Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Currently: Anxiety Overload

Current Book

Really enjoying this one!

Current Song

I ordered both Taylor Swift's new album, folklore, and
The Chicks new album, Gaslighter.
I am thoroughly enjoying both!

I've listened to Taylor's 1 time all the way through,
 and my initial favorite song is betty.
It is explicit {f-word twice} and I made the mistake of listening to it in the car.
Trent {of course} is the one who caught it!

I just love The Chicks so much, they continue to be my all-time favorites!
{Adjusting to their new name is tough, but I'm so proud to be fans of theirs!}
Initial favorite after a few listens: 
Sleep at Night and My Best Friend's Weddings 

Current TV Show

I'm in episode 4 and this is excellent!
{Trigger warning - the first 2 episodes are about murdered 3-year-olds. 
I really struggled with that.}

Current Podcast

I'm finishing this one up, it is excellent.

Current Drink

Sipping some coffee as I write this!

Current Food

I had a grocery order to pickup today, 
so I stopped and got kolaches after. Yum!

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

I've been very lazy so far today, and it has been glorious.
I'm typing this up at 12:30 PM, and I've walked 1,400 steps.
Although I do plan to do jazzercise at 3:15!

Current Outfit

Picture before 3:15 jazzercise

Current Celebrity Crush

I know we aren't supposed to like Aaron Burr...
but can I like the man who plays him?
Just checked out his book!

Current Mood

So stressed thinking about school. 
You guys are probably sick of hearing my inner monologue.
For most people, whatever is happening at their own school is not ideal.

Current Anticipation

This little cutie turns FORTY in 10 DAYS!!!!!!!

Current Wishlist

For life to go back to normal.

Current Film

Allison and I always go to a birthday movie in August.
Our birthdays are 18 days apart. I buy her ticket, and she buys mine.
It's a special little ritual we have that I love.
So we've decided we are going to watch a movie together at one of our houses.
We are debating buying something that is a new release 
watching one of our favorites from the 80s.
For a long run, we watched Girls Just Wanna Have Fun on every sleepover.
So that's a big contender.... I can't wait!

Current Picture

2 nerds - Miles and Trent watching Avengers

Monday, July 27, 2020

Who Wants Some Q&A??

Guys, who is surprised I am stealing another survey from Natasha? No one! I love reading these and writing them. I just can't help myself.

1. How many states have you been to?

Only 19, boo! {Alaska, California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, New York, Nevada, Colorado} Historically I have not traveled much in my life - this is a huge goal of mine to remedy, and now that we are done having children, it will become a priority {when we can travel again of course}.

2. What was the name of your first pet?

A goldfish named Blossom.

3. What is the longest flight you've ever taken?

7 hours from Houston to Seattle {just a layover in the airport so I didn't count Washington in my state count} on our way to visit Brent's cousin in Alaska in August 2003.

My college friend, Jessica, and me on a whale cruise.
Yes, this is AUGUST. We were SO cold!

4. What is your favorite family tradition?

I think just the routines we have for all our holidays - Brent and I have been celebrating holidays together for over 20 years and have kept up mostly the same routines all those years.

5. What is the longest distance you've ever walked or ran?

I ran a 10K on our treadmill which I feel like is kind of cheating. On the street, the most I've run is 5 miles doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day - I did it twice with my sister, the last time when pregnant with Trent. I used to run all the time as my main form of exercise and stopped after kids. I have picked it back up during COVID, doing it once or twice a week {I don't think I'll ever stop my beloved Jazzercise} and am trying to work back up to 5 miles. Last week I ran 3.5 miles!

6. What is the best trip you've ever taken and why?

I wish I could say our 40th birthday trip to Costa Rica...sob!

Instead, I think I have to say our trip to New Orleans in February 2016 but not because of the trip itself. While a fun trip, it was when Brent and I agreed to have another baby! 3 weeks later, Paige was cooking haha.

7. What was the first record you ever bought?

I don't remember the first CD I bought for myself but remember the year I got my first CD player and I got The Cranberries CD.

8. What color was your childhood bedroom?

Boring white. I never painted it. I don't think I ever thought about it or wanted to??

Not my bedroom but my childhood home - 
all the walls were this color

9. What is the scariest ride you've ever been on?

I can't remember the name but it was at one of the Disney parks in Florida and it dropped straight down. I HATE rides like that, no idea why I wanted to ride it?

10. Who was your role model as a kid and why?

Probably my mom. I remember thinking I had the best mom in the world, and when I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher too. Can you imagine if that had happened???

11. When did you first feel like an adult?

I don't think there was a moment where it hit. It was very gradual. I kept thinking it would be like 'Oh, I have a job, I'm an adult.' or 'I am married, live on my own, and pay my own bills.' or 'I am a mom.' Instead life has happened like 'Why are these nurses letting me take this baby home?' I definitely still have days where I wonder when all this adult stuff happened ha.

