Our weather has been amazing the past two months and we’ve been enjoying as much time outside as possible. We’ve done all the traditional autumn activities that make fall so perfect; apple picking, baking bread, visiting gardens, buying pumpkins and gourds at the farmer’s market, eating (too many) pumpkin donuts, going to the park, visiting the pumpkin patch, playing in the leaves and chasing sunsets.
We love getting out and exploring Omaha. We are always looking for new adventures. We have great parks here with big lakes. One of the prettiest parks in Chalco Hills. We took the kids out there for a donut picnic and a walk around the lake to bird watch. There were tons of birds and butterflies to watch. Lots of drangonflies, bees and grasshoppers buzzing around too. We tried to go early before the heat set in, but it didn’t matter. It was already so hot that we didn’t last long out in that sun. I’m looking forward to taking the kids there again this fall to do the same thing. Only this time we need to remember the binoculars.
We had a great day celebrating Jeremy yesterday. He doesn’t make a big deal of Father’s Day, but I enjoy making things special for him. He does so much for us everyday. I told him he was in charge of choosing our activities for the entire day.
We started with cards and snuggles then it was coffee and breakfast from Starbuck’s and then a drive through one of our favorite neighborhoods in town.
Then he decided on paddle boating since it wasn’t too hot outside yet. (If you’ve ever been paddle boating in the heat you understand) So we made the drive to Mahoney State Park just outside of Omaha. They have tons of family activities that we plan to take advantage of when the kids get a little bigger like horseback riding, but for today it was paddle boating. The last time we were there Harper was only one and it was super hot. The kids were almost too young to really enjoy it. This time they loved it. We did a 30 minute ride and bought the kids some fish food from the market. Turns out we didn’t feed the fish because the geese followed us around the entire time begging for the food. It was pretty cute. We also saw two big frogs and a turtle. We all had a great time.
After paddle boating we drove across the interstate to the Wildlife Safari. We hadn’t been there since last fall. This time we got lucky and the bison were up close and personal. It’s was pretty awesome. There was also a disgusting amount of the 17 year cicadas out there. They were dive bombing us the entire time.
We ended our day with a late lunch/early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then it was time to head home. I love getting the kids out and about. We try to take full advantage of all the local attractions as often as possible. Omaha is a great city.
Today I dropped my baby off for his last day of kindergarten. It definitely feels a little bitter sweet. When I think back, the year seems like it flew by, but other times I feel like it lasted forever.
I don’t have a ton of gushy feelings about his kindergarten year. Sometimes it was a struggle for me. He was sick A LOT. Much, much more than he has ever been. That also meant that the rest of us ended up sick a lot. Huge bummer. And because of my mild PTSD (before I started taking medication) I had a very hard time with all of it.
The other thing I am sort of disappointed about is that I don’t feel like he brought home a lot of cute artwork. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he brought home a lot of stuff, but I feel like the projects could have been better. And that there could’ve been more of it and less worksheets.
But on a positive note, he learned SO much. He is already reading at about a 2nd grade level and loves it. He reads anything and everything. It’s awesome. He is also excelling at math. He definitely doesn’t get that from me!
He’s made some new friends and had so much fun. I can’t believe it’s over. Just like my parents always used to say, where does the time go?
On to a summer full of adventures!
We didn’t take a family vacation this year. Jeremy was switching to a new job in the middle of summer and took a week off in between, but we just hung around the house and spent a lot of time outside.
Then this fall when Hudson had his break from school, we considered going somewhere, but decided to just save all our favorite fall activities for that week. It was a busy and super fun three days. The weather couldn’t have been better and the kids were so well behaved.
Our little staycation started on Wednesday with a visit to the local pumpkin patch. But this isn’t just any pumpkin patch. It’s called Vala’s and it’s HUGE. I think I read somewhere once that they bring in like a $1,000,000 each season. Whaaa? That’s super crazy given that the season is only like 6 weeks long! My point is that it’s an awesome place; however, never, ever go on a weekend. We’ve done it on more than one occasion and it was awful. TOO busy. So, since we finally learned our lesson, we went in the middle of the week. It’s the only way to go. Not only is it less busy, but it’s also cheaper. Score.
Everything we did at the patch was free with the exception of the pony rides, which were ridiculously expensive at $6 per ride, but we decided to splurge on one activity. It was either the pony rides or the train. They’ve been on train rides before, so we chose the ponies. They loved it. It was totally worth the money. Plus, they don’t get many opportunities to ride a real pony, so we loved that they got to have a new experience.
Thursday we took the kids to the zoo. It was another beautiful day. We are zoo members, so we go a lot but hadn’t been for a while. They were putting up all the Halloween decorations. The kids loved it. I didn’t take my big camera on any of our adventures because I just didn’t want to have to haul it around. So all these photos were taken with my iPhone.
On Friday we took the kids to the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari that’s off the interstate just outside of Omaha. The kids love going because they can sit on our laps in the front seat while we drive through the safari and then there’s a spot where you can get out and walk to see bears and wolves and then hike to a little lake and back. It’s kind of a hidden gem.
We ended up having to cut our fun a little short because Hudson came down with a fever and had to go to the doctor. So we spent the rest of the weekend around our house. It was so much fun, but very exhausting!
