Monday, January 4, 2016

One Year Ends...Another Begins

This really isn't going to be a traditional New Year's post with a list of resolutions. Yes, I have ideas, plans and goals for the new year, but I think I will be unveiling them in a less traditional way this year. To be completely honest, I have become super self-conscious about stating my goals on this blog. I started this blog to help me be accountable, but as I have "failed" (for now) at achieving my main health goals, it feels a bit disingenuous to say "here is what I am going to do" yet again. Please bear with me as I work my way toward making this the "the" year.

First, I want to tie up this past year. I got a promotion!!! I am no longer an "okay" aunt...I have been promoted to "great" aunt, as my eldest niece had her first baby on Dec. 29th.  We arrived at the hospital just after her birth (planned early morning c-section because the baby was breech). We got to spy into the nursery as they performed their initial observations, which for a large part of the time didn't look like she was being observed. From what I could tell they wanted her to clear out her lungs...and that she did :)  Birth can't be an easy thing.  Poor pink baby just hanging out in her strange new world while my baby sister/new grandma looks on..
This was the moment I think that hit me the hardest - holding her daddy's finger. I wanted this so much for my husband. As much as we are enjoying the new baby it is truly bittersweet. I think this moment reminded us both how hard our loss has been on my husband, as well as myself.
One more thing....I haven't actually asked my niece about her social media preference for her baby, so I am limiting them (for now). But how could I resist this picture from her first at home bath?

After my niece was out of recovery and she had a chance to feed the baby, we finally were able to see and congratulate the new mama. Then my sister and I hit the road for a two hour drive to my nephew's wrestling tournament. It was his second tournament of the year and though it didn't go quite as we hoped, there is much to be optimistic about for his season.


Now it is time to move into the new year. My husband and I have restarted a morning walk/run routine. It was nice over the weekend to do it together and in the daylight. There are very few pictures because I was drawn into how nice it was to walk and talk together about some our goals for the year and life.
My husband and I had differing opinions on this little Christmas tree. I thought it was cute...although that one little red helmet ornament really bothered me. Overall, my husband was not a fan.
I finally got a picture (sorta) of this guy. He is always chained in his front yard and usually lies next to the house. He watches your approach and then just as you get in front of the yard out he lunges. Millie cries like a baby when she sees him - she is desperate to play and I am sure this dog would love that too. I have never taken a picture of him before because it all happens so fast.
Like many others I presume, I am working through some organizational goals this year. Although it is only day three there is one particular habit I started that is already paying dividends - Nightly Notes. I have a small notebook by my bed. When I get in bed for the night, I take a moment and jot down what I would like to accomplish the next day...a mini to-do list of sorts. For example, day one - hang a picture I got for Christmas, set up DVD player in living room (so I have room to do workout DVDs), walk, grocery shopping etc. I think it is going to be helpful for my husband to have some notice about what I would like to accomplish or have planned and what I might ask him to do. In addition, we have resurrected the 15 minute plan.  We each spend 15 minutes picking up or doing some general cleaning task. For example, yesterday before bed I tidied the kitchen and living room. My husband did his earlier in the day - I think he swept up two or three puppies worth of our perpetually shedding Rottweiler's fur.

I am including fun things on the to-do list too. Through a Christmas gift - homemade vanilla extract - I discovered I could make homemade extracts. I had never considered that before. So while picking up groceries I purchased my first ever bottle of liquor. I have never been a drinker and I've only ever bought an occasional wine for cooking. And yes, I know the cashier only carded me because they are required to card everyone :)

I decided to try citrus extracts first - orange and lime this time. The process is super easy. I consulted several websites and the ingredient amounts varied. I averaged them out and started with 1/2 cup vodka and the zest from large orange and a large lime. It sounds like it will be easy to make adjustments when it has steeped for awhile - add more zest or add more vodka.
I need to get a better zester. I used a vegetable peeler and then tried to scrape of any excess pith. Hopefully, I was successful or there is going to be some pretty bitter extract in my future.
Ready for a cool dark spot. In my case, a cabinet in my utility room. I have already swirled and sniffed them several times since Friday, but that is not required :)
Sunday morning I indulged one of my other passions - photography. I have a friend who loves photography too and we try to plan different photo outings together. We planned one for Sunday, but had no idea where we were going or what we were shooting. She was feeling "rural" so we drove around on some back roads to see what we could find. I have been struggling with my photography confidence lately. I think I so badly want to have something that is special and unique about me and for a long time photography was my thing. However, now that "fancy" digital cameras are much more affordable and decent cell phone cameras are everywhere that uniqueness has faded. Everyone is a photographer now. So, I wasn't really feeling good about the outing, until...horses :)




We found this somewhat ironic irrigation system in a flooded field.


