What I did on my summer break, Part 4 (the last one!): August

September 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Every time I started to work on one of these “summer break” posts I went into it thinking I didn’t really take many photos that month. In all cases it turned out that I took a ton of photos even though I wasn’t even trying to capture things “for the blog”. We all take photos all the time now, don’t we? I took a lot of photos in August. This may be the longest post in the summer break series. You have been warned.

On the first day of August I met up with a bunch of my blogger friends at Tour de Pizza.

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My friend Matt McClellan, the owner, was nice enough to host us to try their new “paleo pizza” options.

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He also invited the folks from The Paleo Box, a paleo bakery in Tampa, to hand out samples the same evening so we got to try those as well.

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Matt had put out the word that he was redecorating the shop and wanted to line the perimeter of the walls with race medals. So we all brought a race medal to donate to the new décor.

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Since we are in there every week we can visit our medals any time. The boys liked picking out one of their medals to donate.

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The paleo pizza is basically their regular pizza (any toppings) on a millet/flax crust made by Sami’s Bakery. We tried the Greek pizza and something with a bunch of meat (I don’t remember).

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Both were awesome. We did get cheese, which I realize is not so paleo. But whatever. You can have it your way.

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Thanks for having us Matt!

The first weekend in August Cal went on vacation with my friend BJ and her family.

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She has twin boys, yet felt that she needed one more to round out their family vacation.

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They went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee (my old stomping grounds, not far from where I grew up in east Tennessee) and did all kinds of fun things like hiking, tubing, and rafting.

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Cal had a blast. Thank you so much to BJ and Paul for taking him!

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While Cal was gone on his bonus family vacation (without his family), Chad took Mack and a friend to Legoland one day.

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While they were on their way to Legoland, I met my friend Ali and her daughter Molly for breakfast at Trip’s Diner just down the street from my house. I had the breakfast strata.

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After that we went to the first Brocante Vintage Market.

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This is a monthly vintage market organized by my friends at Paper Street Market. There are multiple vendors and they bring the cream of their picking crop to this market. It was pretty happening for their first event!

I bought this little wrought iron patio set for $85…

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I have plans to paint it at some point, but I love it’s retro feel and diminutive size.

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Here they are after I plopped then down on my dirty front porch:

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I also got this end table:

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Bad picture, sorry. It is the perfect piece for that spot next to the sofa in our living room. I use it as my laptop’s home when not in use. It was a little pricey at $140, but is in great shape and is really exactly what I was looking for.

I also bought this little vanity ($100 – also to be painted, but I love the fabric on the stool), and the small rainy day painting ($18 – original, signed, and has the old original professional framing info on the back from an art store in St. Pete about 30 years ago), and the metal swirly frame (I can’t remember…think it was $15). I sort of have a plan for that in my addled mind.

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All in all I would say that Brocante Vintage Market was a success. You know we went back in September since I already blogged about that.

We also ran by The Iron Pelican Antiques where I picked up a bedside table for Cal’s room. I didn’t take a photo of that, but I did take a photo of their huge collection of vintage cameras.

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Molly got one.

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We had so much fun we had to go back to Brocante on Sunday. Actually, Mack and I met Ali and Molly for breakfast first at The Banyan Coffee and Tea Company (also just down the street from my house…I LOVE our new neighborhood). I got a breakfast burrito and an amazing salted caramel iced coffee.

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As I’m writing this I am on day 28 of the whole30 and this drink just looks obscene. But it was soooo good.

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Brocante was fun with Mack.

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These are actual Twinkie baking trays:

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On the second day there I bought this vintage teak tray ($15) which matches my teak dining table perfectly.

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Molly also picked up something there for Cal for his birthday…more on that later in this post.

That afternoon Mack and I went to see Wolverine at the Theater.

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Just for posterity, this is what Baywalk looked like that day:

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Locals will understand.

During August I had my handyman dudes at the house quite a bit doing small jobs, like removing the disgusting (to me) 20+ year old trash compactor from our kitchen.

