Today I’m thankful for date night with Mark. We aren’t super good about scheduling Sky free time for us, but when it happens we take advantage of it.
After happy hour at The Camp Bar, yes it’s just like sitting around in camp with a drink, we decided to explore a park near our house.
It was so cool to see an owl on a tree of the trail. It was a bit agitated and sounded angry, but still cool.
Mostly I like knowing that Mark & I can hang out alone and still enjoy each other. Some day it’ll just be the two of us again (not in any hurry!) and I’m thankful to know we still enjoy being just the two of us. It’s easy to forget we were a couple before we were parents…. thankful we still have that!
Anyone else out there a fan of podcasts? I admit I’m addicted and would rather listen to podcasts than the radio. It’s my go to when I’m getting ready, gardening, driving (by myself…most are not Sky safe subject and/or language), cooking dinner…really any time I’m doing something that allows me to pull up a cast and let it play while I’m busy with a task. Not reading though, I can’t read and listen at the same time.
It all started with Serial season 1…about the Adnan Syed case, if you don’t know about it Google it, or listen to the podcast. It’s story telling, with a lot on the line, at its best! The case is ongoing and fascinating to follow. Serial season 2 is really fascinating as well, not about Adnan Syed, but still a very interesting story!
Anyway, I listen to a lot of podcasts and thought I’d share my faves. First off I listen via Castbox a free app on my phone. There are a lot of options for listening, this is one I’ve used forever and it has all my faves/subscriptions on it, so it’s what I stick with.
While this is a list of my current listens, it has changed over time. I’ve dropped some and added others, but for the most part these are my go-to casts that don’t change.
–Break Down – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Podcast covers stories that may or may not feature a break down in the justice system. It’s story telling with a bit of investigation mixed in, and some are told in real time, so you go through the prosecution/trial as it happens. The only down side is that because it’s real time there can be lengthy breaks in the seasons if trial is delayed for any number of reasons. There are several seasons already, so it’s a great binge listen.
–Empty Frames – This is a truly fascinating listen. Tim and Lance, podcast hosts, have done a lot of research and dug up some interesting people to tell the story of an art heist at the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, one of the largest art heists in history. (I listened to Tim and Lance when they launched their first podcast, Missing Maura Murray it’s totally worth a listen btw..super easy to get sucked in and frustrated by). Empty Frames is just a really good listen. It’s an unsolved case, with a lot of very interesting personalities involved, and a lot of speculation/assumptions. I would love to know what really happened!
–True Crime Garage – Oh how I love Nic and The Captain! The banter back and forth is hilarious even while telly some pretty gruesome stories. There are not a lot of happy endings here, but for some reason I’m hooked. I can’t listen to this one when I’m running or walking alone, all I can think is “I don’t want to end up as a story for Nic and Captian”, but I do love listening to them. They crack open some beer, play some cool music, and talk about true crimes solved and unsolved alike. Super fun to listen too even though it’s a dark subject.
–Undisclosed – From the site: The Undisclosed podcast investigates wrongful convictions, and the U.S. criminal justice system, by taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial, and ultimate verdict… and finding new evidence that never made it to court. Susan Simpson, Colin Miller, and Rabia Chaudry are attorneys that take a deep dive into wrongful convictions, and thanks to their efforts there are several innocent people that stand a very good chance of getting out of jail. I highly recommend this podcast for being so well rounded in educating listeners, investigating cases and finding new evidence, and ultimately giving hope to innocent inmates and their families. It’s truly astonishing to hear how badly the justice system can fail when it’s not functioning as it should, and I’m glad these three are taking on the system and helping people at the same time. I have learned so much listening to this cast.
–Truth & Justice – Guys I love this podcast so much! Bob Ruff is the host and like Undisclosed got his start as a type of spin off from Serial. (The Adnan Syed case is that compelling)! Bob focuses on crowd sourced investigation of crimes that have resulted in wrongful convictions. Every case he’s taken on has produced new evidence and while none of the falsely convicted individuals have been released yet, there is one that being released within the next month or so, and several others that have filed motions for DNA testing on new evidence, filed appeals and are close to having convictions thrown out entirely. This podcast probably frustrates me the most. The level of corruption Bob has uncovered in certain areas is sick. Sadly the justice system doesn’t mean justice for all and this cast drives that home. But, it’s uplifting to hear about the hope Bob is giving to old cases and to know that justice it coming, even if it’s taking decades. P.S. Bob can be a little cheesy sometimes, but still love listening.
