Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Girl Named Hopeful

I, along with everyone in the country, have been thinking a lot about the Sandy Hook shooting a lot in the past week. When I first heard about it I was in shock that something so horrible could happen. I cried and hugged my kids. I go to bed every night and think about it. I think about the poor kids and what they went through. I think about what could have possibly been going through the shooters head when he decided to do that. I think about the teachers and how brave they were. I think about the policemen, fire fighters, first responders, anyone that was there and saw that, because I'm sure that's something they will never get out of their heads. And I think about the parents of children that were killed, and what they went through - what was their morning before school like, what were the last words they said to their kids, and how it's so unfair that their kids were taken from them so mercilessly. I pray for those parents every night, that God will provide them with whatever comfort he can in such a horrible situation, and help them to get through the grief and somehow find a light on the other side. It has made me look at my kids, my days, my time, my attitude a lot differently. I have always known, from my experience working at CMN, that I should never take my kids health for granted because it can change in an instant. But these kids weren't sick, it was so unexpected. You take for granted that you leave the house every morning and part ways with your family, and you will all come home that night. I'm making an effort to pay attention to my kids when they talk, to spend time with them (I haven't worked out at all this week while they are awake - but some of that could be from eating too many Christmas treats and being lazy...), to make them feel important, to not let the little things matter (mismatched clothes, spills on the floor, staying up past bedtime, taking an hour to eat dinner), and to have PATIENCE with them (I struggle with having patience!) I've realized they are only kids for so long - sing their song to them 20 times before bed, let them get up and get a drink 5 times before they go to sleep, let them watch "1 more Dora", let them have candy, buy them too many Christmas gifts. They will be teenagers in the blink of an eye and they won't want any of that, and they won't want to spend time with me because they'll be with their friends. 

These are, of course, things that I should always be doing, and it shouldn't take a tragedy to make me start. But it's so easy to get caught up in life, and being busy, and working, and you forget what's important and how fleeting it is. I want my kids to be happy, and have great memories of their childhood and the traditions we've started. I want them to be generous and kind to others, especially others in need. I want them to be nice to everyone, regardless of how that person treats them. I want them to be good friends to people.  I don't want them to take for granted what they have, because material things can be taken away in an instant (my house burned down when I was 16 and I lost everything. Possessions can be replaced, but people can't). In order to teach them what the important things are in life, I have to know without a doubt what I think the important things are in life. I want them to be happy with who they are, and confident in themselves no matter what they decide to do. Most of all, I want them to know they are LOVED. With the new year right around the corner, it's a perfect time to begin practicing these things. I can't be responsible for the evil people in the world and the decisions they make, I can only be responsible for myself and for the way I raise my kids. I'm hopeful - I know there is good in the world, and there is more good than bad. You have to help make the good though, you can't just sit back and expect to take the good. If everyone helped make a little good, everything wouldn't be so bad! I'm hopeful that my kids will grow up and help make good in the world. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Girl Named Runner

When I started running, it was on a whim. It was Christmas 2010, and I decided I needed to get rid of my baby weight. I went to the gym and ran a mile on the treadmill, and almost died. I started researching, and decided to try Couch25k, and set a goal to run my first 5k at the CMN Med Mile (I worked there at the time). I completed the program and ran/walked my first 5k in 44 minutes and some change. It was hot, I was miserable, I thought I was going to pass out and/or puke, and I hated it. But I kept going, but never considered myself a "runner". "Runners" do half marathons, marathons, triathlons, ultra marathons, but "runners" don't do 5k's. I continued my training, and completed 9 5k's between then and October 2012. My goal was always under 40 minutes - in August I finished on in 39:48. Then I changed my goal to under 35 minutes. My next 5k I finished in 35:21 (SO close!) but I ran the whole time, and gave it all I had, and I was SO proud of myself afterwards!
Me and my friend Heather, right before my PR 5k

 I decided to do a 10k, and started training doing Couch210k. The training was hard, with runs much longer than what I was used to (2 miles was as far as I ran unless it was a 5k race). I cross trained with P90X to build my legs up a bit. The first time I ran 5.7 miles was one of the proudest moments of my life, and the first time I believe I achieved a true "runners high". When I started running, if you told me I'd ever run that far I would have thought you were crazy. Then came the 10k, and I was SO nervous! I knew the worst that could happen was I'd have to walk, but I really wanted to do this right. Up to this point, I'd only ever finished 2 5k's without walking! My goal for the 10k was 1:20:00 and I started. I took it slow because I had never ran the full 6.2 so I wasn't sure what pace I could withstand for that long. I'm proud to say that I ran the entire time, with the exception of 3 water stations, and finished in 1:19:28. 
Me and my super-fast husband  (he finished in 53:00) right before the 10k

