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Hurray for Manning

Well, we survived the big storm that blew through last week. Ben was able to work from home so I had a wonderful chauffeur to pick me up in a warm car at the end of the day. What a perk!

We were able to leave work early too and work from home, so I raced through meetings and had Ben come pick me up at 2pm – right during the brunt of the storm. Whoops.

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It was that wonderfully thick packing snow that’s terrible to shovel but wonderful to build forts and snowmen with. Since all the schools were closed for the day, there were a lot of kids out building masterpieces. As for me, I was just eternally grateful I didn’t have to drive in it and could enjoy how pretty the new snow cover was.

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I would probably even like snow if I never had to drive through it ever again. ;)

The pretty view from the kitchen patio:

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Come on, that’s really pretty, don’t you think?

We’ve been all geared up for the SuperBowl and since neither the Patriots nor the Seahawks were in it, already it was looking way better than last year. I am NOT a Cam Newton fan and have always liked Peyton Manning since back in his Indy days, so the family choice was clear…

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I thought the first half of the game was excellent and we cheered and hollered enthusiastically. The second half was a bit dull though. I think the Broncos fell into the Packer’s playbook of cautious play. We chuckled at a couple commercials (kind of an underwhelming year) and feasted on a wide assortment of goodies including cocktail meatballs, homemade pizza pockets, roasted potatoes and onions, vegetable beef soup, made from scratch cinnamon rolls (omg, delicious!), veggies, chips, and salsa. The SuperBowl is so great for food!!!!

My dinner plate:

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So we were thrilled to watch Manning get another ring and it will be interesting to see if he’s done for good. I can’t imagine he’ll come back knowing how he’s been hampered with injuries but I’ve often heard how much he loves football and I can imagine such a big change to retire so young must be hard for players whose entire lives are the sport. Maybe he can find an announcing job or something like that. It would just be nice to see him around in other capacities. :)

The big question at work this morning was, of course, what everyone’s favorite commercial was. I guess I’ll go with the Doritos baby ad. I had seen it before but I still thought it was funny. :-)

February, Already

FEBRUARY! YE-HAW!

Time to flip my adorable new calendar:

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January is officially in bag and I doubt anyone in my neck of the woods is sorry about that, especially as we’re all bracing for Winter Storm Kayla and the 5-11″ of snow hitting us tomorrow and into Wednesday. Ben’s downstairs watching the X-Files and already the TV screen is littered with school cancellations. Pity work is never closed. ;)

Since we’re now one month into the year, I received another “motivational” email from my old gym informing me that I failed my New Year’s resolutions, that I’m not alone, and that if I want to succeed I need to come back (ahem, maybe if it wasn’t $200/month Ben and I would be back!).

While that kind of motivation doesn’t work for me I still liked the reminder about taking a moment to reflect on your goals for the year. Take a peek – are you making steps (any size forward)? Have you already stopped? What helped or hindered your progress? Are the goals still important? If they are, what can you try this month to make progress?

I’m pretty excited to admit that we’ve been sticking with the gym schedule 3x a week. we don’t always want to go but Ben and I push one another along and we’ve kept on track. I’m not moving any faster on the treadmill but I am joining Ben for some light weight lifting just to see how it feels on my back and leg.

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My takeaways this month are that having Ben going with me helps keep me on track and that by going to a gym closer to us AND right after work, we’re more likely to stay on track. I wasn’t comfortable the first week or two going and some nights I would sit in the car and wait for Ben before walking in, but I’ve since settled in and don’t feel like an outsider.

We spent this weekend enjoying a new Chinese place with some of our friends who also happen to be Fitbit buddies of ours and challenge us to weekly step goals. Ben and I usually lose but with the gym time we’re back in the race each week.

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One of my other goals was to be more diligent (5x a week) in counting my calories and staying within my limits. You know what, I’m actually doing OK with this too. I think it’s helping that I signed up for the biggest loser challenge at our gym. I really don’t think I’ll win anything but it gives me some additional motivation to try.

