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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Staying in a state of gratitude.

Last night we had our weekly community group/Bible study. Our pastor handed us all a piece of paper that said "A journal of thanks..." at the top. I thought, Awesome. I love making lists of what I'm thankful for!

And without really listening I started jotting things down. The teacher in me should know better. Wait for instructions, Katie.

So that's when he told us that he wanted us to really hone in and focus on TODAY only. So, to start from the time you woke up, and really try to dwell on the little things (or big things) you were thankful for specifically in that day only. 

Naturally, I had to scratch out my first I-didn't-listen list and start over on the back. 

My list looked something like this.

Today:
-Waking up to Emeline smiles
-Cuddling in bed with her
-That my momma snuggles could comfort her when she fell
-Safety while traveling in the car
-My friend Kristen & being able to open up with her
-Chick-Fil-A playdates (and the food) :)
-Naptime
-Productivity during naptime (getting work done)
-Encouragement I got via email from readers
-My health & the fact I can run a 5K on the treadmill
-My husband getting home early
-A hot shower
-New Makeup
-A warm dinner/food in the cabinets
-In-laws babysitting & caring for Eme
-My helpful husband
-This small group

We kind of went around the room and people shared if anything on their list surprised them. You know, when you actually took a few seconds to THINK about your day, and the little things you're grateful for...did anything on your list surprise you? Something you may forget about daily, or take for granted...etc.

So I spoke up and mentioned that a few months ago, I would have never, ever written anything about running. But that when I really think about it, I'm grateful that my body can even run, when there are a lot of people who physically cannot run at all. So, instead of looking at it as a "I have to run"...this list kind of switched my focus to "I get to run". I am able to run. 

My friend spoke up about how on her list? She wrote how she walked to her closet that morning, and CHOSE what she wanted to wear. She had options. She has clothing. And some people don't have that luxury. A small thing that I know that I often take for granted. 

My other friend talked about how her foster baby (who is leaving today) let her, for the first time, hold him and he fell peacefully asleep in her arms. He normally pushes away and doesn't allow her to cuddle him much. But that sweet act of a sleeping baby on her chest just blessed her. And reminded me of how even that, in and of itself, is a gift. 

He encouraged us to consider taking a few minutes each evening to keep a list, a daily gratitude journal, where you do what we just did. Walk through your day and think about the simple things, the big things, the normally mediocre things, that we're thankful for. 

That staying in a state of thankfulness and gratitude actually keeps us closer to God, and connected. 

So I'm going to start doing this. Or trying to, anyway. 

You might be amazed at some of the things on your list like we were. 

Anyone up for the challenge?



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Tis the season.

"Would you like to donate a dollar to St. Judes?"

"Would you like to donate money to Joe's Animal Shelter?"

"Would you like to donate to Ronald McDonald house?"

I'm sure you hear this all the time out of the person ringing up your items at any unmentioned store name. It's the time of the year after all. And I know I've mentioned before that I pretty much never pass up the chance to give. It just feels...wrong. But I understand that it's a personal thing.

A few weeks ago Declan and I were having a hardcore budget conversation. You know, he runs the 'books' in this family. He keeps me and my spending in line (or tries too). I often get a lecture monthly about my Target spending. It is what it is. Anyway. 

I was at the drugstore picking up a few things last week with the budget talks fresh in my mind. I was ringing out when the sweet cashier asked me if I wanted to donate $5 towards diabetes awareness and then get a page of coupons in exchange for it. I stopped.

I hesitated.

Normally I just say "sure" without really thinking twice about it. 

But again. Budget talks ringing in my ear. 

And that's when I word vomited to the cashier. As in, totally, completely, went TMI OVER THE LINE. Yea. That happens sometimes to me.

"You see, um. Crap. I love to give to those things. I always give to them. But, see, I keep getting in trouble for my money spending by my husband, and well...shoot. I'm gonna say no this time. I mean, I feel terrible. Ugh. This is so hard for me. But no. I'm gonna say no this time. I'll probably get one next time, anyway."

See? 

A simple no would have done just fine, Katie. But instead I felt horrible. I felt like I had to justify myself. I felt like a douchebag. So I just started saying too much, and in the meantime threw my husband under the bus. Bad move, Katie. Bad move

The cashier just kind of shrugged and didn't really seem to care about my shenanigans. And then? That's when she said it (after I was already ALL CHECKED OUT and practically walking out the door). 

"My daughter has diabetes. So it means a lot to me."

Motherefferfjalkdjfioweqjfiajilfjlkjaklfjkk

Yep. I'm such a jerk. And I felt like one in that moment. I always add the extra money. I ALWAYS buy the dang coupon card. WHY NOT THIS TIME?

And then that's when I said, "My father-in-law has diabetes too, actually" (Insert a few expletives that were playing in my head...) and then I practically ran out of the door feeling like the worst human being ever to live.

It wasn't good. I should have bought the dang coupon card for diabetes awareness. 

