Monday, December 29, 2014

Two Girls' Weekend

I am so behind on some of the things I want to share on the blog. Like the two different weekends I got to spend with my best friends way back in November.

Back during the weekend we did the Viva La Diva 10k, Jana and I spent that evening doing one of my favorite local, holiday activities, walking the Galaxy of Lights at the Botanical Gardens. I never really feel like it is the holiday season until we do this. They always add in a few new displays that keep me entertained, and I have fun catching my old favorites (nothing says Christmas like lit up dinosaurs). Unfortunately, Jana had a bad blister from the race, so I felt I was punishing her with the walk sometimes, but I think she had fun regardless! After the light show, we went and saw Big Hero 6 (for me the second time, definitely my favorite movie of 2014). 

The very next weekend Anna came to visit me. She is a big Broadway lover like I am, and a few months back we had booked tickets to go see The Book of Mormon in Nashville! Before we even checked into our hotel room, we hit the mall and did a little shopping. She is definitely the friend I love to shop with the most. After hours of shopping, we had dinner at the rainforest cafe (I loved the ceiling). We then headed downtown to check into our fancy, schmancy hotel in downtown Nashville. There is nothing I love more than a fancy hotel. The best part of it all, is it was only two blocks from the show, so we were able to walk there.

The show was amazing. I have never ever laughed so much at a play in my life! I would so see it again, if I had the ability.

 We ran into a college friend of Anna's at the play, who was there with his boyfriend. We ended up going back to the hotel and having drinks at the bar with them. Well, I was still sober, so they had some drinks. We then went back to the room, and we took a million silly selfies. Cause why not?

I enjoyed the short road trip back to Alabama with her, as we listened to the Book of Mormon soundtrack and had some girl talk. 

I was so happy to get so much friend time last month.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Weekend Report

Friday, the day after Christmas, I'll be honest it was hard to drag my butt out of bed to go to work. I usually take that day off, but with our Disney trip on the horizon, sacrifices must be made. But I only had to work till 2, so it wasn't bad. After work, I headed over to the Bridge street shopping center to catch the movie, Into the Woods. I got to the movie an hour early, so I was shopping around a bit. They have a Christmas store, and I ended up buying this personalized decoration with all our family members names on stockings to symbolize the first Christmas in our new home. It is my new favorite decoration.

The movie was fantastic!!! I love musicals, I love Disney movies, and I love fairy tales. I especially loved that it included some creepy aspects of the orginal fairy tales (like how the evil stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the glass slipper).

When I came out of the movie, the Christmas decorations were just so beautiful, that I had to snap some photos. I'm going to miss those until next year!

Saturday morning, I had planned to do my 9.5 training run. But unfortunately, it was raining, raining, raining (I was not going to do my long run on the treadmill, over 2 hours on the treadmill is not for me). Adam and I headed into town for lunch at Mellow Mushroom. My half a slice of pizza was amazing! Then we ran some errands to Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, Target, and Sears to use our various gift cards we had been given over the Christmas season. I love making purchases and spending no money! We got a lot of practical items we needed like a new trash can and bath mats. So non-exciting, but we didn't have to spend our money!

When we got home, I took a nap, and then got ready to run. It had stopped raining, so I was hopeful I could finish it. I was having an excellent run (mostly sub 13 minute miles). And even though I was overwhelmed by the distance I had to go, my legs felt good, and I felt confident. About mile 3.5 it started to slowly sprinkle, and I thought, "oh no." But I was determined to finish, I can run in a little rain. But right when I hit mile 5, the deluge hit. It was way too cold out to run in that rain and wind (didn't want to catch a cold). So I had to call Adam to pick me up. It rained all night, and I woke up sore this morning, and I did not want to risk overdoing it. So I'm going to try again either Thursday or Saturday.

Once I dried out, Adam and I played a little Lego Marvel on the xbox, and then I watched some movies on Netflix, the original Annie and half of Breakfast at Tiffany's before I had to quit and go to bed, although I've seen that movie half a million times). 

Sunday was church, grocery shopping, and watching the Green Bay/Detroit game with Adam. A game we won! Which makes us the leaders of the NFC North, and we get a bye week in the playoffs! Not the same can be said about my fantasy team, as right now I'm battling for next to last place.

Now I'm off to put away my laundry, and maybe do a little reading in a bubble bath.

Happy work week all.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

We kicked off our Christmas celebrations by having Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. My mother came over about 12:30, with her dog Carlee, and baked a cake as I had put her in charge of dessert. I finished the components of the meal that I hadn't made ahead of time, and the meal was delicious. Chicken, crock pot mashed potatoes, broccoli  & cheese casserole, and crescent rolls. I also got to enjoy my first bit of alcohol post surgery, I so enjoyed that glass of wine (it had almost been a year after all).