During the week we’re balancing better with watching our calories. We’ve been making each dinner with enough for a second meal of leftovers that we can eat on nights we head to the gym. It’s working great and with no meal prep we are able to eat at the same night each night.

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Tonight it was tacos without the shells. A little less carbs but still satisfying and delicious!

Well, we’ll have to see what this storm looks like. I’m a bit nervous but Ben’s promised to drive me into the office so I don’t have to worry or fret about that tonight. Plus, that means I don’t have to dust the snow off my car when it’s time to go home either. Perks!!!

Stay safe and warm all those in the path of Kayla. Also, if any of you had NY goals, I’d enjoy reading how you’ve been doing this first month in. <3

At-Home Tests & Home Cooking

(disclaimer: if the sight of blood disturbs you, you may want to skip this post!)

Greetings on an unseasonably warm albeit windy January evening. I drove into work this morning and it was sprinkling out! It looks like the upcoming forecast is equally crazy – 36/37 over the weekend and then a lot of snow next week. One guy at the gym said something about 15″ of snow but that seems too crazy to be true (right, right?).

We’ve been doing great this week keeping up with our gym program and I have little blisters to prove it. I don’t think even now I’m 100% over whatever weird leg issue plagued me last Spring but I’m able to hang in on the treadmill at a steady pace around 3.3 mph. I know that seems crazy slow but it gets my heart rate up high enough with a bit of elevation and doesn’t seem to put too much strain on my leg. For now, I’ll take it.

A few months ago I was in a training class at work and got talking with a co-worker about food (we had pizza catered in but he had brought a sandwich instead). He mentioned that he had a food intolerance to dairy and eggs. Now this guy is crazy fit – one of those people who bikes 25 miles each way to work during the warmer temps – and then he went on to talk about how his stomach would hurt hours after eating, how he could eat “healthy” all week but a meal off-plan would lead to 4-5 lbs of weight gain and a strong feeling of lethargy, etc, etc…

We touched base again a few weeks ago and I pressed him for a little more info because that seems really similar to how I feel. I can eat really well all week and maybe even drop a pound or two and then we go out to eat for a dinner and WHAM, the next day I’m up 3 pounds which take me the entire next week to lose. I’ve looked into food sensitivity testing in the past and it was ridiculously expensive ($1200!) so I passed. However, my co-worker’s chiropractor offered a mail-in at-home test (that cuts out the Dr office middleman) for the budget price of $150. SOLD

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I just got the test this week and thought it would be a breeze to prick my finger, fill in the circles, and mail it in. I learned something about myself: I’m a total wimp! I sat for almost an hour as I began sweating, swearing and freaking out over a prick. I called Ben over to do it, decided he couldn’t be trusted (lol), and was back to doing hard counts (ONE, TWO, AHHHHHHH) and kept freaking out. It probably was hilarious and I think Ben thought I was going to pass out. I finally managed to prick my finger with the pressure-needle… but it wasn’t aggressive enough so I actually had to do it TWICE! Let me tell you, I toughened up for round two because there was no way I was going to do it a third time!!

You have to completely fill 5 circles and with enough blood to soak through the back…

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Then it gets air-dried overnight and placed in a “cute” little bag and mailed in:

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I mailed the test in on Monday night and now I’m antsy and wondering what the results will look like. This had better not have been for nothing! :)

Three days later and I still have little bruise marks on my poor fingers.

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wimp. wimp. wimp.

I’m much happier now with no more needles to prick myself with.

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Who knew it would be so hard? Honestly it looks so easy – but it’s probably because I was doing it to myself. I should have just called my mom and made her drive over. She totally would have lol.

I know blood is a little weird to discuss but I thought some of you might be interested in the process. I don’t know what I honestly think about food sensitivity screening (the online research seems to be all over the place) but if it helped my co-worker and his wife so much that they shipped 6 kits to CA for their family to try… well, why not?

