Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Jazzy would like to wish everyone a happy Halloween!  

We were those kind of pet owners.  We decided to dress Jazzy up in a costume for Halloween.  Here she is as a little cow.  Adorable, right? 

Jazzy is not a fan of wearing anything.  She does not care for her collar.  And she did not appreciate the reindeer sweater we put on her last winter.  Despite her dislike for wearing anything besides her fur, we made her wear a cowbell.  Not all day, just for 10 minutes so we could get some cute pictures.  Like this one.    

She handled her cowbell better than I thought she would.  She wasn't crazy about it, but she did pose for some pictures.  I think she secretly likes getting her picture taken.  She always stares up at the camera and does a very good job of looking cute.  

It will be interesting to see how she does with all the trick-or-treaters tonight.  I'm sure she'll want to get right in on all the action.  But I highly doubt we'll see any kids as cute as Jazzy.

Happy Halloween! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

I Just Had a Heart Attack

Well, not a literal heart attack, but it was pretty darn close.  Let me explain.  I have the day off from school today.  We had parent-teacher conferences this week and we get a day to recuperate relax.  Isn't that nice?  I sure think so.  Anyways, I slept in later than usual, which was downright heavenly.  After getting up around 9:30, I let Jazzy out in the backyard.  Usually she doesn't spend too much time out there, especially when it's cloudy like it was this morning.  After about 20 minutes, I thought I would go check on her.  I stuck my head out the door and called her name and...nothing...crickets.  So, I found my slippers and walked out on the deck.  I called her name and she still didn't come like she usually does.  I started to wander around the yard looking for her and I saw this:

This would be where the heart attack came into play.  The gate was wide open!  And Jazzy was nowhere to be seen.  I stood there for a moment in shock and tried to figure out what I should do.  Should I start running through the neighborhood in my pajamas?  Should I go back inside and put on real clothes?  Should I start screaming Jazzy's name at the top of my lungs?  

By the way, this is what I looked like at this point in my day-off-from-school-morning:  

Not exactly how I would like my neighbors to see me.  I think I stood there in my backyard with my mouth gaping open as wide as the gate was for a good minute.  I was shocked!  Who left the gate open?  Did I leave the gate open?  Where did Jazzy go?  Was she halfway to Vegas by now?  Had she been run over by a car?  Had someone else realized what a sweet dog she was and dog-napped her? 

My heart was pounding in my chest and I was on the verge of tears.  I finally snapped out of my daze and started walking out the gate towards the front of our house.  I thought maybe she would still be close enough that I could call to her and she would come home.  

After I got to the front of the house, I turned my head towards the porch and saw this: 

The most beautiful sight in the world.  My sweet, little Jazzy was just sitting on the mat on our front porch.  She is such a good girl!  I told her how proud of I was of her and we went inside and got a cookie right away.  Then I called Adam to brag about our little girl.  Turns out the sprinkler company was supposed to come out today and winterize our sprinkler system.  Adam told me he would call them and give them a piece of his mind.  Glad I'm not them...don't ever get between Adam and his Jazzy! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Simple Halloween Decor

I like to add little bits of holiday decor to my home as the seasons change.  I don't have the energy to go all out, but I do manage to put out a few simple decor items for each upcoming holiday.  Halloween's almost here, so I added some simple Halloween decor around my house.  

I decided to change up my little entryway table.  I kept a few of the items that were already there, but added some hints of Halloween.  I painted some wine bottles to resemble a ghost and a pumpkin.  And I also filled a glass pumpkin with some candy.  My intention is to hand out the candy to trick-or-treaters...that is if Adam and I don't eat it all before then.  

I swapped out my dining room table centerpiece with some simple paper pumpkins.  I made these cute pumpkins using the directions found here.  They were easy and I like the fact that they can stick around for Thanksgiving, too.  

Last year, I found these cute placemats at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I bought a couple to put hot dishes on in the center of the table for Thanksgiving.  They are nice and thick and made of felt.  They worked out well as hotpads, but also look cute as a simple centerpiece.  I stuck one in the middle of my kitchen table to add a little something.  All it does is remind me of the leaves piling up in my backyard that need to be raked up.  Oh, the joys of fall! 

After visiting my parents this weekend and seeing their cute hand towels hung on their stove, I decided to copy them.  I added some leafy hand towels.  And that happens to be homemade chicken noodle soup cooking on the stove.  (And by homemade I mean I used frozen noodles and boxes of chicken stock.)

