Monday, July 31, 2017

31st Year List

I lucked out with my birthday on a Saturday this year. That meant not only did I get to spend the entire day with Carter and Elise, I also got to spend it with my sweet Ty! I woke up with a message on my phone from Ty saying breakfast was in the oven and I discovered a dozen assorted Krispy Kreme doughnuts! One of the best parts of the day was that Elise kept randomly singing me "Happy Birthday!" After Ty's morning long run with his training group we headed out to Keystone State Park located less than 30 miles from us. We went for a hike on a one mile trail there and then swam at the lake's swimming beach before eating a picnic lunch and heading home. We went swimming earlier in the week with Jake and Carter loved borrowing Jake's goggles so I took him and Elise shopping on Friday to pick out goggles of their own. Carter enjoyed trying them out at the lake. After getting the kids down for naps I headed out for my short, easy run and when I got back mom and dad were here to celebrate my birthday. They decorated while I was running so I came home to streamers on the front door which was a lot of fun. Jeremy and Thomas came over for dinner. Mom made the meal I always asked for on my birthday as a kid as it is a favorite, oven baked ranch chicken, along with awesome sides! Ty made me an Oreo poke cake which was delicious. It was a wonderful day spent doing things I enjoy with the people I love! I think 31 is going to be a wonderful year! I told everyone my birthday this year beat last year since I didn't end up with puke in my hair, read about that here. Read about my 29th birthday here and my 27th birthday here.

Last year I decided to make a list of 30 things to accomplish during my 30th year, you can read about how I did here. I enjoyed completing things on the list and it definitely gave me motivation to do some things I had wanted to do but just didn't make time for. This year, during my 31st year, I'd like to read at least one book every month again. I'm going to up the ante a little bit and shoot for 31 books during my 31st year. That's definitely do-able since I read 35 books last year, but I had to do 31 for my 31st year. Last year was also the first time in a few years that I sent out Christmas cards so I'm keeping that on the list because I'd like to do it again. I'm also going to finish up on the things I didn't complete last year. I was on and off with strength training last year. I'd be really good for a few months at a time and then take a long period of time off before resuming again. I'd like to do better with that this year. Our trip to Keystone State Park inspired me to start a fun challenge for us to complete as a family, look for more on that to come.

1. Read at least one book each month. 
2. Stick with strength training.
3. Get professional family photos done.
4. Send out a Christmas card this year. 
5. Work on and get Elise's baby book up-to-date.
6. Finish my Belly Book from Elise's pregnancy, I just need to order and add pictures.
7. Find and then finish Carter's baby book.
8. Last year I had make a photo book from Elise's birth and newborn photos on my list. I completed it and now I want to make photo books for her first 6 months and then 7-12 months so she has the same photobooks Carter has.
9. Paint the outside of our house.

Friday, July 28, 2017

30 for 30: How I Did

For my 30th birthday I decided to make a list of 30 things to accomplish during the year. I did a pretty good job attempting to do each thing on the list. Below are the 30 things I wanted to do and an explanation on how I did. Each one that I completed is highlighted and any further explanation is in a bullet point below. The ones not completed are highlighted with gray and any further explanation is in a bullet point below. I really enjoyed making a list of things I wanted to do. It was all stuff I'd think about doing but get busy and forget about. With it on a list I did a much better job remembering to accomplish them. Since I'll be turning 31 tomorrow, I figured now was a good time to recap how I did.
1. Read at least one book each month.  
  • Once I got in the habit of requesting books I was interested in from the library I couldn't stop reading. There were times I'd have 3 books come in at one time and I just had to read them all before my 2 weeks was up and they went on to the next person in line! I decided to make a list of all the books I wanted to read so I wouldn't forget and I feel like I am adding more books than I can ever cross off! I stumbled across "Upstairs at the White House" and it took me off on a tangent of books about the Kennedys. Their family along with the history and the gossip is so fascinating. Every time I think I'm done reading Kennedy books I stumble across another one I just have to read. Listed below are the books I read each month. As you can see, my reading habit has grown over time. At first I'd get to the end of the month and realize I hadn't read a book yet and would quickly read one in the last few days of the month to get it in. Then I started requesting books from the library and the numbers increased dramatically!
My mom posted this and I could definitely relate!

