Another year gone by

Man, I know it's something that happens with age, but I swear with each passing year I find myself saying this line from the musical Rent "I can't believe a year went by so fast." I know it gets worse when you have children, so sometimes I'm thankful that we don't. Still, it is hard to believe 2011 is almost over already. Yet, as I sit here to start writing our recap of the year, I also can't believe how much we crammed into one year - maybe that is how it flew by. Let's rewind a bit.

January - The quietest month of the year. I decided to bite the bullet and take advantage of the free consultation at a client of Nate's to see if I'd be a candidate for Lasik. I was thrilled to learn that I was and set up my surgery for February.

February - We attended Winterfest as a belated Christmas gift to Nate and had a blast trying out all the best local beers MN has to offer. We enjoyed it so much we're going again this year. We had a most wonderful meal for Valentine's Day at Erte in NE Minneapolis. I had my Lasik surgery on February 18th and my life was forever changed. It is still the best thing I have ever done for myself. We participated in our first ever Praise Project benefit concert. We continued digging out from SO.MUCH.SNOW.

March - I had an eye opening and interesting experience filling in as a front desk person in another part of Fairview for one week. We got back on the running train as the snow started melting a bit towards the end of the month.

April - We celebrated my mom's birthday and Easter. We continued on with our running and were pleased with the progress we made. My mom and I took a fun spring arts sampler class at the park near my house and made some fun projects. Would like to go back there and do more.

May - Big month for us, celebrating five years of marriage over Memorial Day weekend. We opted to stay in town for the big day and visited a fantastic winery in Delano and then had a wonderful dinner at The Melting Pot downtown. I had my ears doubled pierced. Held our breath as a tornado tore through North Minneapolis and parts of Fridley, sparing my parents house by only a few blocks.

June - Nate decided to take his turn to see if he would be a candidate for Lasik and we were beyond shocked when he was! He had his surgery in the middle of June and also was super pleased with the results. We had a soggy time at this year's Rock the Garden, but I was still excited to see Neko Case, one of my favorite singers of all time, live in concert even if it wasn't quite the right venue for her. We hit a huge milestone in our running, able to do 30 minutes at one go. I ended up with a severely infected ear piercing and had one earring removed. The other one remains however. Started a fashion blog and have enjoyed the journey so far with that.

July - Celebrated the 4th with some Praise Project friends. Saw the Black Keys in concert over that weekend as well. Mom and I saw Josh Groban in concert too and hands down, he is the best live concert I have ever been to. We sweated through some extreme heat and took a week to go down and visit with our Kondrick relatives in St. Louis where we suffered through some REALLY extreme heat. We still had a good time there, visiting the Budweiser brewery and the Arch and all those fun tourist type things. While we were gone my awesome dad replaced our laundry room washtub and finally my basement doesn't smell musty anymore!

August - A quieter month again, we had a family reunion with Nate's family out in Wisconsin. We completed the delayed Torchlight 5K even if we couldn't quite run the entire thing. We brewed a bunch of beer so we'd have it ready for October and Oktoberfest. I came over an almost 30 year fear of loud noises by taking a gun safety class with Nate and for the first time ever, firing an actual gun.

September - We had another weekend up north with the Praise Project gang. We visited some wineries down south over Labor Day weekend. We decided to take a step back from the running for a bit so Nate could work through some stress issues he was having. We started getting the house in shape for Oktoberfest.

October - Oktoberfest celebration commenced. Another successful year and much fun was had by all. Put myself on a self imposed shopping ban to save up money for a Smartphone. Had a low key Halloween and did not dress up this year.

November - Returned to a place that caused a lot of pain in the past and were able to comfortably be there and close the door to the past (the old church), Did my annual trek for the Cities Sampler with Gina, celebrated my Muppets triumphant return to the big screen, enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving with Nate's family, and celebrated our big 3-0 and found that 30 is not as bad as I once feared. So far it's not really much worse than 29! Bought my iPhone and have loved it ever since.

December - Suffered through a pretty nasty cold, prepared to celebrate Christmas and had a wonderful holiday.

The end of the year has been calmer than other parts of the year. And I'm ok with that! Looking back through my review of the year it feels kind of nice to have things slowing down a bit! For the most part I would say 2011 was good. There were up and down moments as there are with any year, but we got through the not so great stuff and enjoyed the wonderful stuff. I don't know what 2012 holds, but I am looking forward to it.

Happy New Year one and all!


Christmas Rewind

It's already several days past Christmas and I have yet to come on and give my Christmas recap! I have been thoroughly enjoying time away from work this week and a big part of that is actually time away from my computer, which means I'm not blogging much! Anyway, let's go ahead and back the train up to Christmas weekend, because it twas a good one.

My vacation started on the day before Christmas Eve, I took Friday off of work to get all my last minute things finished. I met up with two of my good friends/sorority sisters for a little brunch. It was nice to visit with them before one of them has a newborn again (come on Baby Wilkinson, we're ready to meet you!) and start off the holidays. I went home after hanging out with them for a bit and finished wrapping all of my Christmas gifts. It only took me an hour, I was happy about that! We had a final rehearsal with Praise Project in the evening and were home in time to unwind with a couple of TV shows.

Christmas Eve we slept in a bit, though I did meet my parents for Christmas Eve Coffee! I came home and braved the store to grab a last minute gift for Nate's Grandma Dolly. It wasn't that bad, I have never done that on Christmas Eve before. Probably helps that I didn't go to the mall, I went to a Kohls outside of a mall.

After that I headed home again where Nate was done wrapping all his gifts and we went to get some lunch. We came home and exchanged gifts. He gave me the newest stuffed Kermit that goes with the new movie - he's cute - along with a CD and a couple of pretty things to sleep in - and get your mind out of the gutters, they are practical and really comfy. I don't know the last time I bought myself new pj's, so it was kind of a treat! I gave him a couple of CDs and we're going to go to a glass blowing class together where we'll get to make our own beer glass! And we'll get to taste some local beer too! It should be fun.
We then set about making a green bean dish to bring to Nate's parents for dinner and then went over to their house to celebrate with them. We had SO. MUCH. FOOD. It was super good though. After dinner was our annual "sit by the real fire while the yule log plays on TV."

I took a picture to show what big nerds we are. Everyone says this tradition is all my doing, but in truth I think we all get a kick out of it, not just me! We noshed on some cookies that Ali made and then opened our stockings and our presents. Many nice gifts and it was a nice relaxing evening.

Christmas Day we had to get up way too early to do Christmas Mass with Praise Project out in Blaine. I am glad we get asked to do it, but man, 8:30 was tough to get up for this year! But, then we were done nice and early and headed over to my parents house to exchange gifts with them. My mom made us a nice spread for breakfast too.

We had a little time then to run home, change clothes and catch our breaths for a little bit before heading to my Aunt Michelle's in Uptown. We had a lovely dinner there and it was nice to see my mom's extended family as we don't see many of them throughout the year. It was so nice outside, we even went and caroled at a couple of her neighbor's houses, I have to say, it was on my bucket list to do that, so I'm glad we had the opportunity. We played the Dice Game and a couple of other games before Nate and I decided to head home so we could stop at his grandparents real quick to say hello to his family. We ended up over there a little longer than I planned, but I'm glad we went, it was nice to see all of them as well!

So it seems that we did a ton over the two days, but we were really relaxed and kind of on our own schedule. In years past I have felt so crazed by all the places we try to go, but this was really not bad.

Monday Nate was off too, so we slept in a bit, went to Caribou together and over to the gun range. I ended up not shooting with him because there were just far too many people there that day, it was overwhelming and my noise phobia got the better of me. I have come a long way with it but I'm far from perfect. At least I have a Smartphone now that kept me company while he was out in the range! After that we came home and both just vegged for awhile and then we went and had a nice dinner out because we haven't done so in quite a while!

Now I'm just enjoying being a "stay at home wife" for the rest of the week. I wish Nate was here with me, but I'm glad to have the time off. Did some after Christmas sale shopping yesterday and also reorganized my linen closet. I will be going to a movie with Miss Jes tonight and to dinner with Miss Gina tomorrow, so it will be nice to catch up with them. Tomorrow I will have lunch with my mom, two of my favorite aunties and my cousin - did that last year and it was nice so we decided to do it again. Friday I have no plans, might just watch movies all day and then I think Nate and I will grill for dinner.