12. What is the last natural body of water you swam in?

I took this to mean full immersion in water instead of just like sitting in a river. So the last thing I can remember is when Brent's cousin and his family came to town the summer of 2017 and we went out on Lake Austin in his boat.

13. What is the hardest class you ever took?

Intermediate Accounting - A lot of it I never understood but could regurgitate enough to get a B ha.

14. What is a fact about you that nobody would ever guess?

I have a scar on my tongue. I don't remember this because it happened when I was around 2, but I fell in the bath tub and hit my mouth on the side of the tub and split my tongue open. My mom took me to the hospital but there was no way to sew it up, so now I have a big scar across the middle.

15. What's the worst spelling of your name you've ever seen?

My name is never spelled correctly - or pronounced correctly. Thanks Mom and Dad! It is almost always spelled Elena or Alaina. Both of those make sense ha.

16. What was the first concert you went to?

Fall of 1998 at Stephen F. Austin University {where Brent went} - the line-up was The Chicks as the OPENING act, Michael Peterson {one hit wonder} and Clay Walker. It was AMAZING! That same semester, on campus at A&M, I also saw Faith Hill {with Tim McGraw as a special guest} and Garth freaking Brooks!

17. What was the last concert you went to?

I think Sturgill Simpson in the fall of 2017. I can't remember anything since then. I'm hoping The Chicks tour {when it's safe} for their newest album. I LOVE it!

18. Where is the strangest place you've fallen asleep?

I can't think of any place that would be considered strange. I fall asleep easily in the car, and Brent loves to take pictures of me ha. But nothing weird is coming to mind.

19. Do you have any strange or regional names for things where you come from?

I'm sure according to others, a lot of what us Texans say is strange, but I would say everyone else is strange!

Fixin' to comes to mind. I legit didn't know this wasn't a common phrase until I was in college! Y'all has definitely become more universal but it's definitely still a southern/Texas phrase. I really do call people who live in the North Yankees. Another phrase that my parents used a lot when I was a kid that I think might be a southern thing is If it was a snake, it'd have bit ya. This was used when we couldn't find something but my parents immediately found it ha.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Reasons I Want My Kids in School

Over the weekend, I received an email that our principal is recommending to the Board that we 1) start school one week later and 2) will be 100% virtual for the first 4 weeks of school with evaluation happening every 4 weeks to determine if we continue virtual.


Like almost sobbing freaked out.

When I wrote about all my conflicting emotions last week, one thing I didn't say {not sure why} is I almost wanted someone to make the decision for me so I could at least have peace about it - if someone made the choice I couldn't second guess whether what I was doing was right or not.

Well, I got my wish and immediately was upset. Not because I can't see why the school would do this - there are too many unknowns and it would look terrible if there was a huge spread of COVID because of schools opening.

BUT because I want MY kids back in school. I worry about the mental effects all this will have on them more than the physical toll of COVID given my children are healthy and this is really not affecting kids. {And I fully recognize a school has to also consider the safety of the teachers and staff, I'm just speaking from my own personal situation.}

Here's why I want my kids back in school FOR THEM:
1) I think we do an okay job, but they need to be more active. We are not getting nearly the activity level they got with daily PE and recess. Yes, we go on bike rides and swing and take walks, but they need more than what we are doing.
2) I want them to be around other children. We have some kids we play with, but it's not the same thing as being with a classroom of kids and interacting/learning from/dealing with etc. your peers.
3) We need to make school a priority. If they are home with Brent and me as the teachers, we will struggle to get everything done. I don't say this like school isn't a priority but a bigger priority is Brent and me keeping our jobs. I have been meaning to work on math facts with Drew all summer...2 months in and it hasn't happened yet.
4) They need to be a priority. I feel like I am annoyed a lot throughout the day when they need anything - the mom-guilt around how much I ignore them is high. Yes, all their needs are met, and again, keeping employed is a priority, but I just want someone who can give them attention around. {Flip side: I feel ZERO guilt for ignoring Paige's tantrum at 8 AM yesterday over me not giving her a 2nd piece of bubble gum while I was trying to pay attention to a conference call...and failed miserably.}

Do you want your kids back in school or do you want to home school {if you have a choice}?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Turtles All the Way Down

A couple of Sundays ago, I took the girls on a bike ride while Brent and Trent were doing some work on my dad's land. The girls and I stopped at some neighbors' houses to say hi to their kids and visited for a little bit. I decided to take the longer way home so the girls could get more exercise. We barely made it a few houses down the street when both girls managed to fall off their bikes and start sobbing.

