Saturday, June 24, 2017

14 Years Ago Today

On June 24, 2003, I was working at MTSU as a freshman orientation assistant. Adam showed up that day to attend orientation and was placed in my group. While I didn't make a habit of taking pictures of all of my groups that summer, his group was super fun and so I decided to take one. The photo in the top left corner below shows him in that group picture and me in the picture of all of the orientation assistants that summer. It's so fun to me that have this picture of Adam from when we first met, though at the time we had no idea where life would take us.

It wasn't until 2012 that we started dating, but our lives weaved in and out of each other's over the years in between. Adam claims he knew the day he met me that we would end up together. I think he just thought I was cute. Even still, it's always a fun story.

I'm thankful for our story and for this man I met 14 years ago today. We have had so many adventures together over the years, especially the last 5 we've been together, and I love thinking about the many more adventures to come!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fitness Update

We're almost halfway through the year now, and I thought it was time for a little fitness update.

Adam and I started the year feeling relieved that grad school was over, but we were also feeling the effects of not being as healthy while we were working full-time and going to school.

I would say we've made some pretty good strides at improving, but that we also have more room to improve.

For me personally, I don't have any issue with the number on the scale. My biggest thing is that I feel flabby. I had been feeling like I couldn't tell a difference, but thank goodness I had taken some photos back at the end of the year so I could check my progress. The reality is that I have trimmed up a good bit!

However, my middle is still flabbier than I desire, and I know I can trim it up. I don't need abs, and I don't even mind being a little soft there. But I would like a little less roll around there. It would've been nice to see more progress before pool season, but progress is progress. I also still have a few months before our trip to Aruba to work more on trimming up.

I'm also not as toned all over as I'd like. My legs continue to be my strength, and I'm trying to focus on getting my arms in line with them.

Adam decided he wanted to be able to do more strength training again, so he joined Planet Fitness. He got a membership that allows him to bring a guest any time, so I am tagging along about once a week so that I can also do some weights. It's felt really good to add this to our routine.

We still run in our very hilly neighborhood, which I know is great for us. I also know this is going to be tougher with the temperature rising.

Additionally, I purchased the Beachbody On Demand program. I have been loving having the variety of videos to use, too!

I think we're doing a good job of having a nice mix of workouts and being more diligent about working out more each week. We're also trying to make healthier food decisions.

I feel frustrated sometimes that I haven't seen more progress, but I have to remind myself that it's a journey and that we just have to stay focused.

I'm looking forward to staying disciplined and seeing what my results are like in another few months!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

I have to say though that the best daddy in the world is my husband!

Adam is such an amazing dad, and I know Connor loves him so much. He is learning so much from Adam, and they have a ton of fun together. I have so many awesome pictures of the two of them together from over the years, but here are just a few.

I love our little family, and I love what a great father Adam is to Connor! He teaches me so much about how to be a great mom, too!

Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Third Home Anniversary

On June 2, we celebrated our third anniversary of owning our home!

In so many ways, I feel like we just moved in and that we've been here forever all at the same time. We absolutely love our home and our neighborhood. We have amazing neighbors on our street. We love going to the neighborhood pool as much as possible in the summer. We love going for walks and runs, even with all the crazy Tennessee hills in our hood.

We've still got a list of things we want to do to continue to make our home even cozier, but it's been fun slowly but surely adding little touches here and there. Our TN home sign on the front door. A new table in the hall to sit picture frames on. Hanging our diplomas in the office. Daydreaming about a new deck or a new kitchen.

I really love our space, and I'm so thankful we have been fortunate enough to be able to have such a nice home. We're looking forward to many, many more years here!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Race Report: May and June Neighborhood 5K's

In our quest to run a race every month in 2017, Adam and I are also trying to balance all of the other activities we want to do this year. This means we've hit a season during which some of the available race options either take place on a date we can't participate or the ones on dates we're free are pricier than we'd like to pay.

We decided that when this happens, we'll do a 5K in our neighborhood. We know it's not the same as a race, but we figured we'd treat them the same way by eating right the night before and getting some good rest. We'd also be serious about getting ready for the run and doing our best.

May was a busy month with graduation, my birthday and Mother's Day, our trip to Florida, and Memorial Day weekend with Connor. We found the only morning that would work, got up early, and did a very hilly and humid 5K around our neighborhood.

Seriously, the hills are intense. We hadn't been running as much lately with so much going on, so we weren't surprised we had to walk a lot of the hills. It took us around 37 minutes to get it done, and we were a hot, sweaty mess. When summer hits in Tennessee, it's no joke.

June's another busy month, especially with Connor home a lot, so we needed to do our June 5K early in the month. This time, we had to make an afternoon work. It wasn't ideal, but the point is to just get it done.

