November into December

Travel:

COMPLETED

Reading:

  • Read 24 books – I have read 33 books so far.
  • Read 2 music books - I am still on the second book…the jury’s out as to whether or not I will actually finish.

Writing: 

  • Daily Q&A – I am still keeping up with this.
  • Writer’s Book of Days – I did 6 out of 7 planned prompts.
  • 500 Writing Prompts – I did 3 out of 3 planned prompts.

Music:

  • Learn at least 6 new popular songs on the guitar or piano. – (5/6)
  • Learn at least 3 new Classical pieces on the piano (2/3).
  • Start recording my songs.
  • Find at least 5 new songs to use in music therapy sessions - (4/5)
  • Work through Songwriting Without Boundaries - I started to realize that I was really just doing them to do them and wasn’t getting as much out of them at the moment. I have put the book up for awhile and I hope to get back to it sometime.
  • Listen to 10 classical music pieces.

Home and Organization:

  • Complete Bonus Room Transformation – We have moved more things up to the room, so it is getting closer.
  • Go through Gmail account – I need to start working on this again.
  • Go through and organize computer files.

Family:

  • Inflatable Fun Factory
  • Game Night

Financial: I want to continue to save money and to keep our spending in check.

  • Save a specific amount in Travel and Savings Accounts combined – We saved some in October.
  • Keep track of “extras” earned from apps, credit cards, rewards, etc. – So far, so good.
  • Keep up with a budget as best we can – I am getting back into doing this more regularly, at least in some areas.

Service: 

  • Do at least 6 service projects that may include volunteering, providing a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house, donating items, etc. (1/6)

Miscellaneous:

  • Write a new 101 in 1,001 list.
  • I have started a running list of restaurants I want to try, and I want to eat at 12 of them this year - (7/12)
  • I plan to cook 12 international meals this year or one international meal a month – We planned to focus on Hungarian food in November but haven’t been home to make a good Hungarian meal. I’m hoping to do this in December.

Other Things:

  • I spent the first weekend in November at a journal retreat with the ladies in my journal circle. It was absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to do this again sometime soon.
  • I spent part of the second weekend in November in Vienna, IL/Paducah, KY trying to keep two small children occupied while my husband ran a 50 mile race. Yes, I said 50 miles. It’s ridiculous.
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving with family and lots of food. The weekend after we spent with my husband’s father’s family in Cincinnati. We also visited the Newport Aquarium while there.
  • That weekend, we also decorated the house and finished our tree decorating a few days ago.

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How was your November?

 

 

 

 

October into November

Travel:

  • Weekend away with the kids – We went camping Labor Day weekend and had a great time. We had planned to only do 2 nights but ended up staying for the third.
  • Anniversary weekend away – We spent a glorious week in Punta Cana and it was amazing!
  • Family vacation - I have posted trip reports from several of the days we spent there but I’m still working on finishing this project.

Reading:

  • Read 24 books – I have read 28 books so far.
  • Read 2 music books - I am still on the second book.

Writing: 

  • Daily Q&A – I am still doing this but trying to catch up from being gone.
  • Writer’s Book of Days – I did 6 out of 7 planned prompts.
  • 500 Writing Prompts – I did 2 out of 3 planned prompts.

Music:

  • Learn at least 6 new popular songs on the guitar or piano. – (5/6)
  • Learn at least 3 new Classical pieces on the piano (0/3).
  • Start recording my songs. I am still working on recording the music that I have so far.
  • Find at least 5 new songs to use in music therapy sessions - (3/5)
  • Work through Songwriting Without Boundaries - I started the third “course” and I’m still working through it. I probably will not finish the whole book by the end of the year, but that’s ok.
  • Listen to 10 classical music pieces.

Home and Organization:

  • Complete Bonus Room Transformation – We have moved most of the stuff out of the room, so the next step will be to move things up to the room.
  • Go through Gmail account – I need to start working on this again.
  • Go through and organize computer files.

Family:

  • Inflatable Fun Factory
  • CMoeWe visited CMoe on their 10th birthday.
  • Game Night

Financial: I want to continue to save money and to keep our spending in check.