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Does anybody actually use these things anymore? The concept seems so gross to me. They finished out the “hole” where the compactor used to be to match the rest of the cabinetry and now I have a very nice stainless steel garbage can in there. Much better.

I’m sure the neighbors appreciated this:

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That toilet was acting wonky but is actually a new toilet. I’m really not sure exactly why they removed it, but they ended up putting it back. This is no big deal if you are a handyman, I guess.They did many things around the house that needed doing (like installing some missing threshold molding, helping me hang shelves, building shelves in our outside pool storage room, repairing the gate in our back yard that accesses the alley, installing a new post for our hammock, and some other things I know I’m forgetting). This is the same father/son handyman team that did most of the work on our old house before we put it on the market and I like them a lot. I actually need to call them for some other things (always).

Mack had a neighborhood friend over one day while Cal was away (enjoying the now less death-defying hammock with a new post).

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We tried to give Mack an exciting week since Cal was having so much fun in Gatlinburg. One day I took him to Airheads Trampoline Arena with one of his friends and my friend “the other” Caroline and her girls.

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The owners of Airheads asked me if they could use my photos from my post about the time I checked out their TrampoLean Fitness class. We worked out a deal (my friends and I get to jump free in exchange, haha). I am pretty psyched to see all of my photos on this flyer. All of the photos are mine except for the before/after photos of the lady in the center at the bottom of the first page. That’s me jumping!

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Also in August, we got a rug for the living room (on sale from J.C. Penney for around $100 for a 9X11 rug). I saw it on the sale flyer and thought the colors were perfect for the room. I also liked that it is a light, flat weave rug as the over all feel of the room is light and casual.

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Chewie gave it a test run. I have since gotten a larger rug pad that better fits the rug.

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The boys got new shoes in anticipation of school starting.

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Cal turned 12 in August!

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We had a party at our house the day before his actual birthday.

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Remember when I said that Molly got something for Cal at the Brocante Vintage Market? She presented it to him at his party. It is REALLY heavy.

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It was an industrial spring!

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Cal has a spring collection, of course. This one is awesome. It must weight at least 30 pounds.

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Chewie approves (although seems somewhat confused as to why it is on his bed):

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The next day was Cal’s actual birthday. It was also the day to “meet the teacher” at Mack’s new school.

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Cal got to open all his birthday gifts from family.

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The next Monday was the first day of school.

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Back to making school lunches.

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Back to walking to school, now on a new route.

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Mack’s school is right next to this graveyard.

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On the days that I didn’t walk Mack to school, Chewie and I took long walks to a nearby park.

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The summer rains have let us see how our street floods when there is a prolonged heavy downpour.

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We are actually not in a flood zone and are in one of the highest areas in Pinellas County. However, our street acts as a drainage route for a nearby much larger street, so when there is a heavy rain our street has water running down it. But unlike in the flood zone where we used to live and often had high tide flooding that would last hours or days during a big storm, here the water dissipates right away once the rain slacks off. August definitely brought the typical Tampa Bay weather pattern this year. Rain every afternoon. Stifling humidity the rest of the time.

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When we would get back from a three or four mile walk, Chewie would retreat and not move for a few hours.

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One day in August I went running around with my pal Ali. We went to an estate sale in New Port Richey (or somewhere up there) and then ended up walking around downtown Dunedin where there are so many cute shops. I did buy some things for the house at the estate sale and in Dunedin, but I didn’t take any pictures. The only picture from that day was my lunch at a Mexican place we went to in Dunedin. There is grilled fish under that pile of tomatoes:

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One night Chad and I had a date night.

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We started out by going to dinner at The Tap Room at the Hollander Hotel.

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Several people had mentioned this place to me and I wanted to check it out. Again, looking at this (now) on Day 29 of the whole30, this looks obscene:

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It’s the Bacon Wrapped Mac & Cheese. OMG.

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Chad and I split it and also took one square home for the boys to try. Amazing. I had a pork chop for my dinner but didn’t photograph that. It was yummy. I did photograph my margarita.

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And also the pisco margarita that I had at our next stop which was the bar at Parkshore Grille.

