Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

I've been meaning to participate in the monthly What's Up Wednesday post, hosted by Shay, Mel and Sheaffer, every month so far this year but have yet to actually get around to it, so I decided this is the month.

What we’re eating – Well, I would love to do weekly menu plans and cook most nights but the reality is that I don't get home from work most nights until 6:30 and between after school activities and hunger Paul and the girls have usually already eaten, and if they haven't I don't want what they're eating anyway.  But I usually cook something on Sunday that will provide leftovers for later in the week or I'll make something ahead for later in the week in addition to what we're having that night, and we rely on a lot of pre-made things from Costco, like stuffed bell peppers or rotisserie chicken.

What I’m reminiscing about – We just had our anniversary, so I would say our wedding and early years of our marriage.  Oh, and how much skinnier I was then (see yesterday's post)!

What I’m loving – that things are winding down.  13 days of school left, dance is over, 2 more gymnastics classes, 2 more violin and  piano lessons, 1 more Girl Scout meeting.  Glad for it all to be done for awhile!

What we’ve been up to - Well, so far in May we celebrated our anniversary, had Olivia's dance recital and had the first sunny and hot Memorial Day since I can't remember when.  Other than that, just the usual activities--dance, gymnastics, violin and piano lessons--and planning for our upcoming cruise!

What I’m dreading – shopping for swimsuits for said cruise (ha ha), having to listen to the loud air conditioner on hot summer nights (we don't have central A/C, it's a window unit, but not the kind that sticks out) and the girls having to be with a babysitter all day, all summer (with a few exceptions).

What I’m working on – fitting in fitness.  I've blogged before about how hard it is now that I'm working to find time to exercise.  It should be easier in the summer because I don't have to spend my evenings making lunches and helping with homework.

What I’m excited about – Our Caribbean cruise this summer!  I've been on 3 cruises and the last one was in 1998.  WAY too long ago.  We are going to Nassau (Bahamas), St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) and Tortola (British Virgin Islands).

What I’m watching/reading – the Bachelorette, of course, and I've started watching the original Twin Peaks.  I never watching it back in the day and I live where it was filmed, so between that and it being remade I figured I better check it out.

As for reading, I've really been into memoirs/autobiographies lately.  I've recently read two of Carrie Fisher's books, Wishful Drinking and the Princess Diarest and listened to Tina Fey's Bossypants on CD.  I am actually not currently reading any books, but I did just start another attempt to read through the entire Bible.  I've started several times but always peter out somewhere between Leviticus and Joshua.  I have read the entire New Testament, and most of the Old, but I still always just start in Genesis.

What I’m Listening to – just the radio to and from work, same songs over and over.  I used to be such a music buff but I don't really have time anymore to explore and seek out new music.  But I've really been wanting to get back into it so I've started a weekly Music Monday post where I showcase a song or two that I've either just discovered or just really like.  It's a work in progress so we'll see how it goes.

What I’m wearing - I have two recent purchases that I really love.  One is a cute cold shoulder top from Macy's.  I didn't think I would dig the cold shoulder look on me but I actually really like this top.  And then I've been wanting a military/cargo vest or jacket forever and finally got one that I really like in my last Stitch Fix.  This isn't it necessarily but it's very similar.

What I’m doing this weekend – We're going to try the new-ish neighborhood brewery on Friday.  It's kid-friendly, so we'll take the girls and the don't have food, they just have different food trucks outside every night and Friday is supposed to be one called Nacho Mama that all the neighbors have been raving about.  Supposed to be really good.  Then on Saturday I have a girls' night out.  Sunday will be church (maybe) and prep for the week.

What I’m looking forward to next month – The end of school!

