monthly wrap up

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2019

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2019 | Writing Between Pauses

If you’ve read my blog for any stretch of time, you know two things about me: I love Fall the most and February is always the worst month. I’m not going to say that how much February sucks is because of astrology… except I am. Mercury Retrograde almost always hits at some point in February, plus it is Pisces season.

This February was no exception to the rule: I got a lot done, but a lot of stuff went absolutely bonkers. Totally haywire. It’s so hard for me to even summarize February because… where do I begin?! I guess I should start with the Snow.

1. The Big Snow

Oregon Snow
Snow in Oregon

It started snowing on February 24 at about noon. It did not stop for over 24 hours. By the end, we had about 14-16 inches at our house; at my parents’ house just a mile down the road from me (but slightly higher elevation), they had closer to 18-20 inches. In some drifts, there were nearly 2 feet of snow! The roads were a mess. And what was worse: the weight of the snow itself caused trees to fall, branches to snap, and power lines to be severed.

Our power went out around midnight between Sunday and Monday. Monday morning, I woke up with Forrest (he’d gotten into our bed because he couldn’t sleep alone in the dark) and went downstairs, got a fire going in our wood stove, and then opened the door to listen. It was only then that I realized how bad things were; it was still snowing and everything was extremely quiet… but I could hear breaking and crashing sounds in the woods all around us. And worse, the power line that goes over our yard kept shaking violently, including the power pole. I was suddenly not just annoyed that I didn’t have power, but pretty scared.

Once it got light out, I walked down our driveway to see what it looked like. We had about 4-5 trees down across our driveway and the snow was deep. There was no way we could get out. Throughout the rest of the morning, branches fell off the huge cedar tree right next to our house, crashing into our backyard, fence, and porch. Thankfully, nothing big hit our house—but it was scary.

Trees down in Oregon

My parents managed to clear their driveway, but it was nearly dark by then. They finally came over Tuesday to clear our driveway and we went to their house for a little while, as they have a generator. The next few days were basically the same pattern: we’d go to their house every day. The roads were bad. Here’s what they looked like in my area. That’s just one section; there were so many places where the road was reduced to nothing because trees had fallen inward on both sides, taking down power lines.

After 4 days, my parents got their power restored, but we didn’t. The line from our power pole to our neighbors house was still disconnected, which meant there was something wrong with the transformer on our pole. We waited and waited. It felt like an eternity! We went to my parents’ house every day to get some work done, shower, and charge our devices.

On the plus side, I got way more sleep that week than any other time in my life! I read a lot, did a lot of embroidery, and learned that I definitely need to be better prepared for emergencies. I have a blog post about emergency preparedness that I’m working on, so stay tuned for that.

Thankfully, our power was restored on March 3, but our internet satellite dish had been damaged. Having power was so nice though; I did so much laundry, cleaned everything, ran the dishwasher 3 times, and vacuumed up all the debris around our wood stove. It’s been a wild ride, but I am very done with snow and February.

2. Books I Read

Gosh, having no power makes you really get into reading. Here is every book I read during the outage:

  • I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, by Richard Hell

  • Find Her, by Lisa Gardner

  • Cutting Season, by Attica Locke

  • Verity, by Colleen Hoover

  • Carnegie’s Maid, by Marie Benedict

  • The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert

Whew!

3. What Else?

For the sake of space, here’s a few little things that happened in February:

  • My work is moving offices. However, unfortunately, our new office was not ready before the end of our lease… so we are all working from home for the entire month of March and last week in February. As you can tell, that meant my work week was an absolutely wash because of the snow—and I wasn’t alone. Going back to work was honestly the most exciting thing in the world, but I didn’t didn’t have internet until last Friday!

  • We got our taxes done and despite paying in extra this past year… we still owed to Oregon and got a very small return from Federal. We’re trying to crack the code here and figure out how much we need to overpay to make even!

  • We planned our coast trip for this summer and fantasized multiple times about running away to Disneyland. (Once I could get my car out of my driveway, it was definitely hard to not just start driving to somewhere, anywhere else.)

