A New Year: 2017 SMART Goals and Word of the Year

By 8:30 PM ,
As I mentioned in my previous post I am not a huge fan of resolutions but I do firmly believe in setting SMART goals. For those of you not familiar with SMART goals SMART is an acronym that stands for smart, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. I am also a firm believer that if you truly want to strive for something you need to write it down so below I am sharing my seven goals for 2017.

1. Nutrition: Drink eight cups of water a day. I am pretty good about drinking mainly water instead of soda or sugary drinks but the problem is I don't drink enough. I am totally guilty of eating an entire meal without taking a single sip of my drink so this year I am going to really focus on drinking eight cups of water a day. I am also going to focus on giving my son a healthier breakfast at home everyday and and not just a frozen waffle in the car.

2. Blog: I am going to make sure I post AT LEAST one post a week. I always have good intentions but when life gets busy blogging is the first thing to tick off my "to-do" list. This year I am going to focus on at least one post a week as that it feels totally attainable. 

3. Relax: This year I am going to focus on trying to  truly relax. One way I plan to do this is by taking time to read more for fun. All I read in 2016 was either work related, faith related, or parenting related and while these are all very good and very worthy I have learned that reading for pleasure is actually very de-stressing to me so I plan to read at least one book for pleasure a month. I am off to a good start and have already finished "Two by Two" Nicolas Spark's new book and really enjoyed it.

4. Be present in the now: I am going to try really hard to make myself focus in the moment. This means less multitasking and more focus time with whomever I am with at the moment.

5. Speak Up: As outgoing as I am once I get to know someone I can be very shy in large group settings. This year I am going to try to challenge myself to speak up when I have something to say or a question to ask. Not in non genuine way but in a I have a voice to and deserve to be heard sort of way.

6. Workout: I am going to strive to workout at least three times a week. My focus is going to be a de-stressing classes like Bare, Pilates, and Yoga but will also do strength training and cardio.

7. Worry less: The Bible tells us not to worry. This is easier said than done for me as I tend to get anxious pretty easily but this year I am going to do everything in my power to not stress. Especially over the little things. That is why my word of the year is "peace."

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Happy New Year!

By 8:41 PM , , , ,
Can you believe it...another year has come and gone and it is officially 2017. Although I did not set any "resolutions" for 2017 (not a huge fan of resolutions since I typically abandon them by week two or three) I do have a few goals for this year and one is to be more present in the moment and not feel like I have to spend every moment "busy." My stress has been at all time high the last six months and as a result I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and am trying to combat my high blood pressure in as many 'natural' ways as possible before resorting to medication. That being said this holiday break was my first attempt at being content just to sit and relax and, while a challenge for me, I had a great time just being with my family. All that to say I apologize for the pause in posts but like I said I was really trying to be present in the moment and and just be and took a few weeks off from writing. 

To recap the last few weeks I thought I would start with sharing some of our highlights from Christmas. This Christmas was an absolute blast with our 2.5 year old. He was so in to every moment all the way from elf on the shelf to Christmas morning itself. We tried our best to get him to grasp the true meaning for the season by reading the Christmas story from various nativity books he owns every night, playing with our nativity (while reenacting the Christmas story), and even made Jesus a birthday cake and sang him "Happy Birthday" on Christmas day. You can imagine my delight (and let's be honest surprise) when one of his favorite stocking stuffers from Santa ending up being The Beginner's Bible. The Bible was actually a gift from Christian publishing house I blog for sometimes and I was just so-so about it when I first received it (he already owns four Bibles so to me if was just another rendition of what he already has, but boy was I wrong). This updated version of The Beginner's Bible features stories taken straight from scripture in both the Old and New Testament and puts them in a way young children can understand. That combined with the lovely pictures has my son hooked. 

Every night before bed we let him pick two books to read and this book has made it has one of his two choices (out of about a hundred books including new Star Wars books he got for Christmas) every since Christmas day. Each bible story is easy to read and told over 4-8 pages so makes for a perfect short story. If you don't already have this book in your child's collection I highly recommend it for children ages 2-8. 
Some of the other highlights as far as gifts go for Christmas for our little guy included a talking Storm Trooper, a Mickey ball pit, and a "Go Dawgs" football helmet. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that your new year is off to a great start! 

