"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Arvest Ball Park fun.

 This little girl is growing up.  She starts middle school in just a couple of weeks and I'm afraid she's about to outgrow all these little things like holding her Uncle Drew's hand in public.  (Full disclosure: About 60 seconds after this, he gave her $4 for a snow cone.) 
 Aunt Misty for the win.  She helped Eleanor escape stadium seating and too her to the grassy area to play. 

Making silly faces with Braeden

 Safe to say Eleanor is not a fan of the mascot, Strike. (Strike is a Sasquatch, but he's a happy Sasquatch.)   The closer he got, the more adamant she was about him keeping his distance.  I had my camera out to take a picture of her with him, but since that obviously wasn't going to happen, we just took a skeptical selfie. 
 I think we have a few more years of Braeden being a little boy.  He's not too cool to give his Aunt Mandy random hugs or stop for a selfie. 
 Eleanor has started this thing where she has to take random object with her when wherever she goes. (Anybody else having flashbacks to Emma?)  I draw the line on most things when it comes to bedtime, but I've decided that stuffed animals and baby dolls won't hurt anything.  She is currently napping with two baby dolls (one of whom she has named Annabelle), a giant Minnie Mouse, a little Minnie Mouse, a stuffed pigeon, a stuffed moose, and her blanket.  When we leave the house I let her take a few things.  This particular time is was my hair brush, a fidget cube, and a cotton ball. 
 This time it was two combs, a princess cup, and a Minnie Mouse push toy. 
 When we left for the baseball game yesterday evening she wanted to take the camel and the baby Jesus from her nativity set.  I said sure.  Somewhere between home and the ball park she dropped something and then exclaimed, "Jeeeee-sus!"  Don't worry, Jesus was found safely in the floor board. 
 We were out after dark the other night and she wanted to sit in the driveway and look at the moon and stars.  She's got a daddy cool enough to sit and join her. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Friends and Food

It's been three weeks since Drew and I started doing the really low carb thing.  By really low carb, I mean that we try to stick to 20 or less grams of carbohydrates a day (for now, not forever).  That's super low and the idea is to put your body into ketosis so that it's burning fat instead of carbs for energy.  Like I've said, it wasn't as hard as I anticipated it would be.  It proved to be easier for me to just eat no processed foods or refined carbs than other diets where I could eat some (but never enough).  We completely cut out bread and pasta of any kind.  No added sugar (and not even any fruit for right now).  No crackers or cookies or ice cream or chips or... all stuff like that.  If it comes in a box, chances are we aren't eating it.  Even with temptations, that's been going really well.  It was fairly easy to stick to because we've just felt so much better since we started.  There were really very few slip ups (I mean, I ate a chicken tender with the crust on it last week) and we've just been sticking with meat, eggs, full fat cheese, nuts, and lots of green veggies.  Anyway... that was all fine and dandy until Sunday evening.  I don't know why, but I was having crazy cravings and I convinced myself that a splurge wouldn't hurt anything and... I ate a package of pop tarts.  Drew partook in the pop tart feast with me.  No big deal, I told myself.  Slip ups happen, I'd just do better the next day.  Then the next day I ate a handful of peanut butter crackers with Eleanor.  The next day I didn't feel so great and my mood has been kind of all over the place the last three days, but the more carbohydrates I ate, the more I wanted.  Then the panic attack happened and I've just been a bit of a moody mess.  Last night we went out to eat with friends and instead of choosing a pork chop and veggies, I ordered a hamburger and fries.  No, no, no.  Just no.  Why did I do that?  I didn't realize how good I'd felt for the last few weeks until I ate poorly for the last few days.  Y'all, I feel rotten.  I feel bloated and achy and moody and my face is breaking out again.  Drew never gets headaches, but he woke up this morning about 4 am with a headache so severe that he couldn't go back to sleep.  Add in that not so great feeling in our guts and we are both 100% on board the low carb train.  Because we've cut out all grains and sugar (and then ate junk with mixed ingredients), we don't know what exactly has made us feel rotten.  Sugar?  Wheat?  Gluten?  Whatever it is, it isn't worth it.  We definitely need to stick with this food plan and wait a while before adding any of that other stuff back in.  At least then we'll have a better chance at identifying what each ingredient does to us.
I feel annoyed at myself for a few reasons.  One: I didn't think I'd be this person preaching about low carb or elimination diets.  I'm not even really doing an elimination diet, it just worked out that way.  And now here I am telling you all about it.  How annoying is that?!  Two: Once I gave it a shot and experienced how much better I felt, I really should have been smart enough to stick with it.
So, yeah.  Don't eat sugary junk and just skip the bread and potatoes.  You might feel better for it.
Other stuff...
We didn't get any rain Sunday, but a front moved through and it cooled off enough for Drew to do yard work.  We joined him for a sugar free Popsicle on the back deck.  