In the meantime, we’re trying to make more meals at home instead of going out. I told Ben that the results will likely come back with sensitivities to all of my favorite foods and I’ll be left with only kale, lima beans and fish left to eat. Help me!

Tonight it was tacos without the tortilla shell. Delicious. I started logging my food once again so I can better control portion sizes. It’s amazing how easy it is for a little extra this and that to add up to major calories.

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I’m excited and nervous to get the results back.

(Please Lord, don’t let me be allergic to beef or chicken!!!!)

Skate America

It’s been a sports-filled viewing weekend in the house. Our Packers are out but we cheered long and hard for Denver and Ben’s downstairs cheering Arizona too. Not looking good for AZ at the moment… But hey, Seattle and New England are out so I can’t really complain.

After an hour at the gym yesterday, Ben and I got home and I settled into several hours of figure skating. If you aren’t aware, I’m kinda totally obsessed with figure skating and have been since I was itty bitty (i.e. 12). When I was watching Ben came in and was able to clearly follow the different elements and we laughed at some great memories of Skate America. How could I have forgotten to write about this!?!

The first stop in the Grand Prix International series this season was Skate America and my jaw hit the floor when I noticed the event was being held in Milwaukee, WI. How/when does that ever happen?! What an opportunity!! I’ve always wanted to see a major skating event and this was a totally realistic and surprisingly inexpensive way to do it. I told Ben I’d be taking off to Mke for a weekend of skating and (shockingly) he said he’d come along so I wouldn’t have to battle Milwaukee traffic. What. A. Guy.

We had planned on leisurely mornings, skating events, nice dinners out, and then more skating events. We drove down on Friday after work, checked into our hotel and then made our way to the arena.

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I can’t tell you how excited I was. The first event was on Friday afternoon and it was pretty empty (probably because more people were at work). We had all-event tickets and settled in for the first events.

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We sat through the first events and then there was a 90min break where they cleared the stands and made everyone go outside into the pouring rain for their “tailgate” party. It was freezing but we tip-toed out and hopped around to stay warm before I shoved my phone into Ben’s hand, yelled “get a picture, ahhhhh!!!!” and ran off to see some random guy walking through the crowd.

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Random to Ben, maybe, but I knew this face – it was Ryan Bradley, one of the past US Figure Skating Champions. Seriously, don’t we look absolutely adorable together?

I immediately texted the picture to my best bud Kari and we proceeded to send back crazy exclamatory texts like a bunch of crazed teenage girls.

They had a lot of past champions wandering about providing commentary on the events and Ryan was covering the men’s event.

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I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they handle fans. Ryan was so incredibly nice. I saw this weekend that he’s now coaching and it was fun to point him out to Ben. :)

Commentators:

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I’ll admit that three days of skating was a little much for Ben but I gave him the camera and he was in charge of photos. Plus I was able to teach him about the elements and help him learn to identify some and I think that made it more interesting to him than just seeing people skate around.

I was fascinated by an up-close look at the scoring sheets. We got to glimpse in on the technical judge’s screen where they review moves and assign point values:

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As well as the scoring monitors of the actual judges:

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You don’t get these views on TV!!!

It was freezing when we left at 11pm Friday (OMG) and we crashed back at the hotel at midnight. After a pancake breakfast and a trip to Walmart for a flannel blanket and some snacks, we headed back for 8 more hours of skating Saturday.

The red glow:

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We caught a glimpse of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski but never were able to get to them for a picture. Boo Hoo. I really wanted one with Tara.

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They had signature ops for the American athletes and when we went to get in line for the ladies it was ridiculous. I looked at Ben and said “I don’t need signatures this much, let’s go”. BUT we were right out of the gates for the men and ice dance teams and I’m so glad because we got to chat with the athletes… and snag a few more pictures.

