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Friday, April 27, 2012

mama confessions: losing my baby weight

Like many, I made some resolutions at New Year's.  Read them {HERE}

Also, like many, one revolved around losing weight/working out.

I'm happy to say that is the one I did keep.  I still don't drink enough water.  I still am not a good napper. But I did work really hard to get my tummy back.

I am not writing this to brag, although I am completely proud of myself.  Women should be proud when they reach a health/fitness goal.  My goal really had nothing to do with weight.  I chose a part of my body that I wanted to work on, my abs, and figured the rest would come along with it.

So here is my journey.

When I got pregnant I was a healthy weight for my height.  Not uber-skinny, but right in the middle of the "healthy spectrum." for my height -- only 5'3.  The number on the scale looks different on anyone.  For anyone else's frame and/or height, my weight could be too much or way too little to look healthy.

I am not someone with a freakishly awesome metabolism or someone who has the luxury of saying, "Oh, but I hate running/working out...so I just won't." I work out for both physical and mental necessities...because I honestly love it.  I am not a picky eater.  I will try anything once and can always find something I like on a menu.  Nor am I a really disciplined portion-controller.  You know, that girl that divides her meal at a restaurant into two perfect halves and saves the rest for another meal?  99% of the time I eat every bit on my plate.  I rarely share my food with my husband.  I'm more likely to shoot him a deadly look and stab his hand with my fork.

Fact is: I really, really love food.  Particularly pizza.

That being said...I also like being fit.  Feeling strong - yes, as in having muscles and being able to push my body to the limits.  I am happiest when I don't feel like my body is holding me back -- from running a race, chasing after my baby, or wearing a cute dress or bikini.

Because I have been a runner for quite a while, and a very active person, when I got pregnant I was in decent shape.  I even started working out a little bit more during the months before so that I could be in good shape when I was pregnant.  I started taking my prenatals nearly a year before we thought we might want to start trying.  I also cut out all meat except fish in order to take off a couple extra pounds.

my "before" pregnancy shot - well, 8 weeks along 
I knew that the better shape I was in when I started my pregnancy, the easier it would be to take off the weight.  In theory.

Pregnancy is different for everyone.  Some women are on bed-rest for months.  Some have a more difficult recovery than others.  Some are just unable to work out at all.  Some deal with post-partum depression, which may make working out and eating healthy even harder.

I am thankful that I had a fairly healthy pregnancy.  I did not eat super healthy, however.  I basically ate whatever I felt like.  Red meat, sugary items, and lots of fast food crept their way back into my diet.  All of my cravings were unhealthy -- fatty, greasy foods.  Oh, and Coke Icees.  Things I normally never eat.  Also, I had to quit running at around 16 weeks because it just didn't feel right.  I tried to work out when I could...but once your bump gets really big it gets harder to do much of anything.

During my pregnancy my ab muscles went bye-bye! 
Here is the tummy at 
36 weeks pregnant.
Whoa mama. 
While I loved my ginormous baby bump, and even felt womanly and beautiful with it...it couldn't last forever.
After I delivered my blessed babe,  the ab aftermath was absolutely no definition and a "mini spare tire."  Here I had thought I had been rather healthy, only gaining 35 pounds -- within the healthy range for my starting weight.  Then I realized that despite all the people who told me I was "all baby" - I wasn't.  There was some fat, too.  Fat that lingered stubbornly on the three inches below my belly button, which had gotten pretty messed up.  Oh and the "pregnancy hormone line" {linea nigra} stuck around a while as well.  As in, I still have it.

Of course, the first six weeks after you have your baby you are not supposed to do any "working out."  So I waited impatiently until my appointment to get the AOK from the doctor to start running again.  In the meantime...

What I did - the first six weeks:  
  • breastfed 
  • went on short walks {like, a few blocks} when the weather wasn't scorching.
  • Ate whatever...but to be honest I was so tired that eating was something I had to force myself to do.  Tried to be as healthy as possible, since I was breastfeeding.  
  • Drank a lot of water.
Here I am,
6 weeks postpartum:
This photo is not the most flattering, I know.  But I kind of have to embrace where I've been to appreciate where I am now.  During those first six weeks I lost 25 pounds...but my goal wasn't a particular weight...it was to get back my pre-pregnancy definition.  I had a ways to go.

