Friday Five: Expect the Unexpected

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

This week has been FULL of {mostly} unplanned hurdles—little tests in the form of daily speed bumps, not only for me, but also my family. Thought you might want to come along for the wild ride:

5. Happy Birthday, Gramps

Yesterday would have been Gramps’ 85th birthday. I thought of him all day long and remember so clearly many of the birthday calls I made to him in the past. Like last year, when he raved about Mimi cooking all the fixins’ for him and wasn’t I sad I wasn’t there (I was). And other years when they celebrated simply by grabbing a burger at Dairy Queen. I miss those conversations and hope he had a choir of angels sing to him yesterday.

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4. Minimal-Sugar Challenge

After last week’s froyo celebration, I went back to no sugar easily until today when I had my first (decaf, no whip) PSL. I really love Starbucks’ new “real-pumpkin” formula; I thought it tasted way better than the fake original, which I (at the time) loved as well. I savored it like the treat that it was and think a once-a-week splurge will be fine. Still feeling good and am up down to 14 pounds. Not all speed bumps are bad.  Shout outs to my friends now doing the challenge – you’ve got this!!

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3. Let it Snow… Just Not Yet!

Yes, this week’s rain storms brought snow to the mountains. This feels earlier than any year we’ve been here. I swear this stuff JUST melted, how can it already be cold enough for it to be back?! I guess I’ll be swapping out my summer clothes for winter this weekend.

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2. Water Woes

This past Monday morning, I noticed our water had been turned off and part of our yard was flooded. Insanely worried that a pipe burst outside our house, I called a slew of people only to find out that it was my neighbor’s sewer pipe that had burst underground and had flooded three people’s yards and caused 40…FORTY…homes to have their water shut off. To fix it, they had to rip up sidewalk and several trees (the 8-foot hole in the ground is still there). We ended up having no water for just shy of 31 hours. Joe had to shower at the gym and I…well… I was not a happy camper. Speaking of camping, this whole exercise has reminded me why I never want to do it. Running water is such a beautiful thing.

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1. Comeback-pain Kid

Yesterday morning I woke up to searing pain from my left leg’s lower back/hips to my ankle. I couldn’t even get out of bed and Joe woke up to me whimpering from the pain. I recognized it immediately from my ordeal two years ago…almost to the day. After icing it off and on for two hours, I was finally numb enough to get up, shower, and collapse into my desk chair to work. As soon as my last meeting was over, I was in my car driving to urgent care. I didn’t want to make the same mistake last time of waiting too long to treat my sciatica. To reward my efforts, doc said I didn’t need an xray or a steroid shot, but just a whopping dose of steroids to bring down the inflammation in my back. “Take these right away, like immediately when you pick them up at the pharmacy.” Um…okay, sure, why? “They have a tendency to cause horrible insomnia.” Okay, no problem. <<fast forward eight hours>> Okay, big problem. I tried everything last night to fall asleep, but I got maybe two hours total. I had to take another dose this morning, so luckily I’ve been wired all day, but I’m hoping for some rest tonight at least. The pain is almost all gone, which is the miracle I was hoping for.

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And that was my week.  And I’m ready to move on.

Friday Five: No Sugar Challenge – Week 5 (The Recap)

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

Salt or sugar on a teaspoon isolated on white background

Today, after 33 days, 13 hours, 39 minutes and 14…15 seconds (give or take a few minutes), I had my first bite of sugar in the form of frozen yogurt. Ben, one of my partners in no-sugar crime the last few weeks, said he was ready to break his fast and we felt like we should do it together since, after all, we had gone through it together.

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We had also agreed that we should give each other a non-food reward at the end of this challenge. Ben wanted an “Indiana-Jones-ish” journal.

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#nailedit. My choice hasn’t come yet, but I thought it was most fitting for the challenge.