  • I started learning embroidery. It’s been really fun and I’ve been loving the process! You can follow me on Instagram to see some of my projects.

Well, that’s about it for February. I’m excited for March; I’m really ready to be in Spring (even though it’s not my favorite time of the year), but I want to be far from the possibility of snow right now!

Monthly Wrap Up: January 2019

Monthly Wrap Up: January 2019 | Writing Between Pauses

Another month gone by, another wrap up post, another “can you believe how long/busy/exhausting this month was?” question. Sometimes, it is hard to sum up adult life in things other than cliches. What else can I say for myself other than, “I was very busy in January, and it was a very long month, and I’m desperately trying to be the best version of myself”?

Yeah, I guess that’s pretty good.

January always feels like a very long month. The joy of the holidays is officially over—and it’s not coming back. Everyone is a little burnt out. We all are trying to make up for all that time we took off for holiday traveling, or just revelry, and we might have some interesting credit cards bills from gift giving (or drinks out with coworkers or friends). It’s a lot of “adulting,” to use a word I hate. Plus, the sun is officially behind the clouds 90% of the time, like 75% of the country is current behind an actual ice wall (we’re just gonna call the Midwest the North know and they are all white walkers). We’re all vitamin D deficient and doing our best.

So, January is hard. But actually, January was kind of fun this year. Let’s get into the post and I’ll stop writing quips that I think are funny.

Monthly Empties

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I’ve been trying to use up my shockingly large mask collection. I have so many, guys. This month, I finished up the Body Shop Tea Tree Clay Mask (which I reviewed here), the Jejuien You Can’t Handle This Sheet volcanic ash sheet mask, and the YesTo Cucumbers Calming Mud Mask (from one of the clearance gift sets I bought at Target after Christmas).

Not a lot of empties this month and here’s why: I feel like I’ve barely worn make up or done anything to my face. I’ve been in kind of a rut, probably partly caused by SAD and needing some sun exposure, regarding my skincare and makeup. It’s just been… not as high of a priority for me, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I really love taking care of my appearance and when I stop having the patience for it, I know I’m either 1) burnt out or 2) depressed. So, that’s been something I’m working on. However, I did rediscover my Wet’n’Wild Cushion Foundation again this month, so here’s to two months of cushion empties. Cheers!

Best Moments

January was full of lots of good moments, really. But here are a few:

  • Forrest going back to school

  • Having good enough weather to play outside at least once

  • Making plans for our summer vacation and spring break

  • Getting back into bullet journaling

  • Sharing photos of myself for the first time in 3-4 years

  • Mary Oliver’s passing bringing out the poetry lover in everyone

  • Watching “Sex Education” with Danny

  • Going to my work’s Christmas party for the first time… ever

I have been trying to keep track of my “good” versus “bad” days in my bullet journal. And something about writing it down, and keeping track of it, helps me to think more about whether I really had a bad day—or whether things were just difficult. It’s really helped me to see more “fun” moments.

What I Learned

This is related to recording my bad days, but again: I feel like the biggest lesson I learned in January was that I get to choose how I feel about each day. Having a rough day with Forrest doesn’t mean the day was bad; there were still hugs and kisses and funny moments in between the meltdowns! Keeping track of that, and journaling every day, has been a huge help in contextualizing everything.

And doing that has also made me realize all the ways I need to improve as a parent. I think sometimes I focus too much on just surviving and getting through each day—and I end up spending most of my time on my phone, or watching TV, while Fo plays. That’s not super active. I could be working, or cleaning, or taking him to the library, but being exhausted makes me choose the easiest option. One of my big goals for February is to just plain be more active: spend more time moving, playing with Forrest, and not just sitting on the couch on Instagram or Twitter.

My Monthly Wrap Up: December 2018

My Monthly Wrap Up: December 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

December was quite the month, wasn’t it? It always is (what with Christmas and everything), but this year felt particularly… full.