 Look who is doing puzzles now.  She lays the pieces where they are supposed to go, but doesn't always twist them until they fit properly.  Still, I was super proud of her for working hard and matching the pieces. 
 Foose helped. 

 Our Tuesday evening dinner date with Stacy and Brian was super fun.  I highly recommend JJ's Beer Garden and BBQ in Fayetteville.  (They abbreviate it JBGB) You can go for the burger and fries, but there are salads and other healthier options on the menu if you prefer.  The atmosphere is great and the outdoor area is such fun!  Corn hole, Bocce ball, volleyball, and more.  We'll definitely go back! While we were there we saw a photographer taking photos and I just assumed it was for advertising stuff.  Then we were outside playing after our meal and the photographer came out to ask if she could take photos of Eleanor playing.  She's with a magazine published by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and said to keep an eye out for it.  She doesn't get to pick the photos they use, but you never know. 

 Play date with Heidi, Silas, and Sophie this morning.  I didn't even think to take more photos, but I did grab this one of them playing basketball in the driveway. 
 We stopped in downtown Siloam before coming home because I'm on a mission to makeover my kitchen table.  I have these big chunky farmhouse table legs in my mind and I was hoping to find something vintage that fit the bill.  Eleanor was a great shopping partner (she likes to look and point out what's cute and pretty!) and, of course, we stopped to sit on every bench. 

 I did find these table legs.  They aren't exactly vintage, but I thought they would work.  Once I got them home I decided that they weren't chunky and heavy enough for what I'm going for, but they were cheap and I have another table that I'm going to use them on. 
That's a pretty big project because it will take up space and the garage is hot in this summer heat, but I'll get it done and share the project when it's complete.  Until then, I have another quilting project in mind that I'm looking forward to working on when Eleanor naps and in the evenings.  Yay for making stuff and being creative! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Forceful Love

On Saturday Drew & I went to Crystal Bridges with some friends from work.  The Chihuly (which I now know how to pronounce) exhibit was fantastic and 100% worth the ticket.  What's crazy is that I live here and this was my first visit to the museum.  I LOVED it and will definitely be going back.  The regular exhibits are free to visit and that's just crazy.  Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Go.  You won't regret it.  I'm including a lot of photos of the art.  They aren't great pictures and you should definitely go see them for yourselves, but I want to remember this date, so I'm sharing them here. 
Remember how I said I'd get him to take a serious picture with me someday?  This is what I got this time.  I'm not complaining.   He loves me. 

 The glass work was amazing.  I made so many awe struck noises that people probably wondered what was wrong with me.  Really, though, breathtaking stuff. 