–Awesome Etiquette – From their site: Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning cousins and co-presidents of the Emily Post Institute answer your questions about etiquette today in this weekly hour-long podcast. With advice based on consideration, respect, and honesty, Awesome Etiquette guides listeners through everything from traditional etiquette quandaries to everyday and emerging etiquette issues in the modern world.
I had no idea I would have so many etiquette opportunities in my life, but this podcast has really helped me to stop and think how to handle certain situations, and I’ve even submitted questions that have been answered. The advice is practical with a lot of laughs mixed in. Also, this is one I can listen to with Sky around. She won’t sit and listen to it, but I don’t have to turn it down or pause if she’s in the room.
–Coffee + Crumbs – I just started listening to this one a few weeks ago. I figured I should add a parenting type cast to my list to be well rounded. I have not listened to all the episode and don’t plan on it…I only have so much time. I did go back through past seasons and listen to the ones that I thought would be helpful/informative. I love their This Is How We Do…insert anything from birthday parties, to play dates. I enjoy the banter between the hosts and have picked up a few good tips!
–Happier – The title sums it up! Gretchen Rubin shares her tips, tricks, life hacks and advice on how to live a happier life. I really enjoy this cast a lot. It’s very uplifting and it leaves a smile on my face.
–Happier In Hollywood – Liz Craft (Gretchen’s (see above) sister also co-hosts Happier) is a TV writer in Hollywood. Liz along with her writing partner Sarah Fain share what it’s like to live in LA and write/work in Hollywood. Very entertaining and it’s been fun listening to them as they pitch a show idea and all the ups and downs of will the show get picked up or not. I won’t spoil it. Another cast that leaves me smiling and is really fun to listen to.
–The History Chicks – Two friends who take you back in time to learn about influential ladies in history. The first several episodes are really hard to listen to, it was a new cast with not great sound editing, but it’s gotten so much better and I really enjoy the history lessons they provide.
–Reveal – From the site: Created by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Reveal is public radio’s first one-hour radio show and podcast dedicated to investigative reporting. Credible, fact based and without a partisan agenda, Reveal combines the power and artistry of “driveway moment” storytelling with data-rich reporting on critically important issues. The result is stories that inform and inspire, arming our listeners with information to right injustices, hold the powerful accountable and improve lives.
Truly great, fact based, story telling. Very enriching to listen to.
–Embedded – From the site: Host Kelly McEvers takes a story from the news and goes deep. Whether that means digging into the Trump administration’s past, the stories behind police shootings caught on video, or visiting a town ravaged by the opioid epidemic, Embedded takes you where the news is happening.
Another fact based cast that is telling the stories that are happening right now. I don’t watch the news, but I do listen to this and learn a lot!
–Binge Mode – The link takes you to the Harry Potter Binge Mode series, but they have several “seasons” covering different shows/movies. I just couldn’t find a general link to all the topics they cover. I just started listening to this one, only on episode two of the Harry Potter Season and loving it. They take a deep dive into facts from the books, point out things that fans may not have picked up on, and speculate and/or ask questions that the rest of us are wondering about. If you are a fan of Harry Potter (I hear they have done Game of Thrones, Westworld, Star Wars and more) or any of the other topics they cover than this would be a fun cast to geek out to.
Last but not leas is a kiddo podcast that Sky loves! Wow in The World is pretty great. Mark and I enjoy it as well, and all three of us have learned a lot. I tend to let the episodes build up and then we binge listen on longer road trips. Sky likes it so much she wants to re-listen to older episodes once we are all caught up. The two hosts are so engaging and full of comedic relief while sharing some pretty awesome scientific knowledge.
