Back To School!

Hi everyone! It’s that dreaded time of year, the time of year that interrupts our summer earlier and earlier, back to school time.  I mean, it’s inevitable, right?  But, starting August 1st is just plain cruel.  At the bare minimum, I feel like they should start after the State Fair is over, around mid-August.  That’s doable, right?

Anyways, as you read in the previous paragraph, Brayden started August 1st.  Third grade snuck up on me, and just seems so middle to upper aged in the elementary school sense.  I feel like it’s all going so fast that I haven’t been able to do the things I want to keep ‘preparing’ Brayden for the road ahead.  For example, when summer started, I told him he was going to read every night (granted, I told him this after our Disney trip, so it was basically mid-June) so I went Targeting (good excuse to go!) and bought him 2 chapter books.  He had just finished a chapter book that he bought at the end of school book fair right before our trip to Disney.  Well, as of the first day of school last week, he only had read one of the two books I bought him.  I mean, I feel bad that I didn’t enforce the reading like I told myself I would, but I’m always torn between being the enforcer and letting him enjoy playing outside with his friends every night until dark (which, by the way, is also a good thing).

Which brings me to my next topic…. parenting is rough at times as the kiddos get older.  No shock there, of course, but I’m starting to think back to my own experiences and hope and pray the Brayden never has to experience some of them and pray that he gets to experience all the good things!  I’m lucky that, to this point, he’s had great friends, awesome teachers and a great overall school experience, all while keeping good grades, staying well behaved and basically being the ideal type of student.  But, I know times are changing with the friend aspect.  As Brayden gets older, his friendship status with some kids is starting to change.  He’s becoming closer with some and distancing others, not by choice, but just because he spends more time with some.  He’s starting to get to that age where some of his friendships will strengthen and some will break.  I remember this time in my life well and it can be rough!  And, as a parent, it makes me sad sometimes, because I see Brayden getting hurt occasionally by friends he loves dearly.  I just keep telling myself we need to keep moving on and experiencing new things with new people.

Something I’m enjoying as Brayden gets older is seeing him become a leader, seeing him influence and build others UP and seeing him succeed.  My heart is happy when I see him doing what he loves and doing it well.  Something else I’m also enjoying….dressing him!  I mean….I don’t literally dress him, but you moms know what I mean!  He’s doing a great job looking as handsome as ever…and he’s very particular about what he wears if he is going to school.  Haha!  He’s also particular about his hair if he’s doing something special at school or going somewhere fun.  I love it.  I think he’s just becoming more aware of everything on that front.  

Third grade, we are ready for you!!! Let’s do this!!  Let’s learn more, get better, have more experiences and enjoy the ride!
What are your favorite moments to watch as your kids get older?  Oh, and on a side note, I think we should sign a petition that says the kids don’t need to go back until August 15th…can I get an amen on that?

Have a great day!!

Spring Workouts

Hello, beauties!

I don’t know about you, but around the end of February, as if I couldn’t be more disgusted with gray skies and winter, I start thinking of bikini season and I get even more disgusted.

As if you don’t already know, I’m no gym goer.  I barely have time to get in an at home workout and still see my family for an hour a day.  But, I always want to feel better and I never want to be the mom that everyone points at and talks about for wearing something she shouldn’t.

I think we can all agree that change of any kind comes with consistency.  I put so much pressure on myself so often that I am constantly disappointed in myself for not seeing results.  This time, I broke everything down and just decided to screw everything I thought I knew and do one simple thing that was good for me.  For me, that is speed walking on the treadmill.  I’m not a runner guys…I’m just not.  I’ve tried (but maybe not long enough to make it routine) but I feel so much better speed walking.  I have a treadmill in my office with an old school TV and DVD player, and I basically watch Friends, Cougar Town and a variation of Channing Tatum and Nicholas Sparks movies over and over–ha!  Watching a movie or TV show engages my mind, so I don’t even realize I’ve walked 3 or 4 miles!

