"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 30-day Challenge: Downsize and Organize!

I have TOO. MUCH. JUNK. A ton of our stuff doesn't even have a real place to go. Things never really get put "away", they just get put "somewhere else". On top of that, my husband and I are both kind of hoarders so we have a ton of stuff we never use, yet still hang on to for no good reason. We're drowning in it. It's bad.

Even my 10-year-old brother stopped dead in his tracks and asked, "What happened in here?!" when he saw my bedroom. Yep, a 10-year-old boy. It's that bad. I feel like I'm always drowning in clutter and it stresses me out, which makes life less fun for our entire little family!

We can kind of get away with it right now since we have extra bedrooms to use as storage units (haha aren't we resourceful?), but that will soon change! We're moving in about 6 weeks, and (thanks to the expensive Penn State housing vs. cheap Alabama housing) the house we're moving to has no extra bedroom, no garage, and a much smaller outside storage shed, smaller laundry room, and smaller and fewer closets than our current house. Something's gotta change!

This month's challenge is two-fold.

First: get rid of stuff! Like, a LOT of stuff! There is no good reason for us to have so much stuff that we need an extra bedroom to pile it in while still having every room of the house feel like it's overflowing in clutter! I'm planning a group yard sale for July 26th, so hopefully I can make a few bucks off of it. Whatever doesn't sell is getting donated to people from church in need, or donated to the thrift store! It will finally be GONE!!

Second: find a place for everything! It's impossible to put things away when there isn't a place for it to go. This one will probably mean we need to buy a few binders, file folders, storage bins, and possibly shelving or some other sort of furniture to get an official home for everything. Ideally we'll make enough money selling our extra stuff to cover the cost of getting new stuff to organize what we actually want to have around.

I had a lot of success with my 30-day challenge last month, and I think a huge factor was the extra accountability I felt from having to take a picture every day. It also made it easy for me to know when I had achieved my goal for the day and could stop stressing about it. I hope that success and enthusiasm rolls over into this month, because I sure need it!!

Time to start Project Downsize and Organize!

June 30-day Challenge Check-in #4

Aaaand we're done! This is my 4th and final check-in. I made it through my a-salad-a-day challenge and got in 27 out of 30 salads!! Woohoo!! This is definitely the most successful I've been with any of my 30-day challenges so far! I think having to post pictures really made a difference in my motivation. It's a lot harder to cheat that way :)

I think I might have even dropped a pound or two this past month too! It's hard to tell on my analog scale, but I'll pretend :)

Here are the last of my ugly salads!

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 30-day Challenge Check-in #3

I finished week #3 of my salad-a-day challenge, and I'm still going strong! This week I actually got all 7 salads in! Yay!!!

I forgot to take a picture of one of them, so I only have 6 pictures of ugly salads. I really did eat 7 though, I promise :) And since several of my salads were veggie-laden pasta salads instead of straight up fruit or veggie salads, I actually ate quite a few more servings than are showed to make sure I got in enough veggies to feel like it counted.

I'm still 3 salads behind from the first two weeks, and the month ends next Monday! 10 more salads, here I come!

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 30-day Challenge Check-in #2!

It's time for some more ugly salad pictures on a tacky template! And I think the salads are getting even less photogenic :)

I'm proud to say I'm still doing pretty good at my 30 days, 30 salads challenge! Unfortunately I did miss 2 days this week, so now I'm 3 salads behind where I want to be. I'm going to try to eat 2 salads a couple of times this week to make up for them though! Haha we'll see how that goes...wish me luck!

Here is my photographic proof of my 5 oh-so-delicious and oh-so-healthy, but oh-so-ugly salads! (yes they are basically all the same. I lacked creativity in the food department this week)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Hope My Skin Doesn't Fall Off

Once upon a time (just now) I drove up to my house and discovered a dog there waiting for me. I don't have a dog, and to be honest, I really don't like dogs. He/she/it followed my car up the driveway and sat outside waiting for me. There was no owner in sight and I could see the dog was really dirty, so I figured it ran away and was lost. I decided to do a good deed and check for a name tag on the collar and hopefully call the owner.