It was much hotter and we still walked the hills, but we finished a minute faster than the one we'd done for May a week before!

I probably should've taken some pictures to make it feel more like a true race for us, but in the end all that matters is we got it done.

We plan to work harder throughout the summer with running and other exercise. I've been doing Beachbody workouts since purchasing their On Demand program online, and Adam joined our local Planet Fitness in order to lift weights. His membership allows a guest any time, so we save money by me going sometimes as his guest whenever I want to do some weights.

It feels good to finally be finding a fitness groove. It's taken us a while since setting out to do better at the beginning of the year, and we still have a ways to go to reach our goals. Nonetheless, I'm proud of us and our progress!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Stanley Cup Saturday

Unless you live under a rock or just don't care about sports, you've probably heard about the Nashville Predators making it to the Stanley Cup Final.

Adam and I love going to Preds games, and it's been so exciting to see them making history right now.

What's even more fun is the way everyone in Nashville has come together to support the team. It's been amazing to see 50,000 people going downtown on game days to stand in the streets and watch the game on large screens. Everyone is talking hockey everywhere you go. The mayor even proclaimed a day as a Predators Pride Day. The solidarity in our community right now is not new - I've seen it before when the community has come together to support one another after things like the flood of 2010. However, this is the first time that I've really experienced it regarding a sports team.

I know it seems silly since it's just a game, but there's just something about the way a game is impacting everyone.

Adam and I had tickets to a concert downtown this past Saturday, which turned out to be Game 3 on home ice. We decided to go on down earlier in the afternoon so we could walk around and take in everything.

It was so fun to see all of the signs, banners, flags, and people in Preds shirts.

I've been downtown with some crowds before like on the 4th of July, but this was a totally different experience. Everyone was just happy! There was so much energy and excitement in the air. It was just plain fun to experience. What's even crazier is that at the time we were down 2-0 in the series! (We went on to win game 3 and 4 on home ice, and if you haven't watched any videos of the crowd in our arena or outside on the streets you need to find a few to get a glimpse of the energy I'm talking about.)

Eventually it was time for us to head over to our concert. I love our outdoor amphitheater.

The opening band was 30 Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto's band), and they all came out in Preds shirts. So neat! Jared gave us updates on the score throughout their set, which was really fun since the crowd went crazy when he kept announcing we had scored again.

We were mostly there to see Muse, and they put on a really great show. We already knew the outcome of the game toward the end, but they announced Nashville had won and everyone went crazy again. It seemed fitting that they played "Uprising" soon after the announcement.

After the concert ended, Adam and I walked around downtown a bit more. A ton of people had left, but there were still a lot of people out and about. We have never seen the lines to get into all the bars on Broadway so long. Honestly, I haven't seen too many lines to get into them in general too many times, and certainly not a time when every single place has a line.

As we walked along, we saw two people standing on the sidewalk with giant snakes around their shoulders. I hadn't finished saying out loud how that was a first and so random when all of a sudden a for real fist fight broke out on the sidewalk a short ways in front of us. I can't say I've ever actually seen a fight like that before. It was all so crazy.

We got home pretty late, but it took a little time to wind down and get to sleep. It was so exciting to be down there with all of this going on.

We didn't go downtown for Game 4 on Monday night, but we were delighted to keep up with the game and see the Preds win again to tie the series.

It's going to be exciting to see how the rest of the series goes, though I of course want to see the Preds bring the cup home to Nashville. I think the city will go nuts if we have that to celebrate, and it would be awesome!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Connor had Memorial Day weekend with us this year, so we managed to find a few ways to have some fun!

The grownups still had to work on Friday, so Connor entertained himself by reading and playing with his toys. Once I was able to wrap up work, I took him down to our neighborhood pool for the first time this season. He was SO excited! The water was not warm enough for me, so I sat on the side and enjoyed the sun as he did about 100 cannonballs in the hour we were down there.

That evening we made some hot dogs and watched a movie. On Saturday, the weather was gloomy with storms off and on. We decided to just relax and enjoyed a lazy day around the house. Connor played some, but we also all enjoyed watching some Harry Potter movies and going to our favorite mexican restaurant for dinner.

On Sunday, we opted to sleep in a bit and then cooked a delicious breakfast. We needed to run a few errands, so we got out and about for a bit. That evening, we had dinner with my parents and sister to finally celebrate Mother's Day and my birthday (since Adam and I had been out of town for both).

After dinner, we gave mom her gift. She loved her new bag!

My sister and I like to be silly, and Tucker has to sniff all the new things in his home.

My parents and sister gave me a couple of new clothing items and an Instant Pot! I am pretty excited about learning how to use it and make delicious food! (You know you're getting older when you are excited to get a vacuum and a pressure cooker as birthday gifts!)

