Ten Things That Make Me Happy

  1. Hugging the kids after we’ve not been getting along so great
  2. Not turning on the radio or podcasts and just enjoying the quiet
  3. Restaurants that indicate their GF options on their menu instead of having to ask for a separate menu.
  4. Skype
  5. Software updates that download correctly on the first try
  6. Afternoon naps
  7. Quantifiable evidence that I worked my butt off at work.
  8. Hugging a person who uses yummy smelling hair products.
  9. Using some celery to dig into a jar of peanut butter.
  10. Getting all of the kids’ school supplies from one store in one trip.

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Filed under Random Happy Thoughts, Verbal Mumbo Jumbo

July 2016 Goals Update

I had a feeling July wouldn’t have much to show for itself, but it was much “worse” than I thought…

End 2016 with more steps than 2015

(Increase Average Steps per Day)

Goal Actual
JULY 7500  5519

I’m going in the wrong direction…

Spend less money on parking than I did in 2015

(Track monthly spending)

2015 2016
JULY $15 $12

That’s pretty good.

Earn 6000 reward airline miles

(Take 10 surveys a month)

Goal Actual
JULY 10  0

Um. Well. O.K. then.

2016 PopSugar Reading Challenge

(Read at least 25 of the 41 suggested books)

Totals JULY – 0 books read YEAR – 19/25 books read

Apparently, I took the month of July off from everything…

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Filed under Goals, Health/Weight, Reading

Vacation Workout Plan – The Illinois Edition


Officially back in half marathon training so I’m going to keep myself accountable to my workout schedule. Nothing like putting it out there in the universe to keep me honest, right?

Monday – 45 minute walk
Tuesday – 30 minute cross/strength
Wednesday – 45 minute walk
Thursday – 30 minute cross/strength
Friday – rest
Saturday – 5 mile walk
Sunday – rest
Monday – 50 minute walk

I’ll check in on Tuesday with how I did. I’ll also post pics of completed workouts on Instagram on FB just to cover all my bases.

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Filed under Goals, Health/Weight, Travels

29 Before 40 – THE RESULTS!

My birthday came and went on Tuesday without much hoopla…which is just how I wanted it. No gifts, no singing, no candles, no cake.


As I was inching closer, I knew I wanted to write a recap and some thoughts on my 29 before 40 list that I made last year.

Did I get it all done? Nope.

Am I happy with what I was able to fit in? Extremely.

Now that the year has passed, I can see that I planned too many things that involved multiple schedules. It’s not quite fair that I ask people to rearrange what they already had going on so that I can check something off a list. If I do one of these lists again, I need to make it a little more about what I want to achieve personally, and not necessarily involve things that I would consider a family goal.

I can also see that I planned too many things that involved multiple dollars. Truth be told, I’d rather save those dollars for big family vacations. I’d hate to skip a vacation one year because we spent all of our vacation budget on small day trips.

Now for what I DID get done, I’m super happy with it. At the end of the day, the list helped me get some things scheduled that I never would’ve made time for if it weren’t for the list.

Did that sentence make sense?

As far the books and the photo a day, I didn’t quite meet my goals on those specifically, but I’m very happy with how it turned out. I read more than I have in a long, long time and I was making a conscious effort to notice things around me…even if it was just the TV show I was watching.

I’m going to leave the list in the sidebar for a while. Maybe I’ll keep it up there until I’ve actually done all of them.

Maybe I’ll forget about them next week.

I like to keep myself guessing.

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Filed under 39 before 40, Goals

Travel: Always grateful, never happy

Thinking about travel is definitely a double edged sword for me.

We have two trips in the works: we’re headed to London and Paris in the spring and then we are doing a long weekend in Tennessee in the summer.

I’m very excited about both of them, but at the same time feeling really bummed for trips that it would take a MIRACLE for them to happen.

Case in point: There is a chance, albeit very slim, that Dave could be going to Hawaii next summer. Realistically, if he went, joining him wouldn’t be feasible.

How I’m coping?



We need to win the lottery.

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Filed under Travels

Chronic Conditions Suck

There. I said it.

They suck. They suck even more when you have to watch someone suffer through one.

I haven’t talked about it all, but this year has not been the best where family health is concerned. It seriously feels like every time we turn a corner, someone else is struck with something. Some of them minor. Some of them not so minor.

Through it all, we have tried to love each other. We DO love each other. But we all also have our own stuff that we are dealing with and we have entered this place where we are walking on egg shells around each other.

While also trying to take care of ourselves, we fear that we are not giving each other the love and care the other person deserves, which makes the other person feel like they are a burden, which makes the other person fear that we are not doing enough, which makes the other person feel like they are a burden…

Round and round we go.

This family is solid. No question there.

But we are also tired.

Some days I feel like we’re juggling. Each one of us is juggling 3 balls. Everyone once in a while, one of us will get overwhelmed and toss one of our balls to someone else in the family. Well, that person can’t handle 4 balls. So they’ll except your ball, but toss you one of their other ones.

We’ve all just switched around what we are dealing with.

