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Today was HJ’s last day of school (how he is he old?!?!).  In his school, he has a main teacher, two assistants, two daycare people, and a handful of young assistants.

In other words, I had to think inexpensively to be able to gift everyone (and I DO think they all deserve it).  HJ spent more time in the daycare then in school, so of course they all deserve a token of appreciation.

I knew I wanted to make something that said “thanks for making me a smart cookie”.  Because cookies are cheap, and I am a pretty dang good baker.  Naturally, I turned to pinterest.  I searched for “free smart cookie printable” and found this link.  I love when people can read my mind and make the perfect card.

I printed the cards off, and made some scrumptious chocolate chip and m&m cookies (found on pinterest, naturally).  I put a handful of cookies into a reusable Tupperware container and tied in up with some fluffy bows.

PicMonkey Collage

I think they turned out cute (and yummy).  What teacher gifts have you given that were a hit?  Would love some ideas for the next 12 years or so!

 

Guess what?  I did it!  I ran the 5K!

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THe day before the race, Becky, Jodee and I were texting back and forth.  Somehow, it was decided we would run at a 9 minute mile pace.  This had me a tad nervous, as the fastest I had gone was 11:30.  The race started, and we were off.  Uphill.  Then onto gravel, and another hill.

We kept thinking, eventually we would have to go down hill.  I felt like I had trained enough, but I had not attempted a 5K packed with hills.  As we rounded a monstrous hill, Jodee said to power through and go fast, it makes it easier.  So I did.  And then my lungs almost collapsed.  Luckily, there was a water table, so I did walk while drinking a glass of water.  We kept pushing forward at about a 9 minute mile pace, but shortly after 2 miles, I had to slow down a bit.

The other 2 ran ahead, and I slowed down to around 11 minute miles.

The finish line involved a steep hill that led to the track, I crossed the finish line and looked at my time.  On my phone, it said 31:11.  I was really hoping to be at around 34-35 minutes total, so I was happy with the outcome.  On top of that, I averaged 9:43 miles, which was shaving almost 2 minutes off each mile.  *Here are the official results from the website*

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And, did I mention the hills?

Yeah, my legs are a bit sore today.

When 2014 kicked off, I told myself I wasn’t dating anymore.  I want to be able to focus on myself this year.  So far, I have done well at that.  I have lost weight, became healthier, figured out a way to manage our daily life.  And guess what?  No man needed.

Since having a child, I have dated a few people.  There was B, when HJ was under a year.  He was dull, which was perfect for me at that moment.  He never wanted to do anything, and I never wanted to leave the house.  He only met HJ twice, I didn’t want them to have a bond, so I waited a long time.

From that, I learned I shouldn’t try to hide what my life is really like.  HJ is my life, and I should have introduced him to that sooner.  He also had just gotten out of a 4 year relationship.  Like JUST.  She still hadn’t moved all of her (or her son’s) stuff out of their house.  Eeks.

After that, I went on dates here and there, but nothing serious until fall of 2012.  Then, I dated A.  After a few months, he started to push away his relationship with HJ.  It ended up being really hard to balance this relationship. A only wanted to be with me if HJ was not.  HJ got upset whenever he came around, because he knew that meant I was leaving.  Also, this guy was a jerk.  I should have walked out on him months before I did.  But I was confused by him being nice when sober and awful when drinking.  From this, I know I have learned that I can’t expect a guy just to bond instantly with HJ.  Any relationship is work, I will just have to find someone who is ok with working on it.

It took a handful of months before I decided to give the dating thing another go, and I met this guy.  So, yeah.

In December, I went on a date with a guy and was SO bored.  It was awful.  All I wanted to do was get home.  And that’s when it hit me.

I’m done.

Dating is just not worth it.  I feel like it is such a hassle.  I get nervous, get all dolled up, find someone to watch HJ and then sit there and think, “I’m wasting a night out on this?!?!”.

No thank you.

I don’t have nights away from my son often, but when I do, I want it to be fun.  You know who I have fun with?  My friends!  You know who I don’t have fun with?  Random, boring men.

PicMonkey Collage

Last week, I asked you all to help me pick out a haircut.  I never do much different to my hair for a few reasons…1. I cut my hair short when I was 19.  Hated it.  It looked horrible and was time-consuming to style.  My thick hair looks better long. 2. I don’t want to stray far from my natural color.  This way it is relatively inexpensive to keep up.  I usually get partial highlight/low lights (to primarily cover the stray grays).

