Monday, April 20, 2015

On saying "I Love You"

"I love you."

I still remember the first time I said those words to you - or rather, the way you pulled them out of me, asking "do you?" Of course I said I did, didn't you? Did I know then what our relationship would entail? The ups, downs, the laughter, the tears, and everything else in between? 

No, I did not. But I knew that I loved you.

"I love you."

Said day in and day out. On the sky lifts at the zoo, at the beach during family vacation, during long car rides, and after arguments. Said on boat rides on the lake, camping on the river, and while working on jet ski motors in the garage. Said during lunches out, dinners in, and while making breakfast together in our pjs. 

"I love you."

Whispered during our first dance, after the first kiss, and so many other times on the night we vowed to love each other for the rest of our lives. Thinking about that day and the promises we made each other, I still get heart flutters and teary eyes. Such a big commitment, made with such ease and assurance, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

"I love you."

Mumbled routinely before bed each night. Sometimes cuddled together, sometimes facing our separate ways, but always said. Reassurance, reminding each other - I'm still here, I always will be. 

"I love you."

Sometimes it isn't words, but actions. Mowing the yard, taking out the trash, scooping the cat litter, and especially washing the laundry. I'll do it so you don't have to - I love you. Picking up dinner or running to buy some ibuprofen. I'll do it, it's not a problem - I love you. In the big ways and the small ways, we say it every day. It's there, in the forehead kisses and the couch cuddles. 

Sometimes I feel like I don't say it enough, so this letter is to let you know. I love you.

Always yours,

This post is part of The Letter Link Up with Amber of Mr. Thomas & Me

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I'm Up To

Currently I'm feeling like I was run over by a truck. Physically and mentally. We threw some good friends of ours an engagement party (an I Do BBQ, how cute?) Sunday and I stayed up late cleaning and I've felt behind ever since. I also did my first ever Zumba class last night, in addition to going to the gym in the morning. It was tons of fun but I'm exhausted! Here's some other things currently going on: 

I'm reading: 
Still working on Unbroken. I've also been skimming The Tales of Beedle the Bard every now and then. I've just started And Then There Were None, I was having a hard time deciding which book from yesterday's post to read first, but the choice was basically made for me, being that this book came free on my Nook.

I'm watching: 
Grey's Anatomy. Not right at this minute, but that's what I'm trying to catch up on. In March of last year, I moved into an apartment and went without TV until Derek and I moved in to our house in December. Now you may think I was crazy or trying to prove some point or something, but I really just don't care all that much about TV. Except Grey's Anatomy and The Blacklist. Anywho, I ended up getting myself so far behind that I had no idea what was going on when I tuned in with my MIL a few weeks ago. I'm two episodes in to season 11 so don't tell me what happens. 

I'm praying about: 
Timing & patience (always patience). I'm always ready for the next step, the next big move, but I have to constantly remind myself that it's not my time I'm working on. It may seem like it, but it really isn't. 

I'm excited for: 
Our upcoming trip (in July) to Canada. Derek's parents inherited a small cabin on lake Shuswap in British Columbia several years ago, and they'll be spending most of the summer there, where we'll be visiting for a week. I've never been to Canada and I'm really excited.

I'm worried about: 
Work things. Obviously I can't discuss those things here but there's usually always something to be worried about. Most of the time, it's little things. Sometimes it's bigger things, but I'm never without worry. 

I'm listening to: 
A lot of Stevie Nicks recently. She's always been a favorite (I even named a pet after her) but I've really been in a Fleetwood Mac mood lately, in addition to Pink Floyd. 

I'm eating: 
Grape salad. So freaking delicious. I've eaten it every day since Sunday and I would continue eating it, but I'm actually worried I may turn in to a grape. 

What are you up to?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Reading Goals

I've tasked myself with reading thirty books in the year 2015. When I made this goal back in January, I thought to myself, Kalyn - you've got this! That's only 2-3 books per month and you're a super fast reader!! You'll probably reach forty - maybe even fifty books!

Well guys I'm sad to say that I'm already behind. Since January I've only ready three books. THREE BOOKS!! (The Giver by Lois Lowry, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, and The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank). I've been reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand since January. At first, I was really in to it, but then my interest kind of fizzled out. I've picked it back up this week and have really gotten back in to it (and hope to be finished for Bon's Book Club next month) but I'm still disappointed it's taken me so long because it's such a great and inspiring story.