Let’s talk fro-yo. Here’s my cup from tonight…

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Meager, right? Would you think I’m crazy if I told you that none of the toppings looked that good to me? I could barely pick the two I did (mango juice balls and crushed butterfinger bars). Who am I?!  Here’s what my typical fro-yo cup looked like earlier this summer…plucked straight from instagram.

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Shame! That’s probably a good 9-10 ounces. Today, mine barely broke 3. And it was enough. I was satisfied. It was so very sweet tasting, too. Like I had lost the taste or something.

This was the idea, right? My plan all along? To break myself of a powerful addiction. To tell myself that sugar was not the end-all-be-all to my problems?

I’d say it worked.

Today was a very stressful day at work. With two positions in my department still vacant and the other web person on vacation for two weeks, I felt swamped and overwhelmed and right around noon I got a killer stress headache. I sat at my desk, rubbing my head thinking of all the sugary things I would normally use to self-medicate, and realized that this was the first headache I’ve had all month since that very first week I went off sugar. I find myself prone to headaches and hadn’t realized they were completely MIA during this experiment until one creeped up today.

There have been big and little revelations like that throughout the last 33 days. Moments that have caught my breath; moments that have made me reflect long and hard about my lifestyle and the choices I have made and the ones I could make moving forward.

Here’s my final recap on the challenge and my thoughts on the future:

5. Who Am I?

I would say that my identity with my friends and my family is firmly cemented in a “foodie/baker” category. I bake for my friends; I cook for my family. The kitchen is where I love to be and I identify MYSELF that way. That plate of cookies is my I-love-you. Those enchiladas are my screams of you’re-so-important-to-me. They were also my “love me”s. (Hello, are you a therapist?) Food has been my love language for years. Take that away and I feel mute. How can I redefine myself? Do I need to? Throughout the last five weeks, I have ruminated on this point the most. Who am I if I’m not the one carrying the plate of baked goods into the party? The answer is…I don’t know, but I’m working on it.

4. Food v. Fitness

I wasn’t ever doing this challenge to lose weight, though I thought it might be inevitable once I cut out my main food crush. In the last 33 days, without changing my exercise routine of a few longs walks a week, I’ve lost 10 pounds. Five of those in the challenge’s first five days alone. The scale has had my attention. I really didn’t anticipate that I’d hit double digits and it has made me realize that in the never-ending battle of weight, what I eat is way more important to watch than how much I exercise. Both are crucial, yes, but do the math and eat better. (I’m mainly talking to myself here, but maybe a few of you need to hear it too.)

3. Moderate this

“Everything in moderation, including moderation!” Gag. This has never worked for me. After reading Better Than Before earlier this summer, I know I have an Abstainer personality—meaning that it’s easier/better for me to stay completely away from a bad habit than try to moderate its place in my life. Take Diet Coke. I have been addicted to the stuff before and have been totally free of it for two years come November. It’s easier for me to say a strong no than to have one once a week and pine for that one moment the other six days. Sugar has been the same way. Turning my back on it for 33 days will prove to be easier than me trying to incorporate portions of it back into my life. I know this, which is why I was a little scared to have it tonight. I almost didn’t want to face the demon. But…it ended up being fine and I feel completely in control. Which brings me too…

2. Even-Keeled

I have never felt better. My mood swings are gone. My mid-afternoon lull (nap time) hasn’t been a thing. My blood sugar never crashes leaving me hungry or aching for a sugar pick-me-up. I hardly snack because I don’t feel hungry. It’s foreign and it’s wonderful. I feel like my brain is clear and I can work harder/longer with more focus. This is the miracle drug we’ve all been looking for. Cut the processed sugar and feel the difference! The veil has lifted and I don’t want to go back.

1. 30 Days

As Morgan Spurlock taught us: You can do anything for 30 days. Researchers agree that doing something for 30 days will make or break a habit. When people ask me about being a vegetarian and are interested in trying it, I always encourage them to test it for two weeks. (That’s as long as I needed to be convinced it was the right choice for me.) I remind them that it’s not for everyone, but you’ll know in two weeks. It’s very much the same with this. I encourage and support anyone reading this to try being sugar-free for two weeks. It’s not forever, but it’s enough to make a difference and feel the change. Four weeks, though twice as long, wasn’t a death sentence and I’ve actually enjoyed it. 30 days might just change your life.