Again, when I first started running if you had told me I'd run for an hour and 19 minutes straight, I would have thought you were crazy! I still didn't consider myself a "runner", although I felt I was getting closer. It wasn't until I got my first running injury (torn meniscus) that I realized I am a "runner". Right after the 10k I had my knee checked out and the dr said to take 2-4 weeks off, and I couldn't believe it. I thought I would like to be ordered to take a break, but it wasn't that way. I felt lost, and I got sad and depressed. I was SO afraid that I would lose all my progress and all the hard work I'd put in would be gone. I didn't feel like myself (and it was only 2 weeks, ridiculous, right?!) but running has gotten so ingrained in my personality and identity that I didn't know what to do without it. Well today I had my first run in 2 weeks, and it was horrible (I only did 2 miles, but that's better than nothing!) and it was amazing at the same time. Today I finally feel like myself again, I'm running again and I feel normal. Today I am officially a "runner". I've decided to train for a half-marathon and I'm SO excited! I'm hoping to find a good one next spring to do, and if not I'll do the Bass Pro half next fall. Will I ever do a marathon? Right now I say probably not, but I said the same thing about a 10k and half-marathon a year ago, so who knows! I'm just glad to be back, and to anyone that loves running as much as I do, you will understand what this post was about. 

P.S. Below is a blog I found the other day, through another running blog I found. I immediately identified with her because we have SO much in common. She used to be overweight (although she's lost a lot more weight than I have!) she was bullied when she was younger and made fun of for being overweight, she started running and doing 5k's, and has now done 2 marathons! She is amazing, and I love to read other people's running stories and what motivates them. 

Chase Fear

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Girl Named Weight Loss Advisor

I pay $18 a month for Weight Watchers. A couple years ago (between kids), I thought I'd been on it long enough that I could do it on my own and stopped, and started gaining weight. There's something about the accountability. This January, I started taking it seriously, along with my running. Exercising is a MUST with any diet. It keeps you healthy, helps you lose weight, gives you more energy, gives you more self esteem, it has endless benefits. You just have to find something you can do, and set a schedule, and DON'T let yourself stray. If you take one day off, that leads to 2, and 3, and week, and a month. I run 3 days a week, and do P90X at least one day. I usually give myself Wednesdays and Sundays off. But I don't stray from my schedule (I have before, and didn't run for almost a month. It took me 6 months to get back to where I was). It's a common excuse to say "I'm too tired to exercise", but it's a catch 22 - if you MAKE yourself do it, you will feel less tired! And the effect is multiplied with more exercise. Yesterday I didn't feel like running, I felt like going home and putting on my pj's. But I made myself go out (running outside is MUCH harder than on the treadmill) and did 4 miles - and set a new record for my fastest 5K in our neighborhood (there are SO many hills it is a slow route), so after I did it I felt much better and was glad I did. I also set new goals for myself, and try new workouts to keep it fresh. I recently decided to do a 10K, and started training. It's mixed up my running enough to refresh it and make it exciting for me again. Another common excuse - "I have kids and work, I don't have time to exercise". Well, I have 2 kids and work full-time - you have to MAKE time. Do it before your family wakes up in the morning, or do it after they go to bed at night, or do it on the weekends when someone can help watch your kids. Even 30 minutes a few days a week is better than nothing. We make time for the things that are important to us, so that is a good way to evaluate what is important - watching tv or exercising? Checking Facebook, or exercising? You make the choice; I choose running. 

I think the key word is routine. Get in a routine with what you eat and when/how you exercise. It takes 6 weeks to make something a habit. You also have to reward yourself every now and then. Don't do it with food (although you need to have a treat every now and then) do it with something you like - buy yourself a new outfit when you reach a milestone, or get a massage, or go see a movie you wanted to see.  You just can't let yourself stray or get off course. I've lost 40 pounds since January, and it's because I've worked HARD, made myself exercise, and not eaten things I shouldn't eat. It sounds simple, but it's hard. I remember when I was in college and I hated it, my mom told me "It's not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it and have degrees, then they would be worthless". The same concept applies - It's not easy, if it were, everyone would be skinny and fit. But that's not the case! If you are one of the people that are motivated and dedicated, you will see the rewards and can be proud of how you look and what you've accomplished. 

I have a lot of friends and family ask me how I lost weight, and comment on my running progress, so I thought I would share my strategy. It all boils down to 2 words - HARD WORK. I also have to give my husband credit, because he also decided in January to lose weight and get in shape (he's lost over 40 pounds!), and his support and participation by my side has helped me more than he knows. I honestly couldn't have done it without him. I'm not at the end of my journey, I still have 30 more pounds to go. But I know I can do it, I just have to be patient. There will be setbacks, there always are. It's what you do afterwards that matters - do you give up and start eating what you want, or do you get right back on the diet? Yesterday I went to put on dress pants (I usually wear jeans to work, but I had a meeting so I thought I would dress up!) and the pair I put on used to be SKIN TIGHT, so much so that I could not wear them. They are now too big to wear!! I put on another pair, same story! I now have 1 pair of dress pants that fits, and they are almost too big. The feeling you get when all your clothes are too big, is wonderful! It's the only sure way to measure your success in weight loss, and have a tangible outcome. It does mean spending money on new clothes, but who doesn't want to do that?! 