What I did - Months 3-6: 
  • two or three 3-mile runs per week {most at 5am}
  • the occasional "at-home workout" involving free weights, lunges, squats and lotsa crunches {aka hundreds} during Baby Cormac's naps
  • when I stopped breastfeeding {at 3 1/2 months} I cut back my calories to around 1800-2000 per day. 
Here I was in January...
6 months post-partum:

I felt happy with my progress, but really wanted to amp it up to reach my goal of "getting back my abs" by the time Baby turned 9 months, so...
What I did - Months 6-9:   
  •  Six 3-mile runs per week {most pushing my 20 pound baby in a jogging stroller}
  • Two classes at the gym per week: either a total body strength-training class, spinning, yoga, or yoga/pilates mix. Praise God for gym playrooms!
  • never skipping breakfast
  • eating small 300-400 cal meals throughout the day, every three hours
  • a glass of red wine at dinner {reduces my desire for sweets}
  • rarely having a carbonated beverage (as in one maybe every two weeks)
  • only one serving of carbs at dinner 
  • plank pose, plank pose, plank pose  -- I will never do a million crunches again...yoga is the easier, better option!
9 months post-partum:

It has also helped to not focus on my "weight" but only on making healthy choices to lose the belly fat.  I can't obsess about a number on a scale.  It still hovers several pounds above my pre-baby weight...so I more-so rely on the motivation of the before and after pics!
36 weeks pregnant
six weeks post-partum
six months post-partum
nine months post-partum
Every woman is different.   It took me nine months of hard work, and I am okay with that.  I also love to work out, and have always been someone who needs to work out everyday to feel good/fight off depression.  Some might think it is easier for me to work out/be healthy because I "stay at home" -- but the reality is that it has nothing to do with it whether you work inside or outside the home.  I know working mamas who made the effort to get to the gym, lost their baby weight and look fabulous.  I also know SAHMs that never work out.

For those who were instantly bikini-ready post-baby...I salute you and wish I had your amazing genetics. I seriously have friends that look incredible post-pregnancy and didn't have to work out at all.   Completely happy for you -- and totally envious!  :) :)

For those that have to {and will continue to} work really hard to get to the place where you feel your best physically...keep it up, ladies!!!

For future mamas:  Don't expect it to happen quickly.  If it does, great...but be prepared to make sacrifices of your time and your taste buds.  Give yourself at least as much time as it took to grow that baby to get back where you feel happy.  And be prepared to work really hard for it.

Just in case you aren't Gisele or Jessica Alba.  :)

*  *  *  *  *

Where are you in your journey, baby or not?  What are your fitness goals?  What ways did you change your lifestyle to get healthy post-pregnancy?   How are you preparing your body for a possible pregnancy?  What is your motivation to lose weight/be healthier -- clothes, baby, energy-level, better sex life, etc?

I'd love to hear!
g

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

busy, busy, busy

This week is busy.  Therefore, this post is really random.

The kitchen backsplash is in progress...however, Hubby is out of town for several days so it will have to wait.  Believe me, you don't want me tiling anything.  When it comes to home projects, please refer to me as "bright idea girl" and Hubby as "detail guy/actual do-er."   We know our roles.

Here is a teaser of the backsplash, still in pieces, from a food post I probably won't ever get to:

Meanwhile, I've been staining our privacy fence {okay, that I can do} and, of course, planting things in the garden at both houses.  The people at the Lowe's Garden Center know me and my baby by name at this point.  Sad?  No, awesome.

These shots are not from my garden...but snagged then on one of our many walks through the neighborhood:


Halfway through reading the racy bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James.  Um...I can't decide if it is a good book, or if I just keep reading it because it is just one big naughty sex scene.  Has anyone else out there dared to read this novel?  I need a book club now to discuss this one!

{source}
Speaking of 'shades of gray,' The house we are renovating is in the midst of having the exterior painted {reveal to come!}  This is not the shade of gray we chose.  We actually painted a huge part of the front of the house this color, before deciding on something else.  The painter was loving us, let me tell you.

I'm growing herbs...and they are actually growing!  This is a first for me.  Well, an herb, I should say.  



Meanwhile, Baby Cormac continues in his journey toward walking.  Yesterday he stood unassisted for five full seconds.  Then he fell on his butt and burst into tears.  But it was pretty cool while it was happening!


doesn't my dog look kind of like an angel here?  :)


Yay for almost-walking babies and 
busy, busy, busy 
weeks! 
g

Sunday, April 22, 2012

white subway tile backsplash - inspirations!

