things that are making me happy (and thankful)

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  • My amazing husband Daniel. He works so hard every day at his job as a teacher, is fiercely loyal to his family and friends, is ridiculously passionate about sports – both watching and doing,  adores animals as much as I do, and watches all the same TV shows as me (unless they are about crime). He is my best friend and the love of my life.
  • My awesome family. Not only do they give provide me with role models to admire and be inspired by , but I am especially grateful for all the help and support they’ve given me during this first year teaching at a high school with a new school model AND with my knee injury and surgery. I love spending time with them – they are always on my side, they always make me laugh, and they will always watch crime TV shows with me.
  • My kick-ass friends. They put up with all my random, silly, and long text messages, non-stop Snapchats of coffee and pets, my early bedtime, and my weak sarcastic ability. They are hilarious, creative, sweet, caring, fiesty, and fun. I love them to death and can’t imagine how I’d get along without them.
  • My wonderful co-workers. I have been blessed to have truly great colleagues and mentors almost every place I have ever worked, but this year having a staff that supports each other as much as this staff does is absolutely essential. I don’t think any of us would have made it this far, trying to implement his new school model and make positive changes in school culture, without each other. No one “pulls rank,” no one refuses feedback, no one is unwilling or too busy to help anyone else. We are truly a team and I am so grateful.
  • My pets. I don’t have kids, and no, my pets aren’t like my kids. My pets are my pets – they are animals who love unconditionally, harbor no bitterness or ill will toward anyone, and find happiness in all the small moments. They brighten my day and the day of everyone who interacts with them.
  • The “basics” that aren’t really so basic – a place to live with working heat and a sound structure, located in a safe neighborhood. Clean, running water I can get by walking two feet to a faucet. Enough nutritious food to eat and the ability to choose what I want to eat. Shoes, a winter coat, gloves, and hat that are all in good shape. Clothes in general that are in good shape. Safe transportation. Access to the Internet and a computer in my own home. All the things so many of us take for granted on a daily basis.
  • Health care – including vision and dental. I know this is a sore point for some people in this day and age with Obamacare and all, but I can’t imagine not having it. I have maintenance prescriptions I require for health conditions, I get sinus infections a couple times a year, I hate cavities, and you never know when an emergency or a random accident will occur – like tearing your ACL on a trampoline on a school field trip. I am so grateful I have insurance to help my family and I afford the care we need.
  • My college degree and job. My job that is my dream job. It truly feels like every experience I have had, particularly since I was in high school myself, has lead me to this teaching position. A lot of the experiences were challenging, but they all prepared me for where I am right now, which is exactly where I want to be. Not only is my job, despite its intensity, emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, but it is also contributing to my family’s financial security. I am grateful for that because I know how difficult not being in such a positive situation can be.
  • And of course, the random, little things that seem silly to be thankful for but really enrich every day life: COFFEE, funny TV shows, interesting podcasts, good books, really good books,  an evening spent cooking and baking, a hot bath, that thrill you get when you’ve had an extra productive day or when you get an unexpected compliment, a cold beer after a long week at work, finding a coupon for your favorite grocery item, a sunny day, easy traffic on your morning commute, killing it in your workout, catching your new favorite song on the radio, making someone else laugh without expecting to, beating that level of Angry Birds you’ve been stuck on for weeks, a fantastic night of sleep, no line at the gas station or drugstore when you’re in a rush, a clear night sky so you can see the stars, the existence of HGTV, listening to music while driving by yourself in the rain, seeing someone do something nice for someone else for no reason but to be nice or polite, hugs from small children, kisses from dogs, and so, so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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The 24 Best Things That Happened While I Was 24

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1. Dan and I got married.
2. We had a great minimoon!
3. And a fantastic picnic reception.
4. We also moved into our first home together.
5. I had a wonderful time getting ready for the wedding with an awesome kick ass bachelorette party planned by my sister and best friends.
6. I had a ton of fun attending others’ weddings, including a best friend’s.

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7. I was hired to be a tutor full-time at my alma mater.
8. I survived a difficult season of coaching and got to see four of my swimmers compete at Districts, not to mention watch so many others improve so much.
9. Helped quite a few students keep focused, pass classes, and graduate.
10. Finally attended my first BGSU homecoming weekend as an alumni.
11. Dan and I went to many Indians games.
12. And we did Dinner on the Diamond.

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13. We went to a Cavs and a Bluejackets game, too.
14. We hosted Thanksgiving for my family and his family together.
15. So many long walks with Madison in the park.
16. Joining and going to a near-by gym, as well as joining Tone It Up!
17. Buying and using my road bike.
18. Fun parties at my sister-in-law’s apartment…including Halloween when Dan & I were beekeepers and Madison was a bee!

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19. I made a new close friend in my co-teacher at work.
20. Hosting friends and family for weekends in Cleveland.
21. Going to An Evening With Scott Hamilton and Friends with my parents and spending Memorial Day weekend with Dan’s family.
22. Celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday.
23. Celebrating the end of the school year with an early summer weekend in BG.
24. And sooooo much more! Reading as much as possible, morning coffee and relaxation, cooking dinners with Dan, hilarious times with my students and swimmers, my parents adopting another dog, visits to Columbus, holiday celebrations, basically any time spent with family and friends!

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It’s been a great 24th year, and I can’t wait for what the next year holds! Here’s to 25!