The biggest goal for me and my husband is to be healthy for our girls, and teach them a healthy lifestyle. We want them to see us exercise and want to do it as well. We want them to eat healthy and continue this through their lives. We want to be around when we're older to see them get married, and spend time with our grand kids. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to guarantee this. Plus, we don't want our kids to have the "fat parents" at school! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Girl Named Relaxed

 We had a nice relaxing weekend at Covington Lodge (my boss' lake house) this weekend! We had it planned for a while, and it of course decided to rain ALL weekend, after being in a drought all summer. I appreciate the rain, I just don't appreciate the timing of the rain! We had planned to have a picnic, go on a walk and play outside all weekend - we ended up staying inside, watching movies and eating all weekend. It was still very nice and relaxing though, despite the fact that I probably gained 5 pounds!

Friday night we had a nice chicken dinner, and were able to eat outside on the covered deck - we of course had Sweet Baby Rays, because we love Sweet Baby Rays! (that is a reference to the last lake weekend with friends, anyone that was there will understand!)

Then we watched tv for a while, and the girls were so happy to be there! Claire was especially happy because she found a guitar to play.

Saturday night we made home made pizza. I am not a cook, I try, but it never works out well. This is how the pizza turned out - we still ate it, it wasn't bad, just a little crispy! Making memories...

We were able to build a fire in the fire pit Saturday night and make s'mores, so that was exciting! Sunday morning it was still raining, but while I was packing the car the girls went on a little walk - 

I think this picture represents our weekend well - minimal fighting between the girls, just good loving family time. It was exactly what we needed after the week we all had last week with Pete being gone and the issues he had getting home with the flight cancellations. Weekends like this help ground me - help me to appreciate what I have, and spend quality time with my family, and enjoy the girls while they are still small. I am so thankful for my little family! 

P.S. I would like to add - the low point of the weekend was on the drive home - Claire started crying and said "My mouth hurts!" then promptly threw up all over herself. (we should have known because Kylie said the same thing the last time she threw up). So we had to find a place to pull over, get her cleaned up, and luckily we had spare clothes for her to change into! We stopped and got her Cheez-its (the closest thing the gas station had to crackers, don't judge us) and a Sprite. She seemed fine after that...I think it may have been dad's driving on the hilly and windy roads from the lake! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Girl Named Guilty

Lately, with the girls starting preschool and Claire crying every day, I have been feeling more and more guilty for being a working mom. Kylie says almost every day "I just wish I could stay home with you every day, as a family" and it breaks my heart. I keep telling myself it's irrelevant because she will be starting kindergarten next year anyway, so staying home is pointless because she will eventually have no choice. Then I decided to train for a 10K, so my runs 3 nights a week have turned into at least one hour runs, so by the time we eat dinner, do baths and I run, Pete has already put the girls in bed so I feel like I'm missing out on the few minutes I get in the evening with them. There's a constant struggle with spending time with them, or doing things to make myself healthier and happier. Last night Kylie was complaining that her stomach hurt, and got up several times during the night, but didn't get sick. I took her to preschool today because she had no fever and no signs of being contagious, but she clearly didn't feel 100%. I sat at work all day and wished I was able to stay home with her and hold her and baby her so she would feel better, instead of sitting at preschool where no one cares if she feels bad. Then, my friend Erin posted a link to a blog on Facebook, and it was perfect for what I was going through:


It is worded so well, and goes through the guilt that both working moms and stay-at-home moms feel. I think a mom probably has guilt no matter what, because there's always going to be something we wish we did better, or we did more of, or we could do to be a better mom. I don't know any mom that sits down at the end of the day and says "I am a perfect mom and I did everything I wanted to do today, and couldn't have done it any better!" I so, I want to meet her! There are obviously merits of working and of staying at home, but I don't believe kids that are products of either environment necessarily turn out "better". It's a personal choice, and both are good decisions for different reasons. I choose to work because I went to college for 6 years to work. I enjoy working, it keeps me busy and keeps my brain working. It gives me a reason to dress up. It helps me interact with other people. It helps me appreciate the little time I have with my kids. I've thought about staying at home many times, but I know myself well enough to know I would wear PJ's every day, I wouldn't fix my hair, most days I wouldn't leave the house, and I definitely wouldn't interact with any adults besides my husband. I would be miserable. I'm lucky that all of my best friends are also working moms, so I am able to talk to them and share my feelings and they share theirs, and it really helps to have that support system. I know once the kids are in school it won't matter as much, but right now it's hard to leave the house for work on Monday mornings. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Girl Named Loving Summer