There you go!  A few easy ideas to get your home in a Halloween (and Thanksgiving) kind of mood!  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Jazzy Goes Hiking

Adam's dad gave Adam this book, which is full of walking and hiking trails around the Kansas City area. We tried out a new trail this past weekend in Grain Valley.  It's called Monkey Mountain.  Jazzy wanted to come along and join in on the fun.  

Here she is rearing and ready to go! 

It was a very interesting trail.  I can't say I've ever been on a trail quite like it.  It started with a steep-ish climb up a rocky path.  I believe this is the "mountain" part.  It was nothing like the mountains we've climbed in Colorado and Arizona, but it was pretty mountainous for Missouri.    

Here's a picture of Jazzy and I at the "summit." 

Jazzy didn't let her short, little legs stop her from keeping up with us.  She was in heaven, gallivanting all over the place.  After we made it to the "summit," we had to walk through some fields with hay bales.  It was a bit confusing and we weren't entirely sure we were going the right way, but Jazzy enjoyed running around.  We let go of her leash and let her run around.  She did a good job of staying close to us.  I wasn't quite brave enough to take her off her leash completely.  But she didn't seem to mind her leash trailing behind her.  I think her favorite part was sitting on top of a hay bale with Adam.  

Playing in the hay was a close second.  

After we made it through the field, we walked through a wooded part.  Jazzy wasn't as confident with this part of the trail and kept stopping to make sure we were right behind her.  But we eventually made it back to the car and headed home.  Jazzy sure was wiped out and spent the evening snoozing on the couch.  
All three of us enjoyed the beautiful weather and being out in nature.  We'll have to explore some more trails in the book.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Life-Saving Sign

Adam and I got an "Animals Inside" window cling for free at some point.  It had a spot to check whether you have dogs or cats and a place to designate how many of each you own.  The point of the sign is to let emergency personnel know there are animals in your home.  So if there were to be a fire in your home, they would know to rescue your pets.  

I like the idea of the little sign, but after thinking more about it, I realized it wasn't the best sign.  It was pretty small and had tiny text.  It was also pretty difficult to see the check mark and number 1 I had put next to the dog space.  I figured if there ever was some sort of emergency at my home, emergency personnel wouldn't take a lot of time to scrutinize the sign.

So, I decided to recreate a sign that would be a bit bigger and bit easier to decipher.  I made the text bigger and bolder.  Plus, I included a paw print as a visual cue.  Now there's no question that a dog lives in our home.  

I hope that the sign never has to be read by emergency personnel, but I can rest a bit easier knowing it's there.  

Click here if you would like to print off a sign of your own.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Just Don't Think About It

Dealing with infertility includes getting lots of advice from people.  I know all of the people who have given me advice mean well and want only to offer me some bits of wisdom.  The most common piece of advice I get from people is: Just don't think about.  

Again, I know that this advice comes from the heart and with the kindest of intentions.  But it's just plain stupid.

I'm sure people going through struggles of all kinds get this same piece of advice and I'm sure they would agree 100% with me.  Sure, it would be fantastic if I could not think about getting pregnant, even for just one day.  But it's impossible.  Trying to not think about something is the same exact thing as thinking about something.  The thing you are thinking/trying not to think about is still swirling around your brain, regardless of your stance on it.  

If there is some infertile lady out there who has figured out how to not think about getting pregnant, I would love to know the secret.  Anyone out there?  Anyone?  

The advice is good in theory.  IF I could manage to not think about getting pregnant, my life really would be a lot more enjoyable.  But I'm not convinced that it's possible.  

I've tried all kinds of things to trick my mind into not thinking about getting pregnant.  But I am just not very talented.  Besides, it's really hard to not think about getting pregnant when I'm supposed to take infertility supplements each day, take ovulation tests each morning, check my cervical mucus, eat a healthy diet, get enough exercise, make sure I have sex when I am ovulating, have sex when I'm not ovulating just to be safe, make sure my hips are elevated for at least 15 minutes after I have sex, get acupuncture treatments...and so on and so forth.  

I have no idea why it's so hard to not think about getting pregnant!    

