Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 and some landmark to-dos

I have really gone back and forth about making resolutions for myself in 2015, but after some thought, I realized that I really like setting goals for myself. It is cliche to set these big goals for New Year's, but it just makes sense! I wouldn't be me without having a few things in mind that I would like to accomplish in the next year.

Below you will find my goals, concisely bolded for those that may not enjoy my rambling prose (is rambling prose an oxymoron? Ha.) Rambling is therapeutic for me. Don't judge.

Exercise consistently throughout the year. Consistently being the key word. For the past two years, I worked out very consistently 3-4 times per week from January to approximately October, then, after October, it all fell apart. In 2013, I was in my first year of teaching and from August to October, I was always training for something (Capital Pursuit 10 miler and then a half marathon in October). After the training was over, I let the stress of teaching take over. November is a stressful month in my building and then December brings about its own unique challenges personally and professionally.  I think everyone is just trying to get to winter break in one piece. I found that 2014 was no different. I worked out consistently until October and then, I just stopped. Last year I had a wedding dress to fit into and I knew I would be looked at by 200+ people, so that really motivated me to get in shape. In 2015, we hope to get pregnant, and honestly, for me personally, that might be more of a reason to drop some extra pounds and get into shape. I am terrified of putting on weight from being pregnant, and I know that if I am not in shape when I get pregnant, not only will it be hard to exercise throughout pregnancy, but it will be hard to lose the extra weight.

So, um, that naturally leads to another goal of 2015. Get pregnant. I am hesitant to talk too much about this goal of ours because my heart aches for those that struggle with infertility. I am not assuming this will be easy for us, and I realize that this goal is not controllable. Obviously, we do what we can to control it, but at the end of the day, there is a plan that I am not privy to knowing. I trust that plan. What I will do, all I can do, is take care of my body and be kind to myself.

My next goal is a financial goal. I have really, very willingly, given the financial reins to Bill in the terms of managing our finances, but we both agree that we need to be a team. We need to hold each other accountable to our spending and we need to continue building up our savings. Money stress is the worst kind of stress for me. It takes over my thoughts and turns me into a different person. I can feel my chest tightening up just writing about the stress over money. I hate it. When we have money saved for emergencies, I feel much better. I would love to take Bill Ramsey's course Financial Peace University this year so we can work on becoming better at taking care of our marriage and avoiding fights over money.

In the second year of teaching we are required to complete a portfolio. It is due before spring break and is a list of 10 standards, with several sub-standards underneath that. Each standard requires an artifact that demonstrates how you have met that standard. Overall it is about 43 artifacts, with captions. My goal was to finish my portfolio by the new year, but that is clearly not happening. My new goal is to complete my professional portfolio by the end of January. I. Can. Do. This.

In 2014 I read a measly 35 books. Much different from the 57 books in 2011 and 71 books in 2012, however, 2014 was BUSY. We planned a wedding where we did everything ourselves (except the cake. I thought about making a cake, but then realized, I don't bake well). We bought a house and combined two lives (and stuff. Lost of stuff). We were busy. I was busy. Reading for pleasure was a luxury that my scattered brain had a hard time focusing on. In 2015, I want to protect my reading time and will aim to read an average of one book week and read 52 books for the year. 

That's it.

What is one big thing you would like to cross off your to-do list in 2015?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Miles, Looks, Music, Movies & Books - November

I have not done a MLMMB post (inspired by Lisa) since September. Not because I did not want to, but rather because I forgot. The past few months whizzed by and I cannot believe I have one trimester of my second year of teaching done. I have learned so much and made so many changes to the way I go about my job, but that is a post for another day!

Also, did you notice? I added a new category. Movies!

Zero miles. Yep. Zilch. However, if I had kept track of the number of miles I have done of Zumba, I am positive it would be high! During the month of November I took at least 3-4 classes each week, and with Zumba burning 500-700 calories per class, it is just as good of a workout as running is. I do miss running though and plan to begin again soon.

