They Find Me Irresistible

Bugs that is.

One of the downfalls of summer? Bugs. Bugs everywhere. And I am not a fan. I always apply bug spray before heading into the woods to avoid becoming life support for ticks. And so far that has worked for me. But I don’t apply it to my face. And gnats and mosquitoes have taken notice. Both Monday and last night on my trail runs, the stupid bugs have swarmed my face. But not OMG Becky’s. What the heck?! Apparently, I exude the special “come hither” sense insects find irresistible.

I told OMG Becky on Monday that I was going to start wearing a beekeepers hat when outside.

 (photo by premus)

I was only half kidding.

Last night was definitely the worse. It wasn’t even just gnats and mosquitoes. It was bigger bugs coming way too close as if I was wearing insect camo or something. I had a large bug dive bomb the back of my neck. You can bet that one scared the crap out of me! Another good-sized one flew into my hand. Then something buzzed so close to my face it touched my bottom lip. One flew into my nose. Luckily, I wasn’t breathing in at the time! And then two more flew into my mouth. My MOUTH, people! I can’t even.

I need to find a bug repellent safe for my face. And maybe a bug-repelling gum. Has anyone invented that? If not, I call dibs. Sounds like a money-making idea to me!

lake, sailboat

At least the views are worth it.

What do you use to keep the bugs at bay?

Done Spectating

Friends, get ready for information over-sharing overload. Mercy, this post has been a long time coming. I have really been struggling the last few months with living a healthy lifestyle. It all started back in November when I started a new job that requires a sit a lot more than I was use to. New job also required I work regular business hours. If you have had read this blog before last fall, you would know those are two very new and different things for me.

The first few months I felt like I never knew if I was coming or going. There was never enough time in the day! And all the sitting. Ugh! Hated it. Still do. But then I felt like I was finally getting into a rhythm with things. I was going to the gym most mornings before getting the girls off to school and myself to work. But my eating was not where I really wanted it to be. It wasn’t horrible, but not great. Too many indulgences, too often.

And then mid-June happened. I lost all motivation to workout or care about what I ate. And I really have no idea why, what, when, or how. But the wheels fell off this wagon. I wish there was something that I could look back upon and say, yep that’s it, that’s what happened. But I’ve got nothing. The past several weeks have been a sugar-fueled mess. My weight definitely went up, I had no energy and I was content to be a house slug.

The week before last was our family vacation to Florida with my parents, my youngest brother and his family. This was not a last-minute trip. One would think that would have motivated me to get it together. One would be wrong. I went into this trip hoping the Florida humidity would cause all cameras to produce only blurry photos. Well, Florida let me down and now I have proof of what months of not eating right and less than stellar workout habits can produce.

I’ve spent the last week contemplating what needs to be done here to get moving in the right direction. On the work front, I did the only one thing I really could do. I ordered a stand-up desk. I am now able to stand up for about 90% of my day. (Necessary office equipment requires sitting for the other 10%.) I will also be working on the clinic floor assisting patients with their physical therapy exercises more often again. I did that before, but we’ve had 1-3 PT students each day all summer. Now we are down to just one student for two days a week for another month.

On the food front. I have stocked up on healthy groceries. I can’t eat crap if I don’t buy crap, right? I am also ready to get back to cooking larger meals to be able to have leftovers for quick lunches and dinners. You know how I dislike cooking. And no more drive-thru anything! McDonald’s lures me in with their $1 Diet Coke, but then I can’t leave without ordering a chocolate chip cookie. Have you had one of those? Don’t! They are cookie crack, especially if they are still warm.

That leaves the working out part. I need to just get my butt up out of bed and get moving. Here’s the “funny” part! My body usually wakes me up automatically at 5:00 AM. I could totally get up and go to the gym like I have so many times before. Most days these last few weeks, I even had my clothes laid out for the gym! But then 5:00 AM would roll around, I would wake up, think about getting up, and then instead I would reset my alarm and go back to sleep. Part of this may be due to me having a hard time getting to sleep. It’s so hard to drag myself out of bed at that time, if I didn’t get to sleep until well after midnight. Either way, that habit needs to stop. Maybe I will start putting my alarm/phone in my bathroom instead of on the night stand within arm’s reach. Maybe if I actually have to get out of the bed, I will keep moving.

You may have noticed fewer posts recently. I didn’t feel good about anything and I certainly didn’t want to share that here when I was still processing it all myself. So why share now? Because keeping everything inside is not working for me! And because I don’t want to fool you into thinking things are different from what they really are. I may be private on some things, but I won’t lie about them.