My style in homes has remained fairly consistent throughout the years.  From the very first apartment I rented on my own.  Though it was a tiny studio, with one large room that housed my bed, living area, and what can only be described as a "kitchenette," as well as a teeny office and bathroom, it still had the elements that I love in a home.  As did the apartment after that, and after that...

Age.  If the building isn't at least one hundred years old I most likely don't live there.  There are always those elements of charm that come with old houses that make my heart beat faster: pocket doors, ancient built-ins, stained glass.

Hardwood floors.  Sweet, creaky, beautiful hardwood floors.  Scratched and loved.

Reeeeeally tall ceilings.  Maybe because I suffer from claustrophobia.  Maybe because I love drama.  I gotta have some tall ceilings to wander under.

 Now Hubby and I are on our third house.  Well, halfway between our 2nd and 3rd.  All three of these homes have had the above elements.

But one thing I've never had, that I love?  A backsplash in the kitchen.   Can you believe that?  Never.  Seems pretty commonplace, right?  Everyone has a backsplash.  Some kind of pretty, tile affair.

Not us.  Never.  Just drywall.  Not pretty!

So finally, after years of dreaming, I am geting my backsplash.

White subway tile.  Simple, classic.

Here are a few of my 'inspirations' from Pinterest: 

Source: bhg.com via Greta on Pinterest



Source: cococozy.com via Greta on Pinterest



Source: cococozy.com via Greta on Pinterest



Source: google.com via Greta on Pinterest

Finished product to be shared this week!

Happy Sunday to you!
g

Friday, April 20, 2012

my life: meeting {future} hubby

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:
 "the kiddo years" 
 "the 'tween years"
 "high school." 
"College: Part 1"


I decided to hold off on "College: Part 2," as the stories of when I first met my husband and the move to portland require their own special posts.


And yes, I did ask Hubby if he was okay with me sharing these details. :o)


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It was June of 2001, a mere two months before I was supposed to pack up my little Red Dodge Neon with the "Canadian Guys Kick A**" bumper sticker and move across the country to Portland, Oregon.  I had a modest academic scholarship, but more than that, an appetite for adventure.

I couldn't have predicted what happened next.

One of my roommates asked me one day, very casually, if I had met the hot new guy that lived in our apartment building.   I guess she figured I must have, since I worked in the business office and usually met everyone when they signed their lease.

Clearly, this one had slipped by.  That, or my roommate's and my ideas of "hot" were in two different realms.

"No -- there are no hot guys living here."  I simply stated.  She was insistent though.  She met him outside whilst smoking a cigarette on the picnic table.  "He was really hot."  I shrugged and don't remember thinking much else about it.

Two nights later I came home from working my other job, a head cashier at a shoe store in the Mall of America.  As soon as I entered our apartment I came face-to-face with the boy whom my roomie had been referring to.

He was the kind of good looking that took my breath away.  Tan, muscular, preppy, and clean-cut.  His navy blue t-shirt read, "I'm Easy" in bold, golden lettering.  His grin was, what I could only describe as "s***-eating," with dimples that didn't quit, and a massive, superhero chin.

Red flags were popping up in my brain, left and right.  This guy could be trouble.  You know, the good kind.

He immediately turns the grin on me, extending his hand.  Of course, he has a firm handshake.

"I actually saw you the other day in the parking lot," he says to me, "but you walked in the building so fast I didn't have time to introduce myself."  I don't think much of it, but find out later there was instant physical attraction on his part as well.  As in, he literally tried to run to catch up to me.

We all sit in the living room.  Him on a loveseat across from us, the three roommates, on the sofa.  It's like an interview.  I wonder which of my roommates is also attracted to this guy.  I hope neither.

I listen kind of skeptically to him tell us about himself.  He is 20-years-old {same as us.}  He's from Kentucky.   His Dad works for some grocery store chain I've never heard of.  He's here in Minnesota doing some kind of engineering co-op position.  He keeps saying a word that sounds like "bloubloul."  For the life of me I can't figure out what he is mumbling.  His Kentucky accent is strong but doesn't sound too country.   He is very well-spoken otherwise, especially for a 20-year-old.   Finally after about an hour I figure out {or maybe he tells us} that what he is saying is "Louisville" - his hometown.

He talks quite a bit about money - which to me is kind of pretentious and off-putting.  Like he is trying to impress us.  At that point I did not know that he simply thinks in terms of "numbers" and "finance" a lot.  A complete math guy.

