Goodbye, my Zia girl.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Well, this isn't the next news I planned to share here, but here we are. 

We lost our Zia girl yesterday at 11 years old. Since December, she's been limping slightly. Late January, she was hardly putting weight on her front leg at all. We took her to two vets. Both agreed it was likely a tumor somewhere (her shoulder was very swollen, so, likely there). Within days into the start of February, her leg began swelling...the whole thing. At times, Jarrod lifted her up and down stairs. She was refusing her dry dog food, and was on pain meds twice a day. We knew the time was coming, but weren't sure when. Yesterday she let us know it was time. Jarrod and I took her and held her while her pain left her body.

Cooking dinner last night, I lost it when she wasn’t there at my feet. She was always at my feet or at the rug at the kitchen sink. When she would try to get in to the cat food, I would come out and say, “It’s not for you.” She would still try. She would try to get into the trashcan, she loved jumping up on the table to get food, even eat a few pies and cookies and cupcakes off of the counter at times. In the office, her favorite spot was under my desk. She fit there perfectly, and so often, she warmed my feet while I worked. She laid on my side of the bed and warmed it before I came up, and sometimes she would stay between Jarrod and I or at my feet all night long. Always on my side. When Jarrod had movie nights with the kids, she would sleep with me in bed right across where Jarrod’s pillow would be. When I showered, she laid on the bath rug and waited for me. In the mornings when I got ready, there she was. If the kids weren’t awake yet, she laid outside their doors and waited for them to come downstairs. She followed us as we homeschooled this past year for the first time. She loved her little humans so much. When in our backyard, she would race the neighboring Labs across the whole fence. Yesterday, our neighbor messaged me and told me his dog wanted to be out by the fence all day, and they didn’t know why. He was waiting for his friend Zia, and she never came. 

We miss you already, our sweet girl. Our lives will never be the same.


Always waiting outside the kids' rooms for them to wake up in the morning.

A few nights ago with her buddy, Samson.

About an hour before we took her. :(

One of her favorite places...and ours. :) The Outer Banks.

ER Visits and Social Media Detoxes

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hi! Happy 2021. This is my first official post of the new year, so Happy New Year officially! I hope your year is starting off well wherever you are. 

I am currently on a little social media detox, and I promised I would update here when I can. Last Friday I decided it was just time for a break. It's embarrassing the amount of time I spend on my phone on a daily basis. Not entirely on social media, but especially on social media. I sneak onto Instagram to check @sharonsaysso, occasionally one or two of my favorite homeschool accounts, and I'm right back off. 

I have snoozed, muted, unfollowed and unfriended so much this past year. I know I'm not the only one. Last week after the events at The Capitol, I felt overwhelmingly sad; sad for our country, sad for our world. Saying so on Facebook bought me one rude comment from someone who otherwise doesn't bother with me on a normal basis. While it was unsurprising and completely in character for him, it further saddened me that on a day when our country was in shock, mad, just feeling all of the mentioning sadness brought out hate in someone else's heart. Just how can that be?! 

As the days went on, I grew even more tired of all of the opinions and thoughts, but I also grew tired of the effect it was having on me because I was allowing it to. Friends, we consume so much we just aren't meant to. We are not meant to take in all of this information at such rapid take in all of these thoughts and opinions, all of this news (TRAGIC, depressing news lately) in such great capacity on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis. Signing off was what was best for me, and that was clear. Since disconnecting, I have felt much more peace and calm, and I've had more patience with the little people in my home who deserve the best of me, not what's left of me. I think we can all do better in so many ways. 

In other news! I visited the ER today, so there's that. *facepalm* A certain child decided to swallow a button battery, which prompted a call to Poison Control, prompting a very quick trip to drop the other two kids off at a friend's house and jet to the hospital. After an x-ray, we learned the battery had thankfully already passed the stomach, and so we are on "wait and watch" rules. If it isn't passed in two days, back to the ER we go.  I mean, if there ever was a "to be continued..." to 2020, this would be it. This would be the continuation right here, inspecting poop for a tiny battery (!) in your child's stool.

It has been a bit of a bumpy week with school so far. We are, coincidentally, learning about the French & Indian War and revolutions. The boys love history. We started a new read-aloud book called Toliver's Secret this morning. We were all enjoying it so much, I only meant to read the first chapter but just kept reading. Here in these little slowed down moments is where the sweet treasures of life are found, I believe. I am immersing myself in all of the homeschool books lately (especially highlighting and underlining all the things in this book), and I feel so inspired to potentially keep us on this track of learning at home. We all are enjoying homeschooling so much more than I knew we could. It is truly one of the blessings 2020 brought us.

A goal of mine for this year is to read more books myself, too. I enjoy reading, but I will for sure choose watching TV at night after everyone goes to bed over picking up a book. The first book I've started of 2021 is Peace: Hope and Healing for the Anxious Momma's Heart by Becky Thompson. It's pretty good so far. If you tend towards anxiety more often than you'd like especially, I think you'll find some comfort in Becky's words.

