Friday, December 29, 2023

Disney Part 3!

Good morning! Happy almost New Year!! While for many reasons I am happy to see this year come to a close, it is bittersweet in some ways too. I have been reflecting a lot on this crazy year and what I want to focus on moving forward, not just in 2024 but for the rest of my life. I am in the process of setting some good goals for 2024 and can't wait to share them with you. 

In the meantime though, how about we finish this Disney trip??😉

Before we start, I just want to point out that both kids bring up Disney in some way DAILY. Yesterday it was LG asking everyone what their favorite ride was (even though she already knows, she loves to hear it again 💕). Liam asked for a toy monorail for Christmas and he pretends his passengers are getting off at Magic Kingdom or Epcot. It's so dang cute and I love how much they love Disney. Is it expensive and exhausting? Heck yes, but 100% worth it.

Day 5: Magic Kingdom

Friday, December 22, 2023

Disney Trip Part 2!

 Good morning friends! I had to stop and think to figure out what day of the week it was as I write this. I get so discombobulated when we are on a break, I feel like I never know what's going on! 

Today we are doing the next part of our Disney trip with a recap part 2! Where we left off, our little family of 4 had gone to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, then had a no-park day.  Now, at this point of the trip, my parents and younger sister Jenni were joining us-- yay!!! Also, my parents brought the Double BOB stroller so the kids didn't have to sit in each other's laps anymore-- double yay for the double BOB! 

Day 4: Epcot

This was our last morning of staying on property at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, so we got to Epcot early with the rest of the Disney hotel people at 8:00, ready for rope drop at 8:30. 

We headed straight to the Ratatouille ride. 

Devin and the kids love this ride... I, however, do not! My motion sickness gets so bad I have to close my eyes or stare down at the floor. Cute concept for a ride, but I struggle with the 3D ones every time. All that to say, everyone else loved it and I was happy that they were happy, so I enjoyed it too, even if my eyes were closed for half of it. 😊

After Ratatouille, we headed to the Frozen ride. We waited 20ish minutes-- not bad! Both kids love the Frozen ride-- I mean, who doesn't? For those of you who have been going to Disney for years, remember when it used to be just the Norway ride with the trolls? That was cute too, but I think making it Frozen themed was a smart move. 

Also, yes LG is dressed as Raya and Liam is dressed as Olaf. He had an Olaf head but didn't want to wear it, so he just wore the Olaf body. Olaf was a big hit walking through the park, especially the Norway area!!

We rode Test Track (another hit!) and then headed to the new Moana area. 

This was super cute!! Both kids loved it and I thought it was well done. I bet this area is nice in the hot summer months when everyone wants to cool down a bit. 

After Moana we meandered around and rode a few rides here and there. We made our way over to Germany and sat for awhile while the kids watched the trains. 

This was the only day that my legs were bothering me and I took a Tramdol. I let that kick in while the kids watched the trains and then I was good to go! After watching the trains for a bit, we rode the Mexico ride, Finding Nemo, went to the Beauty and the Beast show. The kids LOVE the Mexico ride. We rode that one like 6 times haha! The kids spent a good amount of time playing these little drums:

Which prompted Devin and I to swiftly agree that we will never have drums in our house for the kids haha! They're SO loud!

We had an early dinner reservation at the German Biergarten. This is our only picture of everyone, which makes me sad! Anyone else's parents prefer to take the pictures. but not be in them? Which is sweet of them to offer to take them, but then we have very few with them in the pictures.

We continued to walk around, ride rides, eat all the delicious foods. Then, it was time to head back to our hotel before our next big day at Magic Kingdom.

Thank you all for reading along today! I will be back to finish our Disney posts after Christmas. I hope you and your families have a very Merry Christmas!! 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Post Cancer/Chemo Recovery-- Month 5

 Good morning and happy first Monday of break! Yesterday we packed the kids' suitcases and gave them to their grandparents for a few days, because Devin and I are on our way to Mexico-- woohoo!! This past July we celebrated our 10 year anniversary, but because I was feeling like trash in July we decided to postpone our anniversary trip until I was feeling well enough to enjoy it. I am thrilled to report that I feel GREAT and am very much looking forward to the next few days of being catered to at an all-inclusive. With no work for the next 2 weeks and no grad school for 3 weeks, I am looking forward to sitting in a lounge chair by the beach with a book glued to my hand!! Doesn't that sound like heaven?

