My 5 Ws of Blogging

Yesterday, I posted a little re-introduction of myself.  Today, I'm talking a little bit about blogging's current role in my life!

| WHO do I blog about? |

 I blog mainly about my family.  My husband (Craig), our oldest son (Brantley - 3 1/2), and our youngest son (Holden - almost 2).  Occasionally, our miniature schnauzer (Kinnick - 8) makes an appearance, as do our extended families, friends, and neighbors.

| WHAT do I blog about? |

 I blog about our outings as a family, our home, and our life - the vacations we take, the food we eat, the toys we play with, the crafts we create, the teams we cheer for, the DIY projects we conquer, the photos I take, the weird stuff my kids say, the holidays we celebrate, the things I believe in, and the random thoughts that flow through my head on the daily.  This blog has served as my pregnancy journal (x2), a baby book (x2), and a scrapbook + diary of my life.

| WHEN do I blog? |

 With a full-time job (9 months out of the year anyway) and two boys under the age of 4, finding time to blog can be a challenge.  During the school year, I will blog after my kids go to bed (7:30pm) and/or during nap time on the weekends (and sometimes at school - shhhhhh).  During the summer, I will use the 2-hour span of nap time to blog.  But not every night and/or day.  It truly just depends on how motivated I am and how much I have to blog about.  Sometimes (usually in September) I go weeks without a single post.  During that time, I tend to be so exhausted from the start of the school year and the last thing I want to do is stare at a computer screen and expel any energy to put my thoughts into words.  Other times, all the time in the world isn't enough to blog about everything I want to!  One thing is for certain though - I've never, ever considered blogging a "job".  I really, truly enjoy blogging (you could say I'm passionate about it) and I never, ever put pressure on myself to compose a post.  If I'm not feeling it, then I just don't do it!  It's easy to spot a transparent post and I never do I want to blog because I feel like I have to.

| WHERE do I blog? |

 I typically blog from the chair in our living room.  I will prop my feet up on the ottoman and blog using our MacBook.  My blog is housed on Blogger, but I paid the small amount of money for a custom domain (so that my blog url doesn't include

| WHY do I blog? |

Plain and simple: I love documenting.  I always have.  I was the little girl who printed her photos, captioned/dated them on the back, and added them chronologically to a photo album.  I was also big time into scrapbooking back when it was popular.  Times have changed and my blog is my current {digital} version of the scrapbook/photo album, but I love that there's a diary component to it, as well.  Blogging is very therapeutic for me.  I just love, love, love writing about our life.  I also love sharing with others.  Whether it's a favorite recipe or a favorite product, I love giving advice and recommendations to others.  Oddly enough, I have always hated writing, but for some reason, blogging feels so different!  I sometimes wonder if I will still be blogging in ten years.  I sure hope so, but I honestly have no idea where life will take me.  For now, I love this number one hobby of mine and can't imagine putting down the laptop anytime soon!

Who, what, when, where, and why do YOU blog?

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A Re-Introduction

I've noticed a few new followers in recent months, many who don't know me personally, so I thought I'd take a few minutes and re-introduce myself.

I'm Sarah!  Last name = Sides, which is where the blog title comes from!  By the way, is there anything more awkward than posing alone for a blog profile photo?!  #givemeakidorsomething

I'm a 33-year old wife, boy mama, and high school math teacher.  I grew up in small town Iowa (a very unique town, actually--I blogged about it here) and headed to college at the University of Iowa after graduating in 2001.  I was certain I wanted to be a pharmacist, but two and a half years into college, I changed my mind about that.  Three years later, I graduated with a degree in mathematics and an endorsement to teach math to grades 6-12.  After substitute teaching for one semester, I landed my first job at a high school in a Kansas City suburb.  I've always been somewhat of a big city girl and I deep down I knew I'd never return to small town Iowa.  So at 24 years of age, I packed up and headed south.  I only knew of a few people in the Kansas City area, but I was excited to begin this new adventure!

Towards the end of my first year of teaching, I met Craig.  We didn't have one mutual friend, but he had a guy friend and I had a girl friend and those friends were friends with each other.  We joined said friends on the Crawl for Cancer, a pub crawl that raises money for cancer research.  I mean, if you're going to meet your husband while drinking all day, I guess that is the best case scenario?? ;)  It was a gorgeous May day, one of those first hot days of the season and everyone was in such a great mood.  I have such fond memories of that day.