So there you go. I feel blessed and my heart is happy. You can't ask for more than that for Christmas.

Before the week is out I'll do my annual year in review. And then I should be back to more regular blogging next week.

Hope you all had wonderful Christmases and are enjoying your week whether you're off or at work!


Merry Christmas!

For unto us is born this day in the City of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord
And this shall be a sign unto you.

A very blessed and Merry Christmas to all of you! Be safe if you are traveling and take time to enjoy the little moments of this glorious holiday.


Let it snow?

Snapped these photos real quick when I got home last night. Here's our white Christmas!

See the leaves below the snow? Yeah, we're one of those people who didn't rake. I was hoping it'd all end up totally buried like it did last year. What a difference one year makes, eh?

I will say, I haven't missed shoveling or cleaning off my car or dealing with the large snow piles at the end of the driveway this year. But, I am bummed we won't have just a pretty little coating of snow to enjoy for Christmas. So it goes!

In other news, it is my Friday. I do not work again until "next year" after today! I'm really glad it worked out for me to get an entire week off again for the holidays. Even with very little planned, it's fun playing "stay at home wife" and just chilling!

I'm so relaxed about the holidays this year. Everything is ready and even getting sick in the midst of December this year, I'm on track and I'm oddly calm. I'll take it. Perhaps with age comes wisdom. I still love this holiday, but I think I appreciate it on a different level now and that is helping with the "not freaking out" and just enjoying it for what it is. At any rate, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Unless the gift he is holding is like a million dollars or something. He he.

Hope you are all surviving in these final days of Christmas preparation!


Never a dull moment

My apologies for the drama of yesterday's post. That was a fun panic filled afternoon, let me tell you. And sadly things still aren't perfect with my Gmail, namely I can't sync it to my iPhone or my Mail app on my laptop at home, so I'm looking into some changes. Nate has purchased the domain Kondrick.com for our use and long ago set me up an email there, I just haven't ever used it. Well, the times they are a changing, I'm going to be migrating over to that as my primary email. If you're in my address book you'll get an email from me about this once everything is all set up. I'm migrating my Gmail to my new email right now and it's going to take a little while. I am also set up to have Gmail forwarded to the new email, so you can still email me there if you wish or if you forget my new email.

There's still the matter of my fashion blog too, but right now it's functional again, so I will take my time on that.

This blog is associated with a different account and I'll maintain it this way regardless of what I do with the other things - we'll just see how things go.

That's my story on all of that. Beyond that, there are five days until Christmas and I am done shopping at least! Now I have to start wrapping. And that's my least favorite part, but it has to get done! Can't very well hand my giftee's their present and say "just shut your eyes" or something to maintain the element of surprise.

On we go.


A big mess

UPDATE - I guess I jumped to conclusions, after chatting with a Twitter friend I figured out what to do and I have EMAIL and my other blog back as of 4:00 pm!! Thank. God. A post of substance coming tomorrow.

I don't know what is going on, but I have lost my regular Gmail/Google account. I have two accounts, I use a separate one for this blog, but my regular one is my personal email and also the one I was using for my fashion blog.

For the time being, I can't receive emails at muppetmusic22@gmail.com, so I would ask that you not email me right now. If you are a Facebook friend of mine, please message me there. I do not want to give out my backup email right now. If you need to get a hold of me in a big hurry, call me for now.

I'll update this when the situation changes.


A little Friday update

Just a quick Friday update-y type post.

My head cold is leaps and bounds better. Still have a dry cough that I've heard can linger for weeks, but my voice is back and I feel less in a "fog". Nate still has his cold unfortunately, but he does pretty well if he keeps on his cold pills. And he doesn't need a voice to play the drums, I need a voice to sing. Ha.

In spite of everything I have been making my way through my Christmas "bucket list". We did have a lot of quiet nights at home this week, but the weekend and next week are looking promising for doing some of the things I had listed.

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas. No joke. It's depressing to think we might have our first brown Christmas in several years. But there is a 30% chance we'll still have a white one, and I'm clinging to every hope of that happening!

Overall our holiday season has had a pretty low key vibe so far, but you know what? I don't mind. My heart is happy and full and that is what matters most!


On Giving In

So. I haven't written much these last few days. I have been sick. There. I said it. I was so not wanting to give into it, but by Thursday afternoon I had to give in. It's funny, I am just such a Type A kind of person, I hate admitting that I'm sick and giving into the sickness. I think I even went through the five stages of grief on Thursday -

1. Denial - I feel fine. I am not getting a fever. I'm not freezing cold even when it's 70 degrees in my office. Those are not aches that I'm experiencing. It's must a minor headcold. I am not getting sick!

2. Anger - Man I feel like crap. I am not supposed to be sick at Christmas. I do not have time to be sick. This sucks. I am so pissed off right now!!!

3. Bargaining - If I can just get through Saturday, I'll take all day on Sunday to rest, I swear to it. Just let me get through until Saturday.

4. Depression - *insert fever induced sobs here* I'm so sad and I want to go home and I want my blanket and to curl up in a corner and cry.

5. Acceptance - FINE. You win you stupid fever/virus/cold whatever the heck you are. I will go home. I will take a sick day.

So that is more or less what happened on Thursday (including the crying, no joke, when I have a fever, I cry. I don't know why and it's like I'm powerless to stop it.) I went home and shivered on the couch for awhile, Nate came home and got me some medicine and soup. I took a full sick day on Friday even though the fever was gone and just did my best to "rest" even though I'm really not very good at that.

Now we're at Tuesday and it's pretty much just an annoying cough that is hanging on and will not go away. And I'm told that the cough is the part of this cold that hangs on and on and on...oh well.

And of course, now it appears that Nate has a version of this too, but we're just going to go one day at a time.

12 more days until Christmas...if you see the good health fairy, send her down to our place!


Christmas bucket list

I've been fighting a cold this week. It's not a severe one. Just enough to be a nuisance. But i haven't let it ruin my Christmas spirit! I was reading a friend's blog and she was describing that her family has a hectic schedule at this time of year, like many of us do, but that she was choosing to look at the days as "full" instead of "busy". Doesn't that sound so much better to say "full"? And that has been how I've been approaching this crazy time of year so far.

She also suggested a December bucket list as to not miss out on any of the good things about this time of year and it has inspired me to make my own "Christmas bucket list". These are things I hope to do in the next 2 1/2 weeks.

1. Watch my favorite Christmas movies - especially Home Alone, a Muppet Family Christmas and Charlie Brown

2. Bake cookies with my mom

3. Finish Christmas shopping and wrap gifts

4. Go drive around and look at lights with Nate

5. Celebrate with Praise Project

6. Celebrate with both sides of our family

7. Spend some time with friends as I'm able

8. Drink Reindeer Blend coffee from Caribou

9. Listen to my favorite Christmas music

10. Finish sending out Christmas cards and reaching out to family and loved ones

It's a pretty manageable list I think! What's on your list?



You know, I just don't have much to share on the ole blog these days.

Things are good...I'm not complaining. Really life is just routine right now. We're into the busy holiday season, but so far, it's manageable. So that makes me happy!

I didn't mind the snow we got over the weekend, it was the light, fluffy, pretty Christmas snow.

I got a large chunk of Christmas shopping done on Saturday before the snow fell. It feels good to have a handle on that!

We enjoyed a nice breakfast out yesterday, though I'm bummed that another of our favorite breakfast spots is closing right before the holidays. They lost their lease, but are hoping to open up somewhere else, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Nate decided he wanted to make beef brisket for dinner. I must say time and again, I'm so blessed to be married to a man who loves to cook. It was the best attempt he's made so far - totally delicious.

So really, it's just the day to day and again, that is more than ok.


Fabulous Friday 12/2/11

Well it's the return of Fabulous Friday! I don't know if I can keep up with it weekly again, but I wanted to bring it back today because of things I'm finding fabulous!

1. Gingerbread Pop Tarts - They're back! I discovered these last year and fell in love and I saw them at the store on Sunday and said I need to have these in my life again! Yum. And as I said when I mentioned I also liked the Pumpkin Pie ones - yes I am a 7 year old child.

