Year 3.

2014-10-03_1020

Three years ago today I woke up to a snow storm, put on the prettiest dress I’ll ever wear  and said I do to the man that I’m lucky enough to get to spend the rest of my life with.

::I get to kiss him goodbye each morning — even if I am wearing an eye mask (and, ear plugs too).
::I get to send him ridiculous emoticon messages throughout the day — even if I know it will be received with a smirk and a head shake.
::I get to hide my head in his shoulder when movies get too scary — even if the movies aren’t really very scary (re: Hunger Games).
::I get to splurge on my strict food rules without nary a second glance — even if I, also, did it the night before and the night before that.
::I get to be asked, kindly, “If I’m feeling alright” — even if that usually means I’m being a royal brat.
::I get to be tucked in when I’m sick — even when I’m highly contagious and moaning like a dying woodland creature.
::I get to be told, regularly, that we’re in this together, forever and that his love is unwavering — even when things we never wished for bubble up.
::I get to yell and scream and cry and forgive and be forgiven — even when it was totally all my fault.
::I get to test my kitchen creations on him – even the ones I claim are “cheesy” but don’t have even a teaspoon of dairy.
::I get to know in my heart of hearts that we were meant to be – even in the moments where life is too ridiculous to notice.

Happy anniversary handsome pants. There’s no one I would rather be in this with, than you. I love you.

That Time I Tried Crossfit.

Mid-January, in the midst of my Whole 30 and the 2014 Coldmageddon, I decided that Christian and I needed a big SHAKE-UP to our workout routine. There was little appeal when it came to inserting yet another Jillian Michaels DVD into the player after work each night, and forcing myself to turn on the treadmill was all but impossible. Affording a personal trainer was out of the question, joining 24 Hour or Lifetime felt pointless since we have free rec centers (if only I’d use them) in Highlands Ranch. So, what’s a girl to do.

I’ll tell you what she did do. On a whim and the spurring of a Groupon deal, I bought both Christian and I a one-month membership (and Foundations classes) at a Crossfit box by our house. Over the years I’ve had friends, boyfriends of friends and blogs I follow get really into Crossfit, but the cost and intensity always dissuaded me from giving it a try. But, that day, there must have been something in the air because I hit “purchase” without a second thought.

Fast forward a few weeks… We were signed up for “Foundations” which consisted of 2 hours of training on Saturday and 1 hour of training on Sunday. The overarching feelings leading up to that training included: excitement, fear and sheer intimidation. For heaven’s sake, I can’t even do a girl-style push-up, how the hell was I going to do whatever they had in store for me.

You may not believe me when I say I can’t do a girl-style push-up… you may even think, “Come on, you can do at least one — you’re on your knees after all!”. But, alas, I cannot. Not a one. I’d post a video, but I don’t need that proof of shame following me around for all of internet eternity… only to surface years down the road. Nope, I do not need that.

Lone Tree Crossfit

We showed up at 11:00 and there were four other “newbies” ready (or at least pretending to be ready) to take on whatever they threw at us. Turns out, those first two hours can be summed up with one word.

SQUATS. 

Followed by MORE SQUATS. 

There were plain squats, squats with a PVC pipe, squats with a bar, squats with a bar + weights, different versions of squats with a bar… squats, squats, squats, squats. At least 1.5 hours of squats.

Now, I may fully admit to push-up shame, but I’m no wimp when it comes to squatting. You want my butt touching my ankles, no problem. You want me to crank out 100? Again, no problem. You want me to do them for 1.5 hours with weights… yes, there’s a problem. But, I muscled through each move all the while fighting the urge to sit on the floor and play with my shoe laces.

Lone Tree Cross Fit

After the squatting portion (the majority of class) was complete, we headed over the pull-up bars. [cue laughter]

We were taught proper form, what kipping looked like and how to complete knees to elbows and toes to bar… all things that had my inner “can’t do a push-up girl” just about peeing her pants from laughing at the prospect.

Then, it was go time. Being rather tall, I had to jump up to the highest bar and work on flailing my curvaceous frame around. With each swing, my legs flopped and based on the feedback of our coach I was at least, sort of, doing what I was supposed to be doing. Turns out, praise gives me a big head. I swung a little harder, pushed myself more… and … then… I fell off the push-up bar, twisted my ankle and found myself with some seriously scraped up knees.

Guess I have a little work to do.  Ahem.

That mostly sums up day one. Which leads us to Sunday — the second portion of our Foundations Class.

As Christian I drove to the box on Sunday morning, we discussed what we thought we’d be doing. “Surely it won’t be more squats, right? RIGHT?”