A couple of weeks later on June 2, 2008, we had our first date.  It was nothing fancy (he took me to a local sports bar & grill on a Monday night), but that perfectly sums up our relationship and our outlook on life.  We've basically been together every day since.  A few weeks into our relationship, without any hesitation, I asked Craig if he thought we were going to get married.  And I only asked because I was 99% certain we both knew at that point.  That saying really is true. When you know, you just know!

A few months later, in November 2009, we brought home this little guy.  I compromised on the kind of dog we got (I wanted a furry, little white thing but we got a miniature schnauzer instead), so Craig let me name him.  Kinnick was named after the Iowa Hawkeye football stadium (I'm a big fan), so to be fair, his middle name is Allen Fieldhouse (Craig is a KU fan, Allen Fieldhouse is where the Jayhawks play basketball).  Kinnick would go back and forth between our apartments, which I should add, were only a few miles apart in the same suburb (Lenexa) in this very large metropolitan area!

10 months after our first date, in April 2009, we moved in together!  Technically, Craig purchased the house (we weren't yet engaged/married so we didn't want both of our names on the paperwork), but I was 100% involved in the search as we expected this to be our first home together.  Together, we flipped that house from top to bottom, inside and out (just a sampling here)!

A few months later, in August 2009, Craig proposed at our housewarming (turned engagement) party!  It wasn't a complete surprise, as we had looked at rings and discussed marriage on numerous occasions, but I also didn't expect it to happen then and there!

We were married in downtown Kansas City on July 10, 2010.  The day was perfect and quite honestly, it was the single most fun day/night of my life!  There's really nothing better than having everyone you love in one location and at one big party.  I did a 10-part recap of our wedding last summer for our five year anniversary.

It was three months after our wedding that I started this ole blog.  Mainly because I needed a new hobby after the wedding plans were over and done with and it seemed like the cool thing to do.

In October 2011, we found out we were expecting our first baby.  I was certain it was a girl.  I had my mind set on a girl.  I was hoping for a girl.  And then I opened a box full of blue balloons.  I was excited, don't get me wrong, but had our family and friends not been there to share in our experience that night, I might have cried.  (Just being honest here!)

Two months later, at 27 weeks pregnant, we learned of some abnormalities in our unborn baby boy's brain.  He had a condition called hydrocephalus, which meant the ventricles within his brain were enlarged.  We were told the condition could indicate a more severe condition (spina bifida) and could mean we'd have a child with special needs, it could require surgery to insert a shunt post-birth, or it could normalize and basically mean nothing.  We were sent to Children's Mercy for further testing (an MRI on our unborn baby boy's brain) and to meet with a team of specialists that included a social worker, genetic counselor, a neurologist, and a neonatologist.  The diagnosis also required monthly level 2 ultrasounds to monitor the condition.  Talk about a stressful, heart wrenching, and difficult couple of months.  We cried, we prayed, and we cried some more.

Then, at 35 weeks pregnant, during our level 2 ultrasound, we got the best news of the pregnancy.  The ventricles were measuring a normal size and just like that, things were a-okay!

I was induced three days before my due date on Friday, July 6, 2012.  My doctor induced me because, although everything looked normal via ultrasound, she preferred a few post-birth tests to confirm that.  She wanted to deliver to ensure the necessary follow-up was taken.  My body took very well to the induction meds, and Brantley Carter was born just 6 1/2 hours later at 2:38 in the afternoon.

Everything was fine and dandy until around 8pm that night when he was admitted to the NICU for some breathing issues.  Turns out, he was born with both pneumonia and meningitis.  That combination required some pretty strong antibiotics, among multiple needle pricks and even a spinal tap, and a two-week stint in the NICU.  Talk about some ups and downs and highs and lows.  First, we thought we'd have a baby with special needs, then we found out he was perfectly fine, then he was born after a very smooth labor and delivery, then he was admitted to the NICU with some pretty scary-sounding conditions (that were completely unrelated to the hydrocephalus, I might add).  We finally got to take home our firstborn two weeks later and he's seriously been smooth sailing ever since (good sleeper, easy to potty train, just a super easy kid all around)!