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I didn’t really know what pisco was, but we Googled it while we sat at the bar. If you don’t know what pisco is, then you should also Google it. It was really good and now I want to try a pisco sour. I am severely missing alcohol after 29 days without a cocktail. I’m going to try to stick with lower carb drinks, though. I want to try just soda and tequila and lime juice. I’m really going to try to still minimize sugar after this whole30. (one more day!!!)

We had a little time to kill at Parkshore Grille before meeting friends at The Ale & the Witch to see The Applebutter Express.

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They are great and we had a fun night with our friends.

We ended August by having a Labor Day weekend party on the Saturday night before Labor Day. We had a bunch of friends over for a cookout, our usual MO here in the new house with this awesome pool and patio. There were lots of margaritas (my farewell margaritas before starting the whole30 the next day) and we had a swell time with our friends. I just used the word swell.

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And boom, I already posted that picture in my first blog post that I published at the beginning of September. So I’m caught up from the summer! Now I can focus on fall. Tomorrow I plan to write my LAST whole30 post, from this time around at least. I have a feeling there will be more whole30’s in my future. If you ever decide to do it you’ll understand why. I feel so detoxed right at this moment. I also feel like I am sort of back in the blogging groove. It only took a month.

Cya.

Day 21, one week to go (ok, 9 days)

September 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I’ve been sailing along through this round of the Whole30. It has been so much easier than the first time I did it. I guess there is a learning curve. I definitely learned that preparation is key, so I have continued to do bulk cooking on the weekends and always making double recipes so there will be leftovers.

Here’s a few of the things I created to eat the past two weeks…

Roasted eggplant:

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Grilled a bunch of chicken thighs:

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Roasted spaghetti squash:

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Using Melissa Joulwan’s method it comes out al dente and not mushy. Perfect. Cut in half. Scoop out seeds and pulp. Save the seeds to roast. Place halves face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of water around the squash. Roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Pad Thai from the cookbook Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan, using the spaghetti squash and grilled chicken thighs:

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You can find the recipe on her blog here. The secret is the delicious Sunshine Sauce.

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The boys loved it and didn’t miss noodles. Maybe Cal only sort of loved it.

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I made collard greens wraps, stuffed with a salad I made with roasted eggplant, grilled chicken thighs, pecans, other veggies and homemade mayo dressing:

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I used some of the leftover spaghetti squash and mixed it with a homemade curry sauce:

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The spaghetti squash seeds, roasted with macadamia nut oil:

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A couple of breakfasts I photographed:

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A “hot plate” a la Melissa Joulwan and Well Fed, with a roasted golden beet.

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I have been using that cookbook a bunch this time around. Last time I used Paleo Comfort Food more. There are so many awesome recipes out there…an endless supply of other people’s culinary genius to exploit.

Roasted cinnamon/ginger delicata squash, based on the recipe here:

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Bacon/almond roasted Brussels sprouts, based on this recipe:

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Boy approved:

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I’ve become addicted to kombucha. I drink 1/2 a bottle every night. It is the substitute for the nightly ice cream thing that was happening all summer.

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Many of the veggies used in the above creations are from my bi-weekly Annie’s Organics Buying Club share. I haven’t been taking pictures of all my shares, but here is the last one:

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I have some ideas swirling around for what I’m going to make from some of this goodness. I love how the deliveries help to narrow down that nefarious question of what to make for dinner. It gives me a direction to go in. Got delicata squash? Find a recipe! And by the way that stuff is amazingly delicious. I think it is my favorite winter squash. Easy to cook. You can eat the skin. Tastes a little like sweet potato.

I’ve been thinking about the “after” this time. Last time I immediately took off for a girls’ weekend in Charleston after my whole30. It was a great weekend of fabulous food and cocktails. That was pretty much it for my clean eating. I never did get back on track.

This time I am planning to stick with a mostly #NSNG (no sugar, no grains) diet after my whole30. I am going to add back in dairy and beans judiciously, but really try to avoid added sugar and grains as much as possible. I WILL have the occasional cocktail or three. I’m going to do more research on more paleo-friendly cocktails and try to stick to those.