On Monday, we were all feeling a little restless from being cooped up inside due to rainy weather. It was a nice day, so we went and had breakfast at Chick-fil-A. Thanks to having several treats in our apps, we were able to all three eat for $1.08!

After breakfast, we made our way to the Nashville Zoo. We love having a membership so that we can head over there anytime we want to spend a few hours walking around outside. It's also great because they're adding new exhibits this year, so it's easy to go check them out.

Last month, a new spider monkey exhibit opened, so we were excited to see it. It was really neat how they built this rope bridge through the trees that you can walk across.

Adam and I thought it was pretty neat, too.

We got to see the monkeys being pretty active while we were at their exhibit.

We always love the kangaroo exhibit, too. We lucked out and one was sleeping in the path, so we were able to pet him. They're surprisingly soft!

After we got back from the zoo, we decided to head down to the pool again. It was a bit cloudy, and I enjoyed reading my book in a lounge chair while little man had a blast in the water. When it was time to dry off, he told me he was pretending to be a witch.

We had a friend over that evening to watch the Predators game. We were bummed they lost, but we enjoyed grilling some burgers and hanging out together.

On Tuesday, it was back to work for the grownups. Connor had some more fun playing at home, and then we all spent the evening together having dinner and going out for ice cream! Connor had to head to his other home Wednesday morning, so it was nice to enjoy a few hours just the three of us having some fun to round out this stretch of his time home!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

4th Grader!

A few weeks ago, Connor finished up the 3rd grade. I picked him up on his last day, so I decided to surprise him with a couple of fun balloons when he got in the car! We also surprised him with a message on his chalkboard wall at the house.

Like many parents, I love doing the first day of school and last day of school photos. I feel like he didn't change a whole awful lot this year, but he did get a little taller and is starting to lose his baby face. I can't believe how fast this kid is growing up!

I'm so proud to be this kiddo's stepmom, and Adam and I are excited about having a fun summer with him!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Week in Florida

My birthday on the beach was a great start to a full week on the beach! The day after my birthday was Mother's Day. Unfortunately, I don't get to see Connor on this day anyways, so it was exciting to spend the day on the beach with Adam. We slept in and then went down the street to grab some deli sandwiches to have later for lunch.

Our resort had cabanas you could reserve for free, so we definitely took advantage.

We spent most of the day rotating between the ocean and the cabana. I got caught up on some magazines, and we enjoyed some good tunes via our bluetooth speaker. There was a giant inflatable slide on the beach, so we acted like kids and played on it for a while. Eventually, we made our way to the pool for a bit before heading over to check out the paddle boats.

There were swans in the little waterway! It was a pretty neat activity.

We had dinner that night at a local seafood spot where I got a free piece of key lime pie for being a mom. We got back in time to watch the sunset from our balcony. This is always my favorite time of day on the beach.

The next four days were work days. Adam had his conference sessions, and I was working remotely. I can't complain about working with a view though!

Adam's conference had receptions the first two nights, and I was able to tag along with him. It was fun to put on a summer dress and go enjoy some food and drinks with his people. We met people from all over the country! 

I enjoyed seeing the swans as we came and went most evenings, too.

We found some good spots for dinner each night, and we also spent time in the resort sports bar so we could watch the Predators in the playoffs a few different nights (we couldn't get the game in our room, lame). 

On Friday, the conference was over so Adam and I both took a day of PTO so we could spend another full day on the beach. We had another cabana and spent a ton of time either in the water, relaxing in the cabana, or playing on the slide.

We found another great spot for dinner that night and enjoyed another nice sunset.

On Saturday, we got up and checked out of our room/stored our luggage before heading to the beach for a few last hours. Time went by quickly, and we soon had to make our way to the airport and back home.

Tucker was THRILLED to see us Saturday night after we'd been gone for a week. We had a neighbor check in on him a couple of times, but he's really not used to being home alone for so long. Not only did he have a lot to say about it, he also stayed planted on us for several days!

Even though it wasn't a true vacation with us having to work four days, it was still so nice to get away from our normal life for a week. It got us really excited for the trips we have planned throughout the rest of the year!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

On May 13, I turned 34! It's sort of a weird number to me, and it's really strange to be entering my mid-30s!

When I was a kid, your parents maybe took photos of you every month, but they didn't have something in them telling you how many months old you were and they certainly weren't shared in a ton of places. So I thought it would be fun to take a photo showing how many months old I was on my birthday this year!

The night before, Adam took me to the Ryman to see Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors as one of my birthday presents. (My other present was a vacuum, which I feel like says something about being in your mid-30s, ha!)

It was a great show, and it was worth staying up until almost midnight to get to see it.

