Life, Misc.

Back in present voice!

Hi!!! I am officially back.

Well, we have been back for over a week now (since March 25), but I am finally back here in present day voice.

I told myself that I was not allowed to resume posting any “regular” blog posts until I had completed my remaining trip recaps. I did this for a few reasons.

  1. I knew that if I got out of the rhythm of the trip posts, it would be hard to fit them in again later! Once I start posting “other stuff”, it can be hard to shift back to travel post mode.
  2. I didn’t want it to end up like with last year’s Europe trip- where I was finishing up recap posts a full year after the fact!

So I am happy to report I successfully recapped our entire trip! Next up- ordering printed books of my trip posts from both our Ireland/Rome trip and Costa Rica.

In other news….

Let’s see! What has been happening around here since we’ve been back:

🔷 Life has felt pretty good. “Re-entry” to normal life is always a little overwhelming to me, but this time it wasn’t so bad. Things that helped included being in the same time zone! And having Sunday off to get groceries and do laundry and just generally re-group. I’ve also been getting out for early walks many days. We came home to snow:

6 a.m. on Monday, 48 hours after getting home from 87 degree weather….. brrr…. but, beautiful!!

🔷It was a busy week, though. Ethan had an orthodontist appointment right away on Monday after school, I resumed training the new employee at work, and my van needed an oil change + repair on Wednesday morning (which involved me waiting a long time, and then ultimately having to get a loaner car and leave mine there overnight, and fork over $1,200 to get a new cooling system installed. 😫) Right after an expensive vacation, an unexpected $1,200 bill is always SO welcome…… ugh.

My little stuffed sloth friend is now clipped on my lamp in my office though, and he brightens my days. 🙂

🔷I also had a (required) work “social outing” on Thursday afternoon. We went bowling. I wore this very stylish bowling shirt. haha. (The whole bowling shirt thing is a kind of inside joke.) I am not a great bowler at all. But I did hit 100 on one game, so that was a big accomplishment for me. lol!!

🔷 The boys’ sports seasons all kicked off immediately when we got home. Asher = school volleyball, club soccer, club swim. Ethan= club soccer (3x/ week). They both had tournaments this past weekend (A for VB, E for soccer). We divided and conquered. Ivan volunteered to take all 3 soccer games (in Illinois, and it was freezing and miserable out. He texted me at one point, “You are so lucky you aren’t here…”) YEP! I fully realize that, thanks. Early spring soccer in Wisconsin is the absolute worst.

Give me a heated gym any day.

🔷Let’s see…. what else. Oh, Ted Lasso is back!! Yee-haw! So excited about this. The new season came out while we were gone, so we got all caught up right away and I now look forward to Wednesdays.

🔷We did our taxes. Totally meant to do that before we left, but, didn’t. Oops. Oh well, they’re done now. Let’s just say the result wasn’t super awesome for my bank account. Probably just as well to not know what you owe before the big vacation. Ha… 😠

🔷I attended the yearly swim team banquet with Asher on Sunday afternoon. It’s always a lovely recap of the year, and I especially enjoy the tributes to the graduating seniors!! 🙂

🔷Ivan got his “bottom” braces put on his teeth yesterday morning. He was originally only going to get them on the top (long story, but main purpose of his braces was to fill in this gap on his top teeth). The ortho said top only would be the quickest/ easiest, if he didn’t care about having perfectly straight bottom teeth. Ivan “thought” he didn’t. Well, fast forward and he decided after 6 months or so with his top braces on that he might as well get the bottom ones done too. If you’re going to go through the trouble of having braces as adult, you’d best have a perfect smile to show for it at the end! (I told him that 100 times, but he insisted he just wanted the top ones… 🙄) Anyway, I was right, and he now has bottom braces too.

🔷I just signed Ethan up for DRIVER’S ED classes for the first week of May! omg. omg. omg. He turns 15 on July 12, so he won’t actually get his temps until then. But by doing the class now, he will have the written test all done ahead of time, so on his b-day he can just go to the DMV to pick up his temporary license!

I am a teeny bit excited for this new chapter (mostly just because he is sooooooooooo excited/ chomping at the bit to get this started, and his enthusiasm is contagious), but I’m mostly kind of freaking out and apprehensive! My baby, driving?!?! Not possible.

The classroom portion can actually all be done online these days, but we are opting for a hybrid in-person/online class. I’m hoping the in-person part will help solidify all the information and make it stick. He will have the behind the wheel instructions sessions spread out over the next year starting after he turns 15 (and of course, LOTS of driving with us).