I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th! I always feel like summer officially starts after the 4th. W WA weather can be so unpredictable, and it doesn’t really get summer nice and stay summer nice until after the 4th. Although today it’s low 70’s and overcast, so clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Our 4th was spent at my Aunt and Uncle’s vineyard in E WA, and it was very summer hot over there. They were hosting a family reunion the Sat after the 4th, which means they were going to miss out on time to work in the vineyard. We opted to help out by staying the week, work in the vineyard in the mornings, and spend the afternoon’s staying cool and prepping for the reunion.
I love helping out in the vineyard. Growing grapes is no joke, it takes a lot of work! I’ve planted and harvested and done a lot of the tasks between planting and harvesting. I learn something new every time, and it just makes me appreciate every bottle of wine I open that much more. It also makes me appreciate crop workers. It’s hard work, and it’s not work I’d want to do regularly. I’m thankful there are those that are willing to do it.
Most of the pics from the week are not of people. I really only snapped a few random pics here and there. The rest of the time my phone was the DJ for the festivities, and I was way more focused on spending time with people I love, and don’t get to see often, than on taking all the pics/having my phone in my hand.
The family reunion was the thing I was looking forward too the most this summer. It made my heart happy to see Sky having fun with her cousins and experience sleeping in a tent for the first time. She loved it, and I’m thankful her older cousins included her in the fun (so thankful some were willing to drive 12 hours to be there!). Now I feel like any fun I have the rest of summer is a bonus. And, we have plenty of fun left to have!
Today I’m thankful for time. For having summers off with Sky, so we can spend time together. She’s so much fun, and I love spending time with her. She’s not perfect, neither am I, and we get on each others nerves, but still I love being with her all day and just having time.
Time for things like, “Mommy I want a fairy garden, can we make that happen”? Well yes we can, lets hit Big Lot’s and get the supplies. Bingo, she has a fairy garden on the deck of her tree house.
“Can we go to Dollar Tree and find something”? I have no idea what she has in mind, but we do have all day to get it done, so off we go to Dollar Tree. She picked out these paper girls, a whole package of them, and is in the process of drawing versions of friends and family.
“Can we stay in PJ’s and not leave the house today”? Absolutely!
I’m so thankful that we are privileged enough to be able to make the choice for me to choose work that is schedule based and not money based. We work hard for that privilege, but I’m thankful our hard work….Mark’s hard work at his job that supports us, allows us to make the choice that my income, while nice, is not depended on. I’m thankful that it gives me the time at home with Sky that I love!
As parents we are supposed to know what’s right, what’s better, offer advice, give direction etc. But, sometimes not saying anything is the best option.
Sky has been in a jazz/tap/ballet combo dance class for a year, and the school was opening up audition for company teams (teams that compete) to kiddos her age. Sky really wanted to audition, I really thought another year of classes would be best, but after talking with her teacher decided it was a great opportunity to find out what being a company dancer means commitment and money wise, and would be a great learning experience for Sky. Sky went into it knowing not everyone would be selected and that it was good practice for her know what the audition process is.
Sky had her heart set on jazz and jazz was auditioning early in the day, so I figured we’d be in and out pretty quick. Hahaha. Once Sky found out tap was next she wanted to audition for that as well. I so badly wanted to say no, we are not tap fans and paying competition fees for a style we don’t enjoy was not going to happen. But, I figured it was good practice for her to dance in front of judges. So off she went to tap.
Next up was hip-hop and once again Sky wanted to audition. She’s standing there looking at me, begging please with her big eyes, and guys I took a breath and almost crushed her with a big no. I was on the verge of saying “I don’t think that’s the best idea”…mind you she has not had a single hip-hop class, she is getting better – but has a hard time hearing the beat consistently, and I didn’t want to take up the judges time, my time, and Sky’s time auditioning for a dance style that she doesn’t even know what it is. But somewhere between saying “I” and “don’t” I decided to bite my tongue and keep all those thought’s and reasons, and “knowing better” to myself. Instead I said “I think that’s a great idea, go ahead, but remember you only get to be on one company team”. She squealed and jumped up and down and ran into the audition room happy as can be.
Parents were not allowed in the auditions, so I stood out in the hallway and peaked through the window to watch all her auditions….I made sure she couldn’t see me though, I didn’t want her to worry about Mommy watching her. During jazz and tap she was pretty serious and seemed a little confused, but hip-hop was totally different. As soon as the music started she had a huge smile in her face, she was feeling it, and while I thought it was her best audition of all I still didn’t think much would come of it.
