I recently stumbled upon my summer bucket list.  A list that I had so much fun writing.  A list that seemed so simple, because I wanted to complete these items.  Now that summer is over, I have to admit…I FAILED.  Big time.  Let me recap my failures for you…

1. Go to the pool as much as we can.  We actually got a pool pass this summer, which means we have to go 16 times to make it worth the money (why in the world does a family of 2 cost the same as a family of 5??).

I did this one!  HJ and I did go to the pool a lot.  He became an amazing swimmer, and can even dive off the board now.  Crazy little kid.

2. Go puddle jumping.

We did this one too!  Off to a good start, huh?

3. Shop at Farmer’s Market.

For the past 5 summers, farmer’s markets have been my thing.  Loved going to them and strolling around.  This year, I haven’t been to one.  In my efforts of saving money, my usual routine of iced coffee and breakfast while strolling the stands with HJ didn’t happen.  Plus, I also ran every Saturday morning until my foot injury.

4. Hit up Live to 9. We went numerous times in the past, and always have a blast.

Last summer, I didn’t miss one of these.  This summer?  We didn’t make it to one.  I don’t have a good reason, just fell on nights that didn’t work for us.

5.  Go to Movies Under the Moon.  I love that our little city has such cute things like this.

Whoops.  Missed this one too.  I know HJ would have really enjoyed this, but I dreaded the late bed time it would have caused him.

6. Take a road trip and find this waterfall.

A neighbor and I actually had this plan in the works, but trying to find a corresponding weekend was tough.  I also heard that this is cooler when the ice caves are still formed, so early next summer might be best.

7. Adult night out at Sturgis Falls.  Live music, friends and trying to avoid port-a-potties!

Well, at least I was able to avoid port-a-potties.  The adult night out did not happen.

8. Spend an afternoon at the arboretum.

That would have been a great idea.  I clearly lack execution.

9. Have a park to park bike trip with picnic.

We half-way did this one.  We rode the bike to parks and had picnics, just not park-to-park.  I think the list-maker me was way more motivated then list-executioner me.

10. Do a bit of landscaping in our backyard.

I did!  I did!  It was super little, but my goal clearly said “a bit”.  It said nothing about a whole backyard make-over.

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11. Lay on a beach.  I understand Midwest lakes are a bit less exciting than the ocean, but at least I won’t kick a shark.

I don’t think I laid on the beach, but I did sit on one.  I will count this as a win.


The next time I think it is a good idea to make a bucket list, I will need to actually work on completing things.  Or, you know, just not pretend to be motivated in the first place.


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Today is my grandparent’s 66th Wedding Anniversary.

66 years.

When my sister got married 14 years ago, the DJ had all the couples come out to the dance floor.  He was looking for the couple that had been married the longest to give them wedding advice.  It was my grandparents.  14 years ago.

Now they have been married 66 years.

I grew up with my grandparents living close by.  Now, HJ and I live even closer.  HJ is even named after my grandpa, Harry.

Last night, HJ and I went to their house with a special ice cream treat topped in sprinkles and fudge.  They weren’t home.  Naturally they were at a party of some sort.  So we left their treat in the freezer with a note.  They got back home at 11:30, and enjoyed their bowl of ice cream.

Tonight, my parents, HJ and myself got to celebrate over dinner.  I love that HJ has become so close to his gramps and grams, and hope he cherishes these special moments.

A year ago, I woke up excited.  I had just left my job, and had a few days off before starting my new one.  I planned on spending those days having so much fun with my boy.  The day was going to be unseasonably warm, and we had plans with a slip-n-slide.  However, when he woke up, our plans changed.

He couldn’t walk.  You may have read about it, but if not, here’s the links to Part One, Part Two and Part Three.  I feel incredibly lucky and blessed that all it was, was a scare.  However, it has definitely changed me.

Since then, I have had incredible anxiety over my little guy.  I do ok, until something/anything goes wrong.

This past weekend, I picked him up from to start our weekend.  Only, our weekend started by heading to the Urgent Care Clinic.  We ended up at the Urgent Care that we first went to last September.  Not only that, we ended up in the same examination room with the same doctor.

The last time I sat in that room listening to him, I was in tears.  He was telling me there was something on the x-ray and I needed to take him for more tests.  I remember the doctor being kind.  He offered to call HJ’s pediatrician right away.

