Monday, January 31, 2011

So, It's Been a Week... Again.

This poor blog just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of my never ending to-do list!

Poor blog.
It keeps getting bumped by things like "Egypt on the Edge" and "Find the one disc that's missing that's KEEPING THE SHOW FROM AIRING!" and "go grocery shopping" and "get new passport before current passport EXPIRES."*

*I still have to do that one.
The good news is, I actually currently look a lot better than I did in my passport picture from 10 years ago!
That must have been before my best friend Ann told me, with love, that I should do something about my eyebrow.

Now, I have two. And, joyfully, age has been good to me. I was pudgy(er) and used to cut my own hair. It was not a good situation on that 2001 passport, I tell ya!

Last time I wrote in this space, I was on the cusp of reaching my little goal of not crying for a week. I did it!

Since then, I've cried a couple of times. But that's okay! I went without crying for a week! So, yay me!! And the crying I have done over the past week, I don't really feel bad about.

Because you know what? Sometimes crying is good. Sometimes it's necessary. I recently read in the book "Bittersweet" by Shauna Niequist (highly recommend it, especially if you are in a tough season in life, or coming out of a tough season) In the book, Shauna writes of a friend who said crying is a sign of health, "because it means your body and your soul agree on something."

So, there. We'll just say that. My body and my soul agreed on something a couple of times in the past week.

Life over the last week has been wonderful, and difficult. Bittersweet. This is common for me these days. Good and bad. Hard and easy. I'm still learning that two realities can be at the same time that are polar opposites. You can be happy and sad at the same time?? Who knew?

-One day, I was pulling my computer bag along the sidewalk on my way to the Metro, and a bus driver, driving a bus that was not in service stopped and told me to get in. He gave me a free ride to the Metro! This may or may not have been because I was wearing this orange coat that I adore, and I get a lot of compliments on, but it is cut with a high waist, and when I wear multiple layers, I'm afraid it may make me look a little pregnant. But, whatever. I got to ride on a warm bus on a cold morning, for free. WIN!

-State of the Union. Tuesday was a crazy/fun day at work. Tuesday night, Michael and I had the perfect plan. We would sit our bed up, get both of our laptops going and I could watch the SOTU on one laptop, while I live-blogged on the other. But, the speech kept going in and out. So, I ended up working from the living room. It was fun! I have always loved the State of the Union, even when I was a nerdy kid! Not long after the speech was over, I shut my work laptop, and went in the bedroom to go to bed. Michael was laying there, waiting for me. "Can you see if my legs are straight?" he asked. Those were the eight words that killed my eight day streak of not crying!
Because in that moment, I was instantly transferred from the bliss of live-blogging the State of the Union to staring the state of our union right in the face. Or in the toes, really. Because no matter how fun it is to cover the President, or to have my work blog be on the front page of the website at work, really, at the end of the day (seriously, the literal end of the day) I have a husband who doesn't even know if his legs are straight.
I have to make sure they are.
And, typing this now, it doesn't seem like as big of a deal as it did that night. But for some reason, it was a huge shift. I was instantly teleported from work heaven to home hell. And there was a whiplash of sadness.
And so, I cried.
And, he held me. Once again. Because that's what he does.

Moving on...
I'm trying to step it up in my appearance. I've been feeling guilty for looking like a thugged out 12 year old girl most of the time.


I haven't really bought that many new clothes in the last 3 years. I used to shop pretty much every weekend. Now, I never buy anything that isn't necessary. So, I'm super sick of my clothes. And, I'm a little fat right now, so it's frustrating because some of my pants are too booty-tight for work, so that limits my options. And, it's almost February. UGH! February is THE fattest, whitest month of the year! It always makes me want to go tanning, but I WILL NOT. I do not have time and/or money to spend to get cancer right now. I just don't.
So, I'm feeling a little bleh.
And, I wear flat shoes pretty much all the time now. It's just easier for the transfers. And for the commute. I don't have time for back pain or foot pain in my life.
But, there has got to be a way I can accommodate all of this and still look cute. I'm not that fat or that old, ya know!

Let's see... what else is going on around here?
OH! I went to the gym ONCE. And, I ate a lot of chocolate. Too fast for any of it to be photographed.
And, I sent my cracked iPhone off for repair.
So, that's why I'm not answering if you're trying to reach me right now. Because my phone is on an iPhone operating table somewhere in Kansas.

Gee, I have small feet, don't I?

This past weekend was a good one!
Friday, we headed out to West Virginia for our church's annual Leadership Retreat. It is always an amazing time! Michael and I decided to have a little "date night" on our way there. So, we went the long way and had dinner at Red Lobster. I had lobster for the first time! And, we split an amazing medium rare steak and those cheesy biscuits are as good as I've heard. I will NOT be Googling the nutrition info for those suckers!

