Christmas 2016

Not gonna lie…Christmas is exhausting.  It’s like a giant shit show of presents, sugar, whining, giant toys, food, and no sleep. On Christmas Eve Eve I’m all ‘YAY CHRISTMAS SO FUN!’ …then by mid-afternoon of Christmas Day I’m done. Just tired of  parenting and being off schedule and sleeping in the same room as my kids.


Nevertheless we are fortunate to finally live within driving distance of my family and for that I am grateful.  Being with family over the Holidays is usually worth the exhaustion in the end. For all the hard and frustrating times we have while traveling with the kids, the fun moments tend to make it worth it.

We had “Santa” come on Wednesday night since we planned to leave Friday and didn’t want to drag all the crap up to Nebraska. Plus this gave the kids a full day to play with their new fun stuff while they were home on Thursday (aka made my day easier).


Then on Friday morning we opened the rest of our family gifts before hitting the road. Lance got Jack this giant Thomas track jump thing (without telling me) and it currently takes up half the basement…so that’s fun. I have strong feelings about toys that can not be easily stored away. Probably why Lance “forgot” to mention it. 



The trip up to Fremont was pretty uneventful (minus the dude with a gun on I29 causing it to shut down for a while delaying our leave time a bit) but confirmed the need for a van.  I can’t stand having to constantly turn around and pick up crap, give Allison her paci, get food for Jack, etc…drives me bonkers!!  I need SPACE!  and sliding doors!  and cup holders!

We went to my Dad’s house for lunch on Christmas Eve, and then spent the rest of the time at my Mom’s house with her 20 trees. Christmas decorations have never been lacking in her house.




The kids were overtired crank-fests by 5pm so we skipped church and Christmas light viewing and let them open gifts before the adults (we do Christmas Eve gift opening) so we could get them to bed before the meltdowns began.

Then we opened our gifts, drank wine, and played a million rounds of Catch Phrase.

We had a delicious dinner at my Aunt and Uncles house in Omaha on Christmas Day and played the game of logos…or something…I don’t know I spent most of the game time trying to get Allison to nap. The few minutes I played I was terrible…brands are apparently not my thing.


At least Allison rocked her buffalo check headband from the Splendid Bow Shop!

We had planned to stay one final night at my Mom’s before heading back, but after spending two hours trying to get the kids to sleep we surrendered and threw them and all the crap in the Rav and headed back to KC. They slept the entire way (thank god) and we got to listen to the Chiefs win…so not a total waste!

All in all it was a great Christmas. Holidays with kids are fun but also a ton of work…you don’t get to relax really…it’s nonstop parenting.  The holiday hangover hasn’t been too bad now that we are back to work/daycare and on schedule.  Of course we have a 4-day weekend coming up for New Years so wish me luck!

Or send wine.

Merry & Bright Playlist

 

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Now that the Holidays are in full swing (we got our first dusting of snow today!) Christmas tunes are basically on non-stop around here…much to Jack’s dismay.  He has lots of opinions about which songs I’m allowed to play and/or sing.  Poor thing is only four and he has a whole life of torture (via my singing) in front of him.

I put together a little playlist of some that I’m loving right now and torturing my family with.  This one is more indie leaning (maybe I’ll do one with my favorite pop/classic songs as well?!).  Enjoy!

White Winter Hymnal – Pentatonix

Let it Snow – Colin & Caroline

Up On The House Top – Zach Gill

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Colin & Caroline

Silent Night – Zach Gill

Only at Christmas Time – Sufjan Stevens

I’ll Be Home for Christmas/The Christmas Song – Colin & Caroline

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Daniela Andrade

This Time Next Year – Colin & Caroline

If you’re a Spotify addict like myself, you can listen to it here!