After a week or so of starting my routine, I started using the incline on my treadmill, starting at a 2 and after 25 minutes taking it down to 1, finishing at 0 on a flat surface.  At the beginning I would do this 3-4 days a week.  After a month and a half, I was getting in 5-6 nights a week, unless we had late baseball practice, then I tried to make up for it on Sunday.  Now that both baseball seasons have started for us, we are only home on Tuesday nights, so I’ve found I have to walk faster for longer on nights I can get it in.  I’ve also incorporated some light weights into my routine at least 2 times a week.  Sometimes I swing a 10 pound kettle bell 25-30 times, and other times I use 8 pound weights for biceps and triceps.  It’s not perfect, but it’s what I can fit in without my mind exploding.

Here’s what I’ve found:  I actually am bummed now when I can’t get on the treadmill!!  What???  Yes, I said bummed!  Also, I was the weirdo that didn’t take measurements when I first started in late February/early March, but I know that I’ve lost inches because I can start to see some definition come back in my super short torso and legs.  My mom has also mentioned she can tell I’m toning up and that my face looks slimmer.  She sees me every day and she’s brutally honest, so I’m going to call that a win.

Pounds lost:  Maybe 3 and that’s being generous.  For those who know me, you know it is so hard for me to look at numbers on the scale and numbers on clothing tags.  I’ve always been so focused on the number and my body has always worked against me, because, for whatever reason, I look like I weigh about 10-15 less than I actually do.  You may think this is a great thing, unless you focus on numbers like I do and then you are constantly beating yourself up about it because the numbers don’t reflect the way they should.  But I know deep down that I’ve made some kind of progress to see what I see in the mirror, so I’m trying not to beat myself up too much.

My next plan:  Trying to cut some carbs and sugars from my diet.  When I get stressed from everyday busy life, I look for things to eat.  I never realized I did this until this past year.  It’s so hard to say “no” and go do something else when food is all you can think about in that moment.  PLUS there’s the added stressor that I don’t even get home until after the typical dinner time, so I usually don’t even really cook anything.  I mean, I feel like the kids get decent food, but it’s not what my mom had ready for us, at 6 every night…if you know what I’m saying.  My mom was also a stay at home mom for most of my childhood, so there’s that.  When I worked closer to home, I would actually put something in the crock pot or make something at 5:15 when I rolled in the driveway, but I haven’t been able to get into the groove of doing that since I have had to drive 50 minutes to and from work every day and don’t get home until after 6:15 most days.

We need to make some changes, somewhere.  I’m so tired of fast food and quick little dinners at home.  When I eat fast food, I eat salads (grilled chicken) or protein bowls (with more grilled chicken) or Subway with no cheese or mayo, but let’s face it guys, it gets old FAST and there’s always this little dude on my shoulder telling me I’m doing bad things and the sodium in those foods are bad for me, and the kids need more veggies and more fiber, not another chicken nugget, even if it is organic.  I’ve thought about meal delivery, but that would just be ONE MORE THING to pay for, monthly.  It’s expensive and I would still need to spend almost as much at the grocery store anyways.

I’m going to try and make it a priority this summer to think ahead of time and plan meals better.  It’s hard for me….real hard.  I feel like I should be spending the time I am actually home with my family and not stuck in the kitchen for hours meal prepping.  Alas, I’m going to try and find the happy medium that I’m sure exists somewhere.

What are your tips for cutting back on sugary, carb filled foods?  What are your favorite snacks and dinners?  Comment below and let me know.

I want to leave you with this one thought that I finally have figured out over the years:  Whatever your weight/shape/height/goal may be, consistency is KEY and will bring you results.



Here are a few things I’m loving/reading/watching/eating and generally think you need:

Listening to: Dierks Bentley, Black.  We are hitting up his concert in August and I would like to know at least 2 or 3 songs haha.


Reading: The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.  Why?  Because, I feel like maybe being a realtor is in my future.  With my parents planning retirement in the next 3 or 4 years, I would love to have some flexibility in my schedule with the kids.  Though I’m positive my mom will work at Kohl’s until she’s 110, I know my dad would like to do a little traveling.  Enter real estate.  Plus, the older I get, the more I want to flip homes and spend every weekend at Lowes.  Yep, I’m THAT person.