I don't know what I was thinking.

The dog decided it loved me and jumped all over me repeatedly for a couple of minutes, scratched up my legs a little, and bit my hand a few times (playfully, but still broke skin)...which I wouldn't have minded *as* much if the dog hadn't just come from messing around with the dead armadillo that has been rotting in the street for days!! My inner (and outer) germaphobe self pretty much had a heart-attack and died.

this is what it looked like last week...it's a lot worse now

In addition to all the nastiness of a rotting carcass, armadillos carry leprosy. No joke. So now I might have rabies and leprosy, in addition to whatever other horrors run rampant in rotting, diseased roadkill. Ick! That's the last time I ever try to help someone find a lost dog again!

I washed my hands and arms about 7 times in a row and completely changed my clothes. Then, just to be safe, I ignored the warning label and gave all my contaminated skin (arms, legs, feet) a rubdown with Lysol wipes. That might not have been the smartest move. So now if my skin doesn't fall off from leprosy, it'll fall off from the chemicals. Seriously though, it's hard to feel clean enough to pick up your baby after an incredibly germy encounter like that! (I did rinse off the Lysol before touching her)

To top it all off, the dog didn't even have a nametag! It was all for nothing! So if this happens to be your dog, I'm sorry, I don't know where it is anymore.

This whole little adventure reminded me that I recently came across a 10-page college research paper I wrote about leprosy and the Bible while going through old boxes. If anyone needs me, I'll be studying it while locked up in my house, far away from all dogs and armadillos...and imagining living the rest of my life as a quarantined rabid leper.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 30-day Challenge Check-in

I finished the first week of my salad-a-day challenge, and, I'm proud to say, I'm doing awesome! I started a few days early, and I've only missed one day so far! (hence the 7 pictures when today is the 8th...)

Like I said back when I was introducing my challenge, these are definitely not picturesque salads! They are just proof to myself that I am actually succeeding this month :)

And in addition to being super proud of myself for actually making it for the first week, I am super proud that I figured out how to crank out this graphic - as simplistic and not-so-awesome as it may be - and it only took me like 10 minutes start-to-finish!

Time to start week #2!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Good Enough

I found this video today and it was a very timely reminder that it's ok to go back to ballet even if I'm not very good at it anymore.

Check it out here :)

"Finally you just ask yourself 'how complicated do you want to make this?', and, 'why don’t you just do it for the reasons that you enjoy it?'"

"I always think of just a feeling of almost like my heart bursting. If you could have joy in the shape of a person..."

Yep, some of the shots of the dancer with the blossoms are cheesy, but it's still a good reminder that it doesn't matter if I'm the worst dancer in the classroom. I can do something I love for the sheer fact that it brings me joy, and that's good enough :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

June 30-day Challenge: 30 Days, 30 Salads

So...once upon a time I had awesome flat abs and the beginnings of a beautiful 6-pack. Once upon a time I also had skinny, strong dancer legs and fit in size 0 jeans (size 1 or 2 sometimes, depending on the brand). Once upon a time I had sleek, toned arms. Seriously, people would compliment me on them. Once upon a time I was also a personal trainer and water aerobics instructor (baha, ok that was only for a little bit, and the irony of both still makes me smile!)

Then I got a desk job and lost a lot of pretty muscle tone, and then I got pregnant and lost all the skinny. And then I was a blob. The end. 

Now it's time to start the sequel! And what better way than with starting up my 30-day challenges again!

