Monday, February 23, 2015

SMP 2.23.15

SMP = Seven Minute Post

We've lived in Colorado for almost twelve years and you know what? Snow days NEVER get old. Our district called one for today and we've all loved the pace of this day. John and I worked from home today (he's still working, actually) and there's a lot to be said for working in your pajamas while sitting under your electric blanket.

I do feel a bit stir crazy though after three straight days of being indoors. Thankfully I have a hair appointment tomorrow that will get me out of the house...and out of my pajamas. If the roads are still icy tomorrow I will walk to my appointment. That is how desperate I am for a haircut. 

Sounds like lots of our Arkansas friends and family have snow (or ice) this week too. My sister sent me a video of her four-year old playing outside in the "blizzard". A couple of inches of snow is definitely blizzard-like weather when you're four.

Stay warm, everyone!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ketchup

Ketchup = Catch Up

Our area is expecting a winter storm to move through today and tomorrow. I can't even tell you how happy this makes me. John and I made a quick Costco and grocery store run yesterday morning for snow day essentials (like hot cocoa and baking supplies) and I think half of Colorado Springs had the same idea--it was nuts! We are all settled in for a snowy weekend and now all we need is for the snow to begin. Forecasters continue to downgrade our snow totals but I think we could end up with at least a foot. I'm a little bit giddy about a weekend spent completely at home.

I realized while looking back at some photos on my phone last week that I am due for a "ketchup" here on the blog which has become a sort of family scrapbook for me over the years.

Here's some of what we've been up to lately.

Remember when I said January kicked my tail? I wasn't kidding. This was a picture of one of my to-do lists. I'm very visual and rely on hand-written lists (no electronic to-do lists for me) and a thick black Sharpie to strike through completed tasks. I've had to faithfully push through some busy months but you know what? I've had more white space on my calendar the past two weeks than I've had since mid-October which I've happily filled with hiking, catch-up dates with friends, and a good dose of alone time. Self-care at it's finest!
Will surprised us while we were in Arkansas over Christmas break by announcing his desire to attend college in Arkansas. We were kind of surprised he wanted to go so far away but his excitement was contagious so once we arrived back in Colorado, we started looking into a couple of different schools and making plans to visit. He and I traveled to Arkansas the last weekend in January to check out the University of Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist University.

I can't even begin to put that trip into words. It was amazing and I could tell you story after story after story of amazing things that fell into place for us. I really had hoped that John would take him on these visits but John insisted that I go, his reasoning being that my "mama" heart needed to see these places that my first born could potentially call home. In hindsight it was exactly as it needed to be and I was so grateful for that time with Will. We got to see lots of family while we were there too--it was an exceptional trip in so many ways!
He's made his decision! I'm trying to be respectful of Will's desire not to blab it all over the internet so you'll just have to stay tuned until he grants me permission to share.

John and I are in complete agreement that what he has chosen is the best fit for Will and are excited about this next step for him. Our excitement has been countered with a few teary evenings around the dinner table just thinking how very different things will look for our family in the next six months.

I'm not sure whose bright idea it was to take a four-day trip just days before a big event I'd been planning but I returned home from Arkansas and jumped into the final countdown to our IF: Local event. Craziest week I've had in a long, long time!

Last year some friends and I got together for a weekend and streamed the IF: Gathering conference. It was such a catalyst for growth in each of our faith journeys that we wanted our church to host it for our community. I'm grateful for a lot of hard work from a team of people that made our event a reality. I'm still trying to put it all into words (it's a separate blog post for sure) but it was a really beautiful time. John's words are really the best I have to describe it: We simply set the table and invited women to join us. They came...and so did the Lord. 
The same weekend of IF, Sarah had her Snowball dance at school. She was co-chair of the dance so she was REALLY busy for the week leading up to it. She went with a group of friends--that's just the way I like it.
I hate I don't have a picture of her dress--we found it by chance at Nordstrom Rack and it was BEAUTIFUL! I was cleaning up after IF and didn't get to be there for pictures. Sadness.