Watching: Brother vs Brother on HGTV.  I told you in the sentence above, I’m turning into that person who wants to spend every weekend at Lowes.  I’m obsessed with before and afters of homes that have been remodeled.  I literally cannot watch it enough!


Shopping for: Really cute black sandals/wedges I can wear out on the weekends, but also with dress pants at work.  Oh and I don’t want to spend more than $50.  Target has let me down, so has  SOS–send ideas my way!

Considering: Doing a blog series on progress for eating clean.  You guys have NO IDEA how hard it has been for me to fix clean dinners now that I work 40 minutes away (that’s in no traffic).  By the time I get home at night, Brock has already fed the boys and usually it’s in the form of organic beef hotdogs, organic lunch packs or Annie’s ravioli or pizza rolls, with some cheese or yogurt as a side.  Granted, the boys probably still eat “cleaner” than I do, but we need to cut back on dairy for them and they need to learn to love veggies as much as they love cheese and fruit.  Secondly, I need to actually sit down and eat a full blown balanced meal.  Everything is on the go right now and it needs to slow down a bit.  With all the anxiety and OCD issues I have, eating is something that could help me, and I really need to practice what I preach.

Wearing: This tank top from Dottie Couture and this romper from Dottie Couture.  I also have the CUTEST 4th of July tank to wear from Tiffany’s Boutique.  She doesn’t have a website yet, but I love her clothing as well!  Oh, and these Guess shoes are making a strong appearance this summer….


Wishing: I had my evenings free to read, go to the gym, spend time in the kitchen (ok, I laughed at that too) and organize the house.  One day.  But then I’ll miss the kiddos being around at my feet 24-7, so basically I want the impossible….unless I get really stinking rich and can hire a full time maid…..

Eating:  I cannot get enough chicken fajitas (without the tortillas, so I can have chips and salsa…obviously).  Mexican all day, everyday, please and thank you.  I just ate an organic peach as a snack though and I’m planning to order some NuGO organic Slim bars today to snack on at work.  I’ve heard they are fantastic.

Can’t wait for: A mini family vacation to a water park next weekend.  We plan to throw the boys in and let them fend for themselves until they learn to swim.  Kidding.  We hope they love it!


What are your favorite finds right now? 🙂



Spring Vibes Only!

Spring Vibes Only

Spring is probably my favorite season.  I know I’ve probably mentioned that 50 zillion times or so, but I thought I would just rehash that thought for the fun of it.

My logic goes like this:  Spring is like the Friday before Saturday; aka, before summer.  Saturday (summer) is GREAT, everyone loves it, but it leads into Sundays which lead into Monday’s.  Blah.  Friday’s are my favorite day of the week because it’s the START of the weekend.  Spring is like Friday everyday for me. 🙂

Here are some things I’m MOST looking forward to in the coming weeks:

–Planting flowers.  I’ll admit, I’m not Martha Stewart.  I don’t have a creative genius/green thumb/baker extraordinaire mentality, but I figure the only way I’m going to get comfortable doing something is to jump in and do it.  Therefore, flowers will be planted next week.  They may die by summer, but by goodness, they will look pretty for a few weeks!

–Going to baseball games.  Pee Wee baseball makes me smile so much.  Brayden has moved on from his 2 years of t-ball to Pee Wee this year and we love it.  Brayden has a big grin on his face every practice and talks about baseball non stop this year.  I love it because where else can you go and watch half the team pick weeds in the outfield, half the team play in the dirt on the infield and a handful of kids that are so super competitive; they will compete against anyone that will go up against them; even kids on their own team.  Last year I saw a kid actually lay down and try to nap during the game.  This is what happens in right field kids……don’t go there.  You won’t come back….you will be napping.  Games start on Monday and I’m pumped!

–Grilling out.  Lately, Brock and I have gotten into a terrible habit of eating out.  Half of it is because I get home 45 minutes later now everyday and the kids are ready to eat dinner at 5, not 6:15 when I get home and half of it is because we are busier this year.  Regardless, I’m excited to keep the grill fired up so we can have some tasty dinners that don’t take too long to make.  Who doesn’t love a perfectly grilled steak or grilled pineapple or veggies?