For the month of November I had a goal for myself to repurpose some of my summer clothes and turn them into winter looks. I only made two outfits, but I got so many compliments on both of them! For some reason, I can only find one photo... I must have accidentally deleted the other!

Also this month I won a free pair of Zumba compression capris and I have been wearing the heck out of them!

I will definitely continue this challenge of Summer-to-Winter outfits into December.

Nothing really new here ... I'm still loving Taylor Swift's Shake It Off (I admit it) and really wish that her new album was on Spotify. I just can't see myself buying an actual cd... Other than that, I'm gravitating towards more upbeat tunes that I can dance to.

We did not see any movies in the theater, but we did watch The Giver at home and we both enjoyed it! There were many differences from the book version, but I think they did a decent job. However, I still strongly encourage everyone to read the FIRST.

November was a little crazy between state testing, report cards and parent/teacher conferences so my reading was a little on the slow side. I finished four books, which honestly, is very good.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (it was okay, but was easy to put down)
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (awesome! Hard to put down)
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (just okay. Easy to put down)
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (ehhhh. Very easy to put down)

How was your November? Stay tuned for a recap on my November goals!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


A loving and supporting husband.
A loving and supporting family and new family.
Health and fitness.
A desire for health and fitness.
Close friends.
Knowledge and opportunities.
Twenty-eight healthy, happy children in my classroom five days a week.
A warm bed.
Two furry friends that love us more than life.
A love to read.
Brick and mortar bookstores.
A wedding we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Not being in debt due to a wedding. 
A sturdy and warm home that we own.
Blogging and the people that come with it.
The Internet.
Transportation options.
Clean water.
A career and position I love.
A city that I love.

There is always so much to be thankful for. Of course I try hard to be thankful all year, but it is nice to create a list in this moment of what I am truly grateful for.

What tops your list this year? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Love that I am off work for five days.
Hate that these five days are going to fly by.

Love that I have today off.
Hate that to get this day off, I had to exhaust myself last week with several double-digit hour work days to prepare and conduct parent/teacher conferences.

Love that I got my new Plum Paper planner in the mail yesterday.
Hate that I have to wait until January to use it.

Love how pretty the snow is during this time of year and am grateful to live somewhere with four distinct seasons.
Hate the ice and slippery conditions that almost 100% of the time come with the pretty snow.

Love that Christmas is coming up and I am beginning to think about gifts for loved ones.
Hate that such a special and significant religious holiday has been taken over by consumerism.

Love that I have so much reading material to dive into over the next several days.
Hate that my attention span is about the size of a gnat these days.

Love that I discovered through a mutual friend (and not on a social networking site) that a dear friend of mine is expecting. Yay, babies!
Hate that so much tends to be communicated through social networking these days. Phone conversations are so refreshing when they do happen.

Love that I got all my Christmas cards from Walgreens for less than $30.
Hate that I now have to address them and send them out (along with all of our wedding thank you notes).

Love that my husband is so frugal.
Hate that my husband is so frugal.

Love that there are so many plates of yummy food everywhere this time of year.
Hate that that yummy food loves to settle in on my waistline (and bum and thighs ...)

What are your loves and hates today?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Club Friday


It has been awhile since I linked up with Heather and participated in Book Club Friday! No better time either, because I just finished a book for my book club last weekend and I ADORED it.

In just a little over 24 hours, I devoured The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. This book was such a charming, sweet novel and it is one that I am definitely sad is over.

The main character, AJ Fikry is a bookstore owner and recent widow. He lives on the fictional Alice Island off the east coast (I believe) and lives and breathes Island Books. He is the worst kind of book snob though ... so much so, that his snobbishness really turned me off at first. However, his quirks become lovable and it did not take long for me to wish I had an AJ in my own community and a bookstore just like Island Books.