Lone Tree Cross Fit

Turns out we were wrong. (You had to see that coming, yes?) We worked on Olympic lifting, which, again, has some level of squatting for most moves. Sunday can then be summed up by eight words:

Squatting while lifting a bar over our heads. 

By Monday morning, I needed help getting out of bed and made a slew of attractive noises each time I had to get out of my chair at work. The handicap stall was my friend in the bathroom and it would be accurate to say that I walked with a waddle. There were places on my body that I didn’t even know could be sore — but they most surely were. My abs over my uterus hurt. My side-boob region hurt. The back of my armpits hurt. All these little areas in conjunction with my quads, hamstrings, shoulders… (you get the idea). If it’s a muscle, it hurt. Bad.

Christian and I aren’t quitters… so we signed ourselves up for classes over the next couple of weeks, which we completed, barely (burpees are my new arch nemesis). And, so, the verdict: Crossfit is perfect for what I need now. I need the motivation, the changing up of our workout routines and something to push me further than I’ll push myself… even if it means being yelled at to lift more, go faster and stop being a complete pansy.

Have you tried Crossfit? Would you try Crossfit?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day!

When I think about Valentine’s Day, I think about sitting in my friend Jacqui’s bed during our sophomore year of college. The house she was living in hadn’t seen an insulation or window update in half a century and the only way to stay warm was to chat whilst under the covers. We sat there for hours — talking, eating puppy chow and becoming the very best of friends. It’s one of my favorite memories of our friendship.

Most of the time, Valentine’s Day is about the love your life, but this year I’m celebrating love in general. The love I have for Christian, the love I have for my family, the love I have for my friends, the love I have for chocolate, the love I have for wine… you get where this is going. There’s lots of love and I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have it.

I wish you the very happiest of Valentine’s Days! I hope it’s full of love in whatever capacity you need … and make sure you sneak in a little chocolate too!

 

Finally Friday.

Christian's Birthday Surprise Adventure

In last week’s finally Friday post I alluded to some top-secret plans, and I’m here to tell you that those plans went off without a hitch. Christian’s birthday was this past Tuesday (he turned 31). Tuesdays are generally a pretty lame day to have a birthday – they’re better than Mondays, but not by much. In order to save this birthday from the doldrums of mid-week, I decided to turn Saturday into Christian’s semi-birthday. I rented ATV’s on the sly and dragged him 40 minutes outside Denver for an adventure. The verdict? He totally loved it. I followed the adventure up with a fancy dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse downtown (where he pretty much died from steak joy). On his actual birthday I made him one of his favorite dinners + brownies (and ice cream) and surprised him with a new board game… nerd alert! I’m calling this one a total win.

This weekend, it’s a 3-day weekend! Whoop, whoop. I love 3-day (and 4-day and 5-day, you get the picture) weekends. A lot of our family is out-of-town so I’m hoping to check a few things off the to-do list — things like painting. We’ve had a variety of splotches all over our walls for the past several months and it’s time to make a decision and slap some color up. Wish us luck. We also borrowed this really intimidating looking ceiling painter from my mom – she says it’s not as scary as it looks – jury is still out on that one. Hope your weekend if full of all kinds of good stuff.

Here are some of my favorite finds from around the interwebs:

In the mood for a sweet, sad, precious, melt on the floor in a puddle of tears kind of cry? I’ve got the perfect thing, and it’s called “A Letter From Fred“. Something about adorable old men that truly love their wives (and vis versa) gets me every time. I want to hug him.

One of my favorite parts of making brownies – outside of, you know, actually eating the brownies – is licking the batter. I try to make them when Christian is either a.) not home b.) not in the house c.) blissfully unaware of what is going on — all this so that I can spend all the time in the world meticulously eating the batter left on the spoon/bowl. If this could be achieved in a semi-healthier form, I’d be all for it. Enter Cashew Brownie Batter Bites.

My Mom gave me this beautiful print on holding yourself to a standard of grace for my birthday and I can’t wait to get it hung up in our house (waiting on the paint I mentioned above). 

Raise your hand if you love Instagram? –(hand raises)– It’s such a great tool to connect as well as get perspective on the world around you. I loved this article on how Instagram can make you a better photographer (and why it shouldn’t be dismissed in professional circles).  I, actually, went to high school with the author, Tim, but didn’t really know him (there were almost 1,000 kids in my graduating class) — turns out he’s an uber-talented photographer in CA that’s always up for crazy adventures, paying it forward and offering really intriguing blog posts. 

