Uncategorized

Small Business Spotlight– Rachel Allene

I decided that I waned to showcase a different small business on Mondays leading up to Christmas. It is just a way of encouraging you to shop small, and also help you discover some really wonderful shops.

First up is Rachel Allene. She does really beautiful hand lettering. She designs mugs, travel cups, beautiful prints, sweatshirts, calendars, gift tags, notepads, you name it..

I’ve always drooled over her mugs, and finally took the plunge a few weeks ago. Let’s just take a moment to admire this beauty.

Rachel Allene

It is so well made, and so beautiful. I love the heart in place of a period at the end. It’s so dainty and sweet. Not only does Rachel make beautiful designs, but she is just so down to earth and genuine. She is a mama who is hustling to make things happen in her home!

I also want to comment on the size.  I have a really hard time determining if a mug is going to be big enough. This mug is an 11 oz mug. I am able to use the largest size on my keurig and put creamer in my coffee with no problems at all.

Her packaging is just as beautiful as her products. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture; I was way too excited to see the mug. There was a sticker that matched the mug design that was holding the box closed. She also sends a seasonal recipe with each order. Rachel puts so much care and detail into every single order. It’s fun to see a behind the scenes of the process on her Instagram stories.

She is going to have a lot of fun things coming up in her shop, so I really encourage you to follow along with her on Instagram and keep an eye on the shop! When she does a new seasonal release, all of her e-mail subscribers have the opportunity to get a discount as high as 50% off!

I really want to encourage you to shop small this year where you can. You are supporting moms and dads– people in general– who are following their passion in creating. Many times, they are creating right in their own homes. Most of the time, you are getting a much better quality product that was designed with love and care.

 

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Amazon, baby, deals and steals, recommendations, Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites- Baby Edition

Amazon Baby Faves

Here are my favorite Amazon baby purchases. These are all things I actually have ordered from Amazon and LOVED. I’m out of the baby phase now, but I still remember the things that helped make my life easier. Especially since I didn’t have to leave my house with a baby to get them.

Cloth Diapers // This was the brand I had the most of. They are affordable and work well. Honestly, my favorite was for sure the BumGenius, but the Alvababy are much more wallet friendly at half the price. I had a couple of BumGenius, but at least ten Alvababy.

Teether // These are the best. I love the size and shape. They are so good.

Balm! Baby // This is the greatest chest rub. It works so well, and doesn’t have all of the yucky ingredients. It’s also in a glass jar, so once it’s empty you can repurpose it! Or, you can choose the stick version and be mess free!

Sound Machine // This has a lot of sound options to choose from and also projects three different themes of pictures on the ceiling. It looks really cute, too. Love, love it.

Humidifier // This humidifier is THE BEST. If you read the reviews, you see people complaining that it soaks everything around it. You have to adjust the output. Don’t put it on full blast. If we need that much moisture in the air, then I put towels around it just to be safe. You will want (sometimes NEED) one in the winter months especially.

Stroller // If you haven’t heard me rave about this stroller, you probably are new around here. I had other strollers with my older kids, but never loved them. The Baby Jogger glides so smoothly. It turns on a dime, looks sleek, and is just all around great. I still use it for my four year old!

Stroller hooks // I love these for hanging my diaper bag from the stroller. You can also attach them to your shopping cart so your bag doesn’t take up even more space. They are wonderful and easy to use.

Swaddle blankets // These are my favorite baby blankets. They are huge, light weight, but don’t take up tons of space. They are so soft and breathable. There are loads of prints and patters available to choose from.

Tula // I loved this carrier. It was comfortable for baby and myself. Tulas come in tons of fun colors and prints.

 

Uncategorized

‘Twas the Day After Halloween

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Look at these cuties. They were so excited to put on their costumes. It’s no fun when someone in the family is sick. I started my new job last night, which meant that I couldn’t be home with the sick one while Scott took the well ones. Bummer. Addi apparently sat on the steps inside the house and would say “Welcome to our haunted house!” any time trick or treaters came. So adorable.

