Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Call off the search party!

Call off the search pary! I'm alive! =)

Today out of nowhere, (and I still have no idea why), I randomly decided to log into my blog which has been neglected for about 6 months now. What I have learned is I have really good streaks, then leave for about 6 months, have another good streak, and then disappear for another 6 months. It's a cycle I guess. Honestly it's not because I don't enjoy blogging, life just gets so busy! We are all busy, I totally get that! I have no excuse.

In September I took a part time job at the YMCA teaching swimming lessons two nights a week. Not terrible hours and the extra money is nice. Not too bad for a part time job in addition to my full time job. But soon "Not too bad" turned into "I think I remember having a life?".

Backing up, soon after I started that part time job (actually my second day I was supposed to teach) I ended up getting hospitalized and scheduling surgery to get my appendix removed. After that, I swear the anesthesia took about 2 months to wear off. Or removal of the appendix is somehow scientifically linked to partial removal of your brain as well. I was the most forgetful person I had ever been in my life and I was incredibly disturbed by it! I am usually very organized and on top of things and my brain wasn't allowing it. Working 50 hours a week didn't help either. I know it sounds crazy, but getting myself to work dressed, with a purse, cell phone, a swimsuit, and lunch was all of a sudden a challenge. Was it seriously linked to surgery? Doubtfull. Coinsidence? Possibly! Either way, my brain was failing me and I needed all the brain power I could squeeze out of it!

After things finally seemed to be getting back to normal, my class started up at Restore Hope again, which is a transitional housing facility for homeless single mothers. I teach them Boundaries and Life Skills. The exact same week one of the other girls who teaches swimming lessons called to ask me if I could take over one of her nights through the rest of the session. With me never being able to ever say no, I agreed. (Ooooo secret weakness revieled.) So now I work my full 40 hours at my "grown up job", teach one night a week at Restored Hope and teach swimming lessons the other three nights a week at the YMCA. I literally leave my house at 7 in the morning and don't get home until almost 9 at night every day.

Ok so that may have sounded like an excuse for my lack of existance here, but it's the truth I promise! But the important part is that I am back! For now. No really. Hopefully I can keep this going for real now. I think I'm going to put reminders on my calendar. That should help! The other good news (besides me being back of course) is that I'm taking the next session off from teaching swimming lessons. Mostly because of winter and the fact I live so far away from where I work. I really don't want to be stranded an hour away from my house because of snow. So I have one more week after this week and I'll actually get to go directly home after work until March! I am beyond ready for the break.

That has pretty much been my life in a nutshell for the last 6 months. (And give me some credit, it's really only been like 5 months!) Now things are just busy because of Christmas, but again, aren't we all! I did some really cute pinterest things for Christmas this year and am going to do some more this weekend and fully intend on documenting here! *Sneak peak: (Ok not a peak at all. I have no pictures.) *Sneak foreshadowing?: I'm making another attempt at cakeballs! You can read about my previous experience with these. I have high hopes this time and as you may guess, they will be Christmas related! (Gasp!)

Ok the ramblings of this post will now end as I do have work to do. Tune in Monday (or maybe Tuesday if we're being honest) to see how my weekend Pinterest Projects went! (This is how long it's been since I've been on here. I totally forgot I added a Pinterest tab to this blog!) more thing before I start working...adding blog times to my calendar! Good faith effort?

Ok another "one more thing" because I really feel as though I must add a picture to this post. We semi-added a new member to our family. She was already partly a member, but she has kind of been officially adopted. This is Reggie (Short for Regina. We didn't name her.) She is/was Josh's brother's dog and they never took care of her and she's been an outdoor dog for a few years now. She's learned where we live and we have hearts and can't bare to make her stay an outdoor dog so she's now our dog. Dog and cat do NOT get along. I'm sure I'll have lots of those stories to post as well. Sigh.

She didn't take long in adjusting to being an indoor dog.

And she obviously knows how to get warm!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cake balls: attempt #1

So in an earlier post I posted a picture of cake balls that looked like an American flag. I had never made cake balls before, but thought this would be doable. But with the 4th of July on a Wednesday, that made things tricky. (The 4th of July in the middle of the week is really not convenient. Both for cooking purposes and staying up late then having to go to work the next day.) So Monday night I bought the ingredients, but didn't have time to make the cake. Josh didn't have to work on Tuesday, so I took a risk and asked him to make the cake for me Tuesday so it could be cooled by the time I got home from work. This is a risk because this is the man who was trying to make brownies and came out with a pan and said "How big do you think this is?" and before I could answer said, "Nevermind, I have a tape measure." and proceeded to measure the pan. But I came home from work and there was a cake! He's come a long way.