  • Save a specific amount in Travel and Savings Accounts combined – We did not get to save any in October due to a major vet bill for our dog, unfortunately.
  • Keep track of “extras” earned from apps, credit cards, rewards, etc. – So far so good.
  • Keep up with a budget as best we can – I need to get back into doing this again.

Service: 

  • Do at least 6 service projects that may include volunteering, providing a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house, donating items, etc. (1/6)

Miscellaneous:

  • Write a new 101 in 1,001 list.
  • I have started a running list of restaurants I want to try, and I want to eat at 12 of them this year - (7/12)
  • I plan to cook 12 international meals this year or one international meal a month – We totally dropped the ball on this in October, but that’s ok. We will pick up again this month.

October was a bittersweet month. I love the month of October but it is a difficult one for me. Other things that happened in October include:

  • We went to the corn maze with friends one evening.
  • I took a “creativity day” and spent an entire day in a nearby town just writing.
  • We spent a full week in Punta Cana, which was amazing. In fact, this was my view for most of trip.

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  • My kids dressed up as Catboy and Owlette for Halloween. Aren’t they cute?

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How was your October?

 

 

California: San Francisco, Day 7

On Friday, we decided to venture to Muir Woods, which is a little ways across the bridge. However, we had to pick up a rental car to be able to get there, and we were planning to leave the city the following day. It was a good thing we opted to get the car this morning instead of the day we had planned to leave, because it took forever. I’m not sure why, but I wish I had known it was going to take that long, even with a reservation.

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Once we finally got our car, we headed to Muir Woods. We had heard that parking was a nightmare and that is totally the truth. We drove around for awhile until we finally found a spot. We got to hike around the woods and see some pretty amazing trees and it was nice and peaceful for most of that walk.

 

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Next, we opted to stop at Muir Beach. It was definitely too cold to get in the water, but the views were gorgeous. Eric made a cairn and I got some really cute pictures of Felix making his own cairn and Anya joined in to help him with it, too.

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We did some grocery shopping at an organic store that would make all the crunchies here go crazy and then headed back across the bridge. We parked at the hotel and then headed back down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We shopped for a bit andthen had a late dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. It was a nice way to end our time in San Francisco, but we still had another week of fun ahead of us.

See what else we did while in California:

San Francisco: Days 1 and 2

San Francisco: Day 3

San Francisco: Day 4

San Francisco: Day 5

San Francisco: Day 6

Ramblings During a Half Marathon

I did a half marathon at the very beginning of October, and I swear some of the funniest things pop into my head as I’m running these long races.

I halfway trained for this half marathon so I did not expect it to be fast at all and I figured I’d be feeling pretty bad afterwards, so I really wasn’t expecting much. In fact, before we started, a friend and I were talking about having “f*&k this” attitudes about the whole thing. Yeah, I’m a super serious runner…

So, here we go. The first mile….not too bad. I think I can do this. Only 12 more to go.

Pizza…that sign says pizza. It’s not even 7:30 in the morning and all I can think about is how much I want that stupid pizza.

A half a mile later…dang it..there it is again. More signs about pizza. Ooooh….and Zesto. I could really go for a burger and fries right now. Gosh, I’m hungry.

Then, I’m looking around and realizing that this is not a good part of town. I would NEVER run in this part of town by myself, so why the hell did I get up this early to run through it as part of a half marathon? Stupid…

There’s some volunteers out there yelling words of encouragement…”You’re lookin’ good!” “Keep it up!” “You’re doin’ great!” Yeah, I am…I’m about 3 to 4 miles in and I’m doing awesome.

Mile 3 and there’s a liquor store…it’s not even 8 am and people are already out getting their next drink…interesting.

At about mile 4.5, I decide to turn on my music. I held out as long as I could but I desperately needed Marcus Mumford to sing to me.

At mile 5, I’m starting to wonder where all these porta potties are….I think I’m going to need a potty break and of course, there are none in sight. At this point, I’m also trying to talk myself out of walking, so to compromise, I tell myself that I will stop when I see the next porta potty or at mile 8, whichever comes first.

There’s more volunteers and one of them is yelling “There’s a bbq in the park!” The next thing he yells is “There’s beer in the park!” You can literally see everyone’s pace pick up, but then he says “just kidding.” Not funny, dude. Not funny.