This is about as vulnerable as I can get on this blog, but I think it’s important to write about this challenge and shine the light on our society’s addiction to sugar and processed foods. I have a strong family history of diabetes and pounds to spare, so I know I’m at risk. It’s not too late to turn any train around. If you want to make a change, reach out; I’m with you 100%.

Thank YOU for all of your support and encouragement, especially my Aunt Pam and Ben who valiantly fought the good fight by my side and are still talking to me. And to Joe, for always being my #1 fan and loving me fully whether I am eating brownies or plain oatmeal. Life with him is sweet enough.

Friday Five: Math

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

In what feels like a Christmas miracle, both Joe and I had today off. Together. At the same time.

After last week’s hello-see-you-in-15-hours band camp and yesterday’s see-you-in-10-hours football game, it was drastically needed.

Here’s what added up to be a perfect day. No calculators needed.

5. Road Trip

We debated going on a little mini-vacay this weekend to officially say adios to summer, much like last year’s jaunt to Park City, but I was having trouble wrangling the troops (Joe and Bells) into spending a few days in Idaho, mainly to see Hemingway’s grave. Doesn’t that sound like fun?! Bueller? Bueller? After we threw in and threw out a lot of ideas, we finally settled on staying home, but doing something out of the norm each day. I love driving down to SLC together. It’s beautiful and it’s perfect for catching up since our phones don’t get service for half of it. #utahproblems

4. Good Food

Fellow foodie Trent told us about this great sandwich place downtown that donates a sandwich for each one they sell. Awesome, I’m in. We’ve definitely found a new favorite in Even Stevens.

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3. Shopping

There’s an awesome outdoor mall in downtown SLC that has a lot of our favorite shops that haven’t made it to our tiny town up north. We spent a lot of time just roaming, hipster watching, holding hands and arguing whether Joe should have this button-down shirt with Judy Doughnuts all over it in his closet. I say yes. It’s ironic! (Yep — that’s a men’s shirt…and yep — we he passed on it.)

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2. VEEP

One of our favorite things to do is binge watch a TV show together. Lately all of ours have been heavy and dramatic, so I suggested we lighten it up with VEEP. It’s perfection. I’ve cried from laughing so hard. Gary = Buster, and I love him. We’re plowing through Season 2 tonight.

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1. Work?

Other than a few emails, I’ve been able to blissfully stay work-free today. Hard to do when you work from home! It’s been the icing on the cake of this truly recharging day and the start of a great weekend.

Friday Five: No Sugar Challenge – Week 3

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

Salt or sugar on a teaspoon isolated on white background

I’m closing in on Day 19 of my 30 Day No-Sugar Challenge. Amazing. Two-thirds of the way there! Thanks to those doing this challenge with me and those that text or call asking for updates. I appreciate all of the support. It certainly hasn’t been nearly as bad as I was feared, but it’s nice to know people have my back in this.

Here’s an update on how it’s going:

5. Hide and Seek

Sugar is hiding everywhere. Some days I feel like I’m eating a raw-foods diet because so many processed foods have sugar. Salad dressings..forget about it. Cereal…OMG. Yogurt…wow. I feel like it’s stalking me.

4. Steps for Success

I was pretty thoughtful before I started this to figure out ways to eliminate certain temptations, like Instagram. I stopped following half of my list since they were bakery owners, ice cream makers, {desserts} food bloggers. I didn’t want to look at all of that sugary goodness all day every day. But, the exception to this rule has been Pinterest. I still love browsing through it every few days and somehow the never-ending scrolling past treats doesn’t bother me. It even makes me feel better some days. Isn’t that strange?