–Having more daylight in the evenings.  Sunshine makes me happiest of all!  Evenings where we can be outside, chatting it up with the neighbors and letting the kids play are the best!  Evening walks can’t be beat either.  Hopefully this year I will be able to enjoy a corona light on our finished deck with some cute new patio furniture!

–Driving with the windows down.  Hands down, the best.  One of these days I am going to get myself a jeep with a gigantic sunroof and life will be grand.  🙂

–Spring Fashion.  Sandals, espadrilles, sunglasses, tank tops, and shorts, oh my!  I love it all.  Give me all the robins egg blue, mint and pastel pink colored ….. well, everything.  I’ll take it.

Here are some favorites on my “to buy” list:

This adorable romper

This tank

Rebecca Minkoff does it again!

These Ugg espadrilles…ahhh

–Blossoming cherry trees.  Do I need to explain why they are maybe the most gorgeous tree ever?   I wish my back yard and front yard both were lined with them.  I have also found out, via my mom, who was on a quest to have her yard lined with them as well, that they are not only one of the prettiest trees, but also the most expensive.  Of course, right?  Makes sense to me.

–Ice Cream.  I know it’s an all year thing, but when I drive past our DQ and see the patio FILLED to capacity, it reminds me to stop for the kiddos and me.  🙂  This is obviously good for the kids, bad for my thighs.  The struggle is real.

–Spring house projects!  Every year we knock out a project or two when the weather warms up.  Now, I know most of you are not as lucky to have a custom carpenter for a husband like I do.  But, even if you don’t have a handy hubby, any type of DIY project that spruces up your home feels so good!  This year we (when I say we, I mean Brock) are building a full wall of shelves with a window seat/toy box for the play room.  I’m also tackling my office and getting rid of half the furniture in it and adding a TV armoire and twin bed.  I call it an office, but we haven’t used it as one since we bought laptops and tablets.  So I should just call it Mary’s room….a room that will be decorated fantastically that houses my treadmill and a twin bed and TV.  There ya have it.

–Memorial Day.  Ok May is my FAVORITE month.  Usually great weather, race month (let’s be real, I’m not really into racing, but I do love going to the track and people watching….from a suite….) people that I know open their pools (please invite us over this summer, I promise we will bring beer and food and pool toys for your kids!) and we always have a big memorial day gathering.  Love it!


Those are some of my favorite spring time happenings.  What are some of your favorites?  Please share.  Happy spring!




Once upon a time, there was a family of 4, a father, mother, daughter and son. This family of 4 always spent lots of quality time with family. The mother’s family was from Evansville and the father’s family was from West Virginia. Growing up, this family had many traditions, including many Easters spent in West Virginia and many Thanksgivings in Evansville and a few Christmases when the kids were babies. As the kids grew up, the daughter ended up loathing travel for the holidays. After all, that was the time that all her friends had plans and wanted her to be a part of them, that was a week or more out of school that she should be spending with her friends. The brother never seemed to mind spending the holidays away as much as the social butterfly daughter with a friends only agenda. He enjoyed the “nothing to do” country scene and spent his time hunting or fishing with the father and grandpa.

Every trip to Evansville seemed to cause more boredom than the previous trip for the daughter. It was the 90’s and her grandparents lived in front of a cow pasture in the middle of nowhere with no VHS player or cable. No call waiting and no long distance either. The daughter finally started bringing her own VHS player and hooking it up in the basement of her grandparents house and spent her days watching every movie imaginable and writing scripts for movies because there was nothing else to do. She and her brother spent time feeding the cows and playing with the neighbor’s husky pups and the neighborhood basset hound Buford. The only thing enjoyable about the trips to Evansville was when A League of Their Own was filmed there and the daughter was able to visit all the sites and see first hand for herself how awesome the magic of movies was; not that she didn’t already know.

