Category Archives: just for fun

My Work Family

I have been very fortunate during most of my professional career to have amazing “work families.” It’s just that – coworkers become more than just people you work with, they become part of your everyday life. Your stories become about them, your morning coffee is with them. Lunch in the office is with them. Birthday celebrations are celebrated with them at work or during happy hour.

You watch their kids grow up and you hear their horror stories that make you cringe about what is in store for you as a parent. You laugh at their girls’ night out or fishing trip stories. You sympathize and support them as they lose loved ones.

They are there for your big moments. My co-workers watched me meet the man I am now married to. They heard stories about first dates, first trips away….they teased about wedding bells. They threw me an engagement party. The listened to me brainstorm about wedding plans – helped me choose flowers and gave me opinions on invitation design.  They wanted to see the photo album from my wedding. They were excited to see me go on my honeymoon.

Since then they’ve thrown me a baby shower. My boss visited me in the hospital to meet my son. They have welcomed him to the office with open arms, meeting us during my maternity leave for lunch so they could meet him for the first time. They are eager to see new pictures and always asking me how he is doing. I think they have prepared me for the best and worst to come of parenthood as many of them have been there, done that and have wisdom to share.

Recently, they gave me a going away party. My last day at Winthrop will be on Monday, March 17. I’ve spent almost 6 years with this crew – and since I made the decision to leave my observation skills are on hyper drive. I am noticing all the little things, the small interactions. The laughter, the friendship, and it’s so much more than just leaving co-workers now. At some point, we all became family.

We all play our roles, sometimes the arguing parents. Sometimes the sisters who can’t get along. But just like family, you can’t pick your co-workers. J We don’t always agree, but when it comes down to it, we matter to each other. I’m going to seriously miss these people.

When I first walked through the door 6 years ago, I had no idea all the life that was going to happen to me here. In many ways, I’ve grown up here. These people have watched it happen and they’ve been there every step of the way. I am so grateful to have had this working experience. Not just because of the work I did, but because of the people I got to meet along the way. I am certainly not the person I was when I first started…and I’m sure in another 6 years I’ll feel the same.

We spend so much time with the people we work with – it’s rare to have a group that actually enjoys hanging out. People who balance each other out, people who can show tough love and genuine interest in each other’s personal and professional life. It’s weird, it’s rare, but it’s good. And I know  I’m lucky.

Of course I’m nervous about moving to a new work place. I wonder if my co-workers will have my sense of humor. I wonder if we’ll become Facebook friends and if they will ask me questions about my son because they really do care. I wonder what life events my new co-workers will see me through and what opportunities await on just the other side of next week. It’s marvelous and frightening all at the same time.

I know I’m moving on, and not without a few tears I imagine. It’s hard to say goodbye this time around because I know that everything will change and things will evolve into something new over time. But there will always be a little piece of my heart that stays with these people, my work family. I won’t forget.

Fun at a student event!

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Filed under family, just for fun, Life

Spending Dollars on Grown Up Things

I guess part of growing up is realizing that you can’t spend all your money on flights of wine and clothes from The Loft. I suppose I have known this for awhile, but owning a home has definitely brought with it a whole new adventure of “grownup-hood” that I’m not sure I was expecting. Like that day when we came home to a hole in our wall because our new puppy decided that it should be there. Or that other time when we came home and our couch no longer had stuffing in the cushions (jury is still out on WHICH puppy did that).

Or when you decide that you hate your bathroom so much, that it’s worth saving up enough money to do something about it. 🙂 Owning a house as a grown up means that you can’t rely on other people to do things for you, you can’t call your landlord to solve a problem – it’s all up to you. Sometimes it’s exhausting. A few years back, we renovated our smaller downstairs bathroom and it turned out pretty well! But we never really use that bathroom, so I don’t always appreciate it. This time around, as we considered our options for our master bath (which is also the guest bath), we came to a pretty clear conclusion: We are not doing this job, we’re going to pay someone else to do the work.