On February 10, Will turned EIGHTEEN!!! We took him out to dinner the night before his birthday and let him open his gift from us when we got back home.
He had some friends come over for dinner on his actual birthday. Will has really good friends and I love them all. It's going to be sad to see them all scattered around the country at different schools next year. 

Last Friday night we had a family Valentine dinner at home. John got each of the kids a little something and there was a little something for me as well (a necklace!) He is the most thoughtful husband and father. I am grateful for him every single day. 
I was with some friends last Friday and they asked what I was going to make for our family dinner that night. I laughed and said "SANDWICHES". My family requested paninis, which is really just a glorified sandwich, right? So yeah, I served sandwiches for our family Valentine dinner. And it was perfect.

John took me on a Valentine date the next night. We went to one of our favorite restaurants in Palmer Lake that was serving a four-course Valentine dinner. Deeeeeeeelicious. They even gave me a long-stemmed rose before the dessert course. We were home by 7pm which is just the way we like it.
 Last Sunday after church, I took this little cutie on a mommy-daughter date. Will and Sarah were off doing their own thing and she asked me to take her to Ulta and Bath and Body Works. She and two friends started an Instagram account where they review beauty products. I giggle a little bit because none of them wear much makeup so they mostly review lip balm and lotion and antibacterial gel and nail polish. Abbey had some money burning a hole in her pocket which she combined with coupons (cute AND smart, eh?) to stock up on goodies to review. Adorable. 
She got her braces put back on in January--round two! She'll get them on the bottom teeth in the next few weeks. She will also turn thirteen in about a month. I think I'm in denial...

I think that about covers what we've been up to lately. Life is good. Busy, chaotic, and full but GOOD. The snow has started falling here and it's beautiful. I see some cookie baking, hot tea, and some reading time in my immediate future. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February Currents

Current Read: I just started Daring Greatly (a re-read for me) and last month I read The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. Well, truth be told I bought the audio book and listened to the book since I was traveling and had quite a bit of time on airplanes. I like audio books until I reach for a pen to underline something. Yeah, that's slightly awkward.

Current Playlist: Lord, I Need You has been on repeat for weeks now...

Current Color(s): Red and denim.

Current Food: I'm just not in a food mood lately. I'm not motivated to cook or plan menus. Thank goodness for a husband who helps me in the kitchen. It's pretty fair to say he's handled most of the cooking lately. He's a keeper.

Current Favorite Favorite: I'm officially obsessed with this nail polish. L-O-V-E. It looks beautiful and lasts for at least a week (if you use the topcoat) and comes off with regular remover. Win-win-win! It's pricier than regular polish but hey, it's cheaper than a salon manicure!

Current Addiction: Podcasts. I think I mentioned last month that I'd share some of my favorites so here ya go--Coffee With Chris (Christine Caine), Smart People, TEDTalks and The Chalene Show.



Current Wish List: I want a new purse. I've been looking since before Christmas but I cannot find one that I like. I've decided I might be too picky.

Current Need: Oh man, I broke my scarf hanger and really need a new one. I grabbed a scarf before church on Sunday and the part that hangs over the bar completely broke off. Ummm, it's possible I may have pulled a little too hard.

Current Triumph: We will be filing our taxes in February! We typically file an extension (or two) every single year so you have no idea how huge this is for us. We have some outside pressure to get them done early this year and that pressure is spelled F-A-F-S-A . If you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky.

Current Annoyance: It annoys me that social media creates a false sense of relationship. Just because someone knows stuff about you does not mean they that know you.

Current Blessing(s): I have a handful of friends that I am very close to--my inner circle, if you will--and I am beyond grateful for their influence in my life. They know me, they love me, they support me, and they keep me accountable to the things I have made priority in my life.

Current Outfit: Grateful for a slow day at home that finds me in workout clothes, no make up, and my hair in a messy ponytail! I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. 

