January 17, 2017

A Tuesday that Wore me Out

:: I come to you this evening from Chris' iPad...because a sweet Poppy Sue is laying on my lap and I didn't want to disturb her again. I've been up and down all evening, doing loads of laundry. :)

:: Today we had sausage jambalaya for dinner with roasted zucchini and it was so yummy!!!!

:: Work was pretty insane today, but by 5:00 I felt like I made some really good progress thankfully. So I should feel better going in to tomorrow. We do have a VIP trip coming in so that will take a few hours of my day.

:: Chris got a new triathlon bike! It was delivered and he got it put together this evening. It's pretty awesome!!! He wants to push himself and try something new...the triathalon would definitely push him, with the swimming.

:: We started a New Year, New You workout contest at work on Monday, and it's been fun so far! We have to keep a food log, and then we get points for taking workout classes at work or doing out own workouts. There are a few teams who have already gotten so many points so it will be hard to catch up -- but it will be fun nonetheless!

:: Thursday is our Book Club and we are having a salad bar -- yum! Can't wait to see what our next book is. I'm nearing the end of Ove, and it has gotten better. But I still haven't loved it as much as I expected too. Boo.

:: Okay, time to relax...

January 16, 2017

Back from Houston

Well...here we are :)

And I am tired! I should have taken today off too...since we didn't get home until 9:30 Sunday night, it was a late night for us. Had to then unpack and get things ready for Monday. After being up at 5:30 am (4:00 for Chris), the marathon, the 6 hour drive home (a lot of it in a horrible down pour of rain)...well, it was a tiring day to be sure.

And a late night means today had to have grocery shopping and laundry, after work. Another long day. It was an insanely busy, crazy day today at work too...sigh. On a good note! Our new hire, Carren, started today and we all love her already!! She is going to be a rock star!!!

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've seen photos from our weekend trip to Houston! I'll be posting more about the weekend and the marathon this week...I'm too brain dead at the moment.

This week -- Book Club is Thursday and the scrapbook crop is on Saturday! Looking forward to both! I want to also do some more decluttering, and I need to do some cleaning too.

Until tomorrow...

January 11, 2017

Almost Trip Time!

Well, we are now down to one more work day and then we are off to Houston! Looking so forward to being off on Friday, and to our fun weekend in Houston!

Gotta get through Thursday though...I'm having lunch with my friend Nadene, and am excited for that!

Took Poppy to the vet this evening...realized she was very overdue on her shots. So now both puppers are up to date on their shots for another year.

I got a $5 off coupon + 30% from Kohl's today, for my anniversary of being a Kohl's credit card holder...need to find something fun to spend it on!!!

I'm on episode 4 of The Crown on Netflix...there are 10 episodes in season 1, and I'll give it a few more. I enjoy it a bit, but there is a lot in it that I don't enjoy too. If it doesn't pick up some, I'll probably move on.

And I'm still plugging through A Man Called Ove...surely it will pick up soon too. I have a few other books ready to go on my Kindle and will most likely be able to start one on our road trip! I love reading in the car.

Last night, I got caught up on Grey's Anatomy...the new episodes will be back this week I think. I'll watch them as time permits...it's not at the top of my list. Also watched This is Us...love that show, but last night didn't feel up to snuff for me. We'll see how next week goes.

I guess I'm a little hard to please at the moment, eh?? Oh well!


January 10, 2017

Today's Thoughts

:: Becky Higgins photo books are now available! Super excited! Just 56 more pages to create and then I'll be ready to order my first one, ha ha!

:: Chris is having dinner with Kiki this evening...so glad for their friendship. Men really need other men to help them talk things through, especially in difficult times. I'm glad that they have that friendship.

:: This is Us is back on this evening and I am so excited to watch!!!

:: I should receive my moccasins from JC Penney today!! Can't wait to see them -- hope they fit and that I love them. And more importantly, that they are comfy!! The older I get, the more important that is!!! :)

:: I'm having lunch with Nadene on Thursday and am looking very forward to that!! Not sure where we are going yet, but just having that time with her will be nice. It's been awhile, and she does my heart good.

