Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2013 Year in Review

What better time to a year in review post than the last week of February, right? Right! So here we go to take a look back at 2013.

January brought a mix of tons of reading and movie going and a few Street Thieves shows with a new bass player, Shawn.
Quote from Second Glance.

We always attract interesting people while at the movies. This lady was eating hot peppers as a snack.

February brought an experiment in not eating sugar. Which was extremely eye opening for me. (You can read about it in a previous post if you feel so inclined.)
We also celebrated the Oscars with a viewing party and ballots to fill out AND Tom's birthday. So began his last year in his twenties. (GASP!) Tom was also approved for Clerk II status at work, something he had worked on and was waiting to hear about since September. It's a step up and a great accomplishment!

This is what broke my sugar fast. The Butterfinger cheesecake cupcakes I made for T's birthday.

March was a pretty easy going month except for Tom falling down our back stairs. Ugh. They are terrible wooden stairs that have a slant on the first two steps. They get very slick when it has rained. It was a perfect storm for the demise of Tom's balance.

March also brought a new mindset to Blakesley Manor.

In April we were able to see one of Tom's favorite bands, Lydia. It was at a small venue in Iowa City. The show left a bit to be desired but it was a fun experience and we definitely won't forget it. And of course more books, movies, and gym time. (Gotta get those miles in!)

T being silly with the Lydia show flyer.

The small venue. It was a bar with a tiny stage.

My new running shoes. I was so excited to be able to purchase these. I NEEDED new ones badly!

May started our Dam to Dam training with snow(!!!!) on the ground. Celebrating Rosaleigh's third birthday and Mother's Day.

 We went to the zoo for R's birthday and it was unseasonably cold but we had fun!

We went to Red Robin for lunch.

R was too cool to pose with her mom for Mother's Day this year.

June started out awesome. We ran Dam to Dam. The weather was perfect and we couldn't have asked for a better race day. We also started the process to look for a house. But then a week into the month Tom had a car accident and it spun us into a sucky time. Decisions we weren't yet ready to tackle needed to be made, money we didn't even have needed to be spent, and exciting plans were put on hold.

Tom and me at the finish line of Dam to Dam!!

R at her first movie.

July brought joys, better memories, and a new way of eating. (Again, you can read the summer wrap up for more info.)

 Us at Paige and Paul's Wedding

Paleo meal plan.

Additions to my tattoo.

The most noteworthy and exciting event of August was MADDIE! (Seriously there's way more about this in the summer wrap up post.)

September started our journey to get Rosaleigh some help with speech and peer interaction. It was a very long and draining process that was so worth it. I could probably write a whole post on the ups and downs, the emotions, the frustrations, in home visits, school visits, paperwork, questions, and the joys but long story short; she isn't where she needs to be and now we are on the right path to get her there.

Rosaleigh with the book she chose after her first trip to the library. She is so happy, silly, and sweet.

 On the 30th we celebrated our second anniversary.

With October came more home visits and speech therapy for Rosaleigh. A new car, a very cool volunteering experience, some work changes for Tom, and the opportunity to see City and Colour.

 Rosaleigh had a preschool visit and this was my view the entire time. Staring at this door brought a wave of emotions I didn't know I could feel.

Me with Mia, our totally awesome '99 Mazda Miata that I didn't even know how to drive (manual transmission!!) when we bought her. 

Instead of running in one of the races this year I decided to give back to the DM Marathon. I'm still in their debt. What an incredible experience!

Rosaleigh Lux as a pirate for Halloween.

At Night Eyes with Grandma Lisa meeting The Cat in the Hat and Thing1 and Thing2.

Here is a video of Dallas Green (City and Colour) singing my favorite song that I was privileged to hear live. Do yourself a favor by clicking the link and give it a listen.
Body In a Box

Here's what happened in November.
 I started reading Doctor Sleep the sequel to The Shining. (one of my top favorites)

I got to meet a friend from G+ and spend some quality time with Beth.

And this is what I mean by quality. (HAHAHA!!)

Yum Thanksgiving apple pie.

Great time with family for the holiday.

And finally December. We learned Rosaleigh was eligible for preschool and would start on the 16th. She goes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. She had one week before winter break and even had a snow day thrown in. With the harsh winter we've had this year bringing late starts or cancellations it seems like she hasn't had school as much as she's had it. As always Christmas was a joyful celebration with our small families.

Excited for the tree!

Our tree.

Making cookies with Grandma.

First day of school.

This is how Haylee handled R's first day.

Out at the mall trying to get R to pose for a picture. HA!

Merry Christmas.

A fun gift; a mini Mia.

A great gift from Nana and Papa; Rosaleigh's big girl bed.

We had some really crummy times and we had some wonderful times in 2013. We are looking forward to the rest of 2014 and what it will bring. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring, new goals, challenges, and victories.

Here's a link to the summer wrap up SUMMER

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Wrap Up (Including Our Whole30 Experience)

Here's what we have been up to the last several months-enjoy!

