Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Keeps You Going?

If you're like me, you sometimes don't feel like going to the gym or on a run.  What do you do to stay motivated?



For me, it's really a mind game.  For the most part, I'm lucky because I really do enjoy running and doing weights at the gym, but these last few weeks have been tough for me.  I'm so excited about all the exciting things happening in our lives that for a week or so, I wasn't sleeping much, then I've been trying to wrap a major project up at work, and finally, it's just been so hot outside which has forced me to run on the treadmill (which I'm not really a fan of doing).

Some things that motivate me and help me stick to a routine are below.

Think of exercise as something good, not just something you have to do.
We all have such busy lives and many times (if you think like I used to think), exercise is something you have to squeeze in.  When I changed my way of thinking, it helped.  Instead of one more thing I have to get done, I think of exercise as an investment that I'm making into myself.  I know that I have more energy, sleep better, am more productive, and feel better when I exercise daily (or almost daily - I usually take about two days off each week).  Why wouldn't I want to do something that makes me better?

Think about how much fun it isn't to get back into an exercise routine.
If I ever think about taking another day off when I know I need to exercise, I try to make myself think about how much fun I don't have getting back into a routine.  I like having that sore feeling from knowing I'm improving, but that's a totally different feeling from "I haven't worked out in two weeks and it's killing me!"

Think about how good you feel after a workout.
I love the way I feel after I've finished a workout.  It's a great feeling.  I think about it when I'm tempted to be lazy.

Set goals.
I aim to run 50 miles a month.  To some people, that's not much, but when you break it down, that's an average of 1.6 miles per day.  While that's nothing per day, I know that realistically, I'm not going to be able to run everyday.  I run 3-4 times per week and typically run no less than a 5K (3.1 miles) each time I run.

I also try to do weight training three times per week.  As a general rule of thumb, I go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  It doesn't always happen, but that's what I try to stick to.

Determine when you'll workout.  
One of the first things I do when I sit down each Monday morning is look at my calendar (I'll be really happy when my new Erin Condren Life Planner arrives!).  I like to do this because I can pick out the days I know I'll be pushed to fit in a workout and I can mentally plan the days I'll go to the gym and do a longer run.  Though I don't schedule workout times in my planner, I do keep a record which brings me to my next point...

Keep a record of how you're doing.
At the bottom of each day on my calendar, I write in pink (yes, I color code and bright pink happens to be exercise!) the exercise I've done.  I keep track of mileage/time, what I've worked out (I use upper body, abs, butt (and to my mom who was surprised when she saw this word written on my calendar, it's much easier to write than gluteus maximus ;) ), and any extra ab work (100 twists with 10 lbs on bench) I've done.  I also have an Excel spreadsheet on my computer.  I'm not as good with keeping up with workouts on this as I am in my calendar, but it's a great way to track my mileage and pace.  My gym uses Fitlinxx equipment, so I also use the Fitlinxx website to keep track of things.

Listen to music.  
I don't always listen to music when I workout and run in the morning (I like the solitude sometimes), but if I'm  working out at night and especially when I'm on the treadmill, I can't make it without music.  I make specific playlists for working out and for some of my races that motivate me.  If I'm at the gym or on the treadmill, I shuffle, but if it's a race, I actually mentally go through my songs to make sure that I'm getting a motivating song when I need it.

If you'd like to see my tips on running, check out these links:
So You Want to Run
So You Want to Run: Favorite Gear
So You Want to Run: Exercise, Nutrition, and My Advice
So You Want to Run: Race Day


Monday, July 30, 2012

Back to School... err... Work Shopping

Growing up, I loved to go back to school shopping.  There was just something fun about getting new pencils, notebooks, and planners.  I haven't had to back to school shop in a few years and I'm excited about school supply shopping for the boys and work shopping for me this year!

While we're at the beach, I'm hoping to pick up a few new pieces to add to my wardrobe.  While my attire won't change, I think it would be good to have another suit or two to put in the rotation and maybe some new skirts and tops.  I don't really need these things, but with the outlets and tax free weekend, I'm hoping I can score some good deals!  With my old job, I dressed up most days.  I dressed in business casual attire (pencil skirt, top, heels or a dress) and only really wore suits when I felt like I needed to (and in the winter) for board and fundraising meetings.  With my new position, I'll be dealing with a lot of the same types of people and will wear the same things, but there will be more press events than what I've done with my old job.  Anotherwords, I think I'll need (or want) to wear suits more, especially until I know how the other women dress.

I've already ordered my Erin Condren planner.  I can't wait for it to get here!  I currently have a Lilly Pulitzer Planner that ends in December.  While I love it, I think with the boys, it will be good to have the full 18 month calendar so I'll be able to keep all of their school information in the same one.  I also like that the EC planner has laminated tabs, something my LP doesn't have.