While I'm not so old that I can't swing the late night, the bigger thing was we had to be up at 4am to get to the airport. That's right - for the first time ever, I was going on a trip on my actual birthday! Adam had a work conference the next week at a resort on the beach in St. Pete, FL so we decided I should tag along and to go a few days early.

On the plane, Adam managed to secretly tell a flight attendant it was my birthday. She surprised me later with a birthday crown and a free drink coupon. Yay for Southwest!

We got to our resort, and the view from our room/balcony was AWESOME!

We changed into swimsuits and spent some time on the beach, followed by some time at the pool. Not so shabby of a birthday! We changed again and went to one of the hotel restaurants for some lunch. By that time, it was getting a little cloudy. We were running on 4 hours of sleep, so we decided a birthday nap was in order. I'm so glad we got some rest because I knew Adam had a dinner planned for us that I wanted to enjoy.

He surprised me by taking me to an awesome steak place in St. Pete called Rococo Steak. It was sooooooo good. Seriously, look at my filet mignon.

I also got a fun and yummy birthday dessert!

It was really special to have a nice meal with my handsome husband to celebrate my birthday.

After dinner, we walked around downtown a bit and then found a grocery store to stock up on a few things for the week. Once we got back to the hotel, we watched a little Netflix (we've been working through The Walking Dead) before calling it a night.

All in all, it was a super awesome birthday!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

My Grandma

I mentioned in my last post that my Grandma had gone to the hospital a few days before Thanksgiving 2016.

She'd been in and out of the hospital a good bit over the last few years, and we honestly thought we were losing her several of those times. I wasn't quite sure what to think when she first went in this time, but I made a point to try to get by there as much as possible to see her.

We also tried to take Connor several times. Even though he had only know her a few years, he loved her and she really loved him and having a great grandson!

On the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, we had tickets to the TN vs. Vanderbilt game in Nashville, so we decided to go visit Grandma on the way. We had just gotten our Christmas cards, so we delivered hers in person. She was special because she was the very first person to get to see it this year!

Connor also demonstrated some of his karate moves for her. She loved it! I also told her about getting to see Dolly in concert, going to Dollywood, and how we had finished grad school - and she told me she was proud of me.

We went to the game that night, which ultimately was an awful experience. TN lost, which was unexpected. That really wouldn't have mattered because we're definitely "it's just a game" kind of people, but we had some Vanderbilt fans in front of us who were super unsportsmanlike and quite frankly just inappropriate, especially with children all around. I actually went to tell a police officer about them, and he didn't seem to care - super frustrating. It didn't help that by this point we knew Grandma was not doing well, and I think we were all just a bit on edge in general.

I stopped by several times that week to see Grandma, and I got to talk with her alone a few times. I'm really glad I had that time to say some things I wanted to tell her since I knew it was probably the end. I think she was glad because she had things she wanted to tell me, too.

A few days later on December 2, I woke up to a text from my mom that we needed to get to the hospital. I got there before they started Grandma on "comfort care." I was able to tell her I was there and that I loved her, and I think she was still there enough to know. We sat there all day, but she was on morphine and resting... Nonetheless, I like to think she still knew we were there.

She passed late that night, a little before midnight. This is a picture collage I posted that night after she was gone.

She was 86 and definitely lived a long, full life. But that didn't mean it wasn't hard. She was my last grandparent, and she was the one I was always closest to. It hit me a lot harder than I really expected, and it's still hard even now as I write about it.

Over the next few days, I helped my mom with the funeral arrangements and went through a ton of pictures to help make a video slideshow to play at her visitation.

Here's a photo of mom and Grandma when mom was little.

I really like this picture I found of Grandma and Grandpa together.

This one came from my very first trip to Disney World. I only have a few memories of the trip since I was so little, but this character breakfast is one that stands out to me. I like that I go to do Disney with my parents and grandparents at one point.

This last picture is one that has always been a favorite. I'm not sure why we went to Olan Mills and had a picture of us, but I'm glad we did. I suppose it has something to do with being the first grandchild, and ultimately my sister and I were their only grandchildren. I mentioned to mom this photo has always been one of my favorites. It must have been one of Grandma's favorites, too, because mom found a copy of it in the wallet she was carrying in her purse up until she passed.

It's been really strange over the last 6 months knowing she's gone. Christmas was really different and pretty bittersweet being our first without her. It was strange knowing that just the year before she was at our house for Christmas dinner.

My parents cleaned out her house and sold it recently. That was really sad, too. My grandparents had lived there for 60 years, ever since mom was a baby. I spent almost every Saturday growing up out at their house, and I have a ton of memories there.

The memories will of course be there with me forever, and I have a few things that belonged to my grandparents in my home now to help remember them by. I know death is part of life, but it's definitely something that never gets easy. I'm thankful for all the time I had with my grandparents for sure.