I was on my bike trying to console and calm down 2 crying girls while also thinking about how I was going to get us all back home. I decided I would ride my bike and have the girls walk, and we could get on the golf cart and drive down the street to pick up their bikes. Going the fast way home, it would only be about half a mile. 

An older neighbor {who we didn't know} was in her yard working in her flower beds. She saw we were struggling and offered to follow me in her car with the girls' bikes, but I said we could make it. {Why as mothers is it so hard to accept help from others?} Then she asked the girls if they'd like to see her pet turtle, which instantly dried up the tears.

She brought her turtle, Julip, outside and the girls loved getting to touch and hold her. Donna, the neighbor, told us all about Julip and her personality. Then she mentioned she had 2 dogs and the girls wanted to meet the dogs, so her husband brought both dogs outside. My girls were in HEAVEN. They have 2 teenage daughters, so they understood a little something about having 2 crying girls at the same time!

We sat in their yard for about 20 minutes. And it was just what our disaster of an adventure needed to make some very sad girls happy. It also worked out really well that Brent got home during this time and was able to come down in the golf cart and pick the girls and their bikes up!

It's nice to see and experience the bonds of motherhood. I didn't know Donna, but she knew a mother in need of some help. Her small act of kindness was a huge blessing to me and made 2 little sad girls very happy. I hope to be a Donna always.

Drew and Julip - look at that smile!

You wouldn't know they'd both been hysterical 10 minutes earlier!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Five on Friday

Brent's New Truck

Once every decade, Brent gets a new vehicle.
Somehow, I manage to go through them much quicker - 
I've had 3 vehicles since Brent last bought a new truck.

Introducing...our newest family member!

Canvas Champ

We ordered a bunch of canvas prints from Canvas Champ,
and they were really affordable and came out great!

First, these are from our beach trip to San Diego in 2016.
{You can read about it here and here.}
I wasn't convinced we should print since Paige wasn't here yet,
but Brent thought they deserved to be printed.
I'm pregnant, so Paige has enjoyed looking at them and knowing she's in my belly.
We will most likely hang these on the wall here, 
but we are thinking of buying a new piece of furniture here,
so we want to figure that out first.

And of course our porch-traits!

These 2 are smaller and we are deciding where they will go.

These 3 will go together in the living room, and I'm so excited to hang them!

Headphones for the Girls

We are taking a weekend trip and wanted headphones for the car trip for the kids.
I found these cute ones on Amazon for the girls! Aren't these so cute?!
Drew picked a white bunny, and Paige picked Skye from Paw Patrol

School Update

After my post from Tuesday about my worries for school,
we had several updates from our region.
Several schools announced they will go 100% virtual for at least the first 3 weeks of school.
They also wrote letters to our education agency stating they didn't want to return to campus until hospitalizations are 5 or less/day.
Right now we are around 70, so this is going to be a long time.
Then our education agency announced they would fund schools 100% even if they stayed virtual which they weren't doing initially.
Our school hasn't specifically made a statement yet...but I find this interesting.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

I got another bathing suit from Target and have another being delivered.
I also got a super cute romper! Nowhere to wear it but it is too cute.
Brent also gave me a thumbs up for each so high praise from him. {grin}
Reminder: I am not a fashion blogger and can only make weird faces apparently!

I think this is my favorite one yet!!! I didn't want to take it off, ha.

This is so cute, right?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Trent's 11th Year: The Stats

Time to check in on how this guy has grown in his 11th year!

Height: 56" {54%}
Weight: 64.5 pounds {18%}
BMI: 14.5 {4%}
Clothes size: 8/M or 10/L
Shoe size: 4.5 {same as me!}

By the numbers:
Inches grown: 2
Pounds gained: 4.5
BMI: down 4% {eek}
Teeth lost: 4, I think??? He has maybe 1 left to lose total and then BRACES
Clothes: He has been an 8 for several years and they are finally getting too small, his jeans are all MEGA high waters
Shoes: up 2 sizes

Same as last year, there aren't huge changes for Trent - it's not like he's learning to walk or eat food, ha. But he is changing and maturing, so it's really neat to see how he matures {or doesn't} from year-to-year.

School - This year was an utter shitshow for Trent. Looking back at last year's post, I said he had his best year ever. He decided to follow that up with his worst in a long time, sigh. Things had finally turned around right before he stopped going to school in FEBRUARY {remember we had the chicken pox issue before quarantine}.