Shortly after Brantley's first birthday, we found out we were expecting baby #2.  A few months later, we learned it was another boy!  (I still wanted a girl, but saw some serious advantages to having another boy, so I was okay with either.)

This pregnancy was issue-free and on Friday, April 18, after teaching first, second, and third blocks (basically all day), I went into labor at school!  I didn't realize it at the time (because I was induced the first time and didn't know what to expect), but I soon realized that those period-like cramps were actually contractions!  I had also been in contact with my doctor's office that afternoon because I hadn't felt the baby move, so they told me to come in for a quick ultrasound.  I left school towards the end of the school day (during seminar) and Craig met me at the clinic around 2pm.  By that point, I was pretty certain I was in labor.  When the doctor (not mine because she had already taken off for the day) came to see me, he confirmed my thoughts on labor and said we needed to head to the hospital (across the street) immediately.  His words "Don't even stop at the gas station.  I will call and let them know you're coming."  At 6:49 that evening, sans camera, hospital bag, and everything but the clothes on our backs, Holden Beckett was born.

Nearly two years later, here we are!  Our boys are 21 months apart---currently 3 1/2 and almost 2.


  Last March, we sold our first home and moved into a brand new one about 10 miles away.  Oddly enough, this new home brought us back to Lenexa, which is where we each lived in separate apartments when we met!

Although chaotic with a full-time job and two toddler/preschool aged-boys, I am loving this life of ours.  We would love to add one more kiddo to our mix, and crazily, I would prefer #3 to be a boy!  Which, of course, means it will be a girl.  Only time will tell, I guess!

A few more things about me: I love fashion (though I don't believe in spending tons of money on clothes--Target and Old Navy for the win!), summer is my favorite, and The Bachelor{ette/in Paradise} is my guiltiest pleasure.  I take far too many photos (always have, always will) and have slowly learned the basics of manual mode since getting my first DSLR camera in 2012.  For a girl, I'm a pretty big sports fan - you can find me cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the fall and the Kansas City Royals between April and October.  I listen to mostly country music because I feel like I'm too old for most of the pop tunes these days!  I enjoy cooking/baking, mainly because eating is one of my favorite things to do!  And last but definitely not least, I love blogging and I'm very honored you have decided to follow me!  Check back tomorrow for a little post on who, what, where, when, and why I blog!

And be sure to follow all of my social media outlets:
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1st Annual Neighborhood Progressive Dinner

Our first annual neighborhood progressive dinner was a success!  If you've never heard of a progressive dinner, the idea is simple.  Generally, guests visit a new house for each course of a meal (appetizer, salad, main entree, dessert), but we decided to stick to small appetizers (plus a drink) at each house instead.  Though it was not a requirement, each set of hosts centered their ideas around a theme--Mexican, followed by Mardi Gras, followed by Italian, and ending with some gourmet desserts!  Also included at each house was an "activity".  

As I mentioned on Friday, Vanessa and I teamed up to plan a fun Mexican-themed fiesta for stop numero uno.  Our specialty drink was a Cononarita and I'm proud to say we were voted favorite drink of the night!  If you want to recreate the recipe yourself, I recommend buying some of these clips, as they worked way better than just adding the upside down bottle of beer to the glass.  I wish I would have purchased more than the eight that I did!


  For our "activity", we set up a DIY photo booth.  I used an old digital camera on a tripod and set the self-timer.  I also used my Eyefi wireless memory card so that I could immediately transfer and text the photos.  The photo booth was a major success and it proved to be a great start to the night.

I wish I would have taken more photos throughout the night, but having a husband on crutches was enough to worry about.  Oh right, the crutches.  Craig injured his knee while playing basketball on Thursday night.  The doctor thinks it's his MCL and we are awaiting MRI results, so any prayers that surgery is not necessary would be greatly appreciated!  

Of course, the selfie stick made its appearance later in the evening.  And did the neighborhood stump.  Anyone else ever play the game of stump?  It's a neighborhood favorite!

All in all, another great night with these great neighbors!  I can't wait for our second annual progressive dinner, and more importantly, our next neighborhood event that's already in the works!  (Think a kickoff to summer, drive-in movie for the kids!)

