Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 Word of the Year

In 2015 I chose a word that I would focus on for the year. The word was "growth" and I layed out the ways in which I wanted to grow (you can read the full post here, and update posts here and here). Looking back, I did a LOT of growing in 2015. I grew emotionally and spiritually. I grew in my role as a wife as me and my husband fumbled through the first year of marriage - learning about each others likes/dislikes, quirks, and feelings. I grew as a nurse and as a friend. 2015 was a good year for growth.

This year the word I've chosen is "breathe". I guess I should say its my mantra rather than my "word". I don't have specific goals this time around, I just want to remind myself to breathe.

My mom's cancer diagnosis in May literally knocked the breath out of me. It shook me in ways I still cannot put into words. When someone you love receives such detrimental news, it can be so hard to remember to live life normally - to go about the mundane day to day activities with a smile on your face - because you have this cloud hanging over you.

That's when I have to remind myself to breathe. In through the nose, slowly filling up my lungs - out through the mouth, pursed lips like I'm letting off steam. Three times slowly.

Marriage is not what I expected. I'm not saying that negatively - because marriage is awesome. I have a man in my life who is just the right amount of leader, supporter, and encourager - it's just that sometimes (in my stubborn, self-righteousness) I can't always see how great he is.

Sometimes I see his leadership as bossiness (related: I plan on writing one day about my views/struggles/personal relationship with submission as discussed in the Bible), sometimes I see his encouragement as being pushy.Sometimes I have a bad day at work and I take it out on him when I get home - that's not fair, but it happens anyway. Sometimes it's the other way around. In the morning we still love each other, but at night it's laying facing away from each other and muttered "I love yous" and "goodnights."

My husband has strong opinions on many things - so do I. Many times we are on the same side, but there are occasions where we butt heads. Seemingly, there is no eye-to-eye, no compromise, no agreements.

That's when I have to remind myself to breathe. In through the nose, slowly filling up my lungs - out through the mouth, pursed lips like I'm letting off steam. Three times slowly.

Life as a nurse is funny. Some days are awesome: when the patients are kind and the day goes smoothly and I go home in the evenings with a virtual pat on the back and a smile on my face thinking, "This is what I'm supposed to be doing, this is where I belong."

Then there are the other days. The days when I blow the vein, the days when I'm late on every med pass because I spent 30 minutes in one room trying to console the new stroke patient who just can't stop crying. The days my boss is breathing down my neck because I didn't turn in last months reports on time and this months are due yesterday. The days when I go home with tears in my eyes, questioning, "Is this where I am supposed to be? Why do I put myself through this [job] day in and day out?"

That's when I have to remind myself to breathe. In through the nose, slowly filling up my lungs - out through the mouth, pursed lips like I'm letting off steam. Three times slowly.

My plan for 2016 is this: Breathe. Practice grace. Drink a lot of coffee. Breathe. Talk to Jesus. Trust in my marriage. Breathe.  

Do you have a word/mantra for the year?  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Seven (more) Valentine's Date Ideas

Last year I wrote about some realistic date night (or day) ideas to celebrate Valentines day, and while popping each others backne is tons of fun, I figured I could come up with a few more ideas to help make this Valentine's day extra special. 

Plan an outrageous trip

Sit down in front of google, and each of you plan a vacation for your significant other. If he likes fishing, set up an ultimate deep sea fishing trip and for you he can pick out a tropical vacation that's out of this world. After you're done planning the surprise trips share them with the other. Then do something really wild and crazy and actually GO on one (or both of them).

Play some old school board games

...with a sexy twist. Use your imagination for this one, I'm sure you can come up with something fun.

Breakfast Brunch In bed (or out of it)

If you're married to someone like my husband, eating in bed is not an option. We enjoy cooking breakfast/brunch on the weekends because we are always eating on the go during the week - but we usually keep it simple with eggs and sausage. On Valentines day, go all out with whatever your favorite brunch foods are (and don't forget the bloody marys!) (or mimosas if you're in to that). The next fancy brunch food I want to try is stuffed French toast.

Get active/outside

While I do go to the gym about 3-4 times per week and my husband goes every day, we don't go to the same gym. On weekends, we enjoy doing something active together. Whether it's a trail ride on our mountain bikes, a hike, or a day on the boat fishing, it's always fun to get outside and do something to break a sweat together.