I haven't posted in a while, but a lot has happened! The girls started at a new daycare/preschool on July 2, Little Angels Learning Academy. After visiting and interviewing so many in Springfield, that is the one we finally decided on. It has a great curriculum, a lot of field trips, extra-curricular activities, healthy food, great location, and great teachers. The first day was fine because it was new and they were excited. The second day...not so much. They both cried and cried. It was the hardest thing we've had to do - we felt like we were abandoning them every day. A month later, Kylie has made a ton of friends - Kaylee, Kyra, Lauren, she loves it! She has gone to gymnastics, the park, rode her bike in sprinklers, and had so much fun. This is exactly what we thought she needed to get ready for school next fall, and it's perfect. Claire, on the other hand, still cries every morning and reaches for me, clings to my neck, and makes me feel like a horrible mom (she's a mommy's girl, so that makes me feel so much worse!). One of the reasons we chose this facility is because they have webcams in each room. Up until yesterday, Claire's did not work, so we weren't able to see her and how she is doing throughout the day. Yesterday they got it working, and she is doing great while she's there. She plays with the other kids, plays dress up, musical instruments. 
Claire playing dress up at school

So basically she's a faker and trying to make me feel guilty when I leave her! Plus, she's basically been sick since she started, with hand-foot-mouth and most recently tonsillitis/croup. I'm hoping we are really building up her immunity for when she starts school!

We finally took the girls to Nakato for the first time, which is weird because Pete and I go there all the time. Kylie went when she was really small, but not recently. 

The girls first time at Nakato!

Kylie went to see her first movie - Ice Age Continental Drift. Dad took off a Friday afternoon and took her (as part of her reward for not crying when we drop her off at school!
First movie!
And we had a mini-CMN reunion, and we met the Zoromski's, the Reaves (Dustin) and the Roeder's (Danielle) at Chuck E. Cheese one day. We ate and played games, and the best part was the girls getting up into the tube on the ceiling, and not coming down. Danielle finally had to climb up and rescue them. It was fun to get to see a couple of the kids that I miss so much from CMN!
Stuck in the tube, loving life

Driving a car


Finally, we went to the Butterfly Festival (along with the rest of Springfield, apparently!) It was packed, and super-hot. The "butterfly release" consisted of a few people letting butterflies out of tupperware containers. Had we known, we probably wouldn't have went. But, the girls had fun and got to play a little bit. 

Butterfly antennas

 This weekend we are going to breakfast with Dora at Silver Dollar City, so that should be fun! I can't believe it's August already, and the summer is almost over! We've only went to the pool twice, and White Water once! It can't be over! Pete and I had a nice, relaxing weekend at the lake house last weekend, although we had to cut our visit short because Claire was sick. We've gotten our basement completely finished, so we call it our "weekend home" and spend a lot of time down there, especially when it's 100 degrees outside!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Girl Named "4 years ago today..."

Dear Kylie,
   4 years ago today, your dad and I were preparing for you to enter the world and change our lives forever. We had no idea what it was going to be like to have a baby. When you finally came, we couldn't believe it! You were so beautiful and we instantly fell in love. Since then, you have grown into a beautiful, SMART, funny, caring little girl. You are the best big sis, you are always taking care of Claire and worrying about her. You love reading, and you can already read some books! You are quite the little artist, always drawing elaborate pictures of dinosaurs, flowers, and your family. You are SO smart, you are always asking questions about things and using reasoning I didn't know a 4-year old would have! You are very cautious in every situation - you think things out and you don't like to take risks or do things that scare you. Once you have made the decision to try something though, you always love it. You act like you like watching movies, but you usually only  make it through about 30 minutes. You love playing on the iPad, and would literally play for hours on the computer if we'd let you. You have a zest for life that most adults wish they had. You are always excited, and always learning. You love playing on the playground, going to Jump Mania and the Discovery Center. You like to pick out your own clothes (even though mommy doesn't always agree with your style!) You love princesses and dressing up. My favorite thing you do right now is put on a "rock & roll show" - you dance around and say "Oh ya! Oh ya!" You don't like most foods - you will mainly eat "chips and cheese" from Mexican Villa, Totino's pizza rolls, and sometimes chicken and fries. You will not try a new food, you absolutely refuse - even if you will get ice cream afterwards! Your best friend is Aaron, but next week you will start your new preschool, so you won't see Aaron every day. But I know you will make a lot of new friends, and you will learn so much! You are really excited to start your new school, and I know you will love it. 
   I am so lucky to be your mommy. I love you more than anything, and I am so proud of the sweet smart little girl you've become. I can't wait to see what the next years hold for you! Happy Birthday sweet girl, I love you!

Girl Named Mommy

P.S. I can't get the pictures to line up, so they're all wonky. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Girl Named "My baby is 2!"