We visited the prairie project. It appeared to have been recently burned in parts, readying it for next year's growth.
This weekend we eased into some healthier eating. I have heard several people mention that it feels good to "feel hungry" again after all the holiday excess. I think I agree, but haven't gone hardcore tracking until today so we will see how "hungry" feels over the next few days as my body adjusts to the end of the feeding free for all.

I grabbed a quick sandwich to eat on my way to see the baby on Saturday. I got to the car door and remembered we had agreed to not in the new car. But it is only a little sandwich with no condiments - how messy could that be?? No one will know. Except me. So I stood outside the car finishing my sandwich...wonder what the neighbors thought :) Incidentally, not eating in the car should be very helpful to my weight loss goals - I bed we have all done some serious eating in the "privacy" of our cars. .
I have been obsessed with Mary's (at Runs to Get Waisted) cheese plates lately. I love this type of eating - picking and choosing combinations, eating with my hands and, of course, cheese.  Okay, I admit it sounds all so refined and sophisticated and I would like to feel a bit more sophisticated at times - it may be too late for refined though :)  I decided to make a plate for our lunch/football viewing on Sunday using what I had on hand. This is what I came up with: Wheat Thins, shaved Parmesan (for salads), garlic summer sausage, Manchego cheese, sharp cheddar. According to my Googling cheese plates should have hard and soft cheese. The only soft cheese I had was some cream cheese leftover from a holiday recipe. I found an unopened jar of Harry and David's Pepper Onion Relish in the pantry and a jar of Peach Chutney from a trip to Georgia in the fridge. (Note to self: cleaning/organizing the pantry/fridge on New Year's Day was worth every bite.)  We smeared a bit of cream cheese on a Wheat Thin and topped with the relish or the chutney. So good. My husband loved the Pepper Onion Relish - it had a nice bite and sweetness. It was a fun meal and we will be doing it again.
In the "things we did not eat" category..... I saw these at Walgreens Sunday when I went to pick up a million pictures we had printed for my niece. A million is an exaggeration, but between all the phones/cameras I know there have been at least a 1000 pictures taken of the new baby already (see my observations on photography above.)  Back to the chips...for me this is a no. I might try one, but I was certainly not going to buy a can for $2.
I know I was not a prolific blogger over the holiday, but we are caught up now. Hopefully I am moving in the right direction and will have plenty to share in the coming year. The fridge and pantry are cleaned/organized, menus are planned, exercise routines are getting back into place. I am hopeful that with the various life changes I am planning (relationships, finances, home organization, creative endeavors, etc.) this will be a year I can look back on with pride and renewed confidence. I will share more in coming weeks/months - there is only so much you can do the first week of January! Here we go :)

16 comments:

  1. Congrats Great Aunt! I love your pictures, especially the hooded towel one. What a joy.

    Looking forward to your upcoming life changes. I know they will be awesome!

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    1. Thanks. Hooded towels are always adorable :) I can't wait to see how it all unfolds in 2016.

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  2. Your photos are always so beautiful. Thank-you for sharing!

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  3. Love all the baby pics and the horsey ones too! Here's to 2016 and the changes it may bring!

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    1. Great changes for all of us. Happy New Year :)

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  4. Congratulations on your new designation! 2016 is going to be a great year :)

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    1. Thank you - I am excited for 2016.

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  5. I love those horse photos. That one reminds me of Blaze, my childhood horse. They are just so beautiful in every way. And congrats to your niece on her baby, and you definitely are a great aunt!

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    1. I was the most horse crazy girl, but never had one. My best friend finally got one the year we moved away...it broke my heart a little.

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  6. I would want to know the story behind the one red ornament, for sure. I agree with you about not eating in the car - that was the site of many a binge for me.

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    1. I think it is a STL Cardinal helmet. I will keep my eye on it, but something in the back of my brain thinks it is up year round.

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  7. Congrats on the 'upgrade' to great aunt! ;-)

    I like the nightly to do list! I used to keep a notebook with me that had my 'to do' list in it....it was an ongoing list. I would take great pride in crossing off items off the list!!! The book was my life.....grocery lists, packing lists for vacations, everything went into that book. :-)

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    1. Thank you! I do like lists. I haven't gotten everything done, but more than I would without the list I am sure!

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  8. Happy New Year! I love your pictures as always :)

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