Friday, July 14, 2017

My Sweet Eli

And then he was 6. I am so proud of this kid. I am proud of his kindness, his generosity, his work ethic, and how he treats those around him. I can't believe he is 6 already.  He makes me laugh every single day. Happy 6th birthday, buddy! Here's a look back on this past year.

Starting with his annual birthday interview.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Eli: Police Officer 

Me: What's your favorite food?
Eli: Cheese

Me: What's your favorite snack?
Eli: Crackers

Me: What's your favorite thing we did this summer?
Eli: Water balloons

Me: What's your favorite thing to do outside?
Eli: Be in the water

Me: What's your favorite thing to do inside?
Eli: Cuddle 

Me: What is your favorite color?
Eli: Blue

Me: What makes you happy?
Eli: Mommy

Me: Where do you like to go?
Eli: Ohio

 Always the Adventurer. If there is something to climb on, jump over, or race to, he is on it!

1st Day of Kindergarten. He was so excited.  

Finally tall enough for the roller coaster at the state fair!

All Personality. 

 He loves, loves, loves the outdoors!

He was so excited during the first snow fall. He said, "It's like all the birds are pooping on me!"
 He still loves cooking and helping however he can around the house.
 He always tries to make people smile.

And out of nowhere, he just grew up!

 I love that he still loves taking naps. If he's just a little bit tired, all it takes is a fuzzy blanket and a stuffed animal in his arms and his is out like a light.

This was the year he decided on an instrument to play. He began ukulele lessons in February and picked it up really quickly.

Bad picture, but I LOVE how he is rocking it.
He practices all the time.

And got to perform in front of a crowd at the Farmers Market.

    He put 2 more seasons of soccer in the books.

And another season of tball.

He loves animals.

 And worked so hard in school. He learned to read this year!

  He has no fear of a little dirt.

   He is full of life and spunk.

Every single day, he makes me so proud. Eli, May your next year be even half as awesome as you are.

Happy Birthday sweet boy!
Read about Eli's 4th birthday here. 
Read about his 5th birthday here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Introducing My Bullet Journal

Each summer, I give myself a project to work on so my brain doesn't turn to mush over the summer. Some summers, my blog is the project, some summers, it's a goal to try so many new recipes, and some summers, it's a giant bucket list to complete. Last summer, my project was to master the art of lettering (handwritten fonts). For the record, I didn't "master it," but have had gotten way better with lots of practice. Last year I liked to spend my spare time writing the NATO phonetic alphabet (you know - alpha, bravo, charlie, delta...) in as many fonts as I could think of or make up. Learning the NATO alphabet was a goal of mine a couple of winter breaks ago so it was good to practice. Anyhow, I digress.

So this summer, I decided to put all that font practice to good use by diving into my very own bullet journal.

What is a bullet journal, you ask?

If you've never ever heard of this process, then it's best to get started on the website that started it all (click here to find it). In short though, it's a handwritten analog system for journaling and planning. It has progressed to also be an artistic outlet. The best part is, however, that you can customize it however you want for whatever you need. 

You might like a bullet journal if:
 - You like making lists 
 - You are a compulsive planner
 - You like all things antiquated 
 - You like to journal
 - You like to doodle 
 - Any combination of the above

Longtime readers know that I am an avid list maker (remember the list of lists from 2013?) I make lists of everything. So having a central spot for all of those lists is my favorite part of the bullet journal. I'm not a "compulsive" planner per se, but I do like to be prepared so I guess I am somewhat of a planner. I do like antiquated things like handwriting in a digital age (don't get me wrong. My google calendar isn't going anywhere, with or without the bullet journal). I've always been a journaler, but not really an organized one. I journal here and there but not consistently (except for the 750 words project I completed last year.) I've never been really artistic, but my favorite bujo layouts are all filled with doodles, so I figured I could learn to doodle the same way I'm learning to play bass... by googling it. So... that's how I convinced myself to start the bujo process.

How does one get started on a bullet journal?

There are tons of bullet journal products out there and they are really reasonable. I didn't do a ton of research before I delved in and purchased these Huhuhero pens from Amazon. I also got this mint green bullet journal, also from Amazon. Both products get 2 thumbs up from me. Reasonably priced and they both do their job.

What I soon learned however is that really all you need is graph paper and any pens you want. I'll write soon about how my first bullet journal evolved into two bullet journals. It's not the "traditional method," but like I said, you can do whatever you want with your bullet journal so that it works for you. 

I have my supplies. Now what? 

You can find inspiration for your bullet journal all over pinterest and instagram. Popular hashtags to search for include #bujo #bujojunkies #bulletjournals #bulletjournaladdict #bulletjournalcommunity #bulletjournalinspiration... you get the point. 