The first 25 lbs of baby weight came off surprisingly easy in less than 2 weeks! Unfortunately the remaining extra 15ish lbs I gained has stuck around for another 5 months now, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon. Well, at least not with my current health habits. For example: I ate 2 cakes last week. Yes, you read that right. I ate 2 cakes within a 7-day time period. Trevor had like maybe 2 pieces of each, and I ate the rest. Not cool, Karin. Not cool. On top of that, I don't exercise anymore. At all.

Considering my health habits right now, it really is a wonder that I don't have diabetes and that I'm not about the size of a mammoth! I give my metabolism 5 stars for putting up with me like a champ :)

I really should be exercising too, but the much bigger problem right now (for nutrition's sake even more than for weight management's sake!!) is my diet! So my 30-day challenge for June is to eat a salad a day! More nutritious salad in my tummy means less space to fill with dessert and junk!

For accountability's sake, I plan to take a photo of each salad and post them at the end of each week. Let me clarify, these will NOT be beautiful Pinterest-worthy pictures or salads!! They will most likely be blurry snapshots on my phone of a pile of lettuce with some tomatoes strewn on top that I tossed together with one hand while trying to keep my baby happy. The goal here is to keep me honest :)

So here's my first not-so-pretty installment to kick things off!

Yes, there is a salad hiding under that shredded chicken and cheese, I promise :)

The Year I Didn't Dance

Just a little over a year ago today I walked out of the ballet studio not knowing it would be the last time I set foot in one for very long time!

It was the Saturday before Mother's Day, and I planned on being in class again on Tuesday. Then I found out I was pregnant and was suddenly pretty much debilitated thanks to morning sickness, so I planned to start dancing again in a few months once that eased up a bit. A few months later I found a local studio (we moved, or I would have gone back to my old one), but by that point I was just so exhausted from being pregnant and anemic that I couldn't handle any activity really. So I planned to start dancing after a few more months - once I had my baby. Then I had my baby and the doctor said I wasn't cleared for exercise for 6 more weeks. So I planned to start dancing after those 6 weeks. Then I got cleared to start dancing, but I still weighed quite a bit more than my pre-pregnancy weight and wasn't ready to handle staring in the mirror at myself in a leotard and tights for an hour and a half (not to mention being a breast-feeding mom adds a few new challenges to dancing around in a little leotard that I haven't had to deal with before and am not looking forward to), so I planned to start dancing once I lost the weight.

Now May has come and gone a second time, and I STILL haven't started dancing again! This is the longest I've ever gone without dancing since I was 7!! And I STILL haven't lost the weight! I only weigh about 5 lbs less now than I did a week and a half after giving birth.


 ready and waiting, 12 1/2 months and counting

What's the moral of this story?

1) Appreciate the opportunities you have and really enjoy them. I wish I had made more of that last rehearsal...but I didn't know it would be my last!

2) For heaven's sake, Karin! Get yourself together! There's nothing stopping me now except myself! Time to stop making excuses for myself, stop with the "someday"'s, and get back to doing what I love!!

...which leads me to the resurrection of my 30-day challenges coming soon!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Remember Back When I Used to Blog...

So...yeah. That blogging thing hasn't been happening very much lately! Being organized and productive was never my forte before, and it most definitely isn't now that I've got a baby to attend to in addition to myself! I'm a work in progress :)

I have lots of things about our little family to catch up on! Keep an eye out for more regular posts; they're coming!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Space for Dreams

I tend to fret and stress and worry an unhealthy amount. In fact, I do it so obsessively sometimes that it literally makes me physically ill. Often. I've been doing much better in general lately...but then this week, while home alone with my baby, I had to go and accidentally get locked inside a second story bedroom in my completely locked house for several hours with no phone and no way to let anyone know where I was or that I needed help, and no way for them to get in to my house even if they did manage to find out I was locked in one of the rooms inside. Thank heaven it didn't happen just a few days earlier when my husband was out of town for 8 days with spotty communication, or me and my baby could possibly have died or suffered serious health complications before anyone missed us.