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Here i am with last year’s US Champion Jason Brown (right) and this year’s silver medalist Max Aaron on the left. Most people were just huddling by Jason but I boldly walked around and said, “I need one with both of you guys, now smile like we love each other”. Ha Ha

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So cool!! And yeah, Jason was incredibly, incredibly nice. I couldn’t believe it but it really makes you want to cheer for people who are sweet and appreciative of fans. Madison Chock, on the other hand, not to much…

Or it could have just been the women in general. I was walking down the hallway and spotted Tanith White dashing away from people so she wouldn’t have to sign autographs or whatever and then just stop in the breezeway(?) so I walked on up and asked for a picture. She didn’t seem thrilled but probably didn’t want to be rude so I got one with her too.

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We couldn’t find a place to eat Saturday night – there were only a few restaurants nearby and ended up waiting 45min for service at a fast food burger chain before grabbing our food and dashing back so we wouldn’t miss the next event.

We saw newly crowned US Champs Kayne and O’Shea:

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US Champ Gracie Gold:

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And Jason Brown :) :

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We stayed late for all the medal ceremonies too…

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And Ben was a wonderful sport through it all. <3

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It was a LOT of sitting and pretty cold being in a rink for an entire weekend but we had a lot of exciting moments that I’ll always remember. I keep wishing the Winter Games would come back somewhere close so I could go again… I’m guessing those will be a bit pricier so I’ll need to start saving now. Ha Ha

A Guide to Setting Goals

Greetings on the coldest day of the new year. I waddled outside this morning to negative temps and a lovely breeze. Whoa nelly! It’s on days like this that I wish I could work from home AND afford a dual residence so I could snowbird somewhere South Jan-Mar. One day. :)

Today I want to talk about goals. It can be exciting for many people – signifying progress and purpose with the determination brought on by a sparkling new year – but for others it’s barely a thought. After all, doesn’t “resolution” mean we are vowing either to do something or to not do something – and if it were easy to make that change, wouldn’t we have already done it?? A week before new year’s I received a (motivational?) email from our old fitness club trying to get people to renew memberships in 2016. It contained phrases like “you will try alone and you WILL FAIL” and “why bother when you know you won’t succeed”. Wow. It fed into my own self-doubts about change but didn’t leave me feeling hopeful and empowered. I didn’t sign up.

I’m always a bit pensive about making resolutions / goals / whatever because I have a poor track record in achieving goals I set for myself. In fact, my #1 goal each year is to lose weight and more often than not I end up gaining weight!

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I’ve tossed a lot of ideas around in my head, mostly formulating how I want to approach 2016. Usually I want to have my goals written down by 1/1/20xx so that I can start rock’in and roll’in right away but I’m OK with a more relaxed approach this time around. I read a couple of interesting articles that changed my perception on goals and they are worth a pause or two before moving onward.

So here are some things I picked up. Simple but impactful and maybe they will help you when you look at any goals or resolutions you’ve set for yourself this year.

Each year you make the same resolutions.

If you find yourself in the same spot year after year, why would this year be any different unless you do something to make it different?? Instead of focusing on your end result, say to lose 20 pounds, set action items that you have total control over. For example, I can’t actually control the weight I lose or gain each week but I can:

  • stay within a specific calorie range x times a week
  • exercise x minutes x times a week

By giving yourself tasks you can check off a list, you can more easily control and move yourself in a direction you want. It allows you to visualize success and track progress. Maybe get yourself a calendar and make that big X on each day you followed your plan? Plus, if you fall off the bandwagon a week, or a month, you can just whip your action items out and start again.

You have more than a couple of resolutions

We’re all gung-ho in January but most of us fizzle out because we look back mid-year and realize we haven’t made any progress and toss the rest of the year away. Instead, focus on just one or two goals and put your energy into them. Once you see success, you’ll be more motivated to tackle other things. Pick items that you are most passionate about or ones you think are the most likely to be successful so you can set yourself up for solid progress.

You doubt that you’ll actually achieve your goals

How often do we write something down knowing we won’t make it happen? If you tell yourself you won’t make a goal, you probably won’t make that goal. It’s not easy but working on appreciating all progress instead of an all-or-nothing mentality can help. Instead of chastising yourself for making a mistake, turn it around and view it as a chance to just start over and do better. You only fail once you stop, right?

