Looking Back, Moving Forward

Where did the weekend go? Although it wasn’t jam-packed, I still feel that it flew by way too quickly.

Saturday, the JA was in grad class so I was left to my own devices for the majority of the day. I started with a 4.5 mile run that could only end one way – with a treat. I was just getting over my cold, my legs were okay but not great, and so the only easy way to motivate myself was with a treat. A new Dunkin’ Donuts opened close to our house, so I ended my run there. Doing so also gave me the opportunity to have an active cool down – something that I rarely do anymore.

running on dunkin

The day continued with laundry, straightening up and fighting with my computer. I finally downloaded photos to it, freeing up enough space on my phone and allowing it to back up correctly. Yay!

We ended the night with an event at another all-boys high school. Being that I went to an all-girls high school, most of my male friends attended this school. We ate, drank, and were merry. This bad blogger didn’t take many photos, but that’s because I was busy reminiscing with ‘my boys’ and having a blast with their significant others.

so much love in this pic

so much love in this pic from prom 2001

Sunday ended the weekend with a snowy dinner out. We’re so lucky to have found a family who seems faith-filled, grounded, and loving. It’s always a pleasure when they invite us into their home for a meal. With five children, there’s never a lack of conversation!

Sunday also marked the end of week 1 of half marathon training. Yup. As I mentioned last week, I modified Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Half Marathon Training Schedule. I talked to a few friends at the event on Saturday night and knew in my heart I wanted to do this. It’s a lofty goal for me – especially in thinking about that so-so run on Saturday. But I already have so much support and I’m looking forward to testing myself.

week one is DONE!

week one is DONE!

Let’s get this show on the road!

What’s something that brings you back or is moving you forward?

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Linking up with Katie at Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday!

Houdini Strikes Again

Let’s play a game called ‘What’s Wrong with This Picture.’

jailbreak

If you answered either a.) there’s no back to that crate, or b.) there’s no dog said crate, you’d be correct.

Our Houdini had wiggled his way to freedom…again. (Read about his first performances here.)

I came home, took a look at the still-locked, busted-door crate and laughed. We speculate that Watson is part Belgian Shepherd (an extremely smart breed used by police for detection/search and rescue), but he’s just showing off by finding ways out of his crate.

I knew our culprit was in the house somewhere, and found him chillin at the top of our steps, with a ‘what’s up, Mom?’ look on his face. Nothing (that we’ve noticed) was damaged, and we’ve got to give him credit for persistence!

w 10-2-13

We’ve reset the hinges & will see how things fare today. Fingers crossed that he behaves because after this, we’re either placing zipties on each corner of the crate or giving him his freedom!

Stress Relief

As I mentioned earlier this week, life has been hectic. The project I’ve been slaving away at working on launched, but not without a few kinks. Adding those responsibilities to my current ones leaves me feeling like I’m treading water – not exactly moving forward, but not falling behind, either.

I don’t think I had been this stressed out since working at a PR agency. The long hours, the pressure to please, and a looming deadline all produced more than enough frustration, tears, and emotional/physical fatigue. Now that it’s over, I took some time to reflect and came up with the following tips to help handle stress:

stress relief

1. Prioritize. Lists are your friend. You don’t want to miss a deadline or ‘drop the ball’ on something while focusing on another project. Email flags, written lists, and reminders via my smartphone helped keep my cool while staying on track.

2. Procrastinate. After you’ve prioritized what’s most critical, you’ll more than likely have a few minutes to spare. Use it wisely. Rest, relax, and do something you enjoy; it’ll help you be more productive (and happy) in the long run.

3. Praise. Especially if you’re working in a group, make sure that you praise those around you. In stressful times, a ‘good job’ or ‘thanks for working so hard’ can go a long way in boosting morale.

4. Play. The best thing the JA’s done for me these past few weeks is to make me laugh. Not only is laughing a wonderful stress release, but it certainly puts things into perspective. It’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re entrenched in a project, and playing around helps lift spirits and rejuvenate you – even if for just a few moments.

What’s your best tip for dealing with stress? (It doesn’t have to begin with P – apparently I was in an alliterative mood when I wrote this!)

On Unconditional Love

W puppy cuddles

I took this picture as a part of an inside joke to send to the JA. But after I posted it to Instagram, I had a few thoughts:

1. OMG. I’m that crazy woman who talks about/photographs her dog all the time. However, it seems to work for a few other bloggers (Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, Tina at Carrots N Cake, Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers, and Gretchen from Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen come to mind) so I consider myself in good company. Dodged a bullet on that one!

2. Cherish this moment. (Here’s where I get sap-tastic, so consider yourself warned.) As this crossed my mind, my perspective changed. It went from ‘Aw, cute doggie cuddles’ to ‘Eventually, we will have to say goodbye.’ It made me sad, but also happy.

I was experiencing a clear moment of unconditional love. An overwhelming, gut-wrenching, don’t-leave, stop-time moment. A time where life slapped me in the face and made me acknowledge the fact that I am extremely lucky to have things and people in my life that entice these moments out from the everyday ones.