He seems to be the exact opposite of me.  Left-brained.  A partier.  Someone who grew up in a financially comfortable home (at least, compared to me.)  Really into sports.  A fraternity guy.  Nothing at all said he was "my type."

Yet, he is charming.  Friendly.  Handsome.  Smart.

I decide that night, despite my plans to not date anyone before moving to Portland, I would go on a date with this guy...if he asked.  Just for fun.  Obviously we were too opposite for anything serious to come of it, right?

Several nights later he appears in our apartment again.  One of my roommates has several friends over - fellow flight attendants who had stolen quite a few mini liquor bottles from their last flight.  After a couple rum and Cokes each, the Kentucky boy and I are focused solely on each other.

He declares he needs to go do his laundry...and it is clear he wants company.  We talk in the whirring laundry room for hours.  He tells me things that I don't think he tells every girl he meets.   I kiss him.  He kisses me back.

He asks me out on a date.  Of course, I say yes.  We walk up and down Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.  Eat at McCormick&Schmick's, a seafood restaurant.   He orders us wine with his fake ID.  Our oysters arrive scandalously late.  We hold hands.  He teases me for not unlocking his car door for him, after he had just held mine open for me.

Everything feels strangely comfortable with him... which is completely unexpected.   We talk easily, we flirt easily, we laugh easily.
one of our first dates - taste of minnesota
Each day I expect something to happen that will change my mind about him.  None of my previous relationships lasted very long, five months at most, and I figured because he and I were so opposite one of us would get bored or annoyed.

But, for the most part, when we were not working we were inseparable.

making my 'going away' dinner
Let me be real -- there were a couple times it did end during that summer.  Almost.  Neither of us wanted a serious relationship, since he would eventually move back to Kentucky to finish college, and I planned to leave soon for Oregon...so there were moments when we tried to push each other away.  Once he literally told me he just wanted to "be alone."  That lasted about 12 hours.  One night I woke him up and tried to chat with him and he called me "annoying."    Yeah, something that little set me off and I didn't speak to him for three days.   It was like I was looking for a reason to break up with him, before things got too serious.  In my heart I knew it was too late for that.  When I finally agreed to see him again, we were back together in an instant.
Two weeks before I was supposed to move to Portland I said, "I love you."  It just kind of popped out of my mouth, as naturally as a "hello."
There was a pause and my heart nearly stopped.  Then, "I love you, too."  Words we had both spoken to others before, but never had carried the same meaning until that moment.
after church with my family - the day before I started my journey to portland, or
There was no going back - we were in love, and had only two weeks to enjoy it before I moved away and brought our romance to an abrubt end.

Or did I?

Next up: My Life: Portland 
g

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

made my day.

1. running with baby. {always does.}
2. finally choosing a font for the little one's first birthday invites.  anyone else geek over free, cool fonts?
i completely do. 

3. fabric arrived!!!  for a future attempt at being crafty {which I'm not.}  here is a sneak peak:

4. it was 'world malbec day' yesterday.  aka an excuse to open that bottle of malbec I've been eyeing on the rack for a while.  was not disappointed!   {espuela del gaucho, malbec, 2010}
5. yoga class!  enough said.
6. flipping through the current Martha Stewart Living magazine and seeing Louisville featured.  We live in Kentucky, visit there a lot, and now I reeeeally want to go to this coffee shop:
{full article}
7. blueberry pancakes for dinner.  with malbec.  below are not my blueberry pancakes.  I burnt three and the others were not photo-worthy.  note to self: do not 'facebook' and make pancakes simultaneously.
{recipe}

What made your day?
g

Monday, April 16, 2012

nine months

My baby is now nine months. 
 I can hardly call him a baby anymore -- he looks like a little boy.  




He now has a few characteristics that can be attributed to one of us specifically:
From his Dada
still only 2 teeth!
  • very social!  smiles at everyone and easily makes friends.  
  • intent on figuring things out
  • his looks {except the eyes}
From his Mama
  • lots and lots of energy!
  • fierce appetite
  • big blue eyes
  • dislikes being restrained in any way

Other nine month milestones?
  • He finally sleeps through the night!  From 7pm to 7am, not one peep.
  • Clearly understands many words and phrases -- ball, basket, dog, mama, dada, books, "turn the page," "put it in" milk, food, 
  • Not walking yet, but will cruise and then take a step off whatever he is holding onto and try to walk to me.  He falls immediately, but at least he is trying!  :)
  • Height: 27.75 inches {50th percentile} Weight: 19 lbs. 14 oz. {25th percentile}  Head: 18.5 inches {90th percentile}
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g

Friday, April 13, 2012

my life: College Part 1

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read "the kiddo years" and "the 'tween years" and "high school." :)

I'd like to say I was this dedicated, superstar college student, who went to only one college and graduated in four years; however, my journey to earning my degree was a non-conventional one, to say the least.