Other than reading, we have been doing puzzles lately, coloring a lot, and the kids have been making lots of Perler bead creations. We are more than ready for some warmer weather, but since that won't be here any time soon, we are doing what we can to stay busy inside and darting outside at every chance when the sun is out and it's above 40 degrees.

I have a few ideas of things I want to share coming up, but I won't make you any promises on when that will be. A few months ago on Instagram I asked if anyone wanted to know more about Thrive Market and my favorite products. I had a lot of feedback, so I thought I'd compile a list and get that up here on the blog soon. I'll work on that. I have a few other ideas, too. We'll see how motivated I am. :)

Stay safe & well!

So long, 2020.

Thursday, December 31, 2020


Well, here we are. Another year has come to a close; a year that many people are thrilled to see leave, for reasons I understand, but I can't fully relate. Maybe because I can be a homebody and didn’t mind staying home. ;) 

While the year certainly had its downsides, I tend to be an optimist with most things in life (ask my pessimistic husband), and so I can't help but see the good things that came from 2020. The time spent together, the relationships that needed some tweaking, focusing on the important things, good times, hard conversations. Overall, doing more together. It was good. Do I miss some of my people? Definitely. But did I spend the year with the people who matter the most to me? Also definitely.

I'm a goal setter - that isn’t new news if you’ve been here for a while. I love my Powersheets, a new year, new month, new week, new day. I am always looking for ways to improve (as much as I don't handle criticism well at times - harsh truth). I'm always looking for the good. I'm excited and hopeful for 2021. Not because I think it's a year we will see drastic changes where they matter in terms of politics, our country, our much as it pains me to admit that. But because it is what we make it, and I have every good intention to make it the best it can be.

We can only go up from here, friends. Happy early 2021 to you!

Sometimes you just have to dig a little.

Sunday, November 22, 2020


Hi! *waves*

Happy Sunday. I'm sitting under a blanket on the couch. Tenley's watching some kids' Christmas movie with a cartoon version of Mariah Carey, Jarrod is with the boys at the gun range, and I'm relaxing. I thought I'd pop in here and give a little update.

I'm really tired today. I went to bed pretty late last night, so I'm sure that's why, but Jarrod just got over what we think was COVID (He tested negative twice, but so many symptoms aligned.), and so I'm kind of holding my breath and hoping my newfound exhaustion isn't anything more than the dreary weather and lack of sleep. Nowadays, it's not enough to just be tired or just have a slight cough/sneeze/tickle in your throat...amen? Could be anything, but COULD BE COVID. 

The world continues to be so weird. Since I last blogged, of course, Election Day came and passed...still without a real result. The internet is ablaze with opinions and mean words and friendships and relationships falling apart, and let's be honest -- it can be a sad place to be. Yet, I can't peel away. I want to know things, and I want to connect with people, but sometimes it feels like digging through piles and piles of trash to find the good stuff. I myself have tried to stay away from talks of politics and even COVID, only because I feel we've lost the art of communication. Real, authentic communication. Now we sit behind our phones or computers and "comment," but we aren't really seeing faces. And if we were seeing faces, would our responses be gentler? Would we not be so bold or judgmental? Would we listen more and talk less? Would we not be so quick to unfriend or unfollow? I can't help but wonder.

(This got real deep real quick...sorry not sorry.)

Truly, though. Are you finding it hard to step away like I am? I know what's best for me the same way I know it's best for me to eat healthy, get good sleep, and exercise...but that doesn't mean I'm doing it. I know it's best to take breaks from all the opinions and thoughts, from the news, from the chaos...but I also am so curious. Navigating the world right now just seems tricky. And yet, if I step away from it...

It's always so worth it. The fresh air, the sights, the laughter, the curiosity.

Yesterday was a lazy day...kind of. After putting Christmas lights up outside, Jarrod was going to take the kids on a hike, and part of me was looking forward to being home alone. The bigger part of me decided that wasn't a good idea. I needed the fresh air and the exercise more than I needed the couch and some silence. So, we ventured just a few minutes down the road and hiked.

It wasn't much, but it was enough.

Maybe you're like me, and it's hard to peel away. If given the opportunity, my advice is to take it. Take a moment to breathe...preferably outdoors. It's always worth it. In this social media age, I have to remind myself we aren't made for that kind of connection. God didn't create us to have these false senses of relationships. We are "friends" with people we aren't really friends with in real life. If we saw them in person, we may not even say hi or know how to strike up a conversation. There's nothing wrong with being friendly, of course, but the magic is in the real, face-to-face relationships and conversations we have. 

That's where the memories are made. That's where the real conversations are had. Where we can see...hear...touch. Not just type, click, and change the status of our friendships with a quick follow or unfollow.

That's me today. That's what's on my heart. Today my iPhone told me my phone usage was down 16% last week. That's great, but that's probably not enough. I'm going to try to make more of an effort this week.

...and as for Jarrod, he's fine. He did his isolation/quarantine time despite the negative test results. He's still completely without taste or smell, but he's otherwise back to good, and we are SO (SO...SO!) happy to have him back with us.