2. My new iPhone! - You knew this would be on the list right? I am having a lot of fun learning how it works and playing with apps - most of which I have gotten free so far! That makes me very happy.

3. The Muppets - Yes, I've been raving for days but I'll do it again. Best movie ever. You just need to see it. End of story.

4. Christmas decorations - My house is all decked out and I love the new white lights I put on my tree this year!

5. My new red purse - my parents (really it was my mom who picked it out) got me a red purse for my birthday (yes I know, do I need another purse?) and let me tell you, I love this one. It's a great size and it has fun compartments for things. I adore it and I hope to carry it through most of December.

There you go! The sun is out and I'm smiling. What are you finding fabulous today?


Hello December

So wow, it's December 1st! In addition to it being my dad's birthday (Happy birthday Dad!) it truly means we're into the Christmas season and rush. I love Christmas, but in recent years I find it also leads to more and more stress for me as well. I'm not going to let that happen this year. At least I am making it my goal for this year!

Last night I felt that "Panic Monkey" trying to climb up my back a bit when I realized, ack, I have just over three weeks to get my shopping done and I don't know what I'm buying half of my people. But I forced it back down and said, look at it this way - three weeks is actually plenty of time. And there are 24 useful hours in every day and I intend to use as many of them as possible!

My mom and I have our list of cookies to make and will likely start on that next week. My Christmas cards should be arriving today or tomorrow so I can get working on mailing those out.

And as for the shopping? I'm starting that this weekend and I'm going more out of the box this year. I'm not just going to the mall and hoping and praying I find good things.

I am finding myself really wanting to shop locally and handmade a bit more this year - and I have a couple of opportunities to do that. I'm going to go to an event a good friend is part of this weekend called No Coast Craftarama - all local MN artists selling many different things. Then next week, another friend is hosting something called a Bead for Life party - jewelry made by Ugandan women and the proceeds go to support them - I like that concept. If I can help someone else by going to an in home party, I'm all for it.

I also have ideas for gifts that involve the "gift of my time" instead of just things. Isn't that what it should be all about? Apparently my "old age" is making me wiser or something along those lines. Ha ha.

This morning's fresh coating of snow may have made things slippery and difficult for driving, but it put a smile on my face. December is here. Christmas is coming. And I am happy.


iCan see clearly now

My title is a play on Apple's iEverything. And why? Because yesterday I got my brand new sparkly iPhone! Ok, it's not sparkly, but it is pretty freaking awesome.

I am beyond excited to finally have a Smartphone. I am also beyond excited to have a phone that actually works decently when I'm in my own house. For whatever reason, most cell phones have not liked working well in my house which ended up with me hardly using it for more than texting. Now people can call me and I'll actually be able to understand them!

I did a lot of research on Smartphones and considered getting a Droid, but they are more expensive, I know people who have had a lot of issues with them and in the end, the iPhone was cheaper and more user friendly for me. And I could not be happier with it.

Anyone have any favorite apps they want to share? (Jes and Gina you are exempt from this exercise since you both have already shared with me your faves) Brownie points if they are free ones! :)


Whirlwind weekend

Whew. What a wonderful long holiday weekend I just had! I don't want to brag, but it was pretty freaking awesome. Now that it's over I feel like it flew by, but really, I enjoyed every moment and felt very present in each moment, so I feel pretty good about that.

So I mentioned previously that I saw The Muppets twice. In addition to that, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Nate's side of the family and it was nice to see all of them. We went to the gun range on Friday morning to do a little recreational shooting. I still can't believe I can do this now, I have come so far. It helps that I have outstanding hearing protection. Anyway, we had some fun there and had lunch out at my favorite deli (Nelson's Cheese Shop in Spring Lake Park). Friday was one of the days we saw the movie then in the afternoon and after that we had dinner at Punch Pizza with my parents and Nate's parents. Then we met up with Ali back at my parents house and had dessert and opened presents.

Saturday we were a little bit lazier but that was ok because the weather was totally crappy. We did venture out in the afternoon to find a beer store we've been hearing about and it's like total Nate and Beth's ultimate candy store - The Four Firkins in St. Louis Park. Holy beer Batman! I have never seen such a huge selection of craft brews. And they do "create your own six pack." Total win. The store is organized so well too as to the different types of beers. I'm mildly embarrassed to admit we spent close to an hour in there. After that we picked up Five Guys burgers and brought them home and settled in with some movies.

Sunday I got down to business and after breakfast finally set about getting my Christmas decorations up. I had done a little bit of it on Saturday, but hadn't gotten the tree up and all that jazz. Nate was even teasing me that I was "running behind" on that, but with all the birthday hoopla, just hadn't had the time to work on it until Sunday. I got all the lights strung on the tree and discovered that one whole set was burned out. Crud. So I planned a trip to Target and Nate said he'd go with because he needed a birthday card for his dad. And somehow said trip to Target involved a slight detour to the Verizon store so I could buy myself an iPhone. No big.

Oh back up a bit here....I GOT AN IPHONE! Yes I am excited. So that was pretty big news for yesterday. We did go get the lights and stuff too. Returned home and I finished up the tree, we met up with my in-laws for a short walk in the cold air, came home and made shepherd's pie and tried to unwind a bit more before getting ready to face the week and come back to reality.

All in all a great weekend. I have no complaints!!


My Thoughts on "The Muppets"

I have been trying to find the words for this post all weekend. It's not because it's bad, it's just that I have been processing everything and trying to find the right things to say. Here is my jumbled up thoughts on the movie. I am not giving a rundown of the plot or even a true review, this is just really my thoughts in general. Take it or leave it and bear with me, here we go.

I think everyone who reads this blog knows I am a huge, HUGE Muppet fan. If you don't know that about me, well then, hey guess what? I am a HUGE Muppet fan and also, nice to meet you, cause clearly you haven't been here before. But what you all don't know about me is, until this weekend, I have only ever seen one major Muppet movie in the theatre. Shocking right?

The first three Muppet movies: The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan all were released just before I was born or while I was a toddler, so it wasn't like I really had the chance to see them on the big screen. And like most children, my first true exposure to the Muppets was really through Sesame Street, but thanks to my parents and the "new at the time technology" of the VCR, I was introduced to those first three movies not long after they were in theatres. I probably knew all the words to The Muppets Take Manhattan by the time I was four.

So, the first chance I really had to see a Muppet movie on the big screen was with the Muppet Christmas Carol - ironically the first movie released after Jim Henson's passing. And even more ironically, we (my parents and I) somehow didn't even get to see it until it was in a second run theatre around Valentine's Day.

For one reason or another, I didn't see the next two Muppet movies in the theatre. I really couldn't tell you why. I have never once been ashamed of my Muppet fandom. But somehow, I misssed those two in theatres. I watched the ones that were made for TV and they were ok, but they were kind of missing the essence of the classic Muppets I grew up with. I kind of just started to accept the fact that the Muppets were kind of getting the same treatment that other favorite things of my childhood were getting. I didn't think they'd ever really be the same and resigned myself to just reliving my childhood with The Muppet Show on DVD and the movies listed above on DVD as well.

So now we flash forward to 2011. And finally a new movie has been made with new friends at the helm, namely my new hero Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother fame. At first, it was going to be released at Christmas time, about a year ago at this time is when they announced that. And I thought ok cool, fun Christmas outing. But then shortly after the first of the year it was announced that the release date was moved up to November 23rd. Two days before my 30th birthday. A birthday that until recently I was actually kind of dreading. I just was having a hard time with the number. But knowing this movie was coming at the same time - it helped me big time. And it just felt like the best gift ever. Of course, I had yet to even see the movie.

It certainly got quite a bit of attention the closer we got to this big date - especially in the last month with talk show appearances, interviews, there were days that there were so many appearances listed that it made your head spin. A friend of mine, who runs the hugely popular Muppet Mindset blog, summed up how hardcore Muppet fans were feeling in these final days in a lovely post on the day before the movie's release - it can be read here - we just knew we were on the edge of something huge and that everything was going to change - in the best way possible.

