Jul 21, 2017

What's Up, Weekend? July 21st, 2017


Good Morning and Happy Friday!! This week flew by. I am linking up with two of favorite peeps from Peaceful Posse, Lindsay and Charlotte. What made me happy this week? Lots of stuff. Here is my list.

Beautiful Summer nights on the farm. I never thought that this city girl would ever love country living but nights like this a why I love it!

This picture popped up in my Facebook feed yesterday and it made me smile. Maybe also a tad sad because he's not this little anymore but still made me happy.


My sweet Cooper! She makes me very happy with her sweet self. She is jumped in the truck the other night and just hung out. She is so funny.


 Jake made HERO OF THE WEEK!!


These two. Of course they make my list often but this picture says it all.


Simple lunches. Since going low carb/no sugar I actually prefer meals like this vs. a burger and fries. 


 Every morning as I pull out of the driveway I look over and this is what I see. Today I actually stopped and captured it. Beautiful!

What made you happy this week??


Jul 19, 2017

Currently-July 2017

Current mood: Leaps and bounds from where I was last month. I thought I was having a mental break. I'm feeling back to "normal"

Current procrastination: Unpacking. No lie. I moved in with Mr. J May 1st and I still haven't unpacked everything. I moved all my boxes to the garage and there they've sat for 2.5 months. It's a huge project that I have no energy for. Out of sight out of mind. Maybe I should move them all into my dining room. That might give me motivation.

Current need: A hair cut. Don't judge. I haven't cut my hair in over a year. It's about 2 inches above my waist. It's way to long. Going to get a hair cut is like going to the dentist for me. I hate it!  

Current craving: CHINESE FOOD! I started a new way of eating a few months back and have lost 16 pounds but I miss Chinese food. 

Current obsession: Trying to find Chinese food restaurant that cooks without sugar and carb loaded ingredients.

Current drink: Truly spiked and sparkling. I love it!! only 1 carb. 

Current food: Mr. J says that all I eat is lettuce but that's not true. I would say that my current go to is taco salad. 


Currently looking forward to: Our annual family camping trip at the end of the month. 
Currently watching: I am obsessed with all TV but currently my favorite show is Big Brother. It's one of the best season yet and I've been watching it for 19 seasons.
Currently Listening to: The twin cites has a new radio station that plays only modern alternative. I love it. Check it out online 96.3 
Currently Loving: Sugar free Jello. I know. Strange. It satisfies my sweet tooth. 

So there you have it! What is on your currently list this month??

Jul 14, 2017

Tips for Visually Impaired Students

Jake's new braille teacher put together this list of tips for Jake's teachers, classmates and daycare staff. I feel silly that I didn't think of something like this sooner. It is very helpful for kids with visual impairments. 

TIPS FOR JAKE CARTIER
Jake is a fun student  to get to know. He is just like any other 3rd grader only his eyes don’t work like sighted people’s eyes. He should be encouraged to be independent. Here are some tips that may help Jake’s day go smoother.
  • Jake needs to be at least 4 feet away to get visual information from a person or object. He is the best advocate of what he can see and not see. It is okay to say “look at that” or “did you see that?”
  • Jake should always get preferential seating for accessing visual information. Descriptive information on a picture or object is also helpful.
  • Using specific directions like “to the left or right” should be used rather than other here or there.  
  • Always greet Jake by name and say who you are. Students contributing to conversation in circle should also say their name first.
  • Fatigue-it is mentally draining trying to understand what is happening or who is talking all day.
  • Often visually impaired students interact easier with adults rather than peers
  • Many visually impaired children don’t know how to play. It has to be modeled for them.
  • Non-verbal communication in body language and facial expression (smiles, frown, hands on hips) are often missed with visually impaired students.
  • Paying attention-Jake’s eyes cannot focus like most people. Just because he is not looking at you, it does not mean he is not paying attention.
  • Jake’s eyes involuntarily move around. This should not be considered an expression, he is not listening, or a behavior.
  • Books, backpacks, and other personal items should be properly stored in consistent places.
  • Jake should be familiarized with new spaces.
  • Glare and bright lights are difficult for Jake. It is best for his back to be faced toward a window with glare.




Jul 12, 2017

4th of July, 2017

The 4th fell on a Tuesday this year which put a wrench in our annual 4th of July trip to the cabin because I had to work on Monday. We decided to head up to the cabin after work for a 2 day mini vaca after all. 

On our way up to the cabin we stopped for a late lunch. I had to order this bloody mary. It had ribs on it. WHAT?

Have you ever had this beer? Mr. J was super jazzed about having one of these. I am not sure what the hype is but I guess it's because you can only buy it in Wisconsin. Oh by the way, he kept this can. 