So now that leaves me with finding 26 books to read, and if you didn't do the math that's at least three books per month for the rest of the year. I've decided to go easy on myself and say that only 20 of them have to be new books. Because hello, do you think I'm going to (re) read over 4200 pages of Harry Potter and not let it count?

Here are the ways I'm seeking out new books for the rest of the year:

Utilizing book clubs such some online ones like Bon's Book Club and Between The Lines.

Lists similar to NPR's Best Books of 2014 or Buzzfeed's 65 Books You Need to Read in Your 20's.

Pinterest reading boards.

Fellow bloggers like Nadine and Amber who routinely post reviews of recent books they've read.

Actually READ all of the books I've bought through the years for 25 cents from goodwill.

Here are some books I've chosen already:

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, 4.2 stars on Goodreads. This book actually came free on my Nook tablet and it's on the list for one of my book clubs. It's a murder-mystery type of book, which I usually enjoy reading.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, 3.9 stars on Goodreads. I've read Sharp Objects and Gone Girl and enjoyed them both. Another mystery novel and also on one of my book clubs and I'm sure it won't disappoint.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, 3.9 stars on Goodreads. If it's only half as good as Me Before You, then I'll be happy. I've heard good things from friends and several bloggers.

If You Find this Letter by Hannah Brencher, 4.2 stars on Goodreads. The memoirs of the founder of the website The World Needs More Love Letters, and her story of how writing letters to strangers changed her life.

The rest of The Giver series (Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son) by Lois Lowry. Immediately after finishing The Giver, I started the next book, but only got a few pages in before I started some other books. From what I've read/heard, the books aren't exactly sequential and don't have the same characters, but they are all connected. I'm excited to finish!

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins, 3.9 stars on Goodreads. I think Reese Witherspoon posted about this on her instagram (yes I'm that person who follows celebrities) and I've been hearing about it here and there and now I'm intrigued.

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, 3.7 stars on Goodreads. This book intrigues me in that it's both a memoir-style book and also about mental health. It's also set in Ireland and I can't say I've ever read a book with those three components together.

Paris Red by Maureen Gibbon, 3.3 stars on Goodreads. A historical fiction book (which I'm a sucker for) set in Paris in the 1860's. 

Love and other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas, 3.2 stars on Goodreads. Is emotional intimacy more forgivable than sexual intimacy? In a marriage, what is considered "cheating" and what isn't? This and more are addressed when 8-month-pregnant Eve finds out that her husband has been having an "intimate" relationship with a woman over the past year.

Sacred Marriage: What if God designed Marriage to Make Us Holy more than to Make Us Happy by Gary Thomas, 4.2 stars on Goodreads. Lisa briefly mentioned this book in a post about a different book on marriage and said that she and her husband thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's something I hope to be able to read with my husband and apply it to our new marriage.

What are your reading goals for the upcoming year? Have you read (or do you plan to read) any of these books? What are your thoughts? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Vacation to the Georgia Coast

I never can decide how I feel about "recapping" my vacation on my blog. But then again, I usually enjoy reading about other peoples' vacations (if they're written in an non-boring way) so I reckon I'll share mine. Also, I want to remember this trip and all the little things that happened during it and this is my blog and I do what I want.
We decided earlier in the year that we wanted to take a small vacation/trip for my birthday, which also happened to be Easter weekend - it worked out because it gave us a three day weekend! Neither of us  had vacationed in Georgia and we threw around a few ideas (Savannah, Tybee Island, Jekyll Island, ect) but ultimately decided on Jekyll Island because it seemed to be the most "relaxing" of our choices - it's the smallest of the coastal islands (less than 6,000 acres) and it's the majority of the land is preserved as part of the national forest.
Where we stayed: Villas by the Sea. These were condos that were...well, by the sea. We chose these because we wanted something a little more than a hotel room with only a bed and a mini-fridge, in case we wanted to cook or something (we didn't but it was still nice having a little more space to kick back.)
What we did:  
On the first day we rented bikes and literally rode around the whole island (and stopped for food along the way).

Not a bad view for an afternoon!

I loved riding through the historic district...and the gorgeous live oaks covered in Spanish moss.

This was probably the most fun we had the whole time. Even though by the end of the day I was sunburned, sweaty, and had a sore rear end, it was definitely the best way to explore the island.
The second day, we had planned to rent kayaks and explore the marshy parts of the island but the weather ended up being kind of cold and rainy, so we hopped in the car and drove over to St. Simons Island and did a little exploring during the morning. We climbed 129 stairs to the top of the light house, drove through the "rich part" of this island to admire the houses (please tell me I'm not the only one who loves doing this??), and went to Ft. Frederica which is actually the remnants of a colonial town that didn't thrive.
Sunday morning we attended a sunrise service on the beach. I really enjoy the intimacy of worship in early (really early) morning. It was so beautiful to watch the sun rise over the ocean after the service was over.
Afterward, we came back to the condo where I watched Grey's Anatomy and sipped on coffee while Derek napped, then we walked around the island a little more to take some pictures.