I came home and told Declan, and he was like, "YOU DIDN'T DONATE? DUDE, MY DAD HAS DIABETES."

And so with that. I say. Donate people. 

Truly.

Donate. 

----

*In all honesty, I take 'giving' very seriously and don't ever talk publicly about the extent of what we do. I feel that's a private matter between me, my husband and God. Seriously. My husband wouldn't ever encourage me not to give, what he wanted me to do was stop spending so much money at Target. :)  But, this is just one of those lighthearted, I-felt-like-a-douche moments that had to be shared with the world. Because I'm self-deprecating like that. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Pondering, barf buckets & anyone want in on my book exchange?

I have so many things swirling around in my brain right now, you guys. So many.

It's been way too long since I've written anything of substantial element. There's so many things to write about, but how do I choose? I feel like it will just all come out as word vomit, no matter how hard I try. So here it goes.

-Why are holiday weekends always so amazingly glorious, only to be ripped right out of your hands so fast? It's like, you blink and it's Monday morning, as if that wonderful, awesome, fun-filled weekend was just a tiny little blip in this thing called life. Dramatic much? I think not.

-I have my Winter Bucket List printable almost done for you, but my hubby is helping me out by tweaking it a bit. I've seen other bucket lists out there on Pinterest already, but I've gotten a few emails this week and tweets asking about me offering it/wondering when it will be coming. So--if you already have one? No big deal. But I'll be offering you one sometime this week I hope. So check back.

a sneak peek:

-The house is all decorated for Christmas, and for some reason, this year? It was NO big deal. Last year I remember hating it. I literally despised every pine needle that fell from our fake tree, and all the decor, and all the clean up, and the boxes, oh the boxes. But this year it was just easy, and quick. And the house looks all twinkly and sparkly. And hearing my toddler say "Pretty Tee" (pretty tree) is so.damn.cute. Surprisingly enough? She isn't really messing with the tree. Cross your fingers.


-Declan and I ventured out for Black Friday (which is a whole post in and of itself) with a goal of getting the vacuum we wanted. Yep. We've reached our pinnacle "We're Old" moment. Going out for a friggin' vacuum. But whatever. My mom & dad kept Emeline overnight, so we spent a few hours sitting in the cold, drinking coffee, under a blanket, wrapped around the side of the local Target. And then we got in there, and you better believe we got ourselves our most-wanted Dyson....for $150 off plus my 5% red card discount. Oh yea, buddy. And? It was worth it. We were out of there by 12:13am. 

-My sweet girl got her first stomach bug this weekend, and honest to goodness, it was so sad. She sat on the couch next to me watching Elf with her little barf bucket. Thankfully, it was short lived, because within about six hours she seemed good as new again. 


-The rest of the weekend she just seemed like such a big girl to me, I couldn't even stand it. Yes, I'm enamored by this child on a daily basis. I can't help it. 

-Lastly, I got suckered invited to participate in a children's book exchange. I'm sure a ton of you have heard of it by now, but basically, you send one book, mail out the information to six of your friends, and then your child should receive 36 books free. If it works out? It's amazing. So, I need SIX people who are willing to participate (which means purchasing & sending one book, but with hopes of receiving a ton back for your kid). If you want to? Let me know in the comments & leave your email. Ok? It should be fun. I hope. If it works, you know. ;) ***I got all 6 participants. Thank you!!

Okay. So, there you have it. A bunch of word vomit. 

Happy Monday, friends.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Moments

This month I haven't picked up my camera all that much. Which is....weird for me. Really weird, actually. It's normally at an arms length of me at all times. I'm just so much afraid of missing moments.

I broke out the 'ole camera for Thanksgiving, of course. When I got home and uploaded my photos, I realized two things. 1.) I took a freaking ton of pictures (uh. duh. What's new?) and 2.) They were mostly of moments. Little, sweet moments. Not staged pictures. No real family shots of anyone. Just moments.

And honestly? I kind of liked it that way. While I won't have a family picture to compare for years to come or whatever, the really sweet moments that were had this Thanksgiving are more memorable anyway. Because they're genuine. In the moment. And truly remind me of just how wonderful this Thanksgiving was.


***

And with that....the holiday's have begun.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Full belly, warm heart.

Guess what I'm doing all day today?

Baking pies. My apple pies to be precise. And if you've ever seen me in the kitchen, let's just say--it's not graceful, by any means. I'm like that girl on a sitcom, with flour on her face, checking her recipes on her laptop in between cracking the eggs, all while spilling half the ingredients on the floor and dirtying more dishes than you can imagine.

It's not pretty. Nothing about my baking is pretty.

But the result? Is great. Fantastic actually. Go make my apple pie.

So yep. It's Thanksgiving time. How? I have nogoshdarnearthlyidea how it got to be this time of year, already. But it's upon us.

And while I try to remain in a thankful state of mind as often as possible? I do love me some Thanksgiving (not just for the food, although that helps), but because to me, it IS one of the best holidays ever.