Another part of growing up is realizing what your time is worth, and with all the crazy going on in our lives right now – it just made sense to hire an expert to take care of it for us. It’s been a few years in the making – I’ve hated our bathroom since the moment my hubby bought the house – and I’ve literally daydreamed about it being ripped to pieces so we could start over again. But just in the last year, we’ve made progress on paying off our debts and saving money to go towards this project. We were finally able to afford the bathroom renovation without putting more money on the credit card. Today I took my very first shower in our new bathroom. It was glorious – particularly after a long night because our power was out all last night and it was super cold! But even if I’d slept like a baby – I think I still would have appreciated the new bathroom just as much.

There is something about seeing your ideas come to life – it was sort of fun coming home everyday and not sure what we’d find. What had been removed? What had been added? What would the accent tile REALLY look like with the tile we selected? Will the light fixture look cool? I’m certainly not the visual person in our family – so I can say I loved each of our selections independently, but it was hard for me to truly have a vision of what it would turn out like. But I’d like to say now, Better than Expected.

For those of you who enjoy a picture show – I took before pics, during pics and of course, after pics for your viewing pleasure. A big shout out to May Property Services who did this work for us. He had great ideas and was easy to work with and we would use him again!

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Filed under family, goals, just for fun, Life, Uncategorized

Pursuing the Christmas Spirit

Happy Holidays, Friends!

We usually do a cute holiday card and send it out to friends and family – but somehow the holiday sneaked up on me and we just didn’t do one this year. As I continue to come home to a mailbox full of holiday cards, I feel both guilty for not sending ours out this year and overwhelmed by how much I love my friends and family. As I’ve gotten older and the days of seeing all my best friends and family in the same place at the same time happens almost never (i.e. college and childhood is long over!), I so appreciate getting photo cards and little updates in the mail this time of year.

Since I’m a total slacker on the holiday greeting thing this year, I thought I’d do the next best thing and write a blog to express my holiday cheer to all the people who may stumble across this (which hopefully will include some of my friends and family who bother to visit me here on this blog!). So here we go:

Every year brings with it new challenges and struggles, and this year was no different. In reflecting on the last year – so much has happened in our lives and I can’t help but to dream about next years holiday season and wonder how much my life will have changed in just a few short months. If there is one lesson I’ve learned it’s this: Life happens SO fast.

I have gone through phases in my life where I spent a lot of time thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, and others where I was so riddled with my own personal brand of angst that I couldn’t see pull off the whole “be merry” spirit of things. I have had years where it was all about buying the perfect gift to give to someone in my life, or wondering what someone would get for me. And times of joy in just watching the children in our family enjoy the holiday so much that you can’t help but join in. I have had Christmas day’s where all I could think of was who wasn’t there anymore, and others when I wondered if I would ever find someone to create my own holiday traditions with.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for, including a wonderful husband who has answered my prayer regarding someone to start my own traditions with – and I have family both near and far whom I cherish so much. I have friends starting right next door and extending all the way across the globe who have been a part of my life for quite some time now. I’m so thankful for both these new and continued relationships in my life.

It’s easy to get caught up in the spending of money and picking out the perfect gift part of the holiday season. It’s easy to get bogged down by the last few days of work before a little bit of a vacation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with trying to prepare your house, or pack your bags to travel during the holiday season. And it’s easy to get frustrated by family members schedules and food preferences and all your relatives’ crazy antics that will be in full force over the next week or two.

But what it’s REALLY easy to do is to forget what Christmas and the “holiday season” is all about. Even if you aren’t religious and Christmas season isn’t about celebrating the birth of Christ and being thankful to God for sending His son to us – I hope you can still appreciate that the Spirit of Christmas is about love, kindness and peace for all mankind. And not just appreciating it – but really actively pursuing that spirit by being kind to others, by forgiving people in your life who perhaps you’ve been mad at for too long. By doing something completely nice for a total stranger because it’s the right thing to do (all year round by the way, not just Christmas time!). It’s about not assuming people in your life know you care about them – and reminding them with your words AND your actions of how you feel. The Spirit of Christmas really boils down to relationships and the appreciation we should have for one another even if we haven’t met yet.