The theme for this year's Leadership Retreat was "ALL IN," God moved in an amazing way at this retreat! It's so great to get out of your normal space, go somewhere else, worship God and hear from Him in a way that isn't part of the normal, every day life, scratching things off the to do list kind of way, isn't it?

Highlights for me were hearing Pastor Mark cast vision for the upcoming locations of NCC. Especially Berlin. I will be praying harder for John Hasler. I was pretty convicted about that.

Praying for Pastor Chris, our campus pastor. My heart has been so burdened for him. Leaders from our location, Kingstowne, followed the Holy Spirit's calling and gathered around him and prayed. It was amazing. And God really used that to encourage PC. What a blessing to be a part of it!

Reading the material Pastor Joel put together for the prayer team leaders. Incredible how each of the topics hit so close to home for us!

Seeing the people around my table build something that has to do with Elijah out of a bunch of random stuff. Very funny!


And, hearing my man sing "Look Away" to me in the Karaoke corner of the Groove Lounge.

If you think the look on his face is a look of pain, he said you should have seen the look on my face.
And I thought I was trying to look as if I was not in pain.
Oh well.

Maybe I will be back here before another week goes by. Maybe not. We're getting a Winter storm, and so I might be spending a couple of nights at work this week. I hope not, but I don't know about that. Friday, I head out to California for a work trip for the weekend. Thankfully, I'll be home in time to watch the Super Bowl.
So, for now, cheers!

Monday, January 24, 2011

In An Effort To Keep This Blog Up To Date...

As you know by now, the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl. Yay.
As you also know, I tied a Terrible Towel around Brokaw yesterday. He cried all afternoon, begging for me to take it off. Wandered into the office to beg Michael to take it off.
No one did.
So, he finally settled down.

And, before kickoff, he was doing this number.

My puggle loves to snuggle on Sundays.
Always has.
I don't know why. But I'm not arguing because I happen to love me a Puggle Snuggle.
It's so sad when I leave for work on Mondays, because B cries. It breaks my heart! I will never be ready to be a mother.
I don't know, do you think he just gets re-attached every weekend?
So sweet.

New topic.
Here's the deal.
I want to be better about blogging.
So, here's the deal that comes with that.
It's just going to be kind of random.
Are y'all good with that?
My old blog used to be quite random.
Okay, good. We're all on the same page.

Now, on to said new topic.
Goals.
Remember, a few weeks ago, I shared with you the goals that Michael and I have for 2011?
Well, there were a few other things that were kind of unspoken, but also goals for the year.
I have some good news to report!

It's 3:34pm on Monday (my day is almost over at work) and unless there's some sort of tragedy (Michael, if you're reading this, please don't fall out of your chair and break any bones) or major unforseen expense, I'm going to be able to scratch a goal off my list!
An emotional goal.
I want to go at least a week between crying.
Sounds lame, I know.
Last week I made it to 5 days and I was so proud!
Now, I'm at a WHOLE WEEK, and I'm actually PMSing, so I think I deserve extra points for that!
Seriously, after going through such a SAD time last year, I'm thankful for days without tears.
A whole week people! I think we have the beginning stages of JOY back here!

Another goal I had was to travel for work. I went on one work-related trip last year, but it was just a short drive to Richmond, and I actually brought Michael with me. That was crazy stressful, trying to balance work on the road, and worrying about him and taking care of him. "You don't have to worry about me," he says.
Yeah, right.
Not an option.
I'm sorry, but if you're there, I'm worried that you get up and down the hills and through the doors and that you have your strap for your spoon for lunch.
I just do.
Call it a maternal instinct.
Call me crazy.
Whatever.
I love you, but you stress me out! :)
I didn't travel because it seemed like such a hassle to be gone because we would have to arrange for help for Michael to get up, down, etc. And that can be VERY expensive!
Ladies and Gentlemen... I'm happy to report to you, as of today, I have a plane ticket for my first real work trip! Yeah!

We're also doing pretty good on other goals, too. I don't think we're going to make the budget for this month, but we're pretty close. And that's a good start, in my humble opinion.
I did dig a stainless steel trash can out of the dumpster (not really, it was outside the dumpster, and already clean!) that is broken. I've been wanting a stainles steel trash can, but they're stinking expensive! We're going to try to fix this one, we'll see! And, I got a new slipcover for our couch that usually sells for like $159 on Craigslist this month for $50. So, yeah, I'd say we're being pretty frugal.

And, of course, I'm still rocking the coupons out.

Maybe sometime I'll do a post about coupons. I'm not a coupon nut (really), but I'm learning how to use them and I can say they are making a difference in how much we spend on groceries and toiletries.

Like most things in life, a good system is KEY.