 

** Oh and I recently started using Bloglovin’ so you can find me there!
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30+4

Jack was born one week before I turned 30.  Since he turned 4 last Saturday, that makes me 34 as of tomorrow.  I stumbled across some old photos I scanned way back when for our wedding slideshow (do people still do these?!) and came across this gem:

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Me on my 4th Birthday.  30 years ago I was rockin yellow like it was my job.  Also, that giant homemade sign is quite impressive…I think it’s safe to say this was probably the biggest party of my life.  Further evidence of this is my cake that year…

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I mean look at thing…my Mom didn’t even need pinterest to pull that off.  Apparently I had friends too…no idea who they are but that kid next to me seems slightly concerned about something.  Probably the fact that the kitchen floor had carpeting…. good ol’ 1986.

The thing about being born two days before Halloween is you almost always have a halloween themed birthday party.  There’s no way around it.  It’s been a while since I’ve had an actual party type celebration for my birthday…I blame the kids.

This year though I’m lucky enough to live only a few hours drive from my BFF so she’s coming down so we can watch football together without being touched by kids.  And cuss.  Football, beer, and cussing…sounds like a pretty stellar birthday to me!  No costumes required!

 

 

 

 

Jack at 4yrs

I feel like this blog has been very Allison heavy as of late…that little girl showed up and stole my heart what can I say.  However big brother is turning 4 tomorrow and he deserves a little love too!

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This last year has been defined by adding little Allison to our family, but it was also a year of huge growth and development for this kid.  When I think about how much he has changed over the past year my mind is blown away.  3 to 4 is definitely a big year and I feel like the ultimate transition from toddler to little kid.  Here are some random things I don’t want to forget about this past year and my number one man.

  • Jack can identify all the NFL football and MLB baseball teams….and will even remember who played who randomly.  He has also learned a bunch of NASCAR drivers and is obsessed with the little NASCAR cars you can buy (not cheap!) and pretends to race them around.  He even does pit stops.  I don’t know where this kid gets it.  We don’t even watch NASCAR (we tape races now so he can) so I’m always surprised when he talks about a driver I’ve never heard of and proceeds to tell me about their car.
  • He can write his name. This is amazing to me considering last year at this time all he could do was scribble and had no clue how to properly hold a pencil/pen/marker.  Now this kid is tracing letters and always asking how things are spelled so he can practice writing them…he loves writing his name and his daycare friends’ names.
  • He is oddly interested in the weather.  I don’t know where he gets that (maybe b/c both his parents are meteorologists?!)…but he loves watching the weather report and naming off the different temps and letting us know that on Sunday it will be sunny.  When it storms he asks to see the “radio” on our phones….aka the radar.  For some reason he thinks it is going to snow next Tuesday…clearly his forecasting skills aren’t nailed down yet.
  • He uses the words poop/toot/fart way more than I’d like.  When we say prayers and sing songs at night he likes to exchange words with toot and poop…so I mean at least he is creative right?  He gets mad if I say “A-men” instead of “A-toot”.  I assume God gets it.
  • Speaking of said  “bathroom” words…it took us MONTHS to get this kid to go #2 in the potty. #1 was relatively quick and painless.  I should do an entire post dedicated to our potty training woes…but imagine all the possible things that can go wrong…and they did.  When we thought we were getting there…he would flip the table and then hold things for almost a week.  We had some VERY miserable weekends.  When you are buying economy size Miralax….you know shit has (or in this case hasn’t…ha) hit the fan.  Then…after a rough trip to North Dakota…he got it.  I think I maybe cried a little.  So it took about 9 months from start to finish.  God please let sister get it faster…PLEASE!!!
  • Sports are his jam and he loves to play catch with the football, and hit the baseball in the backyard.  He prefers it when his Dad pitches…he told me the other day  he shouldn’t play baseball with me because I’m not very good.  Thanks kid.

I know there’s a million other things about this kid I want to bottle up and never forget…but then this would never end.  He can push my buttons more than anyone and constantly tests my patience…but then out of nowhere he can be the sweetest kid.

He is a handful no doubt and I think for me this past year has been a lesson in patience.  Trying to stay calm and not overreact to every little thing.  It’s tough.  This age has not been easy.  So many more arguments and straight up defiance.  I’m often left feeling like I failed and I have no idea what I’m doing in this whole parenting gig.