What else is new - We are seriously considering getting a dog.  I've been really wanting one but it's just so not practical with all of us gone all day.  But the girls are relentless in their begging and starting to wear us down, plus there is a chance that my work group might relocate to just down the street!  OMG, I really hope so.  Then I could come home everyday on my lunch break to let the dog out to go potty.  And if not, there are lots of dog-walkers in the neighborhood that we could hire, or maybe just neighbors that are stay-at-home moms or work from home.  We'll see.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One Last Try

About a year ago, give or take, we decided to book a cruise for July of this year.  I was supposed to lose 30 pounds by now, ha ha.  Hasn’t happened.  I haven’t blogged about it in a long time but I’m still doing Weight Watchers at work.  I’ve been seriously considering giving it up, however, because I just can’t seem to find the motivation to actually follow the program.  Like with any other weight loss attempt, I go through phases were I do really well but eventually I fall off the wagon.  So, as I approach the 2-year anniversary of joining, I’ve decided that if things don’t turn around and I don’t start making some progress by the time we go on this cruise, I’m going to pull the plug.  There is no sense paying the money when all I’m doing is losing and regaining the same 3-5 pounds over and over.  I already do that on my own for free!

So, I’m making a last ditch effort starting today, and I’m going to try and blog about it regularly and hope that will give me some accountability and motivation.  I've come so close to getting my 5% a few different times, but it's always been on a Thursday or Friday, and my WW meetings/weigh-ins are on Mondays, and by then I've gained a little over the weekend so I never quite made it.  But I really want that stupid 5% award!

On the plus side, while I haven't succeeding in losing weight, I have managed to stop gaining.  Between 2010 and 2015 I was gaining about 6-10 pounds per year.  Since joining WW, I have managed to at least hold steady, other than going up or down 3-5 pounds, sometimes 8 or 9, here and there.  So that alone has made it worth it, sort of :)

So my goals for June are to:
  • attend all 4 WW meetings
  • lose 6 pounds (I have a few extra days to accomplish this, today and tomorrow being the last few days of May)
  • blog here regularly
  • track my points consistently
  • stay within my points range most days (although I have discovered that I can consistently go over and still lose.  More on that in a future post).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fabulous Weekend

I've mentioned before that it doesn't rain as much in Seattle as most people think, but there are 3 days every year that you can pretty much count on rain.  They are:  Labor Day, July 4th and Memorial Day!  But for once we had an absolutely beautiful Memorial Day weekend!  Which is even more of a big deal than it otherwise would be because of the colder and wetter than normal winter and spring we have had.  I seriously can't remember the last time we had a Memorial Day weekend where it wasn't cloudy and/or rainy at least one of the three days.  We practically lived outside all weekend.  It was so nice!

Saturday we took a trip up to Arlington to a place called the Outback Kangaroo Farm.  I never knew this place existed until sometime over a year ago my niece and sister-in-law went and posted about it on FB.  I've been wanting to go ever since and we finally made it.  It's like a small zoo just on someone's property with kangaroos, wallabies, alpacas, ring-tailed lemurs and peacocks.  You do a guided tour and get to walk among, pet and feed the kangaroos and alpacas but not the lemurs, unfortunately.  It's really interactive and fun!

It's a little over an hour away so we stopped for breakfast on the way, then on the way home we took a different route and stopped at a park/campground with a cool suspension bridge and just walked around and played in the river for a bit.  When we got home we barbequed some chicken and later had some neighbors over for s'mores on our fire pit.

On Sunday we worked in the yard most of the morning and then went up to Rattlesnake Lake.  It was SO crowded, of course, but we had fun playing in the water which was super cold but it felt good to cool off.  Then we barbequed again, steak this time, and once again had (different) neighbors over for s'mores.

It's a thing to jump off this tree.  That's Paul and Kayley.  Olivia did it too.

Today we spent most of the day at home, except the girls went on a hike with the neighbors so while they were gone I got to spend a few hours working on one of my many projects that I never have time for.  Then when went to a friend's for a barbeque and that sums up our glorious, sunny weekend!

It feels like summer has officially started.  We are down to 15 days of school, one final Girl Scout meeting and just a handful of activities left.  Can't wait.

Music Monday

Welcome to Music Monday, episode 2.  Today's song was chosen in honor of Memorial Day and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  But first a little back story about this song.

I first heard this song back in 1984-ish at a high school dance.  Yes, not only was I alive in 1984 but I was old enough to be in high school (barely, but still).  There was a live band and they played it.  I had never heard it before and just assumed it was an original because every thing else they played was the usual top 40 and hard rock songs that I knew and loved.  I loved the song and was sad that I was probably never going to hear it again.