Jake talked about this trip to the cabin for weeks leading up to it. He loves time with his cousins. He and my niece Leah are peas in a pod. 


Parade Time!!

Even though it was hot and steamy we had to stop at the park for some fun after the parade. 

Mr. J and I had to get back to work but Jake got to stay up at the cabin for the week with his grandma. 
Every summer my mom takes her grandkids to pizza and a movie. They saw Despicable Me 3. My Mom is not the best picture taker but still it's cute. 

Jake got to go over to his cousins cabin for a sleep over while he was up at the cabin. He loves his cousins!! My sister in law captures some good memories. 


 I love this picture of Jake. 
 Cousins!!
 Dinner Time 
 Time for bed!

Mr. J and I headed back up to the cabin Saturday to pick Jake up. He did NOT want to come home. 
My sister and niece decided to take a day trip up to the cabin the same day. We all met up over at my brother and sister in law new cabin to check it out and for some dock time.

We haven't had a pic of all the grandkids together in a while. I was happy my niece came up. She's 18 and hard to pin down. 

It was a fun 4th but it all went way too fast. Next year we are taking a week off. 

I hope you all had a great 4th. 

Jun 21, 2017

My Beautifully Unique Child

I know that I've talked about how Jake marches to the beat of his own drum. He is Beautifully unique and amazingly original. In light of the current funk that I am still in I thought I would post about my little ray of sunshine. He and Mr. J remind me of how lucky I am. 
I started this blog a little before I found out that I was pregnant with Jake. He is now 8. There are some years that my blog went by the way side and was neglected but all the fond memories that I have posted are here FOREVER and I am grateful for that. 

Last week I picked up Jake from school like this ↓(see pic below). I asked him if his class was making hats today. He said no, I just wanted to wear a hat today. I asked what the 7 meant and he said, 'I just like the number 7'. That simple. As I walked into his class that day, he stood out to me. Not because he is my child but because he was the only one that made himself a hat that day and wore it all day. Some times kids laugh and snicker at him but when that happens I am grateful that he doesn't always get that they are doing that. 
One day last week a kid in Jake's class was very upset with him. He said 'Quit rolling your eyes at me' and Jake said, 'Um I can't help it, I'm blind'. Jake has involuntary eye movements and to someone that doesn't know that, you would think he is rolling his eyes at you. I loved how he advocated for himself but it did hurt his feelings a little. He quickly recovered though. 


One of Jake's favorite things to do after school/adventure zone is to sit at the island with us and write or draw. The other night he made himself a scavenger hunt. The life of an only child. 

His favorite ice cream treat is vanilla with chocolate syrup and cherries. 


Last night Jake laid in the pay window writing colors in Spanish. He has never been a kid that wants to play video games or sports. Possibly due to his visually impairment. I can't be quite sure but I love that he loves to write and would much rather do this.

I am proud to say that my kid is a little weird. I don't use that word in a negative way at all. I am extremely proud of my child's uniqueness.

"It’s weird not to be weird". ~ John Lennon

"Blessed are the weird people – poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters & troubadours – for they teach us to see the world through different eyes" Jacob Nordby

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary". ~ Cecil Beaton


Jun 16, 2017

What's Up Weekend? June 16th, 2017


I can't believe that I haven't blogged since May 26th. Shame on me!! I am in a funk but I am not going back to my old ways where I neglect my blog. So SNAP OUT OF IT!! 
One thing I can always count on when it comes to my blog is my love for my Friday posts. It is a way for me to remind myself of how lucky I am and to be grateful for what I have and who I have in my life. Here is a list of what made me happy this week. 


1. This speaks for itself. Proud Mama!!


2. Since moving into my new office my plant has 5 new flowers. This makes me happy. 10 years of having my own office and this is the first one with a window. I LOVE IT! It makes me so happy. 

3. Since going low carb/no sugar 15 weeks ago I have MISSED BBQ sauce. I was able to find Simple Girl online. They offer samples of their products to try before you buy for 4.99. I tried this last night on ribs. It definitely satisfied my BBQ sauce craving. I'm excited to try the other sauces and marinades in my sample pack. 

4. I finally framed one of Jake's water color pictures. I wish that I could for one minute see the world as he does. He is just so happy all the time. 

5. The moon was just so beautiful that I had to get a pic. Unfortunately my camera didn't want to cooperate. I can't wait until I can get my new camera I've been eyeing for a year. 

6. Mr. J and I were laughing our heads off watching Jake do the hula hoop. This action shots cracks me up!!

7. He jumped for 2 hours. Pure joy!

8. Being silly with my 8 year old brings me such happiness. We took this pic after jumping on the trampoline together.

9. You can get pretty creative when you are a carb junkie that goes low carb/no sugar. I am very happy that when I am being lazy and don't want to cook, I can grab one of these out of my freezer.  