Driftwood beach, probably my favorite part of the island.

Another view of driftwood beach, behind us you can see a few of the hundreds of trees along the beach that have been washed into "driftwood."
The three pictures above are probably some of my favorite to date that Derek and I have ever taken. It was windy and a little cold and my wireless shutter wasn't working, but I absolutely love them. Maybe one day I'll share the outtakes where I'm running to get in the photo in time after I've clicked the 10 second timer.
Where we ate:
The best place (in my opinion) we ate was the first place, and unfortunately it was all down hill from there.
685 Seafood
We stopped here to eat after about an hour of bike riding. We were famished, so maybe that's why it was so good. We also had several bloody marys so that might have helped too. Derek got the shrimp quesadilla and I got the crab flatbread. Both got five stars from me.
Driftwood Bistro
This was the restaurant at our condo site. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the best food I've had either. I had shrimp and grits...the shrimp was shrimp and the grits were grits, but they topped it with some kind of red pepper cream sauce that was amazing. The second best part was the $10 bottles of wine.
The "Rah" Bar
Quite possibly the worst dining experience of my life. We chose to sit outside since we saw a band warming up and I'm a sucker for live music and eating on patios. It doesn't seem like there could be a "bad part" when it comes to sitting on a patio, listening to live music while the sun sets over the bay behind you, right? Well the BITING GNATS thought otherwise. I couldn't enjoy my meal (which was pretty bland anyway) at all and before I was half way through, I was so ready to go, it wasn't even funny. Note to self: humidity + sunset + steamy hot food = tons of bugs.

All in all it was a great vacation, the only thing I would change would have been to stay a little longer due to the fact that it was a nearly six hour drive to get there, which took up a lot of our time. I had fun and I definitely plan on going back one day!

Do you prefer fun and exciting vacations filled with adventure, or the slower paced, relaxing type?

Monday, April 6, 2015

What a Mud Race Taught Me about Myself

If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you may have seen that I participated in my very first mud race a few weekends ago in Auburn. I talked about the importance of trying new things to keep yourself on your toes, and this did exactly that.

Before the race - so clean!

Thanks to Autosport Bodyworks of Opelika for the finish line photos!
It was a 5k (3.2 mile) race held at The Great American Park in Auburn, Alabama with over 20 obstacles, including multiple mud pits, a water slide, hay bales, and 10 foot walls to climb (photos slideshow here). To say it was a test is an understatement. My awesome husband ran the race with me for moral (and physical) support and I was so glad he did! It definitely helped to have a partner for encouragement.
Running this kind of race will help you to learn a few things about yourself along the way:
+Just because you're a "runner" doesn't mean a mud race won't be difficult for you! (My time was almost doubled from what it takes me to run a "normal" 5k.)
+It's a great test for a relationship. Need to know if someone will really be there for you? Have them run a mud race with you!
+If you didn't know your calves were there before, you'll definitely be able to find and feel them then next day.
+Wear clothes you don't care about getting ruined. When they say "mud pits" they mean up-to-your-chest-sink-holes filled with watery mud that you may or may not need to be pulled out of.
+There are two types of people in a mud race: the tiptoe-around-the-edge type and the hurl-yourself-in-the-middle type.
+You can probably jump over two hay bales, but not three (okay, maybe that's just me) and you'll need some help.
+Climbing over a 10 foot wall is a lot less scary than than you think.
+There's no feeling like finally seeing the finish line... until you see the small bonfire you have to jump over to get there.
+But really, the feeling of accomplishment at the end is awesome!
+You'll start looking up upcoming mud races in the area as soon as you get home (and get showered) because you're already pumped about doing another.
Watching the races was almost as fun as participating!
So if you've got an upcoming race (check out this website for races in your area) and you're on the fence about whether or not you want to participate, I'm just going to go ahead and say DO IT! I have done tons of races (for competition and for fun) over the years and I can say this was one of the most fun. There were participants of all ages, sizes, and anything in between and each and every one had the biggest smile on their faces crossing the finish line.

Have you ever ran in a mud or obstacle race? Do any of these resonate with you too?