Dear Claire,
   I can't believe 2 years has passed since you were born! I fell in love with you the second I saw you, and fall more in love each day. You are so cute, and so smart, and so funny. I can't imagine my life before you. You are such a big girl now - you're favorite phrases are "I do it!" and "I did it!" - you're VERY independent. You ask "why" after everything we tell you, and you want to do everything big sis does. You can count to 5, and say MOST of your ABC's. You know that you're "2" and you tell everyone. You have no fear, you will slide down the biggest slide into the pool or at the playground, you will climb something 10 feet tall without hesitation. Both of your knees are scarred and constantly have scabs on them, but you don't care. Nothing phases you. You will eat almost any food, and try anything once. You love baby dolls, and you LOVE dressing up! You wear a necklace almost everywhere you go. You aren't a big fan of reading books yet, you have too much to do and would rather be running and playing than sitting and reading. You love Dora (you call her "Bore"), and you love watching "TB" and "mobies". You are getting ready to start your new school next week, and I can't wait to see how you grow and learn, and how many new friends you make! You are almost potty trained, and I think when you start your new school you will learn quickly. Kylie is your best friend, and you follow her everywhere and do everything just like her. As soon as you get up, you look for her and you kiss and hug her every night before bed. You are so loving - I call you my monkey because when I try to put you down, you wrap your little arms and legs around me like a monkey! You love to cuddle and be held (by mom), and I love holding you! You give hugs and kisses all the time. You would rather sit on my lap to eat dinner, and eat off my plate instead of yours. You love "chips and cheese" from Mexican Villa, and we go there once a week, and get mints afterwards! You love the slides at White Water, and floating in the wave pool. 
   I can't wait to see what the next year brings, and how you change and grow! You are pretty small for your age right now - you are much smaller than Kylie was at your age, which has proven difficult when trying to recycle clothing! You are my little girl, and you will always be my baby, no matter how old you are. I am so blessed to have you, I love you more than anything! Happy Birthday sweet girl! 

Girl Named Mommy

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Girl Named Exhausted

 Well we have had quite a busy weekend! Friday I drove down to Rogers, AR to have a few meetings for work, then met Heather Z. (we had a race there Saturday morning) for dinner at P.F. Changs (favorite place ever!) and did some awesome shopping at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade. We stayed at a hotel then got up bright and early for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure!
Me and Heather before the Komen race!

 This was the biggest race I've ever done, there were probably 10,000 people there! There were so many sponsors, and they all had tents giving away samples and cool stuff - I came home with 2 bags of swag! The actual 5K was no good - it was SO hilly, one hill was impossible (for me) to run up - I checked my elevation change afterwards and it was 121 feet! My final time was 42:28, which isn't my worst time, but it's also not my best. I had really hoped for under 40. I just know that one of these races I'm going to feel super-good and run it in 35:00! (36:00 is my fastest time, but I think that course was only around 2.9 miles long) I had to start taking Amoxicillin on Thursday, when I finally went to the dentist for my toothache and found out it's infected. The Amoxicillin gives me a few undesirable side effects, including dizziness, so the 5K did not go as planned and I am really proud of myself for just finishing it at all! After it was over, and we visited all the tents, I drove back and picked up the girls at my moms, came home, showered, then went to Heather C. and Andy's house for Avery's 4th birthday party! She had a "fiesta" party, and it was a lot of fun (but there were A LOT of kids there, and I think if there hadn't been margaritas there I might have went crazy!) 

Claire wearing a super-hero mask at Avery's party!

 We came home and ate dinner and the girls crashed. Today we got up and cleaned the house until lunch, ate Mexican Villa (of course), went to Walmart, came home and I ironed all the curtains for the basement (16 total, 4 windows with sheers!) and we got them hung up (our furniture should be here soon, and I can't wait for it to be finished!) and I organized both the girls closets, and did 7 loads of laundry. I just sat down for the first time at 7:30 pm, and I am exhausted! We accomplished a lot though, so it was a good weekend! Now, back to work tomorrow - I have a Director of Marketing from an Ashley store in Mississippi coming this week to shadow me, and learn how I do everything. It is very nice because my boss told her boss that I do such a good job, so he's sending her up here to learn from me! I've only been here 3 months, so I hope I can teach her something and not bore her!

Neutrogena Review

I'm a BzzAgent, and received my first kit yesterday! It is Neutrogena, and it included 3 different shades of Revitalizing Lip Balm, an Eye Brightener, and an eyeliner. I was so excited! You can read my review up top (it's part of the agreement of being a BzzAgent, to share my reviews and thoughts on the products I try). I've always been a fan of make-up, and Neutrogena, so it was perfect for me!  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Girl Named Not Ready For Monday

Well this was a very fun and eventful weekend! 

I started Saturday morning off with the Pitter Pat 5K, it was a great course but I only ran it in 40:12. I was a little disappointed because my goal was under 40, and I had to walk 3 times because of these pesky side cramps. My next race isn't until April 28th in Rogers, AR, and I just downloaded a new training program, so I'm really hoping to run a lot faster in that one. After the race I came home and showered, then got my hair done (and it looks fabulous, thank you Shannon!). Then we took the girls to Rutledge Wilson farm for their Easter celebration and had pictures with the Easter bunny, saw the animals, went on a hayride, it was a lot of fun! 