My friend Kate introduced me to the whole #NSNG movement, and I am IN. I just read the book by their spiritual leader:

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It was pretty good. What is even better is the testimonials by all of the #NSNG folks. It’s like the awesome testimonials from the Whole30 veterans, but regarding a lifestyle and not just a temporary challenge. It’s not that different than the Whole9 lifestyle.

Cooking and eating hasn’t occupied all of my time the past two weeks.

I went to a great Yelp Elite event at NOVA 535 Art Lounge. My friend Valarie was my date.

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This venue is only about a mile down the street from my house and I have driven by it tons of times. I never knew that behind that façade lay this beautiful space:

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NOVA 535 hosts amazing weddings and parties. I loved the upscale urban décor and artwork.

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Downstairs there is a huge banquet room and long bar.

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Upstairs is a VIP area and another smaller bar.

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Also upstairs is a large balcony overlooking the bamboo-lined courtyard.

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They have private spaces upstairs where a bridal party could get dressed or changed, and also have very lovely restrooms.

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The event was catered by ExecChef Catering, and according to Valarie everything was amazing. Here are some of the things that I couldn’t eat:

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There was also reportedly delicious lobster mac & cheese and what Valarie described as, “possibly the best crab cakes I have ever eaten.” Good for you.

They had a made-to-order stir-fry station set up…

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and the chef was nice enough to make me some stir-fried veggies that were whole30 compliant (no sauce).

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They were tasty and kept me from doing nothing but nurse a glass of water all night.

TapSnap was there taking photo-booth style photos.

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Their computer was pretty cool and you could edit the photo and add text or drag and drop props to the photo right there.

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They e-mail you the photo and were also printing them out that night for us.

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Awesome. Despite not being able to partake of all the amazing food, I still had fun socializing with my Yelp friends and Valarie. Thanks for being my date Val!

In the past couple of weeks (since Cal’s bus stop was finally changed to be closer to our new address) Mack, Chewie and I have gotten back into the routine of walking to school.

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On our walk the other day we witnessed a car crash. It was just a fender bender, but still scary to see.

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I am back to volunteering at Mack’s school once a week.

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Here’s one OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day) GIF thanks to Google+.

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It creates these things even when I immediately delete all of the outtakes from my phone. And I always love them.

I finally drove out to the boon docks and got my Level 2 volunteer badge which I was approved for 10 months ago.

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Better late than never.

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We went to an open house at Cal’s school to meet all his teachers.

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I loved the ceiling in the art room.

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I drove out to the beach one day to meet up with my friend Amy and check out their new Treasure Island home. This is their back yard:

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Not too shabby, huh? We crossed the street to the beach…

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and had a nice long walk.

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I also went antiquing/thrifting with Amy a few days later:

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We got our irrigation system completely overhauled:

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We didn’t have a sprinkler system at our old house and have no experience with them. This one was in dire need of some maintenance. I don’t want anyone to have rage against the sprinkler because of me.

I sustained some bacon-related injuries:

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I went to a Depeche Mode concert with my friend Ali:

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We were in the grass at the amphitheater, but our tickets were free. That’s VIP enough for me. The concert was killer. Thank Ali!

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I had a long-overdue dentist appointment.

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The whole house-hunting, old home improvement, packing, house-selling, moving, new home improvement, unpacking, and decorating thing really threw me off the past six months. I’m overdue on all of my doctor appointments (dentist, OB/GYN, GP, Ophthalmologist). I hate the lecture you get because you are so overdue for a check-up, so I’m still procrastinating on those other doctors. Plus, I hate doctors. Sadly the boys are also overdue for doctor and dentist appointments, but I’m proud to say that at least I have called and scheduled them and Mack actually had his doctor’s check-up last week.

Mack got a new hoodie that has something to do with Minecraft.

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Gratuitous photo of Chewie for Angelika:

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Okay. That’s it. Caught up to today. Well, except for Part 4 of my “what I did on my summer break” series (August). I’m hoping to get that done before the end of September and then I really want to stay caught up. I’m tentatively planning a post-a-day marathon for October to really try to get back into the habit.

Cya.