:: We found out about the winners for our next incentive trip at work. This year, the trip is to Costa Rica, and unfortunately we will not be on the guest list. Certainly I am bummed, but honestly I did not expect to win this year. So we are all good.

:: However, in big news, Chris and I have scheduled a CRUISE for our 10th ANNIVERSARY!!!!! We are so excited about it!! We're going in August; departing from Galveston and hitting Montego Bay and a few ports in Mexico. 7 days. Pure bliss. In the middle of the ocean with no cell service. We both need that. Looking so forward to celebrating 10 years with my sweet man!!!!

:: Tonight is zumba and I am ready! Love the hour long zumba class. Wish there were more to attend! I'd also love to attend some Barre classes, but only one place in Abilene offers them and it's during the workday.

That's about all I have for this day...plugging through until our three day weekend!!!!

January 09, 2017

Going Digital

So, I'm excited about some new developments that I've decided on!

As I was decluttering my scrapbook room over the weekend, I determined a few things:

1. I already have 33 albums; each one is 3 inches wide. That takes up a lot of space.

2. I'm only going to continue growing my collection. Eventually I will fill my whole house with albums!

3. Since we are wanting to downsize this year, space will be of-the-essence!

I'd been contemplating changing over to digital scrapbooking. But I didn't really want to do it on the computer. Enter Becky Higgins Project Life app on my phone!

I've been using this app for almost a year now, doing a weekly "In the Life" double page spread that includes fun things from our weeks. Coming up on February 15, I'll have a full year of pages in my album. I think that is a good time to stop that project. I've really enjoyed it and it has really made me fall in love with the Project Life app! The print quality of the pages is beautiful, too!

Then last week, Becky Higgins announced that her app is going to begin offering photo books!!!! This was a game changer for me. So I decided that, starting with 2017 photos and events, I will be going digital! I've already got the cover page + three additional pages done! And I'm currently caught up for the year so far!



Here are my thoughts:

1. The albums can hold up to 60 pages, and are only about 1/4 inch thick.

2. The print quality is amazing.

3. I will no longer have to spend time sizing and color correcting photos and getting them printed at Shutterfly (saving time and money).

4. I can do it all from my phone, which will mean I can do it more often and keep current with it. I can do it anywhere! Currently, I am only scrapbooking once a month (if that) at the crops. But I've mainly just been sizing photos for printing. Can't remember the last time I actually scrapbooked!

5. I take all of my photos with my phone, since our good camera is currently down with a nasty error. So everything will already be there, ready to be used.

6. I will save even more money because I won't have to purchase scrapbook albums, the page protectors for inside the albums, paper, or doodads/ribbons/etc. Wow! There will be a cost for the printing of the photo book, and to purchase any digital art. But in comparison, I think it will be a lot cheaper.

So excited to give this new method a try!!! I will continue scrapbooking the traditional way for 2016 and before. So, I need to get the remainder of 2016 finished, and then I have older photos (childhood) to work on, too. So there is still that, if and when I desire!

Here's to me, being open to change!! :)

January 08, 2017

Weekend Recap

Another weekend ending. I wish they were longer.

I was very productive!!

Friday evening, we went to dinner at Jason's Deli and then came home to watch the movie McFarland, USA per Chris' running coach's orders :) It was quite a good movie, actually. Solid with a good story and message. We both really enjoyed it. This coming week, he's got orders to watch two more movies: The Internship and The Karate Kid. There is a method to his coach's madness!

Saturday, I went to a lovely baby shower for a friend at work, Katie. Her baby, Parker, is due early February. There were a lot of people there, and she got a lot of good things. Then I came home and started on decluttering my scrapbook room. That ended up being an all-weekend chore. But it is almost a happy spot once again.

I spend so much time in this little square room...and over the last, hectic few months of last year, it just accumulated so much stuff. Things were lining the walls around the perimeter of the room! I started feeling very overwhelmed just being in there. This one room is full of so many things that I love...but when those things start giving me anxiety, it's time to declutter. And that I did. I thinned out the decorations on the shelves and walls, keeping only my very favorite things. This was very difficult!!! But the end result...room to breathe again. Then I started on the closet, which is full of all of my scrapbook goodies, supplies, and more. Oh my.

