September Goals // 2014

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Contrary to what this picture implies, I have actually ridden a bike before. Just not one as beautiful as this!! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Hey friends, and happy September! Insert a rant about how I can’t believe how fast the summer went by here. But man, it was a good summer, huh? I’m having trouble believing that it is actually over because the high today is 96. So, yeah.

Ready for some goal action?

August Goals 2014

- Exercise 20 days this month. I was going to say every weekday but I don’t want to be that strict. Walking to and from work/with the babies doesn’t count. I need to be running or doing some sort of strength/stretch routine for 20 solid days. I can and will do this. Right well, let’s talk about this. I slacked at the beginning of the month, but as of Sunday I worked out (either a 30 minute run or a 30 minute workout) 11 days last month. A little better than 50%. But, the good news is that almost all (9) of those workouts were in the last two weeks, I think I’ve finally found my groove again.

- Eat a real meal for dinner, pack lunch for work, and eat breakfast at least 4 days a week. I didn’t actually keep track of how often I did this, and there were definitely some potato chip and Oreo dinners this month, but overall I’m doing better so this gets marked off. 

- Buy a rug for the living room. Done! And I love it! Thank goodness because it would’ve been a pain to ship back. An apartment update is coming soon. 

- Switch my insurance to DC, get my DC license, and register my car here. FINALLY finished as of Friday. What is up, official DC resident?! 

- Plan as much of the blog out as I can to prepare for school starting at the end of the month. Attempt to post 4 days a week, maybe 5? I missed a total of five days this month, so I’m calling this a success. 

- Get some plants for inside and outside the apartment. Do my best not to kill them. Nope, not even close. 

- Keep track of my Mint app so I can get a good read on my spending and begin to budget better. I’m choosing to ignore this one……..whoops. 

And for September!

September Goals 2014

- Ride my bike to work 4 days a week! Other than driving for class on Monday, I want to try and ride this beautiful shiny new thing every day. Except today because like, 96 degrees.

- Speaking of my bike, buy a basket or crate for the back of it, gotta transport those groceries.

- Exercise 20 days this month–do it. Do it. Do it. I’m working on being able to consistently run a 5k–and have been working on this for two years. Now is the time to finally actually accomplish this, Turkey Trot, I will take you down this year.

- Order and frame the last Sevenly picture for my living room.

- Finish organizing the categories in my archives.

- Finish my picture wall.

- Hang my state plates on the wall in my bedroom. This also means first attaching hangers to the back of the plates.

- Read Jesus > Religion, Happier at Home, and From Black High Heels to Tractor Wheels and write blog reviews for them (and for the three other books I recently finished).

Let’s do it.

Or You Could Call It Word Vomit

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New books, fresh from the mailbox!!!

Today is Wednesday. JK, for you, today is Friday. But! I’m writing this post on a Wednesday so ya know, deal with it.

I’m trying to be more on top of my blogging game and thus, we schedule posts ahead of time. This blog has taken a funny little journey in my brain recently. When I started writing I was all ooo yes let’s get strangers on the inter webs to read my thoughts and then I was like umm actually I think I would like to share this with my family and friends, so here ya go! and now I’ve shifted into a hmm I kinda wish that everyone I know (obvi exaggerating) didn’t read this because I’d like to write some real stuff and don’t want to have to share with everyone thing. But! Woe is me, blah blah blah, you’re here, you’re reading this. And I’m grateful for you! But I’ve found that I’ve had to censor myself a bit every now and then. Which is kind of a bummer but has also created and excuse for me to start a journal (and by journal I mean Word doc that I spill my guts to because my hand cramps too quickly to actually write things on paper).

Overall, I want this blog to be a scrapbook. I want to be able to look back at my Stroller Diaries posts and remember how great and frustrating my job is. I want to see a whole list of all the books I read in 2014 and what I thought of each of them (8 so far with 4 more comin’ atcha, BOOM). I want to be able to read all the posts in the You Could Call These Essays category and remember how crazy nuts my brain can be sometimes. Because trust me, my brain is crazy nuts–I told Kate the other day that there are just TOO MANY THOUGHTS AND NOT ENOUGH BRAIN. I also want to remember the awesome weekends and trips and birthdays I get to experience.

What is the point of this post you ask? I do not know. There probably isn’t one. Remember when I had a Comin’ To Jesus blog moment? I guess you could call this Part 2 of that? Or you could just call it word vomit, that’s probably more accurate.

Peace out, TGIF, I am currently driving south on I-81 for a fantastic Labor Day weekend celebration that PLEASE LORD will not get rained out.