As you can imagine, the kids were very excited for Halloween. Harper knew for certain that she wanted to be Princess Sophia from the Disney cartoon and Hudson wanted to be a shark. He wanted to be a shark last year, but we couldn’t find an affordable shark costume and I didn’t give myself enough time to make him one. Well, this year I knew I would make it for him. I sorta followed a tutorial I found on Pinterest. I guess I didn’t really follow it at all. I just got my supply list from it. I did everything else on my own. He loved it! Thank goodness.
It was pretty cold here that night, so I didn’t really take very many photos with my big camera. We made Harper put her coat on and she was not a happy camper at first. She didn’t want to cover up her pretty dress.
We didn’t last very long out in the cold. We probably hit about 12 houses, but I think they got more than enough candy anyway. Not to mention the candy that we had left. Plus they had lots of fun and that’s all that matters.
I love Halloween, but I was ready for it to be over this year. We had already done a bunch of Halloween activities and they trick-or-treated at a couple of the events already. I’m ready to move on to the next.
For the past six months, my family and I have been waiting, as patiently as possible, to find out if my mom had cancer. Back in September she had to have a chest x-ray before she could switch to a new RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) medication, and to everyone’s surprise, something showed up on the x-ray. A very tiny spot on one of her lungs. It is common for RA patients to have nodules grow on their lungs because of the medication that they have to take, and because of this fact, the nodule wasn’t all that alarming. They told her that because it was so small and because she has RA, they weren’t super concerned with it and she would just need a follow-up x-ray in six months.
Waiting those six months was very hard on my mom. She could not shake the bad feeling she had. Finally after waiting six months, she had her second chest x-ray to see if the spot had grown. It had in fact grown ever so slightly. The next step was to do a PET scan to determine if it was cancer. She had to wait two more weeks. Once the PET scan was completed, she had to wait some more for the results. Four very long days. It turned out that the scan showed a slight glow that could possibly indicate cancer.
My mom was devastated. We were all devastated. The next step was to have it removed immediately. She had surgery last Friday and during the surgery they dissected the lump, sent it to the lab and found out that it was definitely cancer, so they removed the entire thing. It was a major surgery and the recovery is long and painful, but she’s doing pretty good.
It’s been very hard on everyone and I don’t think I realized just how much it was affecting me until after I found out she made it through surgery and was okay. I hadn’t cried at all, not the entire time, until I hung up the phone with my dad. Then I broke down. I couldn’t stop crying. My mom had cancer. It was gone, but it was real. It was so hard to wrap my head around, so I think I powered through as best I could with the information I had. But once I knew she was going to be okay…well I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I haven’t felt much like myself since Friday. I’m still trying to work through all my feelings. I’m so relieved that the cancer is out. I can’t believe how lucky she was and is. If she didn’t have RA, she wouldn’t have needed a chest x-ray and if she hadn’t had that x-ray, she wouldn’t have found out about the cancer. Her cancer was stage 1-A, which means they found it the earliest they could have possibly found it. For that reason, I’m so thankful that she has RA. Her cancer could have gone unnoticed until it was too late. Instead they found it early and removed it before it could spread anywhere else in her body. She is now cancer free!
I still need some time to heal emotionally. We all do. Especially my mom. So, I’m going to spend some time with her and I know that will make all the difference (I didn’t get to be there for her surgery). Hopefully by next week, I’ll be feeling back to my normal self and be able to focus attention on other things again, but for now, I’m giving all my attention to my mom.
This is my mom with my uncle at Christmas. She will say she looks terrible in this photo. She always says that, but I think she looks happy.
Love you Mom!
See you next week!
I mentioned yesterday that I was thinking about making a Spring Bucket List/Spring Family Fun List. Well, I made one and I’m sharing it with you today. It is available for you to download.**PLEASE NOTE: This download is for personal use only** To print your own copy simply right-click on the image and save it to your computer and print.
I hope it inspires you to get outdoors and enjoy the new season!
You might notice that some of the activities on the list are repeats from previous Summer or Fall lists. I decided to repeat a few that were on the lists that either never got crossed off because we didn’t get to them or were activities on the list that we did when Harper was a baby and she couldn’t really participate in, such as painting birdhouses.
I can’t wait to start having some Springtime fun!
Linked up at Thirty Handmade Days
drinking hot coffee on this freezing cold day.
planning some craft projects that I can’t wait to get started on.
watching the Winter Olympics.
realizing that I’m way behind on my cookbook challenge and plan to start this week.
needing to clear out closets and finally get rid of some baby stuff that I’ve been hanging on to “just in case”.
trying to keep myself busy because this winter really seems to be dragging.
running at least three times a week, but planning to add to that.
feeling excited about some Valentine’s day plans for the kids.
reading the Art of Simple blog and feeling very inspired. I think I’ll read her book next.
working on creating a meaningful morning routine.
recovering from a sleepless weekend. the kids are still hanging on to colds (runny noses and coughs) and Harper didn’t sleep much at all. not. at. all.
getting ready to party with Justin Timberlake tonight! I’ve been waiting 9 months for this concert and it’s finally here. Hooray!!