I didn’t feel any guilt about going back to work until Addi got sick. Then, I felt sad seeing pictures of the kids dressed up and hearing stories of what they did tonight. It’s silly. We had a Halloween party for school and ate yummy treats and watched all of the fun movies during the day. I only missed a few hours.

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My sister brought over some tea lights so we could light up our pumpkins. (Seriously..the year I remember candles will be a miracle.) You guys, my husband rocks. Everyone acts like dads are super incapable; and I’ve heard stories from wives who are frustrated by their husband’s lack of initiative. Whatever.. My husband is the best. He even did Chloe’s hair like Jasmine’s. He lit up the pumpkins. He fixed them a fun dinner. How can I have guilt when they are left with the fun parent?

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The library handed out treats last night, so I got to join in the Halloween fun! My nephews and niece even came by in their costumes. So cute! A coworker (Hey, girl!) put together goodie bags for each of the girls. And, I noticed the extras that got thrown in. 😉 They were really excited this morning to see their loot.

It has already been a day. A curtain is ripped out of the wall, because my kids love destroying everything. Addi is still sick and in the most miserable phase, so she’s having a rough day. Chloe has school going on, which is really tough when one has school and one is sick and not doing it. It’s complete chaos right now. My neighbors probably think we’re all insane from the fighting/yelling/crying happening. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for all of my teacher friends in the classroom. Yikes.

I hope that you all had a wonderful and safe Halloween! It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Uncategorized

What Alice Forgot- book review

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Friends, this book was so, SO good. I didn’t expect it to be so thought provoking.

Alice wakes up on the floor of her spin class. She has hit her head, and has completely forgotten the last ten years of her life. She thinks that she is 29 years old, pregnant, and happily married to her husband, Nick. In reality, she is 39, the mother of three children, and in the middle of a nasty divorce.

The reader follows Alice through the weeks that follow as she tries to piece back together her life. How did her marriage fall apart when they were so happy and in love? Who are these children that she has no recollection of? What are these incredibly sad thoughts that wash over her? Why is there such distance between her and her sister? What has happened over the last ten years that has made everything so.. different? Who has she become?

You catch a glimpse into Alice’s sister, Elisabeth’s, life and her struggles as she writes letters to her psychotherapist as homework. Elisabeth’s story is heartbreaking, and so many women can relate to her.  You also catch a glimpse into Frannie’s life. Frannie is a pseudo-grandmother to Alice and Elisabeth. I don’t really understand why Frannie’s letters were sprinkled throughout the story. They were sweet, but I found myself wanting to skip over them.

I hate to give too many details of a novel, because I’d hate for the story to be ruined. There’s so many twists and turns. So much emotion. So many questions. It’s great.

I found myself feeling the need to slow down and savor the memories from each day of my own life. Not wanting to worship the “busy, busy, busy” lifestyle that we seem to embrace in our culture. It left me wanting to squeeze my girls and slow down with them. It made me want to hold on to Scott and not let him go or ever take him for granted. I want to take up journaling (Um, hello, blog.) so that I never forget anything.

I read this book over the weekend. It is 400+ pages long, but so captivating. There was a turning point in the book that left me feeling sad. I had it worked out in my mind how I wanted the story to end Then, the epilogue. The wonderful epilogue that left me grinning from ear to ear.

It seems fitting to be writing a book review today. I applied at our local library a couple of weeks ago. With my weird availability, I knew it was a long shot. I was brought in for an interview. Later, I was told that they ultimately had to find what they needed even though they wanted me. She said I was going to get an official letter telling me the position was filled, but also wanted to tell me that there may be something opening up in the next year. The letter arrived a couple of days later– on Thursday. Two rejections in a week. HA!

Then, the phone rang on Friday. What on earth?! I am going to be working at the library. THE LIBRARY!! The opening came sooner than expected. I had already given up on it. But, here we go into dream land. I love that library. I love literacy. I am so thrilled and thankful.