After dinner, we opened a few gifts from mom. I gave mom a key to the house. She has been wanting one for awhile, and I have always teased her saying I didn't want her to have one. So I had to surprise her with one, a cupcake one at that. I also gave her a coffee table book about the Rockettes, commemorating our special trip to see the show last weekend. She gave me these lovely Packer pajamas, among other things. After the gift exchange, mom and I watched Saving Mr. Banks, while Adam played one of his new video games.

After my mother left, Adam and I exchanged gifts from each other. I have a soft spot for Christmas time when it is just Adam and me. It reminds me of our early Christmases together in California, when neither one of us could afford to fly home, and all we had was each other. Those Christmases were so precious, and last night felt just as special. 

We had agreed to only do one gift for each other, as well as a few stocking stuffers. My favorite gift I gave to Adam was this little piece to go with his Christmas Village that we got to display in our home for the first time this year. This is his first new addition to the collection in years. This one is called Pennies for the Penny Press.   He loved it. I'm excited to expand his Christmas in the City collection together.

Adam did so well with my gifts. Knowing how much I love scrap booking, and how excited I am to scrap our Disney trip, he snagged me this album to document our trip. It is a replica of Carl and Ellie's adventure book in the movie, Up! How perfect.

He stuffed my stocking with a fun Princess Ariel Lego set, which I built right away, and a cute Stitch figurine for my hobby room. It was a very Disney Christmas at our house.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing. I watched him play video games. I did not want the night to end, so I decided to doze on the couch until he was ready to go to bed, so we could go to bed at the same time. A rarity, as he stays up much later than I do.

On Christmas day, I woke up earlier than Adam, and I watched a little of the Christmas Story marathon on TV. A true classic. I decided I would make him some homemade waffles before waking up as a surprise. Of course, I'm not the neatest waffle maker, but they tasted good nevertheless. And I think he enjoyed the treat.  Afterwards, we opened gifts from his family, and we called home to thank everyone.

We spent the whole day relaxing. It has been too long since we had a day where we didn't leave the house at all. We played some video games together (Lego Marvel), I took a long nap followed by 30 minute run (felt so good to stretch my legs and get some fresh air), Adam made sloppy joes for dinner (a.k.a Marten family BBQ), I took a heavenly bubble bath, and we watched the Dr. Who Christmas Special (just like last year). And although I have to work tomorrow (which is a slight bummer, since I don't want this Christmas bubble to burst), I feel so content after this month of celebrations.

Christmas 2014 is one for the records books.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

In the wee early hours of Christmas Eve 2014, I am sitting here drinking my sugar free hot-chocolate in my favorite Minnie mouse mug,  snuggled up under a blanket, and watching the cartoon version of Anastasia on netflix (a Christmas classic, just kidding, just a classic from my childhood). Adam is asleep because he has to work tomorrow (sucker), and I finally have all the gifts wrapped and food prepped for tomorrow's dinner and Christmas celebration with my mother. One  morning dental surgeon appointment to see about getting my wisdom teeth removed stands between Christmas and me. I can't wait.

I can't help but be reflective about 2014 as it winds down. This has been one big year for me. It started with the weight loss surgery, the commitment to a healthy life style, and now weighing under 200 pounds for the first time in forever.  I completed my first ever 5k and 10k RUNNING. We celebrated our 5 year anniversary in the place it all began. We bought a house! We para-sailed. We attended a Packer's game, where they won! We finally established some new Christmas traditions with family (which to me, is probably the best part of 2014).

Although not all was good of course.  This was a whole year without my beloved grandmother. Who I swear I miss more now than I did right after she died. There is just so much about my life nowadays that I want to share with her. But I guess she already knows. 

I'm starting to look toward 2015, and I am planning what that year will look like for me. I have my half-marathon and my first ever trip to Disneyworld. I am tentatively planning a trip to Disneyland in September to do the Dumbo Double Dare (a 10k followed by a half-marathon). And who knows, by the end of the year, I might even try my hand at training for a full marathon in 2016, but we will have to see about that now won't we. 

My only goals/resolutions for 2015 are to continue with my healthy life style commitment. I also want to do project life in the "proper way," one layout for every week in the year, which I'm sure will be challenging for me. But how awesome would it be to finish the year with a complete album?  

I have also thought a lot about doing the one word challenge via Ali Edwards. The one word challenge is as it sounds, you pick one word to focus on for the year. I like the concept, and I have picked the word "imperfect."