Tackle a project that's been on the back burner

This past weekend me and my husband finally hung all of our pictures, paintings, and other wall d├ęcor - something I've been wanting to get done for over a month, but it seemed we always had more important things to do. Crossing something off my to-do list, with the help and support from my partner, always leaves me feeling awesome and accomplished!

Take a class

Whether it's a cooking class, art class, or something totally random like how to tie fly-fishing knots - learning something new always seems easier (or sometimes more hilarious) with someone by your side.

And my personal nothing!

Spend the day in jammies, ordering delivery (or take-out) from your favorite restaraunts, and just talking about life - there's not much that can beat good quality snuggle time. 
What are your plans for this Valentine'sday?


Monday, February 8, 2016

This is What I Know For Sure

Have you read Oprah's book What I know For Sure? I haven't read it but my friend Ashten (who actually wrote a similar post to this one) says it's wonderful and I'm going to take her at her word (and add the book to my TBR list). There are a lot of things in this world that I'm unsure about. Like, whether or not me or my husband will lose our jobs in the next year (I hope not) or whether I'll be able to have children when the time comes (I hope so) or if I'll come home to toilet paper shreds all over the house because our cats got in a feisty mood while we were at work (highly likely).

My point being - there are so SO many unknowns, and if that's all we focus on then we'll  just end up driving ourselves crazy. So I decided to think about some things that I do know without a doubt.

It's okay to like things that are different from other people's likes. 
Basically, it's not wrong to be different. It's actually pretty normal to be different. When I was younger, I had a hard time coming to terms that I disliked some of the things my friends loved and vice versa. I wanted to be cool, to have tons of friends and to do this I thought we all needed to like, totally love the same things. Now, I realize that it is sometimes our differences rather than our likeness that can bring us closer together. 

Our failures help to shape us into better people.
Just like being different is normal, failing is also. It's just a part of life - and a crucial one at that. I've talked before about failing nursing school the first time around. It taught me that life is hard and just because some things come easily, some things take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish - and it makes the finally getting there all the sweeter. 

There's not much that can beat a bowl of ice cream.
Particularly a bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Growing up, it was a staple in our household and when my husband said he "didn't really eat Blue Bell" I knew he would learn to love it (and he did). 

Friends will come and go, and that's okay.
Throughout college I met some gals (and guys) that I thought would be a part of my life forever. Turns out I was wrong. We didn't get in a fight or anything, they were just a part of my life that wasn't meant to last. Like blunt-cut bangs and gaucho pants, some things just aren't meant to be in my life long term. 

Coffee may not fix everything, but it sure helps. (There's not much else to say on that subject.)

It's okay to be wrong. 
This one took a long time to figure out - my Aries nature and my stubborn personality can sometimes keep me from admitting fault or being wrong. But with age comes wisdom, and I've learned (especially in marriage) that life is so much easier when you can admit that you're in the wrong.

It's better to take life one day at a time.
If I spend all my time worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow, or next month, then I'll never enjoy today. I'm sure there's some fancy quote that explains it better than I do, but my point is: I want to live in the moment and soak up all the joys that moment has to offer, rather than spend my time worrying about things over which I have no control.

What do you know for sure?

Friday, February 5, 2016

What I Think of the New Barbie® Dolls

*takes a deep breath* 
Here it is: I'm not freaking out/doing happy dances about the new "curvy" and "petite" Barbie® dolls that Mattel has released. I'm just not. Do I think it's a bad thing they're doing - trying to a diversify a previously stigmatized (blonde, skinny, made-up) doll - no I do not. But I'm still not freaking out like "OMG there's finally a thick Barbie for the thick girls to play with!" as it seems the rest of the US population is doing.


Firstly, let me say this: I played with Barbie from about age four to about age ten. I realize that some young girls play with Barbie past the age of ten but probably not too much into their teenage years. When I was that age, I didn't care what Barbie looked like because I knew she was a toy. I knew Barbie was not a real person. Just like I knew G.I. Joe (who was Barbie's boyfriend in my fantasy world) wasn't real and Skipper (Barbie's sister?) wasn't real and all the other toys I played with were....well, toys.