Sometime within the next year or two, I was going to some 4-H function and riding in the car of another 4-H member.  Her mom had the radio on a country station and out of the blue that song came on.  I was so happy to hear it again, and now I knew that it was "out there" and I would probably be able to track it down someday, even though I still didn't know who sang it.

Then, a few years later I was driving in my car flipping channels on the radio and lo and behold, there it was.  And this time I heard the DJ say it was Lee Greenwood.  I soon went out and bought the cassette tape of it and could finally hear it whenever I wanted, and started a tradition of listening to it every 4th of July.

I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I wont forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me...

God Bless the USA

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Anniversary, Mother's Day, Slime and Lemonade

May 13th was our 11th anniversary.  After Olivia's dance recital photo shoot, we got a babysitter and went out to dinner at Daniel's Broiler and got a table by the window with an awesome view (it's on the 21st floor), except for it was kind of cloudy that day.  We had a delicious steak dinner and then went into the lounge to listen to the piano player and have a drink.

The next day was Mother's Day.  We went to church and then Paul's parents came over later and we went to an early dinner.  The girls gave me cute cards and pictures they made at school as well as some plants.

Last weekend we had the dance recital that I already posted about on Saturday and then Olivia went to a birthday party/sleepover, so while she was there I took Kayley to Michael's to get stuff to make slime (their absolute favorite hobby right now, other than electronics).  Then we went out to dinner and then Kayley and I were going to go across the street to the pottery painting place while Paul walked home but it had closed early, probably because business was slow due to the gorgeous weather.  So we went home and Kayley made a huge vat of slime instead.

Sunday the girls and their friends all had a lemonade stand.  Like I mentioned earlier, we finally had some great weather after having a positively awful winter and spring.

Now I'm just looking forward to the upcoming 3-day holiday weekend!  I need that extra day SO bad.  I am so behind on everything.  We never go camping or anything Memorial Day weekend because traffic sucks, so we are just sticking around home but we are thinking about a trip to the Outback Kangaroo Farm.  We'll see.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday

Welcome to Music Monday, a new (hopefully) weekly thing I'm giving a try.  I've been toying with this idea for a very long time of starting a weekly music-themed post.  I used to be really into music of many genres, but have really fallen out of the loop since having kids.  I used to love to turn on DMX (called something else now, but those music channels in the 900s on Comcast) or browse iTunes on Saturday mornings in search of new music but I just don't get the chance that often anymore.  The only music I hear nowadays is the same 3 or 4 songs over and over on my way to work everyday.  Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" and Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" are great, but I get tired of hearing them multiple times a day.  Sometimes I'll change the station to a rock station that plays all the 80s hair band music I loved in high school, but other than that it's the same songs over and over.

Then every once in a while I manage to find something new.  This weekend at the dance rehearsal/recital I was introduced to two songs I had never heard before and absolutely loved.  One was a song that the hip hop class that Kayley had been in but quit performed to, and the other was the song Olivia's modern dance class performed to.

The first is a song called "Wait for it" from the musical Hamilton by Leslie Odom Jr.

The second is "This Time for Africa" by Shakira.  I know who she is and some of her songs, but had never heard of that one.  I guess it was the official 2010 FIFA World Cup song or something.  Really fun.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dance Recital

Olivia has been taking a dance class, beginning modern, for the last 4 months or so and yesterday was the big recital (for all the dance classes, not just hers.  Ballet, tap, jazz, modern and dance theater). I was helping out backstage so I missed a lot of it but I got to go stand on the side to watch her performance as well as a few others after hers.  She has several friends that have been dancing for years so they were all performing in the various disciplines.  It was fun to watch.  But it was really hard to get any decent pictures.  I got a few at the rehearsal the night before, though, plus they had a professional photo shoot last weekend so I get those in a few weeks.

I'm just glad it's over and we can have our Monday nights back.  We were spread pretty thin these last few months, having dance on Mondays, gymnastics for Olivia and piano for Kayley on Tuesdays and violin for Olivia on Wednesdays.  As I've mentioned before, Olivia will now have to decide if she wants to continue with dance or gymnastics, but we're not doing both any more. It's too much!