Current Excitement: We celebrated Will's 18th birthday yesterday! So excited about some future plans he's making...but they're not mine to share quite yet.
I'm also excited about Valentine's Day. A little blue box (you know the one) arrived in the mail yesterday for me...but my husband is making me wait until 2/14/15 to open it...and it's killin' me.

Current Project(s): Having just wrapped up two big projects, I've purposefully kept my plate free of projects for the next several months and have been uber selective about what I am saying yes to. Being project-free feels very, very good!

Current plans for the day: I've worked a little, rested a little and I suppose I should begin to think about what's for dinner and making my carpool rounds.

Adios, amigos.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Six

1. I'm really good at these Saturday Six posts, ya know? It's about all I can manage these days. At the risk of being annoyingly repetitive, the month of January is kicking my butt. I had a mini-meltdown yesterday about my inability to stay on top of things this month. 

I stopped measuring my self worth by my level of productivity a long time ago, but that temptation creeps back in from time to time, especially when I'm dropping balls left and right. This week I dropped a lot of balls, y'all. Yet God reminds me (reminds us all, really) that I am enough.

2. A friend invited me to hike yesterday. My to-do list was looming and I was behind on way too many things but self-care trumped all of it and I went. There's nothing quite like a 5.5 mile hike through deep snow on a crisp, winter day to clear your heart and mind. I needed that time outdoors and that conversation with good friends. Hiking is restorative for me on so many levels. And views like this aren't too bad either.
 3. John suggested we go out for mexican food last night and who am I to turn down an offer of a meal I don't have to cook? My kids were all sitting on one side of the booth and I asked them if I could take their picture. All I wanted was a serious picture. This is the best I got. They didn't believe my threat to post it to social media.
4. I tried two new recipes this week and both were amazing! John asked me to make this Bouef Bourguignon (don't even ask me how to pronounce that). He went to the store for me and got all the ingredients so how could I say no? It was delicious. So was this Barbacoa beef. We used it to make burritos and burrito bowls. It was sooooooo yummy. We're a family of carnivores...happy carnivores. 
 

5. The quote above really captured my attention this week because I saw it play out right before my eyes. If God wants a thing to succeed, you can't mess it up.  We just have to get out of the way and trust that He is in the details and His plan will not be thwarted. This week, God completely reversed a decision that I had no hope of ever being reversed. That's vague, I know, but believe me when I say it was HUGE. I'm humbled, grateful, and still in awe. 

6. On tap today: I scheduled another meeting with myself this morning to knock out some big things on my to-do list. Later I need to run a few errands and return something to the mall. And I suppose I need to think about dinner for my people. I'd love to get in bed early and watch a movie or read. I adore Saturdays.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Six on Saturday

1. Good morning, blog friends. It's Saturday! That means I made it through another week--and thankfully this one was a lot easier than last. I'm still trying to find my rhythm this semester but things seem to be falling into place.

2. My friend and I hiked the Incline yesterday and I can sum it up in one word: treacherous. I'd heard reports that it was icy but I'm not a newbie. I've seen ice and snowpack on the Incline and I knew I could handle it. I was wrong. I've never seen ice like that. Thank goodness for Yaktrax. I'm not exaggerating when I say they saved my hiney yesterday. Regardless of trail conditions, it was a beautiful hike.

3. I love to hike. It keeps me sane. It keeps me balanced. And it keeps me active. Lately though, I've had some pretty significant knee pain when hiking. I was hoping it was just a matter of needing new shoes but I'm starting to believe it's a bit more involved than that. This getting older business is hard.

4. Remember in my Currents post when I shared that I'm trying to let annoyances go quickly? It seems that when I share that kind of stuff publicly, the challenge increases exponentially. (Hint: that's kind of why I do it--accountability). I've had SO SO SO many opportunities lately to let things go but I've also lost a few of those challenges. I love this quote. I'm happy with progress.
5. I discovered and have been listening to the Serial podcast this week. Oh my word. SO addicted. I love podcasts. I typically listen to one every afternoon while waiting in carpool line. I'll share some of my favorites soon!