I focus so much on doing things the right way, and when they do not go exactly as I pictured it, it causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. For example, when I was running late for the book club gathering I was hosting a few months ago, I ended up in tears with worry and felt so flustered, it almost ruined my evening. No one but me cared that I was late, it was needless worry. I just get so caught up in perfection, that I don't enjoy the moment I'm in. There are some aspects of my anxious personality I simply cannot help, but I do feel like I can improve. I just don't want perfect to be the enemy of good enough any longer.

I want to work on not freaking out when plans change or I'm not in total control of a situation. I want to stop worrying when things are not done the way I would do them. I will stop apologizing when I cook a meal and it does not turn out exactly right.  I want to be able to admit my shortcomings and ask for help when I need it. I want to embrace the messiness of life in general.

Merry Christmas Everyone. Enjoy every moment of the holiday season.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Weekend Report

This weekend was the perfect holiday weekend! On Saturday, my mother and I headed up to Nashville, specifically the Grand Old Opry, to see the touring Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular show starring the Rockettes. Seeing the Rockettes perform is something I have always wanted to do. I remember turning a corner a few years ago when we were walking in NYC, when we spotted Radio City Music Hall. I was so excited!

The performance was awesome and stunningly beautiful. Yes, the high kicking was amazing (I can't even kick higher than my shins). But all the performances were great! My favorite was the 12 days of Christmas dance, the Toy Soldiers, and the Living Nativity. The living nativity was so touching, that it almost made me tear up. They even had two real camels on stage!

After the performance, we walked over the the mills, and we did a little Christmas shopping, as well as ate with the fishes at the Aquarium restaurant! It was a great mother/daughter day.

On Sunday, I went to church, where they were doing a Christmas gift giveaway for the kiddos, which was great! I love seeing joyful children. Then, I came home and watched the Green Bay Packers/Tampa Bay Buccaneers game with Adam, which we won. And now the Packers are officially in the playoffs! Can we please beat Detroit next week and get a first week bye?

I took a glorious two hour nap, read a little of my current book (In Cold Blood), and then went for a quick (though not easy) 3 mile run. I worked a little on my project life 2014 album, and now I'm just watching a little Sunday night football with Adam.

I'm so excited to get through the next two work days, so we can officially kick off the holidays. Plus, tomorrow it will officially be two months to my half-marathon and Disney world vacation. Holy Moly! Time is flying.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What I'll Remember about Family Christmas 2014

This weekend our nieces, Kayla's fiance, Andy, and Cassie's best friend, Meg joined us for an early Christmas celebration. This was so special for so many reasons. Our family has been through some terrible hardships in the last 5 years, that I won't document here, but it has meant that we have not been together for Christmas in that much time. That is heartbreakingly hard to believe. But now that Adam and I have our own home, it was time to remedy this situation. They couldn't be here for the real Christmas holidays, so we just bumped it up a few weeks, and we decided to start our own new traditions.

Christmas Eve I'll remember:

Getting hilarious texts from the girls all day about the progress they were making on their road trip (we took a wrong turn and just passed a sign that reads now entering Colorado). Anxiously watching the clock at work, just wanting the day to end so I could see everyone. Non-stop panicky calls from Adam when he couldn't locate food items in the kitchen (is it OK to make rotel dip in the slow cooker?). Driving too fast on my commute home from work due to the anticipation of it all. Seeing the family for the first time in months and getting to cuddle with Cassie's dog, Mickey, who I haven't seen in years. Delicious meal consisting of Marten Family BBQ (sloppy joes), shells & cheese, broccoli and cheese casserole, peanut butter cake, and homemade cheesecake. Yummo. Playing smash brothers, Mario party, and a million rounds of Lego rockband (everyone was graced with my lovely vocals). All the girls opening just one gift on Christmas eve, footie pajamas! Becoming the Footie Pajama Family Brigade. Knowing that the family that onesies together, stays together. Having a full house filled with laughter, like one giant childhood sleepover.

Christmas Morning I'll Remember:

Waking up before everyone and walking around the house turning on all the Christmas lights. Watching the kids open their gifts. Making homemade waffles for everyone for breakfast. Heading to Bestbuy with Kayla and Andy, and then having them surprise us with a movie and a video game they overheard us talking about wanting (so sweet). Lunch at Steak n' Shake. Seeing a movie at the drive-in (where our car battery died because we left it on the wrong setting).  Watching Cinderella with Kayla.  