Okay, so I love The Food. Like, I dream about it. But I also love that Thanksgiving does cause people to slow down for a moment and really reflect on those things they're most grateful for. I also love that there is no stress and undo pressure of gifts. It's just a holiday about family, food and gratefulness--(okay, and football).

It's kind of a full belly, warm-heart type of day. I love that.

And now I sound like a Hallmark greeting card.

But, it's true. I'm grateful! I've had so many moments in the last week in particular that I've just felt so beyond thankful. Big things, small things. Goals, accomplishments, hardships and victories. Health. That hysterically funny and adorable toddler I get to call my own. That sweet man of mine who wows me every time with his thoughtfulness. My family. Our families. My special sisterly bond. My furry pup. This warm house. A job that allows me to stay home. Food on the table. Working vehicles. A church we love. A community we care about. Hobbies & passions. Naptime (yes, I'm grateful for naptime). The outlet I've found in running. TV shows that make me laugh. That warm, fuzzy blanket I like to cuddle under. Past friendships restored. New friendships formed. New seasons of life. All of it.

I'm grateful.

I hope no mater where you're at in life, you can dig up some things you're grateful for, too.

And so, with that...its back to making my kitchen look like a war zone.

Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving, all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My very, very happy day.

It was the buttcrack of dawn on Saturday morning when my sister, Susan picked me up. She handed me the most adorable pair of hot pink flower stud earrings and said Here, I thought you'd like these, they match your gear. I squealed with delight, because of course I like to wear earrings when I run (I mean, come on), but now I had a pair that matched my gear, like she did.

We were all ready.

On the drive there we had a bunch of holy crap who are we? moments. I mean, getting up early, in 28 degree (freezing.cold.brrr) weather, on a Saturday, to go run a race. I mean, I get it. People do this all the time, and now we're one of them.

I had the pre-race jitters. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how quickly 600 people would spread out and I'd feel at times like we were running the race alone. But I did know one thing. I was doing it, I wasn't going to stop, I had trained for this....and? I was ready. Plus there was a whole wonderful group of sweet girls that were running it, too...and that was nice.

I had my supporters list with me. My iPhone geared up and ready to go. My family came to support. My baby, came, all bundled up (and rudely awoken from her bed) to cheer her momma on. 
Just as we were all squished together at the start line, a really nice girl caught my eye and said I read your blog! (hi Sarah!) In that moment, I may have been slightly embarrassed, but I'm not gonna lie, it was also oddly motivating. Holy crap, I really have to do this. You know, that run I talked, and talked, and talked about for weeks days on this blog. She also told me that I'm more beautiful in person, and that may or may not have been the sweetest and flattering thing any stranger (although we have mutual friends) has ever said to me. But seriously. 

Then, before I knew it, the race started. Me and my sister were right beside each other, evenly pacing ourselves, doing this thing. It felt awesome. And cold. I remember telling my sister that my toes were actually numb and they kinda hurt. Eventually, I think they warmed up. That, or I forgot about them.
It felt great. Everything about it felt good. Our pace was faster than normal (which I hear is typical with race-day-hype), and it seemed to fly by fast. We ran a steady pace the entire time, chatted here and there, but mostly listened to our music and just kept running. There was nothing more motivating than having my big sister by my side. Truly.

I only got teary-eyed at one point when we passed our team of "cheerleaders" at our first lap and halfway point. Seeing my husband, baby girl & parents there just got me. I started getting all choked up and tears kinda flew out of my eyes. I said something to my sister like, Ohmygosh that was so emotional, and then wiped my eyes real fast before I became a blubbering mess. I guess I'm a sap. But in that moment I just felt so....good. I felt so supported.
At this point, I think I was already looking forward to the finish line, the hype, the fun stuff, you know. When we came around the last corner I just remember thinking we are so close! We sprinted the last leg of it, and I heard the cheers of my friend Kristen, who had finished shortly before. She was my running accountability the last few weeks and I'm so glad we got to run this race 'together' per say.

As we got closer, it was so nice to start to hear the cheers from my family. Just as we were approaching the finish line my iPhone came FLYING out of the case and I caught it mid-air (while sprinting), and it kinda of threw me off. So, with my phone in hand, in a bit of a tizzy, we came a running through the finish line (and I looked a bit sloppy). 

But it still felt amazing.
we came in at official time of 33:07!
There is no one else I'd rather run beside than my sister. We've come so far this last year and this truly felt like the icing on the cake! Such a privilege, really.
It was so great to see my husband and sweet girl at the end. Sadly, I have no pictures of Declan that morning, but I swear he was there--and cheering me on like the best of 'em. I love that man and his support means the world. Later that day this gorgeous bouquet of flowers showed up at my door with the  most beautiful note. 
Nothing could wipe the smile off my face on Saturday and the sense of accomplishment I felt. 

Is it addicting? This whole running thing?

Well, I signed up for another 5k which is in 13 days. You tell me. :)

****

Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The goodness of the internet.