Between the 3 cuts, I narrowed it down to the 2 above.  The first one was basically my haircut, so I cut it out of the equation.  With the 2 cuts, I was worried about getting a heavy bang before summer.  It is hot with bangs.  And the style falls in the humidity.  However, I still thought it would be fun to go a bit shorter than picture 2.

The result?  I combined the two.  I had the stylist cut off about 5 1/2 inches in length (eeks!), and then cut a slight bang that could easily blend in if I decided I didn’t love it.

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I have worn it straight and curly.  When it is curled, the bangs don’t really show at all, so if I want to show off the bangs, I have to straighten it.  I am liking the length, even if it feels really short to me.  To be honest, I have learned with long hair that only other people with long hair notice cuts.  Otherwise, if it’s below your shoulders, it’s still long :).

I am still thinking about the heavier bang for the next cut.  I go about 3-4 times a year, so it would be just in time for a fall look.

 

Last year, I converted HJ’s sandbox into a garden.  Throughout the fall, winter and spring, the uncared for garden became a mess.

This past weekend, HJ and I tackled it.  I am amazed at how much HJ has changed in a year, but he was ACTUALLY helping.  We took down the fence around the garden, and pulled and tugged at all the weeds.  Holy cow, how do they grow so strong?

After the garden was torn apart, we poured in new top soil and some manure (lovely).  We mixed it all up, spread it out, and out to planting.

As a newbie last summer, I planted everything at once.  Which led to having an abundance of lettuce at one time, too many carrots all at once, etc.  So this year, I plan on spacing my planting out.  I planted part this past weekend, and figure in another 4-6 weeks, I will add a bit more in.  This year, we are attempting: Spinach, Kale, Peppers (red and green), peas, cucumber, carrots and cherry tomatoes (still have to purchase the cherry tomatoes!).  In addition to the veggies, we also have strawberries in a separate area, basil in a pot, and a raspberry bush.  We also planted a few hydrangea bushes that are so tiny they look like sticks sticking out of the ground.

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I am hoping that spacing out the planting will help this year.  I am also excited to try some fruit.  HJ and I love our berries!

Remember my May resolution/goal?  To run a 5k.  This is probably not my best idea, but by now you should know I have never been known for making wise decisions.

But, I am going to do it.  I am all signed up, I have completed my couch to 5K program and I am ready.  My friend Becky and I will be running the EF5Kand Ed Thomas run in Parkersburg in just a short 8 days.

I few months back, I read The Sacred Acre.  And well before that, I knew the story.

In May 2008, an EF5 tornado tore through Parkersburg, a town just down the interstate from my home.  The destruction the town endured was phenomenal.  Coach Thomas, the high school football coach, was one of the main resources in helping and encouraging the town to rebuild.

He was one of those men who was extremely respected.  He was known to coach state winning football teams year after year.  He had won an ESPY, and encouraged young men to find their faith.

I actually brought HJ to a park in Parkersburg last summer with some friends.  When I first pulled into town, I thought it was a beautiful town.  Everything looked pristine.  And new.  Then it struck me that it looked this way because everything had to be rebuilt.  The beauty took on a sense of awe as I realized how much work had been done.

While the town was being rebuilt, Coach Thomas was in the make shift weight room of the high school.  That is when the second tragedy struck this town.

A former football player came into the weight room and shot Coach Thomas.  Coach Thomas died from the gunshot.

The way his family handled this act of violence really struck me.  Most people would feel hatred towards the man who killed a family member.  But the Thomas’s did not.  They stood by the man’s family as they made a statement.  They forgave.

I don’t know how they did, but they showed forgiveness and grace to this other family immediately.

Through all of this, Coach Thomas’s family started the Ed Thomas Family Foundation.

If you haven’t read the book, I would recommend it.  I am so honored that the run we have chosen to run is to help the town of Parkersburg rebuild and to continue to grow.

 

“Oh crap.”

“HJ, what did you just say?”  I look over at him, not sure if I had heard him incorrectly.

“I said, oh crap.”

I notice he had dropped his toy, so he was using the phrase in the correct context.  I knew I had not misinterpreted what he said.