Then last night Heather and I went to eat at Ophelias (we've made a commitment to go once a month to eat someplace we've never eaten, an "adventure"!) then went to Big Whiskeys and sat on the patio and talked. It was so much fun! 
   Today I was woken up with a phone call that my grandma was in the emergency room, with heart problems (she's had issues before and is on medication). I anxiously awaited news from my mom, to see if they were going to admit her and if I needed to go to Monett or not. They ended up increasing her medication and sending her home, so hopefully that will help her and she won't give us any more scares. So then we went to Walmart and to Mexican Villa (of course). Then came home, Claire took a 3 hour nap so I got in some good cleaning time (while Pete was playing golf). We grilled for dinner, and after that is where our night got interesting...right after dinner we went in to start baths. Claire was in her diaper and she sat down on her potty. So I took her diaper off and put her back on it. About that time, Kylie came in crying and holding her mouth. We were asking her what was wrong (thinking she bit her tongue or something) and she proceeded to throw up ALL over the bathroom. So she's crying, Claire is crying, Pete gets Kylie in the bathtub as I try to clean everything up. Claire gets up off the potty and slips in the puke (disgusting) and falls, so she cries even more (I might add that I also threw up while trying to clean everything up, I can't stand puke!) I get everything cleaned up and get Claire in the tub, and notice that she peed in the potty for the first time! Well, 10 minutes later is too late to praise her and get excited, so we missed out on that first. We asked her if she peed in the potty and she said "ya", so we acted excited and gave her a piece of candy, etc. but I don't think it had the same effect as if it were immediately afterward. Now I'm afraid she'll think every time she uses the potty, Kylie will throw up! Oh well, at least maybe she's ready to start potty training!
   I can't believe it's already Sunday night, our weekend went by so fast, as always. So back to work tomorrow (at least for a half-day, we are keeping Kylie at home so I'm going in a half-day then working a half-day at home). Next weekend is our 5 year anniversary, so I'm sure it will be fun too! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Girl Named Excited

     Apparently once a month is all I'm writing! Oops! I've been busy, blah blah blah. I'm approaching the 3 month mark at my new job, and I still love it! Andrew made a decision on our office situation, and signed a lease tonight! For the next year and a half we will be in an office building at 777 E Battlefield (across from Buffalo Wild Wings). Heather (Cotter) and I met Andrew to look at the offices yesterday, and they are special. They were built in 1987 and from what I can see haven't been updated since! But it's space, and it will work. I am still sharing an office with Andrew, and I think he's getting sick of me being in there! I am so excited - Heather (Cotter, I don't want you to get confused with Zoromski!) and I picked out my office furniture (working at a furniture store has it's perks!) and it's going to be awesome! Our offices are right next to each other, so we'll get to see each other and yell around the corner (reminiscent of my time at CMN!). We are hopefully moving in in the next 30 days, and I will have my OWN space! Then after a year and a half, we will begin building our new warehouse on MM and James River, with custom offices attached (I'm hoping for a much bigger office and a window at that point!). I'm learning things every day, and every day I'm there I feel more at ease and more like I know what I'm doing. I have a long way to go, but I'm getting there! I'm even taking a Photoshop class, and tomorrow is my second class, so that is exciting too. Andrew even has a lake house with 6 bedrooms, boat, 4-wheeler and 3D movie theater that he lets us use in the summer when we want to, so I can't wait to go there in July! I am just so blessed and so thankful that God gave me this opportunity, and it truly makes me realize how an employee can and should be treated. I couldn't be happier right now! Plus, I have all the furniture picked out that I want in the basement, and dining room, so as soon as my discount kicks in in 2 weeks, I'll be set!
     The girls are getting so big - I can't believe they will be 4 and 2 in June! 

 There they are before we went to Branson last weekend, so cute! (Kylie kind of looks like a pirate in this picture) Now we are trying to make a decision about to have or not to have a 3rd kid... the first two were a no-brainer, but the 3rd is a bit of a decision! Time will tell...
     I've gotten back into running, Pete and I ran a 5K 2 weeks ago (it was his first!) and I didn't do too well. I have one this weekend with Heather, and I know that I'm going to do much better. Heather and I are also doing one in Arkansas the end of April, and Pete and I are doing the All-Star 5K in Kansas City in July. My goal is to run the July race in under 35:00. I think I can do it! Pete has been running for 2 1/2 months now, and has lost 20 pounds and is running an 8 minute mile, and 4+ miles each run. I'm pretty sure I hate him :)
     That's about all I have going on right now, I think. Busy busy as always! I will try to write again before a month. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Girl Named Busy

Oh. My. Word. I have been SO busy, I haven't posted in over a month and a half! My new job is still fabulous, but I have so much to learn and so much to do. Since I've started I've learned how to use Photoshop (and I'm taking a class to learn more!) and designed a lot of signs, flyers and mailings. I've written scripts for radio and TV spots and gotten them produced, I've booked charities for the next year for our community nights, I've paid (what seems like) one million invoices for advertising and printing, I've helped to plan the next 4 months of events for all 4 stores, I've met with what seems like every media outlet in Springfield, I've given away 50 beds to kids in need through our Beds for Kids program, I've made 3 trips to Memphis (and enjoyed seeing my awesome friends I've made down there, and gone to do a lot of fun things with them!), I've doubled our Facebook fans, created a Pinterest page and a Twitter account...and that's just what I can think of right now! I am learning SO much, and still have SO much to learn! I previously had no idea how financing on furniture works, from this side, but now I've learned! It is so exciting, and kind of scary at the same time. I am not a person who likes to not know things, so this career change has definitely been a humbling experience for me! Last week we were honored with the title of "Fastest Growing Company in southwest Missouri" by the Springfield Business Journal, so that was super exciting for us, and it's exciting for me to have gotten in on the start of what is going to be a very successful growing company! 