I crumbled the cake, added the frosting, and made them into balls. (This mortified Josh after he made such a nice cake, I destroyed it. Oh well!) I took pictures of all of this, but for some reason they are uploading to this site all discolored and cut off. =( Not sure what the deal is!

Now came time for the chocolate, the scariest part. I melted the chocolate with the vanilla wafer things and added blue food coloring. After that, my friend who DOES bake taught me this: Any liquid added to chocolate causes it to "seize" which means as soon as I added food coloring, my chocolate got REALLY hard. My friend told me I needed the powder food coloring. The problem with that is it was Tuesday night and I live 45 minutes from the city. Going to the store wasn't, and didn't, happen. So I decided that these cake balls would just be white. I got one of the colors right!

I put the balls in the freezer for a bit and dipped half of each of them, let them cool on a cake pan. (I didn't put them on sticks so the bottom flattening out was ok) Holding the flat bottom I then dipped the other half and placed them back on the flat bottom to cool so the tops stayed round.

In the end they didn't turn out terrible, just not how I anticipated. After the chocolate fiasco, I was defeated, but glad I ended up salvaging them minus the creativity part. They were really good! I took them to the BBQ anyway and they were all almost gone by the end of the night.

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July! It was hot but we swam in Josh's parent's pool and it was very nice. Work today on the other hand, was rather annoying. But tomorrow is FRIDAY! =)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Warrior

I know "weekend warrior" is a term/name for people in the National Guard; I think because they go to drill on the weekends, (and I honestly have no clue if they like this term or not, so I have no intentions of offending anyone with it! Maybe someone could tell me so next time I'll know. =) ) but some weekends I feel like I do more/harder work on the weekends than I do during the week at my job!

Like I mentioned in my last post, Joshs' grandma stayed with us Wednesday through Sunday. I really enjoyed having her there. She was a great help and motivator. She was also good company to have when Josh and his brother went fishing all night. Friday night we just hung out and Josh's nephews came over to play as well. They are so stinking cute! Here they are playing in the dirt in a giant hole in our yard. (There used to be a windmill there with a concrete base that we pulled out and have clearly never refilled the hole.)

Saturday we had Brayden go through all his toys and pick out which ones he was donating to little kids who don't have toys. I think he is going to be a hoarder like his father. I will break this trait while he's young! He had a really hard time letting his toys go, but I think he did a good job and we are donating a lot of barely used toys! Then we completely organized his room.

What I have learned about this age: He is old enough to clean his room but not old enough to have my organization OCD so nothing gets put back away where it "belongs". That is how his room got to be such a disaster. Not sure if I just make him "clean" his room so it's picked up and then go back in and organize later, or what I should do. I'll take advice on this one!

After we got Brayden's room done, we tackled the windows. We cleaned the inside and outside of every window in my house which I know the outside of the windows hadn't been cleaned since we moved in 6 months ago and who knows how long ago before that. It really is the small things. All I wanted to do the rest of the day was look out my amazingly clean windows! =) After the windows, we cleaned the kitchen and living room and by that time it was almost 8:00. We literally worked and cleaned all day long just breaking to eat lunch.

By that time the boys (including kids) had already left to go fishing so we treated ourselves to going out for dinner then home to watch ID TV (The channel that has all those shows about murder mysteries and crimes and things. Kind of like 20/20 specials. We both love 20/20 as well.) which is a guilty pleasure for both of us. I'm not sure if that makes us twisted, but the things people do not only disturbs me deeply, but is also kind of interesting. I just wonder how people's minds work. How a person gets that crazy. Maybe I should have been a psychiatrist.