“HJ, that’s not a nice thing to say.”

“But Nana says it a million times!” He looks at me with his sweet puppy dog eyes.

At this point, I am close to laughing.  I have to call Nana to let her know what HJ was blaming on her.

Nana answers the phone, and I say, “Guess what HJ just said?”.

Nana’s response?  “Oh crap, what?”.

 

Alright readers, I need your advice.  This week, I am getting a little highlight to freshen up my color for summer (I am only doing a partial, so this shouldn’t be a big change at all).  However, I would love to change up the cut a bit.  I browsed pinterest and have narrowed it down a bit.

The first one, wouldn’t be too drastic.  It would mainly add some long layers in front.  I even like the middle part…so that would be the biggest change.

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The second cut would shorten it up a bit, and add some long side swept bangs.  I think this cut looks fun, and the bangs don’t seem to heavy.

Long Layered Hairstyles With Side Swept Bangs | How To Get Long Layered Wavy Hairstyle With Sassy Side Fringe ...

just got rid of my bangs...but I love this. Haircut Dianna Agron long layers side swept bangs easy shoulder cut

The third one would shorten it up a lot.  It also has a heavy bang, which scares me a bit in the summer.  Bangs are hot and usually require extra styling.  I do love this cut though, so this might be pushed off until a fall cut.

 

What do you think?  Should I go for 1, 2, or 3?  Any other cuts you have seen lately?

You know those weeks that you have so much going on?  My last 2 weeks have been like that.  Every night after work, we have had “something” that was going on.  This has led to not much getting done in most aspects of my life (ie laundry, cleaning, cooking, work-outs).  I have been trying hard to at least wake up early and do work-out videos, but it isn’t the same as a gym workout.

About two weeks ago, my phone contacts all disappeared.  No idea why, the phone didn’t even shut off.  One minute, contacts were there, the next NADA.  Do you know that this is a way to set me into minor panic mode?

I called Verizon, and they assured me that they could restore my contacts since I had the back-up thingy.  Only, I hadn’t backed it up since April 2010.  Holy cow.  Basically, since I have lived in Cedar Falls, all the numbers were lost.

Not to mention, I had complete blasts from my pasts suddenly on my contact list.  People labeled “hot guy from tonic” “don’t answer” and plenty of names that I had to ponder who they were.  I spent a while trying to save numbers based on texts, but for the most part all the numbers are gone.

Moral of the story: Back up your contact list often.

Based on the weather, I feel like winter is officially gone.  I am loving playing outside and getting fresh air.  Of course, this also means scrapes/bruises/cuts on little boys.  He currently has multiple bruises, a slice on his leg, skinned knees/elbows and as of tonight, a goose egg on his forehead (he got hit with a bat!).  Hopefully, HJ starts healing and doesn’t experience more injuries this summer.

As a single mom, I am often told things about how strong I must be.  How others don’t know how I do it.  I smile and nod when people say things like, “Husbands gone for work, I’m a single mom this week too!”.

And you know what, I understand it all.

I am strong.  Mostly out of necessity.  I was thrown one of those curve balls that many don’t have to face alone.  Have you ever unexpectedly become pregnant?  It is scary.  For anyone.  Hell, it is scary for those who plan it.  Not only did I face that challenege head on, I did it when the one person who should have been by my side, ran away.  Leaving me to figure all the emotions and logistics on my own.

You may not know it, but you mean everything to me! -dforever-

I always laugh when people say “I don’t know how you do it”.  Did they expect me to just give up on life?  No, I did what anyone does.  I figured shit out.  And I did what I hoped would work best for my family.  I moved closer to my parents so they could help out.  And I am given the bonus of having my son grow up seeing them almost daily.  I absolutely love seeing their bond, and feel lucky my son is able to know them so well.

And how I do the rest of it?  Sometimes my life is chaotic and crazy, but for the most part, HJ and I have our little household figured out.  So yes, I might run around like a mad women once in a while, but I also manage to have a clean house (most of the time), a hot dinner, and still have time to play.  Because that is what needs to be done.

And for the comments of, “I’m a single mom this week too!”.  I really do understand.  You are use to your schedule.  You have a routine.  A routine that was built with a partner in mind.  Having that partner suddenly being gone, would throw a wrench in that plan.  I get it.