  • August- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • September- Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • October- Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
  • November- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • December- Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
  • January- Lord of the Flies by William Golding, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • February- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • March- Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, A Different Beautiful by Courtney Westlake, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • April- The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark, A Keeper of Bees: Notes on Hive and Home by Allison Wallace, Kathy Griffin's Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index by Kathy Griffin, Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • May- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
  • June- I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West, The Truth About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, Running: A Love Story by Jen A. Miller, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy interviews by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming
  • July- The Secret Memoirs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Ruth Francisco, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell, The Kennedy Detail by Gerald Blaine, Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling, Cadillac, Oklahoma by Louise Farmer Smith, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
2. Go on at least 3 girls' night outs. 
  • August 12th- My mom's group did a get together at a friend's house. We each brought a snack food and we played games and drank sangria.
  • August 19th- I went to see Bad Movies in the movie theater with a group of friends.
  • November 4th- My mom's group did a get together at a friend's house for a potluck and crafting. I did no crafting, just sat around and chatted.
  • May 26th- Dinner and drinks with friends at a pizza place. 
  • July 28th- Dinner and games at a friend's house to celebrate July birthdays including mine and another friend who shares my birthday!
I took a picture of my ticket stub to help me remember when I went.
3. Plant some flowers that attract butterflies.
  • I had been wanting to do this for a while and just hadn't made it happen. Then during our learning theme on bees, Carter decided he wanted to plant some flowers that bees would like. We did some research and found some flowers that bees and butterflies both like so we got some to plant. Ty created us an awesome planter that sits outside our window so we can watch the flowers for any sign of insect activity while we are inside.
    The kids posing with our new planter after watering it.
4. Have a few days with less than 12,000 steps. 
  • I actually went a step further and even moved my step goal down to 10,000 steps. On days that I run I easily get 12,000 steps but on my rest days it was a struggle to get 12,000. I'd often find myself going on long walks on my "rest days" so I could reach my step goal. I felt like that was counterproductive when I really needed to be resting so I changed my goal to 10,000 steps which is much easier to hit on non-running days and I typically reach it without doing anything more than my ordinary routine.
5. Get involved with another charity.
  • This one was actually way more difficult than I thought it would be. I really wanted to volunteer for a charity that I felt strongly about and believed in their mission but I hit lots of road blocks. Many of the charities I was really interested in didn't have branches nearby, others were more interested in donations than volunteers, and others really needed volunteers during the day but I couldn't have the kids with me. Finally I ended up with Meals on Wheels. After hearing about the budget cuts proposed that would likely effect Meals on Wheels I was reminded of the volunteer opportunity there. After a background check I was cleared for a route which the kids and I drive to deliver meals every three weeks. It really ended up being pretty perfect because Carter loves going up to the doors with me and chatting up the seniors we are delivering to. We have a great system set up. I put the passenger read bucket seat down into the floor and then put the hot and cold meal coolers in that space. When we arrive I pull out the hot meal and tell Carter what color frozen meal to get. Then he straps himself back in as I prepare for the next house we will go to. The past few times Elise has wanted to get out too so I have her grab the bag that goes with warm meals and is filled with condiments and a milk. It is good practice on color recognition because I help her determine which color bag to get out. We've filled in for routes where they needed help a few times but it works best for us to stick with once every 3 weeks. When we do it back to back weeks Carter doesn't want to go but when we go less frequently he's really excited about it. I was a little bummed because when I signed up to volunteer I was told a route would take about an hour. Then when the coordinator contacted me she said the routes would take at least and hour and a half. We've been averaging a little over 2 hours for each route which is a long time for the kids to be in the car. I wish we could get the routes done quicker but getting the kids in and out of the car adds quite a bit of time.
    6. Run a spring half-marathon.