I hope you're well wherever you are! And because, let's be honest, I won't be posting again before Thanksgiving...I hope you have a happy one with whoever or however you're doing Thanksgiving this year. There is so much to be grateful for among the muck! 

Sometimes you just have to dig a little.

That Promised Update

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Okay...deep breath. Here's my promised update. It's a bit later than I intended. Oops. This will be loaded, so my apologies in advance. Unless you care to know what's been up. In this case, enjoy.

Gabe, Tenley & Ethan in the OBX - August 2020

So, I last posted in January. Ethan had just turned 9. Shortly after, we decided to adopt a second kitten because 1 cat and 2 dogs isn't enough, apparently. Next, we will be living on a farm. We adopted our "Molly girl," and she gets along really well with Max and our pups. She's on the shy side, but she's so sweet, and she's the same breed as Max, so they look very similar.


In February Tenley had her first and hopefully last episode of chopping her own hair. The boys were at school, and I was in the office getting some things done. She *was* having quiet time, but got too quiet. She walked into the office super nonchalant with a huge chunk of her bangs chopped closely to her scalp RIGHT IN THE FRONT OF HER HEAD. She also snipped some off from one of the sides. Only a month or so ago did it finally start to look like good bangs. Oh, Tenley.

Ethan had two indoor soccer tournaments, and little did we know they would be his last soccer games for months. COVID-19, of course, came in strong in March. Quarantine began, and we were actually grateful to not only have lots of family time, but to have Jarrod working from home as well. We went on hikes and little local adventures, enjoying the time outdoors, and our nights were filled with lots of Uno Flip, our new favorite card game. Gabe also turned 7 in March. His first grade friends sang "Happy Birthday" to him on Zoom, and it was really cute. Lots of friends and family mailed him cards, which made my heart happy to see him so happy and feeling so loved.

Gabe's 7th Birthday on Zoom

Jarrod refinished our dining room table in April. What else is there to do when you're stuck at home, right? We have had it for years, and the table and chairs were both in really rough shape. He didn't want to buy a new set, so I suggested refinishing it. It looks amazing! I have yet to fix up the chairs, though. Tenley turned FOUR at the end of April. She, too, received lots of cards, drive-by visits, and gift drop-offs from friends and family on our porch. It was such a special highlight of our quarantine time.

Tenley's 4th Birthday

In May we did a complete overhaul of our landscaping out front which was neglected for years. It was our biggest project this year, I think, and it was so refreshing to have it looking nice! I had a great Mother's Day, and was spoiled with breakfast from one of my favorite "healthy" restaurants locally and more flowers for our garden. Jarrod and I celebrated 12 years of marriage, and it was finally warm enough to start venturing over to Nana & Pop-Pop's (Jarrod's parents) house to swim in their pond, fish, and ride four wheelers. After so much time cooped up, we welcomed it.

Father's Day

School finished up in June. Jarrod left for a period of time because of riots and protests in Philly. This triggered some anxiety as the state of our country just seemed to be getting worse and worse, and now he was a direct part of aiding in the mayhem. My oldest niece had a baby this month, which made me a great aunt for the first time! June had its ups and downs.

Pool parties and visits with a couple of close friends, and our nightly walks and hangouts with our neighbors were big parts of our summer. In July, we made the decision to keep our kids home for the school year. We purchased curriculum, and I threw myself fully into homeschooling and teaching the boys. Our school's plan wasn't yet finalized, but them staying home felt like the right thing for us personally to do. We are close to 40 days in (We started at the very end of July.), and while it certainly has its challenges, it is still the decision that was right for us.

In August we went to the Outer Banks. Our vacation was originally schedule for June, but due to the pandemic, Jarrod was unable to travel (military travel ban), and we had to cancel. We were pretty sure our vacation was just not meant to be for 2020, but then we found a reasonably-priced house at the last minute, and we spent a week away in our favorite place! It was so fun and relaxing and necessary.

Now...we are just doing school every day and trucking right along. Jarrod has been away a LOT this year, and that's been hard...especially with homeschooling. I obviously adore my children, but dang - being with them 24/7 alone is exhausting. Thankfully, we have really great friends and family nearby who have helped when they can with what they can. I'm talking random coffee and donut deliveries, friends coming over and sitting with one kid while I help another with school, and grandparents taking kids for sleepovers. Sweet relief. Also, Tenley is in preschool a few days a week, Ethan has begun fall soccer (modified, of course), and Gabe has Cub Scouts, so we are sort of in a "normal" swing...without it being fully normal.

I am currently binging Schitt's Creek, dodging political junk on social media (and DAILY debating deleting it all from my phone for a little while), trying to cook more (ha - cooking real meals has taken a back seat), and enjoying a new bible study by Lauren Chandler I started 2 weeks ago.

More fun on vacation

That's me in a nutshell. I will try (try) to post more so that I don't have to write a novel updating you on what's happening...but now you know -- homeschooling and often solo-parenting = busy and tired Laura. And that is honestly part of why I decided to try to blog more. I needed a little bit of a outlet for me again. So, whether it's just my mom and mother-in-law reading (hi!) or anyone and everyone else...thanks for following along. ;) My next post will be shorter.


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