I like to write with Uniball Vision pens.  I need to pick some up in black and multi-colors.


I also like using legal pads to write down my tasks and take notes, so they're the final thing on my back to work shopping list!


What's on your list of must have supplies for work?




Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Time for the Olympics!

I am so excited about the Olympics!  Yes, you can call me a dork.  I'm excited, and I don't care!  In preparation for lots of Olympic watching activities over the next weeks, I'm going to share my favorite Olympic moments (both Summer and Winter).


I have loved the Olympics since I was little.

1992: Albertville, France
My first Olympic experience was watching Kristi Yamaguchi win the gold medal in France in 1992.  I was five at the time and watching her inspired me.  From that day on, I knew I wanted to be a figure skater.  We didn't get an ice rink here until I was 12, but when we "got ice", I gave up gymnastics, softball, and ballet.  I skated competitively for several years until we lost our ice.  I was lucky to train under an ice dancing couple who trained at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, Sandy Lenz Jackson who finished 9th in the 1980 Olympics, and a singles and pairs skater who trained under Tara Lipinski's coach and competed in a World Championship.  



1994: Lillehammer, Norway
If you like figure skating, there are two routines that should stand out to you from this Olympics (three if you want to count Tonya Harding crying before her short program as her Jurassic Park music was playing and she had a lace problem): Nancy Kerrigan and Oksana Biaul's long programs.  I don't think I'll ever forget Verne Lundquist saying "dreams do come true!" as Nancy Kerrigan gave the performance of her life only to end up winning silver.






1996: Atlanta
I have a few favorite moments from these Olympic Games. 

Celine Dion singing "The Power of the Dream"

The Magnificent Seven and Kerri Strug's vault landing.

1998: Nagano, Japan
Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan's long programs




I somehow lost track/didn't watch much of the Olympics in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.  I don't think any one can forget Michael Phelps in 2008.



I can't wait to watch swimming, gymnastics, and track and field!

Friday's Letters



dear kevin: Thank you for being my best friend, biggest supporter, and the one I love more than anything!  I can't wait to spend the week with you and our sweet boys!  dear k.c. and kaden: I wish I could just press a button and you would both stay little forever!  I can't believe that you'll both be in school this fall.  We're going to have a great last few weeks of summer vacation! I love y'all to the moon and back!  dear job:  It's been a great four-and-a-half years.  I've learned so much, experienced so much, and gained so much.  dear beach:  Please hurry up.  dear packing:  Go easy on me today, please.  Also, don't let me take too much.  dear summer:  I love you, but you are getting to be almost too hot to handle!  Do you think you could let us have some temps in the 90s rather than the 100s?  dear God:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You have blessed me beyond measure and nothing I can ever do shows you how grateful I am.  Thank you for your love, grace, forgiveness and mercy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

RAWR! K.C.'s FIVE!

We celebrated K.C.'s 5th birthday last Sunday with a dinosaur theme!  He asked for two things: a caramel cake and dinosaurs on it.

I looked online and in several party stores for some dinosaur themed decorations, but I couldn't find anything I liked. We bought a generic birthday banner, purchased some inflatable dinosaurs, dinosaur skeletons, and treat bag goodies through Amazon, and got lots of balloons from a local party store.  I think it turned out great!



Keeping with the "simplify" theme, I ordered a caramel cake (10 layers!) and then my sister and I (ok, it was mostly Stephanie) decorated it.  We used cookie cutters I ordered from Amazon to cut dinosaurs out of pre-made, colored fondant.  I decided to go with orange, yellow, and purple.  We made balls out of fondant to go around the bottom.  To write on it, I used some store-bought cream cheese icing and colored it orange.  I think it turned out great!



We had barbecue chicken and potato salad (delicious! and made by Kevin's dad), green beans, and rolls to eat and a seven layer taco dip (made by my mom) as an appetizer.  It was all so good!

K.C. decided he wanted to open his presents before we ate cake and you know the birthday boy always gets what he wants!







After opening presents, it was time for cake!  The boys both love to blow out candles, so we used some "Happy Birthday" candles from Target along with a 5!


Here's our attempt at a family picture.


I mentioned before that my dad cuts cake better than anyone else in the world.  Here's proof!


The party ended with bursting a pinata!

I wish I had a picture of the treat bags we made, but I don't.  I used yellow bags and put a foam dinosaur sticker on each one (I got these at Hobby Lobby) and wrote each person's name on a dinosaur.  Since the boys only have girl cousins, I wanted to make sure they'd like their treats.  Everybody got dinosaur stickers, a dinosaur sticker scene book, candy, gum, and mini dinosaurs.  The girls also got nail polish and lip gloss and the boys got trains.