Let’s see: Danny and I went to Idaho for Thanksgiving, so we got back home just in time to get ready for Christmas. I had a load of sponsored content in December, all with deadlines. Plus, I had work. Forrest got sick. Then I got sick for what felt like 2 entire weeks. My brother got married (and as his accidental wedding planner, I felt like I was the bride a bit with how much work I ended up doing at the wedding). Then we had my mom’s birthday. Then Christmas. Then the New Year.

Now, Forrest is sick again, I’ve got a sore throat, and I feel like I’m rushing 24/7 to get caught up on how frenzied everything was in December. I didn’t have much time to write blog content, or social content, or actually do any kind of work whatsoever, between sickness, family events, and more.

It’s nice to think of January as a time to just relax, but I feel like I’ve jumped right back into being super, super busy.

And it should be said: I loved every minute of December. I love being busy! I love having lots of things to do and not being able to sit still. When I get bored, I get anxious. So December was a lovely month, but I would like to have time to actually blog this month!

Let’s get into this wrap up, shall we?

December 2018 Empties

My Empties

I feel like I used up a lot of products this month, despite really falling off the bandwagon with my skincare. (That’s probably why addressing my routine is one of my New Year’s Resolutions.) Here’s everything I used up:

  • Lump of Coal Charcoal Face Mask from Bath & Body Works

  • Egg Essence Mask Sheet

  • Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover Pad

  • Sephora Express Eye Make Up Removed Pad

  • Tarte Shape Tape Deluxe Sample

  • Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser

  • Sephora Charcoal Nose Strip

  • Sephora Bath Fizzes

  • Sephora Overnight Mask in Pearl

A lot of these were things from my Sephora Advent Calendar that I was trying to use up! I also received the Bath & Body Works mask from my mother-in-law in my Christmas present. Everything else was just a matter of using up: the Sephora Overnight Mask was leftover from a while ago and I was tired of seeing it on my bathroom counter; the Clean & Clear Cleanser was a sample I needed to get rid of (and I love how it feels even though I know it is garbage); and the Shape Tape was from my October Ipsy bag.

I feel like it was a good month for using things up, clearing out my drawers, and making room for, of course, more stuff.

My December Highlights

Posting More Photos of Myself

It goes without saying that i’m never 100% happy with my appearance. (And if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know this is a journey that I have been on for a while.) Being a mom is hard, but the hardest part about it is feeling this pressure to not fall into a specific stereotype of a mom. Even though I know it is garbage and I know I shouldn’t do things to suit what others think of me (we can never control anyone’s perception of ourselves, right?), and I know that I am kinder to others than I am to myself, it is still a huge challenge for me. So, my goal has been in the last few months to post more photos of myself and to taking the stupid photo for the content that I’m working on. I tend to want to stick to product shots—do I matter? I ask—but I know it hurts my blog to not have very much of my own face on here.

So, if you noticed more photos of my on my Instagram this past month, it’s true. There are more! And I have even more that I plan to post! So fancy.

Getting Professional Photos of Forrest

I’m a little embarrassed that, despite my status as a mom who is pretty obsessed with my own child, I’ve never gotten professional photos taken of him. I wanted to when he was a newborn, but he was so small, so fragile, I felt like it was a bit of a “playing with fire” thing. By the time he was big enough and sturdy enough, we were paying hospital bills and having enough disposal income for a photo shoot wasn’t a luxury.

So, in November, I paid for actual, real professional photos of him and, gosh, they turned out amazing. I’ve gifted them, made Christmas cards with them, and basically just stare at them constantly. We had our photos done by Angelique (AH Newborns) and she did such an amazing job. I cannot recommend her enough!

Working with Formulate

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being able to work with Formulate this month. I wouldn’t normally include this in a wrap up, but I’ve had so much fun taking photos, writing content, and testing out my personalized shampoo. Most importantly, I’m so excited to be able to host a giveaway with them. I love being able to provide something to my readers; without you guys, this blog wouldn’t really be anything! And you’re the ones who enable me to be able to work with cool companies like Formulate. If you would like to enter my giveaway, just click here. I’ll have a blog post about my experience in the next few weeks.