Olivia is left of the tall girl in the middle

Olivia, far left

Olivia, middle with leg up

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fun Anniversary Story

Today is our 11th anniversary, and this is the first time since we got married that it has fallen on a Saturday.  For the last several years I've been determined to go away somewhere for this anniversary but it just didn't work out.  Olivia has a dance recital photo shoot this afternoon (the actual recital is next weekend) and then there's Mother's Day tomorrow and I didn't want to mess up anyone's Mother's Day plans by having them babysit.  Getting married on Mother's Day weekend was probably not the best choice.  I get kind of tired of having them grouped together most years.  Oh well, totally not a big deal. 

So anyway, in honor of our anniversary, I am sharing a fun back story around when Paul and I met and started dating.

Back in 2002,  I had been attending the same church for about 7 years and decided to start trying out a few different churches in an effort to find one with a bigger and better dating pool :) .  But on October 27 of that year I went back to my former church for the first time in a few months.  I also attended an adult bible fellowship class (Sunday School for grownups, basically a Bible study but at church on Sundays instead of someone’s home during the week) and there was a new guy there that week.  He was cute, and I was interested.  But right after class got over, instead of going up and introducing myself, I, like usual, had to pee really bad from having had coffee so I instead made a beeline to the bathroom.  I was so bummed, but figured I’d get a chance to meet him eventually.  Then, after my bathroom trip I went back to the foyer where people were milling around between services and he was there and came up to ME and introduced HIMself!  Yay!  We chatted for a bit and then it was time to go into the sanctuary for the main service and as we parted ways I thought to myself, “I just met the man I’m going to marry.”  His name was Stephen.

Over the next several months Stephen and I hung out in groups and got to know each other a bit and started developing a friendship.  As much as I wanted to date him I figured it would never happen.  In January of 2003 I found out he had a girlfriend.  So instead of going to our church’s singles’ Valentine’s party and seeing them together (turns out she wasn’t there--she lived pretty far away-- but I wasn’t taking any chances), I decided to go to a dance at a different church instead (the one Paul attended, but obviously I didn’t know him yet).  I found out later that Paul was there, and we actually danced together (at one point we formed a big circle and everybody danced with everybody, so even though we don't remember, we know we danced with each other).

A few weeks later, Stephen had broken up with his girlfriend and he and I were at a coffee shop/book store just hanging out as friends.  Then.  THEN, he said something to the effect of, “So, I was wondering if maybe you’d want to start hanging out a little more”.  I can’t remember the exact words, but something along those lines.  I was ECSTATIC!  I didn’t show it, of course.  I was just like, “yeah, I’d love to” or whatever, but inside I was jumping up and down screaming.  We dated very briefly but ultimately he wanted to just be friends.  I was devastated.  So I kind of started going back to the other (Paul's) church off and on, and several months later he (Stephen) followed me there (not to be where I was, but just to meet new people and be part of a bigger and better singles group).  He started making friends with people there, including Paul and his good friend Bela (Bay-la).  I still hadn’t met Paul officially, because we both attended somewhat sporadically (especially me, because for awhile I was recovering from surgery, then I was still going to the other church off and on, or just skipping J), but we definitely crossed paths a time or two.  Once in the summer of 2004 when Stephen’s mom and sister were visiting from Atlanta a big bunch of us went out to lunch with them after church.  Paul was there, and remembers me coming in late (I had trouble finding the place), but still we never officially met and I don’t remember him.  In the fall of 2004, Stephen, unbeknownst to me, made several attempts to set me up with Bela.  It was always kind of last minute, and I always had plans.  I was actually dating someone at the time but it wasn’t serious.  Anyway, a bunch of them (including Paul sometimes) would be going to a movie or something and Stephen would try to invite me to introduce me to Bela but it never worked out, although I did finally meet him at a party at Stephen's in November 2004 but it wasn't like a blind date or anything, we just both happened to be there.