Some of my favorite parts of this book were the book references. Everything from The Book Thief to Mark Twain to my absolute favorite book, American Wife was mentioned and I just loved that! It's always a thrill to read a book about books that mentions books you have already read, no? Maybe it's just me ...

If you're looking for something quick and easy to read, but still with a good level of substance, do not pass up this charming novel. I promise you will not regret it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wedding Wednesday

I have the best friends in the world that created the sweetest scrapbook for me documenting our wedding day!

This lovely tradition of scrapbooking started in my group of friends over 10 years ago for birthdays. We were all in undergrad and probably poor, so we began putting together scrapbooks for birthday presents! We do not do it for every birthday, but we do tend to put them together for special occasions. Such as weddings (totally just typed weedings).

Take a look at what they came up with for me! I love it!

Sorry for the glare!

This was my first "Wedding Wednesday" post. I'm not sure if I will post more, but we'll see!

Do you like to scrapbook? I'm not a huge fan of it, but I do really enjoyed the finished product!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Earlier in the month I made a goal for myself to purchase less than 5 books during the month of November, and the books I do purchase, they must be used.

I'm doing great with the used portion of my goal, but the only 5 books portion? Not so much.

Between Friday and Sunday I visited Half Price Books twice due to their big 40-50% off coupons that were out. Here's what I purchased ...

First, let me tell you a story...

Friday night Tracey Garvis Graves was going to be at Beaverdale Books for a signing (she's from Ankeny) and I was really excited to meet her! I loved On the Island and it's sequel (a novella) called Unchartered. I didn't love Covet, but it wasn't terrible by any means!

So, I planned to go and get my book signed. Then, I realized that I didn't read OTI as a physical book. I owned the ebook. Can't really get an ebook signed!! So, I hopped over to Half Price Books in hope that they would have a cheap copy instead of dropping $14 on a book at Beaverdale Books that I had already read.

$4.50 later, I'm happy with a physical copy of OTI and headed to the signing with my mom in tow. We get up to Tracey's table and she opens my book to sign it and .... dun, dun, dun ... it's already signed.

Talk about embarrassing. I quickly made a joke about needing a copy of her book because my copy is an electronic copy and could she just sign my iPad instead? I don't think she was too amused. :(

I have been to a lot of signings, and that is only one that I wanted to crawl under the table and just die. Most embarrassing moment in A LONG TIME. 

As you can see, now my book is signed TWICE. Oops. 
Great book ... definitely worth checking out if you want a quick, easy beach read.

They were giving away these amazing cookies!
Yum. I would like another one Right. Now.

What about the second trip to HPB, you ask? Just hold your horses. I'll get there.

Friday I got a notice from the library that Shopaholic to the Stars was available for me to pick up. When I  got to the library, I had two more holds also waiting for me. Will I get to these before they're due? Probably not. However, I am sure I'll read the Shopaholic book. I can't remember the last book in that series that I actually liked, but I can't help it. I love me some Becky Bloomwood and just keep hoping ...

Maybe I can squeeze in The Vacationers over Thanksgiving break. I have heard it's good!
 My second trip to HPB was to find a copy of The Indian in the Cupboard for our next read aloud in my classroom. We are getting close to wrapping up Wonder by RJ Palacio (sob!) and the kids have LOVED it so much. I know I need something amazing to follow it up. They are loving the realistic fiction, but I know I need to mix up some genres, so a fantasy book it is!

The Indian in the Cupboard was huge when I was a kid, but I'm not going to tell the kids that ... I'll let them think it's new. As soon as they catch wind that it is an "old" book, it's like all appeal is GONE. Poof. Just like that.

Makes me crazy.

I also picked up a copy of The Devil's Arithmetic (never read it) and Tatiana  De Rosnay's newest (used my 50% off coupon on that one). I adored Sarah's Key, so I am hopeful that her newest is just as good.

This weekend I also read an entire book (which I will be talking about on Friday). What an amazing, bookish weekend! Perfect for the weekend where we got our first significant snow.

What books have you picked up recently?