I also knew that Barbie was a grown woman (she had boobs) and that I didn't look like Barbie because I was a little girl. My mom didn't look like Barbie, neither did my Aunts, teachers, or other adult women in my life. The adult women in my life were highly diversified: I had a basketball coach who was all of 5'1" with cropped steel gray hair and a voice you knew you had to listen to; I had a babysitter named Mimi with skin like a milky way who I loved to cuddle with because she was so soft; I had teachers who were from Spain, Mexico, and New York; I had (and currently have) friends who's skin tones and shapes were vastly different and I never thought to myself: why don't my friends/peers/teachers look like Barbie?

I think diversifying the Barbie line is great... they even have a Barbie with blue hair! They have black barbies, Hispanic barbies, barbies with different hair styles and eye color and even glasses, and that is wonderful because it allows young girls to express their own sense of style through Barbie.


My fear now, with the "different size" barbies, is that it will put even more of a stigma on curvy little girls. Now, if a young girl is overweight, will she feel pressured to buy the "curvy" Barbie because she isn't "skinny" like the original Barbie? Will other girls designate the "bigger" girls in the group to play with "fat Barbie" now? Growing up I had a number of different Barbie dolls including the dolls of different races, because (duh) Barbie had to have all of her friends as neighbors. But now, there's also petite Barbie and curvy Barbie to throw into the mix because everyone has to be so damn PC these days. I can just imagine a little girl opening her new Barbie from her mom and hearing, "Look honey, I got you a new [fat] Barbie that looks like you! Aren't you so happy?" and the little girl going to her room, crying because her mom thinks she's fat. I'm not saying this is an actual scenario, but I can just see it happening.

Am I making sense here?? It's perfectly okay if you disagree with me (I'm sure many do) but I just had to say it, I'm not hopping on the Barbie train this time. I get that they are trying to diversify toys because they represent people and people are diverse - but it's a TOY.

Will G.I. Joe now release a redhead with freckles? A short beefy one? What about a tall, lanky version because some guys really can't grow muscles like that? No, I really doubt it... because it's okay for little boys to admire a toy with muscles and want to be like G.I. Joe when he grows up, but it's wrong for a girl to want to be like Barbie

Are the new Barbie dolls just to appease the (adult) masses? Do you think the popularity of Petite Barbie and Curvy Barbie will reach that of the other Barbie dolls? What are your thoughts? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Goals

I kind of (totally) dropped the ball in January when it came to making goals. Basically my only goal was to sleep when I could because we were going balls to the wall working on our house, in addition to myself working a lot of (unexpected) overtime.

But we pushed through and survived January without any injuries and now February has started and I feel like I can take a deep breath in and say "oh yeah, we've started a new year." And with a new  year means new goals which means new things to try and all kinds of other fun stuff.
This month I want to:

Establish a cleaning schedule
Not that I didn't keep a clean house before (okay I'll admit there was the occasional cat-hair-tumbleweed but I'm blaming hardwood flooring) but the week usually consisted of me doing some light cleaning (read: washing dishes and picking up clutter) and leaving all the "real" cleaning to be done on weekends. During the winter, this isn't too much of a bad thing because I don't really like leaving my house when it's cold but with warmer weather right around the corner, I want to get in the habit of knocking out some heaving cleaning during the weeks so I can spend my weekends having fun.

Blog regularly
I still haven't gotten into a groove with this whole "blogging regularly" thing and I want to fix it. I have all the ideas, it's the time management part that seems to be escaping me. I also haven't figured out what "regularly" means to me yet - I think I want to try for three times a week but that Monday morning post always seems to elude me. Anyone have any tips or tricks for getting shit done when it comes to planning blog posts?

Try two new recipes
Originally I was going to say five new recipes, but that's more than one per week and new recipes require a lot of thought and planning and I'm just going to be very honest and say that when I come home from work, thinking and planning are not on the top of my priority list. So this month, I will aim to try two new recipes. I want to try one new dinner recipe and one new dessert recipe.

Visit Churches
I've discussed many times before how real the struggle is when it comes to finding a church home - and now I feel like I've got to start the process all over again with our recent move. Thankfully we've been invited to attend church with several of our new neighbors, and even if it doesn't feel like a good fit for us, it will be an opportunity to meet new people in our community.

What are your goals this month?