 

health, natural living, recommendations, Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites- Wellness Edition

Now is the perfect time to share my favorite wellness purchases from Amazon. All day yesterday, Chloe kept complaining that her head hurt. I told her it was probably from all the noise in the house. (You know the scene from the Grinch when they say “the noise, noise, noise, noise!”? That’s my house.) Anyway, I took her temperature because she felt a little warm. Hip, hip, hooray! We get fevers today!

Addi’s birthday is tomorrow and we probably are going to have to post-pone her party. Pray for her sweet heart. She is being so kind and saying that it’s ok, but I can see in her eyes that she is sad. Last year, she was the only one who didn’t have Papa P. at her birthday and she was grieving his passing greatly. Sickness in the house this year is a bummer. I told her she’ll get TWO unicorn cakes if we post-pone, so hopefully that helps.

Moving on.. My favorite purchases from Amazon for wellness. I need to re-stock some of these.

Amazon Favorites Wellness Edition

kids Vitamin D3 // No one is getting as much Vitamin D in the cooler months. This supplements in a great way.

kids multivitamin // (this one is good, too.)

kids probiotic // Gut health affects overall health. Don’t neglect it. You can refer back to this post for some information.

elderberry // (my kids prefer this liquid or these) Sambucol elderberry has actually been scientifically tested and proven. You can’t go wrong with it.

oscillococcoinum // Once flu season starts, this ends up sold out everywhere. I’d buy some now to have on hand just in case. This helps combat flu-like symptoms and is safe for kids also. Boiron is one of my favorite holistic brands. Children’s cold calm is really great, too.

Multivitamin (women) (men) // Don’t buy just any junk vitamin. Your body may not absorb the fake nutrition, and you are basically throwing away money. Get a good quality vitamin and you won’t regret it.

Cough Drops // These are my favorite. They taste great and actually WORK! Yes, they are pricey, but I am not popping several cough drops at a time. I’m able to use one and have it work to suppress my cough. I give these to my kids.

Chest Rub // I honestly prefer using RC or sniffleease essential oils in the place of a chest rub, but I do have this and really like it. There’s no junk in it. I’m not a fan of rubbing petroleum on my skin. (Remember, everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream.) This one is great for babies and little ones!

Probiotic // I’ve already raved about this in a previous post. But, here is a completely unsponsored plug for how much I love it.

SinuCare // I love this if I have a cold or any congestion.

Roller bottles // I use these all the time. I make oil rollers for wellness, respiratory support, head support, etc. in these. If you use oils, you should get some of these!

Don’t forget WATER! Drink tons and tons of water. If you a cute cup to drink out of, you are more likely to drink more water. It’s science. (Ok, not really, but it works for me.)

 

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not a doctor. Don’t take this as medical advice, and always ask your doctor! I’m simply sharing what we have used and love. 

 

Uncategorized

Taking Inventory

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I haven’t done one of these in a while. I’m trying to shake this funk that I’m in today. I’ve had a rotten week, and I am so ready for the weekend. The weekend is really just a rushed Sunday because Scott works six days a week, which leaves me stranded at home all. the. time. I’ve been really uninspired and grumpy.

Making: I’m still trying to decide on pork chops or a chicken recipe from Against All Grain. Can I just order Chinese takeout instead?
Drinking: coffee. Always coffee. From the mug in the above picture because I love it and sing this song from October-December!
Reading: What Alice Forgot. Janssen never steers me wrong. (I also have My Lady Jane ready to read next after reading this post of hers!)
Wanting: A nice jacket. I scored an incredible deal on a j crew jacket. It was a dream. Then, I got an e-mail from them saying that they cancelled my order because they over sold it. I didn’t find out until the day after it was supposed to arrive! I’m so upset and back at square one.
Watching: I haven’t had time to watch much of anything lately. I always turn on Gilmore Girls while I fall asleep. I’ll never quit it.
Listening: Don’t judge me. Michael Buble’s Christmas album. I KNOW! I’m ashamed of me, too.
Wishing: I’m not even going to answer this.. my answer is too depressing and I don’t want to be in a funk!!
Enjoying: When Scott walks in the door. The girls all squeal and run to him yelling DADDY!!! and it is the sweetest ever.
Loving: The time I get with Scott after the kids finally fall asleep. It’s only a few minutes, but I cherish every second with him.
Hoping: I have been planning to make some fun “spider cookies” (from this cookbook). I hope today is the day we have time!
Needing: To bake the cake for Addi’s birthday this weekend and wrap her presents. She is so fun when she opens presents. Everything is so exciting to her. Unicorn birthday #2 is coming at you! (She also wanted a unicorn birthday last year.)
Wearing: These jeans. Target had a sale and certain jeans were only $15 a pair. They are stretchy and comfy. NO DISTRESSING and dark wash! I love them. I just want flare jeans to come back! (If you join my Deals & Steals group on facebook, I’ll be sure to share the next sale!)