I hope that no matter what has been going on for you this past year – you can spend the next few weeks pursuing the Christmas Spirit – and I think you’ll find just by thinking about how to enhance the relationships in your life (to friends, family and strangers) you may find yourself overwhelmed by how good it feels to be kind to one another. And who knows, it might just catch on.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all my friends – near and far. Be safe, be kind, and remember to pursue the Christmas spirit this year.

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Filed under Challenge, family, just for fun, Life, relationships, thankful thursday

Today I am Thankful

It is getting close to the day where we celebrate Thanksgiving and as I read status updates on Facebook, other blogs, and listen to my co-workers and friends talk about their traditions – it amazes me how much it varies from family to family. It’s supposed to be a day to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives, and so often I think it gets turned into something else. People stress about making the perfect dish, cleaning their homes to be ready to play hostess, stressing about having family all together in the same room for several hours and so much more. Did you know that Thanksgiving night is the highest alcohol sales for the ENTIRE year at bars/restaurants? More so than New Years Eve which is just basically a big party where you are supposed to go out. What does that say about our culture? What does that say about family time in America? Where people are so ready to leave their Thanksgiving plates in the sink and head out to a bar to get a drink instead of spending time with their families. I just think that is sort of sad. I’m sure there are people who have traditions of meeting up with friends and family at bars in the evening and that contributes to it, but mostly it just makes me think that people want to avoid their families.

My family is not perfect. To some, I’m sure we are weird. When we get together, we don’t do a whole lot actually. We sit and talk. Most of the time, we sit around and watch the pros handle all the cooking and baking. I usually find myself somewhere in the middle – not really that great at helping cook, but willing to try and lend a hand when I can. We watch television, we rest. It is mostly a break from real life…and that is something I’ve always appreciated about holidays with my family even if when I was younger I desperately wanted to be hanging out with my friends or boyfriend instead. But now that I’m older – I’m so happy I grew up in a family that for better or worse – we spent the whole day together. Just being together even if we ran out of things to say and just sat in the same room and watched a movie instead. Thanksgiving has always meant family time to me. I grew up in a family that never drank, so I don’t have any funny stories about a drunk uncle or cousins getting into fist fights over the last piece of turkey. I should mention I grew up in Kentucky and hearing stories like this isn’t so far fetched. 🙂 So again, when we all get together for the holidays – there was no option to just drink more so you could “deal with your family” – that’s not even a part of my family tradition.

As an adult as I’ve hosted a few Thanksgiving dinners at my house – it’s interesting to see what lingers from those traditions I was raised in. I remember one Thanksgiving where several of my friends weren’t able to make it home for thanksgiving – so we hosted a friends thanksgiving at our house. It was just a different type of family! One thing that remained the same for me was I wanted to take a few minutes to say prayer and thank God for all the blessings in my life. This is something we always do in my family. To tell Him how appreciative I was of his forgiveness, mercy and love that I know I don’t usually deserve. I remember that it might have made some of my non-religious friends feel a little strange, but it was my house, and my thanksgiving and the person I am most thankful to is God and I thought it was important to remember that on a day such as Thanksgiving.

This year, I am thankful for so many new things because I have the opportunity to be a mother this year – and being blessed with such a miracle is absolutely amazing on Thanksgiving. I have been blessed with amazing friends both near and far who love me so much – and I’m constantly amazed by the power of friendship in my life. I am incredibly blessed. I have a husband who loves me even at my absolute worst and knowing that we’re going to be a family of 3 is such an exciting adventure we are embarking on this next year. I’m so thankful that I have him in my life. I have a wonderful family (both blood and not) who are supportive and feel more like friends as I’ve gotten older which is such a gift. Mostly, I’m so grateful I’m not one of those people who dread the holidays because they don’t want to see their families – I am blessed to have family who I’m so excited to see and spend time with through out the holiday season.

I know that next year, Thanksgiving will be completely different, my life will be totally changed. I’ll have even more family to love, and for that, I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise my own version of family and add to it the traditions I love so much from my family and new things that will grow to be important and part of my child’s traditions.