3. P.E.

Like I mentioned after Week 1, physically I feel awesome. It’s been such a learning experience for me, these weeks. To see that I don’t have to be irritable when my blood sugar drops…that my blood sugar doesn’t have to drop…that I don’t have to eat snacks to have more energy. I feel stable and consistent. Not exactly the describers I was going for when this started, but definitely ones I’m happy to have and keep.

2. Emo

Somehow during stressful times, or wake-up early times, I’ve equated sugar to feeling good. I’ve convinced my mind and body that to keep up with work and schedules and, during the summer, long rehearsals and performances, I needed sugar to keep me going. Totally not true. I knew it then…that’s why I’m doing this…but it’s so much more apparent now that I’m in the thick of it. Sugar does not bring me reward, relief or rest. (This has been my new mantra.)

1. To Be Continued…

I’ll do another recap when this is all said and done, but at this point I’m not sure when that’ll be. I don’t think I’ll have a binge on Day 31. I do think I’ll have cereal again, though. But, maybe I’ll keep some parts of it going longer as I figure out what’s next. To process what I’ve learned and channel my energy into making healthier choices and feeling better. I haven’t quite figured out what that looks like yet, but that’s my goal for this week.

Friday Five: Big & Small

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

As with every August, life is feeling much like a whirlwind these days. End of summer! Back to school! New season starting! It’s exciting and exhausting. Thrilling and terrifying. Where did the summer go? And why are wild fires in California making Utah so gross right now, making everything so much worse? Hashtag-can’t-breathe.

Here are all of the other updates–both big and small:

5. Reunion

Tomorrow I’ll be reunited with these guys after not seeing them since late June/mid-July. We have a lot of catching up to do over Boom Boom sauce.

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4. Scentsy

If you know me, you know I love me some Scentsy. Yesterday I changed out all of our scents and I’ve decided this to be a new favorite. It’s the perfect pre-pumpkinpalooza that usually triggers Fall for me, but still a detour from summer and a nice nod to back to school. The would be the little of the updates, but sometimes it’s the little things…

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3. Band Camp

Band Camp started yesterday and Lee arrived today, so it’s getting real around here. Looking forward to a great season and a lot of late nights for the Brothers Falvey this week. It’s like their adult-version slumber parties.

2. No-Sugar Challenge, Week 2

I’m almost halfway there! Noticeable differences from the me 12 days ago include: feeling less bloated (hate that word) in general…less puffy, losing weight and having more energy than I’ve had in months. Amazing. Too bad I miss the stuff.

1. Bella

This would be the big news of this post. Bella and I met with a new vet today to take a look at her ears and get a general idea on where things stand. The good news is that I loved the vet and her staff, and am relieved to have found someone I feel like I can trust. The other good news is that when examining her ears she said they look amazing for a cocker her age. Clean, not swollen, pliable cartilage (ew), and in better condition than she could hope. The bad news: There’s nothing to treat to fix her acute deafness.

As crushing as it was, I was thankful for the almost two months I’ve had to get used to the idea. The weeks I’ve had to cry and grieve and build my resolve. Bella has adapted much quicker and stronger than I have. In fact, other than her hearing, she seems almost normal in every other way. She’s still the happiest, most affectionate puppy. And for that, I’m grateful.

There were options of cranial x-rays and chiropractic care, but right now I think we’re going to stay the current course. If she was younger, maybe, but I don’t feel like putting her (or me) through anything else at this point.

We are adjusting to our new normal and it doesn’t look so bad when she’s in the picture.

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Friday Five: No Sugar Challenge – Week 1

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

Salt or sugar on a teaspoon isolated on white background

Yes, you are reading this right. Last Monday I started a month-long challenge to go without sugar. Not the strawberry kind, but the cookies, ice cream and cake kind. *shrug* Me…one who would always rather be baking…is currently on a spoonful-of-sugar hiatus. Take that, Mary Poppins.