Love ya, mean it.

Me Before You Book Review

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Alright guys, this book review is a long time coming. Well, sort of. I bought this book probably three months ago. I splurged at Barnes and Noble and let myself get four new books. Reviews are coming for all of them but this one was bought on Leah’s recommendation. She also recommended I buy Tina Fey’s Bossypants to help bring me out of the deep, spiraling, depression this book would surely put me into.

And, she was right.

Luckily for me, I DEMANDED that Leah give me a summary of the entire plot–because I like to know how things end–no patience here, remember? So, going into the story I knew what was going to happen. And that should’ve made the story less emotional, right?

WRONG.

SO WRONG.

NEVER BEEN MORE WRONG BEFORE, EM.

It ripped me apart. It was quiet akin to how I felt after The Fault in Our Stars.

What is truly remarkable about this book is it is SO WELL WRITTEN. I’ve found this year that no matter how much I love or connect to the plot of a story, if it isn’t well written, I’m not impressed. I guess that comes with getting older? Who knows. All I know is Jojo Moyes knows how to weave words together in a way that draws you deep into her story.

A quick, tiny summary of the story:

Louisa, a twenty something who isn’t doing too much with her life, loses her job and is forced to take a position as a caretaker. Her charge is Will, a thirty something former daredevil, world traveler, who is now wheelchair bound following a motorcycle accident. Will’s mother hires Louisa to essentially keep Will company.

As I’m sure you can imagine, a love story ensues. That’s all I’m going to tell you. The book touches on so many emotions and really drew me into a what would I do in this situation frame of mind. I still don’t know what I would do in either of the characters positions. And I still think about it all the time, a few weeks after finishing. Well done, Moyes, well done.

All in all, I loved the book. Loved it. I’m waiting on Leah to read and review more of Moyes’ books so that I can dive into another story.

Oh, and like every other book I’ve read this year (quite on accident), this too will be a movie soon. I’m undecided about whether or not this is exciting, if they ruin it, I’ll be very upset.

The Stroller Diaries // 31

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The beginning of this week has been a bit challenging over here in nanny land. Chicken and I were on our own for the end of last week and Monday this week. We missed Chickadee dearly but it has made for a tough transition back to three instead of two. The double stroller is heavier and harder to maneuver, so we haven’t gone as far on walks. Chicken now thinks he has a right to walk rather than ride in the stroller, a luxury he only gets when Chickadee is out of town. Don’t even get me started on the lack of sharing going on around here.

But the day has also been full of the sweetest moments. Currently, I’m typing this while those two rascals pull every tupperware piece out of the cabinets. They’ve been quiet for three minutes (which is amazing) and I keep peaking over and smiling at them. Every now and then, they walk up to one another and go mmmmmmm and then ram their heads together. Obviously, this is their form of kissing. Duh.

So, we’re adjusting. We’re getting back into our groove. I’m working out more so I’m strong enough to push the double stroller as these two nuggets get bigger and bigger. That thing is HEAVY, man.

 

Monday–or–How many ??? and !!! can I use in one post?!

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Hey guys! It’s Monday! And I overslept because, it’s Monday, and that is exactly how that works, right?

But, fear not, I swapped my workouts for the week (because yeah, I’m finally working out again) and instead of an early morning bust my butt session, I took Chicken on a run in the stroller. Much to his dismay. Imagine him grunting and wiggling around and me running alongside the stroller, but with one hand still on the handle, trying to maneuver a pacifier into his mouth, without slowing down because must. maintain. pace. It was a little crazy but hey! It’s Monday!

Today is a very important day. Here is why.

Taylor (best friend forever) starts her new job in DC today, good luck, Tay! You’re probably doing AWESOME already and you look super professional in your suit. When did we become old enough to buy suits? Oh wait, I have not become that old. But I’m proud you have!

Alex (little brother) starts his senior year of high school today. WHAHHAHHAHTTATAT?!?!!? HOW AM I THAT OLD!?!?!??! Wasn’t I just getting ready for MY senior year of high school? No Em, you were not. That was six years ago. Right. Anywho, Bobofet (not a typo, nickname for Alex), I’m sure you’re kickin butt and takin names. And also I’m sure you’re taking lots of notes and studying really hard in Math and Spanish–right??!!?!?

Austen (best friend’s husband, also just my friend) starts teaching high school math today. Whoa. The pressure and nerves Leah and I feel for him is probably more than he feels for himself. What is that like?! Are the students nice?!?! Do they respect you??? Do you REALLY remember enough about Geometry to be teaching it??? Oh, you didn’t almost fail Geometry? Oh, that was me? Then you totally got this.