I think one of the things that may help me is getting more organized. I need to just start writing everything down. I ordered a new planner today. I think it will be helpful to see everything written out in black and white in front of me. It will be my personal calendar. We also have a large, wall calendar for my girls to write all of their time commitments on.

Wow, this post has gotten lengthy! To wrap it up, I’m tired of watching life go by and wishing things were different. It’s time to make those changes! I miss “me” if that makes any sense. I plan to share more on each of these areas as things develop. I hope by sharing my challenges, and hopefully successes, it will encourage others to share, too. Most importantly, I want this to be a positive experience for all of us overall. So here’s to the next chapter in this crazy journey!

Tell me what’s going on with you!

I’m So Fancy

What it is about holidays weekend that makes them fly by? They are extended weekends, but seem so short. Maybe it’s all the fun involved?

Saturday morning, I slept in again and it was glorious! Well, I did get up at 6:15 AM to tell OMG Becky “Good Morning” and “Goodbye” before she headed off to work. Then it was back to bed for me for another hour of sleep. So nice!

And then it was off to the woods for Stella and I. The humidity was low and I wanted to eat hike some hills for breakfast.

There were so many flowers in bloom on this particular trail!


I also came across something that I couldn’t figure out what the heck it was…

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

See the yellow and black thing hovering over the purple flower on the left? (I really need a better camera!) At first, I thought it was a bumblebee, but it was hovering and beating it’s wings, so I decided it was a hummingbird. Wrong. Research today determined it was a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth. A moth! Such an impostor.

We got a few miles in before the humidity found us. We were hot, dirty, and sticky. Ugh, summer in the Midwest.

I rewarded myself with a pedicure! This color is really had to photograph. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with my photography skills.)

It’s more neon orange in person. It’s going to look great with the tan I plan on getting on vacation here shortly! Sorry Stella, no pawdicure for you this time.

Yesterday after church, OMG Becky and I did a little vacation prep shopping.

sunhats, sunglasses

We are so fancy. She bought her accessories. I did not. I just don’t like how I look in them. None of them. Ever. But I keep trying! Someday I am going to find the hat for me.

Yesterday was also an awesome day because Sassy came home! Happy days are here again! Stella was excited to see her and needed to burn some energy. A trip to the dog park would do it. Sassy had never been. Lucky girl met a boxer that gave her a welcome gift all over her leg as soon as we walked in.

Mmmm, dog drool. I shouldn’t have laughed because 20 seconds later a muddy German Shepard pup larger that Stella jumped on me. It never fails. Dogs love me. I think I’ve told you, I’m not really a dog person, but they keep trying to change my mind.

Another exciting thing about this weekend? I tried a new recipe!

white enchiladas

White Enchiladas! These were delicious. Both of my girls, a friend, and I all really liked them. They will have to make another appearance soon.

Update: These enchiladas do not reheat well. At least not in the microwave! Next time, I will make the same amount, but then divide it up into two smaller casserole dishes, freezing one for a future meal.

Enchiladas. Red or white sauce? White! 

Are you a hat person?

Fourth Fun

Hey all! How was your Fourth of July? Mine was pretty low-key, but good. Just the way I like it!

I started the day by sleeping in. What?! Who am I? Truth be told, I’ve had a lot of trouble falling asleep lately, then missing morning workouts to catch up on sleep before dragging myself out of bed to get to work on time. Feeling exhausted all day, but still not being about to fall asleep at night. It has not been fun. So catching up on that sleep felt pretty awesome yesterday!

Then I wanted to be outside! It was a cooler morning that wouldn’t last long and I wanted to enjoy it. OMG Becky and I knew it would be a great day to spend some time at our local dog park.

It was a busy place! I think everyone had the same idea. OMG Becky was immediately greeted by a large, muddy pup jumping on her. What a welcome!

dog park pond

Stella enjoyed her usual romp through the pond. She loves to run through it and all around the trail surrounding it. Too bad she couldn’t convince any of the other dogs to chase her! That’s her favorite game.

After the pond, we hosed Stella off and went to the main park area to hike awhile to dry her off. The trail was packed, too. So many people out enjoying the mild weather. It was nice to see everyone enjoying the holiday!

Then OMG Becky had to go to work. Whomp, whomp. She picked up an extra shift so a co-worker could spend the holiday with her young child. Ahh!

I headed out to the country to a friends’ party. They just moved into their new, custom-built house. It’s beautiful!

This blurry, finger-imposed picture is the only outside pic I managed to take of it. I was too busy with other stuff. Like eating way too much! Goodness, so much food, so many hours to enjoy it. No need to see pictures of all that, but I will show you my favorite dish offered.