We had a great time celebrating out sweet K.C.!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

So What Wednesday


I'm linking up with Shannon from Life After I Dew for So What! Wednesday.  

So, So What If...
  • I've only worked out once this week and that was Monday morning.
  • I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish this summer and I haven't done but one.
  • I'm crazy excited for the Olympics.
  • I really don't like updating Facebook and rarely get on Twitter.  Too much connectivity for me!
  • I really don't want to go on the desperately needed run tonight because I think I'm having a good hair day.
  • I'm ready for football season so I have an excuse to make Oreo Balls every Saturday and eat spinach dip.

Stop and Smell the Roses: Week 20!

I'm happy to be back linking up with House of Rose for Stop and Smell the Roses!  I've missed the last few linkups!







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Biggest Real World Advice

I spent some time yesterday talking to our intern. It was a quiet afternoon and he had questions about life.  Here are the three things I told him:

  1. Pay attention in finance, economics, and accounting if you want to get an MBA.  I was an exceptionally good crammer before exams for these subjects.  When I was going through the MBA program, I had a rough time because I hadn't really learned the concepts.  I still don't think I could tell you how to do net present value calculations if my life depended on it!
  2. It really is who you know, not what you know.  Being an eternal optimist/people really care about my skills, I disagreed with this for a long time.  I've come to learn that while ability is key, knowing people makes a difference in many (or most) situations.
  3. Learn to say no.  I could write a book on the things I've needed to say no to.  I'm not very good at that easy two-letter word.  I sometimes think I can do everything, but I know that I can't.  You can't give everything your all.  Pick the things that are most important to you and put your time and talents to good use there. 
I hope you enjoyed today's life lesson!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A List That Ends Up Being Mostly About TV

Happy Monday!  These last two weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind!  I have so many things I want to talk about and share, most importantly, K.C.'s 5th birthday party recap, but until then, this list will have to do!

  • We had a great start to our weekend!  We celebrated sweet Mia's second birthday Saturday afternoon.  I think we were in the pool for like five hours!  On a side note, the boys had a great time playing with the presents we gave her: play kitchen things.  Kaden even said he wanted some boy ones!
  • We watched Ice Age Saturday night.  Can I just say that the movie made me cry?  I usually only cry in happy movies, but my goodness, I rolled over in bed that night and cried thinking about it.  Crazy, I know.
  • We had two sick babies yesterday.  The boys (all three of my guys) caught the great summer cold I had a few weeks ago.  K.C. and Kaden both had fever over the weekend and K.C. even got sick.  It makes me sad when our sweet boys don't feel good!  It's the most helpless feeling in the world.
  • We watched The Bachelorette last night.  I admitted it.  I've watched my fair share of reality TV (think all the first-class BRAVO housewives), but I haven't ever gotten into The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  Kevin and I saw an episode a few weeks ago and we watched the finale last night.  Since I didn't watch the whole season, I can't really comment, but something about this Jeff guy doesn't seem right to me.  I liked Ari and I wish that she had picked him.  I think he'll end up being on The Bachelor sometimes.
  • Speaking of reality TV, do y'all watch Shark Wranglers?  This guy Brett is insane!  You couldn't pay me to jump into the water with a shark!
  • I just realized that it sounds like all we do is watch TV.  I promise that's not true.  We very rarely watch TV, but when we do, we do.  
  • Keeping in the spirit of TV, I love Covert Affairs and White Collar.  They are my two favorite shows. I've always notsosecretly wanted to be a spy.  It'd be fun except for the whole not telling anyone, getting shot at, and not knowing where you're going thing.  
  • I realize over and over again how blessed I am to have Kevin in my life.  He makes me be a better me, makes my days brighter, and causes me to laugh everyday.  He's my best friend and I love him!
  • I'm very excited about my new job.  I'm really ecstatic about it.  When I say this is my dream job, I'm being serious.  At the same time, I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed.  I don't think I've slept through the night in about two weeks and I feel like I'm being grouchy.  I keep thinking of things I need to do at my current job as I want to make sure I leave my employer and coworkers in the best shape that I can.  On the same hand, I've already starting thinking about things for my new position.  I think once I get settled in there, I'll calm down.
  • About the above grouchy bit: I don't get aggravated/agitated/annoyed very often.  I was snappy with someone I love dearly yesterday.  I apologized, but I still feel bad about it.  I'm not someone who is ugly to people and I wasn't my sweet self.  
  • We have an exciting few months ahead and that makes me happy!
  • We're spending the week at our favorite beach with Kevin's family next week.  I'm looking forward to it!  We're looking so forward to it that we've already got the boys' clothes ready!
  • Do you like Meg Cabot?  I'm reading her newest book, Size 12 and Ready to Rock.  It's great so far.  I sat down for about twenty minutes yesterday afternoon and read some while I was waiting for my spinach dip to cook for a Junior League meeting I had.
  • Speaking of books, do you still buy books or download them on your iPad, Nook, Kindle, or other e-reader?  I'm a huge proponent of actual books, but at the same time, we'll eventually run out of room to store all of mine!  There are some that I'll buy no matter what, but some I think I'd be better off reading on my iPad.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Taste and See