Also, today I start my fall graduate school classes! I’ve got a class on Effective Teaching for Diverse Students tonight. I’m excited! And nervous! And all the other feelings. I’m mostly nervous about being late so, fingers crossed I’m not late. PLEASE CROSS YOUR FINGERS.

So, there you have it. All the new things are happening! Also, it might almost be fall? But shockingly I’m not into it. Mostly because I don’t remember what fall is like. I mean, didn’t we go from sweltering heat to 6 months of the worst winter in the history of winters last year?! I don’t want that winter to come back!! Stay far away!! Fall, you’re only welcome if you last for three solid months. Got it? Ok.

Happy Monday, noodles!

That Silly Virtue

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A blurry and completely unrelated shot of me and Chicken. 

I’m really bad at waiting. Dreadful at it, really. Patience is not a virtue I was born with nor one that I have managed to acquire in my first twenty four years on this planet.

I want to go places right awayI want to know what happens at the end of the book immediately, I want the metro train to arrive the second I step onto the platform. And most of all, I want a complete script of the rest of my life written out in front of me–with a table of contents, numbered pages, and highlighted sections–for the really good and the really bad parts. And you guessed it, I want that right now.

But hey, guess what?! That’s not how the world works. Oh, you already knew that? Hmm, well, I guess I did too, but sometimes I refuse to believe it. Sometimes, I forget that His plan is greater than any plan I come up with. I forget that things will happen as they happen, all I can do is trust what I believe in and keep on living my best life.

Somedays, I wake up in my little studio-ish apartment and think it’s lonely in this bed. I wonder what it’s like to wake up to someone you love and have little babies pitter patter into bed to wake you up.

Occasionally, I think I’m not busy enough. My to do list is short and I have too much free time on my hands. I wonder what it’s like to feel satisfied that not only is your list long, but you accomplished it all.

From time to time, I beat myself up about not exercising enough or being able to run very far. I think it is just pathetic that I can’t consistently run 3 miles–I’m young, this should be easy. 

It is really, unbelievably simple to get caught up in my impatience, my what ifs, my but whens. And so lately, when it happens, I just take a step back and give myself a pep talk.

One day, I will wake up next to someone I love with little babies pitter pattering in to wake us. And I will miss having a huge queen sized bed to myself and the luxury of sleeping in on a Saturday. So I snuggle in deeper and put my favorite movie on Netflix and enjoy my ‘me’ time while I have it.

Far too soon, my to-do list will be twelve miles long again and I’ll miss these hot, long, slow summer days that feel lazy right now–but will sound relaxing in a few weeks.

Eventually, I’ll be back to running 3 miles (and hopefully more) with no trouble at all. And it wasn’t too long ago that the thought of running one lap at the track sent me into tears, so I’m doing pretty darn well.

Patience, you are definitely a virtue, and I’m going to keep working towards you–but I just don’t know if we will ever truly see eye-to-eye.

The Stroller Diaries // 30

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I’ve been with the babies for over a year now, just around 55 weeks. And we have certainly had our fair share of good and bad days. We’ve had days that were just so much fun that I could barely handle it, that I left work smiling and looking forward to going back. And we’ve had days that were so terrible that all three of us cried, I basically ran out the door at 5:45, and I had to have a beer when I got home to relax (I don’t like beer……). But I’m lucky enough to say that recently, the good days have dramatically outnumbered the bad days. In fact, when sitting down to write this post I had to think pretty hard to come up with a bad day to write about. Don’t worry, I remembered one. It’s so funny how our brains work. We had a really hard week two weeks ago. Chicken was getting his molars and they were just wrecking havoc on us. The entire week was bad but Friday, oh man that Friday was the worst. We all cried.

My day looked something like this: running back and forth between one happy baby and one grumpy baby, trying desperately to make sure they were both being taken care of. Giving them a gazillion options at lunch and having to then pick up a gazillion crumbs off the floor. Reading seven thousand books, at least a thousand times each. Walking to the park to find that there was already a huge preschool class there. Attempting to cuddle Chicken while Chickadee just wanted me to play blocks with her. Hard fought naps because we were out of medicine that involved me going shush shush shush over and over again for at least thirty minutes before Chicken’s eyes finally closed. An insane amount of screaming and crying and fighting over everything, all day. It was hard day.