I hope that this Thanksgiving – you take time to be with your family if you can – whether that is friend family, blood family, adopted family – whatever. Just spend time with people you care about and be grateful for the opportunity to love and be loved by those in your life. Tell someone you are thankful for them tomorrow!

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Filed under family, just for fun, Life, thankful thursday

Daydreams & Dentists

I started out my morning with a visit to the dentist. For some reason, I have memories of my dentist appointments taking basically a lifetime. But maybe it was just a case of “kid-clock” and 30 minutes felt like an hour. Or maybe my dentist office is just super speedy. OR (and most likely) I’m not a whiny kid complaining the whole time slowing down the process. Anyway, I always play this game with myself when I got to the dentist or to get my oil changed and I thought I’d share it with you. So because when you go to the dentist regularly, they schedule you for your next appointment 6 months out. It always feels so crazy to me to schedule something that far in advance, but I know I’m way more likely to keep my appointment if I just go ahead and put it on the old calendar. While you usually don’t make appointments to get your oil changed, I always pay attention to when they estimate I’ll be due to come back.

For both these occasions, I always end up thinking about what will be going on in my life the next time I’m at the dentist or getting my oil changed. Since the dentist is 2x a year – it’s interesting to think about where your life may be, what will have happened by then, etc. Six months is a significant amount of time. At some of my past dentist appointments I’ve thought to myself, “oh! I’ll have started my new job by then” or “I wonder if I’ll be engaged by then?” to “I’ll be getting married that week!” I am wondering if I’m the only person out there that recalls life moments via dental appointments?

Ironically enough, when I finished at my dentist this morning and scheduled my next visit I agreed with the receptionist that May 7th sounded just fine. After all, this far in advance, I can’t imagine anything going on. As I started to walk away, I stopped in my tracks and turned back around. I looked at the receptionist and told her “I’m sorry, I don’t think that date is going to work, after all. I’m due to have a baby the week before that.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. By the time I go to the dentist the next time, I’ll have a child.

THIS IS SERIOUS, my friends.

So we scheduled for later in June and my only response was, “okay – we’ll put it down, but i guess I have no idea if that will work for me.” I drove away thinking about how I would do things like “go to the dentist” with a baby. Who would take care of the baby while I went to the doc? Do you bring the baby with you to doctor appointments? I was trying to recall all the times I’ve  been at the dentist and trying to remember if anyone ever brought their baby. I have no clue. Is there a guidebook out there called “Where you can bring your baby etiquette?” Apparently I’ll need this.

Everything is going to change. I know this. I knew that before we even decided we wanted to try and have a baby. It’s just sort of frightening to have that moment of truth unexpectedly in the dentist office.

It makes me think back to what I was doing 6 months ago. It reminds me to think through the goals I’ve set for myself and see which ones are still relevant. I’m definitely in a different phase of my goal setting now since I can’t really make a goal to lose weight at this point. So maybe my goals looks different for the next 6 months than they have in the past. Maybe they are more about getting prepared, mentally and physically for this major life change. And that’s okay. Life is constant change, when we stay in the same place we become stagnant – we stop moving and things get murky and gross. So this next 6 months is all about change for me, just in a totally different way than I expected.

So I’m excited to go to the dentist in SEVEN months time and see how future Dre is doing. I’ll be a month in to the whole mommy thing and I’m pretty much expecting to fall asleep in the dentist chair. And when that day comes, it will be funny to go back and read this post and think, “man, Dre – you were so right.” 🙂

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Filed under family, health, just for fun, Life, pregnant and healthy, relationships

Crafts for Dummies: Make your own pumpkin dip bowl

I’ll start out by saying I’m not super crafty. Many a time, I find myself on Pinterest thinking – that LOOKS cool, but I would never be able to do that. It is seriously a challenge for me to sew a button back on a pair of pants. When my hem comes out of a pair of pants – it seems more realistic for me to just buy a new pair versus trying to fix them. It’s a problem, I know. Am I working on it? Mmmm, sort of. But mostly I just complain about it. 🙂

This past weekend, I helped throw a baby shower for one of my dearest friends and I felt inspired to try and make a pumpkin serve as a dipping bowl for my veggie tray. I am not really sure what foreign/alien DNA has gotten into me to make me actually feel inspired to be crafty, but I’m just going with it.