Taste and see that the Lord is Good!  
Psalm 34:8

God is good.  So, so good.  

Since about 2:30 PM yesterday, this verse has been in my head.  You see, God has been so, so good to me.  He has blessed me tremendously in ways greater than anything I could ever imagine.  He has given me everything with the salvation that He freely allows me to have through His unending grace and mercy through my faith in and acceptance of His Son, Jesus Christ.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you!"
1 Peter 1:3-4

It always amazes me, and you'd think by now I'd be used to it, when I see direct answers to my prayers.  I've had so many of these in my life and experienced so many more of these this past year and this past week.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him."
1 John 3:1


God always answers prayers.  That's one thing that's for sure.  My life is a testament to that.  He hasn't always answered my prayers the way I wanted them answered, but He's always answered them.

He answered one prayer that I've prayed for eight to ten months in a tremendous way when I was offered a position, my dream job, at my alma mater, yesterday.

To say I'm excited about this new opportunity is an understatement.  I'm ecstatic!  I've always wanted to serve this institution in this capacity and am thrilled that in a few short weeks, I will.

"But I will hope continually and praise you yet more and more!"
Psalm 71:14


I now have the bittersweet task of wrapping up some major projects at my current job, projects like the rebranding job I'm currently undertaking and a new advertising campaign, telling people that have become friends, and making sure to tie up all lose ends.  My current position has been a huge blessing to me in that it has allowed me to get my feet wet in so many areas outside of my main focus, has allowed me to form great connections that I will take with me, and has given me the ability to grow over the past four and a half years.

I'm just so excited!  I can't stop saying "thank you" to the One who has blessed me with this!

I'm hoping I'll be able to sleep the next few nights (the last two I've spent tossing and turning with nervousness over whether or not I'd get the job and then when I found out, thinking about everything I have to do to make sure that my current employer isn't left in a bind) so that I'll have the energy I need to get everything done and so I'll look rested for our family pictures on Friday!

And, as a congratulationsyougotyourselfanewjob present, I ordered an Erin Condren planner (mod morocco in teal and lemon) that will be waiting on me when I get home from vacation!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I've been playing catch up a lot lately!

  • We had a great weekend celebrating our sweet K.C.'s 5th birthday!  I'll do a full recap of his party tomorrow.  Here's a sneak peak:  

  • I'm getting back into my gym routine.  I like to do weights three times a week and the past few weeks have been lacking.  
  • I really, really want to order an Erin Condren planner.  After seeing so many of yours last week, I think I'm hooked!  I think I'm going to order the mod morocco and have the colors customized.  
  • Speaking of birthdays, my dad is the best cake cutter ever.  Yes.  My dad.  He cuts cake like my grandma, but something about him doing it makes it better. 
  • I made a new kind of burger last night.  We had some blue cheese, so I mixed it in with the hamburger meat and made KT and me a blue cheese burger and the boys mini burgers using Hawaiian rolls (I love these things!).  They were good!  I usually don't pat out hamburgers myself because touching raw meat really grosses me out, but I didn't have any pre-made patties and we've eaten chicken almost every night the past few days.
  • A team from our church is leaving to go to Honduras tomorrow.  KT and I were talking about going on one of these mission trips when the boys get older.  I haven't ever had the desire to go on a mission trip like one of these before, but lately, I'm feeling it.

  • I'm so excited about some exciting things in our lives!  :)
  • Why is it when you're really waiting and wanting to hear something, it takes forever and you're all nervous?  
  • We leave for another week at the beach next week.  I'm so excited!
  • Speaking of, I made the remark earlier that there's only a week to go when in actuality, there's more like a week and a half, and technically, closer to two weeks than one.  Once we're in a week, I think my mind just counts it as gone.  Expectations!  haha
  • Is anybody interested in doing this Pinterest Party?



Friday, July 13, 2012

House of Rose: Week 19

I'm linking up with House of Rose late this week!  I've missed the last few weeks and wanted to link up today even though it's late.


Some things I talked about:


Happy Birthday, K.C.!