I managed to empty out the closet by the time I went to bed Saturday. Started on it again Sunday morning, and have managed to get rid of a lot of stuff and tidy it up. Feeling good in there, too. The thing is -- it's still SO MUCH STUFF. I no longer feel like I am drowning in it...but still. So. Much. Stuff.

I'm contemplating, beginning with 2017, to start scrapbooking completely digitally. I would still finish off through 2016 with the traditional technique. But, the traditional way takes up so much space. I currently have 33 albums, which are each 3 inches wide...that takes up a lot of space, and that quantity is only going to continue growing. Digital scrapbooking would be faster and easier to keep up with, and the Project Life app I use is about to begin offering photo book printing too! So this is a real possibility for me.

Tomorrow starts another week -- we'll thankfully be in Business Casual clothing! We'll be leaving Thursday after work for Houston. We're off on Friday!! Woo hoo! We're driving partway to Houston Thursday night and finishing up Friday. We'll have a little time in Houston that evening, and the we'll spend most of Saturday in our hotel room so that Chris can relax his legs and mind for the big race on Sunday! Please say lots of prayers for him breaking his goal of running under 3 hours! He has put in so much hard work over these last 7 months with his trainer -- he is in fantastic shape!!! But we'll still take those prayers!!!! I'm so excited and nervous for him!

I hope you all have a great week!!!

January 05, 2017

meh

I'm not a fan. Of headaches. And today is one of those days unfortunately. On top of the pounding head, I am also feeling very drained. Tired. I hope that I am not trying to get sick.

I'm off to the couch with my fuzzy blanket, to rest.

January 04, 2017

Today...

...was a quiet day at work, and I always enjoy that!

...I finished the four revival episodes of Gilmore Girls, and was a mixture of happy/sad/frustrated with them. Overall, I enjoyed them, but there were definitely parts that were very unnecessary and parts that I wish had gone a different way. And there were also some very odd things too. I'm glad I watched the series from beginning to end...I did enjoy it and I loved that Kim was watching it at the same time!

...it's time to find a new series to watch! I'm thinking The Crown, which is a drama about Queen Elizabeth's life. We shall see.

...we had black bean enchiladas and spanish rice for dinner, with guacamole!

...I plan to finish my needle felted bird! I recently bought a kit so that I could learn the art of needle felting, and I LOVE it!! I will post more about it once I have it done! I definitely plan to do more.

...am feeling a little tired, from being up in the night with my allergies. When our town goes from 70 degrees to 30 degrees in one day, that tends to wreak havoc on my system!

...I read more in "A Man Called Ove"...everyone seems to really love this book a lot, and I haven't quite gotten into it yet. I'm not very far in, so I still have high hopes for it.

...I spent my Christmas gift card at JC Penney! I decided on these really cute moccasins! As I am decluttering, there isn't a lot that I need. And with my Stitch Fix shipments, I don't really need clothes beyond that. But my number of winter shoes is small, and I do hope I like these! I ordered online, so we shall see!

...I was excited to see that the Becky Higgins Project Life app on my phone is about to offer photo books!!! This is big!!!! It will be so much easier. I can't wait to try it out!!!!!!!!

January 03, 2017

Back to Life

So, the real world beckoned this morning...the 6:15 am alarm was harsh, and back to the office we went. We were fully staffed again and everyone was ready for a fresh new year!

Chris did his run at lunch, so I headed home for a quiet, solitary lunch with Gilmore Girls. I'm on the final episode of the new 4 episodes, and I am having mixed feelings. It's a very odd episode so far. I am very curious to see how they are going to end the whole thing.

After work, we attended a surprise party for our friend Dawson, who turned 50! It was at Willow Creek Winery, and there was a good turnout. It unfortunately was outside, and it was chilly here today. So we didn't stay too terribly long. It was fun though. They had little appetizers there, and then we picked up Heff's burgers on the way home.

Now we are home and ready for a very brief stint of relaxing...and warming up from our chilly evening. Time for the fuzzy blanket!