The girls are getting big so fast! Claire all of a sudden started talking, and now says all kinds of stuff. Her favorites are "Awww, man!",  making the monkey noise, and singing "e...i...e...i...o". Kylie can read short sentences now, and spell a LOT of words, and count to 100. I just can't believe how fast they get big! It sounds cliche, but it's so true. I always say "the days are long but the years are short", and it is so true. I can't believe their birthdays are coming up in 3 months and they're going to be 2 and 4! And 1 month from today is Pete and my 5 year wedding anniversary, and in 3 months we will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the day we met! I can't believe it's been that long. The days are long but the years are short. We've both been dieting and he's started running, and of course he has the willpower of an ox (or something with a lot of willpower...) and has lost like 20 pounds, and I've lost a couple... But I'm so proud of him for deciding to make a change to be healthier and be with us for a long long time! We are running a 5K together for the first time next Saturday, and I'm pretty excited! I'm sure he will smoke me at the race, but we will start together and see each other at the finish, and that's what matters. We are also doing the All-Star 5K together in KC this July, and I'm REALLY excited for that one (we get an All-Star finishers medal!).

Hopefully I will find time to write more often now that I'm more settled in with my new work-life! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Girl Named Elated

That's not a word I throw around lightly - I am absolutely beside myself with happiness right now! My new job is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Today was my 2nd day of training in Memphis. I wanted to blog the first night I got here, but we didn't get in until about 11:30, and went right to bed. Unfortunately, we were rudely awoken about 1:00 am by a piercing fire alarm. We thought it was just ours, then realized it was the whole hotel. We slowly evacuated our room and went outside and found 3 fire trucks. After waiting about 10 minutes, they called the all clear and said it was someone on the 3rd floor that burned popcorn. We seriously considered finding that person and doing them harm. We then went back to bed and got up promptly at 6:15am. 

Monday we went to the ad office here that does the advertising for 21 Ashley Furniture Stores total, all in the Covington family. I met everyone, and they are absolutely the nicest people in the world. I love them all. I knew they were my people when at 9:30 in the morning they began discussing what we were eating for lunch, and at 11:00 they decided we needed to leave soon to eat (just like home, Heather and Kelly!) because everyone was starving. I knew I would fit right in. We went to Patrick's, a local hole-in-the-wall-amazing-cheeseburger-and-mac cheese place (so much for my diet). I got to work on schedules, I got to sit in on an ACTUAL script revision and writing for ACTUAL tv commercials (I know, I'm easily excited, but this was easily the highlight of my day!). I learned how to make a quarterly advertising calendar, and made my own budget for 2nd quarter ads. We then went to Benton Grill, another local hole-in-the-wall place, where they serve an amazing "basket of fried heaven" meal, that one in our group was WAY too excited to get! Then Heather (my new friend and co-worker, the Director of Merchandising for our 4 Ashley stores) and I came back to our room and discovered the Bachelor was on, so of course we had to watch it. We laughed so hard at those girls and had so much fun, then discovered neither of us had watched the first two episodes, so we grabbed the iPad, propped it on a chair, and proceeded to watch approximately 5 hours of the Bachelor (until midnight, I might add) and finally went to bed.

Today I went back to the office and worked with an awesome girl named Mandy who taught me SO much about advertising, media buying, production, placement, promotion...I could go on and on, she is amazing. When Andrew dropped me off at 8:30 he of course had to let everyone know we were all meeting at noon at his favorite restaurant here, called Leonard's (he also organizes his day around lunch, and I love that). All 15 of us went to Leonard's, which is - you guessed it - a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant (that's been on the Food Network!) that is famous for it's ribs and catfish. I went in a little skeptical when I saw it, but let me tell you - it was the best food I've EVER had in my life! Ribs, catfish, potato salad, baked beans, fried okra, chocolate cake...(there goes my diet again) and I wanted to move in and live there. Tonight I wasn't really hungry, so I just got something at Wendy's (that, and my friend Heather went back to Springfield tonight, so I'm alone now!)