While I'm on the subject of goals, let me brag on myself a little bit.
I went to the gym this morning! I haven't been in months.
I didn't really have time to go, but I did it anyway.
Maybe I'll go back on Wednesday.
Hopefully.

Because we had this for dessert last night and for part of breakfast this morning and I've been thinking about it all day.

Blueberry Pie. Yum.

And, I also made mint/dark chocolate chip cookies Friday night and they were amazing but I definitely ate like 10 myself.
I'm like that with cookies.
I cannot have them in the house, because I will seriously scarf down like a BOX of cookies.
Favorite. Food. Check.

So, yeah... I've pretty much been obsessed with scratching things off of lists, reaching to achieve goals, and trying not to cry.
So far, so good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Go Steelers!


I can't believe my baby, Brokaw, is going to be 5 years old this year! It doesn't feel like it was 5 years ago I lived in Pittsburgh. I moved there the weekend they won the Superbowl in 2006, and became a fan then.

We are all geared up for the game tonight. Go STEELERS!



I just had to invoke a little censorship here, because that was just a little to graphic...
Hopefully Brokaw will be doing this a lot tonight, "Touchdown Steelers!"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Inlaws, Broken Bones (And Other Things), Prizes and Ice, Ice Baby

Well, here I am again.
*How's THAT for a title??
I'm going to spare you, however, this time, from my lack-of-blogging apology.

I apologize too much anyway. Maybe not here. But in real life I say "I'm sorry" way. too. much. When I'm not responsible. Or even sorry, really. I apologize because I feel guilty.

Okay, getting off the therapy couch now... and I'm going to update you on our lives.

First up - ironically - something I feel guilty about (shocker).
After my last post with 500,000 pictures of my family, I've let almost two weeks pass without letting you in on another fact.
My in-laws came to visit.

Yep. Buddy and LaDonna arrived here the same day we returned from seeing my fam in the 757.
Hanging with my family and then hanging with Michael's family in the same 24 hour period is pretty much 100% guaranteed to make you have whip lash.

They're slightly lower-key.
They're also the sweetest people on the planet.
Which explains why their son is the gushy sweetness of a thing that he is.
Good, sweet, stock.

We had my favorite salad for dinner Saturday. I feel like I've posted about this salad before (I made it up) but now I can't find it. Rats.
Sunday, we went to church together, then out to lunch at Bonefish Grill. I spent most of that time on a conference call for work, unfortunately, because it was the day after the Tucson shooting.

Then, we pried them away from their computers for a little family game time.

The cross wasn't on purpose, but it doesn't hurt, right?

Let's just say Buddy is the reigning Dominoes master. (that's how you spell dominoes, right? without the e, I was thinking about pizza.)



It took me a really long time to understand this game. It revolves around math. Had I realized this from the start, I never would have agreed to such nonsense! I adhere to a strict no-math policy!

My Father-In-Law? Not so much.

But, he brings me Caramel Macchiatos, so we're good. :)

We also played some Taboo, which LaDonna and I OWNED.
Don't even try me!

More brownie points were awarded to Buddy when he drove me to the Metro the next day for work! A week later, I was really missing him...

Work has been CRAZY. I spent a short time on Capitol Hill the Monday morning after the Tucson shooting.

Security, everywhere.

I left work early to take Michael to the doctor, because remember, he fell into the Christmas tree? Yeah, well, it ended up getting really, really BAD.


My love has a broken knee!

Yep, confirmation came from the x-ray. I hope it heals soon because while Michael can't feel it, it's obvious that his body is not happy! Boo! He is such a trooper, though. And the good news is, we were already doing everything we needed to do for it to heal. Not like it's hard for him to stay off of it, right?

That day at the doctor was a WIN. Those situations usually turn me into a crying mess, but I had a number of people praying for me that day and it really worked! I cheerfully got my husband up onto the table at the doctor's office to be examined, then onto the x-ray table (that was like as high as my chest!) and back home, in one piece.

So you know what that means....

I got a prize!!!
I am such a 4 year old, that way.
I'm glad my husband is finally on board with this. If you tell me if I am a good girl, I will get a prize, I will be a good girl!

*Shout out to my mother who hooked me up with an awesome prize package last week including this Starbucks card!!
I am being a GOOD GIRL now, y'all. Keep the prizes coming :)

Let's see, what else has been up lately?

WORK...

It has been crazy, but I'm weird, and I actually prefer that.


The Chinese President came to visit. That was fun.

There was a translation mix-up during the press conference that was comical.

As usual, I took a funny picture of the President.
This press conference was the most fun of all of the press conferences involving world leaders I've covered.
But, it was pretty long, so I reached my ADD threshold, and started taking random pictures.

Like this.
It sure is pretty, but it doesn't produce enough light for television, so these are also hanging around.