Everything worked out fine in the end (there might be a post coming about that experience...or maybe not), but my mind has been especially traumatized since then with millions of ways for terrible things to happen to me and/or my baby girl while just doing normal, non-dangerous, everyday things. I just want to sit on the couch and hold her all day so nothing bad happens to us, and stay up all night to make sure she doesn't stop breathing. I also haven't set foot in that bedroom for more than a few seconds since then. Still too scary.

It's getting out of control.

Earlier tonight I was looking at some potential housing online for the upcoming school year and the thought of having stairs and railings for my darling princess to fall down and get seriously injured terrified me to the point that I was ruling out all housing that wasn't 1-story.

But that's ridiculous! I want my little girl to learn to climb stairs! And I want her to learn to walk and dance, even if it means she needs to take some risks and fall several times. I want her to learn to love and enjoy life instead of being trapped by the haunting thoughts of things that probably won't ever happen. And I need to learn that I can't just stop doing everything because there is a chance of some freak accident or unforeseen horror happening. Like I just said; that's ridiculous!

I found a great quote on Pinterest (gotta love it!):
"A head full of fears has no space for dreams"
It's true. And now that I've successfully worried myself to pieces last week, it's time to move past that, let go of the worry, and make space for dreams instead! :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kitchen Adventures of the Future

Today was a wonderful day!

It was Friday, Trevor had off work, the weather was gorgeous, we got lots of stuff done, we went on a picnic date, and it was just a happy, good, day!

And I had another one of those cutesy little moments while thinking of my little baby princess :)

One of the many things I accomplished today was baking! I managed to bake (all from scratch) 2 loaves of French bread and some fresh strawberry coffee cake (a new recipe that turned out fantastic!!! I'll have to post it later. I'm already planning to bake it again this week, it is that good!) while running back and forth from the kitchen to the swing in the living room to entertain my fussy baby girl between every few ingredients. It was definitely not the most efficient baking session of my life, but it got done.

As I was measuring out some flour it occurred to me that I'm really glad I learned to bake and cook when I was little, and that soon I'll get to teach my daughter to cook too! And then we can bake together, and have all sorts of adventures in the kitchen! I'm not exactly sure why, but it made me so ridiculously excited!

...And then she started crying so I picked her up and she spit up all over herself, and all down my shirt and arm and pants, and it even dripped onto the chair I was standing next to. Yep, she's still got a little more growing up to do before she's ready to start cooking lessons with Mom. I'm ok with that :) I sure am excited to teacher all kinds of things though!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Best Bedtime Song

I am SO exhausted right now (daylight savings doesn't help), but I just can't go to bed without writing about what my little princess did tonight!

Lately she's started cooing and it is oh-so-darling! She only does it when she's in the mood though. I tried to get her to coo back to me all day without success. Bummer.

Our bedtime routine includes praying and singing her a song while she eats her late-night snack. Tonight I choose A Child's Prayer as the song, and when I started singing she got a huge smile, stopped eating, and smiled up at me and cooed along with me for almost the entire song!

Oh my goodness, melt my heart why don't you :) What a cutie! That has definitely got to be one of the sweetest, cutest, most tender moments of my life so far :)

I love my little girl!

For anyone who is not familiar with the song, A Child's Prayer is a parent-child duet, and it's one of my favorites, especially the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version linked here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Once upon a time, Karin and Trevor were just 2 kids out on a date with a big group of friends...

It was our second date. I asked him :) Instead of going to BYU's homecoming dance like normal people, we got a group of friends together to dance away the night at the Murray Arts Center! It's this super old dance studio with a live jazz band, and they play lots of ballroomy danceable music. Most of the people who usually go are awesome cute old couples who actually know how to dance...and then there's our random group of ballroom dancer friends from BYU! It's lots of fun!