To bring a lighthearted end to this post, enjoy this funny checklist I found: 

Funny Infertility Checklist   This Really made me LOL!!! unfortunately too true. would have been helpful to give out though:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jazzy Gets A Checkup

It was time for Jazzy to get her yearly shots and go to the vet for her annual checkup.  While we've been to the vet a few times already, we have never taken her to get her shots.  Jazzy joined our family last December, but she had her shots back in October.  So, we decided it was time for Jazzy to take a little visit to the vet.  

I was a bit of a nervous Nellie when it came to taking Jazzy to the vet.  I was worried that the shots would hurt her.  And I didn't want to be the one to have to hold her while she got her shots.  So...I convinced Adam to come home from work a bit early and go with us.  Isn't he the best dog daddy ever?  Not to mention a very nice husband.  

We didn't have to spend too much time convincing Jazzy to get in the car.  The girl loves car rides.  We just have to show her the seat belt harness and she goes ballistic.  Once we wrangled her in her seat harness and got her buckled in the car, we set off for the vet.  At one point, I looked back at Jazzy while we were at a stoplight and she had the biggest, toothiest smile going on.  I wish I could have gotten a picture, but I decided I should probably focus on driving.  

Once we made it to the vet's office and Jazzy adequately peed on all the other dog scents outside the door, we made our way inside.  Jazzy was quite enthralled with her surroundings and took all the people and dogs in.  She was a good girl and didn't bark or growl at any of the other dogs.  If only she were that good on her walks...

They called Jazzy's name and Jazzy got weighed.  She weighed a whopping 17 pounds, even after all her dieting.  I know how you feel, Jazzy...dieting is rough.  Then we headed to the room to wait for the vet.  

Jazzy got a bit nervous at this point.  I think she remembered the room and how the last time she was in there they took her temperature...and they didn't put the thermometer in her mouth.  

When the vet came it, she seemed to be equal parts interested and nervous.  He was very nice to her and said Jazzy seemed to be doing great.  After looking her over, I sneakily asked Adam if he would switch places with me.  I didn't want to be the one hanging onto her when she got her shots.  But I didn't have to worry about that at all.  Jazzy made more of a fuss when he put the q-tip in her ear than when she got the shots.  She didn't flinch or make a peep.  I was worried for nothing!  

On our way home from the vet, we stopped at a BBQ restaurant that had an outdoor seating area.  That way Adam and I could get some dinner and Jazzy could hang out with us.  Jazzy seemed to enjoy the place and kept finding random things to eat on the ground.  

I even got to embarrass Adam by making him help Jazzy pose in front of the fall display that was in front of the restaurant.  But seriously, isn't this picture worth a little embarrassment on Adam's behalf?  


Saturday, October 10, 2015


I was sitting in my living room the other day and realized I wanted to change some things up.  I've been trying to talk Adam into building some built-ins next to our fireplace.  I think I almost have him convinced, but that will take some time and moolah.  So I started to think about some simple changes I could make that would hold me over until built-ins make it into our living room.  

One thing that has been bugging me is our mantel decor.  It kinda looks like I just threw a bunch of stuff up there with no rhyme or reason.  

So, I decided to change things up.  I wanted to simplify what was going on up there.  The first step was to clear everything off.  I also took a moment to dust and clear out some cobwebs.  I guess it had been a while since I had done that!  

I decided which items I wanted to keep on the mantel and set those aside.  I decided to hang the portrait of Jazzy in our hallway and our Kral family sign in a different spot in the living room.  There were a few leftover items that I stuck in my guest bedroom closet, which is where I keep random decor items.  Then I "shopped my house."  I wandered around from room to room looking for items that I might want to put on the mantel.  Once I had a pile of possibilities, I started to sort through them to decide which items were keepers.  Jazzy always thinks she's the perfect accessory, and I have to agree.    

One of the items I found in my basement was a taller vase.  I decided to put some sticks in there to add a bit of height.  Plus, it would be free!  So I perused my yard looking for sticks.  There always seem to be plenty of those lurking in my yard.  

I stuck a bunch of sticks in the vase and then decided it looked like I had just stuck a bunch of sticks in a vase.  Not exactly the look I was going for.  So I looked at some images on Pinterest to figure out how other people make sticks in vases look glamorous.  

The glamorous vase of sticks look seems to follow these rules:
1. Use sticks of similar lengths and widths.
2. Use shears to keep the ends nice and trimmed. 
3. Cut off any smaller twigs that branch off the main stick.  
4. The more you have, the better.  
5. Use sticks that are dry and check for bugs before bringing them inside.  

After following those rules, my vase was looking a lot more put together.  