Say a little prayer for Mimi--she went to the doctor today because she isn't feeling well, and he has her on a lot of medications trying to kick it. He is worried that it is going to develop into pneumonia, and that he'll have to put her in the hospital. We really don't want that!!

January 02, 2017

A New Year

The new year has begun! It was so very nice to have this Monday off...ahhh!!!

We had a great New Year's Eve! We started it off with Chris running the YMCA Resolution 5k race here in Abilene...and Chris won the event!! It was so exciting to watch him win his first race!! It also showed how great his fitness is in his training!! He lead the whole race and came in about 300m ahead of second place. He was pumped!!! He won a plague for Overall Finisher, his first ever!! So proud of him and all that he accomplishes, time after time.

Afterwards, we stopped for breakfast burritos and after cleaning up, I went to Kohls to spend my gift card! I had a plan going in, which went bust. I had wanted a second fleece sweatshirt like the one I got over Thanksgiving, and also some gloves with technology fingertips. Well...they had neither!! So I had to search around and find some new ideas :) I ended up with a new bra -- and let me tell you, this is the best bra I have ever purchased! It is SO comfy and flattering too. I definitely recommend it! I also bought some new silver hoop earrings.

That evening, we were invited to a party at our friend's (Julie and Dustin) with a few other couples and we enjoyed our evening there! We had great food (I took a jalapeno popper dip with crackers, and strawberries and fruit dip) and played games. There was a lot of laughter and loud music and fun! We also took our saber knife, and we sabered a few bottles of champagne for midnight. We counted down and kissed and cheered and toasted...here's to a great new year ahead!

New Year's Day, we spent time working on some decluttering...I went through my closet and removed a lot of stuff. That feels so good! I also decluttered the bathroom and our bedroom...Chris did the media room and the wine room. We'll be going systematically through the whole house in the next weeks. I dread doing my scrapbook room, but it is the room that needs it the most. I need to remove about half of everything!!! The room is out of control with decorations and scrapbook supplies...it is so overwhelming to be in the room, and it is where I spend the majority of my time! I'll save this room for last. We also watched some The 100 episodes -- the season is getting very crazy!!!

Monday, our day off, I did more decluttering and then met Kim for a movie date! We saw Collateral Beauty with Will Smith, and we both thought it was very good! Afterwards, I stopped and picked up my online grocery order.

So, now we are winding down and getting ready for our work week ahead. Yay for a four day work week! It is January so things should be a little more quiet for awhile.  Though we do have a 50th birthday party to attend and a baby shower too...


December 31, 2016

2016 Recap

When I was growing up, adults always said that the older you got, the faster time flew by. Yeah yeah yeah. Well, I am here to tell you that they were right, and man...this year was over in a blink.

Overall, 2016 was a pretty good year for us...here's a recap:

:: We visited our favorite town, Fredericksburg -- Jan, May, Aug, Oct
:: I attended yoga classes for awhile
:: We did The Daniel Plan as a company
:: I received 6 Stitch Fix deliveries throughout the year
:: We continued our Book Club
::  I attended a four day scrapbook retreat at the Mansfield house
:: Chris and Mimi went to the Barry Manilow concert
:: Chris had a few Passare business trips
:: We hit the two year mark at our church, Beltway
:: Chris ran a 50 mile train race in Dallas
:: I celebrated 14 years at FDLIC
:: We went on the incentive trip to Cancun
:: I did two Whole30s
:: I celebrated my 40th birthday with a surprise party
:: We went to the Jennifer Nettles concert
:: We enjoyed Donkey Weekend in the Fredericksburg trailer
:: Mom and I had our Mother/Daughter trip to San Antonio
:: Chris started training with a personal coach from Australia
:: Chris celebrated 1 year with Passare
:: I attended two Rangers games with my department
:: I learned how to meal prep
:: We had a 4th of July pool party at our house
:: Chris celebrated #42
:: We enjoyed the roller skating Dig Gig
:: We hosted the July scrapbook retreat at our house
:: We celebrated our 9th anniversary
:: I opened an Etsy shop
:: We traveled to Colorado Springs with Kiki and Blaise
:: Chris ran the Pikes Peak Marathon
:: Chris started some online classes
:: We went to the Drag Races in Ennis
:: We stayed at an awesome Air B&B with donkeys in Ennis
:: I wrote a meal prep eBook to sell in my Etsy shop
:: We enjoyed Fredericksburg with two couples for Wine Fest
:: I learned how to make bath bombs
:: We visited STL for Thanksgiving week
:: Chris ran the Turkey Trot 5k
:: Chris ran the San Antonio Half Marathon with FDLIC group
:: We had our 13th Annual photoshoot with the Halfmanns
:: We enjoyed our 50s themed Christmas party
:: Chris ran the Resolution 5k
:: We celebrated New Years at Julie's party