These festive, individual cheesecakes were phenomenal! They had an Oreo crust, cheesecake, some sort of frosting and then strawberry on top. Soooo good!

(That was my bottle of Skinnygirl Mojito. I LOVE mojitos! Like my favorite drink ever. This pre-mixed version was not very good. Darn! I won’t buy it again.)

Other snapshots. Cooler corner!

Cutest 4-month old Yorkie ever!

The later it got, the louder the music got and the dancing began!

One of the guests was a DJ who brought his equipment. Fun! Oh wait, but I don’t dance. Oh well, it was fun watching the others.

Once it was dark enough, the fireworks began. The neighbors really put on a great show!

I loved watching the little boys run around throwing Bang Snaps on the ground near people’s feet. They had a blast making people jump! Ha! But it made me miss my girls. Holidays just aren’t the same without them! (Sassy is at their dad’s. She comes back tomorrow! It’s been two weeks and I am ready for her to be home!)

Sorry, I didn’t get any great photos of the fireworks, but you should ask my mom to see her awesome, accidental selfie she took while trying to take an overhead fireworks photo.  ;-)

How was your Fourth of July?

Have you tried any of the Skinnygirl cocktails? Reviews?

Where My Ballers At?

Once upon a time, both of my girls played softball. Both started with T-ball. How cute was Sassy’s team?!
girls softball team
This was her 2007 team. She played on the same team as two of her cousins for the first few years. So fun! And them again a few years later at an end of the season party.

For eleven years, we were a softball family. Spring ball, summer league, fall ball, winter conditioning. Non-stop. Yes, it was a lot, but I loved it!

This is the first time neither of my girls are playing ball. It’s feels so weird! Luckily, we have lots of opportunities to watch the baseball games of my nephews and OMG Becky’s boyfriend.


Last weekend was awesome with two of the boys playing in the same tournament. Both made it to the championship game in their bracket, but sadly, ended up with second place finishes. So close!

baseball team

The big boys are fun to watch, but my five-year old nephew’s team might just be my favorite. It’s mass chaos in a good way!


You would think blankets wouldn’t be necessary here in June. You would be wrong. We have had some chilly nights lately.

How is you week going? I can’t believe tomorrow is Friday already and the Fourth of July is only a week away!

Summer on the Brain

My parents’ pool is finally open!

poolMy parents had to put in a new liner and stairs this year. It took forever because it has been raining here often in the last couple of weeks. And before that they were waiting for the stairs to come in. It’s been torture watching the slow progress.

This was the pool just last weekend.

Not a pretty sight. But now it’s done and yesterday I got to get my swim on. It was glorious!

After lounging in the pool most of the afternoon, Sassy, my mom, and I hit up the big sale at JCP. Sassy tried to talk my into buying her this Olaf.

giant stuffed Olaf

I’m going to take a hard pass on that one. We happened to run into my sister-in-law there, too! Seems we all had vacation clothes shopping on our brains.

Speaking of vacation, I can’t believe ours is going to be here in just a few short weeks! I’m so ready for it! When my girls were little, we would a paper chain to help them countdown the days to vacation. Last weekend we shared that tradition with one of my nieces.

Love passing that idea one! And I’m so excited to experience Disney World with a little one again.

What traditions have you shared with younger family members?


Best Dog Park

Well OMG Becky did it. She got her driver’s license last week. And the world was never the same. 

new driver

Don’t worry, fellow Mid-Westerners, we are still getting lots of practice in together. She is only driving to and from work alone at this point. It’s part of the agreement with her dad. He had an extra vehicle he is letting her borrow while she saves money for her own car. Until then she can drive this one, but just for work.

And I am enjoying having my own personal chauffeur. Stella and I let her drive us to the dog park on Sunday. It was Stella’s first time ever going to one! Being new dog owners, we had never been to one either. I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.

It was so much bigger than I had imagined!

dog park

I really had thought it would be a small, plain, fenced square. Boy I was wrong! This was a few acres and the park looks just like that, a park. Lots of trees, trails, benches, clean restrooms, and drinking fountains for 2 legged and 4-legged friends. And fun stuff to play on!

dog park

Stella wasn’t too sure about any of that, but with a little encouragement, she was game!

dog park

There was also a separate area with a pond! (You can see it in the upper left corner in photo above.)

