Tag Archives: family

Three is a Charm

Laughing during our Rose Ceremony

Sadly, I’m away at a work conference this week, so since I’m not around to deliver an anniversary card to my husband, I figured him being the internet loving fool that he is might appreciate a blard (blog card) – yup I just made that up.


Three years ago, I cried happy tears down an aisle toward my fiance. We were getting married!

The older we get, the faster time seems to fly. Maybe it’s because we have so much going on in our lives as we get older, there just isn’t as much downtime as there used to be. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was standing on the church balcony steps with my bridesmaids and my little nieces and nephew waiting for the service to begin. I remember waiting with my dad for the music to start playing to signal us to walk down the aisle, and it took forever. For longer than an awkward minute – we waited and I wondered if I was going to have to walk down the aisle with no music playing and it seemed like the worst thing ever at the time. Finally the music started and off we went.

Three years ago, I officially promised to love and honor my husband for always. I don’t remember all the words that were exchanged, but I do remember my husband jumping the gun when the minister was about to ask the “I do” question and everyone laughed. It felt beautiful to be loved by someone you loved back.

Years before I met RJ, I remember being at this holiday party at my old place of work and a co-worker introduced me to his significant other for the first time. He was SO excited. I remember him specifically saying, “This is MY (insert her name).” And that moment has always stuck with me. It hit me then and there that I needed to be with someone who felt that way about me. Not just someone who was okay with you being around, but someone who got excited about the prospect of you being there. Someone who couldn’t wait to introduce you to their friends. It was about that time in my life where I knew the relationship I was in wasn’t good for me…and seeing someone elses healthy relationship helped me re-evaluate what I wanted.

RJ & I at a friends wedding

It would be a few years before RJ and I found each other – but as soon as we met, I knew the way he treated me was different in a good way and that I was onto something good. A good friend of mine once told me we should all be with someone who adores us, and that I should never settle for anything less. At the time, I thought she was crazy because I wasn’t in a situation where I felt like that and it seemed so impossible and out of reach. Three years later, a lot of life has happened but I know that RJ adores me. He doesn’t have to say it, it’s the way he treats me. He doesn’t need to bring me flowers every day – but he brings them often enough that they are a pleasant surprise. It’s the way he remembers exactly what kind of beer I like (and don’t like) because I can never keep it straight. My constant question: “Will I like that one?” and he is usually right. He knows me.

It’s the way he works his butt off to provide for our family, and how much he stresses out about us being “happy” when he really doesn’t need to. We are already happy, but it’s nice to have someone work so hard for you even when you don’t ask them to.

It’s the way that he knows when I’m upset, the best way to talk to me is not in person, but via Google Chat, because he knows I’m way better at explaining myself and opening up if I can write it out instead. And he let’s me do that, even if it’s not his preference. He lets me be me, even if it’s totally lame about how I need to communicate sometimes.

It’s also the way that every meal we have is sort of like eating at a restaurant (except healthier and cheaper) because I grew up eating out all the time and this was his way of helping me learn how to eat at home. Even if we are just eating dinner on a Tuesday downstairs in front of the TV, he still focuses on professional presentation on the plate, even when I forget to say anything about it. He goes out of his way to make me feel special.

This last year has been the most challenging as we added a new person to our family, but if anything, it’s given me more reasons to feel good about marrying this man. Seeing RJ be a father has been both magical and frightening! haha Frightening only because he had never held a baby until Daxton was literally handed to him in the operating room at the hospital despite RJ’s protests and seemingly valid excuse, “But, I’ve never held a baby before!” to which our doctor said “Well, now’s the time, son!”

But it’s been mostly magical watching this guy who has a hard time leaving a party, who always (ALWAYS) talks too loudly, and who still acts mostly like a kid when a bike is involved fall completely & totally in love with our son. I am so glad to say that my husband is ALSO a wonderful father. The way that he loves our son makes me love him even more.

In our third year of marriage, we are a family of three. And while I know the years ahead will be full of good and hard times as we figure out this parenting stuff and as we continue to “grow up” – I know I’ve got just the right guy to get me though it.

To MY RJ – Happy Anniversary (I adore you, too).

Our family picture on Mother’s Day


Filed under family, Life, relationships

Meal Planning – You can do this!

I’m proud to say that despite having a new baby in the house, my hubby and I have maintained our “make meals for the week in advance” schedule. We usually hit up the grocery as a family on Saturday or Sunday morning with our list in hand. We prepare lunches for both of us for 4 days and get ingredients for dinners as well for 4 nights. We also plan out what we’ll eat for  breakfast and make sure to have that prepped and ready, too.