Five on Widay

Today is Friday, but it's also like my Wednesday since I only worked three days this week, so I'm gonna go ahead and call it my Widay.  How about a little Five on Widay post, cool?

| one |

Yesterday I mentioned that we have big Friday night plans.  We are doing a progressive dinner with seven of our favorite neighbor couples!  We will be visiting four different houses for appetizers, drinks, and some kind of an activity.  We drew names to see which four couples get to host and then drew names again to pair each host couple with another couple to assist.  I was paired with Vanessa (she's hosting) and together we have planned a fun Mexican theme!  I wish I could share the details, but that would give away all the fun!  Just know that there will be sombreros, Coronas, and queso. *wink wink*  If you follow me on Instagram, there may or may not be some fun photos posted later this evening (but I make no promises)!  Here's a preview...

| two |

On Monday nights, the neighbor girls and I all get together to watch The Bachelor.  Actually that's a lie.  We drink wine, chat, and try to watch The Bachelor, but when there are 5 to 9 girls in one place, it's really hard to watch.  We definitely get the jist of the show, but we may miss a few details here and there.  Anyway, this past Monday night we all also painted our nails.  Sounds like such a middle school girl thing to do, right?  Perhaps, but we used our neighbor's LED Lamp to give ourselves a DIY shellac manicure.  It was so quick, so easy, and our nails looked so good!  And now this thing is officially on my Wishlist!


| three |

Once upon a time, I had a super cute iPhone case from Society 6.  And then in December, this happened.  

First time I'd ever broken a phone and I. was. devastated.  Luckily, Apple will replace a broken screen for only $109 (plus tax).  Only.  Though that is no small chunk of change, it was definitely better than shelling out the money for a brand new, full-price phone.  Anyway, after my screen was in tact again, I decided to give in to what my husband had been saying for months.  Get a better case.  I was reluctant to get a big bulky case and I still wanted something semi-cute.  Enter this Otterbox.  It's thinner than the older versions, far more protective than my previous case, and hey, not a horrible design!!  I've had it for over a month now and I love it more than I ever thought I'd love an Otterbox.

Otterbox Symmetry Series - Poppy Petal

| four |

This weather.  Yesterday's high was like 75 degrees.  In the Midwest.  In February.  And here's our forecast for the six days.  I can absolutely handle no snow days (for the second year in a row......) with temps like this!

| five |

And finally, Tim McGraw's new song Humble and Kind.  An amazing song with an amazing message.  If you haven't heard it, or even if you're not a country music fan, it's worth the 4 minutes and 29 seconds it'll take you to listen.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Linking Up With:
Momfessionals and A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites 
September F A R M for Oh, Hey Friday
A.Liz Adventures for Five on Friday

These are my Confessions

I'm jumping on board this Confessional Thursday wagon because, well, turns out I have quite a few! And I have so much fun reading everyone else's.  Because reading everyone else's makes me feel a bit more normal!  So yeah, there's that!

Here goes...

I confess that...I currently smell like I bathed myself in essential oils.  It seems Holden passed his illness onto me, and we have big Friday night plans that I refuse to miss out on.  So peppermint + lavender + lemon and thieves oil it is!  Sorry, students...  

(And Emergen-C and Sudafed and Ibuprofen and my neti pot...surely I'll be good to go in 36 hours, right?!)

Speaking of, I confess that...I love using my neti pot when I'm stuffed up and congested.  The gunk that comes out of my nose is awesome disgusting and Craig thinks it's the weirdest thing ever, but I think it might be the best thing since sliced bread.

I confess that...I only shower every 2 to 3 days.  Definitely every other day during the work week, but it's pretty standard for me to go Thursday to Sunday without showering.  I just hate blow drying my hair, so I tend to avoid showers because of that.  Yet, Craig still asks.,. "You didn't shower today??" and seems surprised when I answer with a no.

I confess that...I shaved my legs yesterday for the first time in over a month so that I could bare them today and wear a dress (helloooooo 72 degrees!).  I just don't shave my legs in the winter.  Sorry, honey...

I confess that...I love the new Justin Bieber song.  I reminds me of what would result if Justin Timberlake and Ed Shearan's music had babies.

I confess that...I get really overwhelmed by all the blogs I follow.  I want to be supportive and follow all of my online friends among other complete strangers, but 190 blogs may be a bit excessive.  Yet I just keep finding and following new ones...