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2018

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

November felt like… such a big month.

November 1, for me, is the start of the Christmas season. Now, I know some people find that frustrating. (And trust me, I totally see your point of view. I just think you are wrong.) For me, Christmas makes me happy; Christmas decorating makes me happy; having a clean, Christmas-y house makes me happy… why should I put that off so I can only enjoy it for a week or two? No, I need two solid months!

So yes, November 1, I got out my fake tree, hung up our stockings, and began annoying my husband with Christmas music.

November wasn’t just a Christmas month, it was a busy month. And it’s sad to say, I feel like I had a migraine for a good 45% of November. I’ve been struggling with migraines off and on for the past year; some months are better than others. November happened to be a not-so-great month in terms of my migraines. However, it was still a really fun month. Let’s look at some highlights!

Towards the end of the month, I partnered with VisionWorks to promote an event at my local mall. I’ve never done any work like this for my blog before, but I really enjoyed taking on a new challenge.

Danny and I bought our first couch!! I know this seems like a strange thing to be so excited about—but we’ve needed a new couch for a while and I’m notoriously trigger shy when it comes to spending more than $25 on anything, let alone a massive piece of furniture. Our house consists of mostly hand-me-down furniture, as well as bargain furniture from Ikea and Wal-Mart. Everything we have is quite nice, but I’m also always aware that none of it really matches! Getting a couch that really matches our aesthetic was a huge step towards finally having the house we want.

I’m almost all done with my Christmas shopping!! I just have a few things left to get. I’ve written before about how Danny and I are both the worst at waiting until Christmas to open our presents. Well, now that Forrest is old enough to understand what’s going on, it’s become a lot harder for us to participate in our favorite tradition of opening presents inappropriately early. It is a little bit more fun though!

This is a shorter monthly wrap up than usual, but November was a busy-but-quiet month for us! Mostly just Christmas decorating, traveling, and getting ready for an even bigger month in December. Hope you’re all having a lovely first few days of December!

Monthly Wrap Up & Empties: September 2018

Monthly Wrap Up & Empties: September 2018 | Writing Between Pauses

Originally, I planned to do an Inspiration Sunday post for Blogtober today. But then I realized I had September empties to discuss and it felt more important to do this post. Well, maybe important isn’t the right word… rather, it just seemed to fit better!

September was a big month for us: we were super busy with back to school, Forrest’s birthday, and lots of stuff. And that trend isn’t letting up in October. I have Blogtober, of course, and my birthday on the 20th. Forrest and I are on a mommy-son trip this weekend (I’m writing this in advance, don’t worry!). Next weekend, we have Danny’s parents visiting. Then the last weekend of October will be our Halloween weekend. Then suddenly it will be November. Whew!

I have a lot to talk about for this wrap up, so let’s get started!

Empties: Everything I Used Up

Empties 1

1. OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo: I reviewed this shampoo here. I love this shampoo and it’s my current favorite. Of all the shampoos I’ve used, it’s the only one that really soothes my scalp and leaves my hair feeling nice. At this point, that’s all I ask!

2. Love Beauty & Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Magic Masque: I used this mask to help repair my hair after a disastrous PR shampoo I received. (I’m not even reviewing it, it’s that bad!) But I loved this mask! It smells lightly of roses and was so thick and lovely. It immediately helped my damaged, dry hair. You can buy it here.

3. Bliss Drench & Quench Moisturizer: I reviewed this moisturizer here. It’s not my favorite moisturizer ever, but it wasn’t awful. It was mostly just very expensive! This little tub lasted about 6 weeks and cost $20. It’s not a repurchase, that’s for sure.

4. Rosehips Oil: I recently added rosehips oil to my routine to help my dehydrated skin. As you probably know, I sing the praises of jojoba oil for removing makeup and helping improve my skin. However, jojoba as a moisturizer can give me a lot of texture. So I added rosehips oil as a sealant after my moisturizer to help my skin absorb a bit more. It has helped a lot, but I don’t love this one; I suspect the orange oil it’s mixed with hasn’t been helping my skin much!