Then there are times when he is so sweet to his sister and will get her a toy to play with, or push her around in her cozy coup and my heart just melts.  I know she adores him…but I’m never quite sure how he feels about her.  I can see the beginnings of a strong relationship there…and I look forward to seeing how it blossoms as they continue to grow.

So Happy Birthday to my Jack-y Jack…my little stubborn readheaded ball of energy.  You are loved more than you will ever know!

 

Allison at 1 Year

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My little girl is one.  It happened so fast….before we know it she’ll be a walking running, talking, sassy 3yr old.  As much I want to put into words all the thoughts and emotions I have about this…given the current status of her baby book there’s a good chance that won’t happen until she’s 2.  So for now…5 quick things that I don’t want to forget about Allison right now!

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ONE:  I’m calling her having her first official “word” and it is “uh-oh”.  She mostly says it when she drops her paci and or sippy cup.  It’s the cutest thing in the world.  I’m not even sure when or where she picked it up but she seems to understand what it means…as far as her beloved paci is concerned.  She also points and mutters “keeeee” when she sees one of our cats.  I’m not sure what she loves more…her paci or the cats.  Or her new pink cozy coup…

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Dad wins best birthday gift this year.

TWO:  She is now taking a hand full of steps by herself.  She can go from sitting on the floor to standing/crouching/bending over and taking a few steps all without holding onto something.  She has not been too into push toys which is completely different than her older brother.  That kid pushed ANYTHING and everything around the house for months before and after he learned how to walk…oh wait he still does.  Sometimes she doesn’t seem to care and will just crawl where she wants to go.  Other times she is determined as ever and will get this cute grin on her face as she tries to take some independent steps.  I just love this initial walking stage…when they are just toddling about and look like mini drunks.  Pre-hitting their head on everything and falling all over.

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THREE:  Girl loves the wagon.  If we’re outside and she catches the tiniest glimpse of that sucker in the garage all bets are off.  She could happily sit and get pulled around in that thing all day long.

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When we go for walks she will just sit back and put her arms out and hold onto each side like she’s just taking it all in….enjoying the ride.  I just roll my eyes and then die from cuteness.

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FOUR:  She finally has teeth!  Compared to her teething maniac brother who had a full set by 18mo…she is way behind.  Or just on normal teething time.  She has her two front bottom teeth and 3 1/2 top teeth (last I checked).  I also believe those suckers are the current reason for her sleep issues.

She still wakes up 1-3 times at night and fusses…most of the time she puts herself right back to sleep once she locates her paci.  However lately she has just been sitting up and crying until one of us goes down, retrieves her paci off the floor, and then lays her back down in the crib.  It’s usually quick and painless so I’m not too torn up about it…except when she does it multiple times from the hours of 4-6am.  She loves to wake up and party whine by 5:30 and it is THE WORST.  UGH.  Sleep is for the weak right?!  I’m just holding out hope that one day she will sleep through the night and both her and her brother will stay in bed till 6:30am.  Oh the dreams I dream…

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FIVE:  I’m staring to notice little “girly” things about her.  It is so crazy to watch how she is different from her brother.  My mom got her a little baby doll for her birthday and she was instantly taken by it.  She loves to point at the baby’s eyes and hold it in her arms.  It has to sit with her in the cozy coup at all times.

She also loves to try and put headbands in her hair.  I stopped putting them on her for a long time because she would just rip them out…but now she will reach for them and try to put them on.  Then when I do she will smile and touch it lightly with her fingers.  It’s so funny to me!

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Overall she is a pretty sweet little girl.  She puts up with her obnoxious older brother constantly taking toys from her (although she is starting to fight back) and will sometimes lay her little head on your shoulder if she feels like cuddling.

I know everyone says this…but it’s true….we are so lucky to have her in our lives.  She brings so much joy and happiness to our little familiy (except at 5am of course) and I feel lucky to be her Mom.  Until she hits puberty anyways.

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*linking up with these ladies!