I have a folder in my inbox that's labeled "WOW emails". As in, emails that wow-me. Emails that humble me. Emails that get me misty eyed. Nice, encouraging, remind-me-why-I-do-this emails.

Today, I came home from swim lessons with Emeline, got her down for a nap, and opened up my laptop. I had a bunch of emails to scroll through and started doing just that.

I was feeling a little down, I'll admit. Just a few situations in my real life that have left me a little discouraged. I'm a person with real feelings, too. Sometimes I like to think that I don't let situations, words said (or not said), and everyday stuff get to me. But, I'm human, and I do. So I was kind of dealing with that this morning.

And I think God knew I needed a little boost. Because I opened up my email and saw this little gem of an email, and well, I asked her permission (and I won't be sharing her name for privacy), but she's letting me share it with you.

"Dear Katie,

I am ______, a 17 year old girl from small town Pennsylvania and I am a 100% fan of yours. I started reading your blog a few months ago, just happened upon it, and I can tell you that you have taught me some lessons through your self discovery.

Your beauty shines through your posts. Seriously. Your sincerity and genuine heart are so real, and as you push yourself to accomplish your goals, I can only hope I can be like you. Your daughter will be so proud of you. That is the type of things daughters, like me, love in their mama. Their drive to achieve excellence! You have it! The fact that you are able to inspire yourself to push and push and push, means that your daughter is lucky enough to have that strong woman behind her, encouraging her.

I wanted to write you this email to say thank you! You are an incredible woman. I want to give you a hug and be your friend! (haha), but I will just continue reading your blog instead. Thank you for inspiring people. I hope you know that your blog doesnt just interest people of your own age, but a young girl like me who is beginning that same soul searching experience.

You are a doll!
_____"

Insert speechless face here. 

I've gotten amazing emails before. Heck, that's why I have a folder. But, this sweet, young girl took the time to email me, encouraging me from where she's at. She didn't know that timing was perfect. She didn't know how much I needed to hear this this morning. But she took a little bit of time out of her day to send an encouragement to me, and it meant the world.

I love this blog, for so many reasons, but one of them is for this. That I can connect to people, regardless of age, place in life, location, etc---somehow. That they can connect with me, and vice versa. It makes me just remember why I like writing. Why I like chronicling my journey, sharing my weaknesses and sharing my victories.

This touching little email was a reminder to me just how far one small act can go. 

So, thank you for that. Thank you, dear.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More Stuff on Running, supporters & my Playlist.

I know. It's all about running up in here--who have I become? really? But, it'll be back to normal around here shortly. But this week, I'm getting pumped as you know. 

Yesterday, I pretty much had a perma-smile ALL day. Your comments? oh.my.gah. Thank you, so much. Truly. I had a moment in the car yesterday on the way home from Target. Where I literally just let myself truly reflect on how far I've come in the last year, and I cried. I don't think I've let myself really do that yet. I was just so filled with gratefulness. Not only am I someone who just lost the weight, but I'm getting fit. Something I never thought I'd be.

I let myself splurge (as *splurging* as Target can be) on some better running gear. Up until this point I've been wearing a hodge podge of things to run in, mainly my $5 walmart tights, that truly? Didn't do the trick in holding it all in. 

So this? Is much better. I feel good.

I was floating yesterday. Literally. Between the blog comments, and then the instagram comments on the above photo using words like "skinny" and "hot". Um? Okay. I mean, those are not normally words in my vocabulary, but goodness gracious, did it make a girl feel good. Indeed. 

I think the high of the day had me anticipating my run that evening so much. All the support. All the encouragement. I was pumped up and ready to run. And so last night? I completed my first ever 5K distance, which I guess means one thing---I'm ready for Saturday!!

So what if I'm not 'fast'--I ran the whole time!

When my run was done, I practically flew in the door to tell Declan with tears in my eyes that I DID IT! I did it! I can run a 5K! He was more than supportive. He just kept saying how proud he was of me and how far I've come since January. He's all "you're a real life story of success, babe"...he's so sweet, that man.

So this morning, I decided to weigh myself for the first time in weeks. As you know I've stopped counting points and doing weight watchers officially a month or so ago. I thought I had been maintaining pretty well. But, it turns out, I have lost another 2'ish lbs! I think I can attribute that to running. So this means my actual weight loss is 47lbs total. Fourty-Seven. Holy. 

Then, I started writing down the names of those of you supporting me. And I was humbled. 

And since you asked me to share my running playlist with you? I figured, why not? So what if I listen to dirty music that pumps me up to run? Maybe it'll help motivate some of you, too. So here's my list. Of course, it's longer then needs be--but these are just some of the songs that help me to power through.

You Make Me Feel-Cobra Starship

DJ got us falling in love-USHER

Fire Burning-Sean Kingston

Party in the USA- Miley Cyrus

Love you like a Love Song- Selena Gomez

Just a Dream- Nelly

Umbrella-Rihanna

We R who we R- Kesha

Sexy & I know it- LMFAO

Tik Tok- Kesha

Don’t stop the music-Rihanna

Moves like Jagger- Maroon5

Dynamite-Taio Cruz

Blow-Kesha

ET-Katy Perry

Disturbia-Rhianna


****

I can't thank you enough. This week has been awesome so far.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Warm fuzzies & race support. Wanna come with me?