 Y'all, we have famous paintings in our little corning of Arkansas.  It's awesome. 
 I mean, you could say that we went on a date and saw Hamilton.  You wouldn't be lying. 
 The outside Chihuly exhibit was sweltering hot, but absolutely beautiful.  This was gigantic and beautiful.  I need this replicated for the top of my Christmas tree.  How can I make this happen? 
 Just the architecture of the building is amazing.  
 Warhol.  Y'all, Andy Warhol. 
 The more modern the art got the less Drew "got" it.  I giggled at him so much.  This massive pencil and paper drawing was impressive, but pretty bizarre.  Drew's response: "That parrot has boobs." 
 Rosie the Riveter
 Jackson Pollock.  Bizarre, but so cool.  Also, it's really small. 
 Warhol self portrait. 

 Heading out, but my new shoes are super cute and they don't hurt my feet, so... winning. 
 The friends we went with took some photos of us which I love because I'm only ever in photos if I'm taking them. 

I'm so inspired that I keep joking Drew that the next time he leaves for work that he may come home to our walls covered in Mandy originals.  The biggest things I think I learned is that it's all so objective.  I mean, I agree that some of it is just weird.  Who decided it was art?  The artist?  In that case, maybe it's okay for me to do my artistic painting thing and be happy with what I create... even if it isn't anything special to anyone else.  Look out, I'm pulling out my paints.  
 Saturday night we went to the Emis' for a reunion of families that Drew grew up with.  I loved it because I hope that someday when Eleanor is grown, we will still make time to get together with the families that we are doing life with right now.  All the kids are grown and have children of their own and it was just a big, loud, chaotic, mess of a get together that was perfect. I really don't like to be that annoying person that makes people stop and take photos if they don't want to, but I took my camera along just in case.  I don't think everyone has been together in 15+ years and it was great to document.  There are even a few new friends mixed in.

Eleanor acted like a turd the entire evening, losing her cool over anything and everything.  The ONLY thing that made her happy was the cats.  Ms. Emis refers to their place as The Cat Ranch and she's not lying.  There was an abundance of cats and Eleanor was in love.  Repeat after me: Eleanor cannot have a cat.  Eleanor cannot have a cat.  Can't happen.  But, dude, she really loves cats.  Birth mom loved cats, so maybe she gets it from her.  This kitten was overly tolerant of Eleanor's love. 

 The way Eleanor loves kittens is reminescent of how Emma loved Mac when he was a puppy.  It's some forceful love.  Oh, my girls love their fur babies.  See that ball of fur by her face?  That's Mac's head.  Oh, she loved Mac.  (Picture from 2008)
Speaking of Emma (and Alex)... Drew and I went to a funeral this afternoon.  Dottie came to stay with Eleanor while she napped and Drew and I went to our old beloved church in Elm Springs to remember the life of Ms. Mildred.  She was such a lovely woman who we've known for years and wanted to be there to honor her.  I wasn't looking forward to it, but I was fine.  We got there and I was fine.  The service started and I was still pretty much fine.  We weren't 10 minutes into the service, surrounded by friends who we have loved for more than a decade, and I suddenly realized that I couldn't remember what color the girls' caskets were.  I couldn't, still can't, picture them in my head.  I couldn't remember the color of their flowers or the details of their services and it freaked me out.  Then the piano started to play the intro for "It Is Well".  I knew immediately that I needed to leave.  I gave Drew a look and he got me out of there quietly and quickly.  Thank God. We barely made it out of the building before I couldn't breathe.  I was having chest pains and I couldn't breathe.  You guys, I used to deal with general anxiety on a pretty much constant basis and I've had anxiety attacks that were severe enough to be ingrained in my memory, but that was years ago.  I don't really struggle with anxiety anymore and I haven't had a panic attack in a very long time, but I had a full on monster of a panic attack in the parking lot of our old church today.  Bless Drew's heart for knowing how to help me focus and breathe through such an episode.  It didn't last more than 5 minutes, but it was intense and awful.  My chest still aches and I'm guessing I'll just have a bit of a anxiety attack hang over this evening.  Emotional triggers can be powerful things. I'm sorry that I couldn't sit through the entire service for Ms. Mildred, but she was a tough gal and I'm pretty sure she'd understand.