It actually turned out really well and I want to share it because it was SUPER easy (hence, I could do it) and it’s good timing for any upcoming fall/Halloween inspired parties you may be attending. Perhaps I’ll add more “Crafts for Dummies” posts if I even get such a crazy inspiration again.

First, you need to buy a small pumpkin. I went with a pie pumpkin because it is basically “dip bowl” sized.

Perhaps some other non-crafty folks may enjoy a brief feeling of domestic bliss while creating your very own pumpkin dip bowl. Enjoy!

 

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Filed under family, food, just for fun, Life

11 Facts about me (that I know you can’t wait to know)

Alright, friends –  I know I’ve been slack. Life has just been SUPA crazy lately and my blog has taken the brunt of the stress. BUT, one of my lovely readers has nominated me for the liebster blog award and I figured that would be a low stress way to get back in the blog game! You should check her blog out, she’s super inspirational and funny and was one of my first ThirtyStory followers! So go meet Cassie over at Journey to Awesomehood.

Here are the questions she posed for me to answer:

1. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Hmmm, I really think I have a well rounded personality. I can get along with almost anyone.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?
I have lived abroad before – and I’m not sure I would want to permanently live abroad. I’m actually super happy with where I live now. If I could change anything it would be that we could afford a ridiculously amazing house in our current city with a beautiful back yard and people to take care of all the upkeep for me. 🙂 The only thing is that I’d also want all my awesome neighbors to transplant to a new ‘hood with us.

3. What’s your favorite planet?

I have never really thought about this one before. I’m going to go with Earth since I have some pretty serious ties to it. 🙂

4. What cheers you up the most when you are feeling down?

Watching one of my favorite TV shows usually helps get my mind off things. Or reading a really awesome book!

5. What is one goal you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

I really need to find a new workout plan – I’m in between at the moment and it’s not working for me. So I want to research some ideas – I’m thinking I may start swimming again since we have a nice indoor pool at my gym.

6. You just found a large sum of money on the street. What do you do with it?
Well, I would probably look around to see if I could tell that someone dropped it that was still in the area. This would be my attempt at doing the right thing because I would hate to take someone elses money. If it truly was just lost money and no one would claim it – I would probably use it to pay off some bills. I am boring like that. But my hubby and I are focused on paying down our credit card debt (we are close) so that is all I think about when I run into extra money.

7. If you were on a liquid diet, what do you think your favorite food would be? (Can you tell I am looking for ideas. ;p)
Well, since it’s fall – I would probably try to find pumpkin inspired things to make. So maybe a pumpkin/cinnamon yogurt smoothie or something. Could you make pumpkin cheesecake into a smoothie?

8. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
I enjoy the community that regular blogging brings – which I’ve been sorely lacking lately. I have made some really good friends in my life from blogs – but I’ve kept some sort of blog for probably the last decade of my life.

9. Do you have a favorite game?
I am a big party pooper – I hate board games or really any “games” in general that people always want to play at parties. I just want to hang out and have good conversation and don’t want to be forced to play Trivial Pursuit or Apple to Apple (which i still don’t get). If I had to pick one  game – I would say Pictionary because I like to guess/draw pictures. Catchphrase isn’t too bad either – although sometimes it makes me feel dumb because i have no clue what the word is 🙂

10. What is your least favorite chore?
I hate mopping.

11. Do you know how to tie a scarf?

I actually learned several new ways to tie a scarf thanks to one of my co-workers. I am a regular fashionista now.

Okay – that was pretty fun. Fun for me, boring for you? Who knows!

Because I’m a bad sport, I’m not nominating anyone to continue the blog award. 🙂 I know, I’m such a rebel without a cause! I will do some research this week and share what my new work out plan will be for the rest of the year!

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Filed under just for fun, Life, motivation, Uncategorized, work out