The 5K is Saturday.

I. am. excited.

I am also nervous. But we won't go there. We won't. 

Because, you guys--I am running! A 5K! Which to me? Is a lot! And I am so excited, proud, and just all around happy about it. I still dislike running. But? I'm doing it. I'm doing it.

Last night I was on Twitter, and chatting it up with some ladies about my running playlist, about running capris, about my love for Kesha and her catchy tunes. You know, the usual. When one of my sweet friends, Aly said, "2011 has so been your year!!!"

And I have to admit. 2011? Yep. I have totally, completely, and utterly kicked 2011 in the proverbial ass butt. I have! I mean, when I think about the fact that 2011 is coming to an end soon, I cannot.even.believe where I started. I can't.

In fact, it's making me a little teary eyed to even think about it. And that at the beginning of this year, on January 3rd, I made a conscious decision to change my life. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but ultimately, I changed my life. It was, indeed, a lifestyle change. And dang it, I am SO GLAD I DID.

I went from an overweight, unhappy-with-my-body, frumpy and unconfident person to now. And now? I'm....fit. I live an active lifestyle. I run. I'm 44lbs smaller. I'm confident. I can chase my toddler around. I can run up flights and flights of steps all.day.long in my 3-story townhouse and not get out of breath. I'm healthy. And most of all, I'm really, really happy. 

And here's the part where I get sappy. (You thought I was already sappy didn't you? Oh. Just. Wait.)



I heart you guys.

I don't give my blog readers enough credit. But, sometimes? Your encouragement was what pushed me on. Sometimes, when I was running and dreading it? I remembered your words. Or the email I got from you. Or when you use humbling words like inspiration and motivation when referring to little 'ole me. I remembered that. And it kept me going for longer. It kept me running. It kept me tracking points. It kept me watching what I put in my mouth. It spurred me on.

And seriously.

Seriously.

Hear me. Please.

Thank you.

I so mean that. With every ounce of my being.

So, I kind of want to take you all with me, you know, in my race on Saturday. And since that's physically impossible, I want to carry a piece of all of you who supported me along the way, somehow. And it may be cheesy as hell, but I mean it. 

If you've supported me, at all, along any of this journey---the weight loss, the running, whatever--please comment. 

I'm following the lead of my girl Aly when she did her Triathalon this past August--and she wrote down all the names of her supporters. Anyone who sent her encouraging tweets, blog comments, calls, texts---and it gave her a lot of motivation. I want to do the same. Except, I will fold that piece of paper up with all the names and stick it in my bra. It will go with me.

That's right. Your name will be tucked up there in a special place between my ladies. But that's neither here nor there. 

This is so important to me.

I honest-to-god KNOW that this will be motivating for me. No matter if I'm still feeling under the weather that day (please pray for me to get better, thanks ;)), or whether I'm fully recovered. Your support means the world.

I appreciate you all so, so, so very much.

So. Comment. If you want to, you know, come along in my bra for my big 5K.

And again, thank you. If I could reach through my screen and hug every one of you, I would. Support, love, emails, thoughts, prayers, encouraging words....all of those things have come from you, from this little blog. And I appreciate it more than words can say.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cannot.Believe.

I can't believe....

...that my 5k is this weekend. I am so very excited, and so very nervous. And so very thankful I'm doing this. And so very---surprised. I just brushed running off....it's not my thing. But maybe it is more than I think. So, I'm doing it. 

I can't believe that my mailman has already delivered a box of Shutterfly Christmas Cards to my door. I mean, how can I already have my cards? Am I really that on top of things? This seems impossible.

I can't believe how much junk you acquire over the years. Holy cow. We spent the better part of yesterday going through our garage, the spare bedroom, and closets. It's ridiculous how much stuff we have. Stuff is so stupid. Maybe if I had a place to put it, but not in this house.

I can't believe that my family will be home on Wednesday from Romania! This past week went a lot faster than I thought it would, but I miss them and I'm ready for them to come home.

I can't believe that I broke my own cardinal rule of NO christmas music before Thanksgiving. I don't know what's gotten into me, but once my husband got me Justin Bieber's album, I just had to listen to it. And I give it a two thumbs up. But, I mean, are you surprised?

I can't believe that we spent our Friday night driving well over an hour away to pick up a new baby monitor from the only Babies-r-Us that had what we wanted in stock. Declan and I both laughed & shook our heads at the things we'll do for these little humans. Gotta love 'em.

I can't believe that I tried my first ever peppermint mocha from Starbucks and was kind of disappointed. I'll stick with my soy chai from now on. I'm never happy when I change it up. But, dang, I really wanted to love it. 