    • I ran the Aquarium Run Half Marathon on April 1st. I originally planned to PR and trained really hard, but overtrained and paid for it, finishing in 1:34:13. It was still such a fun race. I'm a bit on the fence on whether or not spring half-marathons are for me. My seasonal allergies get out of control in the spring and the wind can really make training tough, not to mention the cold weather training in the winter! I guess that's why this was my first spring half-marathon since 2009! The more time that has gone by since the race the more I'm talking about running this same race next year though! 
    7. Buy new underwear. 
    • I went crazy and bought 2 packages of new underwear at Wal-Mart. It has been amazing! They fit wonderfully and I love them. On a side note, am I the only person who wears a size larger in underwear than in pants or is that pretty typical?
    8. Stick with strength training. *Needs some work, I don't consider this completed*
    • I can't in good conscience mark this one complete. I stuck with strength training through the Route 66 half in November and then took a while off after the race. Then I started back up when I started training for my spring half marathon but stopped when I hurt my knee in Feburary and didn't pick it back up until the end of April. I'd say I did better than I ever have in the past, but I didn't keep it up like I had intended. 
    9. Try out a free yoga class. 
    • I would still love to do this and there's a free yoga class at least once a week either at the local park or with our membership to the Botanic Garden but it's just so hard to coordinate with Ty running and then having dinner ready so we never made it happen.
    10. Take time out each day to snuggle with Carter.
    • Every day at naptime I lay with Carter either until he falls asleep or for about half an hour of rest time if he doesn't fall asleep. I love those sweet snuggles! I also made it a point at least a few nights a week to finish up my chores early or save a little to do after he went to bed so I could sit and snuggle him while he watched a show before bed. Just last night he said, "I want to have a snuggle fest," and requested I sit with him while he watched part of his movie before bed. Elise, of course, joined and sat on my lap. It was wonderful!
      One of the days Carter fell asleep. I love watching him sleep, he's so sweet!
    11. Buy a new pair of jean shorts.
    • I'm considering this one semi-complete. In the fall when we were planning on having a 3rd child I found some really cute maternity shorts for cheap at Goodwill. Since I didn't have any shorts from either of my pregnancies I went ahead and bought them. When we decided we weren't going to have another child I decided to go ahead and wear the shorts as I don't want the money to be wasted so I've been mixing 2 pairs of maternity shorts in with the other 2 pairs of regular shorts I have, haha!
    12. Paint the kitchen. 
    • Thanks to the help of Ty's parents we knocked this one out in one weekend and even painted all the cabinets too! I love it and it brightens my day to walk into my sunshiny yellow kitchen!
    13. Get professional family photos done.
    • I am going to do my best to get this done in the fall. Now that we know our family is complete, I really want to do it. Before I kept thinking we would wait if we were going to have another baby, but now there's no reason to wait!
    14. Send out a Christmas card this year. 
    • Not only did I send a Christmas card out, I sent it out with plenty of time to spare! BOOM! My old co-teacher told me she got her Christmas cards at Sam's. I checked it out and they were super affordable. I got 50 cards for less than $20!
      Our Christmas cards we sent out.
    15. Run a postpartum PR in the 5k. 
    • I rocked it with a 19:55 (19:29 actual, the course was long) 5k at the Jenks Half Marathon. I really felt like I'd be able to beat that time in the spring but overtrained and ended up short with a 20:15. That 20:15 was a disappointment after breaking 20 minutes 3 times in the fall, but would have been a postpartum PR outside of my fall times. Now I'm on to improving that time this fall.
    16. Run a postpartum PR in a half marathon. 
    • Not only did I run a postpartum PR, I only missed my all-time PR by 14 seconds finishing the Route 66 Marathon in 1:31:49! Again I had high hopes to crush that time in the spring on a super flat course, but that didn't happen thanks to me overdoing it! Although my time in the spring half-marathon would have been a postpartum PR if it hadn't been for my faster fall time so not too bad considering the circumstances.
    17. Run a race just for fun and not worry about place or time. 
    • Escape From Turkey Mountain 5 Mile Trail Run on September 5th, This was my first trail run and I was doing it two days after a 12 mile run that included a 10 mile tempo so I ran it more as a training run and enjoyed it immensely.
    • Wicked Wine Run 5k on November 5th, it was a blast! I ensured it would be just for fun when I double booked myself with a 5k that morning as well.
    • Ugly Sweater 5k on December 10th, after bombing a 5k the week before I took this one easy and just had fun with it. Even though I wasn't running for place, I finished 1st overall female.
    • Ugly Sweater Beer Mile also on December 10th, this was arguably the most fun race I've ever run. There was no way to care about place after drinking a total of 24 ounces of beer, haha!
    18. Do another mud run or obstacle course run.
    • I put this down I think more so just to have 30 things on my list because as the months went by and I kept seeing this one not crossed off, I just didn't care. I didn't have any motivation to find one and attempt to run it. I think in large part because I had overtrained in the spring and wasn't interested in adding any races to my schedule.