Friday, December 15, 2023

Disney Trip Part 1

  Hi friends! I hope you all had a good week. We are officially on Christmas break-- woohoo! I am very much looking forward to getting to spend the next 2 weeks soaking up some family time. 

Today we are going to have a look back at our trip to Disney. I can't wait! We were there for a full week, so I am going to break this trip up into 2 parts instead of one mega post. Let's have a look at the first few days!

Before we start, we stayed at 3 different hotels. This was obviously not our #1 choice, but because we were trying to save money and this was the only way we could do it for "free". As you know, Disney is crazy expensive! We go every other year, so we try to save money wherever possible. 

Our first hotel was the Dolphin. 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Not Just a Mom: Favorite Books

 Good Morning friends! I am very sad to say that today is my last time being a host for "Not Just a Mom Life". Life has been a little too crazy lately with going back to work full time and grad school on top of being a mama. The blog keeps getting put on the back burner and I don't want to sign up to be a host when I'm "phoning it in" for my own posts. Please keep up with Adrienne, Dara, Jen, Joanne and Sarah though! Who knows, maybe the following year I will be able to join them again-- here's hoping!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Post Cancer/Chemo Update- Month 4

 Hello my sweet friends! How was your week? This week FLEW by. We have been busy prepping for Thanksgiving week and then immediately after, OUR TRIP TO DISNEY!! I cannot wait!! Lily Grace made a list of all the things she wants to do at Disney and I am blown away by how much she remembers from our last trip there.

Today's post will be my last post for two weeks-- we will be busy soaking up all the family time! I will see you back here December 4th. 

Today I am sharing a post cancer/chemo update, and I am so happy to report that it is filled with all happy news!

All is well and smooth sailing on the cancer front! I won't lie, I've been a little stressed with going back to work full time AND grad school, while also being a mom-- but that isn't related to cancer. As far as cancer/health related things go, I truly am just so grateful every single day to wake up and feel well. I am happy to report that I am recovered from pneumonia, and back to feeling as close to my old self as I have felt in a long time. Feeling well physically makes all the difference in my mental health too. 

Sometimes, out of the blue, I get hit with an overwhelming wave of emotion where I think "I can't believe that happened" and I cry. It is never a feeling of "woe is me," but more a feeling of disbelief. Feeling like "I can't believe I went through that. I can't believe my family went through that." And then... I always come away from those emotions genuinely feeling like our little family is stronger because of what we went through together. Looking back, now that it's "over", it's crazy to believe it really happened.

In the beginning of treatment I had been seeing a therapist to help with all the emotions from being diagnosed and going through treatment. To be honest though, the therapist and I weren't really a great fit and I felt like it wasn't as beneficial as it could've been. I stopped going after 4 sessions. After my girls weekend with my two best friends, I'm thinking about maybe looking for another therapist. Because everything was such a whirlwind, I never had a chance to process it. I don't want that to come back to haunt me in the future. 

Like I said above, I am physically feeling the best I have felt since this whole cancer debacle began. I am still not running, but I feel like my energy is back and my physical fitness is slowly getting there too. The neuropathy has decreased significantly. The muscle myalgia is minimal, and I only needed my Tramadol 1 day this entire month. I haven't been taking it, or having the prescription refilled, yet my insurance felt the need to send me a note telling me if I tried to refill it between now and January, I'd get denied-- isn't that interesting?? I guess technically it's an opiod so they have to be really strict about how many refills you get. I'm very grateful I don't need it anymore. 

I have enough hair that I even blow it dry some mornings! Haha! 
You're probably looking at this picture and thinking "really? You blow that dry?" but I don't want to put my wig on a wet head, and it takes too long to wait for it to air dry!

