Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Is a Special Day, It's the Day We Try to Stay Healthy

So...the battle continues.

I woke up this morning and went straight to the fitness center so I could get my workout in and be able to say...I have exercised for twenty-three weeks straight with a minimum of six times each week with each workout a minimum of thirty-five minutes. Met the nicest person who turned out to be the aunt of one of my current students! Also, I'm participating in this pedometer challenge at school so my workouts aren't hurting that little cause either. After returning home and showering, I made cauliflower curry soup for breakfast and cleaned the kitchen. Because I was on a roll, I showered, cleaned the bathroom, dressed, and went off to the temple! We talked to K's mom for about an hour on the phone and I read quite a bit since the school readathon is underway. And then we decided to take a walk!

We ended up walking over two miles so again, it all helps the pedometer! The river is so low this time of year that the lovely rusted out cars from years gone by are exposed. We chatted about this and that and actually ran into our neighbors who were also out walking and chatting! It was a lovely day.

After researching the ads and checking our account balance, we headed for the grocery store. We did not have peanut butter bars on our list. We also did not have Sara Lee chocolate cakes on our list...but I happen to be married to someone with a sweet tooth the size of Texas. I try. I try to persuade him to make treats (or let ME make the treats) from scratch (we have all the ingredients! we have a recipe for peanut butter bars...), but I lost once again. Therefore, I photographed our fresh fruits and vegetables and the dry beans (whole foods!) which will soak and cook overnight to prove...PROVE! to SOMEONE out there...that I am making my little attempts to find balance between exercise and nutrition. Water is my favorite beverage (for reals). Sigh.

I love him so much. He is so tolerant of my grumpiness when I am in need of sleep in the evenings (in fact, he laughs heartily at some of my grumpy comments which I don't really think are that funny, but I guess it's the contrast in my personality that amuses him). I'm going to ask him one more time to hide the peanut butter bars.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lighting Things on Fire...and Breaking and Entering

TR had a birthday recently so there was a bit of wrapping and suspense. We found these candles that didn't quite match his age and since we didn't want to wait for me to turn fifty-three in order to use them, we improvised. I kept asking, "Is it time to light your cake on fire?"

TR prefers very quiet celebrations and he despises this blog, so it's difficult for me to really blab much about all of his amazing qualities...but I try. He is so good to me! I love that he loves to Swiffer! We teamed up to deep-clean the kitchen and bathroom on Saturday and I love him for it.

K has been especially tolerant of my social calendar lately. He would rather spend a quiet evening at home or go somewhere "just the two of us." However, since mid-December I've been dragging him around to meet up with family and friends, and friends he's never met but who are dear to me, and to roommate reunions and to wedding receptions of former students...and I try to make sure he still gets to watch football. No wonder when I suggest having "all the neighbors over for a dessert night" he stares at me with no words. Time to give the boy a break.

On Saturday night we attended the wedding reception of Alex and Brittany. Alex is a former fifth grader who read D-Day for fun as a ten-year-old. He friended me on Facebook a few years ago. I don't talk to him much, but he is all grown up and walking around as the incredible individual he always was--so fun to see them morph into wonderful adults! But you know, moments like that give you pause, and you start to take an accounting of your life and your life's work and you start to wonder if you're doing all the things you were meant to do. Lots of introspection going on...

Last night we were able to meet up with Jeff and Rina and finally get to know their amazing children. Loved every minute of it. We couldn't possibly catch up on everything in two hours of chit-chat but it is wonderful to simply be in the same room with great folks and enjoy their personalities. These are truly BRIGHT MOMENTS!

Yesterday afternoon I wondered aloud, "Maybe I'm going to die soon and Heavenly Father is just letting me make the rounds and see a whole bunch of people I haven't seen in such a long time before I go." It makes me that happy to spend time with old friends. Don't worry, I don't really think I'm going to die soon, but when I get really happy like's kind of like...I'm so happy I could just die! Immediately upon getting engaged to Ken I started to worry that one of us would die and that we would never really get married--so happy that I go a little crazy in my thoughts. Anyway, K has been a great sport through it all.

So we got home after visiting last night and were approached by a new neighbor who had just moved in. His name is Tyler and he was sheepish about having locked himself out. He asked if he could use our phone. I piped up, "I can break into your place no problem." I whipped out my flimsy but trusty copy machine card from the family history library and popped his lock open while K held my purse. New member of my fan club right there!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shoeing with Em

Yesterday after school we had the privilege of snowshoeing with Emily! We had gone together once before and because of a certain little faculty assignment involving a torch, we ended up going to the same exact place to capture daylight. I must show her a few other trails around here for winter fun. K was our videographer and when we finished our little "project" we snowshoed up Battle Creek to the top of the waterfall.

The waterfall is cool this time of year because of the frozen ice sculptures. Due to the rapidly waning light, we only got a couple of pics. Yeah, that's my blurry sunset snapped on the hike back down. It was dark when we returned (my headlamp had been left on my night stand due to the power pole fire in our neighborhood the night before! Otherwise, it lives in my backpack). Such mild temperatures. It was a great outing and we LOVED spending time with Em!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Suzette's Shower

Suzette is getting married! We had so much fun cohosting her shower yesterday. The great thing about collaborating with all the girls is that this was a non-stress event. We each contributed things we were good at and the combination of our strengths and talents made a lovely little party. Many hands make light work. It was a joy to be involved and to celebrate Suzette's happiness.