 

My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • She’s okay now, but Madison hurt her leg playing two weeks ago. She was crying and couldn’t put any weight on it, so we took her to the ER vet. The vet said she probably partially tore something in her leg, so we’ve made sure she’s been taking it easy, not walking up and down stairs a lot, not jumping on and off furniture, etc. We also found out she has arthritis in both her back legs, so we are looking into the best ways to help her.
  • This season our team hosted an invitational meet that is annually held between the three high schools in the district and local private high school. It hadn’t been held at our school in almost ten years, but we worked really hard and pulled it off! It went well and I’m glad it’s over.
  • This winter has been brutual! Our district used six calamity days in January alone. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up!

What I am…

  • Reading: I just finished reading The American Heiress (review to posted later this week!). I am going to start reading The Friday Night Knitting Club next. I’ve heard good things about it; have you read it?
  • Watching (TV): My favorite shows are The Mindy Project, Community, Bones, and Parks and Recreation. Are you watching the current seasons of any of those shows? I love How I Met Your Mother, too, but I didn’t enjoy the first couple episodes of this season so I wasn’t anxious to keep up, and now I’ve fallen way behind! HIMYM fans, it’s gotten better, right?
  • Watching (Netflix): Dan and I started watching and quickly finished Orange Is the New Black. It’s an awesome show about life in a women’s prison. I can’t wait for season two! We are currently watching Friday Night Lights. We can’t get enough! Does anyone else love that show?
  • Listening to: Pure Heroine by Lorde. The CD has been on repeat in my car ever since Dan got it for me for Christmas. 
  • Doing for fitness: A couple months ago, Dan and I joined a gym just a few minute drive from our apartment. In addition to swimming at the gym’s pool, I also log time on the cardio machine and do Tone It Up! routines. With swim season, I am have only been getting to the gym a couple times a week. I love coaching and will miss it when the season is over, but I am looking forward to having more time to work on my fitness goals!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I have a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: Madison is recovering well, the days are getting longer again, curling up on the couch with a big cup of tea and a book, the White Barn Candle’s scent Winter, snacking on pretzel sticks.

What is new with you? 

Watch It: Perry Mason

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Here we are, on snow day #5 of the school year (2nd in a row of this week). This winter has been brutally cold! As a teacher, I of course enjoy the snow days (any teacher who doesn’t enjoy them, even a little bit, is lying to themselves and to you). However, as a high school swim coach, I’m not a great fan of snow days getting in the way of practice. Since I can’t control the weather or the district’s calling of snow days, though, I try not to stress out about it and fully enjoy my snow day. A key component of that enjoyment, for me, is watching Perry Mason reruns.

Perry Mason is an American court drama that aired from 1957-1966 on CBS.  Every time I have the day off of work and I have the opportunity to catch a rerun, I do so because

 

  1. Perry Mason is a smart show. Like a lot of people, sometimes I attempt to take care of things on the computer or play around on my phone while also half-paying attention to what’s on TV. I can do this with Bones (one of my all-time favorite shows), Law & Order, Body of Proof, etc., but I can’t do this with Perry Mason, not without missing a key detail. The show is well-written, with its focus based on the relationships and motives of its characters, rather than on shocking acts of violence, intense action sequences, or emphasis on technology.
  2. The acting is fantastic. Raymond Burr starred as Perry Mason, earning two Emmys during the show’s duration. Barbara Hale, who played Mason’s secretary Della Street, earned an Emmy for her role on the show as well.  William Hopper, the actor who brought Mason’s private detective Paul Drake to life, was also nominated for his work on the show.
  3. In addition to wonderful acting by the series regulars, Perry Mason often featured guest stars past and present viewers would get a kick out of seeing. Such stars included Dick Clark, Robert Redford, Leonard Nimoy, Cloris Leachman, and Bette Davis.
  4. Perry Mason is mostly formulaic. Most episodes begin with a scene or two introducing the soon-to-be defendant and victim. Perry somehow gets introduced and linked to defendant. Someone is killed. Perry and the police both begin their investigations. The evidence keeps pointing to Perry’s client. A hearing or trial occurs. Perry presents his case and ends up revealing another person as the lead suspect. More often that not, that person will end up confessing on the stand. The episodes almost always end with Perry, Della, and Paul, and sometimes the client who was just proven innocent, chatting and laughing in Perry’s office or in a restaurant. A lot of people don’t like it when their shows are formulaic, but as someone who thrives in routine, I enjoy it – especially since every show includes a new mystery to fit into that formula.
  5. It’s a black-and-white blast from the past. I love watching reruns with my dad, who remembers watching them with his late mom when the show was originally on air. The men all wear suits, trench coats, and hats, and the women all wear pencil skirts and have their hair and lipstick perfectly in place. It’s a fun trip back in time to an age that many people view as classy and more wholesome, but via storylines that remind you no time was truly an age of innocence.

Perry Mason episodes are currently shown on MeTV and the Hallmark Movie Channel.  You can also find full episodes available for streaming here.

 

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101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014

Wellness

  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.

Outings/Travel

  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.

Family/Friends

  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Service/Philanthropy

  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.

Hobbies

  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.

Career

  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.

Finances

  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.

Home

  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.

Fashion/Beauty

  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    

 

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Photo above: sunset over the Target parking lot. Beauty in the simplest of places!

My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you?