If you are having trouble staying on track with whatever health goal you have and you AREN’T pre-planning your meals – my advice would be to start now! Even if your excuse is that your schedule is too hectic – I would argue that taking a few minutes to pre-select your meals, hit the grocery store ONCE and get all the goods and spending a few hours in the kitchen one day a week would help you have MORE time during the week. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend deciding what to eat on the day of before work. I would open my fridge and stare at the contents, look in the panty for any sign of something decent…and then struggle to think of anything  I could put together with what I had already. This often ended in frustration and I would just get something “out” which was typically unhealthy and more expensive than bringing food from home.

We have been doing this “meals in advance” thing for almost 4 years and we have definitely seen savings in terms of calories and dollars. And of course, time. If you aren’t a chef in the kitchen – there are so many resources for quick and easy meals available on the internet. Your meals don’t have to be gourmet!

Have I convinced you yet?

To get started you have to follow some rules:

1) Pre-select the meals. Check out some websites (eatingwell.com & cookinglight.com are 2 of my favs, as well as paleomg.com if you are looking for wheat free ideas) and select FOUR meals to make. You’ll pick 2 lunch style options and 2 dinner options.

  • You’ll be eating each meal twice which helps with the excuse of not wanting to buy a meal for just one person – because you’ll always be eating it twice. OR I guess if you don’t mind repetition – you could just pick 2 meals and eat them all 4 times instead (this would only work if you are doing this solo though)!
  • We give ourselves one lunch out and one dinner out each week so that we can still be social or attend work events that are over lunch/dinner, etc.
  • Make sure you consider your circumstances for lunch – do you have a fridge at work, a microwave? Toaster oven? Pick meals that will be easy to eat at work.

2) Make a LIST with all the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe BEFORE you set foot in the grocery store. Pick recipes that use the same ingredients to save even more money. So say you are going to make steak tacos and want to do a home made pizza – you could use the same cheese and vegetables for both. See?


4) Pick a day, afternoon, night, morning (whatever) to prepare your meals. We always make our lunches in advance and put them in 1 serving containers so in the morning it’s a quick grab and go before work. Over the past year we’ve gone back and forth between making dinners in advance and waiting till the night of to make the dinner. It all depends on your schedule. But knowing what you are going to have for dinner and already having all the ingredients will save you tons of time and energy night of!

  • One thing we’ll do is do any prep work that might need to happen for dinner in advance. I’ll use the taco example again (we love tacos) – you could do that as a dinner but you could make the taco meat/veggies in advance so you just have to heat it up and crisp up the taco shells. Throw some beans on the side and you’ve got a meal.

Pyrex Storage Set from Amazon $25

One thing that really helps with this approach is to invest in some decent containers to store your portioned lunches/dinners. We use glass pyrex containers and we have a variety of sizes (small and large rectangles, different sizes of bowls, etc). Make sure whatever you get has lids that seal effectively to keep your food yummy.

The bottom line is that everyone is busy – but scheduling in time to eat healthy (or just to eat within a budget) is do-able. If we can do it in a family where we both work full time and have a new baby, you can do it, too! Start small – maybe just prepare lunches in advance and see how it goes!

Leave a comment

Filed under family, fit mom, food, Life, paleo, Recipes, weight loss, what i'm eating

It’s been a long time….

I have to admit, I’ve been cheating on you.

I’ve been blogging elsewhere privately during my pregnancy as I didn’t want this blog to become a pregnancy blog. I thought I could still write broad yet meaningful topics here on ThirtyStory while experiencing this life changing event – but, turns out – I couldn’t. I’m sorry about that – and sorry about my disappearing act.

As the day draws closer to actually having my son (we’re due April 23 – just a few weeks away now), I’m definitely feeling that same old current sweeping by me that I had before – that overwhelming feeling of “Can I do this?” And not the be a mom thing. Obviously, I’m doing that whether I’m ready or not, right? But my mind has turned toward those days and weeks after my son is here and I have no excuses to not be exercising regularly again. When I’ll be self-conscious again about my weight (not that that has truly stopped being an issue for me during pregnancy) and I won’t be buying clothes that are made especially for my large belly. At least, that’s the hope, right?

I’ve witnessed more than a few of my friends whip right back down to pre-baby weight and then some – and I wonder, will that happen for me? I’ve struggled with being overweight my entire life, can I honestly let myself believe that I’ll be one of the lucky few that bounce back to their pre-pregnancy bodies? Not that I was even all that happy with where I was BEFORE getting pregnant, but it would sure be nice to at least bounce back to that instead of staying bigger.

I am trying to prepare myself for battle. I know that finding the time and energy to exercise is going to be much harder as a new mom. Working full time, teaching, and having a little one is going to eat up most of my time, so I have to have a game plan. I know other moms and dads who find the time to work out – so I know it’s possible. I just have to find the right work out plan, the right timing and all that jazz. Unfortunately, I won’t know what the “right” plan is until I’m living it. I can’t predict what life will be like in less than a month for me. All I know is that I still have goals for myself – that I still want to reach toward being a healthier and fit person. I don’t want to lose that part of myself and I start this new chapter of my life.