 

Mug Love Exchange

As any Mom will tell you, enjoying a hot cup of coffee on a weekend morning is a rarity.  I’m lucky if I can sneak in a couple sips before I inevitably set my mug up on some high shelf in order to pick up my crying child…only to forget about said coffee until later.  Which by that time it is of course cold…but I still drink it…cause ain’t nobody got time to heat it back up.

Regardless…there is the rare Saturday morning when my kids are being little baby angles and playing happily on the floor long enough for me to enjoy my coffee while it’s still hot.

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So of course…being the coffee addict that I am…when I saw that Sarah and some fellow bloggers were hosting a mug exchange I jumped right in.  Who doesn’t love a fun mug?!

Well lucky for me I was paired with Mary of Eat Drink & Be Mary …and she totally spoiled me with a cute mug and fall goodies!  Mary’s blog was new to me and I had so much fun getting to know her through her blog…she seems like a total sweetheart.  She just turned 25 so you should go wish her Happy Birthday!  I’m over here about to turn 34 and still look fondly at 25…oh to be young and free (from kids) again 😉

On to the goodies!

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See what I mean…spoiled!  I have already used my mug twice…and washed it by hand just so I could use it again this morning.  Oh and Pumpkin Ale bread mix?!  Um yes…that will be getting made next weekend for sure.  I guess I’ll have to go to the liquor store and stock up on more pumpkin beers!  So thanks for giving me another excuse to go buy beer Mary 😉

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I seriously love everything…it was such a fun fall package to get in the mail!  So thanks Mary for totally spoiling me and indulging my love for all things Target dollar spot 😉

And now for the bad news…the mug I sent her BROKE in the mail!!  Seriously…how horrible am I at packaging?!  When she messaged me about it I felt so bad…ugh.  Of course I instantly ordered her an even cuter mug off Etsy and left the packaging/sending part up to the seller…so hopefully it gets to her in once piece and she loves it enough to forgive my poor mailing skills.  So yep…I’m officially fired from all future blog exchanges.

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Thanks to all the lovely bloggers for hosting this exchange!  They are also giving away a Starbucks gift card so go enter.

Courtney of A + Life
Whitney of Work it Mommy
Lexi of A Blissful Haven
Stephanie of Wife Mommy Me

Friday Hodgepodge

Five hodgepodge-ish things this Friday…

ONE:   Today marks the beginning of the Avey Month-O-Birthdays…starting with my main man Lance turning 35 today!

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Next up is Allison (see more on that below), then Jack, and then me at the end of October.  It’s not like we planned it this way (exactly)…it’s just how nature intended.  Clearly God wants me to earn any sort of birthday fun I have by first stressing out over everyone else’s birthdays.  Think of how cool it will be when we can take joint bday trips…I mean that will happen right?  Without the kids also insisting on gifts?!  right…????  Or I’ll just take MYSELF on a trip after surviving birthday-maggedon…

TWO:    Allison turns ONE ON MONDAY.  WHAT?!  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!  Not to sound all cliche but seriously this year went by really fast.  I still call her my “sweet baby” and I might be calling her my baby till she’s 35…who knows.  We had her one year pictures taken on Monday and Becca already gave me a little sneak peek (below) and I’m dying!  Allison was so much better than her brother that we actually got some pics of JUST HER!   I feel like she deserves her own post detailing all the ONE-year things…so maybe I’ll get around to that next week after my hormones calm the f down…

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THREE:  Speaking of hormones…I got my period this week for the first time since pre-Allison.  I felt like a 13yr old girl again scrambling around looking for tampons (who are we kidding I was scared of tampons till I was like 17)…only to remember DUH I was pregnant when we moved so obviously I didn’t have any.  As I was texting my friend about it (obviously) it reminded me how much I miss our girls nights where we would discuss such lovely things…basically like this video (LOVE these moms…they’re from Nebraska too so woot woot!)

“I get pre-pre-menstrual, then pre-menstrual, then I’m menstrual, then I’m post menstrual…then I get real horny for 2 days…whaaaattt”  <—– yep thats me.