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Stories of E

By 8:00 AM , ,
I have said it before but I will say it again…our two year old is two going on twelve. He has a crazy vocabulary and puts together very long sentences that are not typical for a two year old. You just never know what he is going to say...he pretty much keeps us laughing all the time. I just know my grandmother is right…if I don’t write these stories down I will forget them so with that being said I am long overdue for another segment of “Stories of E,” in which I share with you some of the funny things (that I can remember) that our two year old says.

**Last night we were reading his Veggie Tale version of The Nativity Story which features all the characters from Veggie Tales as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the wise men, etc. (you get the idea). I was reading him the last page in which Baby Jesus is born in the stable and said see the wise men (which were Bob the tomatoes). He responds “No, no, Mommy those aren’t wise men. Those are tomatoes.”

**He is WAY into football. It is his favorite thing right now. However, he refers to all football as “Go Dawgs” (hey, what can we say we are raising him right aren’t we). He asks us every morning what time the Go Dawgs game starts today to which we have to respond that it is not on until Saturday. He asked me today as normal what time the Go Dawgs game is coming on and I told him the season is over and they won’t play again until their bowl game to which he responds by bawling his little eyes out. On the same note our daily battle right now is that he only wants to wear Go Dawgs clothes. The child has two full closets and two full dressers (no lie) full of adorable clothes and if it doesn’t have a bulldawg, football, or G symbol on it he doesn’t want to wear it. In order to get him to wear some other clothing we have told him that Mommy went to college with the go dawg guys and that all the other clothing is what they would wear to classes. So now if he is wearing any “normal” clothing he will say “I am wearing my Go Dawgs college shirt today.”

**The other day I picked him up from school and he tells me “I pushed my friend (insert friend’s name here).” I of course respond with “What? Why? We don’t push our friends!” He says, “He is always trying to talk to me and he doesn’t talk very clearly and it is frustrating.” Uh…excuse me but did you just say that?

***He loves singing and is ALWAYS singing. His favorite movie right now is Frozen and he walks around our house singing “Let It Go” all. The. Time. Other favorite songs of his include “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “Baw, Baw Black Sheep,” “Jesus Loves Me,” and “ABC” but he will also make up his own songs using the names of any of his friends or family members.

**Most all of his buddies in his class either already have a baby brother or sister at home or are about to have a baby brother or sister. E has decided he also wants one and has been telling everyone he is going to have a sister (NO I am not pregnant and YES it is super fun when your son goes to school at your work and tells everyone you work with he is going to have a little sister). Even though we have told him over and over he isn’t right now he will argue with you until your blue in the face and say “Yes I am!” We told him that is something he has to ask God for so he has been praying for a sister and the other day he says “how come God hasn’t brought my sister yet?”

·  **He absolutely loves his two older nephews and is in to anything they are- hence our Star Wars and dirt bike obsession. He walks around the house in his Storm Trooper mask and will “shoot you” with his light up gun and then will pull his mask off and say “here I am! I missed you!” 

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Christmas Traditions

By 10:20 PM , , , ,
I love Christmastime. I think one of my favorite things about Christmas is all the many traditions it brings with it. Below are 8 of my favorite Christmas traditions:

1. Christmas Cards
There is something so very sweet about getting old fashion mail. I love sending and receiving Christmas cards. I actually have a fun tradition where I hang ribbons up on all my kitchen cabinets and hang each card that I get in the mail on the ribbon with clothes pins. They stay that way until after Christmas so I can look at all of them everyday and then I take them down, punch a hole in the top of them, and make a book out of a ring binder for them. We spend the next year praying for one family from our binder book each night. It's such a fun way to remember to pray for our friends and family.

These year our Christmas Cards came from Tiny Prints. Tiny Prints has such an amazing assortment of Christmas and holiday cards to choose from...it took me a long time time to decide on which one I liked best but I ended up with the below and could not be happier with how it turned out.

2. Christmas Light Hayride
Every year we start the Christmas season off with a hayride on a trailer behind my dad's truck on Thanksgiving night through a drive thru light display at a house near my grandmother's. It's such a fun tradition. 

