do you ever?

Do you ever just look around and say “holy crap, this is my life?” – but like, not in a bad way, in a good way.

The other day I walked into my house after work, and the kids were all clamoring for my attention.  I had just suffered through another hour long commute home, I needed to pee, Jake wanted a kiss and dinner still needed to be made.

I took a step back as I walked into my bedroom to change and thought “this is the life I have always wanted”.  I spent the first 5 years after I moved to South Carolina struggling to keep it all together.  There were always more bills than money, there was never enough time to get from one place to another and I was being both parents a lot of the time.  My ex husband is as involved as he chooses to be, and after 5+ years of expecting more, I have learned to let it all go and stop expecting him to be the parent I want him to be.  Fast forward to January 2016 – I meet Jake and life begins to fall into place.  I still struggled then, being a single mom with a full time job and a business.  I take on a part time job to help bridge the gap, and my business builds.   Then we come to May 2017, we move into a house – together.  The puzzle seems to be complete.  We sit at the dinner table for dinner together, as a family.  I feel like we aren’t struggling any more.  I have help.   We have 2 incomes, and we talk – boy do we ever talk, and did I mention I have help?  He helps with homework, and brushes hair after baths and does laundry.  He doesn’t expect me to do everything, and that is HUGE.

I sometimes look around and think how God has blessed me.  With a husband who is amazing beyond my wildest dreams, kids who are content and happy, a home that is OURS.    It maybe messy, but it is a beautiful ride!

friday favorites!

It has been awhile since I have done a Friday favorites list!   We have been so busy with baseball that sometimes it feels like we barely have a moment to sit down and veg out, but we have had a few times we have been able to do this!

Here are some of my favorite things lately!

The documentary Flint Town on Netflix.  I watched the first episode on my lunch break a few weeks ago, and then came home and told Jake all about it.  I just knew we had to watch it together.  This documentary about a town in crisis is heartbreaking, heartwarming, somber and will make you laugh and cry.  I am willing to admit I did a lot of both.  Flint, Michigan ranks as one of the deadliest cities in America, with one of the highest violent crime rates ever.  Add on top of that an international news making water crisis, a city government in ruins (financially), and a police force that is struggling to serve the 100k citizens.  How the city is still standing blows me away.  We have several members of Jake’s family who live within the Genesee County area, and Flint is the largest city within the county.

I highly encourage everyone to watch this on Netflix.

 

 

Sending happy mail!   I love getting  letters in the mail, and I know that it is a lost art.  Plus, mailing stuff is hella expensive now a days!  A stamp is 50¢ now!  I remember back when the kids dad was in boot camp, stamps were like 28¢.   Either way, I still like surprising members of my oils team with letters of congrats or encouragement.  I also fully believe in sending birthday cards whenever possible!  I just got done writing up a few before I started writing this.

Our new patio set.  My mother in law got us a table & an umbrella for Easter/just because.  Jake and I then went to Charleston and picked up some matching chairs at the At Home store.   We have eaten out there a few times a week since we got it all set up, and we love it!  The kids are always asking “can we eat outside?!?”  They love the lazy susan in the middle of the table.

We were able to get 5 matching chairs, so everyone has a place to sit (we just didn’t have them all up when we took the picture).

The Umbrella & Chairs came from “At Home” stores (locally there is one in Charleston and another in Greenville).   The table & umbrella base came from Lowes here in Lexington.

I’m looking forward to many more nights of sitting out there while Jake grills (our grill is to the left of the table about  foot away), and while the kids play.

What are some of your favorite things?

wordless wednesday

This was taken in May 2012 at Jonathan’s PreK graduation, and now he is about to graduate from 5th grade!   I hope him and his sister Natalee always remain this close!   (side note – we just got rid of that dress last year, she still fit into it for 5 years!).

 

myspace flashback

My friend Kaylin posted this on facebook, and said that it reminded her of MySpace.  Who here had a Myspace?

CAN YOU FILL THIS OUT WITHOUT LYING?

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? smarties candies

2. Do you sleep naked?   Yes I do.

3. Worst physical pain you have had?  ovarian torsion (google it)

4. Favorite place you have been?  too many to name, but I love Banner Elk, NC.

5. How late did you stay up last night? 9:30 or so I think.

6. If you could move somewhere else where would you go?  Michigan to be near family or NC to be near family.

7. Which of your Facebook friends snores the closest to you?   Well, this is a weird question but the answer is Jake, sleeping next to me.

8. When was the last time you cried?  Last night while we were watching “All or Nothing” on amazon (it’s about Michigan football).

9. Who took your profile picture on facebook?   Jake did.

10. ——- I mean, ?