I came to this idea on my own accord after some deep thinking about ways I needed (and wanted) to change my life. My sugar dependency came immediately to mind. But I wasn’t always like this. I’d say my taste for sweets definitely snuck up on me after I turned 30, which is unfortunate since that’s when my metabolism started waving goodbye. But the addiction is real and must be stopped.

I was once addicted to Diet Coke. I mean, addicted in the I-drink-at-least-six-a-day kind of variety. This was in college and in a moment of clarity (or insanity) one Christmas break, I decided to stop cold turkey. I remember that first day so well. The shaking, the headache, the anger, the crying, the frantic feeling of an addict without her supply. It was scary how out of control I felt. Needless to say, I no longer drink caffeinated soft drinks. One sip and I’m back.

I can feel myself pulling toward sweets the same way I pulled toward Diet Coke. It’s been a whopping five days since I last had sugar (in the form of a PB&J sandwich….but…still), and here are a few thoughts I’ve been stewing over.

5. Tendencies

I’ve noticed since working from home that when I find myself bored, or stressed, or thinking through a problem, I easily and all too quickly find myself in the kitchen looking for something sweet. I tell myself that I need its exciting burst of productivity and clarity, paying no mind to the soul-crushing low that inevitably will come an hour later. The first step in changing a habit is to recognize why it’s there and where it comes from. Hello, self awareness.

4. Energy

Let’s go back to those highs and lows of my addiction. It’s like an energy and emotional roller coaster that I’m sure Joe is thrilled I’m stepping off. I wanted to eliminate the manic mood changes I’d have when my blood sugar would crash and I also want more long-lasting, consistent energy. Those are relationship goals that sugar will never have, so I knew I had to dump it.

3. Food

I should be clear that I’m not cutting carbs. That’s a deal breaker for me. But, I am cutting out a lot. I also started tracking my food–writing it down before I would eat–and you’d be surprised how much less snacking I do just because I don’t want to see it on paper. Ha! Hey, whatever works! Breakfast has truly been the hardest thing for me to tackle. I don’t really want to eat (or cook) eggs every morning, so I’ve been making steel-cut oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries. It’s bland, but it’s working. I’m anxious to try fancier concoctions like this and this, minus the granola.

2. Cravings

These were bound to be around, especially in this first week, but I’m surprised at how minimal they’ve been. I had one stress-induced headache on day three–it was a doozy and one I would normally medicate with a jolt of sugar. Without it, I found myself grinding my teeth. #ew. Let’s not trade one bad habit for another. But, other than the familiar pang for a super sugary mocha iced coffee after my 5:30 wake-up call, I’m doing okay with everything else. Hopefully this resolve will last through the weekends, when I’m at my weakest and sugar = fun.

1. Goals

Things I want to accomplish with this challenge: I want to break my dependency on sugar for energy and feeling good. It does neither, at least not in the long run. I want to feel better in general. (Mind-blowing, I know.) I want to train new habits and find new foods that fuel me and not hurt me.

5 days down, 25 to go. Let’s do this.

Huge shout-outs to my sugar-busting partners in crime, Aunt Pam and OGE-bestie Ben. Thank you for doing this challenge with me, keeping me accountable, supporting my craziness and championing my end goals. You guys are awesome! Any others out there who want to jump on our no-sugar-added band wagon?

More updates as the weeks pass!

Friday Five: Cha-cha-cha Changes

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

Today I feel is the turning point of my summer. And I’m reveling in it by sitting at my desk, working on a new website for work while streaming Cincinnati Symphony & Pops’ incredible Lumenocity.

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Unreal. (Even with the bad phone photos from my computer screen!) Those are laser lights on the facade of their grand Music Hall building. You can watch it live tomorrow night, too, at this link beginning at 9:35 EST. It makes me so grateful that I get to work in the arts during such an exciting, groundbreaking time. Classical music is alive and well, my friends. Kudos to my friend Amy, and all of the other CSO staff who make events like this possible.