I can't believe that this little 18 month pistol-of-a-toddler is mine. Gah. She is so cute. And I know she's my kid and all but there were like a million times this weekend I'd look at her and think, Omigoshh how did you get so big? And? You're so stinking adorable.


I can't believe that it's Monday already. The horror.

Try your best to have a happy one!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Random-talk Friday.

Some random talk.

1. Remember when I blogged about AppSmitten a few weeks ago? Well they have this new Thanksgiving Guide up. Basically? All the apps you need to get ready for the holidays. I downloaded an app called TGI Black Friday a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it already. If you're a Black Friday shopper? It will save you SO MUCH TIME and money. It's awesome. It shows you all the deals already in the works so you can plan your Black Friday shopping accordingly.

Go download it. And check out the rest of their Thanksgiving must-have apps. Thank me later.

2. I don't really chat much about the fact I do blog designs on the side. But there is a little tab up at the top of my page, that has some of my work in there. I'm not one of those designers who does the crazy fancy stuff with fake cartoon characters. Sorry. But I do work well with you, and am more than happy to help you come up with something you'll love.

I'm also pretty quick at it. And relatively cheap. And Christmas is coming up so I'm all about stashing away a bit of money for some special gifts for my family. So, this is the time of year I'll plug my little side business.

3. I took more photos this week. This time, of my brothers adorable family. I love them so, so much. The family, I mean. And the photos. The whole Flickr set can be found here.



Sigh. Such a cute family, yea?

4.  My brain? Is gone. Officially. One day this week I got up early, got us dressed (Before 9am. Seriously. That's an accomplishment.), and all ready to go shopping at Target for some groceries. It's about a 20 minute or so drive, but totally worth it for Target in my opinion. Anyway. Went to get some coffee at Chick-Fil-A drive-thru (ok. and maybe was dying for some chick-n-mini's), when I went frantically looking for my wallet.

I FORGOT MY WALLET.

As in, left at home. Not a single item in my diaper bag that I could even barter the lady at chick-fil-a for. SERIOUSLY. It was a catastrophe. A nightmare. My heart kind of sunk.

Dang.

So, not only was I driving without a license--but I couldn't get my breakfast, OR our shopping done, and I had just wasted time and gas. So annoying. I felt kind of helpless. And also grateful that at least my gas tank wasn't on empty or something. That would have sucked.

Now that you know how big of an idiot I am--that's that.

5. You know I have a Facebook page for my blog, right? Basically it's just another way I can connect with you. I like to keep my personal facebook kind of...personal? Yea. So, it just works out better for me to have a blog one where I can interact with many of you. So if you haven't gone over there and liked it, be my guest.


Thank a Veteran today on this special 11/11/11 Veteran's day.

Alright lovely people. Happy, happy weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

18 Months Old



Dear Emeline,

You are 18 months old today. 
One and a half years old. I know, I know---I cannot believe it. Time has flown by. Although I've stopped writing you monthly letters, I just kind of feel like this is a milestone I should document. It's that last peak before you are officially not a baby anymore. And you are so stinkin' cute. 

You have an infectious joy about you. You smile at everyone. You say hi to anyone who will meet eyes with you. You even greet our spanish speaking friends with "Hola!" You wave & dance & twirl like no other. You love people. So much. That was one of our prayers for you, and your Daddy and I laugh about how much it came true. That is a gift, Emeline. Truly.

You are so silly. You love to point at your belly. You know the names of body parts, and will point to them on command (ears, eyes, toes, feet, hands, cheeks, etc). You know animal sounds and your favorite book is the one with pictures of 100 animals. You love books, especially ones with Elmo. You totally love Dora. You find Dora every where. You cry when the show ends. In tears you come up to me and say "Uh Oh, where dora go?" It's actually really pathetic, sad, but oh so cute. You have one pair of pj's with a non in-your-face Dora character on them, and you KISS the shirt. You love Dora that much.

Speaking of which. You have exploded in the words/phrases category this month. Like, holy cow. You are putting words together, making mini-sentences and all. I understand most of what you're saying now, and it makes me happy that you can communicate with me your needs. When your hands get dirty, you say, "I dirty", and when you want to be clean, you say, "All Kean!" You say so many adorable things. You even copy my not-so-cute phrases, like "Oh Geez" and "Oh Shoot".  Your momma has some work to do in that department.

You love taking walks with me. But you want to walk. You want nothing to do with that stroller nonsense. It makes going to the mall/Target/shopping kind of hard these days. You hate being strapped down and into anything. You are a free spirit. 

You love your milk. But you are still a picky eater. Some days we get a decent amount of food in you, and other days feel like a big, fat fail. But, I just remember that you are a healthy little lady, and I thank God for vitamin supplements on those days.You are getting better. I just tell myself that this too shall pass. Like everything else, I guess.