6. On tap today: I scheduled a meeting with myself this morning to sit still and really focus on the details of our upcoming IF event that my church is hosting (local friends, it would thrill me if you joined us). Shopping for a dress for her Sarah's upcoming Snowball dance. My bi-monthly grocery shopping trip (ugh). I'm also hopeful I can squeeze a short nap or early bedtime in there.  

Friday, January 09, 2015

January Currents

Current Read: I'm finally reading Unbroken. I don't know why I haven't read it before now but it is SO good. I typically like to read the book before I see the movie so I'm hoping that the movie is still playing when I finish. That's extremely likely since I can't put it down.
(Please excuse my unmade bed)

Current Playlist: I'm loving Taylor Swift's new album. I tried so hard to get TS concert tickets for my girls for Christmas. Her Denver concert sold out in minutes. Sadness. Still holding on to hope I can find some before the September concert.

Current Color(s): Black and taupe-y brown.

Current Food: I've been craving cucumbers with hummus. And cookie dough. And pretzels. And other sugary-gluteny things that make me feel yuck-o. I'm going to start the 3 Day Refresh this weekend. I'm so ready to detox and get my eating back on track.

Current Favorite Favorite: I got this hat and a FlipBelt for Christmas and I am LOVING both! This hiker loves new hiking gear!

Current Addiction: Words With Friends. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Current Wish List: I can't think of anything. Feeling very content right now.

Current Need: I think I need a personal assistant. That's what I actually get paid to do but right now the assistant needs an assistant. January is kicking my tail.

Current Triumph: I won my fantasy football league's championship and get to keep this sweet trophy for another year. That's back-to-back wins for my team, Blase of Glory!
(This plastic trophy is so much more amazing than this photo reveals)

Current Annoyance: Every month when I do my currents post, I get to this topic and sigh. The list of things that annoy me on a daily basis is long and I fight a pull towards negativity and pessimism every single day. Some days I'm victorious. Some days I lose. Lately, I've been on a losing streak. I've decided this year to choose a small goal to work towards each month. My January goal is to let go of annoyances quickly and/or quickly release the offense and the offender. Some annoyances are easier to let go of than others but the bottom line is that I'm a happier, healthier person when I do.

Current Blessing(s): A slow morning at home in my pjs. We have a weather delay this morning because of freezing drizzle. The weather derailed my hiking plans for today (super bummed) but right now I'm in my warm bed under my heated blanket with time to blog and read so I'm making the best of it!

Current Outfit: Pajamas. See above. 

Current Excitement: The weekend. This week has been intense.

Current Prayer(s): Our friend, Kara, is constantly on my heart and mind. She entered hospice at the end of December and she is soldiering through these remaining days with incredible courage, vulnerability and beauty. Please, please pray for her family.

Current Project(s): My church is hosting the IF Gathering next month so that is a huge thing on my plate right now. If you're local I would LOVE for you to join us. Here is the info link with registration information!

Current plans for the day: Tie up some loose ends with work, read, finalize my 2015 goals, write some thank you notes, maybe take a nap (I wish), make something warm and delicious for dinner and watch last night's episode of Parenthood. How's that for a nice, winter Friday?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

SMP 1.8.15

Blogging has been on my to-do list for over a week. Maybe even longer than that. Being out of town for 12 days in December and being thrust into January upon my return has not been kind to my to-do list. It's been a one-step-forward-TEN-steps-back kind of week. Those are not my favorite kind of weeks!

We had a nice time in Arkansas over Christmas. We typically stay in Colorado for Christmas but this year we switched things up and spent time with both of our families in the "motherland", as my husband calls it. I was immensely grateful that we were able to fly instead of drive. I wasn't grateful for the 2.5 hour delay leaving Denver or the cancelled flight that delayed our return home by a day, but those are small things.

School started back a few days ago and we're all beginning to find our groove again. This is Will's last semester of high school--can't even find words for that--and I'm trying to savor these days with him at home knowing that change is right around the corner.

Happy 2015! I'm excited about what this year has in store!