Sunday we had to go to a birthday party for both Josh's little cousin and his sister's boyfriend's daughter. That was a good time but a bad day. Not because of the party, but because being a step-mom is hard as hell. One of the hardest and most rewarding things I'll probably ever do. We get Brayden every Friday after work through Sunday. Since Josh's grandma asked to get him on Wednesday (remember my previous post that I didn't know she was coming on Wednesday) his mom decided she wanted to keep him next weekend. Typically not a big deal, but next weekend we had plans of taking him to my hometown to spend time with my family. I was just frustrated because she didn't ask to see if that was ok and it wasn't us asking to get him early this week, it was really his grandma. And I'm not a biological parent so of course their family functions get priority, as it should, but it's still hard. I just realized I need to find a blog of a step-mom! I need a support group for this just like I used to be in for military significant others! I will take suggestions on those too if anyone knows of any!

This was on Sunday on our way into town for the birthdays. He put his hat over his face just like his dad does and slept in the car. He cracks me up and is so stinking cute. I love him so much!

So I'm trying to stay positive and this weekend I'm going to make Josh take me on a date since we changed our plans of going back home this weekend to next weekend. We were going to do that (a date) Sunday after the birthday but had to drop off Brayden in a town that was half way home, so it didn't happen. #1 crappy part in living in a small town an hour away from the city, but after driving in the city on Sunday, I have no idea how I lived there as long as I did! There is definitely peace in our little town. =)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Challenge Days 4 and 5

Today is Day 5 of Jenna's Commenting Challenge, but I had no time to get on here yesterday, so I'll combine with Day 4 as well. =) It's the last day of the challenge but so glad I did it! I found some really good blogs to follow!

Yesterday was a pretty crazy day. Actually Wednesday night onward has been pretty crazy. Josh's grandma was planning on coming up to stay with us for the weekend Thursday night. (His grandma lives in the city about 45 minutes away from our teeny tiny town so she doesn't make it up often. We just lost Joshs' grandpa in March, her husband, and she's still been adjusting to life without him, as we all have.) So we were already planning to ask to get Brayden Thursday night instead of Friday like we usually do so they could spend the day together on Friday. I got home Wednesday (house is a mess because I've been boycotting cleaning since Josh doesn't seem to understand the concept and that I constantly pick up after him) and he gets home about 6 and tells me his grandma called him an hour ago and she's on her way up. So of course, now I have to go into crazy cleaning mode. (Interesting how we have these portable things called cell phones that he could have instantly called me after speaking with his grandma to give me a little heads up, but like I mentioned with the cleaning boycott, he is somehow blind to the filth.)

5 minutes later she pulls into my driveway and all efforts have failed. Also, because we didn't know she was coming, we didn't ask to get Brayden. So she called and asked and they said ok and then it was back in the car for the 30 minute drive to pick him up. Then a quick stop at the grocery store so they would have something to eat the next two days while Josh and I are at work. (I try to plan out our meals and typically only have enough for dinner for the week and grocery shop on the weekend so our cupboards were getting bare.) Josh's nephew (3) was so excited to see Brayden and his great grandma he wanted to spend the night, which was fine. So I now had 3 extra people that up until just a few hours prior, I wasn't expecting. But family is always welcome and I was happy we could all be together, just a little unplanned!

So we finally get to bed Wednesday night and I have to get up on Thursday and go to work for 8 hours and then go to an evening meeting because one of the hospital systems here just bought our University hospital where I work. (I work at the University, not the hospital, but in the School of Nursing so the hospital is an important part of our department.) The meeting was supposed to get done at 7:30 and of course didn't until 8:00 and then I had about an hour drive home. Get home and Brayden was at Josh's mom's house (less than a mile down the road) but of course no one remembered to give him his medicine. (He had strep so he's on antibiotics for 10 days) So I had to run the medicine down only to realize at 9:30 that we wouldn't have enough out of this bottle for the morning dose. So then I had to get in touch with his other grandma who had the other half of the medicine to get her to drop that off so he had it in the morning. It was a non stop day! Moral of the story...I work better being able to PLAN for things!

To address the challenge questions though! Day 4: Hobbies! I feel like I used to have way more of these than I do now. I love to dance and in college we went out dancing all the time, but now, not so much. I also love to crochet. My grandma taught me when I was young so it's something I always do to keep her close to me. I do not care for cooking or baking, but want to learn to like it, if that's possible. I like crafting as well!