She ran out of the room saying hip-hop was the only one she wanted, she loved it. Once again in my head I’m thinking it’s not going to happen, she hasn’t been in any of the classes, and is starting from ground zero. Rather than share any of those practical thought, and try and make what I was sure would be disappointment softer, I let her know I hoped she got it and that she did a great job.
Turns out I didn’t know better, I was not right, and I’m so thankful I bit my tongue and let her audition for hip-hop, because she made the company team! When he name was called she exploded with joy and was jumping and squealing all over the place.
It would have been all too easy to have called it a day after jazz, that was the original plan, but I’m glad we didn’t, and mostly I’m glad I kept all those thought to myself. Sometimes it’s ok to let our kiddos go out on a limb, and try new things, unplanned things and let the chips fall where they may. Especially when it’s something like dance auditions, there was no risk to her safety or well being, other than potential disappointment at not being picked for a team, but that’s part of life and something she will face sooner or later. I’m so proud of her for going for it, even when auditioning and hip-hop were new to her. She handled the whole experience so well, and I can’t wait to see how she progresses in hip-hop!
Even though the last day of school was weeks ago it took me a bit to settle into summer. School may have stopped, but life didn’t. I was finishing up a training program and Sky was in full on dance practice getting ready for a public performance and a recital.
And, it took me a week or two to get back into the full time stay at home mom gig. Even though I work outside the home (during the school year) I still feel like a SAHM, so I was surprised to find myself a little adrift at how to settle back into life with Sky, just the two of us all day, every day. I still feel a little afloat, but we are having fun and managing to get everything done that needs doing.
When it’s sunny we are taking our workouts and summer school work outside, hitting the park and spray parks as often as we can, scheduling play dates, and getting in a ton of cuddle time. She still thrives on cuddle time with lot’s of silly conversation and tickles mixed in.
One thing I had no trouble getting back into….long slow lazy starts to the morning. It does take us a very long time to get up and going and out the door. We just enjoy taking our time in the morning, and I’m ok with that. Soon enough it will be back to work/school and back to rushing out the door, so for now we are slowing things down and enjoying the sun, and doing what we want.
It’s almost time for 4th of July and we have a busy week of vineyard work, visiting with family, and a family reunion that has been in the works since December last year! So excited for all the festivities and family time this week!
Today I’m thankful to live where we live. We have mild weather, very few (if any) bugs/snakes that will kill you (in our part of the state anyway), it’s green year round (my fave color), there is a ton of outdoor life & activity to enjoy, and we are within an hour’ish of a mountain and the coast….best of both worlds.
I’m also thankful we had the opportunity to staycation over Memorial Day weekend. Typically we are camping that weekend, but we waited too long to make reservations, and instead of trying to force a camping trip that was going to be difficult to pull off we opted to stay home and enjoy a few day trips instead.
We make a lot of trips over the mountains to the East side of the state, but rarely do we stop at parks/attractions along the way. Our goal is always getting to family at the other end of the drive. So, we took our staycation as an opportunity to explore the North Bend area, which we drive through a lot, but never stop. We wanted to mountain bike part of the Iron Horse Trail, which ended up being a bit advanced for Sky, but we managed 4 miles before she was over it. I mean Over. It. Since our ride was cut short we explored the area and a few parks and pretty areas. I kinda fell in love with the area, and can’t wait to do some camping and more exploring. (No pics of this outing, was too busy enjoying the family time).
Day two we headed to Bainbridge Island, which is only about 1 1/2 hours away, but you would think it’s much further given it’s only the 2nd time I’ve been there. We got lucky with the weather, sunny and warm, but not too hot, and the island was just perfect. We hit the beach, and the forest, and a few of the little spots in town, and of course a winery. I don’t know, there is just something about being on an island that feels so relaxed, like time slows down.
It was extra fun having our friends join us in our adventure. Sky loved having Grace and Kiera to hang with all day, always nice to have other kiddos around for her!
Here’s to staycations and exploring the amazingly beautiful area we call home. Thankful I have such great friends and family to explore with!