Here's what really happened:  At 18 had absolutely no idea what degree I wanted to pursue, as I really had no one guiding me in this area of my life.  So I did what I always did: whatever my older sister had done.  I enrolled in the same Christian liberal arts college in St. Paul where she had gone and thrived.  I cluelessly registered for a bunch of difficult religion classes, thinking I would someday be a youth minister.  I don't know why in the world I thought this...I guess because I had been so active in my church youth group.   Despite my preacher father, I am not, and never was, called to be in the ministry.  God bless those who are...but that is just not me.  
But, at that point, I had no idea who "me" was.

Anyway, it really didn't matter what classes I registered for.  I got to campus, moved into my dorm, and went wild with my newfound freedom.   I barely went to class.

freshman 'princess'
So what did I do?  Everything I didn't do in high school {well, except drinking and drugs.) I was nominated or homecoming royalty and won.  I was asked to do student government and to be a student ambassador.  I went out on dates and was "in a relationship" that entire first year of college.  I concentrated fully on hanging out...and fully ignored my academics.

Not a good thing to do, particularly when the tuition is more than 20K per year.

I had a TON of fun, enjoyed being my version of the"popular", involved, outgoing girl I never was at my high school...and thus ended up being put on academic probation.  No big surprise.  For some reason it didn't faze me.  I kind of just ignored it.  I continued to enjoy my freedom and social life.
Here is me and my first dorm roommate, Sarah.  Such a nice girl...but we had nothing in common.  Well, mainly:  She studied {a lot} and I did not.
Sorry for being such a messy, annoying roommate, Sarah!
I had friends...but had more close guy friend than girlfriends.  There were incidents where some girls were kind of mean to me.  Even some that said they were my friends.  I will fully admit: I was a flirt and just felt really comfortable talking to guys.  I think this rubbed some females the wrong way.  One day I was walking through campus and an older girl I had never talked to before started singing really loudly, "Whooooooa here she comes -- watch out boys she'll chew you up!  She's a maaaaan-eater!"  as I walked by.  I just kept walking, wondering why this girl was so mean, considering I'd never said or done anything mean to her, to her face or behind her back.  But what can you do?   Not everyone will like you.  Not everyone will base their judgements on truth.  Truth was: I only kissed/dated 3 guys that entire year...and two of them dumped me.  Such a man-eater.  :)  Don't worry: I'm not mad about any of it...I'm sure these girls were dealing with their own tough college issues.  Maybe I mistakenly was flirtatious with someone they wanted to date?  Who knows?  Plus, I really like the 'maneater story' now.

Anyway, being friends with guys was just much easier.   I hung out in their dirty dorm rooms and ate pizza and Doritos with them.  Lots and lots of pizza and Doritos:
Despite all the pizza and Doritos, I evaded the 'Freshman 15' by furthering my love affair with running.  One thing I really loved about that university was the location.  Smack in the middle of the big city, with I-94 out my dorm room window, and various high-rise slums.   Definitely nothing like it in my tiny hometown.  But on the other side of campus was Summit Avenue, which was lined with mansions {like the governor's and a former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald} and amazing, enormous trees.  This was where I ran nearly every day, starting at campus and ending up down at the Mississippi River.   I also spent a lot of time at the campus gym...probably when I should have been at class.

Here were two of my good guy friends that year.  We formed a study group at the beginning of the year in Western Civ class, three polar opposite personalities: the quiet intellectual, the jock, and girly girl. For some reason our trio clicked, and we kept meeting each week even after the class ended:
Not much studying got done...but we chatted about anything and everything, and ate lots and lots of pizza and Doritos.

Back to academics:  I ended up getting sent a letter at the end of the year telling me politely, in not so many words: "You cannot come back to this university due to your horrific grades."

It was shameful.  Reading that letter was my "aha moment." The moment it struck me:  I really messed up.  I had wasted the entire year: having fun, dating boys, and hanging out eating pizza and Doritos.  Lots and lots of...well, you get the picture.

I had accomplished nothing.