There’s been a lot of movin’ and shakin’ this summer, but today marks a return to normal and the start of some new “yay!” and “ack!” things. Here’s a quick (boring) update:

5. Carousel

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After seven weeks, I’m officially getting off the Carousel. It’s been a fun ride, but I need my life back like yesterday. Our last performance was today and I might have done a happy dance in my head as I packed up my horn.

4. Kondo’ing

I’m halfway through cleaning up my life and I’m anxious to finish the KonMari steps before school and seasons starts. Everything’s gotta go!

3. Work

Lots of changes coming at work: staff shifts, a completely new website and some interactive program notes that I’m spearheading. We’re less than a month away and it’s scary to think about the amount of work that needs to happen before Labor Day, but somehow it always falls into place.

2. Bella

No change here, but I am going to meet with a new vet soon to check her ears and get a new plan of action in place.

1. The No-Sugar Challenge

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Because I don’t have enough going on (ha!), I’ve decided that starting Monday I’ll go 30 days without sugar. I had my last iced coffee this morning and savored every drop. It might seem a little dramatic for someone who loves to bake (and eat) as much as me, but I know when I have a problem and I’m too reliant on sugar to get through my long days. I lack energy so I constantly pump sugar into my veins for a quick fix only to completely crash hours later. It’s been a vicious cycle and I want off. Hoping to break my addiction and find a new moderation for the future. Anyone want to join me? I have one more cake recipe to post from LAST MONTH, but consider that the last sweets recipe for a while.

Here’s to the last haul of summer and finding my normal again.

Friday Five: Playing Catch-Up

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

It’s been a month. A month of movin’ and shakin’. A month of almost constant visitors. A month of wishing time would slow down, but also hurry the hell up. A month of wishing Whoopi would tell me how Stella got her groove back. Because I can’t seem to find mine either.

I didn’t intend to take a break, but sometimes that’s just what’s needed. And here we are. A month away from where we were and, now, less than a month away from everything starting back up in earnest. …where’s that white flag?

A lot can happen in four weeks, so here’s the quick recap…

8. Sean & Wallis

We’re blessed with another summer with our BFFs and have been up to our regular shenanigans. I’ll post more about them in the coming weeks, but they’ve been a sanctuary for us.

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7. Play it Again…and Again, Sam.

Holding down a full time job and performing in a music festival has been the greatest juggling act of the year for me. So far it’s worked thanks to some flexibility and support on my boss’ end and it’s been fun to be performing so much. It’s like riding a bike…or a Carousel.

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6. Fourth of July

We’re digging deep now! We had a fun Fourth with Sean, Wallis and another local friend, Jason, with a low-key night of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, a vat of homemade mac-n-cheese, and a peanut butter chocolate ooey gooey cake. We also watched Team America. So, you know, we celebrated in style. And somehow I have no pictures to prove it.

5. Birthday!

Joe’s birthday was soon after the Fourth and we celebrated by working! And playing a show! And eating this cake! All the chocolatey, peanut-buttery and bourbony details coming soon.

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4. Visitors

After Emily, it’s been a revolving door of guests. First we had Joe’s mom and grandma, then one of my high school band directors (and great friend) was in the area visiting his daughter, and then it was my Dad and his family. Lots of trips to Aggie Ice Cream, which garners no complaints from us!

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3. Kondo Method

I started Kondo’ing my life! (See #11) It’s slow going, but it feels A-MA-ZING. This was the load of clothes I donated…three huge garbage bags. Like a huge weight off my shoulders. Can’t wait to do more and blog about it.

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2. Reader Fever

If you’re like me, books are the greatest escape, which probably explains why I’ve had one in hand constantly. Next week marks my next Shelf Life post and I’m excited to tell you about some surprisingly good finds.