Using that inspiration, decide what you are going to use bullet journal for. Journaling, planning, just fun stuff? 

I searched and searched and decided to start my journal with a layout of the year. It was a good easy way to start my book. 

Here is a glimpse of a few of the pages in my journal. I'll go into more detail and show more pages in a future post, but this gives you an idea of what I'm filling my bujo with. 

My monthly layout for July. In past months, I've done more of a narrative, but this month I'm doing a doodle a day (exept for day 1 when I hadn't yet decided about the doodle thing). I love including moon phases on my monthly layout... you know, because it's good to know when the full moon is coming.

Here's my summer page that I update daily. 

I created a page to help me learn bass notes (and another page to write out the bass lines to songs I'm learning). 

I created a page to help me plan for a road trip we took back in June.

And I love putting quotes in to fill up empty spaces on each page. This was a weekly layout page and a format that I loved. 

And another...

And then what? 

So right now, I'm using my bujo for monthly journaling, weekly planning, menu planning (on and off again), list making (favorite songs, favorite Ted Talks, planning (house projects, trips)), and doodling. Each one could get its own post so I won't overload you all at once. Some people have written about how bullet journals completely changed their lives. I'm not there yet. Right now, it is something I do completely for fun (says the person who is addicted to organizing data on google spreadsheets, you know, because it's fun). I'll be back soon with updates on how this hobby progresses. 

Friday, July 7, 2017


Wow. Has it been more than a month since the last time I published something on here? I had no intention of taking a digital break, but it seems to have happened anyway. I've stayed clear of my phone, my computer, and watching the news for the majority of the summer. Netflix and I however, have been fully connected. More on that here in a second. It feels like it's been an incredibly lazy summer, but now that I'm looking back on pictures, we've actually done quite a bit. I'll catch you up in this post and promise to be back in the next couple weeks with some new posts on some hikes we've taken as well as my new hobby addiction.

Here is a full update on our family.

Remodeling, painting, and building has taken up the majority of our time this summer. The number of days that I haven't left the house because I'm covered in paint are too many to count. We completely remodeled the basement and are also in the process of giving a makeover to our kitchen, living room, dining room, and entry way. We have several projects in process but I'm loving it.

In progress...

Eli's new favorite nap room.

 Jeremy is also working on building us a farmhouse table. I can't wait until it's complete. Unfortunately it's stalled right not until I finish painting the dining room because we want to assemble it in the room instead of trying to move it later. I'll post pictures when it's all done

Back in early June, we took the boys to a wedding of a family friend. It's so much fun to get the boys dressed up.

They hated the ties though and had them off about 2 seconds after we left the church.

At any rate, it was so much fun to have a night out.

Lex desperately wanted to go to summer school this summer, but Eli didn't. So for the majority of June, Eli and I got to spend some quality time together. Here we are at Runge Nature Center.

They have done some remodeling at the nature center, so there were lots of new things to see.

This tree house is one of the new parts.

 We also enjoyed a family night out to Katfish Katy's Station House to watch a friend of Jeremy's play a live show. It was a beautiful evening and the boys had a great time running around outside.

We have become pros at navigating the Capitol Building. Seriously, we could probably give tours ourselves. The boys absolutely love it. It never gets old.

Oh, and then there's chess. I've never been much of a chess player, but one of my students taught me how to play this past year, and then we played every morning before school for most of first semester. At the beginning of summer, I taught the boys how to play and since then, we have played about 100 times. Lex has even watched some videos to try to learn some new strategies and the other day, I caught him making a video with his iPad on how to put someone in checkmate in 2 moves.

We've had several trips to the park here in town and have also explored lots of other parks too.

We don't normally hike in the summer, but when it got down to low 80's recently, we decided to get outdoors.

We were quickly reminded why we DON'T hike in the summer. We didn't go far because none of us were having fun. I'll save all the details for a future post about the summer's worst hike.

We've spent lots of evenings at the river. It's my absolute favorite thing to do when we just want to get out of the house. And the summer sunsets are just beautiful.

 We've had pool days...

And 4 ball games a week since the beginning of June.

Eli - tball

Lex - coach pitch
The boys have continued with their piano and ukulele lessons.

We have definitely had our share of lazy days too. I devoured the new seasons of Orange is the New Black and Shameless. I also rewatched the entire series of Parenthood (I actually started that at the end of the school year). I waste time by watching reruns of Friends and The Office. The boys have watched Trolls too many times to count and Lex can now annoyingly quote the movie almost word for word. Eli is learning to play Sounds of Silence on the ukulele just like Princess Poppy. Adorable.

So that's pretty much it for us. I love, love, love summer and the fact that I barely know what day it is and we are all sleeping in until 8:30 every morning. I'm not even thinking about the fact that it will eventually come to an end. That's a thought for another day, week, month...

Happy Summer!