I confess that...sometimes I waste time reading my favorite blogs at school.  Gotta stay caught up somehow!!  But to be fair, I also spend time at home on school work...

I confess time I wore two different earrings to school and didn't realize it until two-thirds of the way through the day!  True story.

I confess that...I always wear my hair down at school, but the moment I get home it goes into a pony tail/bun with an elastic headband.

I confess that...I make bets with my students about bring pizza and/or doughnuts to class if there are no Ds or Fs on a test.  In my nine years of teaching (and maybe six years of making the same bet), you know how many times I've thrown a pizza/doughnut party?  Zero.  There are always kids who don't care.  Why do you think I make the bet in the first place? ;)

I confess that...the boys' bedtimes have gotten earlier and earlier in recent weeks.  Winter time + the fighting + the whining = a mama who is always more than ready for bedtime.  What used to be head upstairs at 7:20 / in bed by 7:50 pm has turned into head upstairs at 6:50 / in bed by 7:20.

I confess that...I often throw away the junky toys that come in kids' meals before my kids even know that they're there.  To the boys, it may be a fun new toy, but to me, it's clutter.

I confess that...I will put the boys in their car seats a good ten minutes before we need to leave.  I use that quite time to gather my belongings, gather my thoughts, pick up toys, or sometimes just respond to a text I may have forgotten about!

I confess that...when putting Brantley to bed the other night, I used the excuse of having to go to the bathroom to avoid the never-ending bedtime procrastination from him.  "No, Brantley, I can't look at your flashlight tonight because I really have to go potty."

I confess that...last weekend I met the young couple building a house next door to us, so naturally I Facebook stalked them 30 minutes later.

I confess that...I composed this blog post in my head as I was getting ready this morning.  You know, while I was fixing my hair with dry shampoo because this was definitely one of those no-shower days.  Because I wanted a few extra minutes of rest this morning in an attempt to feel better before tomorrow night! ;)

To read similar Confessions/Momfessions, go here.

Linking up with Jessica @ The Newly

Holden's Big Boy {Toddler} Bed

It feels like just yesterday that we moved Brantley into his toddler bed, but alas, it was over two years ago (he's in a true big boy bed now) and this weekend it was Holden's turn!!  At nearly 22 months, it's hard to believe that Holden is actually older than Brantley when we moved him (he was only 18...we were crazy!).  We weren't necessarily in a hurry with Holden, nor were we delaying the process by any means...we simply hadn't so much as considered it.  But that all changed when Holden climbed into Brantley's bed a few days ago, situated himself under the covers, and refused to move to his own bed.  He also recently transitioned from a Pack 'n Play to a cot at daycare, so all signs were pointing to a successful switch at home.  We really didn't hype the issue or plan for it in advance.  On Saturday, Craig asked if he should convert Holden's crib and on Sunday evening, he made it happen.  Holden acted like he barely even noticed.  Although, deep down I think he is proud of his new "big boy" status. ;)  We're three nights in and, as expected, he's done amazingly well.  The kid has always been a breeze at bedtime.  He just rolls over and falls asleep and doing so in his toddler bed was no different.  In trying to keep consistent with documenting #2's life, I grabbed my camera last minute to snap some photos.  I couldn't for the life of me get a photo of Holden smiling, but I assure you, he was as happy as could be!  Maybe just anxious to sleep like a big boy! ;)

Our Long {Valentine's} Weekend + A Mini Home Makeover

If I had to choose one word to summarize our weekend it would be expensive productive.

It all started on Friday morning.  We had planned to take our kids to daycare and spend the day running errands, but Holden came home sick on Thursday so we were forced to keep him home.  It was probably for the better because we had an electrician at our house for four hours on Friday morning installing seven outlets - three in the pantry, two in the {unfinished} basement, and two outside (covered deck + patio).  We wanted the pantry outlets to plug in things like a coffee maker and naturally, we needed a table to set said appliances on.

We headed to Ikea that afternoon and came home with the Forhoja cart.