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But you know, that was just what my day looked like. It was their day too, you know. And when I step back and look at the hard days from their perspective, they weren’t that bad. Both Chicken and Chickadee got lots of attention from each other and from me. They got to try a lot of new things at lunch and had the luxury of picking their favorites to eat. Both of them got to hear their favorite books over and over again, learning new words and sounds each time around. They got to feel the fresh air on their faces, touch the leaves with their hands, and laugh and point out all the buses and trucks on the way to the park. They watched in wonder as the big kids played on the playground and weren’t upset at all that we got to take another long walk home. They learned to share, or at least worked on it more, as they played with their toys. They were both cuddle over and over again and Chickadee finally got time to herself during naps while Chicken got to listen to my lovely shushing to help lull him to sleep.

They had a good day. A hard day for sure, teething is no joke, but when I look at it from their end. It was good.

And so I’m trying desperately to remember to shift my perspective more often. To remember that yes, I’ve seen a dump truck a thousand times. But they haven’t. They’ve literally seen and understood what a dump truck was a handful of times. So when the house across the street is under construction, we can absolutely take the time to stand in our stroller seats and watch them unload dirt for five minutes. We’ve got plenty of time, and it just might be the highlight of their day.

This post was inspired by the post on Coffee + Crumbs yesterday morning — one of my favorite new sites! 

DC Adventuring: Eastern Market

Well, as I’ve mentioned over and over again–I’m now an official resident of D.C. proper. Ok, wait, not totally true. But hopefully after a trip to the DMV on Saturday I will actually be official. However, I call D.C. proper home now and I love it.

With my new found access to the area (as long as I don’t mind walking 20 minutes to the metro) I’ve decided I need to explore more areas of the city. Since my move to Arlington last year I’ve explored Arlington throughly, done a nice job taking in Old Town Alexandria, been to Georgetown quite a few times, been out in Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, and as we all know I’m quite familiar with the monuments. But, that’s barely scratching the surface of this city. So, I’m on a mission to explore more of it each weekend or weeknight.

I started my adventures a few weeks ago in Eastern Market! Eastern Market is in Southeast DC, near the Capitol. It has really adorable shops and restaurants as well as an open air market that I went to check out!

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I spent most of my morning there just perusing the shops, actually, I basically stalked this one with paintings of the monuments and tried to justify spending $50 on one of Lincoln. I eventually resisted but I will be buying one before the end of the year. I neeeeeeeed it. I did splurge on some of the best lemonade I’ve ever had and a pack of five cards from Grey Moggie. I was introduced to this shop through the Elise Gets Crafty! podcast and loved getting to see and purchase some of their cards!

I also treated myself to some beautiful flowers from the sweetest older gentlemen, he even wrapped them up in pretty paper for me to carry them home on the metro.

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It was a most excellent way to spend a Saturday morning and it only motivated me further to explore more of DC during the day time hours.

To get myself started, let’s list some more of the places I want to explore (and then share with you!):

U Street Corridor

H Street Corridor (I’ve been to church in this area but never explored around it)

Dupont Circle (during the day)

AdMo (during the day)

Union Market

And more places I can’t think of but will add to this list and I go!

Lets be adventurers!

Things I Love: Instagram

I love Instagram, that is certainly no secret. If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time you’ve heard me mention it before. And if you know me in real life, you know I tend to post almost everyday (and sometimes twice a day). Sometimes, I feel self conscious for “overgramming” and wonder if I’m getting on peoples’ nerves. And then I remember…..I don’t really care. I think people Instagram for all different reasons.

There are the people who want as many likes as possible (see: high schoolers, celebs, serious bloggers). They hashtag #everything #you #can #think #of and post 134971034 times a day and do that whole #followforlike thing that I still don’t really get. And those people, they are annoying. I guess not to one another, but they certainly annoy me.

I Instagram because I like to tell my story. I Instagram to help remember moments. Not whole days, not birthdays or weddings (although those are fun to gram too), no I Instagram so I can remember that one time I took the babies to the zoo and fed them Dippin Dots. Or the time I thought I had a cavity at Christmas and was relieved to find that not only was I cavity free but could eat all the candy canes I wanted.

When I look at a shot of my feed like this, my most recent pictures, I can’t help but to cheese pretty hard. In those twelve shots I’ve got six regular everyday moments with the babies, an ice bucket challenge, two delicious breakfasts, a stunning sunrise, a shout out to friends, and a tribute to my snuggly bed. Twelve things that if I hadn’t documented them, I probably won’t remember in five years, or even in one year.

