Thursday, September 22, 2016

It was the Summer of '16

It doesn't really have the same ring as "summer of 69", I know. But did you know that song isn't actually about the year 1969? I read that somewhere. Bryan Adams was like 8 years old in 1969.

Anyway, this is basically just going to be an update on life lately and what we've been up to this summer since I haven't blogged in a while. I know that summer didn't technically start until mid-June, but in my mind it starts in mid-May. I blame the Texas heat for my confusion!


We kicked off the summer with a second round of Whole30. We didn't do an awesome job, but I'd say we stuck to it about 90% of the time. And that's better than nothin'! My biggest takeaways from this round were:
  1. To stop snacking!! Or at least to stop junk-snacking. Sweets will forever be my downfall, and I'm guilty on more than one occasion of sneaking way way way too many Oreos as soon as I come downstairs from putting Maddie down for her nap.
  2. If it isn't in the pantry, I can't eat it. And since I do the grocery shopping, I'm in control here! Just skip right over the cookie aisle.
  3. Smoked paprika. Random, I know. But have you ever used this spice?? I love foods with a smoky flavor so I could (and do actually) put this on anything!
  4. Here are links to our favorite recipe from this round: taco bowls, these incredible grain-free banana muffins (which are technically not Whole30 compliant even though all the ingredients are approved), and the spice rub in this Grilled Chicken recipe (I didn't make the Chimichurri sauce because I'm lazy)
Enjoy these iPhone photos of poorly staged lunch plates, because food blogger I am not.

Shortly before we ended Whole30, we watched a couple documentaries about being vegan. So in a complete change of direction, I started adding several vegan dinners to our weekly meal plan. I dropped about 7lbs over the summer with essentially no change to my [complete lack of] exercise. It's amazing what clean eating can do!

Tom and I also celebrated our 4th anniversary in May and had a great time on South Congress. I wrote about it here!

We spent Memorial Day weekend bouncing around from our house to the lake house to my parents house. Maddie enjoyed kayaking, swimming, sweets, and sparklers!


In June, we headed down to Port Aransas for a quick summer vacation. We stayed at a cute little place called Seashell Village and enjoyed the pools there. Maddie loved the beach the first day and despised it the next two days. Yay, toddlers!


When we got back from our vacation, we tackled potty training with Maddie. But actually, "tackled" isn't the right word to use because it was basically the easiest thing ever. It required some patience those first few days of 800 trips to the bathroom, but she picked it up so quickly. She was really motivated by the M&Ms... like mother, like daughter. Several months later, she still occasionally asks for an M&M after a bathroom break.

We spent the 4th of July bouncing around again like we did on Memorial Day. It's my favorite holiday of the year, and it didn't disappoint!


Later in July, after many conversations  failed persuasive speeches, I could not convince Tom that we should move into a newer, smaller house with a more practical floor plan in this gorgeous Round Rock neighborhood. I tried my darndest, and I still think my arguments are pretty compelling. But, marriage is about compromise, right? So here we stay. But if we're going to stay, you better believe I started working up a nice honey-do list for my dearest Tom Tom! [Can you hear my evil laugh?]

First, we tackled the downstairs half bath. The previous owner painted it a deep red color that made the already tiny bathroom seem even smaller. We repainted it tan and added crown molding to fancy it up. It seems so much bigger and brighter!


Next, I had Tom cut and install these faux floating shelves in our upstairs toilet closet. I did stain them myself, so I am at least a tiny bit useful ;) The decorations are a work in progress. I've already killed a succulent and I'm looking for a bigger apothecary jar for the cotton balls.


Then, we picked up some furniture from Tom's parents because they sold their home to downsize. We mentally rearranged the front living room wasted space room approximately 50 times and finally decided we just couldn't fit all the furniture. So we swapped out our armoire-turned-bar and replaced it with our new (to us) desk. Isn't it neat!? It was Tom's great grandfather's desk, made in the early 1900s. Tom has been working downstairs at the desk in the evenings after Maddie goes to sleep and its much better for him than the upstairs loft because he doesn't have to worry about being so quiet next to Maddie's room. Also, I'm planning to paint the trim on that mirror and hang it above the desk :)


We also started rearranging the guest bedroom because our current project is a "big girl" room for Maddie. We got this neat little antique vanity and dresser that I'm super excited about it. Also, I ordered this comforter from Target and I'm OBSESSED. I made these paper flowers and hung them above her new big girl bed. I may or may not be living vicariously through my 2 year old.


Then we built these neat little cubbies in her closet for some extra storage space!


Labor Day weekend was another fun one where we spent time with family!


And for an update on Maddie, she is absolutely, so very "2" right now. Terrific twos and terrible twos all at once. But if you ask her, she'll probably tell you that she's "2 and a half"! Her vocabulary and grammar are increasing so rapidly which is awesome, but she has an opinion on everything and now she has the words to voice it! We talk daily about improving her "listening skills" because she completely ignores us a lot of the time and wants to do everything at her own pace... which is never really quick enough to get anywhere on time. She's relatively well behaved and generally pretty sweet, but she tests my patience daily. What seems to be working pretty well, is when I get really frustrated, I just walk away. Maddie will sense that I'm upset and most times immediately do whatever it is I asked her to do. It works so much better than when I lose my temper and get grumpy. Live and learn!


Other summer highlights include but are not limited to: lots and lots of pool time, splash pads, live music, play dates, library story times, arts & crafts, so much ice cream, celebrating National Donut Day, a Home Depot workshop for Maddie, the end of music classes, the start of dance classes, Bubblepalooza, movie nights, a trip to the circus, and lots of family time.


And for another little side note, I initially drafted this post over a month ago. That night, I spilled a bottle of Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy beer all over myself and the couch (because clumsy is my middle name), so I had to remove the covers from all of the cushions (and my sweatpants) at 11pm. It was too late to take a shower (yes, that's how much I spilled on myself) because our hot water heater thumps really loud and its above Maddie's room (that's a complaint for another day)... so I found some baby wipes in the downstairs bathroom and thought to myself, welp, guess this will have to do for tonight. Cheers!

And now, happy first day of fall!