There were also the not-so-great things...

:: I developed weird eczema spots on my shins that lasted about a month
:: My sweet Fonda's cancer treatments have affected her health
:: My grandpa Al is having a lot of eye issues
:: My grandma Gene struggles with her arthritis
:: My grandma Flo was in the hospital a few times
:: I had to begin taking cholesterol medication
:: We still have not seen Aspen -- over two years now

I feel blessed that our good outweighs the not-so-good...life is definitely a journey! I'm looking forward to 2017!

December 29, 2016

My Goals for 2017


It's that time of year, where I like to take what I learned about myself the previous year and move forward with new goals for the fresh, new year.

My theme for 2017 is going to be SIMPLIFY.

Ali Edwards, a professional scrapbooker that I admire, created the One Little Word concept...basically she focuses her attention on that word all year long, and her goals revolve around it. I have been focusing on themes the last couple years...last year was BE STILL and a few years before that was SPEAK LIFE.

Everything within me is yearning for simplicity right now. I feel like I am at a crossroads where life has just become TOO MUCH and I need to intentionally take steps to recalibrate many areas of my life.

So, most of my goals below will involve this theme.

1. Bible Reading -- carry on with this goal from 2016 and complete my chronological reading plan. I made it about halfway through the plan and will work my way through the second half to complete the entire Bible by the end of 2017.

2. Simplify HOME -- many things fall under this category, including: mega decluttering in each area of the house; selling or donating items we no longer need; preparing our house for selling; selling our house and paying off ALL of our debt; downsizing our living space.

3. Simplify PASSIONS -- determine what I really love to do, and where my God-given talents really reside. Then figure out ways to make those discoveries a bigger part of my life, everyday. Do what I love. Remove the rest.

4. Simplify HEALTH -- stop stressing over eating; do what feels right and choose healthy as often as possible while continuing the learning process. Pare down my fitness routine to cardio, weights, and stretching -- create a simple sweat plan and stick to it.

Simplify. Have less. Want less. Worry less. Stress less.


December 28, 2016

Reflecting on my 2016 Goals

Be Still -- that is the theme I focused on in 2016. As I sit here and begin to reflect, I come to the realization that I didn't achieve the level of success I had hoped for -- with any of my goals. And that's okay. I'm human, and sometimes life takes us in different directions than we plan. There is growth, but in different ways than expected.

Here are my thoughts on 2016; first I will list what I had written at the end of 2015, and then I will add my current thoughts! It's so good to have this reflection, and know how I want to proceed in the new year.

Mind 
I will practice "being still" (daily, if possible) by laying flat with eyes closed, listening to soft music, for about five minutes. We did this at our end of year meeting, after our group workout. I found it to be quite relaxing and rejuvenating, and I am hopeful that practicing this daily will help control my stress level more effectively. It will also be a time where my mind can be blank and allow room to listen for God's nudging.

My thoughts: I wonder why I never really made this a priority? Because, sadly, I didn't. It rarely happened. I did take a yoga class for a few months, and we did this activity at the end of each one. Beyond that, I would estimate that I did it about 5 times on my own. I loved it. Why does it seem so difficult to take five minutes out of my day to allow myself this quiet time? I always feel there is too much in the way. This really leads into what my brain is thinking about for 2017.