Dear K.C.,

I can't believe you are five years old today!  Where is the time going my sweet boy?  I want you to always know that though I wasn't there on this special day five years ago, I love you like I was.  I am so thankful and grateful that you are in my life and I get to experience you growing up.  You are truly a blessing from God!

You are the sweetest, most independent boy.  You bring so much joy to our lives every single day!  You are so smart and creative!  Daddy and I are amazed at some of the words in your vocabulary, the things you come up with, and the train tracks you design and build.  Your big blue eyes and sweet smile melt our hearts each day.

You are a great example for your little brother.  You show him so much love and he adores you.  Anything you do is just right to him.  Always remember how special it is to be a big brother.

Though you are a picky eater, you love anything sweet.  We know that all of the candy in the world can't equal your sweetness (and you'd have a great time trying it all!).  You are our light and greatest joy.

You love to play outside, drive your Gator, play with cars and trucks, and play the Wii.  You also like to build houses from Lincoln Logs and put many of your race tracks together.  You are so inventive!

Your determination to do things well makes me happy.  And you like to care for things.  These two qualities are ones I hope you will carry with you always.

Watching you grow, learn, and flourish is one of the most amazing blessings.  It is incredible to me how much you've grown since we celebrated your 4th birthday last July.  You are becoming big boy!  I can't believe we'll be sending you to kindergarten next month!

I hope your zest for fun, laughter, sparkle in your eyes, and determination stays with you.  Always know how  much Daddy, Kaden, and I love you.  You are our K.C., my sweet boy, and the second member of the Todd Team.  We love you to the sun and back!  Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Love,

Anna Belle

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pinterest Party: Link Up Time


Ok, friends.  We all love Pinterest.  And if for some reason you don't, you might want to stop reading this.  I thought it would be fun to do a little link up, a Pinterest Party if you will.  Here's what I'm thinking: we all love to see what other people like and we all repin things, so why not link up and see what our blog friends are liking?

Each Thursday, starting next Thursday, July 19th, we'll have a link up.  Now, we can do this one of two ways (there are plenty others, but after thinking about it, I've narrowed it down to two.  Feel free to send me your other suggestions!):
  • We can blog about anything we're currently loving on Pinterest or
  • We can blog about a specific category (Example: Week 1: Design, Week 2: Food, Week 3: Events.  You get the picture.)
What do you think?

While I don't want to make rules, I'd like to ask the following:
  • If you want to participate, please write a post or stick a little blurb about our weekly Pinterest Party on your blogs sometime between now and next Thursday and please link back to this post.  (Grab the button at the top, too!)
  • Try to limit the number of pins you highlight.  I am guilty of pinning 5,879,526 things on each of my boards, but for this, let's try to keep it to a more manageable number, say 10-12.
  • Make a board for each week and link to it (so we can all repin the great things you've found!).  Don't forget to display your items in your post, too!
  • In your Pinterest Party post, make sure to give a link to your Pinterest account (so we can all follow you of course!).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What do you do before breakfast?



Last week, I was looking for something to read.  I had just finished The God Box and was reading some of our governor's book, Can't Is Not an Option, but I wanted something else to read before Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Meg Cabot) and Where We Belong (Emily Giffin) come out.  Enter: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.

I downloaded the book on my iPad and started reading.  Whether you're into self-help books or not, this book is great!  There are so many good examples of what many people are doing in the early morning hours.  I think the concepts that are discussed can be applied throughout the day, too.

The book focuses on willpower, forming habits, and the three things most successful people are doing in their mornings.  These things are:

  1. Nurturing their careers - strategizing and focused work.
  2. Nurturing their relationships - giving their families and friends their best.
  3. Nurturing themselves - exercise and spiritual and creative practices.  
Until recently, I wouldn't have classified myself as a morning person at all, so the prospect of getting anything accomplished other than the necessary things was non-existent to me.  A few months ago, though, I started trying to use my mornings to do "me" things that I didn't want to waste time doing at night when I would rather be spending time with my precious family, but are important nonetheless.  

You all know I love to run and exercise, but sometimes, my schedule doesn't allow me to run to the gym during lunch (yes, I shower before coming back to work) and I can't always run at night.   I don't feel as good, have as much energy, or get as much accomplished during the day if I don't exercise at least some, so realizing this, I decided I'd try to exercise in the mornings.  I don't do this everyday, but it makes a huge difference when I do.  

I try to do weight training on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and run every day but Sunday and Thursday.  On days that I use weights, I give myself 45 minutes from the time I walk out of the door to go to the gym to the time I get in the car to go to work.  I know what you're thinking.  How can you possibly work out, shower, and get ready in 45 minutes?  And what about breakfast?