Then I brought my vase inside and went to work placing things on my mantel.  I put the tree branch picture in the center, which ties in nicely with the vase of sticks.  The $5 clearance "do all things with love" canvas artwork sits in between the vase and tree branch picture.  I feel like the tones in the artwork go together better than the artwork I had previously put on my mantel.  I also used my brass elephant and giraffe as bookends.  I have seen more and more books turned so the pages are visible and I really like the look.  Plus, you can use any book you like, even if the titles are embarrassing.  I also included a few little trinkets, like the "K" and the cute "love you to the moon and back" sign Jazzy gave to me for Mother's Day (with a little help from my mom).

I think the new look is much less cluttered.  It lets all the pieces stand out on their own, while still looking good as a whole.    

Then I turned my attention to the rug under our ottoman.  I don't feel like it goes very well with our new sectional or our ottoman.  It's too modern and geometric.  Plus, it's not the right size for the space.  

I have been searching for a rug to replace it, but haven't had much luck.  It dawned on me that I didn't have to keep a rug I didn't like in our living room until we found a replacement.  I could just move it to the basement right now!  And that's what I did.  I actually kind of like it better without a rug.  I might just decide to keep the living room rug-less.  

Of course, if the right rug came along at the right price, I'd bring it home in a heartbeat.  But now I don't feel like I need to be on the lookout for a rug.  I can enjoy our living room as is. 

Isn't it nice that making a few small, FREE changes can make you fall back in love with your home?   

Friday, October 9, 2015

3 Things That Will Make Life Easier

I am all about making things easy in my life, especially when it comes to boring things like cooking and cleaning and paying bills.  I would prefer to do those things for as little time as possible.  So I will share 3 things that allow me to spend less time doing those boring household chores. 

1. Organize your measuring cups and spoons.  

This may seem a bit excessive, but this has truly saved me time when I'm cooking or baking.  I used to spend lots of time rummaging through my drawers looking for the perfect measuring spoon.  I never seemed to find the exact one I needed, which resulted in me trying to do tricky math with fractions.  I might have messed up more than a few recipes.  

But hanging up all my measuring cups and spoons on the inside of my cabinet door makes them super easy to find.  I used some hooks to hang up the cups and spoons.  I took it a step further and added labels to make things even easier.  If Adam does the dishes, he doesn't always match the correct utensil with the correct label.  But I'm not complaining; Adam can do dishes any time he wants to.  I like to think he's just keeping me on my toes.  

They do kind of rattle around when you open the door.  When I first hung them up, I would forget they were there when I opened the door.  So I would freak out and think something was falling out of the cabinet when they banged around on the door.  Adam put some cabinet bumpers under the cups and spoons so they don't make quite as much noise.  It is fun to watch people open up the door who don't know what to expect, though.  It makes me chuckle to watch them jump at the noise.  

2. Use magnets to remind yourself about clothing that should not go in the dryer.    

This was something I remember my mom doing.  She kept a bunch of magnets on the side of the washing machine.  Whenever she put something in the washer that wasn't supposed to go in the dryer, she would put a magnet on top of the washer.  So if you had two items that needed to be kept out of the dryer, you would put two magnets on top of the washer.  When the cycle was over, she would know how many items she needed to hang up to dry.  

This has saved me time because I don't have to sort through each item as I put them in the dryer.  I can fish out the items that need to be hung to dry and then put all the rest in the dryer quickly.  I haven't shrunk any pants or mangled up any bras in the dryer since putting my mom's magnet system to work. Thanks, Mom! 

3. Keep all your receipts in one place.  

If you try to keep track of your spending like Adam and I do, then you know how out of control receipts can get.  I like to keep all my receipts so I can check them against my credit card statements and enter them into our monthly budget spreadsheet.  But by the end of the month, I have gobs of receipts.  I started keeping all my receipts in a binder clip and then going through them at the end of the month.  It worked well for me, so I introduced the idea to Adam.  I simply wrote each of our names on a binder clip. That way we don't mix up our receipts.  We have a magnetic strip in our office nook in our bedroom. With the help of some magnets, the binder clips stick to the strip.

There you have it.  Three easy fixes that will simplify your life.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When Adam's Away...

...Jazzy will play.  Well, she plays plenty when Adam's home.  But there is one special perk that Jazzy gets when Adam is away on a trip.  She gets to sleep in bed with me.