---

Body
As I ramp up the intensity of my workouts in 2016, I want to also take time to be still and focus on purposefully stretching my muscles afterwards to help with muscle recovery and flexibility. I need to take this time for myself, instead of rushing on to the next thing -- I need help being present, instead of always thinking of next next next. I may also throw some yoga classes in there when possible!

My thoughts: Stretching has always been a low priority for me, and while I did attempt to be a little more intentional with it this year...it was fleeting and didn't last. I did enjoy the yoga classes when I attended them for a few months. Then, my company started a summer fitness contest and encouraged people to participate in the classes. Which means there were way too many people and not enough room. So I stopped going, and then just never started again. I do very basic and quick stretching after my workouts; again, I just don't take the time. In the grand scheme of my life, the affects of this missed goal are really minimal.

---

Soul
Chris and I have decided to read the entire Bible in 2016...we found a chronological plan that we both like, and we are going to follow it as closely as possible so we can complete it by the end of the year. I am excited to read it in chronological order because it will help put things in order for me...that's the way my mind works :) I will set aside this time each day to be still and read His word.

My thoughts: The best laid plans! Being very analytical, I started this goal off strong and really made some great progress with it. I was marking off each day's reading and feeling good about my plan. Then, life got in the way and I got a few days behind. And then, being very analytical, I felt like I needed to catch up and get back on schedule...which caused me stress and catching up was just never possible. I made it to about May, and then got discouraged and stopped. After a few months off, I finally decided that I needed to go about it a little differently. I needed to be less structured with it, and be okay missing here and there. And I had to completely do away with the concept of 'catching up'. So, I picked it back up, and now I read what I can each time, and that has been working very well for me. I feel much less stress! So...with all that being said, I made it about halfway through the reading plan. And I am good with that! I am going to carry this goal on into 2017 and finish the second half of the plan. I think that is very doable!

December 27, 2016

Back to (Short-Lived) Reality

So...it was back to work today, after a lovely FOUR days off work! But that's okay, because it is only a four day work-week, and then we have a THREE DAY weekend!!!! Love this time of year!

It was a bit sad this morning, heading in to the office while Chris stayed home in the bed...he is on vacation all week! As I am unfortunately out of vacation/sick/personal time...it was back to the grindstone for me!

It was a pretty quiet day though, so that was nice. A lot of people ended up taking vacation this week. I hope to be able to catch up on some things. Our new graphic designer was in today to begin some training...she will be back on Thursday for a little more, and then her official first day of work will be January 9.

Chris was very productive on his day off! He caught up on some reading, went to order a new tire for his truck (for the flat he got months ago), went to Lowes and purchased solar lights for the dog's potty area in the backyard. Now I think I have talked him into relaxing this evening while watching more episodes of The 100 season 3!

Until tomorrow!

December 26, 2016

Holidays

I hope that you all had a very merry Christmas!

We enjoyed a very nice, relaxing holiday...we were blessed with lots of yummy food and many thoughtful gifts.

Christmas Eve, Chris and I went to the 3:15 service at our church and enjoyed the candlelight singing. Then we headed home and I whipped up a few different snacks. We enjoyed those and then opened gifts with Mimi!

Christmas Day, we got up at 6:30 and I drove Chris 21 miles out so that he could do his intense run with the crazy wind at his back. He got home around 9:30 and then we opened our stocking gifts. A few of my favorite gifts this year:

: new perfume
: tickets to see Pitbull in concert
: Essie nail polish (2)
: gift cards (Target, JC Penny, Amazon, iTunes, Michaels, Kohls)
: Tyme hair iron (flattens and also curls)

Afterwards, Mimi and I made our Christmas lunch...ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, jello salad, rolls...and then enjoyed a nice meal together. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading and watching Christmas shows, and then later that evening Chris and I started watching Season 3 of The 100 on Netflix!

We had invited Aspen to join us for Christmas Day lunch...but she unfortunately was sick with a fever so was unable to join us. Hopefully soon.

Chris and I were lucky to have Monday off work!!! We enjoyed another relaxing day, with a lunch out at Red Robin and a trip to Home Depot and the grocery store. Now we are winding down and preparing for a four day work week -- and then another long weekend ahead woo hoo!