So, finally I got to see the movie, not just once, but twice over the long weekend and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It WAS a gift. It was everything I dreamed it could be and more. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is my favorite Muppet movie to date. Maybe it's the nostalgia, maybe it's because it came out so close to a milestone birthday, maybe it's because I relate to the new Muppet, sweet little Walter who was created to represent people like me, HUGE Muppet fans. Whatever it is, I will never get enough of this movie. I posted on my FB and I'll say it again - GO SEE THIS MOVIE. Take everyone you know. And if you have no one else to go with, take me. I'll go.

I have such hope for what could come next based on this movie. No matter what happens, what I know is that there are singing frogs, bears that tell jokes, dogs playing pianos, and adorable little guys that whistle in the world again and we haven't grown so cynical that we can't still appreciate them. It's a beautiful thing. I'm a very happy fan girl.

*An update on my weekend in full coming later today!*


Third decade

Well it's here. My birthday. I am no longer a twenty-something. I am 30. And you know something? It's not scary. It's not bad. I had definitely accepted it as of this month more or less, but I spent the better part of this year kind of dreading this birthday. But you know what? It's going to be awesome.

Three is my favorite number. Always has been. So, you have to figure, three decades of life? It's going to be my best year ever. And something that is awesome about my thirties verses my twenties? I spent ten years learning and stumbling and finding my way into adulthood. And now, I have emerged pretty well rounded and I think I'm a pretty awesome adult. Just saying.

So, here we go. I'm 30 and flirty and fun and I am loving it.

Off to celebrate with family today. I'll hopefully get caught up on more blogging soon, including my thoughts on The Muppets (GO SEE it. Get off your computer and GO SEE IT).


Calm before the storm

The next few days I get the feeling are going to be a whirlwind of events. I do hope for some down time and some rest time, but I also know that I'm doing the following:

- Getting ready for Thanksgiving
- Seeing the Muppets in the theatre
- Celebrating Thanksgiving
- Visiting the gun range with Nate again (yep! you heard me)
- Celebrating birthdays with family
- Spending time with extended family, especially those visiting from out of town
- Transitioning from Fall to the Christmas season with cleaning and decorating at our house
- Possibly doing a little Christmas shopping
- Brewing a batch of beer???

So today and tonight are the calm before the storm. I have a fairly simple dinner planned and I intend to relax and enjoy getting caught up on some shows with Nate, going to bed early and sleeping in just a little tomorrow. The storm is brewing, but I'm not afraid of it. Bring. It. On.



You know what is awesome? Short work weeks. I gave myself a gift and decided to use some of the massive amount of time off I have saved up (not kidding here) and only work Monday and Tuesday this week. Granted, Wednesday I might still be doing some "work" helping my in-laws get ready for Thanksgiving, but that is different.

Another thing that was awesome was our early birthday celebration on Saturday. We knew that this week was going to get crazy with family and what not, so we decided to go out just the two of us a little early and it was lovely. We had dinner at Moscow on the Hill in St. Paul, brought home dessert and watched one of our all time favorite movies. A very low key, but very nice evening. I have no complaints. Moments like that are some of my favorites.

I'm also kind of finding the snow a little awesome. Yes I said it. I know. I was whining and complaining so much at the end of last winter and I know I was still complaining about last winter into the summer. I can even probably find you all the blog posts and FB posts I made declaring war on snow. But the small amount we got on Saturday just stirred something inside of me deep down and I went all Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls TV show reference) and was just kind of...giddy? I don't know. I am glad we weren't hit with the 11 or 12 inches they got up north, but a small amount to start is kind of fun. And just makes me so ready for this time of year. I was already looking forward to it and feeling excited about it, but now I'm truly like ready for the holiday season. This is my most favorite time of year and I am welcoming it with open arms.

Thanksgiving? Bring it. Birthdays? Let's rock em. Christmas? Let's deck the halls. I even have two presents already bought. Just need to figure out our Christmas card for this year and I'm ready to roll.

So here we go! I am feeling awesome and I'm ready to make all these upcoming things just as awesome!


Thankful Thursday - Week Three

It's Thankful Thursday today! What are you most thankful for this week?

Here is my list:

1. Tradition - sitting out with a good friend at Target in the cold for a CD that benefits charity, taking time away from work and just relaxing.

2. Sunrises and sunsets - I was lucky enough to see the sunrise while we were at Target today and the sun set while I was making dinner this evening.

3. Helping through food - being able to help someone else down on their luck at the moment by simply bringing them dinner. Such a simple way to make a difference.

4. Love - having the most wonderful husband, friends and family in the world and feeling their love, I am blessed!

There you have it for this week my friends! Hard to believe Thanksgiving itself is only one week away! Got your turkey yet?


The end of the no buy

So tomorrow more or less ends my self imposed "no buy." As previously mentioned, tomorrow the Cities 97 City Sampler comes out and I wanted to keep my tradition of getting a copy, so when I started my month long shopping ban, tomorrow seemed like a logical day to end.

So now I am asking myself a few questions -

Have I learned anything from my month of no shopping?

I think I have learned a bit. I think that I am easily influenced by sales, to the point where maybe I used to buy something just because it was on sale. I think that I was a horrible impulse buyer, where I'd buy something because in that moment I really thought I needed it, when maybe I really didn't. I think I was the worst about that when it came to purses. I would get in "I want a new purse mode" and come hell or high water I'd buy myself one, whether it was a good idea or not.

I think that if anything, I will be able to more easily think through "do I really need this, will I still want it a week from now" than I was able to before. We have been looking at our spending in general and trying to be more budget minded overall, so I think that will help too. Day to day living is actually rather expensive.

Did I break my no buy at all?

Save for one pillow, nope. And I feel that the pillow was a necessity. I have been sleeping so much better since buying that new pillow.

So can I just go shopping like crazy now and buy whatever I want?

As I said above, I hope to be more budget conscious from now on and less impulsive about my spending. I think it's unrealistic to say I won't ever shop again - but I just hope to be more responsible about it in general.

Did you accomplish what you wanted with this project?

Yes and no. I proved that I can go without shopping and that I can curb unnecessary spending. But I don't know that one month is enough time to really see how it can help my savings. And the "necessary" spending is still there. We have to eat. The cats have to eat. The car needs gas. Those things cannot be avoided.

Overall, I am glad I did this. And besides tomorrow, I don't totally plan to just jump right back into "buying what I want" so to speak, because I do still have a birthday and Christmas coming up. I still have things I'm saving for, so in general, I don't see much changing in the days and weeks to come. I guess the best thing to do is go one day a time and see how it goes!


Just Write: Birthday Memories

So I have definitely accepted the whole "turning 30" thing that is happening next week. I really have. Well, mostly. I'm sure I'll have some weak moments yet. But I really do feel ok with it for the most part.

That doesn't mean I'm not contemplative though about it. Especially when over the weekend I realized, I have celebrated 30 birthdays. That seems like so many all of a sudden. I don't remember my birthdays real well until I was probably 4 or 5.

Each year we did a family party, usually with my grandma and my two favorite aunts and their families. When I got into elementary school, I was allowed to have a friend party as well. And of course, when I got together with Nate, birthdays took on a whole new life, because of his being the day after mine. We started celebrating them with both of our families and having parties with our friends together from pretty much the first year we were dating.

I have many memorable birthday experiences that stick out in my head as I reflect on 30 years worth of them. Some good, some not so good.

The year my dad was helping someone with their electrical work and it started snowing and he was late getting home. The party with my friends when I lost my first tooth in a cupcake but started crying because I thought I swallowed it. The year my mom dropped my cake face down on the floor and had to make a new one in a very short amount of time. Celebrating one year over at my grandma's house because we were remodeling my parents house and the downstairs was all torn up. The sleepover party I had in middle school and two of my friends took off in the middle of the night while the rest of us were sleeping because they were mad at us and my mom having a near heart attack in the morning and regretted taking Ny-Quill for her cold the night before.