But still.  Being back in that room last Friday brought back so many emotions of that day.  I was so worried that he has going to tell me something was wrong with HJ.  Instead, he told me to get some Benadryl.

This week, we have HJ’s follow-up at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.  We have had a number of appointments, but this is the longest we have gone since seeing the orthopedic.  I know we will go, HJ will have an x-ray, and we will have a short appointment with the doctor.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  There is no reason to be.  I know that.  Every appointment, the doctor tells me it is nothing.  It is just a cyst.  But I can’t help but wish it would just disappear.

August: Back on Track

July: Get a Budget

June: Stay Unplugged

May: Run a 5K

April: Beautiful Nails

March: Get Organized

February: Picture Projects

January: Get Healthy


Remember my friend Courtney who helped me with January’s resolution?  We are back at it.

September: 100 Mile Challenge

Courtney and I have decided that we are committed to completing 100 miles of physical activity before she comes to visit me on October 18th.  After doing the math, we decided October 18th was a much more feasible date to complete 100 miles than September 30th (that would have been over 3 miles a day!).

We added in a few variations.  One hour of working out equals two miles.  Miles can be completed via walking, running or biking.  And yes, I know that biking is hella easier than running, but I can’t run yet.  Tonight, I actually thought I would try running a block, just to see how it felt.  The result was a shooting pain throughout my calf.  This led me to hopping on the bike, loading HJ in the trailer and biking two quick miles.

In addition, we also both want to lose 5 pounds before the October 18th date.  To help us keep tabs on what we are doing and our mileage countdown, we started a private facebook group.  Currently, I have 94 miles left and Courtney has 93.

Bring it on September.

I think I have finally mastered what items to splurge on and what items to save on when it comes to my wardrobe.  I went through phases where I only bought expensive, name brand items, and times where I went the cheap route on everything.  Here is what I learned…

Handbags: You get what you pay for.  I have bought inexpensive handbags, only to have to replace it every 6 months or so.  Spending $30 every 6 months doesn’t seem like a lot, but this is one of those items where splurging can save you in the long run.  Three years ago, I bought a Michael Kors handbag for my “every day” bag.  It still looks fine.  I carried this bag from about September-May for 3 years now.  It was $198, but with how it has held up, it was totally worth it.  Here is a similar bag via Shopbop (FREE SHIPPING!).

Leggings: Steal.  I paid a bit more a time or two, and didn’t notice any difference.  I prefer fleece lined, since I live in Iowa…it gets chilly.  Groopdealz sells fleece lined leggings in numerous colors.  For $6.99.


Jeans: Splurge.  I have always had a thing for high quality jeans.  After having HJ, I cut these out of my budget.  I bought a few less expensive brands, and they lasted less than a year.  I had a pair of sevens that  lasted 11 years.  When they bit the dust, I was okay with it.  I usually get Joe’s, because they always fit me great.  I have had a pair since 2008 that I still wear a lot.  I wear jeans everyday for work, so I know that I need a quality pair that I can wear for a long time.

Tops: Steal.  I rarely will splurge on a top, unless it is for something special.  Everyday tops, I need a good deal on.  Styles come and go so quickly, that I hate spending $80 on top to despise it the following year (looking at you chevron print).  I currently live in my boyfriend tees from Groopdealz, which were $6.  They also have dressier tops that would be fun for a night out.  The one pictured below is only $10.99!


Jewelery: Splurge and Steal.  I know, I seem indecisive here.  I have a few pieces I wear daily.  These are splurges, sort of.  They were actually all gifts.  I have a ring that is a light blue gemstone in white gold on one hand.  The other hand has my great-grandmother’s wedding band.  I wear a “Harrison” necklace.  I feel that if it is a meaningful piece of jewelry, splurging is expected.  I like simple things for everyday.

If I need a necklace to go with a top, I prefer inexpensive pieces.  Like this cute bubble necklace for $4.99.


What items do you splurge on?  Where do you prefer to find great deals?

Alright August, way to make me feel like a gigantic failure.

That’s right.  I started August with full intentions of being healthy in all aspects of my life.  Eating healthy, amping up my workouts, etc.

And then, I injured my foot.  Or calf.  As of this past Thursday, I was officially given the “go-ahead” but the doctor to start small work outs again.  Meaning, biking is ok.  Walks are not as good, and running is out completely.  Basically, I went a whole week in August with being able to work-out.  This also means, once I became injured I felt sorry for myself and indulged in lots of sweets.  Chocolate made my foot feel better.  I even let myself have ice cream in the fridge, which is just dangerous.