But I'm getting distracted from the part of the story I intended to write about (haha can you blame me? I'm a bit homesick for dance). Before the dancing, we all went to Brick Oven for pizza! I guess BYU won the homecoming game (football isn't my thing...), because during dinner Cosmo the Cougar burst into the restaurant and ran around taking pictures with everyone! Including us :)

He was a bit over-enthusiastic, and he ended up totally knocking a poor little toddler flat on his face, which prompted immediate hysterical crying. While we were watching all the hullabaloo, Trevor noticed the little boy's dad was wearing a Penn State University jacket. That sparked a conversation between the two of us about how Penn State is the only university in the country with an entire Masters program specifically devoted to acoustics (his passion in life), and it's just basically amazing.

I asked the obvious, "So why don't you go there?" but he said he didn't think he'd be able to get the kind of grades you need to get into their master's program. It was just a dream.

And then we finished eating, went dancing, and fell in love.

picture evidence (yes, we switched who was dancing the boy's part and girl's part in the photo):

Then since we were so in love, we got married, and then we had a baby, and all our dreams came true!...except for the dream to get a masters degree in acoustics from Penn State. He didn't get accepted last year, but we were very blessed and ended up with this amazing job in Alabama!

Then on Tuesday morning we both had colds, so Trevor stayed home from work. As we were lying around feeling sick and rotten, Trevor got a notification on his phone about an email. And not just any email...it was an acceptance letter from PSU!! That's right, Trevor got accepted to Penn State!!!!!! And now, yet again, we're going to be living our dreams!

Yep, dream big, work hard, pray hard, and watch your dreams come true :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting Old

I wasn't planning to come out of my mini blogging break until February, but I don't want to forget this experience so I'm coming back one day early :)

Yesterday I took our little princess for her 4-week doctor's appointment. It was the first time I've gone anywhere with her on my own! Yikes! I definitely need to get some more upper body strength so hauling around the car seat and diaper bag isn't so horribly awkward! Despite the whole spitting up on both of us right as we were heading out the door, massive poopy diaper at the doctor's office (fortunately it didn't leak on her car seat, and she didn't need a change of clothes this time, although I was prepared just in case :), and other such joyous adventures, we were able to make it to her appointment only 2 minutes late, and made it back home again in one piece! I'm so proud of us :)

The part of yesterday that I really want to remember isn't my self-proclaimed victory though. While we were sitting in the waiting area, I saw another new mom holding a tiny sleeping newborn all swaddled up and everything, and I immediately missed when my baby girl was still that age. And then I immediately thought I was a little crazy! That was only a few weeks ago! And she's still basically the same size! How could I miss it already?! Plus she's just started sleeping for longer stretches and only waking up twice in the night to be fed, and I definitely don't miss the long sleepless nights we had to muck through to get here!

But, as crazy as it seems, I really did miss it as I watched that other mom and her baby. Maybe it's just the result of some of all the new mom hormones running rampant through my body. Whatever the cause, it was a good reminder of just how precious this time with my darling baby girl really is, and of how fast she'll grow up - even though the hours drag on so slowly sometimes. I'm so lucky I get to be a stay-at-home mom and spend all day with her :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

See You in February!

I's been a loooooong time since my last post! That definitely wasn't the plan...but I had my baby early! And my world has been turned upside-down for the past few weeks! In the best possible way, of course :)

We've been VERY blessed and well-taken care of by the doctors and our friends, and we didn't even have to cook for nearly 2 weeks thanks to our incredibly generous friends with awesome cooking skills! Even with all the help we've had, it's still been hard to find time for much of anything other than occasional sporadic eating and sleeping (I'm currently hunt-and-peck typing with one hand and holding my darling baby girl with the other. It's not very efficient.). I have ideas bouncing around in my head like crazy for about 20 posts I want to write, and I have a bunch of pictures to edit and post eventually, but family first :)

Don't be surprised if you don't see much - or any - of me on here in the next month or so. My little princess is more important than my blog. I'll be back soon though, and I plan on making some changes with this blog for the new year too!

See you in February!