Activities - Trent still loves to play video games on his iPad - especially with his friends. We actually bought him his own iPad for his birthday this year, and he is in heaven. We still limit screen time {although most days it's still more than I intend!}, so he has to find other things to do. He reads constantly. This is often a struggle for me because he has a high school+ reading/comprehension level, but the books that interest him are often more mature than he needs to be reading, so I have to work hard to find books that will interest him but not be too mature. We're debating The Hunger Games right now... He has also become OBSESSED with football. He played basketball again in the winter and didn't enjoy it. If we get to play sports ever again, he wants to play flag football. He pretty much never plays with Legos anymore - although he did some during a recent grounding {desperate times} and has given quite a few to a neighbor's son. 

Friends - Trent's best friend is Jaxon, who is our neighbor's grandson. They are 2 peas in a nerd pod. He also still really loves Miles, and even though Asa moved to Nebraska they still play games on the iPad or FaceTime together. He still likes Evelyn {his first girlfriend} who was at CMS with us and is at Goodwater too, and he had a friend this year at school named Cassidy, but they haven't talked since quarantine.

Family - Trent is nothing if not consistent with how he treats his family. He LOVES Paige and is rarely grumpy with her. He tolerates Drew, although they do enjoy playing Roblox together, and loves nothing more than making her squeal.

He idolizes Brent, will do almost anything with him, listens to him, etc. He continues to fight with me the most - we had a rough June where almost every interaction was an argument. He and I do still read together, although not every day. Right now we're reading Stamped.

Food continues to be a battle, although we largely know what he'll eat and won't eat and he's done great with negotiating for trying new foods. Some days are better than others, but we keep working at it! I would say his favorite food is a hamburger or cheeseburger - but just the meat, no bun. He's not a huge sweets kid, he definitely prefers salty.

He 'graduated' from behavioral therapy in May. I hope he doesn't need to go anymore because it is a sore point for him, but I love his therapist, so I know we have a good resource should we need it again.

Trent is so funny and sarcastic. It can be a blessing and a curse. He loves to make people laugh, but he can get in trouble for pushing things too far! He struggles to respect adults and is sarcastic a little too often with people he shouldn't be {me and his teachers!}.

Trent's favorite person in the world continues to be his Nana. I love the bond those 2 have. I think he would move in over there if we let him.

Trent is my messiest kid {although Paige might be up there}, he gets that from me 100%. He can clean his room and before the day is over, it's messy again. His closet is a wreck, junk under his bed...he just doesn't care!

No matter the ups and downs, overall we've got a really great kid! He is funny, smart, sweet, a great big brother, an awesome friend to have. We love him immensely, and I'm so excited to see what is in store in year 12.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

School Woes

Guys I need to just whine for a little bit. I know that in the grand scheme of things my worries about what our fall will look like is very small. But it is so stressful too!

We have filled out 2 surveys so far this summer {with a 3rd one expected soon} about our plans for the fall. So far, we have said both times we want to send our kids to school full-time. I have no idea if that's the right answer, but the below graphics really describe the complex emotions I am feeling. 

It is difficult to be a full-time employee and a full-time mom, and during the day I find myself getting frustrated when the kids 1) act like kids, 2) need things...like food and attention, 3) make messes, 4) try to engage with me when I'm on a call, etc. I also get frustrated with myself for using screen time so much as a crutch and not getting them more active during the day.

The flip side of that is the guilt over whether it is safe to send them back to school or not. Teachers will be on the front-line of this virus - they will be the ones trying to keep the students apart, keep masks on, dealing with them at the end of the day if they can't go outside or have recess or PE, worrying about their health and their students health. 

Add to this that I don't feel equipped to be their teachers - there are not enough hours in the day for work and school and physical activity and let's not mention socialization!

I know this is fuzzy, but this really nails it.

Will this ever seem normal? I hope not!

I should have just uploaded this graphic instead of typing this post, huh? {grin}

This one literally made me laugh at loud.
It's better to laugh than cry, right???

Monday, July 13, 2020

Guadalupe River State Park

One of the {many} great reasons I'm so happy Kelly has moved into our neighborhood is her love of being outdoors and in nature with the kids. She is such an inspiration to me for my 'nature' goals, and a few weeks ago, she invited our family to go to the Guadalupe River State Park. It was a 90-minute drive, so it was definitely more fun to go with another family, and we were happy to be invited! We went on a Monday, so I took off work, and we were able to load all the kids into our car...barely!

About to hit the road!
You can't see Paige because she's still rear-facing, but she's there ha.

We made it and are ready to swim!

Friends for over 20 years!

Paige and Tanner are 2 months apart in age and LOVE playing together.

Trent is often the odd man out - so many of our friends have kids Drew and Paige's ages - so I was worried he would be bored, but he had a lot of fun!

Friends for life!

Lots of breaks for food!

Everyone but Trent went on a little trail walk.
They had some really long trails, but it was SO hot!

The view at the end was gorgeous!

We were so glad to have gone, and we can't wait for more adventures with friends!