ADD, I tell you, major ADD. I blame smartphones.

Seeing Sasha Obama at the arrival ceremony, interacting with her classmates, was pretty cool, too.

Okay, I think you're pretty much caught up.
Oh, add my poor iPhone to the list of things that's broken at our house (including M's knee)

Oh well. I'll deal with this next weekend.

For now, I'm heading home to chill with the man of my dreams and put the "love" in loveseat.
We don't sit there together enough (it does take some effort) but we did last weekend and we remembered how nice it was, so it's on the agenda again.

Cheers. Happy weekend, y'all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Road Trip to the 757!

Friday, we made a super, duper uber (the triple rhyme is too much, but I'm cool with a double) trip down to the 757 to see my (Dana's) family! The occasion - seeing my little brother, Chris, before he ships out to Afghanistan.

We had some drama with Michael's leg on Thursday night. It was bruised and majorly swollen after being injured in the fall (the one that led to the fight). I was so worried about it, I thought we were going to have to make a trip to the emergency room and miss out on the family fun.

But, we didn't, because my husband is a trooper.

So, we road-tripped it southeast. And I took a million pictures. Finally.
My mom and my sister. Yay.
My youngest nephew, Brayden, showing us their new aquarium.
The kitchen laughter begins. That's my handsome little bro in the middle.
My hubs and my Daddy. Love.
My stepdad, Dave. Yes, we use gravy boats for BBQ sauce.
Brayden is a little obsessed with his Uncle Chris and the Army.
Okay, a lot obsessed. He showed Chris his newly redecorated room/bunker and he was listening to intently to every. word. Uncle. Chris. spoke.

There were games of ping-pong.

And cupcakes.

A few family pictures. Taking these just gets funnier over the years. With Tracy and Chris trying to make their necks look good, my mother making sure she's smiling just right and me just trying to not look fat! Haha. Always like 10 takes.

More people laughing in the kitchen...
Wesley puppy in a backpack?
Thanks to the awesome hard work of my brother-in-law, JUST DANCE on the Wii!
Which I was ruling, until Colby had to decide to participate!
Then, I was definitely humbled!
Chris and JT's awesome girl, Kyndall.

I think this is quite possibly the worst picture of my husband, ever. And yet, he's made it his Facebook profile. Sometimes, I just don't get him :) But, I love him anyway.

Night-night ice cream for my mom and Jimmy...

It was a WILD NIGHT. It always is with my family :) Saturday, we went to lunch and then, we hit the road.

I am choosing to leave some of the 'not pretty' parts of this trip out, this time. But, I might come back to it. Let's just say I'm still adjusting to sharing my family with someone, and I don't like having to take care of M's personal needs on unfamiliar, inaccessible turf. It just makes everything harder.

That said, it was a good time. Always good to see my fam. Always too short. Really glad we (we meaning Michael) pushed through so we could have this chance!

Our Goals for 2011


We spent part of New Year's Day planning for 2011, together. Intentionally getting on the same page with our goals, our calendar (well, we still need to look at that) and our money. It was a little bit hard, at times. But, I'm glad we did it.


Now, I'm putting this out there for the world to read in hopes that transparency will lead to a higher likelihood of success! Also, if you have experience in any of these goals and have tips for us, bring 'em on!


Personal Goals


Michael:

-Exercise brain: increase vocabulary and memory

--daily journaling

--listening to podcasts

-Get out of the house

--weekly prayer meeting with guys

-Earn income

--on top of SS

-Stop worrying about the dogs


Dana:

-Get body back to thinking it’s 30(ish)

--fruit and veggies (1 fruit @breakfast, 2 veggies @dinner at least)

--exercise 2x a week

--get stress level down

--get blood pressure down


-Personal prayer life

--consistent quiet time with God in the morning

--prayer in the shower


-Flex creative muscles

--take a photography class

--learn to sew

--learn to can foods

=======

Mutual Goals


-Equality

--mutual appreciation

--working TOGETHER (even through frustration, when necessary)

--communicating so we both see both sides/points of view

--Michael being present, even when not contributing physically


-Intimacy

--develop opportunities for romance

--try new things

--separate caregiving and sexing

--watch less TV/go to bed earlier


-Reading

--go through couples books a couple times a week

--continue daily Bible reading at breakfast

--get back to Bible promises reading right before bed


-Building relationships with other couples

--host a couple for dinner at least once a month

--look for opportunities to double date

--pray for other marriages

--spend time with the girls/guys separately


=======

Financialation (we enjoy making up words around here!)


-Budget

--create a monthly budget and stick to it


-Money night

--last Friday of each month, order takeout/get alcohol and view spending/receipts from that month, and look at upcoming expenses/goals for the next month


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