baby, kids, recommendations, sponsored, Uncategorized

Kick Some Booty Rash

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I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links

When I found out that I was pregnant the first time, I felt a little overwhelmed. I was 21 years old and had been married for a year and a half. I was THRILLED because I had always dreamed of being a mom. But I was also filled with so many questions. What brand of diapers is best? How do I feed this human? What if she hates me? What if I never sleep again? Are you really going to let her come home with me? I have no idea what I am doing!

I remember creating our registry. Scott and I took the list that Babies R Us (may they rest in peace) was nice enough to give us for guidance, and went to town. We scanned things that looked cute. Then, we got to the diaper aisle. Good grief. I literally scanned a bunch of the brand of diapers with the cutest designs. Diaper cream? “Butt paste sounds funny.” My sister said she liked it for her daughter. Ok, we’ll go with that. And that, my friends, is the story of how Boudreaux’s butt paste became our brand of choice for the past eight years. EIGHT YEARS! I actually dug through old pictures to find where we had Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in the background. Here’s baby Chloe almost eight years ago. It’s such a fuzzy picture, but you can see the “vintage” label.

butt paste also

All because of the eye catching name, we have had Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in our home for all of these years.  While the labels may change, the product is still amazing. Now, our youngest is mostly potty trained. She still wears a pull-up at night. Because of her sensitive skin, she still gets diaper rash. We still use Boudreaux’s butt paste in those situations. I love the rash kicking kit because of the incredible butt brush.

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I know what you are thinking. “Is it really that difficult to just use your fingers to putt diaper cream on?” No, it’s not. But, it is a heck of a lot nicer to use the butt brush and be able to continue putting pajamas on without worrying about smearing diaper cream everywhere! This mess-free silicone applicator helps parents, like me, to gently apply a thick and smooth coat of Butt Paste® on baby’s booty to form a protective barrier from wetness. It has a really cool suction cup so that you can stick it to the top of your wipes container while you finish diaper changes.

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Thanks to my nephew for his cute tush and toes.

Here is some information about Boudreaux’s butt paste that I did not know:
Created by a pharmacist and father of four, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste® was born from the need for an effective and safe solution to treat diaper rash. Made specifically for parents who don’t want to settle for anything less than the best, it uses a combination of efficacious ingredients that allow it to be tough on rash and gentle on cheeks. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste® is formulated without dyes, parabens, preservatives, phthalates and talc. Parents rely on this trusted and pediatrician-recommended diaper rash to help soothe and relieve rash discomfort from the first use and beyond. Boudreaux’s® is part of C.B. Fleet Company, Incorporated, Consumer Healthcare Company.

You can buy your own rash kicking kit over on Amazon! The rash kicking kit comes with the butt brush, original, and maximum strength butt paste. If you try it, be sure to leave an honest review! I am sure you will love it as much as we do!

Boudreaux's

Friday Favorites, kids, recommendations, Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites- Kid Edition

 

amazon favorites kids

 

I’m going to change up the Friday favorites for a few weeks and share my favorite amazon purchases. Because I shop on Amazon frequently, I am breaking them up in different categories. Last week, I shared my favorite home purchases. This week it’s on to kids. These are things that we have purchased from Amazon and LOVE.