In May Rosaleigh turned three (!!!) We celebrated with a trip to the zoo.

                              Goodbye two, hello three!                             

It was an unseasonably cold day and half the animals weren't out but we still had loads of fun. R kept saying cake all day, especially after being wished happy birthday. She has been known for hating cake so this seemed a bit out of character.
First Birthday
Second Birthday

We decided to splurge on a grand cupcake from Scratch Cupcakery. We decided on a pink lemonade one and went on our way. Needless to say R still doesn't love cupcakes. We had a wonderful day of celebrating. Tom had a show so we sent him off and ended the day with just us girls. A week later Haylee turned 10. She has been a crazy addition to our family and I wouldn't change the decision to rescue her for the world.

We had decided to run Dam to Dam. It's a great race and a Des Moines running staple and I wanted Tom to experience it, even if it was just once. As mentioned above the weather was unseasonable cold. In fact our first long run we had snow on the ground (and it was May already!!) Training was a bit here and there but we finished under our goal time (yay!) Race day brought perfect weather and we couldn't have asked for a better race.

June was filled with movies, (R's first one) pool days, wonderful weather, it marked Tom's first year in Street Thieves, and my 34th (AHHHHHHH!!!!!!) Birthday. July started with visits from family a dear friend's wedding, an addition to my tattoo (that I could not be happier with, inspired by song lyrics that Tom wrote for me) and it marked starting the Whole30.

We needed some drastic changes. We were sick of feeling sluggish, having no energy, getting sick, dealing with unwanted weight, etc etc etc etc get the point. So we decided to do something "drastic." Start eating within Paleo guidelines. (Eating real unprocessed food) Sounds simple enough, right? Nope, not really. I wanted to do this right, not half-ass it or get three days in and give up. I started to soak up the knowledge from two books, It Starts with Food and Practical Paleo. It was extremely overwhelming at first. No dairy, no grains, no beans, no wheat, no added sugar (!!!!) Nothing from a box, which isnt' really an issue for us because we weren't the mac n cheese hamburger helper type of people anyway. I was like, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO EAT??!??? Not tacos, or spaghetti, or PB&J, or Tasty Tacos, or Pancheros (do you get the drift we love Mexican food) NO MT. DEW??!!!??? I'm lactose intolerant so the whole cheese bit isn't hard for me. I had drastically cut out sugar in February so I started to see where this was doable. But I was still in need of a bit more direction so we picked a meal plan to follow. It was all laid out for us and even came with shopping lists. We got right down to it! I decide to look at the challenge of it. It was going to be fun to learn how to make new dishes/meals and experiment with spices and flavors. I learned to love the process. I really really really enjoy cooking and baking. I didn't know I could make food that tastes so good. (After a month and a half I still say that) It was a struggle at first because we were so used to certain elements at meals (Like bread) But that soon stopped. For me the cravings came in waves. I would all of the sudden kill for a cookie, or pie, or a piece of cheesecake (SUGAR!) But nothing I couldn't resist. We were determined to do this. I didn't want to slip up and let myself or Tom down. Plus, it's only 30 days. At first I wasn't sleeping better at all. I just could not gear down at the end of the day, but after about day 10 I started sleeping better than I had in years (YEARS!) Falling asleep easily, staying asleep, and waking up without an alarm. Which we all know better sleep= better moods= happy household. We learned along the way about which foods we liked and didn't like, new flavors, combinations, and spices. About cooking temperatures and times (read: BURNT food) How to prepare, chop, cook, and eat all kinds of vegetables.  The freedom it brings to not be counting calories, not be hungry all the time, being in control of choosing what to eat is awesome. We have dropped about 30lbs. combined and tons and tons of inches. We have energy!! Tom is actually getting up before work and running (What??!!? I know!!) It has been a wonderful change. We want to take this good life that we have created and make it great. This is a huge step in the right direction. We made it through our 30 days with flying colors-no cheats or slip ups. (YAY us!!)

After completing the 30 days we have splurged a couple of times but we have found that our tastes have changed-drastically! Stuff just isn't as good as we once remember it to be. Fresh, real, unprocessed food is good, really good. I've experimented with a couple of different cookie recipes and have found some that are delicious. It's fun! It's like our eyes have been opened to what's out there. 

That brings us to August.......this happened which was pretty much amazing.

We had the opportunity to meet Theron and Maddie and if you don't know who they are stop what you are doing and go here RIGHT. NOW. It was such an enjoyable experience, definitely one for the record books.

This week the forecast is for incredibly hot weather but as August winds down I'm ready for Fall. It's a special time of year. The weather brings a semi cool breeze but the sun is still warm. The changing color of the leaves. The calm before the storm of holidays and the dreary winter. We have some fun stuff planned. Including a trip to see one of our favorite performers Dallas Green (City and Colour) I'm excited to see where the next several months take the little Blakesley crew.