You love your swim lessons. You love the playground. You go down the big kid slides all by yourself and act like you need no help at all. I still can't believe you do all that stuff alone already. You love visiting the farm and seeing the animals. You also love to visit your Daddy at work and know exactly where to find him in that big building. You know what the Chick-Fil-A building looks like and when we go near it you say "Cheek-In!"  and "nummy!" (yummy). It's both pathetic and cute. And a sure sign we eat there too much.

You seem to be getting tall. You can reach all the drawers now and get into much more than you ever did before. I believe you weigh about 23lbs and you're in mostly 12-18 month clothing. You're a size 3.5-4 shoe, and a size 4 dipe. You're petite, but perfect in every way.

One point five years with you has been awesome. You are a delight. Exhausting (it's true). A ray of sunshine. A joy. And my silly little sidekick. I enjoy you so much, sweet girl. You are so, so loved.

Happy 18 months.

Love, 

Momma


                           

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Poof. Fluff, per say.

We aren't feeling good over here today. And somehow, it got translated from kid, over to mom (aka: caregiver), which is so.not.fair. Especially when my sister and parents are out of town and I can't beg ask them to help a sister out. So, anyway. I need some fluff today on here. Fluffy, fluff, fluffiness.

I stole this from someone, who stole it from someone else, who stole it from someone else. Honestly, right now, in this moment. I don't remember. I think I got it from Rachel. Yes, Rachel. Thanks m'dear. 

Guilty pleasure?
I'd say Justin Beiber--but, I'm so open & honest about it nowadays that quite frankly, it doesn't feel that guilty pleasuresque anymore. Every once in a while, I'll get stuck on a Real Housewives marathon or something. So maybe that's one. Or perhaps my love for foul rap music (especially while running), I mean, the hype. The beat. I kind of love it.

Recent splurge?
After 3 years of looking at UGG's, contemplating them, asking everyone for opinions on them, reading reviews, and dying for a pair to go with my daily winter mom uniform--I finally got some last weekend. And you know what? I am such a loser. I had so much inner turmoil spending that kind of money on boots. I cried about it. (Stop laughing.) And? I even spent my big girl money on them. Meaning, not family money. The money I make from blog stuff & doing blog designs.  Anyway. Long story short...I got myself a pair of gray, short, classic UGG's and I've lived in them since. They will get a lot of love around here.

In bulk, I buy?
Nothing. I am so not a bulk buyer. Although, maybe--maybe? Diaper wipes? I buy the large'ish pack of those. Because, you just cannot ever have enough wipes. They are good for everything.

My go-to flower?
I kind of love all flowers. Any and all. And I'll happily give you my address if you want to, you know, send me flowers.

Comfort food?
This has totally changed in the last few months, but I'd say a big bowl of chili with an intense amount of cheese, sour cream and frito's on top. Maybe even some cornbread on the side. There is something about that warm-full-belly feeling after chili that I love.

For breakfast?
Coffee. Always. Sometimes eggs. Toast. Oatmeal. Pancakes on weekends.

For dinner? 
Whatever I make, which is often times nothing. Or, one of my 4 staple meals.
1. Spaghetti (which could mean chicken parm if I'm feeling fancy)
2. Chili & cornbread
3. Buffalo Chicken Wraps
4. Baked Chicken, green beans & noodles of some kind.

Notice a trend? I pretty much only cook chicken, or ground turkey. I'm kind of anti-red meat.

Love/hate relationship with?
Running. Totally.

Can't stop watching?
Parenthood. We went back into netflix & started from the beginning. I love it. And little fun fact? Their family is identical to mine as in birth order, etc. (Oldest brother, then sister, then another sister
(hey that's me!), then little brother.)

Also, when I started Friday  Night Lights, I also could.not.stop.watching it. Like, obsessed. It is probably my favorite show of all time history if I had to pick one. Nothing will ever compare.

Oh, and I heart New Girl. I love Zooey, no matter how annoying she is. 

And Parks & Recreation. 

And The Office (although I cannot stand Robert California. Vom.)

And Glee. Of course.
[To name a few thousand]

Dreaming about?
Wouldn't you like to know.

Every girl should have?
Mary Kay Lash Love Mascara. It rocks.

My style in five words?
Um. Ok. I can't do this. My style is complicated. One day, my inner hippie comes on. The next day, some other style. I love boots. I love flats. I love skinnies. I love boot cuts. I heart accessories. Scarves. Earrings. Galore. I love plaid. I love ruffles. I basically love clothes.

I love wearing?
Jeans. Plaid top. Boots. A hat. And braids. I love braids.

Dream job?
I think my dream 'job' would be to go back to teaching art, but only half-time or 1/4-time. I so much love staying home, but I really miss that side of myself. I'd love to do both somehow. I don't have any desire to do it full time at this time, but I certainly would love to do it a little. I want the best of both worlds. 

***

How's that for fluff?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Messy fingerprint perspective

There are disadvantages to living in a three-story townhouse. Honestly, I probably couldn't tell you many of the advantages of living in one. But disadvantages? Yep. I've got some.

Those steps. The railings. The random toys and objects that go flying down said steps and through the banister railings on a daily basis? Tons.