As soon as we entered the pond area, this lab-mix pup decided she wanted to play with Stella. Stella wasn’t so sure, but after a few moments of posturing, she was game.

dog park pond

She quickly figured out that the other dog would chase her if she ran, so ran she did. Stella is fast. Very fast. The other dog’s owner said something about it was funny that his dog finally met a dog faster than her. These two ran back and forth around the pond and through the mud. Talk about sliding tackles! At one point, Stella took a flying leap into the water! It was so fun to watch.

dog  park pond

Right after this photo, Stella noticed I was on the opposite side of the pond and came through it to me. Then immediately turned around and went back through it to OMG Becky. Such a nut!

When it was time to go, the park has a great spray-off station for the dogs. It was great being able to clean her up a bit before getting in the car.

But we didn’t head home. We went into the main park for a walk to let Stella dry off. OMG Becky and her had a fun time getting a few sprints in. My little runners!

Such a great park! We will be back.

What is the dog park in your area like? Does your dog like it?

They Graduated!

Yesterday we headed downtown to see my two nieces graduate. We got to park a few blocks away. Before walking down to the venue, I asked OMG Becky to smile for a picture. Instead I got this…

Alrighty then. After that she decided she should probably go stand in the shade while waiting for the rest of the family to get our act together. Girl’s skin burns instantly.

Such a pretty day to go sit inside! ;-)

I was actually impressed with how short the graduation ceremony was. Just a little over an hour to march almost 500 kids through.

high school graduation


Cousins! Both graduates want to pursue a teaching degree.

Scary to think the next high school graduation in our family will be OMG Becky’s. I’m not ready for that!

After the ceremony, several of us went to lunch with the graduates.

With our bellies full, OMG Becky and I had a couple of more hours of driving practice. We did manage a short break to let Stella out of the car to stretch her legs.

She had no idea what to think of the carp! I don’t blame her. They are creepy.

We also stopped to count baby bison. There are ten now! We watched them frolic and then saw a bit more than we had bargained for…

Ah nature. What are you going to do? LOL! I hope your Sunday was better than that baby’s!

Did you throw your graduate cap? We were forbidden to do so. Party poopers.

Graduation Brunch

I have two nieces graduating from the same high school today. Told you we like to cluster! Yesterday morning we got to celebrate with one of them at her breakfast graduation party. It was catering by a fantastic local brunch restaurant. And yes, I totally forgot to take a picture of the food. Just imagine trays of fluffy biscuits, gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and fresh fruit. So yummy!

I did get some pictures of the decorations. No detail was left undone, from the front door…

To the back deck…

To the pool…

The beach balls say Class of 2014! It was cloudy and sprinkling the entire party, but we didn’t let that stop us from spending some time outside. Notice my nephew coming up the stairs out of the water fully clothed. He fell in and then wouldn’t stay out of it!  :-)

The graduate, Myo, and her baby cousin, Hooty.

Love her lace dress!

There was lots of baby passing.

My dad rocking his “I’ve got mad ninja skills!” shirt. He received many compliments on it yesterday. Tee-hee!

And there was cake! So much cake. Red velvet, strawberry, yellow and chocolate.

Sugar coma for Hoppy!

After the party, I brought home one niece with me and Sassy for awhile. Then on the way to take them to my brother’s house, we stopped to see the baby bison. My niece had never seen one before!

baby bison

We lucked out and were able to see them pretty close-up. We saw five babies yesterday. So cute!

After that was a massage for me before taking OMG Becky for a couple of more hours of driving practice.

I’m happy to report she is getting better.  ;-)

Such a fun start to our holiday weekend!

What are you doing this Memorial weekend?

Any family members graduating this month?

Online Lately

The internet never ceases to entertain me! Here is a round-up of the things of interest I’ve seen online lately.

1. Parents At The Beginning of The Year Vs. The End.

How you look at drop off, beginning of the year:

How you look at drop-off, beginning of year:

End of year:

End of year:

2. I love Chipotle. This kid gets me.

And now I want Chipotle for breakfast.

3. We are counting down to our summer vacation! I really hope this flight attendant is on our flight.

4. I have a confession. Sometimes on weekend mornings, I watch kid shows. I love Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild, Animal Science, Wild About Animals, Animal Atlas. Please tell me I’m not the only that still watches these. Anyway, while I was watching one of these shows Sunday morning (I skipped church because my nose was an uncontrollable faucet), I saw this awesome video about optimism. I knew you would enjoy it, too!


5. Another example of wishing I could sing so I could do this.

6. A wager that went wrong or did it?…

7. I’m sure you have seen this video this week, but I had to include because cats are awesome.


What have you seen online lately that entertained you?

Are you a dog or cat person? Cat for me, but don’t tell Stella the Boxer!