So I keep going…there’s mile 6. Ok….I’m right around the halfway mark, but now that I’m doing the math, I realize that I have to do exactly what I just did all over again, and I’m pissed. How am I supposed to run another 6.55 with these legs? I am way too tired for this. This was a dumb idea. I mean, who the hell thought of 13.1 anyway? I start thinking about this and now I am completely convinced…in fact, I’m sure it’s just to mess with us as we’re running. 13.1 is not easily divisible by pretty much any number. Not 2, not 3, nothing. So to try to figure out where the 25% mark is or the 1/3 of the way is, one has to really concentrate on doing the math. I’m pretty sure it is just to get us to focus on something else and spend like 15 minutes trying to figure it out in our heads instead of talking ourselves into walking for awhile. And you know what? That scam totally works.

Damn it. Where are those porta potties?

Finally! There’s one. I have to wait for it and I end up losing 8 minutes in the process, but oh well. The only bad thing is that when I start running again, my legs are so stiff, but eventually they loosen up. I can’t believe I have 5 more miles to go. Unfortunately, the people I was running “with” are all ahead of me now and now that I’m behind them, I’m with people who are mostly walking or doing a combination of running and walking and no one’s in the mood anymore…and neither am I.

Around mile 9, I hear a lady shouting “You be careful! If you start feeling bad, you stop!” I thought to myself…geez, I must look really bad. Then, I looked to my left and saw an older lady running alongside me. She was probably in her 70′s. Yep. She pulled ahead and ended up crossing the finish line before I did.

So I keep going. There are still volunteers shouting encouragement every few minutes. “Keep up the good work!” “You’re looking great!” And I think to myself, “No, I don’t! I look like I’m about 3 strides away from having a heart attack…”

At around mile 11, I was just running along, minding my own business, when my right leg started fidgeting. It freaked me out so much that I stopped. Apparently, it was a charley horse. From there until the end of the race, I had them in both legs and had to stop every few minutes to stretch it and rub it out. What a pain! A lady running nearby offered me a pill that was supposed to help with them but I told her I was just planning to try to get through it on my own.

A few minutes later, I spotted my husband walking my way. He had already finished and came back to run/walk the last couple of miles with me. When we got to the home stretch, he pulled away so that he didn’t cross the finish line twice and I ran as fast as I could to finish the race. I ran past a woman on a stretcher and I recognized her as someone I was running directly behind before I had stopped to use the restroom. They were giving her oxygen as I ran by…scary. For some reason, at that point, I felt like I was going to throw up so as I crossed the finish line, all I could think of was “don’t throw up.”

I was so hungry at that point. There were snacks set up on a table and I grabbed one of each of everything they had. I was so, so hungry. We didn’t stay long because I had to keep walking or sit down. If I stood still for too long, my legs felt like they might collapse.

Man, that was awful. I really hope I learned my lesson and don’t sign up for this again next year…

What NOT to Say to a Friend or Family Member Experiencing a Miscarriage

As we near the anniversary of our miscarriage, I have been thinking a lot about all the things people said to me and how they made me feel. Here are a few things I would never recommend you saying to your friend or family member who is experiencing a miscarriage.

1. Well, at least you have your other kids or You should just be thankful you have your other kids. Yes, of course I am grateful for my other children. I have been blessed with two healthy children but this child that I lost was a child in his or her own right. If he or she had been born, no one would ever say “at least you have your other kids” as if I could just exchange the one I lost for one that is living.

2. Will you have more kids? I still don’t know the answer to this question and it’s been almost a year. Besides, it’s really none of your business, regardless. I honestly wouldn’t ask this question of anyone unless it was to someone I was super close to, and even then, I might not even ask.

3. Tell her about acquaintances whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years who are newly pregnant. Unless it’s a close friend or a family member, I really don’t need to know. There are enough pregnancy announcements on Facebook…I don’t need more than that.

4. It’s good that it happened so early. Maybe it would have been harder had we been further along, or maybe not. All I know is that in my mind, we lost a baby…a human child. And it honestly doesn’t matter that it was so early. It hurts all the same.