3. Santa
We love our Santa tradition. Our neighborhood has the best Santa that our HOA brings in every year to our clubhouse. This Saturday is the day Santa is coming and we couldn't be more excited. You simply show up at the clubhouse and put your name on the list and then sit down and make Christmas crafts and have snacks and they call your name when it's your turn. Perfect for little ones sense there is no waiting in line. 

4. Elf on the Shelf
We have a love/hate relationship with this guy. And by we I mean my husband and I. He returns to our house the day after Thanksgiving and it is a daily victory for my hubby and I to remember to move him. The way it works in our house is the first day he comes he brings a small present (this year he brought the Little People Nativity) and then every day after that he simply moves. I try to do 5 or so days a little more creative but usually we are doing well to just move the guy. However, it is so magical to see the Elf on the Shelf through my little guy's eyes. We watched the movie last night which I highly recommend by the way! 

5. Decorating our Christmas Tree
My husband is the Clark Griswold of Christmas tree decorating. We always go and pick out our perfect tree and then my hubby comes back and makes it his mission to up his record as far as how many Christmas tree lights he can get on a tree from last year. This year he managed to get 2400 lights on our tree. It's crazy. Then we decorate our tree as a family. We collect ornaments from all the vacations we go on and from milestones throughout our lives so we have a pretty fun collection to put up. We also every year get an ornament that is a photo frame with the year with a pic of our family to put on the tree so it's fun to see how we have changed throughout the years. My husband's grandmother started a tradition with her grand kids were every year since they were a baby she has given them one ornament a year and she gives them their collection once they get married so we have all of those to add as well. 

6. Nativity
I have awesome memories growing up from my childhood of playing with the nativity we kept on our hearth so I spent the last two years in search of the perfect nativity that would allow my kids to do the same. I finally found it. It sits on our hearth and our little guy loves to play with it. My father-in-law made the stable for my birthday gift this year and the figures I found at a local antique shop. 

7. Local Christmas Story Drive-Thru
Every year a local church puts on a drive thru nativity. We love to all get bundled up in our Christmas jammies and bring hot chocolate and go drive thru the nativity. We usually follow it up with driving through local neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights. 

8. Christmas Eve 
There is nothing quite like Christmas Eve candle light service to me. I just love it. When my husband and I first got married my mother-in-law came up with the genius plan to do Christmas on Christmas Eve so we don't have to run from house to house. It works out so great. We get two Christmas mornings! We spend the entire day from early in the morning until late in the afternoon with my husband's family and then go to candle light Christmas Eve service at church. We always do dinner with some close family friends and then go back to my parents house to spend the night. 

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? 

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Knee Pain Can Make You "Hit Pause"

By 8:44 PM , , , , ,
This post was sponsored by DePuy Synthes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Several years ago when Zumba was all the rage I was all about it...I went to Zumba class at least twice a week and loved every minute. That is until one day when I somehow managed to injure my knee while working out. The crazy part was it didn't hurt when I inquired it but I quickly realized (when trying to lift weights a few days later) that something was not right. Now, over five years later (and still not even 30 years old), it still causes me pain and I have to be very careful on what activities I participate in and which I choose to pass over. That means that I can't do any weight assisted squats and I have to be very careful when hiking which is one of my favorite weekend activities. 

Unfortunately, many like myself with hip and knee pain, can miss out on a lot when sidelined by their join discomfort. Simple activities like hiking, swimming, or dancing at a party may become painful and those with knee pain may feel like their life is on pause. Even in your everyday life the pain can be so severe that it causes you to say, "I'll just sit this one out" or, "I'll catch up with you guys later." Or, possibly worse, causes you to choose not to exercise or be as active as you should or would like to be. 

Thankfully we don't have to spend our life feeling like we are on the sidelines. You can "Hit Play" on your life and rejoin your friends and family doing the things you love. Don't keep missing out but instead talk to your doctor about treatment options today. Through therapy thankfully I am slowly but steadily working to regain the muscle in my knee and slowly increasing my activity level but I still have to be very careful and pay very close attention to when pain starts so I can stop it at the get go. Pushing it too hard has the reverse effect. You can find out more at TimeToHitPlay.com regarding finding a physician in your area who can talk to you about potential solutions for your hip or knee pain. 

Watch the below video and visit the “Physician Locator” after the video ends.

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