I know my two main wishes this year are to lose weight (again) and to better cope with stress. I’m so tense right now that my shoulders feel like they are inching closer and closer to my ears. It’s kind of crazy.

My actions plans for the moment are as follows:

  • Find a calorie tracker (done) and track my calories / stay within range 5 days a week (ongoing)
  • Hit the gym 3 times a week (just get the butt in the door, it doesn’t matter what I do right now)
  • Pick one thing each week to do that is positive and that will bring me joy. I’ve been taking time working on a leisurely puzzle and the quiet time has been really, really nice

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While I’m working on trying to stay within my calorie goals each day, we plan out what meals we will eat out. Dining out used to be a frequent occurrence but it’s much more difficult to eat on plan when you can’t count all your ingredients.

So this weekend we mindfully enjoyed dining out for breakfast. Ben dove into blueberry cheesecake pancakes and was a happy guy – even so early on a Saturday!!

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I wanted French toast but got scrambled eggs too for added protein

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We sat quietly in the restaurant and enjoyed our meal and the NFL pre-game commentary. If only the end result in AZ had gone just a little bit better!

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I’m surprised but a little happy by how many Christmas trees I still see up and about. Work still has both of their large trees up. I guess I’m not last for once. ;)

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So I’m off to work and then I’ll meet Ben at the gym so we can cross off a box for exercising this week. Progress!!

And here’s to success in the coming year…

2015 In review

Before we get too far into the shiny new world of 2016, let’s take a look back at 2015 which already seems “so last year!”

JANUARY

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Isn’t it fun to look back on your resolutions / goals / whatever and see how you did?

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2015 Goals:

1. Complete the 6 month Transformation Challenge (ends May 4th) and lose 10% of body weight

2. Keep the 10% of body weight off

3. Run a mile (this WILL be the year)

4. Tackle some landscaping in the yard (endless possibilities!)

5. Knit a blanket (I want to learn – time to buy some needles!)

6. Fully rehab the leg (my leg’s been bugging me for months. Time to foam roll, stretch, ice and do whatever else to get over this!)

Well… I did lose 10% and then proceeded to pack it right back on along with a few friends. <facesmackondesk>. We got a few estimates for landscaping but then people didn’t get back to us to schedule… and that one just didn’t go anywhere. Run a mile? Sigh – I am STILL not 100% on the leg thing and with my compressed disk injury as well, it’s a bumpy start to this year as well. On the positive side, I started knitting and that fueled interest in learning a new crochet pattern which I’m in the process of finishing up.

FEBRUARY

It’s weird looking back now but in February last year we were in Riviera Maya with our PA friends. It was our first planned vacation after meeting during our honeymoon and it feels like they are family. All I can tell you is the vacation was amazing and there’s nothing like getting away from WI in the middle of Winter!

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I was trying to find protein-filled quick meals and became addicted to smoothies. I’m really glad I saw this post because it reminds me how delicious they were… need to make more this weekend!!!

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(Easy to make smoothies!)

MARCH

March was NICE on the weather front – sort of like December. I took this picture on March 16th:

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I’ll take that any year! March is so up and down with weather. One year we can be under 5 feet of snow and the next there is hardly a spec.

In March I re-started a less successful attempt at Ideal Protein… no doubt to help erase months of WI winter inactivity as well as too many ooey gooey brownies!

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APRIL

There were lots of firsts in April. Alex grabbed a few friends and ran a 55 mile relay race. His team took second overall! Ben and I were there to cheer him along the way on a COLD and windy morning. (I was not sure how he did it in shorts!)

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I also went to a class on herb gardening. There is SO much to learn and I’d like to incorporate more home-grown herbs in cooking and one day even dabble into teas.

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We are really clean (the strict diet helped) and I still believe that routine is what makes it work. I found meals that were on-diet for me that still were filling and interesting for Ben too.