Day 5: Vacation! I love the ocean and beaches so pretty much anywhere that includes that! I really would love to go somewhere tropical. We went on a big trip to Florida with Josh's entire family (aunts, uncles, and cousins) and it was so much fun. I would go back. Here is a picture of the whole gang at the beach! We also went to Disney as well. We had a 5 car convoy to get us all down there. (We live in Nebraksa to give you an idea of how that went! I did do a blog about it though so you can read more about the trip here!)

Since I worked a 12 hour day yesterday, I'm hoping to sneak out of work a little early today and get an early start to the weekend. I hope you all have a great weekend as well and stay cool! We have crazy hot temps here right now!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Challenge Day 3

Still on track with the Jenna's commenting challenge! Today is about social media so it might be a short post. =)

The social media I use the most is Facebook. Like I mentioned before, all of my family (and friends) lives at least 3 and a half hours away so I pretty much post my life there to keep them updated and am constantly on it to keep updated with their lives as well. Josh tells me I'm obssessed with it, but we live a mile away from his parents and all his family lives in the same town, so I don't think he understands  know he doesn't understand what it's like to only see them a few times a year. I also am in charge of my work's facebook as well, so I'm on it almost every day all day.

Facebook came out when I was in college (back when it was meant for college students) but I was on Myspace and liked that a lot better at the time. What I really liked about it was the ability to decorate and make my page my own. I used to have software where I made my own pictures and icons and electronic scrapbook pages. I LOVED doing that stuff! My computer crashed with the software and I never got it again. I need to start that back up again. I also need to learn how to do that stuff on here! Now, I never use Myspace. (Side note: I do love making my own invitations and flyers and things. At work everyone asks me to make bridal or baby shower invitations or flyers for classes and things. I like to be creative and am always happy to do it!) With that being said, a site I visit a lot is I have an album there to edit photos and such and view other images people post.

LOVE pinterest! You can find me here or the tab at the top of the page. Like I said, we just bought a new house that we completely redid so I have been going crazy with home decor ideas as well as things to do with Brayden and other "products I love". Such an awesome site!

I tried twitter once, but never really could figure that site out, so while I have an account, I never use it. Sites I do visit often would be This is a really neat type of social networking site for knitters and crocheters, if that may be you! It is a place where you can link to patterns and then people can link their finished projects to those patterns. So if I found a pattern for a scarf that I like, I can see what other people's scarves looked like that they made with the same pattern. Also, they can post advice or problems they came across while working on it. Very helpful.

I basically wake up in the morning with JUST enough time to get ready so sitting down to watch the news never happens, but I love watching it. So I typically visit my local news station as well as the Today Show. LOVE the Today Show. I love the crazy stories that you never imagine you will read about. There are a lot of crazy people in this world! On the other hand, I hate politics, so the news gets annoying during this time of year. I know, bad American. But until we get down to the actual election, I hate hearing all the bashing and trash talk of the candidates and what lies they tell and secret lives they live. So I pick and choose my news I guess.

I feel like I spend SO much more time on the internet than this! I guess these are my main sites though. From there the internet takes me anywhere. I am excited because now I have a lot more blogs to read!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blogging challenged

Since I have been a little blogging challenged for the first year of my blog, when I saw my friend Jenna was doing a blogging challenge, I decided this may be just what I need! She linked with another Jenna for the challenge so I have decided to do the same! I am a day behind so I am going to combine days one and two here!

Day 1: Tell us about you!

My name is Shannon. I am 26 years old and live in a very small town of 200 people in northwest Iowa about 45 minutes from Omaha, Nebraska. I currently work in Omaha, so I am not completely sheltered from the world in my little town. I was born and raised in a small Iowa town as well, and it is a lifestyle I have come to appreciate after living in Omaha for 7 years. I met my boyfriend of 3 years in Omaha, and we decided to move to his home town, where we just bought our house, to get out of the city and closer to his family, since mine lives 3 hours away. He has a little boy named Brayden who we get the pleasure of staying with us every weekend. He is 6 years old and so incredibly smart and grown up! Being a "step-mom" may be one of the hardest things I've ever done, but he makes it so worth it. I love him with all my heart. Here is our little family!

I also can't forget Carleigh! She is our 3 year old cat. She can be a little stinker sometimes, but she can also be the source of a lot of entertainment.

Day 1: Tell us about your blog!