🔷After the snow last week, we’ve had some warmer weather, kind of. Forecasts look…. decent.

taken just a few days after the snow pics above

🔷 I had a long conversation with a friend who just returned from 2 weeks in South Africa! They did this AMAZING looking safari trip for 6 nights of it, which, after talking to her and learning more about logistics, got my travel wheels spinning (again)!! I am seriously thinking I need to make this happen. Not next year, but maybe…. in the next few years? Or before the kids graduate? It looked incredible. Cheetahs, lions, zebras, elephants were like, mere feet from them, just roaming in the wild. Whoa.

She sent me this. Not that I needed any encouragement…. hahaha…..

🔷 Speaking of travel, in early May Ivan and I are going to Austin, Texas! We’ve never been. He won another high-performer’s trip from work (last year he won, too, and we went to San Diego). This year it’s in Austin.

My trip planning brain needs a break!! Can anyone tell me a couple cool things to do in Austin, so I don’t need to research?? Much of the itinerary is planned for us, but I know we’ll have some free time, too.

🔷And last but not least, I’ve made it back to the gym 4 times in the last week. Yay! The calf raise machine is tucked under a set of stairs, in a back corner. I used it last night, and this sign stuck on the stairs (so only visible to someone using the machine) made me laugh:

(People do have a tendency to leave the 45 lb plates on the calf machine…. )

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful to be done writing my trip recaps!! I LOOOOOOVE recording my trips like that- really, if I could travel for a living and write about it, I totally would- but it’s also a lot of work! (Granted, I do it to myself by being so detailed and including so many photos, so I really shouldn’t complain.) It’s one of those things that I’m so happy to have, but also am happy to be done with now, too. 😉

*I will probably still have a couple more Costa Rica themed posts coming though! I’ve had a few requests for a specific itinerary post, and I also would love to share some general things I learned/ must have items for Costa Rica, etc.

7 thoughts on “Back in present voice!”

  1. What a fun catchup with SO many things to discuss:
    1) I know all sorts of adults with braces; I also have a top gap and have thought about getting Invisalign…but I’m likely too cheap for that! But our daughter is set to get braces in the coming months and she is NOT impressed.
    2) What beautiful pictures on your snowy walks! We seem to be mostly done with snow, but there is a major freezing rain warning for Wednesday/Thursday. SIGH!
    3) Outdoor soccer! That sounds miserable this time of year, if your weather is anything like our weather.
    4) Love the sloth.
    5) I haven’t gone bowling in…20 years?!
    6) Loved the trip recaps, but yes – it is a lot of work, eh?! I 100% agree: I’m so glad I have them/did them, but am also very, very relieved where they’re done – and you had a much bigger trip to recap!
    7) I’m going in to pay taxes today and I’m not happy 😦


  2. I think getting over 100 in a bowling game is a heck of an accomplishment! Maybe not quite as good as finishing your trip recaps, but you gotta take the wins when you can get them!

    We got a refund and I’m amazed by that because I think it’s the first time in fifteen years we’ve managed to actually take out the appropriate amount. Praise be. The first year we got married, we were SHOCKED at how much we had to pay.


  3. I love your bowling shirt! I am terrible at bowling. It’s rare for me to break 100, so congrats to you! You did come back to a very busy week!

    Ugh, taxes are brutal. I did not know about the ‘marriage penalty.’ I always got nice refunds before we got married; now we pay in quite a bit. We plan for it’s so it’s not a big deal but Phil knew allll about this marriage penalty as his friends had all talked about how much taxes suck when you are married! I don’t know how they can’t figure out the math so you don’t have to pay in when you are married!

    Austin will be a fun, quick getaway. I have been there a couple of times to visit a friend that lived there for awhile but I don’t have any recommendations. We didn’t do all that much while we were there. The downtown scene is fun as there is lots of live music. Although Phil was just there in Feb for work and said the city was “grittier” than he expected. I was there the following week for work but I stayed out in the suburbs and was barely downtown. He enjoyed going for a run along the river. There are some hikes in the area but overall I don’t think there is a ton to do, so you might be fine w/ the stuff planned by his company? Congrats on him qualifying again!! What a rock star!


  4. Safari is very cool. I did it once in 2011 and was blowed away. It’s far and it worth doing few more things while being in Africa. I went to Tanzania, did safari, climbed Kilimanjaro and ended with Zanzibar. I will definitely take my family back there when girls are old enough to conquer the attitude.


  5. Sounds like your re-entry is going as well as possible! Welcome back! And congrats on completing your goal of posting about your trip.

    Love the bowling shirt. Austin sounds really fun! I have been there once, but it was more than a decade ago and it was for a wedding, so I didn’t really get to explore.


  6. Definitely do a sunset boat ride thing to see the bats under the congress Ave bridge in Austin! You can just walk too I think but I’m a sucker for boats. So cool. Very unique Austin experience. Such a great food city. I just went for a work conference.


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