I’m trying so hard to lighten the load when it comes to cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, but making and chopping the same things every week for salads + smoothies + dinner can get a little old. This recipe for slow cooker burrito filling not only sounds delicious, but also seems like it could be used in everything from the burritos it’s meant for to omelets to salads. This one might be a new favorite in our house.

Finally Friday.

Finally Friday!

Hello Friday, it’s nice to see you. This week has been good and packed full of bible study, time at home, comedy works with my family and good weather. The only downside was the BIG TIME explosion of purple berry smoothie early this morning. But that humiliation (and extreme amount of clean-up) has now passed and made room for Friday excitement.

This weekend we’ve got lots of down time (which is always nice) — we’re having a BBQ date night tonight at Hickory House in Parker. Tomorrow we’ve got some birthday festivities and then we’re headed to the zoo for Christian’s summer work party (hippos + vino = yes, please). Sunday we’re going on a hunt for the cheapest organic produce near us — Costco and Sprouts, I’m looking at you.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Here are a few of my favorites from around the interwebs this week:

So I found this site from another post on raising a family outside the US, [side note: I LOVE reading about other cultures… or people in general… cannot get enough] and this post with the line “I make the babies, you kill the spiders” totally echos my sentiments when it comes to my marriage, but also embodies my fear of spiders 10 fold. Think we have spiders here in the US? Check out the ones from this post in the Congo.

Currently, we have 13 zucchini and squash plants growing in our back yard. I planted all these seeds thinking that only a few of them would actually come up. I was wrong (they all did) and then when I couldn’t give them away, I felt bad murdering the little baby sprouts that I had planted. Anyways. I’m about to have a plethora of squash varieties that will need to be used, and these zucchini pancakes look like a great option.

How often are you asking yourself “how much can I get away with?” — I’m guessing it’s a lot more than you think. I’d never heard it put this way, but your beliefs and efforts might be what’s holding you back.

I loved these free planners — especially the blog post layouts. Maybe if I write it all out for August it will inspire me to actually stick to a posting schedule. Just maybe.

Have you ever had paleo bread? I haven’t. But, I think I’m going to try to make a loaf this weekend and see how it turns out. I’m thinking either this cinnamon loaf or this more general bread recipe. If it goes well I’ll report back with details.

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting my butt kicked by Jillian Michaels in my living room, but sometimes I need a break from the same video routines. This pyramid workout might have to get added to the rotation.

Bonus: Here’s a free marriage manifesto printable — I’m a sucker for any sort of typography print, if you haven’t already noticed. How much is too much when it comes to hanging words on your walls?

Currently.

Sometimes I wish I could just take a snapshot of my life. Something that would capture exactly what it’s like in this moment with a husband, puppies, a house, a job, an amazing family, fabulous friends, wonderful weather and more joy that I’ve felt in a really, really long time. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time that my life just felt good. I’m not saying every moment is good. There are cranky days and disappointments, but they are far outweighed by the hope and blissfully everyday occurrences I’m trying to get better at appreciating.

With that said, here’s a shot at what my life looks like, currently:

Currently

Currently Reading: Wheat Belly + Bible. Christian and I committed to reading the bible in a year. I’m totally caught up on it too — if you don’t count the fact that I gave up on part of Leviticus and still have to go back and read the Psalms/Proverbs and haven’t started the month of June, yet. Progress, right? The actual bible we’re reading lays it all out in chronological order, which makes it even more interesting to see how different events and people led to the famous stories we all remember from Sunday School.

Also on my nightstand is Wheat Belly. One of my very best friends (and lobster) Jacqui loaned it to me after she finished reading it. As I may have mentioned, recently, I’m a little obsessed with the breakdown of nutrition, different evolutions of food and the science behind what we should be eating. This book is fascinating and learning how wheat and our relationship with it has changed over time keeps my mind reeling long after I’ve set the book down for the night.

Currently Listening: Pretty much anything country with the occasional hip hop tossed in for workouts. I just like the stories behind country music and the fact that I can understand the words (and not be offended if I listen too closely).

Currently Indulgence: A warm Ghirardelli brownie with ice cream. We don’t have it often, but when we do it is absolute heaven.

Current Nail Color: Mod in Manhattan by Color Club. It came in my June Birchbox and while the color wasn’t my favorite at first, it has a peachy hue and has held up really well. Considering buying the entire Birchbox collection.

Current Drink: Mostly water. I’m boring and I like it that way.

Current Food: A big bowl of organic strawberries. These are the first organic strawberries I’ve ever bought and they are D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S… are all organic strawberries this way? If so, I’m a total convert.