I started this blog when I was just turning 25. For some reason, 25 was really hard for me. I call it my pre-life crisis. I thought that blogging would be a good way for me to document the things happening in my life and a good reflection back on what I have accomplished. I pretty much failed at blogging for the first year as I just turned 26. However, I really want to get back into it and have just started up again. That is one of the reasons I chose to do this challenge because I hope that it will get me interested and involved again. This blog is primarily about my life, random thoughts I have, and I hope it will be a place where I can share the crafts and crocheting projects I do. I love pinterest and have been trying a lot of things on there and would love to share them here as well. We also just bought a new house which we completely gutted and re-did. It is still a work in progress, but I am going to show our progress as well. I guess I am a DIY kind of gal. Thanks for stopping by! I hope to get to know lots of people through here!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fitting in getting fit

Obviously this is what every person in the world struggles with: weight and working out. It's so hard!

  • Wake up in the morning already way too early
  • Get ready for work
  • Go to work
  • Sit on your butt in a chair in front of a computer for 8 hours, (which is really 9 hours because you sit while you stuff your face with food over lunch too)
  • Come home and cook, eat some more, clean up, and then it's time for bed already (or maybe catching up on the DVR).
Basically, getting up before work is NOT an option and by the time I'm off work, all I want to do is go to bed. So the girls at work and I decided to start walking over our lunch break, which has been great! Not a ton of exercise, but it's better than nothing.

I have been doing really good at maintaining my weight ever since I got pretty sick about 3 years ago and lost a ton of weight due to not being able to keep any food in my stomach. (I know they say that's not healthy to do, and it's obviously not, but it sure worked for weight loss!) I was worried after I got my gallbladder out that since I was finally healthy for what felt like the first time in a very long time, that would all change, but have been proud of what I have been able to maintain. Now maintaining isn't good me.

So we discovered that the gym at work offers group fitness classes and some of them are over the lunch hour! We have determined this is the ONLY way we are going to get workouts in due to the above mentioned reasons (which may not be very good reasons, but they are our reasons nonetheless). So we eat lunch at our desks and then walk over to the gym for the 50 minute sessions of pilates or yoga. I have done pilates before but this was the first time for yoga. I must say, I really like it! They are pretty similar, but pilates has more movements with it's poses and yoga seems to be more about stretching and they are both about core building, which I need!

Next month we are going to add in more cardio days to get a good variety in our workouts but I'm actually starting to get excited about it, which isn't something I've been used to since high school probably. Here is what I found helps:

1. Buddy system! There is no way I would continue to keep this up if I didn't have people here to work out with that hold me accountable.
2. Time of day. I'm not a morning person and my evenings are too precious to me after working all day. I am lucky to get an hour for lunch which leaves enough time for a decent 50 minute workout. Granted, I may have to go through the afternoon sweaty, but I always bring things to fix my hair and make up and I know I can't smell THAT bad! :-)
3. Self esteem. Getting started kind of stinks, (and sometimes even day-to-day, my motivation is lacking) but once you get that feeling of accomplishment after your workout, it definitely makes me feel better about myself and wanting to keep going.
4. Afternoon snack. I usually try really hard to not snack in the afternoon. I eat a 110 calorie bagel with peanut butter when I get here and then my lunch. The thing about working out over lunch is I eat lunch before I go and by the time we're done, I'm starving again! Why this is a good thing is that I always WANT to snack in the afternoon, but now I'm actually hungry because I burned calories! So I have been bringing fruit and healthy snacks and feel better about snacking now that my body is actually asking for food and it's not me just wanting to put food in my mouth.

I don't know if I've actually lost weight. I stopped stepping on the scale a while ago. I should probably start again. But I do feel better about myself. My other motivation, other than the obvious, is the fact that someday soon there will be a wedding and I don't want to have to worry about it then. The other motivation is that our first yoga instructor was pregnant and she was one of those pregnant people that was nothing but belly. I want to be HER when I'm pregnant! :-) So I want to maintain it this time for real and I finally reached a point where I think I'll be able too. We have a good system that is working for us now and I'm super excited.

I will try to keep my progress updated here as well and maybe put up some of my favorite poses and stretches. That is one thing about yoga, I am constantly stretching which feels so good and I think releases a lot of built up tension which is probably why I feel so good afterward. I know there is a science behind it all, but this is the science of Shannon! :-)