I know that sounds vague. I know I’m probably not making much sense.

Anybody out there have advice for families dealing with chronic stuff? Both for the sufferer and the caregiver?

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Filed under Health/Weight

Planner Plans

For a while now, I’ve been realizing that I don’t really like my planner anymore.  I use a Franklin Planner Classic size planner. 3 or 4 years ago, I found the binder at Target marked way down because it was damaged, and then I’ve just been buying the inserts straight from Franklin Planner.

I’ve always used a 1-day-per-page system, but with the way the Franklin page is set up, it doesn’t really suit me anymore. Half the page is set up as an hourly scheduler, and on most days I don’t have any appointments to put on there, or there’s just a few an hour here or there. It’s basically wasted space.

It’s time for something new, and I’m thinking a weekly spread might be more my speed now, but I’ve having a hard time making the leap to switching systems.

I’ve noticed the Bullet Journal style, but I haven’t been able to bite the bullet yet.

Heh. See what I did there.

Anyway, I like the fact that you can pretty much customize it to whatever you need, and the ideas are endless for what you can put in your planner. What I DON’T like is the idea of redrawing a layout every week. I also don’t like the idea of using a notebook. I do like the binder aspect of the Franklin Planner system, and I haven’t seen a lot of that on the bullet journal world.

I printed some dot paper and graph paper off and have been trying new layouts for the past few weeks and then just hole punching them to put in the binder. I found one I like, but again, I don’t know that I want to redraw the same layout every week.

Which led me to Etsy to see if any creative type people have created a planner page that had most everything I was looking for. I don’t really dig the idea of paying for a digital download, but that has more to do with the fact that I’m a cheap ass bastard.

I’ve been toying with the idea of just designing something myself. It would be 100% personal to my needs, which is great, but then I would have to take the time to make it.

Basically, I’m never happy. (Dave will attest to that)

So, if anyone knows of someone who has read my mind and created a FREE personalized Thea Rudland hole punched weekly planner page that includes all the features that I want, can you please let me know.


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Filed under Organizing/Schedules

June 2016 Goals Update


End 2016 with more steps than 2015

(Increase Average Steps per Day)

Goal Actual
JUNE 7000  6906

That’s a big improvement over last month, so that’s something. Not quite there yet, though.

Spend less money on parking than I did in 2015

(Track monthly spending)

2015 2016
JUNE $14 $14

It’s a wash, folks.

Earn 6000 reward airline miles

(Take 10 surveys a month)

Goal Actual
JUNE 10  16

I really should be able to get my next 2000 miles in January. I’m very close.

2016 PopSugar Reading Challenge

(Read at least 25 of the 41 suggested books)

3. A YA bestseller Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
4. A book you haven’t read since high school Lord of the Flies – William Golding
13. A self-improvement book Getting to Calm – Laura Kastner
Totals MAY – 3 books read YEAR – 19/25 books read

This is definitely the goal I’m doing the best with. I will no doubt be able to read 6 more books before the end of the year. Coincidentally, I’ve got to read 6 books just in July to reach my birthday goal of 40 books before I turn 40 (list is here). That’ll be a stretch, but I’m going to try my best.

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Filed under Goals, Health/Weight, Reading

Summer Brain Camp

Each summer, I buy the kids a bridge book.

Each summer, I have one kid who counts down the days until he they can start it, and one kid who digs in her their heels about whether or not starting a household WWIII might be more fun.

This year, I only bought 1 bridge book. I finally caved. I told her she didn’t have to do one, but that she had to do something. He almost actually cried because this was the last year that he would be able to do one (evidently he’s the only kid in America who thinks there should be a bridge book for beyond middle school).

I scoured Pinterest and I took ideas from several different people and created a system I’ve dubbed Summer Brain Camp.

There’s math. And writing. And reading. And they had to set a personal goal. And I set a goal for them. For the math and writing, I gave them a menu of activities that they could choose from that would meet the “learning requirement”.

It’s only Day Two, but I think the system has promise. Emma was actually excited to do math yesterday. She chose the Million Dollar Project. You start with a million dollars and you buy stuff, trying to get as close to spending the whole 1,000,000 as you can. There are some required purchases (college, house, and vacation), but the rest is a free for all.

I tried to pick things that were more project based as opposed to worksheet based. If there’s one thing the girl hates, it’s worksheets.

Jake has his bridge book that he still does every day, but he has the option of doing more math and he has to do writing a few days a week because the bridge book doesn’t offer a lot of writing opportunities. He’s currently working on a Minecraft fan-fiction book.

I found worksheets for them to write down their goals and break them up into actionable steps. We’ll see how long that lasts.

And my goal for them? Cooking. Food prep. Helping in the kitchen. They hate it.

Oh well.

Am I the only Mean Mom out there that expects there kids to DO stuff over the summer?


Filed under Family Adventures, Goals, Parenting Woes, School Adventures, Silly Gooses

School’s Out 2016 – THE VLOG!

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Filed under Family Adventures, Random Happy Thoughts, School Adventures, Silly Gooses, Travels