Needless to say, I failed at getting back on track.  I failed miserably.  And, it shows.  I am really missing my work-outs, and need to find something low impact until I am back to 100%.  I am not sure at all when I will be back to running, but I am hoping I can gradually work back up to that.

My other half of the goal was to focus on my budget.  This side was not a failure, I actually did really well at this part.  It is just frustrating, because getting out of debt is not an immediate fix.  It is going to take me months and months to feel in control, and I am one of those people that likes to see immediate results.  I think the only way to manage that is to win the lottery.

Anyone have low impact work outs they recommend?  Or want to make me an instant millionaire?

People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness


I feel like time is on fast forward.  It does not seem possible that summer is winding down.  School has started, the pool is closed and soon we will be bundling up in sweatshirts and watching the leaves change colors.

I love watching my little guy grow.  Everyday is a new adventure.  Witnessing life through the eyes of a child is absolutely amazing.  And the amount that HJ learns and processes never ceases to amaze me.  Every day, I witness a little more of my baby slipping through my fingers while this amazing young boy molds in front of me.

A year ago, he was afraid to get his head wet at the pool.  This year, he is diving off the board.  Last year, he was attending school for the first time.  This year, he walks to school with his buddies.

Sometimes, I want to push pause and savor each moment.  Yet, at the same time, I can’t wait to see what is coming next.

*Congrats to Mollie!  You won The Boxcar Children DVD!


My child has quite the imagination.  This weekend, he changed into a dog. A one-year-old puppy named Tyson (which is very confusing for a 9-year-old dog who is named Tyson in the house).  So, this weekend, we have had a house with 2 Tysons.  The new puppy (HJ), was slightly demanding, and quite bark-y.

For one, he required a water bowl in the kitchen.  The water bowl also needed ice refreshed every so often.  He likes snacks in his food bowl, but instead of scooping dog food into a bowl, he liked blueberries or strawberries.  He also preferred if you made him do a trick before every bite.  Tyson/HJ is very good at rolling over, shaking and running.  Not so good at taking a nap.

Tyson/HJ could also speak, mostly in various tones of barking, but all had very different meanings (usually translated through hand signals).  Tyson/HJ also crawled on all four most of today, and as I type he is insisting on sleeping in a dog bed on my floor (I have made him crawl back into bed 3 times already, but he keeps whining and crawling out to his water bowl).

He went through a phase like this a year ago too.  While having two dogs is fun, I really miss my little 4-year-old boy!


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HJ has been waiting patiently for school to begin.  Last week, his 2 teachers came to visit us at home, and since then, he has been SO EXCITED.

School will be a bit different this year.  Last year, he went two days a week, for about three hours.  And, the preschool was in a separate building from the main school.  This year, it is 5 days a week for 5 hours.  It is also in a large elementary school, so he gets to walk from daycare with the big kids (he thinks it is awesome).

After his first day, he told me it was awesome.  He said he liked playing with all of his new friends, but doesn’t remember any names.  He disliked that at recess, he had to play in the “little kids park”.  He prefers playing in the big kid park (he also thinks he is 8).

HJ also told me it is cool to carry your backpack over one shoulder.  Carrying it on both shoulders is lame. He also set this trend for the other kids at daycare.

This far, he even likes hot lunch, but next week there is something called “peaches in strawberry gel”, so he might change his mind.

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*Congrats to Jenny for winning the Veggietales DVD, an email is coming your way!*

When I was young, I loved reading The Boxcar Children Series.  I had them lined up along my headboard (which was a bookshelf), and loved how Gertrude Chandler Warner made me want to find my very own boxcar to live in.

When I was asked to review the new Boxcar Children DVD, I was excited to introduce HJ to the 4 siblings I fell in love with as a child.

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After watching the film, HJ and I decided we would start reading the series together.  We have only located book #22 at my parents, but are still hunting (that means there are at least 21 more to find…I never skipped a book).

The film is about four orphaned and homeless siblings who come upon an abandoned boxcar, which, with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret-until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.

HJ and I loved having a movie night, cuddled up on the couch and watching The Boxcar Children.  I would love for one of you to win this DVD for your household.  Just leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite series was growing up, or what your kid’s favorite series is!  I will pick a winner next Sunday.