5. Nothing. This might be the worst thing you can do, to be honest. I realize it can be awkward for people to bring up a miscarriage but it meant the world to me when people acknowledged that I had lost a child and not some embryo or something. You don’t have to worry about “bringing it up again” because I can guarantee you that I was always thinking about it anyway. I still think about it every day, in fact.

Another thing that has been bothering me is the stigma surrounding miscarriages. Like I said before, I understand that people feel awkward with this topic but it really doesn’t have to be this way if we talk about our experiences when are moved to.

One thing I have noticed that really bothers me is that people are fine with reading posts about someone’s dog or other pet who is sick or has died and people will acknowledge this with no problems. However, talking about losing a human child while in utero just doesn’t get the same effect, and that is sad. Don’t get me wrong…I love our pets and I would do just about anything to keep them alive and well, so I’m not saying people shouldn’t post about them when things happen. They totally should. And so should a woman who has suffered a miscarriage, if she feels so inclined.

Recently, I have seen close family and friends express sympathy for people whose dogs are sick, mostly in the way of material gifts. Our dog also recently suffered a heat stroke and he got a package in the mail with a dog toy in it. All these things are super nice gestures, of course, but where the hell were these people when I was going through a miscarriage? It wasn’t that I needed anything material or anything; all I really needed was for people to acknowledge what I had lost and offer support in some way, whether through a text message or a phone call. It is during times like these that you really know who your true friends are. They are the ones who remember dates that are important to you and remember to check in with you that day. They are the ones who ask you how you’re feeling and don’t just ignore the giant elephant in the room. They are the ones who offer their support whenever you need it but still allow you the space to be silent if that is what you need.

 

September into October

I don’t know if it’s even possible but I feel like September went even faster than August.

Travel:

  • Weekend away with the kids – We went camping Labor Day weekend and had a great time. We had planned to only do 2 nights but ended up staying for the third.
  • Anniversary weekend away – We are going to Punta Cana for a week in October to celebrate.
  • Family vacationI have posted trip reports from several of the days we spent there but I’m still working on finishing this project.

Reading:

  • Read 24 books – I have read 23 books so far.
  • Read 2 music books - I have read 1 book and just started reading another one a couple of months ago.

Writing: 

  • Daily Q&A – I am still doing this.
  • Writer’s Book of Days – I did 7 out of 7 planned prompts.
  • 500 Writing Prompts – I did 3 out of 3 planned prompts.

Music:

  • Learn at least 6 new popular songs on the guitar or piano. – (5/6)
  • Learn at least 3 new Classical pieces on the piano (0/3).
  • Start recording my songs. I am still working on recording the music that I have so far.
  • Find at least 5 new songs to use in music therapy sessions - (3/5)
  • Work through Songwriting Without Boundaries - I started the third “course” and I’m still working through it. 
  • Listen to 10 classical music pieces.

Home and Organization:

  • Complete Bonus Room Transformation – We have moved most of the stuff out of the room, so the next step will be to move things up to the room.
  • Go through Gmail account – I need to start working on this again.
  • Go through and organize computer files.

Family:

  • Inflatable Fun Factory
  • CMoe - We visited CMoe on their 10th birthday.
  • Game Night

Financial: I want to continue to save money and to keep our spending in check.

  • Save a specific amount in Travel and Savings Accounts combined – We did not get to save any in September, unfortunately.
  • Keep track of “extras” earned from apps, credit cards, rewards, etc. – So far so good.
  • Keep up with a budget as best we can – I am getting a little better about doing this but still need to get back into the habit completely.

Service: 

  • Do at least 6 service projects that may include volunteering, providing a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house, donating items, etc. (1/6)

Miscellaneous:

  • Write a new 101 in 1,001 list.
  • I have started a running list of restaurants I want to try, and I want to eat at 12 of them this year - (7/12)
  • I plan to cook 12 international meals this year or one international meal a month – We had a Spanish meal in September and it turned out well.

September has flown by, just like the rest of the year. We began the month by camping over Labor Day weekend. Both kids are playing soccer, though I’m not sure you can call Felix’s participation soccer, but he can at least wear the t-shirt. Anya and I attended a mother/daughter painting party. We attended a music festival in town as a family and then Eric and I saw the Lumineers in Louisville.