It goes like this:
I get up and shower, do my makeup, and dry my hair like I do every morning, but instead of putting on my work clothes and fixing my hair, I slip into my gym clothes, put my hair in a loose pony tail and throw my curling iron in my bag.  I go to the gym and workout.  After my workout, I take a quick shower, put on my work clothes, and curl my hair.  For breakfast, I usually have one of my beloved Nature Valley granola bars and fruit at my desk.

The other thing I am trying to transition to do in the mornings is my quiet time.  I am reading a chapter a day in the Bible (I'm currently in Ephesians) and writing what hits me in my journal.  I also like to have time to pray.  Sometimes, I feel rushed and I don't like feeling that way when I'm saying my prayers.  I am usually ready for work by 7:30 and have to leave by 8:15, so that gives me thirty minutes or so to do this.  

As you can tell, I spend my mornings mostly nurturing myself.  It feels so good to have my exercise (or most of it anyway) out of the way by the time I get to work and my days feel better when I start them with time with God.  With limited time in the mornings, it's important to prioritize and nurture which area is best suited for the morning during your extra time.

If you're interested in how you can better use your morning time, the books outlines these things:
  1. Track Your Time 
  2. Picture Your Perfect Morning - my perfect morning is a run/exercise early, quiet time, and then a big family breakfast and lots of snuggles!
  3. Think Through Logistics
  4. Build Your Habit
  5. Tune Up as Necessary





An "I'm Not Going to Be Popular" Kind of Post

I'm going to put this out there and it's not going to be popular.

I'm not reading 50 Shades and I'm not seeing Magic Mike.


There it is.  I said it.  If you're reading or watching, please know I'm not judging.  Many of my friends and even my 17 year old sister have seen the movie.  My sweet mom wants to read the books (that was before she knew what they were about.).

Again, I want to say I'm not passing judgement on you if you're reading the 50 Shades trilogy or if you've seen Magic Mike three times, I'm just saying why I'm not.  And I'm not saying I'm better than you because I'm not either.  I just have a strong conviction on this topic.

It's scary to me how so many women have jumped on the "mommy porn" train when we'd all be going crazy if our husbands/boyfriends were saying and posting the same things on Facebook or Twitter.  It seems to me that we're (women here) ok with reading "erotic" literature, but most of us would be appalled if we walked in to seeing our man looking at Playboy (it's only for the articles, right?).  There's not a difference to me.

And what about Mike?  Would you be ok with your man going to see Magic Melissa?  I think not.  


The 50 Shades trilogy focuses on a young woman and a manipulative billionaire.  This woman essentially gives herself over to Grey and eventually, they become involved physically in what most of us would consider to be a very unhealthy relationship.  The trilogy is essentially full of BDSM (Google it).

I don't have daughters, but if I ever do, I don't want them to think this kind of stuff - this behavior - constitutes a loving relationship.  And I certainly don't want our two little sons thinking this is how you treat a woman.  Manipulation, dominance, and all the things that go along with it are horrible.

As far as Magic Mike goes, male strippers are just not my thing.  But more importantly, the whole premise of this movie is just not cool.  Is it really ok to teach our sons and daughters that "relationships" are all about sex?  That it's ok to do drugs, sleep with people you've just met, and then one day, feel sorry about it all and start a relationship?  Last time I checked, that's not what a solid relationship is founded upon.

Meredith went to see the movie Friday night with some friends and hated it:



In case you can't read it, she said: That movie was AWFUL last night!  I wanted to pour Clorox into my brain to try to erase the two hours I spent watching that nasty garbage.  

For me, it's not about wanting to be a prude and not reading or watching something that's sexual in nature (we have all read books and watched movies with these scenes).  It's more about what it's about.  It's the mainstream acceptance that these things are normal and ok.  How can we as Christian (or non-Christian) women say that we accept this?  How can we partake/enjoy something that we know we wouldn't want our sons or daughters doing or believing it's ok?  How is it ok for us to read and watch things we wouldn't want our husband's reading or watching?  I trust Kevin completely as he trusts me, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't want him to choose to read or watch porn no matter how "soft core" we might deem it to be.  It's about love and respect.  

It's often said that marijuana is a gateway drug.  Books like these and movies like this are similar.  You and I might be able to read the books and watch the movie without thinking anything about it, but not everyone can.  You and I are happy and fulfilled in our relationships, but not everyone is.  Unhealthy relationships, illicit sex, drug use, abuse, unhappiness, and a general feeling of "I want more" or "why can't my life be like that?" run rampant in today's society.  Becoming emotionally involved in and/or desensitized to these things causes problems.  