10. I know that this seems like a strange thing to make me happy this week but I am posting it because it made me laugh at how NUTS it was. Who takes a sip of their coffee and it literally breaks in their hand?! That would be me! This is the type of shit that happens to me all the time. I just have to laugh. (or I will cry) 



I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. 







May 26, 2017

What's Up Weekend? May 26th, 2017

Happy Friday, Lovelies! Linking up with my sweet friends Lindsay, Charlotte and Chrissy. Here is a list of what made me happy this week.


This week was long and I think I was on autopilot all week. Mr. J worked crazy hours this week and Jake and I were alone a few nights. Not something I am used to anymore. So here it goes.

1) I will say that having a partner to share my life with that has the most amazing work ethic makes me very happy. I am grateful for how hard Mr. J works. One day he worked 6:30 am to 12:15 am.

2) After a month of trying to unpack my house and my office I will say that my office is done. Not so much my house though. The office is finally organized and that makes me happy.

3) Jake agreed to finally get his hair cut. This makes me happy. I really had an idea of what we wanted when we decided to stop cutting it but it was an epic fail. He just has a hard time managing it.

4) The office remodel is approaching the finish line. I didn't hear power tools all week. Yay!!

5) Jimmy John beach club unwich. Enough said

6) Driving to work today and it only taking 40 minutes. Thank you to all the peeps that took today off to start their 3 day holiday weekend early. 

7) Driving to work today and hearing the reminder that starting July 2nd liquor stores will be open on Sunday's in the great state of Minnesota. This is after a 159 year prohibition. This is a HUGE deal for the state of Minnesota. No longer will we have to plan ahead our Saturday liquor runs to make sure we are ready for football Sundays.  Sorry Wisconsin, you will no longer get my business. HAHA!!

8) T minus 6 hours until the 3 days weekend. 

9) The Sun. Finally! after many many days of God watering his plants we get sunshine.

10) It makes me so happy when I pick up Jake everyday and he says he's had an awesome day. He loves his new school and after school care. It just has a different vibe than his old school. 

So there you have it. I guess when I started to write my list, it wasn't that hard to think of what made me happy. It is very important to reflect and remember to be grateful for the life you were given because it's pretty awesome when you think about it.

Have a great Memorial weekend!!

May 24, 2017

DEAR GIRLS, LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR CRAPPY FRIENDS

I loved this blog post from Babble and wanted to share it. I wish that I would have thought this way when I was a preteen seeking approval and had an overwhelming desire to be liked. Credit to the author Anna Lind Thomas. These are all her words from her blog post on Babble. Check her it out here.