Having my first ever sleepover party in 4th grade. Going on my first "grown up" birthday date with my parents to the Mall of America when I turned 11. Sorry for this one boys - "becoming a woman" on my 12th birthday(true story, both embarrassing, but yet kind of special). Having my first boy/girl party for my Sweet 16. Going out for special dinners with Nate. Gambling at Hinckley for the first time when we turned 18. Going out drinking for our 21st and let's just say we laughed a lot. Another college birthday when a fellow sorority sister stole a martini glass for me from Applebees for my present. Celebrating my golden birthday with friends and family at the bowling alley. Having birthday tiramasu from Buca one year instead of birthday cake. Going out with girlfriends for an epic night out to visit Santa and get fancy desserts in the middle of a big snowstorm. Nights of mayhem at Psycho Suzi's. Taking a weekend getaway with Nate to Duluth a couple of years back.

So many good times and even the "less good times" I pretty much look back and laugh at because they are kind of funny when you think about it.

As we've gotten older, and especially since Oktoberfest has become so hugely epic and it is one month before our birthdays, we've kind of scaled back our celebrations a bit, and I don't mind it so much. We still take time to celebrate with just each other and we always celebrate with our family. Plus, we have always had the challenge of our birthdays usually falling smack in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend. Now, when we were kids, this was awesome because you got days off from school! For your birthday! Now, it just kind of throws a wrench into planning too much, especially because Nate usually has relatives in from out of town. But at the same time, I somehow just don't mind that much. I couldn't imagine NOT having birthdays around Thanksgiving at this point in time. It just feels right.

So here I am just 10 days away from my 30th birthday and it is almost crazy to think I've done this 29 other times. It really doesn't make me sad though. It makes me smile to think of all the wonderful ways I've been blessed in my almost 30 years. That's not a bad way to look at it, don't you think?

Linking up to "Just Write" today.

Visit The Extraordinary Ordinary to add your own Just Write post or to read others!


Yet ANOTHER Manic Monday!

Sing along - just another Manic Monday, wish it were Sunday, cause that's my fun day, my I don't have to run day, it's just another Manic Monday...my regards to the Bangles...

Anyhow, man alive Mondays have been just nuts lately. I'm not complaining - job security man. I will take it. And hey, at least this Monday wasn't as nuts as last Monday, no one got hurt this week anyway!

It's a shorty week for me, I'll be making my annual trek to get the Cities 97 City Sampler with Miss Gina on Thursday, and we have found from past experience it's much nicer to just take the whole day off from work after sitting out in the cold for two hours. Next week will be even shorter thanks to Thanksgiving and my taking Wednesday off as well. Two day work week? Yes please!

The weekend was good, but too short. Rehearsal on Friday, Mass on Saturday afternoon, date night on Saturday night at Red Lobster, pretty much lazy day on Sunday.

Next weekend I think we'll be kicking off our epic birthday week with a nice dinner out just the two of us at Moscow on the Hill, a russian restaurant and vodka bar in St. Paul. I'm really looking forward to it!

On we go, hard to believe it's halfway through the month, but we press on!


Friday finish

So it's Friday! This week flew by. Seriously flew by. Probably due to the craziness I blogged about yesterday!

Anyway, just a few end of the week thoughts today.

Nate's foot is healing nicely, thank goodness he didn't injure himself worse when he fell on Monday. All of his lab results are in from his doctor's appointment as well and he's healthy, so that's good and we're happy about that!

We made a homemade shepherd's pie last night. It turned out pretty good for a first time attempt! Of course, we really give credit to Alton Brown because we followed his recipe, but at any rate, we did it and it was good. Nate has a few ideas to make it even better if we were to make it again.

It occurred to me yesterday that the rest of November may start to fly by due to things coming up. I am trying very, very hard not to let it fly. I love this time of year and I want to savor every moment.

On my fashion blog that I debuted here earlier this week, I participate in a weekly "fashion friend" Friday - a group of bloggers post about a specific topic and link to each other to share and learn and what not. Today's topic was about makeup and we were challenged to post a picture of ourselves without it. It was hard for me, but I did it. I have been enjoying reading the other posts on the topic as it is actually really thought provoking. Check it out if you're so inclined.

And with that, I bid you all a great weekend and a happy 11/11/11 and a happy Veteran's Day to all the vets out there.


Thankful Thursday week 2

It's been an absolutely crazy day in a kind of crazy week, but I'm still going to take time out for a little Thankful Thursday because it's important to me.

This week I am thankful for the crazy. Yeah that might sound weird, but the "crazy" gives me something to focus on and keeps me in the moment so I'm less likely to let my mind wander and get ahead of me as it is want to do sometimes. And it makes the day go by faster.

I am also thankful that I am keeping my head on straight in the midst of the crazy.

I'm thankful for my kittens, who at times kind of drive me a little crazy. At least they make me smile.

I'm thankful for my husband who lets me cut loose and act a little crazy. It's good to let go sometimes!

And I'm thankful to friends reading this right now and are thinking that I might be a little crazy. You know something? Normal is overrated.

Ok so this all may be a little tongue and cheek but I really am thankful for my job, my cats, my husband and my friends and family because sometimes life can be the kind of crazy that is a bit too much and they are always there to help me balance it again.

What are you thankful for this week?


(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

These cats. My furry little children.

I heart them so much.


Just another Manic Monday

Whew. I have had an interesting day so far.

Nate had a physical scheduled for this morning - routine, we're at that age you know and I wanted him to get a flu shot and tetanus shot - so he got up at his normal time, but was leaving the house after me. I shouted downstairs as I have done other mornings to tell him I was leaving, but he hadn't heard me real well and got up super fast from his computer. Turns out he was sitting in a way that his left leg had kind of fallen asleep and he ended up stumbling and tripping over some junk in his office and injuring the toes on his right foot.

So, I helped him out into the main room of the basement and we looked at his foot, fortunately they weren't swollen but they were sore. And he had fasted in preparation for his appointment so he started getting a bit light headed. I managed to help him not completely pass out and pointed out the bright side "at least you have a doctor's appointment already!"

I called into work stating I'd be late and then I drove him to the appointment and it went very well actually - other than crushed toes he's healthy and the doctor said that he didn't think they were broken, but to tape them together and go easy on them for a few days just in case. Fun for him I guess since it's his driving foot and drumming foot, but hopefully they will heal fast!

Just never a dull moment in our world I guess!

In other news, I am officially launching/debuting a brand new blog here. Actually it's not brand new, but it's brand new to all of you. Back in June, for the fun of it, I decided to start a fashion blog after getting inspired by others. I wanted to and still want to keep it separate from this blog so I wasn't going to "go public with it" - especially when I'm sure you all think I have blogger ADD with all the blogs I start and don't keep up with (hello Nate and Beth Eat Stuff...). Even my closest friends reading right now are probably scratching their heads going - "I had no idea you were doing this" or "why didn't you tell us?" Honestly I didn't know how far I'd go with this and also, I take my picture daily and didn't want to come off as too vein or anything! But I'm five months in and going strong and it's turning out to be a lot of fun, so I'm ready to share now!

I have met other fashion bloggers as well and it's been kind of fun to connect with a different sort of online community. So if it's your thing, check it out - http://fashionableadventuresboo.blogspot.com If it is not your thing, no big deal! I am going to continue to write that blog in a more "anonymous" fashion - you'll even notice I don't call Nate by name, I call him the Pants Monkey in honor of our bar.

Of course, nothing will change here at this blog - this is still my number one blog, the source for all things Beth and Nate and my first priority - but I just wanted to share this other little adventure I have embarked on.


Thankful Thursday - week 1

Well it's that time of year again - November - the month of the little holiday that could, Thanksgiving. I've talked at length in the past about how I feel for poor Thanksgiving and how it gets so overshadowed by the beast that is Christmas (and this is coming from a girl who loves, loves, LOVES Christmas). So when I saw my friend S posted about Thankful Thursday today, I decided I would join in as well, because really, I think it is important to reflect on the things you have and should be grateful for. Because they can overlap/be somewhat similar, I am going to stop Fabulous Friday through the month of November and instead do Thankful Thursdays.

So what I am thankful for this week? Here's my list.

1. Nine lives - you know how they say cats have nine lives? I have to wonder if that is true for our old family cat Cleo - she is 18 years old and lately was starting to have some issues again, my mom brought her to vet and we started preparing for the chance that this could be the end to only find out that they can still quite easily maintain the small issues that have popped up and that she's actually doing well otherwise. We'll take whatever time we can get with her, and I'm thankful that we should have another year or even two.