1. Bella

Bella. Oh, Bella. When I last wrote, it was in the early days after her surgery when everyone was on edge after realizing she had lost her hearing. They and we were hoping it might be temporary, but at this point it looks permanent. This is 95% of my distress these days, as we’re both absolutely heartbroken for her…for us…for our remaining time together. This isn’t how I envisioned her final years playing out. Please keep her {and us} in your thoughts.

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And since we’re coming at you from Utah…Happy Pioneer Day! (or Pie and Beer Day!)

Friday Five: 2015’s Mile Marker 0.5

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

We’re halfway to a new year, which means it’s time to check in on those resolutions I set in place six months ago.

Truth be told…I’m not happy with my resolutions for this year. I’ve felt that way since I posted them here. I could have been a little more creative and specific, but that’s the beauty of this blog. Once it’s published, it’s there…living and breathing and holding me accountable.

Here’s where we stand:

5. Adventures!

I’d say we’re managing this one just fine thanks to that jaunt to America’s southern-most state. I hope this year will have more happy adventures, big or small, in the coming months.

4. Blog/Etsy!

Nope. Nadda. This one is not happening for me right now. With everything else going on (see #1), there are some days when I wish either (or both) didn’t exist. I’ve written about why I won’t let that happen…at least not now…but the urge is there and it’s strong.

3. Time Management!

This has gotten easier and though I’m still exhausted I know it’s other factors weighing on me rather than the wonky work hours.

2. Horn!

This is happening as I type. I’ve played my horn more this year than in the previous few and it’s been fun. Especially with Joe and Sean by my side and family coming up for our performances this summer.

1. Family!

In January I deemed 2015 the “Year of the Bella” and boy has it been. After being sick for 6-7 months, she finally was getting back to normal when we had to schedule a surgery last week to remove some benign growths that she was scratching and opening. Her surgery went well, but by the next day one of the shallow sutures had opened and we noticed she couldn’t hear anything. Turns out the ear treatment they gave her has this side effect…something it would have been nice to know BEFORE the surgery…and we’re hoping it comes back before the two-week timeline they gave us.

You don’t realize how much you connect and communicate with your pet through speaking until you can’t. I’ve spent the last 3 days and nights with her in the living room, sometimes just staring at her sleeping, my eyes glazed over with tears. I can’t imagine how scared she must have been to wake up in pain after surgery and not be able to hear anything. To be home and not be able to hear our voices comforting her. A few months ago Joe and I even made a list of all the words and phrases she knows (she’s got a higher vocab than most toddlers, I assure you) and to think there’s a chance I won’t be able to “talk” to her again rips my heart to shreds. We’ve shed an ocean of salt water for her over the last 8 months.

So as we hit this mile marker on the road to 2016, I’m not really looking ahead. My eyes are on my prize (Bella) and I’m taking it with her one day at a time. Here’s to tomorrow and continued recovery of her ears and my heart.

Friday Five: Signs of Summer 2015

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

This Sunday is the first day of summer. Despite all of our summer vacations already said and done. Despite me wearing shorts before mid-July. Summer…”Summer”…is just beginning. And, like last year, here’s how it’s feeling realer than ever:

5. Temples and Tacos

Tonight we will flock to the booths of homemade art and the food trucks slinging the best tacos and mac-n-cheese. It’s tradish.

4. Festival Frenzy

Logan’s annual opera-musical theater fest starts on Sunday. I’ll be playing more this season, which has required me to get my horn out of its case. Amazing concept.

3. The Vore-tex

Sean and Wallis arrive tomorrow. That’s the surest sign of both a good time and the start of the true summer. So thankful to spend our warm weeks with these wonderful friends.

2. Reunion

This week also has my college roommate, Emily, visiting! We haven’t seen each other in years, but it feels as though no time has passed. We’re looking forward to showing her Utah’s best. Here’s us on graduation day, 2004. More soon about her visit!

1. Home, Sweet Home

After what has felt like non-stop traveling for months, Joe and I are finally home. The suitcases are completely unpacked and put away. And that’s probably the best feeling of all. Let the easy livin’ commence!