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I started Instagramming over 132 weeks ago. These are my first twelve pictures. Four selfies, shoe shopping, outfit picking for a first real interview, essay procrastination, and a few other things. And you know what, I remember those days and moments vividly. Not because the day I took Alex to buy Sperry’s was some landmark, groundbreaking day. But because I remember thinking–holy cow, my brother is almost an adult, he needs huge shoes, I should document this. And I’m glad I did.

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I like to think that my “gramming” has improved over time. This shot:

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from right before we moved is immensely better than this shot:

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from right before undergrad graduation. In fact, that second shot makes me cringe a little. The coloring. And the out of focus-ness. And the caption. Oh geeze. Thanks for liking that one, Kate, out of pity I’m sure. But still, I can look at that flower and remember the run that I was on, trying to release some nerves about an important meeting someone I knew was in. And so I’m glad I took it. Would I compose and edit it differently today–oh my goodness you have no idea. But I would never delete it.

In the same vein, I don’t pay much attention to the number of likes I get. Yes, Kate and I get excited when a particularly good picture gets a larger number of likes (for us that means 25+…..unless Bear is in the shot, he ups the like-value). But really, some of my favorites didn’t even get 11 likes.

This shot:

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from playgroup with Kate, her babes, and my babes is one of my favorites. Simply because those days were some of my favorites and now that we don’t get to see them anymore I love love love having that to look back and remember those days by. (Full disclosure: if I could do it again I would shift the camera down to cut out that toy in the top and put all of Kate’s arm into the shot–hindsight, huh?)

I love how Instagram forces me to think creatively. I take a lot of self timer shots nowadays, when I’m with the babes and I want to be in a shot with them, like this:

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Or when I’m by myself like here:

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I like to look around, figure out where the light is, which angle will look best, what can I use to get the shot. I’m not a pro–not even close, some of my recent pictures still suck. But I love seeing the progression and knowing that my pictures are getting better over time.

All this to say, I love Instagram. I love to look back on my pictures and remember where I was this time last year. I have all my pictures printed into Chatbooks so that when Instagram dies (because everything on the Internet eventually dies….right?) I will have hard copies of everything. I have no plans of stopping my overgramming, so, if you’re one of my less than 200 followers and I’m annoying, I promise, I won’t miss you if you decide to leave.

These memories, they are everything.

When the World Makes You Sad — On Not Running

The world has made me really sad lately. From the tragedy and subsequent violence in Ferguson; to the violence in Iraq, Gaza, and Ukraine; to Robin Williams’ death. There are just down right terrible, awful, gut wrenching things happening left and right. If it isn’t a plane crash, it’s a natural disaster. If it isn’t a murder, it’s a rapidly spreading disease. It just feels like there is no safe place, no where to turn for good news. And because of that, I see hoards of people turning away from the news.

I don’t keep up with current events, it is too sad. I never read the paper, nothing good ever happens.

And that makes me even more sad! It makes me want to scream and yell and shout HEY. HEY YOU. HOW DO YOU EVER EXPECT THINGS TO CHANGE?!?! 

How do we drop the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness if we refuse to talk about and acknowledge it? Welcoming it’s victims with open arms?

How do we end the unjust, despicable, and just damn wrong killings of our country’s innocent black men if we claim that we are ‘color blind’ and ‘above race?’ How do we deny that there isn’t a hugely massive issue with parts of our law enforcement?!

How do we empathize with and show compassion towards those in other countries who are suffering at the hands of their own leaders, terrorists, or other countries if we refuse to even acknowledge their struggle? Thousands of miles and vastly different cultures may separate us but the refugees in the mountains of Iraq and the camps in Syria are just as human as we are.

How do we find cures for diseases that threaten entire nations if we aren’t willing to help the ill and learn from their treatments? Why do we condemn good, caring, selfless people who put their lives on the line and were unlucky themselves?

I don’t know. I really don’t know anything when it comes to all of this. But I know that I refuse to bury my head in the sand. I won’t stop reading the articles, watching the news stories, researching as much as I can to wrap my head around all these big massive problems in this enormous world. I’m not running from it.

And I’m begging you not to either, we need each other. We need to support and care about and pray at the very least acknowledge one another’s existence. Please.

………

If you want more info but don’t know where to turn:

Here is the link to the Huffington Post’s Daily Email–super informative, funny, and easy to understand.

Here is a beautifully written piece on the violence in Ferguson.

Here is an article written by one of the nurses helping the American Ebola patients.

Here are pictures and accounts of real people living in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria (and more to come as Brandon takes his UN World Tour).

Here is a woman who writes beautifully about the monster that is depression (her last five or so posts are amazing).

And there are a million more places you can look for information. Just please, take in some information.