11. What’s your favorite season? Summer

12. If you could have ANY career what would it be?  PGA tour wife.  Kidding (sort of).   I’d go back to college athletics and so something with player character development or life skills development.

13. What was the last book you read?   Detroit, An American Autopsy (excellent book)

14. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?  my grandmama

15. Are you a good Influence?  Depends on the topic.

16. Does pineapple belong on a pizza?  NO!

17. You have the remote, what channel would you be on?  Destination America

18. Last concert you attended? Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

19. Favorite type of food? Mexican Food!

20. Your MySpace profile pic?  It was of my family at my brothers wedding, and it has my now ex-husband in it.  Boo!

 

tuesday tunes

It has been awhile since I have posted about the Tuesday tunes.  I got to thinking that I never did post about what songs we used in our wedding!   Despite the fact that I did NOT tear up on that day (I didn’t want to ruin my makeup that Allison spent an hour doing), I tear up now when I hear them!    

I walked down the aisle to “Marry Me” by Train.  Originally this was supposed to be played on guitar by my dear friend Tyler, and sung by him as well.  2 weeks before the wedding, he was hurt training (jujitsu) and was unable
to play the day of.  We opted to just use the song as it was originally done by Train.  Jake still cannot listen to
this song without tearing up.

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The song we did our first dance to was “Today” by Brad Paisley.  I just love this song, and I think it fit us perfectly. 
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The father daughter dance was to Southern Style by Darius Rucker, when I sent this song to my mama, she said my daddy really liked it so we went with it.  It fits me so much!   We had a harder time with a song for Jake and his mom, and we finally settled on My Wish by Rascal Flatts – it wasn’t overly lovey, like some of the songs that had been suggested to us.  Some of the suggestions we were given were more for a husband-wife than a mother & son!   

dear PaPaw

Dear Papaw,

I’m going to call you that because to me, you look like a “Papaw” and I’m sure you’d tell me if you didn’t like it.  Secretly I think you’d absolutely adore it, because it comes with that twang in my voice that Jake loves.   I never got to meet you, but you are mentioned often in our home,  and for that I am thankful. Your photo decorates my fridge, and in other places in my home.   You know, I married your grandson last year.

I’m thankful to be a part of the family you raised.  Your kids & their spouses are a tight knit, sweet and amazing family.  More so, your grand kids are some hysterically funny folks.   The cousins may make fun of my accent, and how I call the “party store” a liquor store – but all in all, it’s good.  I hope you would be proud of the women your grandsons married – Jess, Jeanie, Taylor, Hannah, Sunghee and me.   I just tried to count up all your great-grandkids (and stepgrandkids) and I think the count stands (as of today) at 9. Right now it is more girls than boys.  I hope we can add a few more to that count in the next few years, and continue to grow the Acree clan.   I think if you were here (and boy do we wish you were here), you would enjoy the banter between Jake and I during football season.  How much he loves Michigan, and I think you would have so many comments about Coach H.   I think you would laugh at how my eyes glaze over when it comes to hockey, and how I love baseball (although I was raised a Braves fan – sorry).

Really in writing this, I wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for helping to raise my husband.  Helping to mold him into the man he is today.  He takes such good care of his family, of me.   His fierce loyalty to his mama, and his family amazes me because I didn’t think (aside from my own daddy), that existed in anyone else.   Thank you for the love of golf you instilled in him (side note, he still thinks he needs a hole the size of a dinner plate to putt into), and while I don’t love to play,  I  do love to watch golf.  I keep trying to get him to go to play more (still pretty sure he is in awe over the fact I encourage him to go play often).   But seriously, thank you.

We know we will see you someday, and until that day – we love you.

Love always, your granddaughter (in law),

Lori

Wordy Wednesday – Thieves Cleaner!

Have you tried Thieves Cleaner yet? If you have not, you need to RIIIIIGHTTTT NOW! Seriously, lets talk about getting you some! Life.Changing. but if my word isn’t enough to make you switch…let’s get into the nitty gritty!

Why switch to toxin free household cleaner?
According to the EWG there are thousands of hidden toxins in household cleaners! Even the ones that are labeled “safe” “natural” “green” or otherwise deceiving marketing! That’s SCARY and that leads us to have to be our OWN advocates for our families. There are cancer causing chemicals, asthma triggering chemicals, HIGHLY toxic chemicals (NOT cool around anyone but especially our littles ones and pets! NO WAY!) and even hormone disruptors in these products and no one is saying anything! WHY! Did you know that one of the causes of major health issues in children is environmental exposures. These toxins are in our houses right there to expose to our children. It’s our jobs to be empowered mamas, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, foster parents…adults in general and do our part to keep our kids healthy!