I try to think of things this way: the old, tried and true Garbage In, Garbage Out test.  Is this something that's going to add value or quality to my life and allow me to be better or is is something that's pointless and useless?  I'm all for having fun, but to me, fun isn't defined as reading about an unhealthy relationship between a man and woman or watching men see how many women they can get.

What do you think?

Here are two posts that I thought were great on this subject:
50 Shades of Magic Mike - MelissaJenna

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our Weekend: Swimming, Playing, and Partying, too!

I hope you all had a great weekend!  We did!

On Friday afternoon, the boys and I got to swim for a while at Kevin's sister's house.  We had a great time.  It's been in the low 100's everyday for the last week, so anytime we have a chance to be outside swimming, we jump at it!  K.C. discovered he could touch in the shallow end of Meredith's pool on the Fourth, so he had fun running around it.  Kaden has decided it's about time for him to learn to swim, I think.  Look at this video:


The boys haven't had swimming lessons yet.  We're planning to do it this summer, but with beach vacations and K.C.'s surgery, we haven't had a good time to do it.  I'm so proud of them that they're becoming so comfortable in the water, but it scares me, too!  I'll feel much better after they learn to swim!

Saturday was a lazy day for us.  We stayed inside most of the day to beat the heat.  I went for a run Saturday morning and even though it was cooler (mid-80's), it was so humid!  I mustered though 2.4 miles outside and finished my run inside on the treadmill.  Do any of you have any "beat the heat" tips while running?  I miss my outdoor runs!

I feel bad that it's been so hot and we've had to stay inside.  Our sweet boys have been wanting to ride their bikes and play outside, but you can't even walk into the garage without breaking into a sweat.  What's one way to combat this?  Foam stickers and construction paper.  After using these stickers in crafts almost every night during VBS, we bought some for them to play with at home.  They were happy as could be sitting at their little picnic table with bowls of stickers and paper!

We went out to lunch on Saturday and when we got back, Kaden and I took a nap.  We read about five books on the iPad and we were both out!  Kevin and I usually take turns putting him down for a nap and I don't usually fall asleep, but I did on Saturday.  On Saturday night, we celebrated Kevin's dad's birthday.  We had delicious homemade lasagna and blueberry cobbler and enjoyed visiting with everyone.

We had a great service at church yesterday.  The message was on faith and the lack of it.  When you think about it, there is really very little in life that we have any control over.  We can control how we act and react to things, but other than that, we have to have faith.  So many times we try to do things ourselves and when that doesn't work, we decide to have faith.  That's not how it is.  We have to start with faith.


Yesterday afternoon, K.C. and I played in the fort he and Kevin built while Kaden and KT took a nap.  Kevin and I went to Target and picked up some birthday supplies for K.C.'s party last night and then went over to his sister's to swim.

We're looking forward to a fun and productive week!

Coming this Week:
  • Magic Mike and 50 Shades: Are You In?
  • House of Rose Link Up
  • Pinterest Party
  • Happy Birthday, K.C.!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday's Letters

Photobucket

dear weekend: I'm so glad you're almost here.  We've missed you so much!  We're looking forward to spending lots of good quality time together.  dear people.com: I've tried to quit you, but I can't.  You keep sucking me in with all of your Will and Kate stories and now, TomKat.  What's a girl to do?  dear Kevin:  Thank you for being the best man in the world.  I'm one lucky girl.  I love you!  dear blurb:  Thank you for cooperating with me these past 250 pages.  I promise I'll stop using you soon.  dear K.C.:  I can't believe that in one short week you will be five!  This year has flown by.  We can't wait to celebrate you our sweet boy!  dear Kaden: I try so hard to be good when you start saying your favorite word (boobies), but it makes me want to laugh.  Please always be so sweet!  dear gym:  We've only had one visit this week.  I promise to be back next week.  dear God: I've really been loving our early morning conversations.  I want to stay in this habit.  Thank you for blessing me so greatly!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrate America and a Recipe

We had a great day celebrating our country yesterday!  We spent most of the afternoon and night at Kevin's sister's house.  She has a big party with about fifty people every year.  It was great!

We were so busy having fun that I didn't take any pictures (well, except one mildly not so hot one of me and KT).  Take my word for it: we had fun!  We swam for hours, played pool volleyball, enjoyed a delicious cook out, and watched some great fireworks.

Speaking of food, this is one of the things we took:

Crunchy Romaine Toss

My grandma has always made this salad and we love it!  I had some people ask for the recipe yesterday and I thought I'd share it with you, too.

Salad:
Romaine Lettuce
1 Head of Broccoli
4-6 Spring Onions, Sliced

Topping:
1 Package Ramen Noodles
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
4 T butter

Dressing:
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tsp. Soy Sauce
Salt and Pepper to Taste

To Make Topping:
Crush Ramen noodles and saute with chopped walnuts and butter.