2. A glorious fall - after we had snow on the ground just about this time last year and never really saw the grass again until April, I'm very thankful for the beautiful fall weather. I'm also thankful that it's getting colder at night now at least so that it's hopefully killing the allergens I know some people suffer from. But otherwise, I'm just so amazed to look outside and still see beautiful colors and have it be nice enough to go outside and enjoy the scenery. We deserve this extended fall after last year's brutal winter.

3. Wonderful friends - I had a hard time last week on a couple of days but some very good friends helped me more than they'll know by listening to me and cheering me up. They know who they are and I just want them to know how much I appreciate them.

4. Nate - I am always thankful for my husband, but I'm thankful especially right now that he's still toughing out a less than ideal situation with work and while he still has some really not good days right now, he's doing the best he can and he isn't giving up. I am so proud of him and he is my hero. I love him more than words could say and I am just so thankful for everything about him.

There you go! What are you thankful for today?


Just Write - Lazy day, best day

Saturday was a long, full, rather exhausting day.

Sunday we had plans of getting up, going out and doing stuff. I was calling it our "day of fun".

When Sunday dawned, we slept as late as our bodies would let us and realized, we're just feeling too lazy to go out and do anything. But looking back, it was the best day ever.

Breakfast in. Coffee. Prairie Home Companion on in the background.

Long, hot showers.

A trip to the video store, first time setting foot in an actual video store in years and discovering it is cheap, fun and a way to relive our dating years in a sense.

Coming home with two movies, making popcorn, settling in with blankets, dimmed lights and enjoying an in-home movie theatre experience.

Making tea, sitting out on the deck when it was discovered it wasn't raining as predicted.

Getting take out italian food from a favorite restaurant. A bottle of red wine and another movie. Rounding out with a couple of favorite shows from the week. A warm relaxing bubble bath. Falling into bed and actually falling asleep quickly, rare for Sunday nights.

It was a day of fun. We were together. We rested. We needed it.

It's more than ok to be lazy.

Linking up to "Just Write" today as I have been doing on Tuesdays. Visit Heather of the EO to read other Just Write posts or to add your own.


Ghosts of Halloween past

We did a little Halloween show with Praise Project at one of the churches we sing at over the weekend and dressed sort of 50's like, but didn't get any pictures, so for Halloween today I give you ghosts of our Halloween pasts instead.

2010 - Gnomes

2008 - Mario and Luigi

2007 - Rainbow Brite

I hope everyone had a fun weekend and have a fun and safe Halloween evening tonight. Happy Halloween one and all!


Fabulous Friday 10/28/11

Whew. Another crazy week gone by. A crazy weekend ahead. But it's still Friday! And so here is my weekly installment of things I am finding fabulous!

1. Nate's homemade margaritas - been awhile since I have listed something related to alcohol! We're really not lushes that much. But anyway, last winter Nate came up with a homemade margarita recipe that is quite yummy. We have them on occasion with mexican food at home for a special treat. We each had a little one last night and it was very enjoyable!

2. Planning - we had a very grown up conversation last night and we're making good plans to improve our financial situation and creating a budget. It'll take us a little bit but I think we'll get there. And I'm not afraid of it! I'm embracing it. Which is pretty awesome really.

3. Affordable health insurance - we selected our benefits for the next year last night and I have to say again and again I appreciate Fairview for really taking care of it's employees in that aspect. I believe I have one of the best health care plans around and I don't take it for granted even for a second.

4. The Hunger Games - I just started reading this book last weekend and I'm almost done. It's crazy addictive and I will need to get the next two books in the series as well. I'm curious about the movie when it comes out and will likely go see that.

5. The final Muppet movie trailer - It is hilarious. They parody all the other parody trailers they did this year and added a few others that are quick little parodies of other movies coming out around the same time as the new Muppet movie. Worth a quick peak if you haven't seen it. You can see it here.

There you have it! Happy weekend one and all!


Little of this, little of that

Nate made us a lovely seafood feast last night. It is the second time we've done it, it's kind of a treat really because it is expensive, but it is so yummy!

So we had shrimp, scallops, rice pilaf and homemade biscuits. Kind of like Red Lobster at home! Sadly, almost as expensive as going to the restaurant but what are you going to do? Like I said, it's a special treat on occasion.

While we were cooking dinner Pippin was entertaining me by playing in a box. Honestly she never plays in boxes. She watches Taylor play in boxes and bags all the time and then tries to copy her but never quite "gets" it. She kind of seemed to last night though, so I snapped a picture.

Tonight is fun with benefits and financials. Woo hoo. As I've said, the weekend looks busy, but we'll survive. Looking most forward to Sunday right now. I've heard it might be a little rainy, but I have two movie tickets I got awhile back on a Groupon type deal. Sad thing is, I'm not even sure what is in the theatre that we'd be interested in, but we could probably figure something out.

Trying to decide if I will do NaBloPoMo again this year. I've done it the past two Novembers, and it is honestly a challenge sometimes to post something every day. I'm considering skipping it this year and just going with my normal blogging pattern, most days I blog, but some days I don't. And that is ok I think!

Same old same old otherwise! Still doing much better than earlier this week and I'm thankful for that!


Random thought Wednesday - Again!

Hello friends. We are halfway through the week and again, I have no main topic today, so instead you get one of my random thought/list type postings! Try to contain your excitement.

~I have to start by saying thank you to all who read and commented on my extremely honest "Just Write" post yesterday. I feel so much better after writing that and especially after reading so many wonderful comments that have validated me and reminded me that I am normal (at least I think I am, what is normal anyway?). I really enjoy "Just Write" - it forces me to dig a little deeper inside and it's just been a really helpful writing exercise. Dare I say it's even cathartic at times! Anyway, what led to my writing that yesterday was just a really bad day on Monday that spilled over into yesterday just a bit. The day really improved after I wrote that post and things have only continued to improve into today.

~Something that has really helped my mood totally improve is better sleep. I have to admit, I broke my over two week long "no buy" for one thing I think really can go on the "necessity" list so I'm not going to really count it as breaking the "no buy" - a new pillow. So far, so good. The pillows I had either didn't have enough support so my head was sinking causing me to wake up at night or I was waking up with a neck ache. I have found a pillow that seems to be firm enough without hurting me, so right now, it's good!

~There is officially less than a month until my birthday and less than a month until the new Muppet movie comes out. And ever since I accepted turning 30, I am looking forward to BOTH! November is going to kick booty. Seriously.

~I could not believe the amount of traffic I got caught in on the way to work this morning. My commute is short. Yet there was just crazy traffic today. Not sure what is up with that.

~I get my flu shot today, hurray! And the news is reporting that flu vaccines are not as effective as they once thought, double hurray! Honestly though, I find that I am much healthier when I get the flu vaccine so I'm still doing it. And so is Nate this year! Now the yucky, germy computers hopefully won't get to him as much.

~Tomorrow night we're going to sit down and do our benefits for the year because open enrollment ends on Friday - way to get it done under the wire - and also really take a hard look at our finances and see where we can cut corners and just trying to be better organized. Such fun stuff, you wish you were us right?

~Our weekend promises to be crazy busy, but Sunday is open and clear and we are having a Beth and Nate day. I don't know where our day will lead us, but the whole day will be for just us and it will be awesome.

And that's about it. As I'm writing this the sun is even poking out of the clouds a bit. More good vibes to be a good day I think!


Just Write - Truth

Some days I feel somewhat misunderstood.

Some days I think people look at me like I have it knocked and I want to tell them, no one has it knocked. Everyone has their own battles to fight, some are smaller than others, but we all have them.

Some days I feel like things I say or things I do are the wrong things. Some days I feel like all I do is let people down.

Some days I feel like I have to defend choices I make for my own health and well being or for the sake of my husband's.

Some days I feel like all I want to do is scream.

Some days I feel like things around me are changing and it's out of my control. And other times I want to embrace those changes.

Some days I feel like I am trying to fit myself into a cookie cutter image that I don't even know where it came from.

Some days, like today, I just want to be honest. I am not perfect. I am who I am and I just want to be accepted as I am. I make mistakes sometimes. I am only human.

Some days I am afraid to admit these things, to write them, to hit submit. But other days I know it's healthy and it is ok. So today is one of those days.