Water Magic books // These are similar to the Melissa & Doug water wow books. These also have scent added to them, so they are multi-sensory. These are my favorite for road trips and long waits. They are virtually mess free; the biggest risk is a younger child unscrewing the lid and spilling a little water. They keep our kids quite for HOURS in the car.

Puzzle Pouch // I love that these puzzles have big enough pieces for a toddler to put together. You can easily clean them up and put them back in their zippered pouch– perfect for throwing in your bag! (These are currently in my cart, I haven’t yet purchased them. They come HIGHLY recommended though.)

Trampoline // This is so fun for kids. It does have a weight limit, so make sure your kids aren’t above that. All of my daughters have loved jumping on this thing. It’s a great way to get out energy, and it’s small enough to have inside in the LONG winter months.

Ok to Wake! clock // Our older kids were getting out of bed absurdly early in the morning. It was driving me crazy. I finally bought this clock and told them that they were not to leave there room until it was glowing green. Over time, they started sleeping until the time the light came on. It’s been a sanity saver for sure!

wood table // This table has held up through a lot. It is sturdy and strong. Chloe will still sit at it to play with Harper. It’s sturdy and doesn’t add any more bright colors to a space, which feels like a huge win. I like color, but sometimes my senses need a break!

sticker pad // These are another great thing to take on trips. We also love the faces. These keep kids entertained for so long. They still have a little mess, but nothing too terrible. I love having these on hand in the winter when we get a little stir crazy.

Bath Caddy // This bath caddy was my favorite purchase. I was sick of the crummy solutions to bath toy storage. This allows your bath toys to dry off and drain. Plus, if you have really little ones that take baths together, you can divide the tub in the event of an argument.

headphones // These are our favorite kids headphones. Chloe and Addi do each have a kids kindle that they get for a certain amount of time each day on the weekdays. I don’t want to listen to the obnoxious games, and this is a great solution. They have a sound limit, so your kids can’t hurt their ears. They are so soft and come in a lot of colors.

magnetic toys // This is a favorite toy of our kids by far. They can build whatever their mind imagines. It is so fun to see what they come up with. They are a perfect STEM toy. I love fostering creativity in our kids. The magnets in these are incredibly strong, so they can build really tall towers without them crashing down from the weight.

 

All of the above links are affiliate links. That means that should you decide to purchase anything, I will receive a small commission. Your price never changes, but it does help support my family and me. I truly am so grateful for your support of this blog and my family. It means the world to me. 

 

 

ADHD, homeschool, kids, recommendations, Uncategorized

ADHD: What Has Helped Us

ADHD

Here we are, 18 days into the ADHD and dyslexia diagnosis. I immediately started implementing some of the things that were suggested by the doctor. I also did some research for my holistic ways to help with ADHD since even the doctor didn’t feel medicating would be necessary for her. I am so thankful for that. I am NOT a doctor, so don’t take this as medical advice. I am just sharing what has worked the best for us.

10 minute breaks- I started doing ten minute breaks in between every subject. Listen, when this was suggested, I honestly wanted to cry and scream. “It is already a battle and takes way longer than it should for school. Now, I’m supposed to add in constant breaks?” Do you know what happened on the first day? She finished HOURS earlier than she had without these breaks. It has continued. The breaks are just enough for her brain to get a break, and then she is ready to dive back in and learn. We are finishing school at the time we should with these ten minute breaks sprinkled throughout the day versus less breaks and finishing at least two hours later than we should. Hallelujah.

CALMThis is a supplement that I started trying for one of my daughters that struggles with her big emotions. I realized that it would probably help with ADHD, and it sure does. It is basically a coated piece of chocolate; no yucky flavors or textures. I don’t do this every day (hello, expensive)– just on days that I can tell we may need a little extra help. It’s so great, and I highly recommend it if you have a child with big emotions that overwhelm them also!  I also really want to try out FOCUS, but I haven’t yet. The Relax-a-saurus is also a good option, but I personally am not a fan of all of the ingredients I can’t pronounce. It’s much more affordable though, so do what you need to!