    19. Run a trail race.
    • Escape From Turkey Mountain on September 5th. It was a 5 mile race and I enjoyed it so much! I fell once during the race but didn't injure myself and popped right back up. I had no idea during the race but was able to finish 2nd overall female.
    20. Start wearing my hair naturally more often. 
    • I did an awesome job with this one. I wear my hair naturally pretty much every day now. I just shower, put some curling mousse stuff in my hair, and I'm done getting ready. It's fabulous! I have Ty, Leina, and Amanda to thank for building my confidence up enough to do this daily. I was always embarrassed to wear my hair naturally in public but Ty and Leina convinced me they liked the way it looked and Amanda gave me some much needed tips for controlling it a bit more. Then Leina has given me different styling mousses to try out which has been really nice!
    21. Work on Elise's baby book.
    • I worked quite a bit on Elise's baby book but I'm not finished yet. I should be able to get it up to date this coming year!
    22. Finish Carter's baby book.
    • I've been searching for Carter's baby book and I can't find it so I guess my new goal is to find it!
    23. Make a photo book from Elise's birth and newborn photos.
    • I really enjoyed putting together a photo book for Elise of all the pictures I had of her birth and shortly thereafter. I made the book and waited for Shutterfly to do one of their free photo book deals. It was even more fun to make Elise's photo book than it had been to make any of the others because more time had gone by so I enjoyed looking at the pictures so much more! Now I just need to make her a photo book for her first 6 months and for 7-12 months like I did for Carter and she'll be all caught up!
    24. Dance more.
    • This was really good for me. I made a conscious effort to stop, drop, and dance when I felt stressed out. If the kids were being fussy or demanding while I was cooking dinner and I could feel myself starting to get upset, I'd drop what I was doing and turn on Pandora. Then Carter and I would start dancing and Elise would join in. We did crazy dancing along with some slow dancing. Carter wasn't huge on slow dancing, he'd always turn it into us spinning in circles until I got dizzy. I also danced more with Ty which always makes me happy!
    25. Have more unscheduled days.
    • I did a great job of keeping at least one day of the week free with no plans. It was usually either Wednesday for Friday. We'd just get up in the morning and wing it. Often times Carter would request we go to the Children's Museum or the Zoo. We also went on a couple of doughnut dates! I was really proud of myself because there were times when I'd see something fun was going on but it would mean we would be booked every day of the week so I passed.
    26. Re-do the entryway to our house. 
    • This was the first thing I did after making this list. I repainted the entry way to match our light brown hallway color. Then I repainted the bench and picture frames red. Later my mom and Ty surprised me with a red and tan rug for the entryway because the one we had was falling apart.
      Carter helping me paint.
      Working on painting, to the left of the door you can see the green we painted over.
    27. Paint the outside of our house.
    • I still want to get this done so I'm going to carry it over to year 31!
    28. Do a better job of staying in touch with my long distance friends.
    • This was something I added and didn't really think about. I had a strong desire to do a better job so I did it just because I wanted to, not because it was on my list. I think putting it on the list just made me conscious of what a bad job I had been doing. It is easier to talk on the phone now that the kids are older which also helps. Anytime I get the chance to talk to my best friend, Ang, or my other good friends I hang up feeling uplifted and happy so I'm glad I've done a better job of calling and staying in touch! 
    29. Have more at home date nights with Ty that consist of something other than just sitting on the couch and watching tv.
    • For this one I really wanted to put "go on more dates" but we rely on family as babysitters since I don't know any babysitters I would trust with the kids and don't feel comfortable hiring someone I don't know. Even without saying we'd go on more dates we had quite a few more than usual with Ty's parents, Thomas and/or Jeremy, and my parents all watching the kids a few times for us to go out together.  
    • We also went through a phase where we played golf (the card game) at night instead of watching TV.
    30. Do more little sweet things for Ty. 
    • Each time I was doing something sweet for Ty I'd think of all the reasons why he deserved a treat. It would make me think of all the sweet things he does for me and the kids as well as all the ways he is wonderful on a daily basis. I found it interesting that doing more sweet things for him made me happier and more appreciative of everything he does. I did chores he normally completed like moving the trash and recycling bins out to the road before trash day and then back to the house after they were picked up. I'd also surprise him by picking up a treat for him when we went grocery shopping or stopping on the way home to pick up a pretzel for him. I also wrote him notes and stuck them on top of his wallet for him to find in the morning. Just little things to let him know how wonderful I think he is and how much I appreciate him.