Dear lovely girls,
I have a secret. Being popular, liked, and included by your peers is totally overrated. I can see your eyes are glazing over. Hold on, let me put on a One Direction t-shirt so I can get your attention. OK, let’s try that again.
Don’t get me wrong, friends are important. We are wired to long for community. You’ll desperately want to be in one when you’re in school. I hope you develop friendships that allow you to be your true self. Friends who care for you, support you and make you feel good about who you are. But if you can’t find these special friends, don’t panic. And please don’t get desperate.
There isn’t much I’m going to say here that you’ll probably believe. Hearing someone say popularity is overrated when you’re in the lonely abyss of being unpopular is like me telling you that one day you might be a little embarrassed by your Justin Bieber bed sheets. Right now, your Bieber Fever won’t allow you to hear me. I understand.
Let me just tell you what I know to be true. Maybe some day when you feel sad, lonely, jealous, or excluded, you’ll remember little snippets of what I said and take courage.
Life is way too short for crappy friends.
We just don’t have time for that nonsense. Each one of us has a purpose for being here. Some might tell you that it’s all random and you have as much eternal relevance as a cup of dirt, so just have fun while you can. But I hope you won’t believe them. You have gifts and talents, activities you enjoy and fill you up. Maybe you like to draw or write stories. Maybe you can sing or play an instrument. Perhaps you’re a wiz at math and love architecture.
Maybe it’s none of those things, but there’s something. I know it.
Now is a wonderful time to cultivate these talents. To practice, play, and explore everything that lights you up — all the gifts you can give to make the world a better place. Now is the perfect time to start to discover who you really are.
A good friend worth keeping will support you and what you love to do. They’ll celebrate your talents and they may even share them. A good friend brings out the best in you, loves you, and even forgives you when you’re in a real salty mood and tell them their artistic portrayal of Katy Perry on the back of their Five Star notebook looks like the school librarian with a lazy eye.
You’re only human. You probably didn’t mean librarian with a lazy eye in a bad way, necessarily. Just be sure to say sorry, though —  just in case.
Our desire to be liked (or have our selfies literally liked on Facebook) is normal, but it can outweigh our desire to truly be ourselves. This is where the real trouble begins.
If we live our life seeking other people’s approval, we’ll never actually live our life. And we only have one shot at this, so let’s not screw this part up.
There are obvious signs you might be in a friendship you shouldn’t be in. Obvious signs could include that the person makes you feel bad about yourself, you’re constantly paranoid about losing the friendship, or the person blatantly uses you and may even be mean and verbally abusive towards you from time to time.
But there are subtle signs too. They don’t outwardly treat you badly, but there’s just something about the way they interact with you that makes you feel inadequate. Sometimes you decide to hide certain aspects of yourself because you’re not convinced they’ll like or accept all of you. Sometimes you’ll start compromising your values to have something in common. Sometimes you find yourself acting like the person you think they want to be friends with rather than just being the precious being you are.
Sometimes, even though you’re surrounded by “friends,” you start to feel lonely and insecure. They’re your friends, but the friendship has limits. Maybe your feelings don’t matter if they inconvenience them or if you ever share that they have hurt your feelings, they decide you’re a little too exhausting to keep around.
Did I mention life is too short for crappy friends?
Here’s something else you probably won’t believe: if you stop worrying about being liked, popular or even having someone to sit with at lunch, and start focusing on becoming a better you, sharpening your skills and talents so that you may be a good friend to others, amazing people will start to gravitate to you.
I know, too much hocus pocus, right? But the truth is, we attract exactly what we put out. If we’re pretending to be someone else, all we’ll attract are other people pretending to be someone else, creating fake friendships with a bunch of people who will probably make us feel bad about ourselves by lunchtime. No thanks, sister.
Sometimes you’ll find that some people just aren’t able to be a good friend to you, even if they want to be. Their traumas, insecurities, anxieties, health issues or life circumstances can make it difficult for them to give you much of anything, let alone a friendship you can rely on. It doesn’t mean they’re nasty or they don’t like you (well, sometimes it does) it simply means they can’t give you what you need — a friendship worth investing time in. So stop investing time in it.
Either way, to be our true, authentic selves takes real courage and it may mean we won’t always have a surplus of friends. For a season, it may seem we don’t have any at all. Many people will grow old never finding that courage. But I can tell you this, they’ll spend their last days wishing they spent more time focusing on becoming their best self and giving their gifts to others, rather than worrying if everyone is at Applebee’s laughing hysterically without them.
Although your life and priorities will evolve into adulthood, I’d like to tell you these problems with friendships will go away completely. Maybe with you, they will. But for many of us, our desire to be liked, to have good friends and to be included still resonate loudly well into adulthood. Whether the person next door invites the entire neighborhood except our family to their party, or all the “cool people” huddle together like an impenetrable army at a professional conference, grown women care about this too.
Why? Because we all want to be loved. So badly, at times, we’ll settle for the superficial bullcrap when we all deserve the real deal. Your ego wants to be liked at any cost. Your true self wants to love others and trusts it will eventually be returned without fussing too much about the details.
It’s hard to be our authentic selves — it makes us vulnerable. It’s hard to give and love without the expectation of getting anything in return — we typically give what we so desperately want to receive. It’s hard to accept that friends worth having are actually quite rare, when there’s a void, we want to fill it fast.
But it’s easy to care about what other people think. It’s easy to pretend to be someone you’re not. It’s easy to focus our lives on things that don’t matter, sacrificing everything that does.
One good friend who loves you unconditionally is far better than 100 superficial friends who really don’t care all that much about you, trust me.
If you’re feeling lonely in study hall at 14 or in your cubicle at 34, I hope you’ll try to rally your courage. I hope you’ll put your energy into living your life as your authentic self, with purpose and excitement. I hope you’ll turn your focus from being uninvited, towards your talents and gifts, cultivating them to make the world (or someone’s day) better.
And here’s an idea — be a good friend to someone else and see what happens. I know, I’m a genius. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to change out of this One Direction t-shirt. I don’t want to betray my one true love, John Stamos.

May 19, 2017

Sauk Rapids Prom 2017

It's been a busy few weeks. With moving, work and Jake being sick I haven't blogged much. I am going to forgo my usual Friday post to blog about two cute kids and their prom. Cool?
This past weekend Mr.J's son had his junior prom. Mr. J, Jake and I met them at Munsigner Gardens to take pictures of them. It was 80 and sunny, a beautiful day for prom. I've never been to the Munsigner and definitely want to go back when it isn't packed with prom kids. The flowers were beautiful but not as beautiful as these two.






I thought this was the perfect time for Mr. J and I to take our first picture together. With how many pictures I take I can't believe after all this time this is our first. 
And one with my boys!
This melts me!

After pictures we headed over to the high school for the grand march. It was fun to see all the kids dressed up. 
They even made the St.Cloud Times