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MAY

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I sort of, kind of think May is my new favorite month of the year. As you all know, I’m more than a little bit obsessed with crabapples, green grass and perfectly lovely temperatures.

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One thing I remember about May was the first time I started getting severe knee pain. I attributed this to more walking after months of minimal activity…

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My tulips… I miss them now buried under a pile of snow.

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In May Ben worked on painting our deck. During the sanding he ended up tweaking his back which would lead to months of chiropractic and eventually two steroid injections to help with the healing!!!

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Let’s hope for no new injuries this year, ok??

JUNE

June was our first of a whopping THREE baseball game trips we went to Milwaukee for. Alex threw out the first pitch and made it all the way to the mound. What a fun moment!

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My lilac trees grew taller than me despite Ben’s urging to trim them back a little (NEVER!!!!). Haha ha

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And I started a really, really slow walking program. I was trying to work up to walking a half marathon. I would do long walks over the weekends and have Ben chase after me with homemade Gatorade and tons of encouragement. <3

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JULY

July was sunshine and beautiful flower beds…

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And our Pitts. BFFs arrived on the hottest weekend of the year for some baseball and tons of laughter

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But honestly, the month was utterly focused on the events leading up to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in LA. Alex was one of 3 WI athletes and the send offs, press coverage, and anticipation were just amazing.

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AUGUST

All. About. The. Olympics.

I’m not sure if anything in August is worth mentioning with the Olympic swagger going around. From the utter agony of missing out on a medal during the 10,000m to the crazy appeal to review the footage, there wasn’t a moment I don’t vividly remember.

In fact, I still remember slogging a mile up Long Beach one wickedly hot morning so we could give Alex a final boost in the half marathon. He raced by while I screamed until I was hoarse. We missed seeing him cross the finish line but I know that last push was what he needed.

And then we had our Gold.

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I’m not sure if I’ll ever not get choked up thinking about that day. I was crying and my hands were shaking trying to post an update to Facebook.

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How often does someone win gold AND set a US National record at the same time??

Four hours later we had gold #2 in the 4×400 M relay

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Insane.

While it was mostly All About Alex in August, Alex did take Matt and Ben along with him to scale down Lambeau Field for a Special Olympics fundraiser. Those boys are way, way braver than I!!

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SEPTEMBER

While August was run, run, run, September was time for a little rest. We enjoyed a late celebration for my birthday and enjoyed our very first fondue meal. We’re hooked!!

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And it was anniversary #1!! We made it a full year!! (Ha)

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We’re so adorable. <3

Oh yeah, and our garden was overrun with hybrid mutant peppers. Holy pepper!

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And we had TONS that we sliced, diced, froze, and stuffed. I was really glad when I was done cutting peppers. We may cut back this year. :)

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OCTOBER

October was the Packer game where I found “turf” under my seat. A winner at Lambeau Field!!

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And many walks so I could get my fill of the Fall color…

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It’s gone way, way too fast.

Ben’s favorite part of the month: I made him apple pie!

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NOVEMBER

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Mexico returned.

We splurged a bit this year and went on two vacations. Home remodeling plans were put on hold and stressed out souls went South for relaxation and REST. It’s been a really stressful 6+ months at work and I needed a trip away. When I casually sent a palm tree emoticon to our BFFs with a question mark, I had two enthusiastic thumbs up within the hour and the planning was on.

So much good food and mostly good weather but the real benefit of most vacations is the time away from work stress, home stress, whatever stress and the ability to live on a totally random time table. You wake up, eat, and sleep when you want. You don’t have to cook or clean. Yes.

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It took a little coaxing but we managed our first Thanksgiving on different days!!! It was SO much more relaxing and enjoyable to be able to fully enjoy the meals our mothers cooked without picking and nibbling because we had to save room or were already too fully. Plus, we had more time to sit and enjoy time with each family. We’re hoping this is something we can finagle next time around too.