 

FOUR:  Along with all the birthdays we’re having a lot of visitors this month starting with my little sister and her boyfriend this weekend.  While I love having visitors and extra helping hands…I also know that my kids wake up ass early (making staying up late extra painful) and Jack is always a little nuts unbearable on little sleep and more than normal attention.  So I really hope I make it through this month without any family members disowning me and/or the neighbors calling CPS on me.  Yay!

FIVE:  Now that Allison is basically one and I’m done with the breastfeeding biz…I feel like it’s time to get serious about working out again.  I’ve been running here and there…some weeks I do well and others not so well due to lack of sleep from a teething baby.  Thanks to KCMB I got to try both yoga and barre for the first time this past month.  I realize I’m super late to the yoga train but it’s true…I had never taken an actual yoga class up until this point.

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I really enjoyed both…barre is definitely more up my ally with the resistance/muscle training.  Unfortunately the studio is like a 30min drive for me so I can’t justify the cost/time it would be to do it consistently enough.  Brittany is also tempting me with her challenge groups through beachbody…which I’m also a huge fan of after doing Insanity and T25…so we’ll see 😉  This month is all about survival so it will probably be another month before I get too serious!

*BONUS*:  Um I just have to say that football season is starting out AWESOME this year…both the Huskers and Vikings are undefeated so far…what?!  Oh and the Utes!  I definitely didn’t see that coming…nor do I know how long it will last so better revel in it now while we can!

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Noah’s Bandage Project

A few weeks ago Brittany (Just Another Day in Paradise) sent out an email to several bloggers asking for help.  Last summer her neighbors lost their son to cancer.  That little boy’s name was Noah, and before he passed he started something pretty amazing…Noah’s Bandage Project.

From the website:  “Noah’s Bandage Project has two goals – 1) to help provide cool and fun bandages to kids that need them, and 2) to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research”

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Seeing how September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, Brittany wanted to see if some of us bloggers would be willing to pitch in and donate some bandaids to Noah’s project and help bring awareness to pediatric cancer research by posting about it.  I mean…that girl just had her 3rd baby and is on maternity leave and she still thinks about how she can help other people…that is some serious heart right there.  How could I say no?  After watching this video (and shedding all the tears) I was ready to buy bandaids by the truckload.

 

My heart goes out to Noah’s family…what an inspiring little boy Noah was…and how amazing it is that his legacy will live on through this wonderful project he started.

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I was afraid that Jack would want to keep all the cool bandaids for himself (the kid is addicted) but after I explained to him how this little boy Noah, who also loves the Royals, needed the bandaids to help some sick kids in the hospital…he was ALL about it.  He was certain that some sick little boys would like the batman bandaids, and maybe even some girls too.  Every other word out of his mouth may be “toot” and “poop” these days but somewhere in there he has a kind heart.

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If you want to learn more about Noah’s Bandage Project you can check out the website, and if you also want to help in some way here are some details:

  • Bandaids cannot be sent directly to hospitals, as they are hospital supplies, so funneling them through NBP is the way to go!
  • Monetary donations are also always welcome – the Wilson’s are working to increase the lack of funding there is nationwide for pediatric research (only 4% currently!!!).  So far, they have raised $100K and that number continues to grow (donations can be made on their website:www.noahsbandageproject.com)
  • If you’d like to send bandaids to them, here is the PO address where they collect them:
    • Noah’s Bandage Project
      119 N Parker Street Suite 110
      Olathe, KS 66061

Herringbone Cowl

Sometimes a knitting project turns into more than just another WIP.  Sometimes you start a project never knowing when or if you’ll finish it and how much life you’ll live in between…creating an emotional attachment you never saw coming. For me that project was the Herringbone Cowl.

Cast on the herringbone cowl finally…hopefully cowls are still cool in whatever year I finish it.

A photo posted by Stephanie Avey (@stephavey) on

 

Thanks to this Instagram post circa Feb 2013, I know exactly when this beast of a project began.  I remember it was right around the time the newborn fog (from Jack) began to lift…and I needed something to make me feel like ME again.  Something that I could concentrate on and lose myself in…to escape the mom life for just a moment and revel in my pre-mom self.