Curious what is in your household cleaner? Here’s how to research!
1. Download the Think Dirty App on your Smartphone! This is an easy way to look up what you’re using and how bad it is for you!
2. Want to go more in depth and check out the ingredients? Go to the EWG website and you can research each individual ingredient in your cleaner!
http://www.ewg.org/research#.WW7d1RiZPVo

What to expect when switching?
When you make the switch to Thieves you’ll be surprised to know that it is a concentration! You get your bottle for $25 BUT you dilute it! There is a dilution chart right on the side of the bottle and it only takes a capful or two to make one bottle of cleaner for you ENTIRE HOME! Yes…you can use Thieves cleaner in place of ALL of your cleaners! Carpet, windows, walls, floor, counters, toilet, shower, bathtub, car interior and exterior, you can even use it as a stain remover!
You get to throw out ALL of your other cleaning products! ALL OF THEM!!!

When Jake and I went through to clean the house we just bought – we used this for everything – baseboards, walls (house had been vacant for 6 months), mirrors, counters, etc, etc. We even put it into the carpet cleaning machine we rented from Lowes! It also smells amazing – some call it Christmas in a bottle, it isn’t an overly chemical smell that makes you gag – like traditional cleaners do!

Price difference in switching?
The price break down of Thieves Cleaner goes a little somethin’ like this….
One bottle + shipping= approx $30
If were factoring on the low side, you get about 60 capfuls out of your one bottle.
30/60= $0.50
This means that ONE bottle of cleaner that you use in your WHOLE HOUSE costs you $.50
You can throw out the windex. You can throw our the toilet bowl cleaner. You can throw out the bath tub scrub. You can throw out your floor cleaner…YOU DON’T NEED IT!
So that right there shows a MASSIVE amount of money saved when switching to Thieves Cleaner!

Pro tips & hacks!
1. If you miss the scrubby cleaners for the tub or toilet you can make your own! Baking soda plus Theives cleaner and lemon is SUCH a great tub scrub!
2. Don’t stress yourself out over meaning the actual caps of water. Pour 1-2 caps in your spray bottle depending on how big it is and how dirty your typical cleaning ventures are and then fill with water. Simplicity is my motto in life.
3.You can buy a spray bottle at the Dollar Tree for one dollar. True story!
4. Add 2 caps of Thieves Cleaner with hot water in a bucket and scrub your walls! SO CLEAN!!!
5. Give your kids the spray bottle and a towel and let them help clean! I LOVE that I can help teach my kids good cleaning skills without risking their health! YESSSS PLEASE!

Alright! So after all of that, who has already switched? Who hasn’t? What’s your favorite thing about Thieves Cleaner? What are you most looking forward to?

Have questions?! Let us help!
*thanks to my oily boss lady Allissa for this wonderful breakdown!*

comfort reading

I have blogged many times about my love for reading, and often share my book choices here.  Lately life has handed us some lemons, and I needed to just escape for a bit.  I wanted to read something that was an easy read and something that was a “feel good” read.   I decided to go back to a set of books that I have read at least 10 times each previously.  The set originally belonged to my grandmother, and I believe they are now at my mom’s house.   The books are the Canadian West series by Janette Oke.  She is a Christian writer from Canada, and writes several series of books that are amazing.   These are the “starter” books for what eventually became “What Calls the Heart” series on Hallmark Channel, but more about that later.

The set started with the book “What Calls the Heart“, which is when we meet Elizabeth Thatcher, who heads west to stay with her brother & his family (his wife & children) and teach.  The books progress to her living alone in the “wilderness” and the adventures of teaching.  She then meets Wynn Delaney, a Canadian Mountie.  That’s where I am going to end the descriptions, because I don’t want to ruin the surprise.   The series continues with When Comes the Spring, When Breaks the Down, and then When Hope Springs New.   Many years later 2 additional books were written called Beyond the Gathering Storm, and When Tomorrow Comes.   You can see the entire 6 book set here:   The Canadian West Series

The series on Hallmark Channel follows Elizabeth Thatcher, but this time it is the niece of the original Elizabeth Thatcher from the first set of books.   I have not yet watched any of this series, mainly because I just don’t have time to add another show.  But, I know that I can get the different seasons at the library if I ever choose to watch them.

I was able to get all the books on loan from my library, in the e-book versions.  I am so glad that our library has this option available.   The links above are to amazon, where you can also purchase the books.  The series was just what I needed, and a week after starting I am part way through the last book.  I was so glad to discover a few years ago that books 5 & 6 were written, because I had missed the characters and I wanted to see how things turned out.  Don’t you hate it when you become so emotional invested in a character only to have the books end and you have to sit there and wonder “what in the world happened?!?!”