5. Coty Flawless Complexion Tinted SPF Moisturizer: I discussed this SPF moisturizer in my Ipsy bag review here. I love this SPF, which sucks because it was such a teeny tiny tube! But it is absolutely lovely, hasn’t made me break out, and wears great under make up.

What I’ve Been Up To

Remus 1

Yes, that is the very rarely featured Remus. If you didn’t know (and most probably don’t), I have a beloved chocolate lab named Remus (as in Remus Lupin, the greatest werewolf). Despite playing second fiddle to Forrest, Remus remains my biggest baby. I don’t have any reason for this photo other than I took it while I was doing product photos for my Ipsy bag in September, Remus looked cute, and I can’t resist his big, golden eyes.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few things I enjoyed from September here for your enjoyment!

1. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: I impulsively borrowed this book from the library because the jacket contained the words “Highgate Cemetery” and “Victorian.” For whatever reason, when I started it, I thought it would be set in Victorian times. It is absolutely not; it’s set in the early 2000s, which leads to some truly hilarious ensembles worn by the main characters (remember white denim skirts!?). That being said, I still really enjoyed it. Highly recommend! How’s that for a tiny review?

2. Dr. Death: I started listening to this podcast after it was recommended on My Favorite Murder. This was a tough podcast for me to get into, because as I’ve written before, my grandfather was paralyzed by a neck surgery. The center of this podcast is a neurosurgeon who performs bad, irresponsible, and devastating neck and spinal surgeries; he paralyzes multiple people and kills a few. That being said, I really enjoyed it.

3. Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams: I have been waiting for this book on digital hold from the library for weeks and finally, I got it! I was so excited to read it. It’s set on a fictional island off the coast of New York where wealthy families summer for years on end. It was so good and kept me captivated the entire time.

4. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: Another book I had waited for weeks on hold! I keep doing this thing where I put holds on books, they take ages, and by the time I get them, I’m not “in the mood” to read them. I had to force myself to read Truly Devious about 4 days before it was due and I am SO glad I did! It was excellent and I found myself so disappointed that the sequel isn’t out yet. If you like mysteries and murder podcasts (which play a surprisingly pivotal role!), you’ll love this book.


Oh yes, Fall is finally here! Gosh, it feels like time goes by so fast! I hope you’re having a great October and you’ve been loving all the cozy Blogtober content around lately.

Monthly Wrap Up & Empties: August 2018

Monthly Wrap Up & Empties: August 2018

After lots of hemming and hawing, yes, I'm combining my monthly wrap ups and my monthly empties posts! I feel like it just makes sense, as often I end up talking about very similar things.

August felt like an absolute blur. We've been busy the entire summer (with way more social obligations and other things than usual), but August felt like a lot. A good a lot. Usually by the time September arrives and Danny goes back to work, I'm excited for him to get back into a routine so that I can get back into a routine. But for the first time ever, I got very sad about him going back to work. Because, at the same time, Forrest will be starting preschool 2 days a week and honestly, I just can't handle it! What am I going to do with all my time? 

Probably stuff it full of more hobbies and obligations, let's be real. 

August 1
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August 3

3 Good Things from August:

1. I finally got my hair cut. I try to keep this quiet, but I didn't get my hair cut for nearly 3 years. Forrest had just been born and my mom took me to get my pixie cut trimmed. And that was it, the last hair cut I got was December 2015. 2015! 3 years! My ends were wrecked, at least to me, but my hairstylist was extremely proud to see they were not bad at all. In fact, she said I could have gone another 3 years and not lost much more length. Don't tempt me. 

2. The leaves started to change. Fall seems to start a little earlier every single year. I started noticing some yellow-tinged leaves around the end of the month. The tree outside my house is maybe 10% yellow today. I get so excited for the beautiful Fall colors... I have to remind myself to be patient! We'll be raking leaves soon enough. 