I vividly remember having an hour before I  needed to go to bed that night and literally taking up the ENTIRE HOUR to cast on….because every time my guess as to how much yarn I would need for the long tail cast-on was off…which meant starting over.  I think it took 3 times before I finally got all 220 of those stitches on the circular needle.

In case you were wondering…I'm still working on this cowl. #wip2012

A photo posted by Stephanie Avey (@stephavey) on

 

From then I would work on it whenever I felt the urge to knit.  Often it would go months untouched…but never forgotten.  If you scroll through my instagram feed you’ll notice it makes an appearance from time to time.  It came on trips with me just in case I got a minute (only to be left in the bag untouched more often than not). Sometimes I would get it out only to complete half a round before getting distracted by social media or intense text convos with friends.

The pattern is not a hard one once you get the hang of it…the same stitch over and over, alternating by round…it became addicting.  It was easy to pick up and knit a couple rounds and then put away for a couple months…which is why in the end I think I ended up finishing it.

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As so often happens in the fall and the start of football season…I got the urge to knit and so to the cowl I went.  I knit a round and then decided to measure to see how much further I had to go.  Except I didn’t have any further to go…I had completed the suggested thickness…it was done.  I had an overwhelming rush of pride hit me in that moment.

 

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To me it’s not just another knitting project checked off the list or just another cowl to warm my neck this winter…it’s so much more than that.  It’s a symbol of everything I’ve been through these past four years.  From the scary early days of motherhood to feeling more comfortable and owning my mom-hood (and adding a little girl to our clan)…from our little family of 3 budding in Salt Lake City to our beautiful family of 4 blossoming here in Kansas City.

Of course now I’m faced with an even bigger issue…what to put on the needles next.

 

Friday Hodgepodge

I feel like random lists on Fridays is all I got in me these days.

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1) Lance and Jack are currently headed up to North Dakota for a wedding…which means it’s just me and the girl this weekend.

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Which also means I get to do WHATEVER I WANT after she goes to bed because ONE KID!!  I mean there might be movie watching, knitting, reading….so many possibilities!  Too bad she has been waking up at 4:30am refusing to go back to sleep lately… so sleeping in till 6 is out of the question.  (seriously…when 6am is “sleeping in” what life is this?!)

2) A couple weeks ago I got mastitas.  It was awful.  I had it when Jack was about 3 weeks old so thankfully I knew the signs…but shit…it came on fast.  I went from feeling some pain in my right boob in the morning to shaking uncontrollably and crying from pain a few hours later.  I booked it to the closest urgent care and got drugs.  They hooked me up with the good shit and I spent the next couple days laying in bed with a heating pad on my boobs.  At least the olympics were on so I had something to watch while i floated in and out of consciousness.  It took about 48 hours before I felt normal-ish again…which worked out well for wine tasting with my sisters in my hometown that weekend.

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3)   I won something!! You guys….If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed this very flattering picture I took of myself holding this map with beercaps.

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Well it was for a contest…and I won!  Which means I get ANOTHER map and a sweet set of coasters.  I actually got this map (from Beer Cap Maps) as an anniversary gift “for Lance”…but really it was for “us” to fill with beers we have enjoyed together.  I picked Kansas because we live here now, but I have my eyes set on this giant USA one as my free one.

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Which means I’ll have to start organizing my beer drinking by state…and likely have to take some beertrips in the future to really fill it out.  If you also want to have an excuse to drink beer you should get your own map.

4) I’ve given up on trying to make our house look decent until Allison is stair trained…because I had no choice but to install this monstrosity last weekend:

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Because ain’t nobody got time to guard a baby from going up/down stairs all day.  I’m basically a pro at installing baby gates…this is numero 3 for me and I don’t even need directions anymore.  Thinking of starting a side gig.

5)  FOOTBALL STARTS NEXT WEEK OMG GO BIG RED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!