Then in January of 2005 I signed up for Eharmony.  Paul was one of the first people I was matched with and we started communicating back and forth.  One night about a week or two later, I was out with Stephen and two other friends (Sarah, a new acquaintance from the new church, who also knew Paul, unbeknownst to me, and my friend Erica) watching a football play-off game (Stephen's team the Atlanta Falcons and I forget who else, but NOT the Seahawks).  Somehow the subject of dating and marriage came up and I made a comment about how I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I was probably never going to get married (I wanted to, I just was convinced I was never going to find anyone).  Here I was, communicating with Paul on Eharmony and hanging out with 2 people that knew him pretty well, but I had no clue, and they had no clue I was communicating with him.  I went to church the next day but he wasn't there because he had gone to Whistler for the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.  I remember chatting with Bela, having no clue that he was good friends with this guy I was communicating with on Eharmony!

About a week later on Saturday the 22nd, a bunch of us, including Stephen, went out for my birthday.  I skipped church the next day, having been out late and all, but had I gone we probably would have met there.  But we finally met on the following Saturday, the 29th for our first date.

We met at the Greenlake Starbucks.  The plan was to have coffee and then walk around the lake after.  By now we knew that we both went to the same church and knew some of the same people and he says I looked vaguely familiar but probably wouldn’t have been able to place me if he hadn’t already known and I didn’t really recognize him.  We had our coffee then walked the 3-mile loop around the lake and when he suggested lunch after I agreed.  We saw each other in church the next day, and then went to lunch after and then went out again the following weekend and were soon exclusively dating.  On December 3rd, 2005 we got engaged (you can read about that here) and on May 13th, 2006, we got married.  Bela was his best man and Stephen, though invited, had moved back to Atlanta and did not attend.  The end J

 (I snapped these with my phone straight out of our wedding album as I don't have any digital wedding photos)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Recent Happenings

Much to my frustration we have been extra busy lately.  Every weekend it's something else.  There were two weekends in March that had two Girl Scout cookie booths each, plus birthday parties and what-not.  Then Easter and a Girl Scout trip and more birthdays...

Last weekend was blissfully plan-free and I was finally able to work on some projects but then this weekend was back to super busy and being gone a lot.  Yesterday we went up to Mount Vernon for the whole day, visited my mom, went to my great nephew's first birthday party and then to my best friend's house for dinner, then today we went to a graduation party for a family friend who just earned her doctorate in physical therapy.  We have a bunch of stuff the next few weekends too and then Memorial Day weekend is wide open at this point.  Can't wait.

Here's a rundown of recent happenings.

Paul turned the big 5-0 on March 28th.  We went to dinner with some friends at the Melting Pot.  The girls really had fun with the fondue.

We spent Easter at the in-laws  and went to an egg hunt at a friend of their's place.  Back at the in-laws, we got a few photos in their yard, and I finally got a decent picture of Kayley not acting all weird.
Best picture of Kayley in YEARS! 

Our neighborhood usually has their own egg hunt/potluck brunch at the park the Saturday before Easter so we went to that as well.

Getting ready to hunt for eggs

A few weekends ago the girls had their annual Girl Scout trip--the one they earn and pay for with their cookie sale money.  It was at Seabrook, a tiny little community on the Washington coast.  I went as a chaperone even though I would have much preferred to stay home and have a kid-less weekend with hubby but Olivia didn't want to go without me.  She will stay at friends' houses but not go on far away overnight trips without me.  But I'm glad I went because it was a fun trip and a fun little town that I didn't even know existing before.

The girls made "gnome houses" on the Gnome Trail.

They all got $7.00 to spend at the candy store.

Yesterday was our trip up to Mount Vernon for my great nephew's 1st birthday.  He already has his own pony, so the kids all got pony rides.

Carter, another great nephew, looking for chickens

After the party, we had a little time to kill before going to my childhood friend's home for dinner, so we went downtown and checked out the River Walk.

Mount Vernon is famous for tulips and has an annual Tulip Festival

 Several weeks ago a few friends and I went to a local winery for a wine releases party that another friend of ours was catering.  It is actually a residence that doubles as a winery that, again, I didn't even know existed until I heard about this event on Facebook.  It was a fun little girls' night.

That sums up the last few months.  We're looking forward to school ending and our cruise!