I didn't talk to anyone about the letter, but of course people knew.  My fellow classmates knew I never went to class.  They knew I wasn't coming back.  I didn't bother making excuses.  After classes offically ended, I moved from the dorm back to my parent's farm in the country, and had to figure out where to go from there.  
{side note: I kept that letter.  I still have it.  I used it as motivation to keep moving forward, and not let my mistakes get the better of me. I keep it with the letter that says I made the "dean's list" at the next college I went to. And the next.}
Life, at that point, could have gone two ways:  1. I could have I could have easily got a modest job in my small hometown.  Stayed living with my parents.  Maybe taken a class or two at the local technical school.  or... 2. I could move forward, forgive myself my mistakes, and make positive decisions in the future.  I chose the latter.
I couldn't imagine not living in "the Cities" -- Minneapolis/St. Paul.  My independence had been too sweet.  And I refused to believe my college career was over.  Despite my flippancy, I truly did want to be educated.  But what university would accept me now?
I immediately applied at a community college in St. Paul, praying I would get accepted.  I did.  Next I found an apartment that was right next to the campus.  It was not officially student housing, but the manager paired up roommates based on similar interests - 3-4 girls or guys to an apartment.  I was paired up with these girls:
After the previous year's lack of female friends, I was excited to have these two interesting, independent and fun ladies as my roommates and good friends.  We clicked very quickly and had a blast together the entire year.  One of them even introduced me to my future husband, who also ended up moving into the building later that year.  But more on that later.

Things were definitely looking up!  The same manager from the party goods store I worked at during high school offered me a job as a sales associate at a new shoe store opening at the Mall of America.  I jumped at the chance to work at the enormous mall!

I threw myself into work and school.  I easily got all A's at the community college.  I was offered a second job at the apartment complex, helping out the business manager in the office.  Slowly and surely earned a promotion at DSW, to a lead cashier.  I was making decent money for a 19-year-old, working two jobs, and enjoying school.  
This was the time I started really figuring out who I am.  Not trying to be someone I'm not {my sister, or a church worker,  "popular girl,"  or a conventional college student} but ME {a runner, a fighter, a gymrat, an art and literature nerd, a grown-up woman, an open-minded person, a city girl, a student who works full-time and supports herself.} 
Even being a dedicated student, I still managed to have a social life...but on my own terms.  I thrived in the more independent setting, rather than the chaos of a dormitory.  I loved having my own room, and doing my own thing.   I did not feel a lot of pressure to be super social.  Which is good, because I am just not a really social creature by nature.  I am an introvert, preferring only a few friends and a lot of time to myself.  As far as "partying" I still wasn't much of a "partier."  I still didn't do any type of drugs, though I saw it going on in our apartment complex.  Due to my lack-of-interest in marijuana, I wasn't invited to those parties.  I did, however, start drinking alcohol, but only on rare occasion:
bacardi breezer, anyone?
I started being even closer to my family.  I visited the farm frequently and made a point to continue to make it to holidays and the family events.  
sister pic!  sis heid, sil Jen, and me at Christmas
me and one of our farm dogs, cinnamon
It really hit me around this time that friends will come and go, but family is the most important thing, besides God, in my life. They would continue to be a priority and the people I love most in the years to come. Running, camping, and enjoying the outdoors in general  continued to be a huge part of my life as well  I went on the annual family BWCA camping trip that summer.  That summer I also ended up climbing   Mt. Temple in Banff, Canada with my Dad and various other close friends and family members.  Any time I spent in the outdoors, particularly with my family, helped me feel more connected to God.
on 'our' island in the boundary waters, northern mn
sister, mama and me during the mandatory stop at pizza hut after our annual canoe trip!
the group {dad is taking the pic} who summited Temple!
me: post Temple climb
I dated a few different guys that second year of college.  Nothing serious.  School was my top priority.  In fact, because of my excellent grades I earned a scholarship to another private liberal arts college -- this time in Portland, Oregon.  After a particularly poignant breakup in May of 2001, I made my decision:
I needed an adventure.  So I took the scholarship and planned to move to Portland in the fall to finish my degree, live in another part of the country, and "live the life I imagined."  (Not surprisingly, in one of my lit classes that year we had read Walden, and Thoreau became a literary idol of mine.)

I had everything planned, down to the last detail.  Nothing would stand in my way!  I was Portland-bound!

Then, a mere two months before I was supposed to pack up my car and move across the country... I met this guy:


Want to know the story of meeting "Hubby?"  Did I end up moving to Portland?
Yes, and no.

Coming soon:  {my life: meeting hubby}
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