The family became busier and busier as the kids got older. FINALLY Christmases and Thanksgivings were spent in town, at the family’s house and the grandparents would drive up from Evansville for a week or two at a time to visit. This made the daughter happy and the son was happy too, even though he still scheduled mini trips to Evansville to hunt with family from time to time. The grandparents would come up for 2 weeks at Christmastime. They would bring Little Debbie Dunkin Stiks and cinnamon pin wheels. They would also bring Christmas happy meal toys from McDonalds along with our present of cash in a bright red envelope, sometimes with a $2 bill included for fun. The parents enjoyed having a built in babysitter so they could finish Christmas shopping and the daughter enjoyed not having to miss time with her friends. The mother and grandmother were very close. Secretly, I think the mother loved that the grandmother did dishes every night and laundry too. Oh and speaking of laundry, it was always folded in the living room during All My Children or General Hospital and the washcloths were always folded diagonally, not in a square. The mother hated the drama of soap opera’s but the daughter always enjoyed the “green light” to watch them when the grandparents visited.

The grandparents also started visiting for a few weeks at a time during the summer. They would help with the mother’s annual yard sale and visit with the family. As the kids got older and their lives got busier, they realized it was a good thing that the grandparents came to visit so they could spend some family time with them.

Years passed, and the grandmother became sick. The mother invited her to come live with her family so that she could take of the grandmother. The grandmother agreed and came to live with the family. Under the mother’s care, the grandmother improved and was able to move back home. After a few rough winters with several bouts of pneumonia and congestive heart failure, the grandmother passed away. Life changed, and the grandfather had a double knee replacement surgery and was wheelchair bound for over a year. He was no longer able to drive, so the visits to the family ended. No more Christmases with dunkin stiks and pin wheels, no more summer visits with General Hospital and diagonally folded washcloths. No more stories from the grandfather about how he met someone at the local Dairy Queen that was “looking for her”. The daughter thought she was tired of the story after hearing it for 15 years, until it was no longer told to her. The grandfather started showing signs of dementia and was placed in a nursing home a few years later.

Visits were made to the nursing home by the mother and father and sometimes the son and daughter. It was sad. It was lonely and the grandfather wasn’t the same. The mother would send Christmas gifts and decorations for his room and the uncles would visit and take photos of the grandfather’s progress. The grandfather had his good days and bad and many ups and downs. He passed away in his sleep on January 18th, 2016 at 86 years of age.

There is a piece that will never be filled quite like it once was. The annoying trips to the middle of nowhere with no VHS player, the many hours conquering boredom by writing pages and pages of scripts, the staying home on a Friday night because the parents said the grandparents were coming to visit, the long visits during Christmas breaks and the long visits in the summer.

The daughter is this girl writing this, and this girl will miss all of those things.

My heart hurts a little around Christmas every year, thinking about the feelings of pure excitement my brother and I had when our grandparents would come up during our Christmas breaks. Excitement because their arrival signaled the start of Christmas break. Excitement because grandparents always brought the best candies and goodies, excitement that Christmas was just weeks away. A few months ago I spoke to my cousin about this and she felt the same way. If only we would have appreciated it more back when it was happening. But, that’s how things go….hindsight, you know?

This chapter has ended but we will forever have our memories. My only hope is that our own kids have fond memories to look back upon. That they will be able to tell stories about their parents taking them on annoying, boring trips to visit family. Though it may seem like the craziest thing in the world during those younger years, those memories will be the ones they treasure when they are parents themselves.

Rest in Heaven Grandpa, I wish you eternal life with Grandma, that includes plenty of bingo, sweets, story telling, vegetable soup (with the corn picked out) and music.



Christmas, around 2 years old. Sitting on my grandparents old green striped couch.


My Uncle Randy and Aunt Brenda’s wedding. I was upset because I decided at the last minute I didn’t want to be the flower girl, but I wanted to wear the dress.


My grandma and grandpa at my Uncle Randy and Aunt Brenda’s wedding. I’m sure it was my mom taking the picture since everyone’s heads are cut off and my grandma’s eyes are closed. 😉


Thanksgiving at my grandparents house. I have no idea why my brother looks like he’s auditioning for a Coke commercial.


Such a great picture!


Buford, the basset hound


My grandpa, my mom and my Uncle Randy at Brock and I’s wedding

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