the park, and just generally had a wonderful week at home. Spring break made me look forward to summer so much more! Jackson is at such a fun age right now!

Oh, and speaking of fun ages…we have a walker! Jackson started walking around a month ago, and he hasn’t looked back since. Since the day he started walking he decided crawling was for babies and he’ll only ever drop to crawl if he’s on super uneven terrain. He’s still so cautious and it’s so sweet to watch. I can’t believe I have a toddler!

I have plans to catch up on my Hands Free Mama monthly posts (I’m still reading!) and share a few other things with you guys over the next few weeks. Thanks for sticking around through my spotty posting schedule!

What’s new in your life lately?

 

Life Lately

Can we go back in time a little bit?

Like, back to October and November?

I know Halloween and Thanksgiving are long gone and (trust me) I’m fully into the spirit of Christmas at this point in the year, but with my blogging hiatus I didn’t get to chat about all of the fun things we did at the start of fall, and there were a LOT of fun things that happened, so I want to go back a little and share. So, let’s make like the Doctor a do a bit of time traveling, shall we?

OCTOBER

October was a busy month for us! We kicked off the month with our annual family reunion (my side of the family) in Fayetteville, TX. Never heard of it? That may be because it has a population of, like, 258 (not an exaggeration). It’s an adorable little town and we absolutely adore going every year – Jackson had a blast this year!

The very next weekend we went to Waco for a board game conference. Yup, we’re officially that nerdy. It was a ton of fun, and while we were there we went to the Waco Zoo – Jack was totally into it, and we can’t wait to take him back! Two weekends in a row of traveling taught us that Jackson is surprisingly adaptable and generally awesome at traveling.

We also hit up a local pumpkin patch for some photos and took Jackson to the Fall Festival at our church – the petting zoo was the highlight of his Halloween!

NOVEMBER

November was a bit less crazy for us. It was a pretty rough month for us, but we managed to find some bright spots. Like Christmas shopping and putting up (one of) our tree(s) embarrassingly early.

We house-hopped for Thanksgiving this year – dinner at my sister’s house and dessert at ours, and it was fabulous. We had entirely too much food, spent a ton of time with our family, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. And Jackson was a huge fan of Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and we made enough dessert to feed roughly ten million people.

Once Thanksgiving was over we decorated for real – more photos of that to come soon!

Whew. That was a lot. Now, catch me up. Did you do anything fun at the start of fall? I’ve got to say, this season has never been as much fun as it is now that we have a baby!