Every evening when my husband gets home, he comes up the steps into the living room/kitchen area with a handful of toys that he's cleaned up from the steps on his walk up. A few weeks ago I sort of huffed an "I'm sorry" regarding the toys. Because seriously. It's every.single.day. And it's like HI! DAD! Welcome home from a hard day at work! Pick up all the random crap I threw down the steps today!

But my sweet husband, within seconds, without batting an eyelash was all, What? I love it. It means I have a healthy little girl running around.  

And then I proceeded to melt.

Because it changed my perspective.

Then just yesterday, I was cleaning the countertops when I saw this gunk all over my nice, black, dishwasher front. I looked closer and realized there were little toddler food-filled finger prints all over it. And then I proceeded to look closer at other things in my kitchen. My black fridge? The entire bottom part? Finger prints. The stove front. Fingerprints. 

Let's not even mention the milk splatters on my cabinet doors, the applesauce caked on my floorboard molding, and the crushed goldfish crackers in every crevice of the carpets. 

What.a.mess. I almost did a flashback to how pristine and perfect areas of my home were pre-kid. You know, when you put something somewhere, it stayed. Or it stayed clean until you or your spouse messed it up, but other than that? Perfectly clean. Neat. Those days. 

When I noticed those little gunky fingerprints, I found myself on the verge of irritation---But, I stopped. And immediately the words of my husband from a few weeks ago sort of filled my mind. 

Because I was reminded that those little fingerprints? Belong to my kid. That my home and life would be so much different without her. So empty. And that my heart cannot even explain the amount of love it has for this little person.  That she's happy and healthy, and all mine.

Messy fingerprints and all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday blurbs.

My friend Jess writes in blurb style all the time on her blog. It's like her signature thing. Well, I'm ripping off her today.

----

Emeline is getting sick. I think it's just some sort of cold, but I'm hoping it doesn't linger forever like those colds tend to do. I hate snot, and coughs, and sleepless nights. And she has this nasal'y raspy voice going on. Not that this is a big deal, but. Boo. Just a taste of wintertime sickness I guess.

However, we have Hand, Food & Mouth disease going around this area right now, passing through the kids like wildfire. So, it could be worse. And also? We'll be avoiding the Chick-fil-A playland for the next 6 months. Germ hole.

--

My husband came home from the store last night and plopped the Justin Bieber Under The Mistletoe CD right in front of me. He claims it was because he wanted to checkout back in electronics at WalMart since the other lines were unreasonable, and he needed an excuse. But, I beg to differ. HE LOVES ME! And I was all smitten by the act, because, yes. I've wanted it. 

And yes, we buy CD's every once in a while, still. Is that so year 2000? We buy them, put on our computers, iTunes, etc--and then I put the CD in my car since I'm not cool enough to have an auxiliary plug.

--

My family (my sister, Susan, my parents, my Pastor, and some friends) are all leaving this afternoon for Romania for two weeks. I hate when they leave, but I love hearing their stories when they return. God always does big, big things.  My sister blogged about it this week, and asked for some specific prayer requests. Any pray'ers out there willing to cover my family in prayer? I would so much appreciate it. Here's her post

--

On that note, two weeks without my sister is like TORTURE to me. Pure forms of torture. She's my seester, and I love her so. I wonder how productive I'll be in the next two weeks? 

--

Speaking of which, I just feel behind. On life. In all areas. My mission this week is to catch up. Heck, maybe even more than catch up--maybe even get ahead? I honestly don't even know where to start, but starting is key. My closet is filled with baskets of clean laundry that need putting away. I have a toilet that's being a butt (ha) and needs a plumber. A house that needs some TLC. Work that I need to get ahead on. Church stuff that needs done. Writing. Projects I need to finish. Organizing. A garage that is a mess. A MESS. Oh, I'm getting a headache thinking about it.

--

I had a terrible, terrible run the other night. I mean, so bad. It was completely dumb of me to even attempt running after what I'd eaten that night (pizza & beer). But I knew that Sunday I'd have no time to run. So I only ran 1.2 miles (on the treadmill), and then stopped, feeling like I was going to DIE. My stomach. Blargh. And then I promptly called my sister, sobbing, because I felt like a failure. Isn't each run supposed to get increasingly better? I'm not supposed to regress. Then she (and some of you ladies on Twitter) assured me that we all have bad runs every now & then--and it'll be better next time. 

Today, when my husband gets home from work--I am going on a run. Outdoors. And I'm going to kick this run's tush. Yes, I am. (This is me trying to be positive.)

--

Yesterday, I returned the favor to my sister-in-law, Lyryn and her adorable family, and took their family photos. I am so pleased with how they turned out. I'll show you a few, but then you can feel free to pop over and check out the whole Flickr set if you want. 




Beautiful family, yea? [See more here.]

So this week, I'm also taking some photos for my brother and sister-in-law and their adorable family. I hope they turn out alright, too. 

---

Alright Monday--time to get to it.