To Make Dressing:
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil while stirring.  Immediately remove from heat when dressing begins to boil.

Toss salad with topping and dressing.

This dressing is the best!  We've even used it to marinate steaks.

Also, today is Kevin's dad's birthday.  We're looking forward to celebrating this weekend.


Happy Birthday, Roy!  We love you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Live Simply


We're busy.  We're all busy.  We're involved in things with work and church and we all have extracurricular activities we participate in.  This is all in addition to the things we do daily.  Things like preparing meals, keeping up with laundry, and tidying up our homes.  There's also a list of other important activities we need to fit into our days like spending time with God and exercising. And we always want to spend good quality time with our families.

You may wonder where I'm going with this.  I'm going to this one word: simplify.

I am the proverbial Type A.  I want to do everything I do well.  I want to go all out on things.  I often take the multiple step approach rather than the easy way.  It's just me.  And while all of that is well and good, it's ok to make things simple.

Now I'm not saying to throw out all of those things, but I am saying that it's crucial to know what matters most to you and give all you have to those things.

I'm working, slowly but surely, on not having to do it all.  Kevin is great at helping me with this.  Things are so much simpler, literally, when we do things simpler.  What I mean is instead of volunteering to bring the cupcakes (homemade of course) to K.C.'s t-ball celebration, we took chips.  Instead of making all the decorations for Kaden's party, we ordered a lot online.  And you know what?  It was good.

You know what else will be good?  The caramel cake I just ordered, at K.C.'s request, for his birthday next week.  (I'm going to add some dinosaur details because, face it, I can't be totally uninvolved in his 5th birthday cake!)  Simplify.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Back!

You know how it goes.  You go on vacation, have a great time, and then come home.  We did have a great vacation two weeks ago and we had a great week last week, but with everything we had going on, my little blog was neglected.  In the spirit of updating you on everything we've been doing, this post might get long!

K.C. had to have some surgery last week.  While it was relatively minor, you can imagine how major it was to us!  He was such a big boy and we are so proud of how he did.  The most heart-wrenching thing I've ever experienced in my life was when they rolled him away sitting up on the stretcher with his little gown on, waving, and holding his Curious George!  We are so thankful God took such great care of him!

Kevin and I were talking this weekend about how tired we feel like we were.  I don't think I was physically tired, but all the stress really wore down both of us.

On Saturday, I did something I haven't ever done before.  I shot a handgun.  We took a class and it was fun!  I have to be honest with you.  I went into the day-long class thinking I was going to be bored.  Truthfully, I wasn't at all!  It was great!

We spent the morning learning about safety and all of the laws while the afternoon was full of shooting.  It was fun!  KT shot the x out of his target during his test and I didn't do too bad if I say so myself!  I haven't loaded the pictures on the computer yet, but here are some from our phones.



We also celebrated our anniversary Sunday!  We went out to dinner at Olive Garden Saturday night which is where we went on our first date.  It may sound crazy to say, but we were talking about what we wanted to do to celebrate and really, we both feel like everyday is special.  We have so much fun together all the time!  I am so thankful that God brought KT and I together!  I can't wait to see what this next year holds for us and our sweet family!

We had a great service and lunch at church yesterday!  The sermon was about the freedom we have in Christ, but before it, our preacher told something about a conversation he had about God with a five year old.  That really got me thinking.  K.C. will be five next week.  We talk with the boys about God, read Bible stories, say our prayers every night with them, and pray that they will have hearts open to Jesus and accept Him as their Savior and Lord,  but is there more we need to do? 

Speaking of faith, I finished Mary Lou Quinlin's book last week.  It was great!  It also urged me to spend more focused time in prayer than I do.

I want to start cooking again.  We have been on the go, on vacation, and busy so much lately that the kitchen hasn't been used.  I miss cooking for my family and eating things other than take out, fast food, or in a restaurant.  I've planned meals for the days we'll be home this week and I'm looking forward to cooking.

I also have to get back into my workout routine.  I try to run fifty miles a month and I was about five miles short of my target in June.  We did go on vacation, but I like doing everything I want to do.

We're looking forward to some celebrations over the next few weeks.  We have a big Fourth of July party at Kevin's sister's this Wednesday, we're celebrating his dad's birthday later this week, our sweet K.C. turns five next week, and the next week, Mia will be two!  We'll be in need of our next beach week when we finish with all of these parties!

Speaking of parties, we ordered supplies for K.C.'s dinosaur party yesterday.  I can't wait for them to get in and get started getting ready for his party!