Most days are not like these "some days". But they do come. I put one foot in front of the other and march on when they do. Because the next day is a new day. A new day.

Linking up to "Just Write" again today. Visit Heather at the EO to read other posts or to submit your own.

And as always on a heavier post like this I need to put a disclaimer that I AM OK. I am just in a season of up and downness and sometimes I need to write about it. Thanks for reading, don't worry, I don't need the little men in white coats. :)


Fabulous Friday 10/21

Well look at that, we made it to Friday again. Outstanding. We have another fullish weekend ahead, but nothing like the preparation and craziness of getting ready for the party last weekend! Tonight one of my college friends is in town so I'm having dinner with her and some other girls. Tomorrow not much going on during the day, yay, but then Praise Project rehearsal in the evening. Sunday we have two masses at St. Willams and then we'll go home and make a roast dinner for my mother-in-law's birthday. I am sure, as usual, it will go by too fast.

But for today here is what I am finding fabulous!

1. Apple pie - made the first apple pie of the season this week and it turned out pretty darn good! Very tasty and wonderful to enjoy in this cool weather!

2. Casual Friday - I appreciate that I can wear jeans on Friday. I try to still look nice and professional, but it is really nice to have the comfort of jeans one day a week!

3. Longevity - Yesterday was Nate's 3 year anniversary of working at MasterSwitch. I am so unbelievably proud of him I can't even been to say. He has worked so hard and even when it's been challenging, he has come through. They took him out for a beer after work yesterday and it was well deserved in my eyes.

4. A good kind of dilemma - yeah this one sounds weird huh? Turns out that even though I've been working hard to use more of my paid time off this year, I'm still over the maximum saved up that I can have by the end of the year. So darn it, looks like I'm going to have to take some days off!

There you have it! Hope you all are finding fabulous things today. Have a great weekend!


Random Thought Wednesday

Been awhile since I've done one of these kind of posts! So let's just dive on in.

~I'm on day two of my month long "no buy" challenge. It's going fine so far, though I hate that I'm already being tempted by sales. The biggest one is the annual Stuff and Save event at Old Navy. I love that sale and go every year but it's running smack in the middle of my challenge, so no Stuff and Save for me this year!

~I slept oddly on my neck last night and it is super stiff and sore now today. I hate when that happens.

~I'm making my first apple pie of the season tonight. I'm looking forward to it, there is something about apple pie at this time of the year! I'm guessing I may not have a chance to make another one until Thanksgiving, but you never know.

~I cannot believe the number of Christmas things I'm already seeing advertisements for, but it is usually this time of year that those things start showing up, so at the same time it's hardly a surprise. I cannot even think about Christmas yet. Though I have already bought one smallish gift for my mom.

~I have finally accepted that I'm turning 30 next month. Not bad, a whole month in advance and I've come to terms with it. It's happening whether I want it to or not and you know what I'm embracing it. Like in the movie "13 Going on 30" I am choosing to be 30 and flirty and fun.

That's about it for today. Real exciting I know, you were just dying to know all of that right? Ha.


Just Write - My feet are tired

My feet are tired.

I've worked hard all day on cleaning, cooking, preparing. I didn't take much time to rest before the festivities began.

My feet are tired.

I don't even get to taste any of the chicken I slaved away on all day as it's gone before you can say it was time to eat.

My feet are tired.

I'm working hard to get around to all the different people who have come out to see us on this lovely Fall evening, our house is packed to the brim.

My feet are tired.

But suddenly, I realize that this is what I wanted. This makes me happy. I look around and see my husband smiling and laughing with friends, sharing about his homebrew, beaming.

My feet are tired.

But even though they are, I continue observing and see college friends mingling with high school friends, church friends mingling with those who don't really do church, both sides of the family thrown in between. It is inspiring and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

My feet are tired.

But another glass of beer will help me power through as I sample some of the wonderful food that others were generous enough to bring. Some of which is likely even more delicious than that chicken. Especially the pumpkin tiramisu.

My feet are tired.

But my friends and family lift me up, make me laugh, and fill my house with love.

My feet are tired.

But my heart is full.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. I am beyond blessed.

Linking up once again to Just Write. An exercise in free writing, no editing, going up on Tuesdays. Visit Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary to link up or read other Just Write posts.

Weekend recap and a Challenge

Wow. What a wonderful weekend. Our party was a success and it was a lot of fun.. It was so nice to see so many people and everyone seemed to have a really great time. I'm not going to talk about it a whole lot more right now because I want to save my reflections for a "Just Write" post tomorrow - I have the ideas floating in my head which makes me happy since I didn't have a post for it last week!

The rest of the weekend was pretty good. Nate and I slept in on Sunday, although it didn't turn out to be too terribly late of an evening on Saturday, it still felt good to sleep in. We had brunch at Brasa and once again, it was fantastic. Then we braved the madness of the apple orchard - I swear I haven't seen it that busy in a very long time. Got a few items there and hope to make a pie this week, haven't had any apple pie yet this year!

Came home and pretty much vegged, finishing out our day with pizza and the first disc of season three of Mad Men.

We had a conversation though yesterday that all couples have to have here and there and dread talking about and that was a "money" talk. And through the course of our conversation, I decided to issue myself a challenge. I would like to first of all put a disclaimer here that we are not in the poor house or something, but we both agreed that we need to be a little more fiscally responsible and kind of start acting like the almost 30 year old adults that we are. So, enter my challenge.

Starting today, October 17th until one month from today, November 17th, I will not buy anything for myself that is not considered a "necessity." No more clothes shopping, no purses, no frivolous things for one month. Baby steps, but it seems do-able. Here is a list of what I do consider a "necessity":
1. Food (duh - gotta eat. This is for groceries and our "one night out a week at a restaurant").
2. Gas for my car
3. Replacements for anything pertinent to daily life - toiletries (soap, toothpaste), etc.
4. Cat items (food, litter)
5. Medicine we happen to run out of (it's allergy season)
6. Paying bills

And here are the definite no-no's:
1. Clothes
2. Purses
3. Magazines
4. Books
5. Music (MP3 downloads or CDs)
6. In home parties (jewelry, Tastefully Simple, Partylite, etc.)
7. Bath and body items (Bath and Bodyworks, LUSH)

Again, it's not that we are broke, but I have a bad shopping habit and I think a one month challenge is a good way to try and curb it a bit. The other exceptions I didn't mention is that I am going to allow myself to buy a birthday gift for Nate and if I find early Christmas gifts for people that is allowed too.

The reason I targeted one month from today as the end of the challenge is that is the day the Cities 97 City Sampler comes out and I would like to buy my annual copy of that. After that day though, we'll see, it'll be getting close to the holidays and my birthday and while I will be shopping for others, I will probably keep the "no shopping for myself thing" going. Seems like a good time of year to try this anyway.

So, here goes nothing!


Fabulous Friday - 10/14/11

Oh friends. I am so giddy and bouncy right now it is difficult to focus! This weekend will be legen - wait for it - dary. (How I Met Your Mother reference if you don't know that one). Anyway, here is the best I can do for a Fabulous Friday post today!

What I find fabulous this week:

1. Oktoberfest - our big event of the year, the chance to showcase Nate's homebrew and a chance to see our friends and family. I just can't think of a better way to spend what should be a fantastic fall evening tomorrow.

2. Generous Friends - I don't think we'll be going hungry tomorrow, so many wonderful people have stepped forward to contribute something, I think that will go a long way in helping to feed the potentially 30 guests we'll have in our home!

3. Being less one fish tank - Nate's fish died long ago but we haven't taken apart and put away the darn tank yet. And it's been an ugly eye sore. Right now he has too many other hobbies/interests that there is just no time to deal with a fish tank. So I told him before this weekend it had to go. And as of last night - it is GONE. Hasta la vista fish tank (I have never been crazy about it if you can't tell!)

4. New recipes - Testing out some new recipes for tomorrow with the help of my momma and if they turn out well, I'll post them here - but I'll leave you with this - pumpkin tiramasu. Yeah, my mouth is watering too.