Knowing who you are and who you WANT to be is a big part of any successful goal setting process. I think I have a pretty good grasp on both of those things right now – so it’s all about finding the right path to the goal. I know it will be another adventure – something totally new and different from anything I’ve experienced so far in my life. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I feel like I did the night before my first 5K – so afraid I’d fail, but excited to try.

And that’s what I’m sticking with – the excitement of trying.


Filed under Challenge, family, goals, health, Life, motivation, pregnant and healthy, weight loss

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!

1 Comment

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

I Hear You, I See You



For some reason, I just feel like this is the word of the day for me, the only thing that sounds right even though it may not be. Today’s post should be classified as “all the rest” in terms of topics because sometimes you just need an outlet and for someone else to say – yah, I get you. I hear you. So, not my usual style today, but I just need to write this out, cryptic as it may sound.

I watched the first few seasons of a show called Parenthood (amazing!) – I still need to catch up on the most recent season, so no spoils please. But I remember one of the episode titles “I Hear you, I see you.” It zoned in on the semi-broken relationship between the mom and dad who were there matriarch/patriarch of this huge family. The mother often felt like her voice didn’t really matter in their relationship and it obviously impacted many things in her life and of course, their relationship with each other. (This post is not about me and my husband – just FYI, we are good to go.)

I feel like sometimes my voice feels stifled in parts of my life. Growing up, I was (and am still) the middle child and sometimes I felt overlooked. Overshadowed by the big personality of my brother and the dramatics of my younger sister – not all the time bad dramatics, she just had a more interesting life than i did, I think. Not that they didn’t deserve attention – I love them both dearly, but I was always the thinker and the typical middle child if you read any birth order books. You know, the one who sort of rolled with the punches and tried not to make a scene. Anytime I did raise my voice to cause a scene, I remember feeling guilty – as if sharing my true feelings would be a burden for the others and I should just keep my mouth shut. That’s probably why I have an entire Rubbermaid bin in my closet full of journals, scribbles, drawings, short stories, and letters that i wrote just for myself starting from like 2nd or 3rd grade all the way through college. Because I desperately needed somewhere to say things, but didn’t want to deal with the consequences of actually saying them out loud in case I hurt anyone’s feelings or worse, had to own up to how i really felt publicly.

And even though I’m on the brink of being 31 years old, I still struggle with this feeling every now and again. And I think for the most part, I ignore it until something tiny happens and it sends me over the edge and I’m just overly upset about something that I do know is silly, or is out of anyone’s control. I usually pick the wrong battles in these cases, and then end up looking stupid. Or at least that’s how I perceive the situation. Mostly, I just end up apologizing for ever saying anything at all. Because, I end up being upset about the WRONG thing and I don’t realize it until later…which is exactly what happened to me today.

I’m just feeling upset today in general, and after talking it out with one of my co-workers over lunch, I realize that me being upset about this one tiny thing is just a by-product of what i’m really upset about. *sigh* You never are done with emotional growth – as much as I’d like to think I’m super mature and wise for my years, things like this happen and I feel like I have the emotional maturity of a 5th grader. Aren’t I old enough to know myself a bit better by now?

In a letter I wrote to myself (and put in a time capsule which my mother delivered to me secretly some 10 years later) I actually told my future self:

Dear Dre,
I didn’t think this would be such a hard project to do. But i’m sitting here in the basement almost crying. I’m so scared to grow up. I mean, I’m just not ready for the world yet. Are you still scared? What’s it like to fall in love, what’s it like to hear someone call you mommy? Right now, school just seems to drain me. Four more days till I’m out of sophomore year. I’m scared to get older. I hope its not so bad……

…One thing. I hope that now that you (we’re) older we/you/i still have lots of pals. Remember not to keep everything to yourself…let it out. Don’t forget about poetry and writing stuff either. This year i compiled my poetry book, Mirror, Mirror. Hope you/i/we still remember. Remember to play the piano a lot too! I love the moonlight sonata and endless love by Lionel Richie.”

So even my 14 year old self knew I had a problem with keeping my emotions contained and  that I had to find an outlet – whether that was through poetry, writing, playing the piano – those were all ways I coped so I didn’t let myself get like this. And I guess, having this blog is a way for me to do that even though I don’t want this blog to be an on-line diary with all my inner most thoughts. But perhaps, today – it can be my outlet or at least I’m considering that I need it to be this once.

My way of just saying (admitting publicly) – I’m upset and it’s okay. Saying to myself – I hear you, I see you and it’s okay to feel this way and it will pass. And instead of just hiding my thoughts away in a journal to be buried in the bottom of a bin in the back of a closet, I’ll allow myself to let someone else in to say, “I hear you, I see you” – and I’ll believe it.

Leave a comment

Filed under family, Life, relationships