I know this was lengthy, but I wanted to write it so I will always have the names of the restaurants, and always be able to relive my first days at this job. Andrew, his wife Tammy and son Cash, David, Jarrett (sp?), Heather, Kim, Mandy, Katie, Lauren, Chad and of course Arnie - are some of the most amazing, hospitable, welcoming, helpful, caring people I've ever met. It is such a change to be treated this way by my superiors, I truly am so thankful that God has very much blessed me with this opportunity. I can't imagine anything better. I will write again before I leave Friday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Girl Named Nervous Nellie

Well, tomorrow is my last day at Children's Miracle Network. After 8 years, I've taken a new position as the Marketing Director for Ashley Furniture. I am so excited to start my new job doing something I love, but I am really sad to leave CMN. The circumstances surrounding my departure are less than favorable. They result from a decision made by one person, that has affected a lot of people's lives. I hope it gets better at CMN, but I can't stay to find out. I am SO nervous to start my new job though! I leave Sunday night for Memphis, and I'm staying for 3 weeks to train (I will come home on the weekends). It's much farther than I've ever traveled alone, and is way out of my comfort zone. I guess that's part of growing in life and becoming successful. I hope I'm good at the job and I hope I enjoy it, it's going to be a lot different. Not to mention Pete has to be Mr. Mom while I'm gone, and has a lot of responsibility to take on. For that, I will be forever in his debt and I love him more than he knows for being so supportive and so willing to help. I hope the next 3 weeks go smoothly and quickly for both of us, and we can return to normalcy soon!

I'm really going to miss my job at CMN, the families we work with, the sponsors I work with, and all the relationships I've built over the years. It's the end of an era, but I'm the last one to go. Everyone else has moved on and I have to as well. I have very fond memories that I will never forget. A lot of major life milestones happened while I worked there - got engaged, got married, had Kylie, had Claire. The people I worked with are some of my best friends, and I know we will continue to be friends. Actually saying goodbye to my office tomorrow is going to be hard.

I stayed home today because Claire had a fever and diarrhea, and I am going to go in in the morning to get the rest of my things but then come home because Claire is throwing up, so we can't take her to the sitters house. It's not how I wanted to leave, I feel like I need proper time to close things out, but now I don't have a choice - I have limited time left. I wish that Claire wasn't sick at this moment, but I can't change that. I also feel bad leaving Kristen there in the situation, but I think she'll be fine. 

I am just very stressed and nervous and emotional right now, but I know that once I get started at the new job I will never look back. I will always support CMN and it's mission, and believe in the good that is done in the community. I just can't support current leadership and the decisions they are making. My new boss is wonderful, and I know we are going to get along very well, and I will be appreciated. I can't wait to fast forward 6 months when I've learned the job and am settled in and my life can finally calm down a little bit.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends (you know who you are!) for supporting me through everything the past few months, and I will pay you back one day! Ultimately, I am very blessed to have had the job I've had for 8 years, and have found another good job to go to. I'm blessed to have my friends and family, and our health. I couldn't be happier or more excited about our future!  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Girl Named Optimistic

Well, it's the first day of 2012! 2011 was a pretty good year overall, but not my best. Didn't get the promotion at work and things have been rough since. 2012 is already promising to be better, I can't announce anything until Tuesday, but new opportunities have been presented and I'm very excited!

Pete passed the first two parts of his CPA exam in 2011, and will pass the rest in 2012! This will allow him to really grow Priority Tax Solutions in the coming years. I'm so proud of him for all the hard work he's put into his business and getting his CPA.  

I started running in 2011, completed 4 5K's and lost 20 pounds. I can't wait to see what PR's 2012 will bring me, and what fun races and fitness levels I will reach - hopefully more weight loss!

Our basement is SO close to being finished, after 2.5 years of hard work and a lot of money. It will be so exciting to have double the space to use as living space - another bathroom, two more bedrooms, an office, a storage area, a bar, a living room... I just can't imagine! 

Now that we are finished having kids, we can really enjoy Kylie and Claire and take them to do fun things, and watch them grow up. I can't believe that Kylie will be starting school in a year and a half! We are planning on putting her in preschool a couple days a week next fall to get her ready, although she's already breezing through her Kindergarten workbooks!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my week off from work (technically 10 days) and enjoyed spending time with friends and family. One more day left until back to work! I am just so optimistic about 2012, we called 2011 "The year of the Edwards" and we're calling 2012 "The year of the positive changes" and I know it will live up to it's name. 

I have learned so much this year  - humility, patience, grace under fire, class, compassion, sympathy, how to handle stress, multi-tasking, and a lot of new emotions!  I've learned who my true friends are, and who I can count on to be there and who doesn't care about me as much as I thought, and to be honest, I was surprised by a lot of people! I've also learned that a lot of people who I thought were acquaintances turned out to care for me a lot and think very highly of me, and have really come through for me when I needed them. I've learned a lot about myself and how I handle situations I'm presented with, and I can say I'm proud of how I've conducted myself, and I don't regret anything. I have learned that you are ultimately only responsible for yourself and how you treat people, and you can't be in charge of how others treat you, only how you react to how they treat you. Most of all I've grown closer to God this year, and I hope to continue that relationship in 2012. I appreciate 2011 teaching me these lessons that I can take with me into the next years and grow in my personal life, professional life, and social life. I can't wait to see what 2012 is going to teach me, I know it won't all be good, but it will all be something I can learn from and I never want to stop learning. Bring it on 2012!