5. My awesome husband - who has helped me immensely in getting ready for this big event. He has cleaned up the yard, worked hard to make sure the beer is just right and I just could not put this together without him! And while I'm excited for the party, I'm excited for the next day too - it has become our tradition to treat ourselves to breakfast out the day after Oktoberfest so we'll definitely be doing that this year too!

Well you can see where my mind is today! I hope you all have fabulous Fridays and a wonderful weekend too!


A bit checked out

I'm still here I swear!

I realize the blog has been quiet this week. I'm bummed I couldn't come up with a "Just Write" post on Tuesday. Honestly my brain is jut a bit checked out this week. We're getting good work done at home in preparation for this weekend's Oktoberfest festivities and that is just where my focus is right now!

I am quite excited for everything, it should be a good time. I am aiming to get a "Fabulous Friday" up tomorrow, but we'll just see how things go.

Once this weekend is over I should have my blogging groove back!


I should go on HGTV

Decorating ADD.  I swear I have it.  I just can't leave things alone in my house!  I suppose it is my way of coping with not being able to afford bigger major projects at the moment!

So this weekend my dad came over and helped swap a couple of light fixtures.  See we have an area of the house that was really designed to be the dining room on the south end of our kitchen, but we decided to make this separate room that is off the north of the kitchen (one of those rooms that has two doors and could legally be a bedroom) our dining room.  And it pretty much has been since we moved in.  The area to the south of the kitchen has been just kind of an extended kitchen and where we will remodel into something nicer someday.  I have a smallish table in there as well.  Anyway, there is a nice light fixture that was on a dimmer switch that I started thinking would be nice to have in my actual dining room.  And it hangs low, so it wasn't giving me much flexibility in this "extended kitchen" area as to how I arrange things like that small table - I really wanted it up against the wall, but if I did that, someone could have hit their head on the light fixture.  Enter brilliant idea of swapping the light fixtures from the current and old dining room areas!

Fortunately my dad is a whiz at electrical work and he had this all figured out in no time flat. We also cleaned the light fixture that was moving to the dining room really well - good thing too, it was kind of grody.

Once the light fixtures were swapped and working (along with dimmer now in the current dining room, yay!) I then set to rearranging my extended kitchen.  I think I like the results, it is much more open now and relatively functional.  We will at least live with it for a bit to see how we feel!


Fabulous Friday - 10/7

Hola!  It is Friday again!  Some weeks go by so fast.  It's funny, the week was calmer for us too, but it still flew by.  I won't complain, the weekend is almost here and that's awesome.  And here is my weekly list of other awesome, fabulous things.

1. Tubs dumpsters - I highly recommend Tubs, while the "Tub" itself isn't huge, the price is reasonable and the people on the phone are very easy to deal with.  And it just feels so good to have purged a bunch of stuff!

2. Spotify - I've been using Spotify online radio and I love it - it's free and allows me to try out entire albums before buying.  There are a few ads interspersed, but it hasn't been too bad so far. I believe it's available to anyone now, but if you find you need an invite, let me know and I'll hook you up.

3. Clothes Mentor - Yeah, yeah, I've talked about Clothes Mentor at length here before and I won't go crazy this time except to say that I sold a bunch of stuff to them on Sunday (that I may have turned around and just bought new things with, I'll never tell. Wink.) and they are just so awesome.

4. Fall smells - I've started burning my fall scented candles from Partylite, like Ginger Pumpkin, Spiced Cider and Leaves of Fun.  I love it.  I love making my house smell good!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday musings

Dare I even say out loud that things are on a pretty even keel at the moment?

I have a nice handle on things for Oktoberfest this year.  It's in less than two weeks and I'm not in a crazy rushed panic like I was last year!  I suppose it helps that Dad and Nate aren't still building the bar!  The snags Nate ran into last week are more or less corrected.  He has one more part coming so he can actually add the 7th tap.  It is pretty exciting.

Yesterday we filled up a "Tub" style dumpster with some junk we've been meaning to get rid of for awhile now.  It isn't a huge dumpster so we weren't able to get rid of everything, but we managed to throw out the concrete from the old laundry sink and several doors we've replaced.  Man it feels good to purge sometimes!  We'll do it again this spring more than likely.

Driving to and from work this week I have been in absolute awe of the Fall colors.  I know I keep saying that but seriously, the hues, reds, oranges, golds....they are amazing.  And while I don't love warm weather at this time of year, I am also keeping it in perspective and enjoying it while it last because sometimes it still feels like yesterday that we were shoveling out from 12 inches of snow.

I miss my morning walks and runs with Nate, but man has he been sleeping good lately.  And he's doing better overall.  We're still struggling to make time for evening walks, but I still think we'll get some of those in before the snow falls!

I'm back to a "living in the moment" kind of pace and I'm feeling more peaceful and serene.  I'm ignoring the little voice that tries to creep up saying "but where's the other shoe?" because you know what, it might be out there waiting to fall, but I am not going to be concerned with that.  I will instead enjoy these warm, happy feelings every second that I have them.


Just Write - Him

He is bold and fearless.  His personality is larger than life.  He never apologizes for who he is but he doesn't have to.  He is intellegent, confident and amazing.

He has had a hard time as of late though.  The light in his eyes has been a bit dimmer.  He's somewhere in there, but I can't always see him.

I tell him I want to make it better, I'd do anything, give anything.  He tells me it's not up to me to be the fixer.  He just wants me to be me.  That's enough.  So I back down a bit.

We have found some simple solutions to make things better.  Suddenly things have turned around.  I can see him again.  He's there.  He is himself again.  The light is back.

I am so proud of him, the man he has become in the five years we've been married.  He is my all and my everything and I am so very blessed.  And most of all, he is my hero.

Linking up today to Just Write an exercise in free writing and no editing.  Go visit Heather of the EO to read other Just Write posts or to add your own.


Glorious Fall Weekend

Forgive me as I channel Chandler from Friends here, but could the weather this weekend have BEEN anymore gorgeous??  Along with that, some wonderful activities took place this weekend too and it was just overall a really nice one!

Friday was a half day at work so I could go to my good friend and sorority sister Angie's wedding.  What a PERFECT day for a wedding.  She looked beautiful.  Miss Gina was awesome and came as a stand in date for me as Nate's office was moving locations this week and he had to work a little late on Friday.  We just decided it would be too much stress to try to get him there.  Anyway, we had a great time!  It was so nice to catch up with many of my sorority sisters as well, I hadn't seen some of these ladies in many years!

Me and my date :)

Sooo many Lambda ladies with the beautiful bride

Saturday we got up SUPER early and headed out to Champlin for our annual Miller Family Golf tournament.  It was another beautiful day even if it was very chilly to start out.  It was not my best round of golf this year, in fact it might have been my worst round of golf this year, but I didn't take home last place AND I won the "Closest to the Pin" prize that we have on the 6th hole.  I have taken that prize home before too.  What makes me laugh is I usually win it for "overshooting" the green on my drive!  It's the shortest hole on the entire course though so it's easy to do that.  Anyway, it was a nice day and nice to see members of my mom's family we don't otherwise see much during the year.

Looking out at the back nine around 8:00 am

Mom and I are ready to roll

Oof, it's a bit early for us, but we're here!

After the tournament was over we both kind of crashed for a bit in the afternoon.  I did manage to go and get a haircut though, my hair was getting a wee bit shaggy!  We picked up some carryout from Albert's Bar and Grill - very awesome greasy spoon burger - and watched a couple of shows while we ate before we had to go to Praise Project rehearsal.  Did the rehearsal and went home and pretty much fell into bed, it was a long day!

Sunday we slept late, which was much needed!  Got up and went for a nice walk.  Nate made us breakfast because he is so awesome.  Then he set to finishing up cleaning and kegging up the beer so the bar is ready to go for Oktoberfest (less than two weeks and counting...) and my mom and I took a bunch of stuff over to Clothes Mentor to try to sell.  I was pleased that they took a bunch of things and I may have turned around and just used my money for some new things...yeah....is that really a surprise though?

Came back home and read some more of "The Help" while Nate finished up with the bar and then we finished out our day at a benefit for some good friend's of ours who had a baby at 23 weeks.  It felt good to do something to help them out!

Now things should be much calmer for us until Oktoberfest and this is a good thing, because we need to do a lot of things at home to prepare!  And it's nice to just step back and relax for a bit too!