FOCUS roller bottle- If you are new here– I love essential oils. I immediately sought out advice from other moms who found oils that worked for them. This focus roller bottle smells wonderful and helps so much. It is 5 drops of lavender, 5 drops of cedarwood, and 5 drops of vetiver in a roller bottle; then topped with a carrier oil. These are all really calming oils, so this would be great at bedtime as well. If you also use oils, you should check out the pocket reference. I use this all the time for finding oils to help with ANYTHING.

Wobble Seat– I bought one of these three years ago. Goodness the wiggles. I hated it at the time because she would play with the seat more than sit on it. It was just one more distraction. I pulled it back out after the diagnosis. It’s great. This disc sits right on top of the chair. She can sit in her seat and wiggle as much as she needs or wants to. This is great if you have kids that like to tilt their chair as a form of wiggling. No more flipped over chairs.

 

Again, I am not a doctor. I am not giving medical advice. Check with your doctor if you have any questions.

Doing these things has been such a game changer in our homeschool routine this month. Her grades have already improved. She feels more confident. Our days haven’t been perfect, but I don’t feel like I want to quit homeschooling anymore. I honestly was so fed up and feeling like I must be failing in every way. Now I know that we all just needed some readjusting for everyone to thrive.

Also, I realize that not everyone is like me. Everyone’s situation and experience is different. If medicine is what your child needs, then please don’t feel like you are doing wrong. Some kids really need it, and it saves them from a lot of struggle and hurt. If these things had not started helping my child, then I would have talked to her PCP about going the medication route.

Homeschooling has given us so many freedoms and options when it comes to the diagnosis’s. We have more options than the parents of kids in public or private school. I recognize and understand that. I am simply sharing our journey, so please don’t feel like you are being judged or making the wrong choices. We are all in this together and doing the best we can. We’re on the same team. ❤

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family life, Ramblings, story telling, Uncategorized, Weekending

A little Bit of This and That

Hi, friends.

It’s been a while. I’ve just been trucking along. We went to Boo at the Zoo on Friday even though it was so cold and drizzly. We actually had freezing rain in the afternoon. We told the girls that we could go on another day, but they really wanted to go. So, we bundled up and went. No crowds. Imagine that.

Let’s just ignore the mess that is my house. I clean and clean and clean. But, it seems to be fruitless.

Saturday I got to help my niece get ready for her first show choir performance. I was standing outside of the hospital room when she was born. Now, she is this beautiful thirteen year old girl doing something that I loved when I was her age. I cried. I fought tears every time she was performing, and when all of the show choir groups sang “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, I lost it.

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I don’t even know how she got so grown… or how my own daughters are so grown. Time is such a bitter enemy.

Sunday, we took it slow. Church, rest, choir practice, and church. My mom-in-law drove over and had lunch with us. I didn’t get any pictures. I think I was a zombie by that point.

Monday, my mom invited my older sister and I over for a craft night. It was so much fun. We made Christmas crafts and, yes, turned on Christmas music. (Pandora’s Hipster Holidays station is the best.) We ate snacks and chatted.. it was perfect.

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I felt pretty miserable yesterday. I haven’t been eating the way I know I should, and I’m paying for it. As soon as Scott came home, I laid down for the rest of the evening. It doesn’t help that Harper has been waking up at 4:30 every morning when Scott leaves for work. I have horrible insomnia, and only get a few hours of sleep a night if I don’t take something to help me sleep. I only take something on nights that Scott doesn’t work the next day; so once a week usually. The exhaustion paired with a terrible diet (terrible for my needs) has been a pretty rotten combination.

I rearranged Harper’s room this morning in the hopes that she won’t hear all of the noise in the driveway. What kind of person builds a house with all of the bedrooms over the REALLY loud garage doors and driveway? A cruel one.. that’s who. (whom?) She has a sound machine in her room. I just don’t get it. She can sleep through her sisters’ obnoxious noises, but not Scott leaving for work. If you have any tips to keep me from losing my mind, I’m all ears. I can’t take much more.

I hope that your week has been wonderful and you are getting wonderful autumn weather wherever you are!