Friday, January 10, 2014

Five For Friday!

What a whirlwind of ups and downs this week has been!  And make no mistake, it has been cold, cold, COLD.  We have been homebound and a little stir-crazy, but it will be over soon.  Our temperatures are finally starting to recover and normal life can resume for most.  Linking up with Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar on the Run, and You Signed up for What?! for Five for Friday.  Go check out these awesome ladies!

My five:

1. Our orders were finalized giving us custody of Makenzie.  Yes!!  This is wonderful because now it means that we can get her enrolled in school finally.  She needs it, we need it, this should be a huge improvement all around.

2. I was accepted as a Train Dirty Fitness Ambassador!  This is such an awesome group of ladies!  Go check out the website.  The community I have found there is amazing.  So many women on so many different fitness journeys, and all 100% supporting each other.  Love it!

3. As a result of the Polar Vortex and our wind chill temps exceeding -35F at times, on Tuesday night a pipe burst in our basement.  How does this make Five For Friday, you ask?  It could have been SO much worse!!  This could have happened while we were out of town!  Or in our upper level!  Half our basement has no carpet, some chunks of wall are missing, but thank God we do still have a livable home.  It will all be fine and honestly I think this was better than having the misfortune of a broken furnace during this ridiculous cold.

4. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my awesome friend Kaitlin for bringing me chicken soup, cough syrup, cough drops (those things saved me last night during my shift at work!), chocolate, and tissues this week.  A yucky cold got a grip on both Chris and myself on Tuesday night as we dealt with our mini-flood.  And a HUGE thanks to all of our friends for their prayers, well-wishes, and "what can we do to help?" messages following the mild storm that has been this week.  Kaitlin herself has actually said it best when she said that the friends we have here are what makes St. Louis feel like home.

5. UrbanChurch is launching THIS Sunday!  We are so excited to be part of this.  We have been desperate for church.  For community.  For not going somewhere and feeling like we are just a dollar sign.  If you have a church that has fulfilled these things for you, that's wonderful!  We gave up after a few burns in the last year, but can't wait to see the future with UC.  If you are in the St. Louis area, consider joining us!

How has your week been?  Any major Polar Vortex effects felt?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome to 2014

I'm back!

Without going into a lengthy this-is-why-I've-been-MIA-for-a-few-weeks, right before Christmas, three-quarters of our household, one-by-one, caught a nasty - though short-lived - stomach bug, then we drove for 2 days to our holiday destination (aka Scottsdale, Arizona, home of my in-laws), life was crazy, then it was time to come back.  I thought I'd just share lots of pictures with you.  Who doesn't love pictures?

This is from Day 1 of our 2-day drive.  The half-way point is Amarillo, Texas, and it is our now-tradition to visit The Big Texan when passing through.  We were disappointed that someone sat down to take on the 72-ounce steak challenge right when we were leaving.  Wish we could have seen all of it.

Me and one of my closest friends.  It's been a long time since I've had a "best friend."  Kaitlin came out to Arizona for part of our trip and to say that I was thankful she was there doesn't even scratch the surface.  Love this girl.


Pumpkin challah bread that I made for Christmas Eve, which is always a big party night.  One of my favorite things to bake!

Getting James ready for bed on Christmas Eve night.  How I love this boy.  Light of my life.

The kids opening gifts on Christmas morning.  Have you heard the saying "as happy as a kid on Christmas morning"?  Of course you have.  The better one is "as happy as a parent seeing their kids' happiness on Christmas morning."  Pretty awesome.

Cinnamon-sugar almonds that Kaitlin and I made a couple of nights after Christmas.  They were a huge hit and incredibly easy!

Chris and I got to go hiking, one of our favorite things to do.  This was at the very top of Camelback Mountain, via Cholla Trail.  It was about 3.2 miles total and very intense.  I loved it!  Super sore the next morning and completely worth it!  And yep, that's a Christmas tree there.  At the top of the mountain.

Makenzie getting her nails done on New Year's Eve.  She was so patient waiting the hour before her turn.

New Year's Eve for Chris and me.  After seeing the worst movie ever (Anchorman 2), and after equally disappointing sushi, we went to Tommy Bahamas for what we knew would be great desserts and drinks.  A mai tai, mojito, butterscotch pudding, and malted chocolate pie later, we were very happy.  Our evening was not exactly exciting after that, but hey, a few hours to ourselves and getting to eat in peace was great.

I'd love to tell you that I'm sad to see 2013 go.  But truly, I am not.  I am more than happy that it is over.  There were definitely some highs in there... I started my career in fitness, we bought a house, we gained a second child..... and then there have been lows.  Without dwelling on the lows, I'll just focus on being thankful that Chris and my dearest of dear friends always have my back.

And even though we are in the middle of a blizzard as I type this, I am so happy to be home.  I despise this cold, but I am looking forward to our beginnings of 2014.  My job front is looking promising, Makenzie should start school soon (almost through all the legal aspects with that), and UrbanChurch is launching.  As of now, 2014 looks very different than what I had planned a few years ago, but I am learning to be okay with that.

How were your holidays?