The Day after Christmas I'll Remember:

Going with my family to take Kayla wedding dress shopping. Being surprised by the dress she picked out. She is gorgeous (I always knew she would be). The emotion of saying "Yes" to the dress and the bell ringing ceremony. Love, Happiness, and Celebration all around. 

Coming home and buying pizza for everyone. Teasing Cassie for eating honey on her pizza (like what). Playing 3 cutthroat rounds of Clue (I lost every single one of them, plus the round of 13 dead end drive we played later). Running down the street for some frozen yogurt for dessert. Shooting hoops and playing fetch with the dog in the drive-way.  Multiple rounds of Mario Kart. One round of watching Meg shoot zombies in the pentagon as JFK (some random video game). 

It was so sad to say goodbye Sunday morning. It was simply the most perfect weekend. Everyone talked about what an amazing time they had.  My heart is so full of love for my family right now. There is a line from the movie Lilo and Stitch that I love. "This is my family, I found it all on my own, it's little and it's broken. But still good, yeah still good."

That is exactly how I feel. We are putting the heartbreak of the last few years behind us and moving forward.  I will never forget Family Christmas 2014.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

11 Month Surgiversery

I cannot believe that in one month it will be a whole year since my surgery. Heck, I can't believe we are in the last month of 2014. I'm torn between begging time to slow down and just wanting to go, go, go! 

I think of all my monthly surgiversery posts, I am most excited for this one. I had so many wins this month, the two biggest ones taking place over the weekend.

After dancing around the number for weeks & weeks (I lose more inches than pounds lately), I stepped on the scale on Sunday morning, and I saw this glorious number:

I apologize for sharing a picture of my ugly, ugly feet with the peeling pedicure. But I am too excited about my weight to care. I'm am under 200 lbs!! I have officially entered ONE-DER-LAND. It is glorious. They last time I remember being under 200 lbs, I was 180 lbs and in the 6th grade. So age 11?  Age 12? Or however old you are in 6th grade.

The best  part is knowing I never have to weigh over 200 lbs ever again. 

I would have never believed weighing under 200 lbs was a possibility for me! I could have cried on that scale, and I almost did. Instead, I texted my mother and my best girlfriends, and I ran down the hall to tell Adam the news. Even if he was sleeping, I just couldn't wait, I had to wake him up.  The old me would have celebrated the weight loss by eating something sinfully, delicious since I had the wiggle room. But the new me went out to do my scheduled training run instead.

I had three miles on the schedule. It's funny because 3 miles used to seem so impossible. But now it's no big deal to me (especially since last week I successfully ran a 7 miler).  I started on my run, and I felt pretty good. I was stunned when my app announced I had done a mile in 11:32. That beat my best mile time by about a minute! That is a crazy improvement! I also managed to beat my previous 5k time by about 6 minutes.

When I was in Wisconsin at the gym last week, they had inspirational quotes painted on the walls. One said,"Motivation gets you started, habit keeps you going." That is exactly how I feel. Fitness and eating healthy is now just my habit, therefore my lifestyle.

And I'm head over heels in love with my new lifestyle.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tis the Season for Holiday Decor

One of the things we are most excited about with being new homeowners is decorating for the holidays. So we spent the majority of the weekend decorating for Christmas. We have big plans for Christmas this year. Our nieces, Cassie & Kayla, Kayla's fiance, and Cassie's best friend are coming in from Texas later on this week for an early Christmas celebration. This is so special because we haven't been able to do a family Christmas all together in 4 years. We just can't wait.

The first step in decorating was to put out some outdoor holiday lights. We bought some icicle multicolored lights, and we then wrapped some solid lights around the two columns. We found a real wreath, and we hung it above the garage. Adam did such a good job putting up the lights, I'm so proud of him. He was my own personal Clark Griswold. We couldn't do all we wanted to do this year because we were working on a budget. But next year we want to add more lights to the second story, as well as around the windows. However, I think it is a gorgeous start.

When we were in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving, Adam was able to bring home the Christmas village he had been collecting since he was a child. Don't they just look gorgeous on the fireplace? I absolutely love it. We have been talking a lot about expanding his collection.  Even with the lights on, they just look excellent sitting above the stockings for the kids. And yes we call my nieces and company the kids, even if they are young adults. 

We added several indoor touches, and this is just a sampling. We actually got the poinsettia place-mats from a friend as a going away gift when we left California, and I thought adding a real poinsettia would make a lovely table setting. I love to decorate the stove area for some reason, I'm a sucker for decorative salt and pepper shakers (love these polar bears ones). I also like how the garland on the stairs turned out, next year I want to add some lights on the stairs as well. 

Of course, Christmas is not Christmas without a tree. And this one sure is pretty!

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