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do.  Let me know if you choose to read them!

 

*posts may contain affiliate links, that when a purchase is made through those, we get a tiny bit of revenue from!*

baseball life.

It is spring time again, which means we have baseball games and practices on our schedule again.  Not only do we have that, we actually had a coaches meeting at our house yesterday.  It was neat to listen to Jake and the other 2 coaches talk strategy.  You can tell by listening they love these kids, and love coaching.   With baseball games and practices comes late night dinners, fried pickles at the canteen (just to hold me the few hours), freezing hands and sunburned noses (depending on the time of the day).  We no longer have weekend games (with the exception of opening day), all our games are on week nights.  It is nice because it frees up the Saturday for family stuff, but it also means lots of meal planning, and working out the logistics of whose getting which kids when and how we can all make it there on time.

The day of our first game I was able to test out the new lens on my camera that daddy had given me at Christmas.  The parents seemed to appreciate the photos a lot, and I am happy I got so many good shots.  Here are a few of my favorites (Jonathan on 1st, Jonathan in left and Jake talking to one of our pitchers).

 

the one about losing my sh**

You know the expression “I’m going to lose my shit?” – yep, that was me last week.  Do not read if you are not comfortable with lots of acronyms having to do with trying to get pregnant, or with a little too much TMI.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It all started 2 weeks ago when my period didn’t come.  We are trying to get pregnant anyway, so a missed period is like a giant party.  Then a week went by and still no positive test, so I called my doctor.  She said wait a week and then come in, so I did.  I waited a week, called them back and said “ok, I’m ready for that appointment now”, only to have them tell me they won’t see me unless I have a positive pregnancy test.  OK – what the hell people, you told me to call back in a week if nothing had changed.  So after 2 emails to my doctor, I finally get an appointment to see the “first available” for Thursday the 8th.  I’m nervous because I want answers, so I don’t sleep well the night before.

Get there on Thursday at 9:30, a full 30 minutes before my appointment at 10.  I have new insurance and a new last name, and I want to make sure to allow adequate time for paperwork.  At 10:15, they finally call me back in the room after nearly 35 minutes of not being able to get my new insurance information into their computer system.   Then a few more minutes in which I talk to a nurse to input all my medical information in again (because they have a “new” computer system), pee in a cup and wait.  Finally a midwife comes in to the room, as she is who I am seeing versus my well loved doctor Beverly.  I need some answers, why am I this late (14 days at this point), what’s going on.  She listens to me talk, glances at my chart a few times and then says in a voice that can only be described as condesending….

I think you have your dates mixed up on when you are supposed to start your period.

What. The. Actual. Hell.   I have been tracking my period for years, I know when I should start.  I have been regular as a swiss watch since last fall when my IUD was taken out.  How dare you tell a woman who knows her body pretty well that “i think you have your dates mixed up”.   I literally can show you on an app on my phone every period I have had for the last 7 months (and the one I still haven’t had!).  and then came some frustrating comments from her along the lines of:

It took me two years to get pregnant, I just had to relax and then it happened when we went on a beach vacation.

I had to ask twice for an HCG blood test, and she finally said “would an HCG test make you feel better?” (again in that semi-condescending voice).   At this point, I was so frustrated over her lack of empathy or what seemed like a brush-off that I started to cry.  I ended up having to come to this appointment alone, so there was no one there to continue to advocate for me as I essentially shut down to the outside world.  I silently nodded yes and she hands me some tissues, as the tears can no longer contain themselves.  She again repeats that I need to wait a week and come back again in a week, and at that point they will do a referral to a fertility specialist.   She then dismissed me from the room with instructions to pick up my lab orders and go have a blood draw.

I get to the lab (still tearing up), and have to sit in a very crowded waiting room with 5 people who are at least 90 years old each, who all smell like Vicks and garlic.  I hand my order to the nurse, who pats my arm as she talks to me cheerfully.  She tries to make me smile as she quickly takes a vial of blood to send off for testing.  She reminds me what the doctor said, that the results will come in 24 hours or so.

Fast forward to Friday, I get a call from the midwife.  I answer the phone excitedly, praying she is going to say “I was wrong, your HCG levels are so high, come back in for an ultrasound so we can find out what’s happening” – instead I get a “your HCG level is a 2, do you have any questions”, in a smirking tone of voice that seemingly screams “I was right and you were wrong”.   I still don’t know why I’m late.  You would think that after looking at my chart, my history of ovarian cysts and one extremely painful ovarian torsion that she would have said “let’s do a quick U/S to find out if something is blocking”, or anything.  She did no physical exam at my appointment, nothing.

So here we are – still waiting on answers.