    Thursday, July 27, 2017

    My Favorite Season

    I came across this fun post I wrote at the beginning of the summer and never published.

    I've always thought of fall as my favorite season. It means cool weather, perfect for jeans and a t-shirt or light jacket. It means cross country season and fall half-marathons. It is my favorite season for running and racing. After a summer that ends with 100+ degree weather on the daily, the cooler temps are a welcome relief. As a student and then as a teacher summer was my favorite season, I thought, simply because I was "off" (as a teacher I still worked a lot on classroom stuff, but didn't have typical hours at school). Now that I'm home all year round and my day-to-day doesn't change at all during the summer, I realize that summer really is my favorite season and for so many reasons other than just being "off". There is so much I love about summer. Here are my favorite things:

    • Longer daylight hours which also means more time out in the sun. I never knew how big this is for me until I finally made the connection between less time in the sunlight during the winter and more down in the dumps days for me. I get a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder every winter which is just SAD, haha!
    • Spending most of our waking hours outside. Whether it's at the splash pad or in the kiddie pool in the backyard, we find a way to be outside and stay cool.
    • Popsicles, ice cream, and sno cones.
    • S'mores, especially when cooked over a campfire or a fire pit outside.
    • Zac Brown Band to me is just the perfect summer music and I love jamming out on Pandora while we play outside.
    • The summer reading program. It always inspires me to start reading more which often time means carving out part of naptime to read and dropping some of my chores which I really should do year-round! Plus all the fun activities and events for kids that are part of the program.
    • Picnics at the park or in the backyard. 
    • Sweet baby legs! Warmer weather means wearing shorts which means I get to see my sweet babies' legs on a daily basis and they are oh so adorable. Elise in dresses just makes my heart smile!
    • Playing in the water at splash pads and pools.
    • All the green grass and the pretty flowers blooming, although it gets hot enough around here that if we don't get rain the grass quickly goes brown!
    • Really the main thing that I love is being outside. No matter what the weather you can play outside in the summer, even if it's raining because that just means you are going to be cooler!
    • And now I have another reason to love summer, Carter home with me all day every day!

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Wordless Wednesday

    Popcorn, sleeping bags, and a movie. What more could you want?!
    Took the tractor to drive on the paved trails.
    Off roading at the playground.
    Elise always wears her sunglasses on her head!
    Elise drew on her face while I was in the bathroom.
    I picked out a stack of books our librarian had set out on colors. Carter saw it and said, "Ms. Tanzy got me a present?!" It was so cute.
    Painting their news with new polish from Oma and Opa.
    Showing off his nails.
    He made color patterns on each hand and then painted over them. Notice he didn't paint his left thumb so he could suck it at bedtime, haha!
    Elise already peeling her polish off.
    I was smart and made them strip down to paint their nails this time!
    Taking the tractor out while walking Harper.
    Waving to a fire truck that drove by.
    Carter put his arm around Elise put she didn't like it there so he moved it.
    We took the bumpers off Carter's bed and he was so excited to be a big boy!
    Jake and Elise and perfect friends. Their motto is: play a little, snack a lot, haha!

    Pictures from Elise's update photo shoot, 2 years and 4 month old.