We started with the healthy things. We had lemon-lime water and a beautiful veggie tray. And what bridal shower would be complete without those yummy chicken salad croissant sandwiches? I love the combination of grapes, celery, and cashews! We had lemon shortbread cookies and good old chocolate chip. And then we had this gorgeous hot chocolate bar with so many toppings--beautiful and delicious! Everyone got to take home a bag of what I call "frosted popcorn." We melted almond bark and mixed in orange oil drizzling that over the popcorn. My husband loved it when I brought some home from the party.

When everyone left and we were cleaning up, Brenda said, "Just like old times, huh Girls?" Back in our single days, we hosted and Hosted and HOSTED so many gatherings so we could mingle with as many single adults as possible. All of this was on the heals of our potluck dinner with spouses the evening before. Yeah, we all know how to load each others' dishwashers.

All weekend I've felt so blessed that I have this wonderful association with these incredible women and their husbands. We have been so loved by dear friends! It was a joy to work in harmony and have everything go so smoothly. We are looking forward to being in the temple with Suzette and Kory when they begin their eternal covenant marriage. It's a wonderful life!

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Annual Roommate Reunion Dinner

Fabulous evening with the roommates and their spouses. Laughter, great food, meaningful conversations, inspired by the challenges some have endured and overcome, motivated by the examples set by some...we had a great time!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Life is Good When You Play Outside (and Read)

We went snowshoeing again this morning up Big Springs near South Fork. The trail had been overused and so packed down that snowshoes weren't that necessary most of the time, however, the further we hiked and the more elevation we gained, we were glad for our gear, especially for the crampons on the downhill. And we were glad for the time we had together. The Mister stopped at one point and said, "Smell. Listen." We had planned for an hour up and an hour back, but I suggested a push for a little more distance so we could do the loop. Turns out, I had never taken my Darling there on snowshoes! Nine years we've been married and I had not shown him this lovely loop in winter! What else have we missed? We enjoy the simple things. The sparkles in the snow (K said, "It's like walking in diamonds.") and the bunny tracks.

Afterward, we headed for Outback Steak House because they were giving away free Bloomin' Onions after LSU won the Outback Bowl yesterday (so watching football really does pay?). Turns out I do not care for the Bloomin' Onion. I DO care, very much, for the Coconut Shrimp. They brought six with a salad and I was content. Is that plum sauce that goes with? K had steak and fries.

And then... THEN!!! We went to Barnes & Noble to spend all the amazing gift cards I received for Christmas. I've been salivating for days now trying to make my choices. I consulted The Nerdy Book Club Blog and Dr. Peggy Sharp and a few other sources. I made lists and lists on sticky notes. I read authors' websites. And then I had to narrow down my lists and think about balancing my genres and then whittle all of those down once more. In fact, at Outback I had my sticky notes all spread out on the table (some of them got grease spots from that Bloomin' Onion) so I could write stars with my pen on the ones I really wanted. I used my phone in the restaurant to consult the internet a few more times. And then I had to prioritize. So hard. One thing that made my selections easy was that the store didn't have several of my titles in stock. K followed me around with the shopping basket. When I made my selections, we headed for a cafe table so I could calculate the costs while considering my educator discount and the sales tax. I was already well acquainted with each book (as much as possible without having read them), but still, I flipped through each one and read the jackets. I put some back on the shelves. I considered how these books would fit in with the curriculum, how I would use them to teach, and how much the students might enjoy them. I really wanted to get the most bang for my buck and choose wisely. And the picture above details my yield.

Leftover chicken soup for dinner.

Life is good.

Life is GOOD!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Pal, Elli!

Meet Elli! She is my faithful exercise friend! In case you're not catching on yet, Elli is short for Elliptical. I finally made it back to her today after two weeks on the road. I used foreign treadmills, bikes, and other ellipticals. I swam and snowshoed. I walked. And it was all good. But there's just nothing quite like Dear Ol' Elli! She worked me hard today!

Meet Cal. He is my arch nemesis! In case you're not catching on yet, Cal is short for Calorie-Laden-Treat-Cupboard. Cal is more a friend of my husband. (In fact, as I'm typing this, my dear husband just called from the other room to happily announce he found a "jackpot" under the sofa--a bag of peanut butter M&M's he stashed there prior to Christmas and forgot about.) I live in a war zone. These pictured cupboard treats are located high up and out of sight so that I really only see them in moments of desperation. It's really hard living with Cal, but I do my best to work around him. You can't even see all the treats in that cupboard--it is completely stuffed this time of year. K goes a little crazy with all the Christmas mint products out on the market. He's gotta have some of this and some of that because you know, 'tis the season! And then there are my students. Although I try to tactfully discourage treats, some of them creep onto my desk anyway. And some of those actually make it home to K. He delights in them. And then there's Christmas. Our stockings are somehow stuffed with more and more sugar. However, this year, I did find not one, but two jars of pickles in my stocking which I thought was amazingly perfect. First time in my entire life that Santa brought pickles!

And then there's all the heavy food associated with the holidays. Cheese ball, steaks, sugar cookies, BAKLAVA (worth every bite), Blue Bunny ice cream, big ham dinner, know how it is. I ate a lot of oranges and cracked peanuts out of their shells. I kept drinking water. I tried. But sometimes Cal still beats Elli! This is my daily battle. Which is why...

I made chicken soup for New Year's Day. Lots of water with bouillon. Lots of onion, celery, and garlic. Here's to a healthy 2014! GO TEAM ELLI!!!