And yes, our pantry is big enough to house this thing.  It's like a small room.  One of the best things about this house, in my opinion!  Speaking of, the reason we wanted a place for our coffee maker is because we were both using four to five K-cups every weekend.  We decided that it's silly to waste the money on the convenience of K-cups on a Saturday when we have the time to make a pot of coffee.  When I first got my Keurig 4+ years ago, Craig was not a coffee drinker, so the convenience of one cup of coffee was well worth it!  I still think it's worth the convenience on weekdays, but we both felt there was a better weekend option.  Anyway, our coffee maker is a coffee/espresso combo, so I re-taught myself (via YouTube) how to make a latte!  I'm not sure why it took me so many years to re-discover this thing!  My latte rivaled a $4 cup from Starbucks and I have a feeling it will be my new go-to comfort drink!

 And speaking of coffee, I also had high hopes of adding a "coffee station" to our house.  There are so many cute ideas on Pinterest.

Follow Sarah's board Coffee Station on Pinterest.

But in reality, our coffee station should probably sit next to the actual coffee maker...which is in the pantry.  So we lose the cuteness/design factor.  Nonetheless, I found a few cute pieces at Home Goods, but I can't decide how I feel about them.  Cute?  Yes!  Functional?  Probably not.  What do you think?  It is cute enough to justify keeping next to our Keurig, even if they're never used? 

Back to Friday evening at Ikea...we also got a new rug for the play area part of our basement.  It's not the prettiest of rugs, but it's very playroom-ish (surprised Craig got past the Denver Broncos colors!), and considering it was on clearance, it was about the cheapest we had seen for its size.

Mejlby Area Rug

Oh, and also new dinnerware.  Because Ikea is like Target in that you can't just go and get what's on your list!  Besides, our old plates were in major need of replacing.  They were chipped and red.  But mostly just red.  I'm so over anything and everything red.  Dinnerware sets are so inexpensive at Ikea so it was basically a no brainer.

 Moving on.  My parents also came to visit this weekend.  They arrived late on Friday night.  We didn't do anything major, which means I didn't take any photos.  Just lots of hanging out and playing cards.  My mom and I did a little shopping--we discovered the store Versona and fell in love!  I would describe it as a trendy store for non-teenagers!  My parents also gave us a much-appreciated break from the boys' bedtime routines on Saturday night.  It felt so nice to relax on the couch, while someone else read books for a change!

Our Valentine's Day was pretty low key.  I attempted a festive breakfast, but the idea worked way better in my head than in real life.  Isn't that always how it goes?  These were the best of the best in terms of the pancakes that actually turned out heart-shaped.

After breakfast, we took my parents to the church we have been attending and then said our good-byes as they left the 50-degree weather and headed back to snowy Iowa.  Later that evening, I baked a homemade heart-shaped pizza with heart shaped pepperoni (inspired by Liz).  It turned out way better than the pancakes and this might be my new Valentine's dinner tradition!

Craig and I ended our Valentine's Day in the most romantic way possible - watching The Bachelor at 20 special!  I mean, I'm sure that's exactly what Craig had in mind! ;)  Good thing neither of us care about celebrating this "holiday"!

On Monday, we took our kids to daycare so that we could run the errands we didn't get to run on Friday.  But first, breakfast!  Just the two of us at The Big Biscuit.  It was so nice to sit and enjoy each other's company (and hot coffee) without whiny, needy kids in tow!

(By the way, I really do love my kids, but without family around, we rarely get a break from the norm!  So I apologize for what seems like an under-appreciation of my mama status!)

After breakfast, we headed to World Market in search of the globe/orb light fixture I had my eyes on.  We came home with each of the two fixtures I linked to on Friday...and then some - a light fixture for our breakfast nook, a new wall clock, and a wire organizer for above the Ikea table in our pantry.

We fell in love with this light fixture because it matches those we added above our island (from Lowe's--see below) about a month ago!  We still need to add an old fashion bulb, but we love it in comparison to the boring, old, builder-grade fixture from before!  (Here are the Lowe's above-island pendants.)

I also love this wall clock!  It gives our house the perfect farmhouse/fixer-upper feel without having to buy all new things!

And finally, the rack above the table in the pantry.  I really love this new space of ours, even if it is hidden inside the pantry!

Like I said, I was quite the weekend!  Expensive, as my husband would say, but productive in my mind!  We have yet to hang the orb fixture, but I already feel like our house got a mini makeover, which is always fun, right??   There were a few more highlights to our weekend but more on that to come!

Four-day weekends are the best!  Except when four days turn into five because of a sick kid.  Again.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine's and/or long weekend!