The transition into October will be a difficult one, though I know it was always one of my favorite months of the year, so I’m hoping I can find some joy in it as we move forward.

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How was your September?

The Days That Mean Nothing To You….

…but mean something to me…

Last September was a great month for me. It was the month we found out we were pregnant and I spent the entire rest of the month trying to keep such an exciting secret. Truth be told, we told more people than we planned to, but we were just so darn excited.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been thinking about how my life was exactly a year ago…all the yearly events that were going on that year and how they are panning out for this year….

The Sunday before Labor Day was the day we found out we were pregnant and the following day, we announced it to close family. Over Labor Day weekend this year we were camping, so I was able to get away and have a short run in the woods. I did ok until I saw a dad come walking down the trail with a baby in a stroller, and that’s when things started to break down.

We also attended a family game night at church recently. It went well but all I could think of was how a year ago at that same event, I had told a couple of parents there that night that we were expecting, only to find out a few days later that there would be no baby. Now that we are into October, we have come to the point where the blissful idea of a new baby ended so abruptly.

Unfortunately, so many of these significant days happened near things that happen every year or are significant on their own. For example, I miscarried the week of the Fall Festival in our town, which is one of my favorite things that happens around here. So not only will I remember that the Monday of the Fall Festival was the day that I was told there was no baby at my ultrasound and then went from there to the Fall Festival, only to have to pretend to everyone I saw there that I was fine and hope to God that no one asked how the ultrasound went, but I will also feel something on October 5, whatever day of the week that falls on. So on the Thursday of the Fall Festival, I’m going to remember feeling the gestational sac literally rip away from the inside of my body that night as we were actually at the Fall Festival, and I’m also going to relive it again on October 8, which is the Saturday of the Fall Festival. The Friday of my kids’ Fall Break, I’m going to remember being alone with the kids by myself, making a phone call to my doctors’ office to tell them I had lost the baby, and dragging both my kids to the lab to have my hormones checked, the whole time still cramping, bleeding, and crying. And I’m going to feel it all again on October 9, which is a Sunday.

I’m almost angry because October has always been one of my favorite months, but it will always be the month I lost my third child and spent the rest of the month walking around in a daze. With the fall weather moving in, I’m feeling it more and more…that the last time I was here, I was hurting badly. And the world will go on like it does, and few will notice the significance it all holds for me, so I will hold it in my silence and allow myself to feel it all again and hope that it passes quicker this time around.

Around the World: Spain

In August, we had planned to focus on Spanish food but our schedule was so crazy that we didn’t actually get to have this meal until September. That being said, it was still good!

We had goat cheese toasts with honey, gazpacho (a cold Spanish soup made of tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, and some other ingredients), paella, and flan for dessert. I’ve never been a huge fan of flan and I’d actually never made it before, but it turned out pretty good and it did taste pretty amazing. I know a guy who used to be a chef at a local tapas restaurant and he gave me his recipe for paella and flan, and they were both amazing.

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The meal made me miss Spain, but it was nice to have something authentically Spanish.

 

Check out what other meals we have tried:

France: Part 1

France: Part 2 and 3

France: Part 4

Costa Rica: Part 1

Costa Rica: Part 2

Portugal: Part 1

Portugal: Part 2

Jamaica

Czech Republic

Italy: Part 1

Italy: Part 2

San Francisco: Day 6

This was one of our favorite days of the trip, though it was one I was most concerned about working out. Eric found a bike rental shop near our hotel so we decided to rent bikes and a trailer for the kids and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, spend the day in Sausalito, and then bike back across the bridge. I guess a lot of people take the ferry back so they don’t have to bike it again, but we opted to just bike both ways. It ended up being a lot of fun.