Current Favorite TV Show: Burn Notice (the last season). It took Christian approximately 3 years to get me to sit down and watch an episode… but, boy, when he did, I quickly watched the entire Netflix collection in the matter of a couple weeks. I can honestly say that Michael Weston is my one and only TV crush of the moment. He’s kind of self involved, but I love him. Also, my heart breaks with each new episode simply because I know they’re counting down to the end.

Current Wish List: A fun vacation to look forward to. I can’t make up my mind, though, about what I want in my next vacation… a relaxing week at a mountain cabin, beach palooza and lots of sunshine, saving up for something in Europe? Most of the time I’ve already got my heart set on my next travel locale, but this year, it’s a total toss up.

Current Needs: A good haircut. It’s been at least 4 months since I had my hair cut and the ends are crispy, it’s tangling easily and needs re-shaping. About once a year I’ll have the urge to cut it all off (which I did with several inches back in February), then the rest of the year will be spent trying to grow it back out.

Current Thoughts: I’m taking this Friday off, so my 4th of July weekend is turning into 4 days off. It will be so nice to get things done, relax and just enjoy some time at home! With that said… I can’t stop thinking about it.

Currently Anticipating: A girl’s trip to Austin. This September my three best girlfriends from college are all convening in Austin for a long weekend. I. Cannot. Wait. Also, I hear they have tacos there. I can’t wait for those.

Current Blessing: Life. Christian and I’s first year of marriage was hard. I don’t think I realized how hard it was until things started to get better and life got good again. Maybe it’s a survival instinct, maybe it’s avoidance… I’m not sure. Either way, life is good (knock on wood) and I’m hoping it will stay that way.

Current Bummer: Somehow, somewhere I ripped a big hole in my favorite jeans. I’ve had them almost 2 years and have worn them multiple times a week (if not more) the entire time. Buying jeans is one big #tallgirlproblem, so having to retire a pair is always sad… plus, the prospect of having to shop for more jeans is always a little daunting.

Current Outfit: These jeans + this top. All Banana Republic – my one true shopping love.

Finally Friday.

Too many people undervalue what they are, and overvalue what they are not.

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! I was so happy about today being Friday that I actually called Christian on my way to work and sang him a few lines of “Glory, Glory Hallelujah”. Breaking out into song (and making up my own songs) is somewhat of a specialty of mine, though I try to reserve it for those that will only minimally roll their eyes each time I bust out “Somewhere over the rainbow…” or “Ooooh say can you see…” — Christian’s main gripe with my singing is that I only pick songs with notes far, far out of my range. I say it makes for an entertaining challenge, yes?

I’ve been really dragging this week in the sleep department, so this week was a little bleery eyed and extremely busy at work. Every single bone in my body is eagerly anticipating sleeping in tomorrow morning. This weekend should be a good one… girl’s night tonight, a whole day without plans tomorrow and then lunch with my dad followed by babysitting Captain Snuggle Buns on Sunday. I’ve also got this genius idea for a chocolate ganache frosting I’ve been wanting to try out — we’ll see if I can muster up the energy after editing the photos from the portrait shoot I did.

And the real bonus is that next week is a 3-day week. Hello, no-plan, 4-day holiday weekend that is almost here!

Here are my finds from the interwebs this week:

I saw this bright shower curtain earlier this week and I wanted it so, so, so bad… but the bargain hunter inside of me refuses to pay $60 for a shower curtain. I mean, really. It’s so cheery though – pretty sure it would make me smile every morning before I hopped in.

Have you seen the article”When your mother says you’re fat“? It was so beautifully written, it made my heart ache while simultaneously generating hope for the next generation of women. Read it, it’s worth your time.

These rare, unpublished photos from the aftermath of D-day in Normandy are captivating to me. It’s actually hard to imagine and I keep wanting to pretend they’re scenes from a movie rather than something that really happened.

There’s been a desire deep in my soul for a mail organization system. I know, first world problem. The issue is that I can never find one that suits my needs. First I ordered one from Zulily only to have it show up the size of something you’d hang in a 5 year-olds play kitchen. Then I bought a bulletin board which has just ended up cluttered with crap. All this to say that when I saw the tutorial for this DIY Chalkboard with key hooks — I emailed it to Christian and begged him to make it for me.

As I get older, the frailness of life and the value of each moment becomes more and more apparent. This Japanese tradition of looking at every moment as something that will only happen once in a lifetime really struck home. Doesn’t life look more beautiful from this point of view?

A few months ago I took the Brandgasm class by Ash Ambirge and Jamie Varon… since then, I can actually open Photoshop and semi-use it. This also means I’m addicted to free font downloads — mostly because I can’t justify why I need a million script fonts or why I need my boss’ credit card to buy them. Ahem. Here’s a compilation of the 105 best free fonts that I’ll be scrolling through.