Look at her, all snuggled up on Adam's pillows.  Jazzy seems to know when she's allowed in bed.  She'll either wait patiently by the bed for me to pick her up or she'll hop right up on her own.  But she knows not to try it when Adam's home.  She's one smart doggy!  

Jazzy becomes my protector when Adam's away.  I'm not sure if Adam's had a conversation with her about looking out for me while he's away or if Jazzy's instincts tell her she's in charge when Adam's gone.  But she certainly takes her new guardian role very seriously.  

She sits atop her couch perch and lets me know what happens in the neighborhood.  Jazzy rarely barks, but she was quite vocal this past weekend when Adam was out of town.  She was sure to alert me when our neighbor put out her trash cans.  And Jazzy made it quite clear when the mailman delivered our mail.  She also barked about things I couldn't even see.  It was either a very sneaky person or a leaf.  It's hard to tell sometimes.  

Even though Jazzy loves sleeping in our bed, she's pretty stoked when Adam gets home.  I think she particularly misses her nightly sprints.  Adam takes her on a run before they go to bed each night.  Jazzy makes a mad dash around the neighborhood while Adam keeps up.  I tried to fill Adam's shoes this weekend but didn't quite manage.  I ended up with shin splints and the top of my foot was strangely sore. I know Jazzy's thrilled to have her dad and nightly jaunts back, even if she's been booted back to her doggy bed.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wait For Me!

That would be an alcoholic beverage, which means I did not get pregnant this month.  Trying to get pregnant continues to be frustrating and all-consuming.  But at least I can have a drink as I wallow in my misery.  

It makes it even more frustrating that many of my friends are now pregnant with their second babies.  I feel like I'm running after them screaming, "Wait for me!"  I feel like life is passing me by in some ways.  

When I envisioned my life, I envisioned having kids before I was 30.  That's not going to happen.  I envisioned being pregnant at the same time as my friends so we could experience that time together.  I wanted my kids to have playmates the same age as them.  I didn't want to be the old parent at my kids' parent-teacher conferences.  

I always thought that my kids would get to meet and spend time with my own grandparents.  I'm worried that might not happen.

While I know 29 is far from being old, it does stress me out to think that I don't have kids yet.  I've had to readjust my expectations.  I used to say I would have two, maybe even three kids.  Now I will just be happy if I'm lucky enough to have one.  

Have I depressed you yet?  

In an attempt to turn this blog post around, I have thought of some positive things about having babies later in life.  Adam and I have an established home with lots of space for kids.  We have careers and are not struggling financially.  I think Adam and I are more sure of ourselves and the kind of parents we want to be.  We are both more than ready to be parents at this point.  I think we will truly appreciate and relish every moment of parenthood when we get the chance to experience it.  

And we've had good practice being Jazzy's parents.  :)    

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Weekend Getaway

This past weekend Adam planned a fun-filled weekend getaway for us and my parents.  I'm very lucky to be married to someone who is very talented at planning trips.  Adam plans all of our trips.  He books our hotels, rental cars, looks up activities in the area, the whole shebang.  I love it!  The only thing I have to do when I go on vacation with Adam is pack my bag.  

Adam loves to go on float trips, while I'm more of an indoor kind of girl.  But Adam told me about these tree house cabins he saw right on the river while he was on one of his float trips.  He claimed they were fancy cabins that I would be impressed with.  So, I told him we could give it a shot.  We invited my parents along since they had never been on a float trip before.  

So, we arrived at our cabin in Dora, MO.  Let me tell you, it was very fancy for a cabin.  It was high up in the treetops and practically right on the river.  

Here was our view from the cabin's deck.  

It was very charming inside with cute, rustic decor.  

This is my kind of "camping" in a cabin.  

Adam and my dad fished right below the cabin.  They didn't catch anything, but made a valiant effort.  

Aside from fishing, we hiked to Inspiration Point on "Broken Ankle Trail."  It was quite the steep trek to get there, but we made it without any broken ankles.  I like to think Adam and my mom called each other to plan their matching shirts while they were packing.    

We also spent a day canoeing.  I'm happy to report neither canoe flipped over and I didn't have to swim with any fish. 

It was so nice to get away from our busy lives and enjoy each other's company.  We didn't have cell reception or internet access or cable and it was wonderful.  It's nice to unplug every once in awhile.  

Lovely scenery + nice weather + being around the people I love = the perfect weekend getaway.