3. I started collecting Fall candles. Uh, sorry to rush the end of summer (except I am not sorry!!), but in August, I started nabbing up cheap Fall candles wherever I could. My local Wal-mart had one of my favorite Yankee Candle scents, Sage & Citrus, on clearance, which of course meant I bought 3 of them! My local TJ Maxx has also had some amazing Yankee Candles and off brands with amazing scents. I need my house to smell like cinnamon and caramel for about 4 months straight, so I'm happy. 

Empties 2
Empties 1

My Empties

1. Everyday Aromatherapy Calming, Lavender Chamomile: I got this body wash/bubble bath at TJ Maxx for around $6. It's one of my favorites; I really love the smell of lavender, I know it's "old lady-ish" or can be, but gosh, it's relaxing! Danny and I finally used this one up so we could start a eucalyptus and mint scented one we got at the same time. 

2. Bath & Body Works Fresh Sea Salt Mango Body Spray: I rarely ever use up body sprays, because I tend to accrue them faster than I can ever use them. However, I've made it my mission to start using up the things I have lying around. This was the first to go and I wanted it done by the end of summer. I am starting on last year's winter scents now, so wish me luck! 

3. Pores Be Pure Mud Mask: This is one of my favorite masks, but by the end of the tube, I was tired of it. I used it exclusively the last two weeks. Can you tell I'm clearing out clutter!? This mask smells amazing though--like strawberries--and really does give a good pore cleaning. Highly recommend.

4. Hey Honey Copper Peel Off Mask: The next 3 bits are from my August Ipsy bag. I managed 3 uses out of this little tube, which is perfectly acceptable. I just didn't feel like this mask did anything. It is very pretty though! 

5. VenEffect Pore Minimizing Face Wash: My bonus item from my Ipsy bag, I got maybe 6 face washes out of this tube. I liked the smell of it, but didn't notice it doing much as I didn't receive a large enough amount to really get to use it much. 

6. Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence: Listen, here's the thing: I talked some shit on this essence in my Ipsy bag review and I take it back. I only got maybe 4 uses out of this little tube, but 4 uses was enough to know that this improved my skin texture and redness by leaps and bounds. Leaps! And! Bounds! I hate that it's $80 for a full ounce.  

7. Wet'n'Wild Cushion Foundation: My favorite foundation of all time and I've used my 3rd compact of it. Sorry, not sorry. It's so good! 

August 4
August 5
August 6

3 Things I Read, Watched, or Listened To:

1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater: I read this book a while ago, but I've been catching Danny up on the Raven Cycle via audiobooks. So this is something I listened to this month. I forgot how lovely this book is (and yet, how annoying I find all the car stuff) and I'm glad Danny is finally experiencing it!

2. Overdue Podcast: Overdue is a book podcast that I started listening to. I listened to one episode about a book I like, then started listening to all of them. I've been bouncing between episodes; I listened to the Twilight episode, then all their 50 Shades episodes, now I'm only some more serious ones. If you like listening to podcasts about books, this is a good one. 

3. Enchanted Falls Trilogy: One of my favorite authors (Emma Prince) who writes exclusively Scottish romances released the first in a trilogy at the end of July; then 2 other authors released the 2nd and 3rd books through August. The 3rd book is written by my least favorite author ever (I won't go into it, but trust me: it's bad). However, the first 2 in this series were amazing. I'm still working on the 3rd because it's a slog. 

I hope you all had a lovely August. What were your 3 favorite things about the month?

July 2018 Wrap Up: Road Trips & Reading

July 2018 Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

Wasn't I just writing a month wrap up? I swear, it was just yesterday. It's that time of year where time seems to start moving a lot faster than in moved in, say, January or February. I was just on the phone with a preschool about getting Forrest registered; pretty soon, it will be his birthday, then mine, then Thanksgiving. I'm excited for the Fall and Winter, but time seems to move so fast... then slams to a halt in January. Just me? 

July was a very busy month for us, and yet, I find myself not really knowing what to write for this wrap up post! 