I would love to have this black dress from The Gap to wear on the weekends. Doesn’t it look totally comfortable? Like the perfect summer chic. Plus, it could be dressed up with some bright accessories!

Finally Friday.

Life, Love & Garlic: You're The Chicken To My Waffle

Ahem… It’s Fri-yi-dahy! AND it’s Memorial Day weekend (re: three-day weekend)! Doesn’t get better than that. Oh wait, there’s forecasted good weather – it, in fact, does get better! Which is great timing since this week was really slow for me. The dogs have been waking us up 1-2 times a night and it’s starting to take its toll. They’re cute. That’s what keeps them alive.

We, also, caught a black widow in our garden last weekend which is now living in a Tupperware on our table. Each time I look over at it, I get that heebie-jeebie, shivery feeling makes its way up my spine. I wish it would just die already so I wouldn’t have to look at it and continue my mandatory “bang it on the table to see if it moves and is hence still alive” maneuver each morning. People keep telling me to just “kill it”, and to them I say “you want to take the top off the Tupperware? Be. My. Guest.” Maybe I’ll just leave it, in the Tupperware, out in the sun. That’ll cook it, right?

This post has taken a turn for the weird.

Anyways. What’s on tap the next three days? Some of my family from Iowa, including baby Bentley, are coming to visit for the weekend (they get here this afternoon), I’m photographing a wedding on Saturday and then taking it easy the rest of the time. I do believe there will be hamburgers on the grill and a few glasses of wine in my future. Oh, and some baby holding since there will be two babies hanging around. It will be great, I just have a feeling.

Here are a few of my favorite finds from around the interwebs for this week:

My very favorite post of the week was this list of 10 blog posts you’ll wish you had read sooner. In fact, it ate up a couple hours over the course of two days. The best of the list includes:

This list of common misconceptions will eat up the better part of an hour to look through, but trust me when I tell you it is not time wasted. I was particularly intrigued by the entries about: seared meat, nails growing after you’re dead, hydrogen peroxide and blood.

I love the idea of showering someone with affirmations on their birthday! Doesn’t it seem like such a genuine way to celebrate exactly who they are? I’ll have to remember this since birthday season is almost here.

Have you ever had one of those moments where your friend (mother, sister, boyfriend, cousin etc.) said the most perfect thing possible — even when it wasn’t a “sunshine and rainbows” kind of moment? Here’s a list of  things we don’t say enough (and when to use them) that will help you be the person with all the wisdom and perfect words.

Lately we’ve been having smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch… it really takes all the decision (and cheating) out of 2 meals a day! Plus, those two can be made in infinite ways, making it a new endeavor each day! I think, next week, I’ll try this Bacon Apple Vinaigrette Salad – seems so summery and it has bacon! as one of the main ingredients!

Learning to tell Christian what he means to me in a way that means something to him (still with me?) has been something I’ve had to work on. While I may want fluffy and romantic, that stuff doesn’t do a whole lot for him. Hence why I found this guide on 62 things to tell your husbands to be a good, quick read!

P.S. I’ve been having WAY too much fun with the A Beautiful Mess app on my iPhone — the options are endless and so is the stream of randomly captioned photos of the dogs that I’ve been sending to Christian. Also, that waffle photo? Compliments of my new app and the way I show love. Food. And weird comparisons.

Remembering I’m lucky.

My View - I'm so Lucky!

Sometimes I find myself getting caught up the what if’s of life or the comparison game or the ‘wish I had’ thought process. I’m working on it… some days it’s more of a struggle than others.

But, last night I had this ‘aha’ moment of sorts. There wasn’t anything flashy going on, it was completely devoid of romantic gestures and frankly to anyone else it would have been overly ordinary. But, it was exactly what I’ve needed.

Christian and I were out back, the lawn was freshly cut. We were working together to plant our vegetable and flower haul from Home Depot before it got too dark. While he was digging holes, I walked back to the deck to grab a few seed packets. Once the seeds were firmly in my grasp, I turned around to head back over. It’s then that it hit me. I’m so lucky.

The sun was shinning in a way that only mid-evening sun can, casting shadows and rays of light perfectly across the lawn. Christian was hunched over the garden, looking ruggedly handsome and our two ridiculous dogs were in an all out wrestle in the grass. It was pure perfection, almost like a shot straight from a movie.

When I take the time to remember and pause for a moment to notice, my life is overflowing with goodness. No matter where I am, who I wish I was or what I think I’m missing, I need to remember that…. truly, truly, truly I’m so very blessed and so very lucky.