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It took some time for us all to get fitted for bikes and helmets and to get the trailer hooked up to the bike. I was really nervous about riding with the kids, but we were able to ride on side streets that weren’t busy until we got to the bike trail, though I have to say that it was probably scariest riding with pedestrians across the bridge. There was supposed to be a bike lane and a pedestrian lane but people just didn’t pay attention to it. The kids fell asleep on the way over and were kind of cuddled together…

 

 

 

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Somehow we made it to Sausalito and parked the bikes for a few hours. We walked through a few shops and opted for lunch at a seafood place where we could order at the counter and then eat outside. Of course, we also got ice cream, but at a different ice cream shop. Cookie monster ice cream (blue ice cream with different kinds of cookies in it) was a popular flavor around San Francisco, and Felix is still disappointed that he hasn’t been able to find it here.

When we were finished in Sausalito, we rode back across the bridge and ended up riding through Fisherman’s Wharf. We stopped in a few stores, including the Ghiradelli stores so we could take turns walking in and getting free samples. In fact, Anya went in with her jacket on and then took it off and walked in again, just so she could get another sample. She thought she was so sneaky! We also stopped at Boudin’s and got sourdough bread that was amazing.

Once we turned in the bikes, we found a pizza place open late and got some dinner before heading to bed. We were exhausted!

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Check out what else we did on our trip to California:

San Francisco: Days 1 and 2

San Francisco: Day 3

San Francisco: Day 4

San Francisco: Day 5

August into September

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August came and went so quickly, I’m not sure where it went!

Travel:

  • Weekend away with the kids – We are planning to go camping this coming weekend, so we are hoping for decent weather and kids that aren’t fussy!
  • Anniversary weekend away - This is actually turning into a 7-night trip to Punta Cana!
  • Family vacation Stay tuned for more updates about trip; I’m still working on writing!

Reading:

  • Read 24 books – I have read 23 books so far.
  • Read 2 music books - I have read 1 book and just started reading another one a couple of months ago.

Writing: 

  • Daily Q&A – I am all caught up with this.
  • Writer’s Book of Days – I did 7 out of 7 planned prompts.
  • 500 Writing Prompts – I did 3 out of 3 planned prompts.

Music:

  • Learn at least 6 new popular songs on the guitar or piano. – (4/6)
  • Learn at least 3 new Classical pieces on the piano (0/3).
  • Start recording my songs. I have been working a ton on writing my original songs and working on putting them together with my guitarist. I think I have maybe 6 original songs and 2 covers that I’m focusing on right now.
  • Find at least 5 new songs to use in music therapy sessions - (3/5)
  • Work through Songwriting Without Boundaries - I started the third “course” and I’m still working through it. 
  • Listen to 10 classical music pieces.

Home and Organization:

  • Complete Bonus Room Transformation – We have moved most of the stuff out of the room, so the next step will be to move things up to the room.
  • Go through Gmail account – I need to start working on this again.
  • Go through and organize computer files.

Family:

  • Inflatable Fun Factory
  • CMoe
  • Game Night

Financial: I want to continue to save money and to keep our spending in check.

  • Save a specific amount in Travel and Savings Accounts combined – We did not get to save any in August, unfortunately.
  • Keep track of “extras” earned from apps, credit cards, rewards, etc. – So far so good.
  • Keep up with a budget as best we can – I am getting a little better about doing this but still need to get back into the habit completely.

Service: 

  • Do at least 6 service projects that may include volunteering, providing a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house, donating items, etc. (1/6)

Miscellaneous:

  • Write a new 101 in 1,001 list.
  • I have started a running list of restaurants I want to try, and I want to eat at 12 of them this year – We tried a new carryout pizza place called Fat Boy’s Pizza. It wasn’t the best so we probably won’t be back. (7/12)
  • I plan to cook 12 international meals this year or one international meal a month – I had planned to have a Spanish meal in August, but things kept getting scheduled for days that we planned to make the meal. I plan to do this in early September, if possible.

Other things that happened in August include us purchasing a new-to-us mini-van. I have finally joined that club and I have to say that I’m loving it so far. I feel like there could be a party in the back and I would never even know it…there’s so much room!

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Also, our poor dog suffered heat stroke at the end of the month after running a race with my husband (who placed 2nd in his age group!). He runs all the time and has never had issues but for whatever reason, this time, he did. He spent several days with the vet and is home now and slowly, but surely, improving.

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The kids also started school. Anya is in 1st grade and Felix goes to preschool 2 days a week now…they are growing up so fast!

How was your August?

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