These moments of consuming love aren’t generally loud. They are quiet, and fleeting. Times when I look at my husband and know he wants me to be happy, even of I don’t know quite how to get there. Moments with my sister, when I realize just how much I like having her around because she ‘gets’ me. A random text from a friend, telling me of an instant that day where they were reminded of me. A story from my mother that makes me laugh at how alike we are (and how that’s not necessarily a bad thing). The silent second with my father right before we walked down the aisle on my wedding day that reinforced HIS unconditional love for me, his first ‘little girl.’

When these instances appear, stop. Relish them. Let them wash over you. Take a deep breath, because they will have taken yours away. Give thanks that they are provided to you. This is not just a reminder to you, but to me as well. Too often I get caught up in the minutiae and forget the big picture. But that’s the beauty in life, I guess – always keeps ya guessing πŸ™‚

The Infinite Morning

When people hear that the JA and I work at the same place, a common question that follows is, “Do you ride in together?” A resounding, “No!” is our response and here’s why:

He: likes to get up early, take care of the dog, shower, eat a small breakfast, and be out the door by 6a.

Her: even on days that I run, I snooze at least once. Check email/social media, blog/listen the news, shower, make lunch, edit blog, eat breakfast, dry hair & put on makeup, put dog in crate (making sure he has no room to escape), and get out the door (preferably by 7:45a).

as always, click for source

as always, click for source

Yet there are some mornings, like today, that seem to drag on for hours. How is it that I wake up every morning (generally) around the same time, yet some days have time to dawdle and others feel like I’m in a mad dash to get to work on time? Oh well. I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth & spent some time eating a proper breakfast, petting the dog, and sneaking a few more pages in of the book I’m reading. Not a bad way to start the day!

Do you consider yourself a morning or evening person? I’d like to think I’m a bit of both – it’s a challenge for me to get to bed in the evening, but on the same hand, I’m pretty good-to-go once I get out of bed in the morning.

A Clean Break

I tried not to glance back – to see those big, brown eyes staring at me with a look of confusion. I distracted him enough that I thought I could make a clean getaway. Yet, as I pulled out of that driveway, there he was…sitting stoically where I left him.

We went to the beach for a few days and didn’t bring Watson. He stayed with my parents, who were given written instructions on his schedule, and an understanding that they could call us anytime with questions or concerns.

It was easier than I thought, but still difficult. Thanks heavens for Mommy Janks and her love of long, descriptive text messages and Daddy Janks and his wanting to test the camera on his new iPhone.

20130812-082849.jpg

While it was nice to get away (and to know my parents have the confidence to handle Watson while we’re out of town), we can’t wait to see that face ‘in person’ again!

What’s one thing you miss most while on vacation? Obviously, we missed the pup, but I also miss sleeping in my own bed. It’s just not the same!

Seven Things Every Woman Should Accomplish in Her 20s

I saw this article on Thought Catalog this morning and while I agree with most of the suggestions, I’m not completely on board with all of them.

So I made my own list.

First, the things that I agree with:

1. Travel. Maybe not alone, but traveling is definitely on my list. I spent a semester of college in Europe, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I went back to Scotland a few years later and had a bit of time to travel to myself. I spent the a few days in Edinburgh wandering around and while it was a bit scary, it was liberating at the same time.

kilt

2. Have a night where you get too crazy. In your 20s, your metabolism (and tolerance for certain beverages) is probably at its peak. Enjoy it. Be a bit irresponsible. Make memories. Dance your heart out.

3. Disregard your parent’s advice on something. Now, my take isn’t the same as it is in the article. You see, I never really had a ‘rebellious’ time. When I went to college, I decided I wanted my belly button pierced. I had just turned 18 (ok, so not technically 20s yet but whatever), and asked Mommy Janks what she thought. She immediately responded that she didn’t like the idea. I did it anyway. Later on, I heard her recounting the story to her friends as if I didn’t do it without her permission. Sigh.

4. Ask for a raise. In a prior position, I was a part of a pretty intimidating review process. But it prepared me for life. I had to defend my decisions, express my interest in the company, and explain why I deserved a raise. If you weren’t prepared, you were like a fish in a barrel. As I said, it’s made me a better person (and also made me get everything in writing.)

Now, for a few not on the list:

5. Live in a city. While State College is big enough to merit its own zip code, it’s not necessarily a city. I’m a suburban girl and while I had a few friends who lived in the heart of a city, I have never done it. The JA was living in a part of Baltimore when we started dating and we remember that time with love and longing. It’s great feeling like a bigger part of something…like, maybe a Super Bowl win?

Ravens

6. Take a trip with a close friend or your significant other (just the two of you). If you haven’t done that yet, do it now. You learn about someone when you’re sharing a car, plane, or room with someone for a few days.

7. Invest. Whether it’s buying a piece of clothing that you know you’ll wear for years to come or putting money in a retirement fund, invest in your future. I’ve always been a saver (sometimes to a fault), and I understand how hard it is to invest in big-ticket items. Yet, I bought my first decent suit jacket in my 20s and I wear it all.the.time. Initial cost? My jaw hit the floor. Cost per wear? At this point, it’s pennies. Completely worth it.

There are a few more that I could list but then it wouldn’t be seven things, so I’m going to turn it over to you. Anything that you would add/change to this list?