All in all, it feels good to feel like myself again! I am looking forward to the day I can run again-- that feels like the last big thing I'm missing out on. I have a feeling January 2024 will be a great time to start that back up!

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!!
Monday, November 13, 2023

Not Just a Mom: Comfort Foods

 Good morning! How was your weekend? My two best friends and I were able to get away for our annual girls trip and it was PERFECT! We stayed up way too late talking, slept in, just hung out around the house, did a little shopping, and more. I wish we were able to do this more than once a year!!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Life Lately

 Hello my friends! Happy Friday!

Monday, November 6, 2023

Prime Purchases October

Good morning and happy Monday! Today I am linking up with Tanya to share my Prime Purchases from the month of October.

Friday, November 3, 2023

31 Days of Skeletons!

 Hi friends!

Today I want to share with you all the fun skeleton posings our neighborhood did for the month of October! The neighbors went all out and we had a blast doing this together. We had such positive feedback about how much the different families had working together to pose them!

Before we get to that-- I wanted to give you a heads up that Old Navy has their matching holiday pajamas on super sale right now (as I write this on Wednesday), and we snagged some! The last two years I waited until  mid-November and then it's hard to find a matching set that has everyone's size. I'm happy to have that checked off our to-do list!!

This is the pattern we went with this year:
Friday, October 27, 2023

Fall Family Photos

 Good morning and happy Friday! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

What's Up Wednesday

Hi there! I hope you're having a good week so far. I'm so happy to catch up with you all for What's Up Wednesday!

What We're Eating This Week: This week we are eating a delicious spaghetti squash recipe I saw on TikTok:

Other than that, we're having chili one night, tofu stir fry, and cheeseburgers. Yum!

What I'm Reminiscing About: I am back in grad school and it is making me remember the last time I went to grad school-- back in 2013. Look at what babies Devin and I were! Kids sure will age you haha! I'll share more about grad school below for "What I'm Working On".

What I'm Loving: This weather!! It has been perfect for getting outside. 

What We've Been Up To: We have been trying to do all the fun fall things. 
We have been to two farms/pumpkin patches. 
We made it up to the mountains to see the beautiful fall foliage. We had our fall family pictures taken. 
I plan to share the rest of our pics on Friday so be sure to come back!

What I'm Working On: I am back in grad school-- woohoo! I started a Special Education program and am very excited to learn more. I will say though, the classes are mostly online and this is my first time ever taking an online class... it has been an adjustment! I had some minor technology issues during the first class and it really threw me off. I also definitely learn better in person. That being said, I do appreciate how much more convenient online classes are. There is both good and bad to it.

What I'm Excited About: I feel like the "season of fun" is here. We have Halloween, I have my annual girls' trip, our Disney trip is coming up, and then Christmas! We are certainly going to be busy, but with MANY good things!
What I'm Watching/Reading: Devin and I have been watching the show Mindhunter on Netflix. It is a fascinating look at the FBI interviewing serial killers in the 1970's in order to learn more about how they think. It is creepy, but super interesting. 
As for reading, I just re-read The Accidental Empress after watching The Empress on Netflix. I read this book years ago (like probably 7-8 years ago), and remember loving it. After watching The Empress on Netflix, I figured I'd stay in "Empress Elisabeth mode" and read about her too. If you like historical fiction and royalty, this one would be great for you!

What I'm Wearing: Some of these pictures are old because I forgot to grab a pic in the morning before work, but the clothes are the same!
Jumpsuit/Denim Jacket/Leopard Shoes (old, but similar here)
Green PantsGingham Shirt/Leopard Shoes (old, but similar here)

What I'm Doing This Weekend: We have another weekend of fall fun coming up. Two birthday parties and a kids Halloween party. I am looking forward to having fun with friends!

Thank you for following along today! See you back here Friday for more pictures! Today I am linking up with Sheaffer and Shay.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Weekend Highlights

 Good morning friends! I hope you had a nice weekend. Ours was a perfect mix of busy and relaxing. It was exactly what we needed. 