1. Road trips

Pool photo

We made our annual pilgrimage to Idaho at the beginning of July. And thankfully, we got to spend one day in the pool (courtesy of my brother-in-law's wife's family, so my in-laws-in-law?). Forrest spent nearly 3 hours swimming until I had to forcibly remove him; he was so tired, but loved the pool so much! It's so funny that I hate swimming and I have a pretty severe fear of the water, and yet, Forrest has been a water baby from the moment he was born. He loves baths and swimming and pools. He's also extremely extroverted and, uh, I'm not. 

But we had a lot of fun in Idaho, even though it was hot, hot, hot the entire time! 

2. Making Time

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Flamingos

In previous summers, I've always had these grandiose plans of things we would do... and we ended up not doing any of them because either I was working too much, trying not to spend money, or a combination of both. This summer, I decided to say: honestly, screw it! Let's just go! Yes, Wildlife Safari is expensive. Yes, gas is expensive. Yes, eating dinner out is expensive. But life is short. We only get one go around with Forrest as a toddler. We've made it to the coast so far this summer, and now Wildlife Safari, and the Boise Zoo. We have a few more things on our list, but I feel really good about making time as a family to do fun things together, make memories, and get out of the house!

3. Joining the library club

Everyone knows I'm a voracious reader. I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, but I may be canceling that soon now that I've got a library card! I've put it off for ages because, living outside city limits, our library card costs money. However, when you divide it out, it's only $4.50 a month! I've already read 10+ books, via the library app and borrowing from the library. Totally worth it. It's made July even better1 

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I hope you had as good of a July as we did! What was your favorite highlight? 

June 2018 Wrap Up: Summer's Here!

June 2018 Wrap Up | Writing Between Pauses

Tomorrow is the last day of June. I can't believe I'm writing that sentence to be perfectly honest. It doesn't feel like we should be here yet. Danny is on summer break (teacher life) and I'm trying to work while he gets to relax with Forrest (it's fine, I'm not jealous). The weather is great. 

We're prepping for our big vacation of the summer (we're just going to Idaho), but there are a few things I wanted to write about on this post. I love writing these wrap ups because it's nice to look at the month and really talk about how it was. 

1. My 5-year wedding anniversary

My anniversary is June 23. It feels so strange that 2013 was only 5 years--and also, 5 years ago. 5 years is a long time. It's also weird to think that Forrest is almost 3. At the time when I got pregnant, it felt like we had waited a long time to get pregnant after getting married. But not really! I've learned a lot about relationships over the past 5 years. Sometimes, things are really good; and sometimes, things are really difficult. It's not always perfect and I don't think there is any value at pretending otherwise. Marriages don't have to be constant drama to be good, but they also don't have to be perfect 24/7 to be good either. 

2. A month with no surprises

Can I tell you guys something great? In June, we didn't have any major expenses. I wrote before about how from January to May, we had a major expense almost every single month, rarely under $500. It was rough. That's a lot of money, y'all! It felt like we were really drowning for a while and it was very stressful. But thank goodness, nothing happened in June and, fingers crossed, July will be the same. I'd love another month without me crying over a checkbook, thanks. 

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3. Promising more adventures

Danny and I are homebodies, by nature, but in the past few weeks, we decided that we didn't want Forrest to be bored all summer. We drove to the coast spontaneously the day before our anniversary. And we have a few other day trips planned for this summer. I'm a planner by nature, so it's hard for me to let go and not plan everything down to every single minute detail. But it was really fun to just explore, drive, and talk as a family. 

4. Potty training success

We've been potty training for exactly a year now that it's June. And finally, finally, Forrest has it. In February, I thought we might be successful in watching the Elmo potty training DVD around the clock and talking about potties nonstop--but no dice. At the beginning of June, I told Forrest he couldn't go to preschool if he didn't start wearing underpants and using the potty. And guess what? A few days later, he started wearing underpants and going in the potty almost every time. I mean, seriously. That's all it took? Preschool?