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DECEMBER

Our Turf Event finally happened and Ben and I were able to get our pictures taken with three Green Bay Packer wide receivers!!  Woot! Woot!

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Work stress was at an all-time high in December despite the fact that I was off for practically 2 weeks of it!! Once vacation set in I spent many days on the couch reading, drinking coffee, and staring at the tree.

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We were masters of the kitchen Christmas Eve and whipped up caramel puffcorn, sweet potato casserole, wassail and three kinds of cookies.

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Record highs meant my first Christmas without snow (totally OK) and a snowstorm just two days after. Even as I’m typing this the road outside our house is icky, slick, and packed with snow and ice.

And I’m almost done with my Christmas puzzle.

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It was quite a year with some real highs and lows. Lots of stuff on the horizon in 2016. I’m a little anxious but hopeful. Here’s to 2016!

 

 

Settling into the new year

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How is 2016 treating you so far? It’s been a long week getting back into the usual flow after having had such a long and leisurely rest. Ben and I had our least eventful New Years ever – but that was my fault. I had a mini break-down and we opted to stay home together rather than venture out to party with friends. Instead we got a take-and-bake pizza, a couple small snackies, and played Minecraft while blaring music in our office. Ben coaxed me to stay awake and we sauntered downstairs at 11:55pm so we could tune into the Chicago NYE countdown just before midnight.

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We got a big snowstorm just a couple days after Christmas so although we didn’t have a white Christmas, the brown didn’t last much beyond that. Ben and I managed to get our errands in early but we still were driving home at the start of the storm – which ended up dumping over 9 inches (or a foot, or 18″ depending on who you talk to). I don’t know what the official amount was, but it was a good storm.

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Just 30 minutes into the day and a half of snowfall:

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Hard to believe this was a couple days before Christmas:

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Winter’s here forever now, ha ha.

I started this year in a bit of a low spot, I’ve got to tell you that 2013-2015 were just miserable years. I’m so hopeful for better things in 2016. You can wear a game face for only so long before you can feel some of the light crackle right on out of you. Normally I have some idea of a plan of attack or resolution or ideas of what I want to accomplish in the new year. It always feels the same though so I’ve been taking a step back, reading some interesting articles, and am trying to be thoughtful in how I approach ’16.

And then I bought a puzzle – because I LOVE puzzles and I never ever do them. I cleared off the kitchen table and took it over with a Christmas stamp puzzle. Here’s my progress (and yes, we’re eating dinner on the coffee table in our family room until I finish it. hee hee):

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I don’t know why, but it was random and it feels awesome. We somehow discovered a great radio station we didn’t know existed and I am enjoying a cup of decaf at night and my puzzle.

We also joined a new gym. We’d both been at a cheap gym for a while ($20 each/month) that had a location downtown and another in the city where Ben works. I liked it because it had saltwater pools and a sauna, a cardio theater with a huge screen, and a bunch of fitness classes. Want to know how many times I swam, sat in the sauna, or used the theater combined?? ZERO. While I used to love BodyPump and BodyCombat, after a while they feel so repetitive that I lost all interest in going. The result? I haven’t been to the gym in months (like 8, to be exact). Ben is self motivated and had been going 3x/week during lunch but he quit too and we joined a gym only a few miles from our house so we could go together after work. So far we’ve gone Monday and today. I’ll let you know in 8 months how it looks. ;)

Sometimes it’s a random thing that you need to perk you right up. Right after my gloom of new years, we received a late Christmas box from our vacation friends. Ben and I had talked about how time got away from us and our tradition of buying a new ornament each year fell to the wayside…

How ironic that our dear friends somehow knew this was exactly what we needed. <3

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So, yeah. I think this will be an interesting year. I haven’t gotten it all figured out but I’ll sit back and see how it all folds in together. I like to have some sort of goal or vision but I don’t want to set goals that will be failures to achieve. We’ll see.

Phew, Ok I am beat from an hour on the elliptical (my knee is not happy either). Time to settle in and head to bed. Good night all!

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