My school (and LG's) had a half day so the teachers could have a workday in the afternoon. It was eerily quiet without the kids there, but I was not complaining-- I got a LOT done!! 
Friday, October 20, 2023

Post Cancer/Chemo Update-- Month 3

 Hello friends! Happy Friday! Before we begin, I wanted to share a little sneak peek of our fall family pictures with you. We are so happy with how they came out!!

Monday, October 16, 2023

Fun Fall Ambiance

 Hi friends! Happy Monday! I had a completely different post planned for today, but we spent a good chunk of our weekend with these cute little fall ambiance videos on in the background and I thought I'd share them with you today in case you want some nice background music with a fall vibe. 

I cannot take credit for these, Tanya was the first to introduce me to them either last year or the year before. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

Life Lately

Hello friends and happy Friday! I hope you had a lovely week. Like most of you, I have been glued to the devastating news of what happened in Israel over the weekend. Our world is so heavy and dark at times. It breaks my heart for what those poor families suffered. It is unimaginable. Like many of you, I have been praying all week for the innocent people who have suffered. 

It has been awhile since I have done a "Life Lately"  post and updated you about what we've been up to. We have been busy these past few months!! Let's have a look:
Monday, October 9, 2023

Not Just a Mom October: Money Saving Tips

Good morning friends! Happy Monday! 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Prime Purchases September

 Good morning friends and HAPPY OCTOBER!!! One of our favorite months is here and I could not be more thrilled about it. We set up our skeletons yesterday and are ready for a month of fun.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

What’s Up Wednesday

 Hi friends! Happy end of September!

What We’re Eating This Week: We have my favorite crockpot butternut squash soup:

Friday, September 22, 2023

Post Cancer/Chemo Update Month 2

 Hi there! I hope you all had a good week! Today I am here with a very happy update :) This week marked two months since I ended chemotherapy and I am very happy to report that I feel INCREDIBLE! Am I back to 100% of the old me? No. Am I feeling significantly better though? Absolutely. Not only am I feeling better, but I am starting to look like my former self again, which is a big morale booster!! Let's get to it:

I cry happy tears all the dang time now. I'll be watching the kids play at a park, or snuggling Liam while we read a book, or listening to LG's imaginative play with her dolls, and all of a sudden I start tearing up. I cannot believe I almost lost this. When I got that call on February 8th that I had stage 4 cancer, my mind immediately went to "what if I die?" And I started spiraling, picturing all the parts of my children's lives I would miss out on. It is so easy to get caught in "autopilot" mode and just go through the motions of life without stopping to appreciate how truly beautiful the little things are. Not anymore. 

- I have hair!!!!!!!!!! It's super super short and gray, but it's hair!
 It is going to be a long time before it's long enough to be cute, so in the meantime, I bought another wig. Just like before, the pictures online were much different than how it looked when it arrived (why is this so hard?!?), but I ended up liking it so I kept it. It is much darker in person, I don't know why it is so light in pictures?
It’s different from my norm, but I really like it!

- I have eyebrows and eyelashes too! Check out those real brows and lashes! 

- I still experience muscle myalgia (pain) in my legs, but it is getting better. I used to need my Tramadol multiple times a day, but now I only take it three or four times a week. 

- I am still nowhere near being able to run, but walking has gotten much easier. I used to feel like I had spaghetti noodle legs and concrete feet, and that is dissipating. Hopefully within the next month, I will be able to start running again.  

- This is one I had forgotten to write about last month, but I have neuropathy. If you are unfamiliar, neuropathy is a loss of feeling, or a tingly feeling in your hands and feet. It is mostly in my fingertips, but has been improving significantly. I used to struggle with it a lot. It was hard to type, write, put on jewelry, open things like water bottles, etc. Now I am able to do most of those things again, although it is still harder than it was before.

I had another PET scan last week, and the results came back all clear. I loved getting this text message from my oncologist:
I am scheduled to get my port out next Friday, and I am looking forward to getting that over with. As Lily Grace put it this week, “Mommy, your port is the last thing. Once you’re done with that it’s really all over.” As far as I’m concerned, she’s right. Recovery might not be over, but the cancer chapter of my life sure is. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites.