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So I have this goal to post once a month – just to keep up with life – but I somehow completely missed March. Oh well. It was busy.

We went to Germany! And the Czech Republic!

Jon needed to spend a week working in Germany, so he planned it during my spring break and we added a few days for fun. We pretty much just looked at a map and picked an easy/close place we’d never been for the fun part – which turned out to be Prague.

We flew into Frankfurt and immediately drove to Nuremberg to stay overnight to break up the drive to Prague. It was one of those situations where we needed to stay awake to adjust, but were sooo tired by the time we got there. We wound up just doing a lot of walking and looking around and eating that first day.

Taking a break from life for a little bit. ❤️👍🎉😍



The next day, we went to the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds before leaving town.  We did a guided listening tour and just wandered around on our own.



We stopped along the way to have lunch in some small town, but made it to Prague with enough time to walk around quite a bit that night before being completely exhausted.





The next day, we started super early and walked … and walked … and walked. That’s pretty much all we did the entire day. Walked and looked at stuff.



My watch says we walked over 7 miles today. I'm guessing at least 3 were uphill. 🙀👣😴

Easter market!

Got lost quite a few times and wandered down random streets.


It was worth it, though. Fun day.

We stopped for a drink at a restaurant before going to lunch that day (because, why not?) and I started to feel a little itchy by the time we were leaving. By the time we finished at the second place, I knew I was developing hives.

We stopped at a pharmacy where they gave me some Zyrtec, which seemed to help keep the big welts at bay. Only a few popped out on my face, anyway.


I don’t know what brings this on, but it’s the second time this has happened. Once in a small town in Germany and now in Prague. I think this time it was honey because I had some local honey in a drink. I have no idea what else would cause this. It scares me when it hits my neck and face because I worry about my throat/suffocation which I know is unlikely – but SO ARE HIVES, IN GENERAL.

We watched a movie and took a nap and it was totally gone (expect for some small patches on my arm) by the time we were ready to go to dinner.

We used Yelp to find a place to have our weekly Mexican & Margarita night (where we really missed Jon’s child #3 and MC because this is something we do with them).

Found a place to have our Mexican + margarita night over here. The money situation hasn't ceased to be a little jarring.

The next morning, we had a huge breakfast before heading to a concentration camp memorial outside of Prague.

Last morning in Prague before heading back to Germany. #breakfastfeast


I’d read about this one, which was used for propaganda purposes, and was interested to go despite it being a little out of the way.


We had to walk through this super creepy tunnel, which was the only downside. 1/3 of a mile didn’t sound all that bad until it became twisty and I couldn’t see daylight and some people up ahead – like, the ONLY OTHER PEOPLE THERE – started smoking. (Who does that?)




After that, we headed back to Germany – except the interstate was closed just outside of the town where this memorial was located – so we got really, really lost in the middle of nowhere/the side of a mountain in the Czech Republic.

And it looked like this (once we hit the main road again):


I knew we were on a mountain only because I could feel the elevation change in my ears, which was creepy.

After that, we spent a week in Germany. Jon went to work each day and I worked at the hotel, which was great. I really needed a week with no distractions. I wrote a ton and read two books, etc. Much needed.

We went out each night with various people from his office, which was fun. On Friday, his office organized a group hike & lunch at a small hut/sorta restaurant in the middle of the woods – so we did that.

Beautiful day hiking in the Black Forest with Jon's co-workers. Stopped along the way and had a fantastic blueberry pancake, which is totally something every hike should have.❤️☀️❄️🍴👣

I think we hiked 4 miles. Maybe 5. I had a HUGE blueberry pancake in the middle, which is totally something every hike should have.

We had to drive back to Frankfurt that night for an early morning flight – so we did that and stayed at a hotel at the airport before heading home the next day.

Fun trip. We missed everyone, though.

I don’t think Molly missed us at all. In fact, I’m pretty sure she was disappointed to leave the boarding place that let her play in mud. (!!)

I think it's safe to assume Molly had fun at the boarding place while we were gone. 😂❤️

Henry stayed with our vet and didn’t come home until Monday, which was unfortunate.

I think we were all happy once we were back in one place.


Henry came home today. ❤️❤️❤️

All is well again – and life is back to normal.




I’m REALLY looking forward to classes ending in 3 weeks. REALLY.

I am so burned out. These 2 years have been good, but I’m done with classes. For real.

I’m looking forward to having more time to live and focus on other things (like sun and warmth and good health and fitness and tv and my own work/dissertation).


Wow. A lot of time has passed.

Well, I don’t have melanoma. That was stressful around the time I last posted and then I just forgot about it. Funny how that works.

Life has sorta just been meandering along.

A list is the way to go here:

School’s good.  I’m in the midst of a crazy semester of really intense classes.  One is so abstract that the material is nearly incomprehensible.  I love it, though.  Best class I’ve had.  I’ve formed my dissertation committee.  Comp exam will happen in the next few months (fingers crossed).

I caught some kind of crazy stomach thing and wound up in the ER last week after 24 hours had passed with zero fluids being able to stay in my body.  Everyone in this house has been sick for, like, the past MONTH.  It’s getting crazy.  I’ve barely eaten anything but crackers and cereal since it happened, but I’m feeling like I might be able to eat real food today.

We had a crisis situation with Henry.  I got home from school late one afternoon and found him sitting in vomit and urine in his crate.  He was shaking and it was awful.  I bathed him and tried to check him out, but he wouldn’t move much.  Just sat with his tail between his legs and stared at me, wide-eyed.  I took him straight to our vet and his temp was low and his blood sugar was sky high, etc. We ran out of needles when we were visiting my mom during the holidays and went to Walgreens to get some (typically order/get them from our vet).  We took his insulin and explained everything, etc. (largely because they treated us with skepticism and were clearly reluctant to sell needles until they knew our entire social history, which is a problem for another day, but whatever).  They gave us what we thought were the right needles, but they weren’t.  So he’s been getting the wrong dose of insulin (too little) for a couple of months. The situation just deteriorated over time.  He stayed overnight at the vet’s office and was in much better shape the next day.  He’s completely back to normal and I recognize now that he didn’t feel well nearly the entire time he wasn’t getting the right dose.  He had stopped playing with Molly and was pretty grumpy with everyone and just laid around.  We just attributed it to … idk.  Old age?  Just thought he was grumpy.  Now?  Totally ready to play and bark and drive us crazy.  We feel really bad about the whole thing.  Lesson learned.



We’ve started some of the house projects we have planned for the year.  The first project: our hideous fireplace.  I’ve hated it since the day I saw it.  It’s a wood burning fireplace, but the previous owners ran a gas line and made that possible, too.  Jon wanted a stove, though.

Here’s what it looked it:


You can see how ugly it was in this cute pic, too:


I just can’t fathom why they thought that hideous tile would be a good idea.

We hired a chimney company to build a hearth, insert a stove and do some work outside (chimney lost a couple of bricks out there). They’re also getting the wood stove we have in the basement going (new pipes or something).

Anyway, they finished the stove/hearth this week.


I’m happy with how it turned out. We had to do something to the brick since there was no way to match the new hearth to the old brick – so we went with white. I don’t know that I’m going to leave it like this – might paint it – but it’s staying this way for now.

Friday night. ❤️❤️❤️

We have a contractor coming this week to start on a bunch of other stuff. Love/hate this sort of thing.

I don’t know what I last posted about MC, but he is like … a little person now. 20 months old in a few days.









His little hand doesn’t look like a baby hand anymore, but it’s still so sweet.

He has strong opinions and clearly knows how to say “no” now. He throws fits like a typical nearly 2 year old, but he’s a really good kid. He’s not mischievous and he stops doing things when told, etc.

He asks for 3 tv shows: Barney (“Ba”), Elmo (“Momo”) and Bob’s Burgers (“Ba Burg”). We have an Amazon Echo that pretty much exclusively plays Barney or Wheels on the Bus. We do a lot of dancing to both.

I suspect his 2nd birthday might be Barney themed. He’s a big fan.

He loooooves Poppy (Jon). He also loves the dogs and is great with them. He can be rougher with Molly, of course, but he gets frustrated when we stop them from playing when she starts to get a little too rambunctious. She’s just a little large and accidentally knocks him down, etc. He knows “hush” and “go” really well and uses both with the dogs pretty frequently.

(Henry had an allergy issue and ripped some hair out a month or so ago. It was a rough few months for him, but he’s completely healed. Just still looks kinda raggedy.)


He probably knows how to use an iPad better than I do, which is crazy.

He’s a great eater. He pretty much always asks for cheese (cottage cheese) and blueberries. Definitely his favorites.

He knows his name now (“Mace”) and has a ton of other words.


I suspect he’s going to be an animal lover, in general. He likes to watch birds and squirrels and squeals with delight when he sees them.


He also loves stickers right now (“sticks”). And books, as always.


(I look a little crazed/awful here – but whatever. This is life. And it’s what I want to remember.)


Ok, enough with the pics.

It’s just crazy he’s already at this stage where he can ask for a specific tv show, run into the LR, grab a blanket (“bick”), crawl onto the couch and then simultaneously pat the spot next to him with one hand (for me to sit) and hand me the remote (“mote”) with the other.

How did this happen so quickly??

I’ll come back with more to say about exercise and all that. Out of time.

I had really grand plans for posting on 1/1 and talking about my resolutions and all that, but … I don’t know what happened. I wound up taking down our Christmas stuff and spent the day focused on cleaning every surface of my house.

Jon and I spent the next day having our annual “plan day.” We get out calendars and budgets and spreadsheets and essentially plan the year. We talk about what needs to happen, what trips need to be taken, etc. Works really well for us. We’ve been doing it for years. Life is less hectic now that he doesn’t travel so much, but we’re planners – so we plan.

My primary resolution this year: To live again – not just survive.

I’m ready. Classes are ending (end of April!), I have a dissertation plan, MC is growing up and things are more routine at home, etc. I have the mental space to move forward now.

So … There will definitely be a renewed focus on health.

I don’t exactly know what that means just yet – but I want to enjoy exercise again and I want to just … focus on feeling well – mind AND body.

I got an apple watch for Christmas (from Jon) and it totally feeds my love of tracking (health) numbers, so that’s been fun.


I’m still playing around with it and figuring it all out, but I like a good goal – and I love to have reminders constantly available. It’s perfect for building new focus. Fun AND helpful.


I’ve made a point to get at least 3 miles in since the day after Christmas and have been successful (except yesterday was just 2 because it was getting dark and creepy on the greenway and I was alone). It’s surprising how motivating something as simple as a watch prompt can be.

I’m also officially back to the trainer and to boot camp.

As far as food goes? Just need to stop eating so much shit. We’ve been eating pizza and Mexican food and other quick stuff WAY too much.

We really like food and like each other, obv, so our plan is to stick to a night out together once a week (just the 2 of us) – and to try a new (to us) restaurant each time. I’m already making a list. Should be fun.

I just want life to sloooow down. And I want more fun and adventure.

I’m ready to prioritize that.

I had my annual dermatology whole body check yesterday and the skin woes continue.

I had another spot blasted off my face (after a couple of weeks of topical medication that wasn’t doing anything). Fortunately the spot was much smaller and is consequently not so blistery.


I’m all freaked out, though, because a mole on my back pretty substantially grew (after zero growth all other years) and passed the 7mm mark that apparently triggers concern regarding melanoma.

So … that’s off to be biopsied and I spent a significant portion of last night googling and freaking myself out EVEN THOUGH I KNOW BETTER.

I also have a spot on my foot that they “watch” every year – but it’s off to be biopsied, too, even though it didn’t grow.

They always tell me about the ABCDE rule:

“The ABCDE rule is another guide to the usual signs of melanoma. Be on the lookout and tell your doctor about spots that have any of the following features:

A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.”

My foot meets A, B & C. My back meets D & E.

I will be SO FUCKING PISSED if I’m sideswiped by gd skin cancer.

This stuff if pretty much occupying my thoughts right now, especially since I have cancer paranoia ANYWAY.

I’m going to stop googling, though.

The internet is the best/worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

How about a cute baby picture?


This is his reaction when I climb into his tent with him:


Yeah, I never say no.


I’m at home alone tonight – a fairly rare event these days – and I’m still totally procrastinating on work for the upcoming semester, so what the hell:

(Except I can’t remember a damn thing without looking back at pictures because the year has been a total blur.)

(And now I’m weepy having watched MC go from squishy baby to little boy in such a short span of time.)



1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Taught a class (of my own design).

Learned a bunch of stuff I’d never heard of before (like hierarchical linear modeling – WTF, right?), but am now fascinated with.

Pushed my limits (and fears) with the hiking.


The Virginia Creeper.


Entertained a kid in a pediatrician’s office waiting room for TWO HOURS – trying not to touch anything because GERMS.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I think so. I can’t completely remember what they were – and I’m too lazy to go back and look – but I’ll do that before the 1st.

I know I’ll make more. I love it. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

My aunt died a few months ago. I made it to Memphis to see her the day she died. Super quick trip, but I’m very glad I was able to do it.


5. What countries did you visit?


Vacation was in Utah. Had some abstracts accepted at some conferences, so I traveled to New Orleans, DC and Denver for all of that.



Seein' stuff.


We made it to Memphis and Atlanta, too, of course, to visit our families.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Less stress. More monotony.

7. What moments from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Utah, for sure.


I'm really glad I didn't let my fear of heights hold me back (most of the time).  Also glad I didn't die.  👍👍

MC’s 1st birthday.


Days like this:


Halloween. Because:


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not dropping out of school.



Those conferences (and the workshops I presented) were a pretty big deal, too, as far as my CV goes.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Stressing too much about things out of my control. Not trusting that I’m capable and competent and all that jazz.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?


And …


It was just time.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Jon’s child #3 (MC’s mom). She is SUCH a good mom. She has risen to the occasion in ways that have just totally blown me away.




13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

MC’s father, but that’s not my story to tell. Let’s just say he has not risen to the occasion. In any way.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Life? I don’t know. New cars. Travel. A new water heater (surprise!). Our vet (also a surprise!).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Utah. I love vacations.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

None. I don’t really listen to much music.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Probably neutral.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter.
c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Running. Exercising, in general, I guess. Focusing more on good health. I miss it (the hobby – my health is still pretty good, was just in a maintenance/survival vs. thrive mode).

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing. Giving in to anxiety. Doubting myself.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Somebody had a surprise visitor drop off some presents this morning. ❤🎄🎁🎅 #realbeardnextyear

Christmas was so great this year!

Jon’s kids and my brother and his girlfriend all came over on Christmas Eve for dinner. We skyped and opened presents with my mom that day, too.

We spent Christmas morning at home with just the 4 of us – me, Jon, his child #3 and MC. Jon was Santa and MC was totally blown away. Didn’t seem to have a clue that it was Jon, which surprised us.


They left for a while to visit her mom, so Jon and I hung out at home and took naps and just had a quiet afternoon. They came back and Jon’s child #4 and her boyfriend came over – so we got out all of the leftovers and played with MC, etc.

Really fantastic holiday.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Not with anyone new.

This kid, though.

Poppy's home! ❤️❤️❤️ #100happydays (61/100)


22. What was your favorite TV program?

Trailer Park Boys. Totally binged and now I’m about to start over.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I really don’t know that I “hate” anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?

Oh god. I don’t have time to read for fun. I read a couple of decent textbooks, I guess.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Don’t have one.

26. What did you want and get?

A new car.

27. What did you want and not get?

Can’t think of anything. I’m pretty spoiled.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I saw exactly ONE movie this year (unless you count the Trailer Park Boys movies I watched on Netflix): Star Wars. It was good.

Seeing and experiencing it with Jon was better. He has this sweet story about his dad taking him to see the first one when he was a kid. He didn’t want to go because he thought it would be stupid, but was totally blown away by all of the (1970s) special effects and was an immediate fan.

He was super excited to go. We went to dinner afterward and talked about it and googled stuff and just generally had a fun night together.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35.


My mom and aunt came to visit a few days prior.


We went out to breakfast and then took them to the mountains.



Jon took the actual day off and hung out at home with me.

He's got the "where's poppy" game down.

And I got a second cake!


30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Probably more balance. Who knew getting a PhD would be kinda hard?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?


I just remembered that this was one of my resolutions. To dress better/learn how to dress myself. I tried for a while – and took some really shitty pictures.




Maybe I’ll keep working on this in 2016.

Also, our room has been the last on the list – but 2016 is the year of the makeover. These pictures remind me that it needs to happen.

32. What kept you sane?

Jon. Good food. The ability to plan fun trips (AKA have something to look forward to).

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I really don’t care about this sort of thing.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I don’t have the energy to get into this.

35. Who did you miss?

All of our families live in other areas, so ….

36. Who was the best new person you met?

One of Jon’s German co-workers. I’d technically met her before when I traveled to Germany with Jon, but we became friends during her time in the US and I miss her being here.

Keep getting behind with my #100happydays because I've been too busy having fun/being happy. #thegoal (12/100)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

I worry too much. I need to stop.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I really just don’t like music.

So Jon and I went to a holiday party hosted by my trainer for all of her clients. It was great and she had a ton of good (super healthy) food, etc.

I was talking to two women who have worked out with us on Saturday mornings (bootcamp) before and we were kinda laughing and joking about how lazy we’ve been during the holiday season with all of the parties and food and debauchery and one of them mentioned eating a whole row of oreos the other day for a snack, blah, blah, blah. Typical end-of-year-new-resolution stuff.

This guy piped up out of nowhere and started telling us that THIS, this is the time we should be taking better care of ourselves. We should be using this time to get to the gym more often and focus on clean eating, etc. Shun the debauchery!

I actually rolled my eyes at him.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been so outright rude to a stranger before.

I wasn’t feeling well – and I was tired. And maybe I wish I could be more resolute and do what he was saying? I don’t know. I don’t think so, though.

I’m trying really hard to have peace and balance. I think that was my resolution for 2015? Or maybe 2014? I don’t know. I just know that I’ve been working on stopping the black/white thinking.

Apparently it’s working.

I surprised myself at how quickly I was saying things about how it’s not the end of the world to enjoy a party or some cookies here and there – especially since we all regularly work out and otherwise eat well and balance it, etc.

I just can’t buy in to the idea that it has to be all or nothing anymore – because that just hasn’t proven to be the case – and I guess I just don’t feel like I have to keep my opinions to myself.

That 100+ pound loss and the years of generally maintaining it (and overall good health) despite all the holiday seasons of debauchery? Earned me the eye rolling.

I’ve been thinking about 2016 and I think balance is going to be my continued plan.

I have peace with the fact that I might gain weight here and there and I know it’s not the end of the world. It used to feel like it would be devastating and would “ruin” all of the hard work – but I’m over it. I’m not scared anymore.

I think I felt like this smaller size was a little blip – but the longer it goes on, the more confident I feel that I can maintain it. I’m NOT going to suddenly be 100 pounds heavier even if I gain 10 pounds here and there during stressful months or holidays or whatever.

Imagine that.

I’m not so naive as to think that a huge gain isn’t possible over time. I know it is. I see my weight slowly creeping up and am aware of what COULD happen.

Balance is what I need now, though. Not a freak-out, all or nothing mindset.

I’m much less focused on healthy eating/living than I used to be. The scale often tips toward junk when I’m stressed with school or life or whatever, which I feel is totally normal – but is something worthy of attention.

I need to start tipping back the other way. I’m just slightly off balance, but I feel it tipping more and more each month.

I think I was a little (maybe a lot?) misguided in the past when I’d try to focus on eliminating or lessening stress and stressful circumstances. It’s just not going to happen. I was crazy to assume I’d have that much control.

I think the better option is to try to focus on maintaining balance DESPITE the stress.

So we’ll see.

My pants are getting tighter and my body is starting to ache quite a bit from lack of exercise – so I’m definitely feeling a renewed desire to get back on track.

I also just really miss focusing on good health. It’s a fun hobby that has slowly fallen by the wayside as other things have taken priority.

I’m going to work on pulling myself out of this funk.

I did a bunch of baking, which is always fun. I enjoy looking for new recipes and trying new things – so I spent a couple of days last week doing that. I made cookies, peanut butter/pretzel things dipped in chocolate and “chocolate caramel crack(ers).”

I'm woefully behind on #100happydays with no chance of catching up. The days are good, just busy. Today, though, there was time for cookies! 🎄🎅🍪

I took some to my work party and sent the rest to work with Jon. I like doing it – but I don’t necessarily want it all around.

We had a good weekend, too.

Did absolutely NOTHING on Saturday. Just hung out at home, mostly on the couch.




We went to Dollywood yesterday.




It was pretty cold – for the FIRST TIME all season – but whatever. MC passed out before the parade, so we left without seeing Santa – but it was fun.


I’m super excited about Christmas, of course. I went a little crazy with the presents for MC, but he is SO FUN right now. Also? He’s likely the only kid I will ever get to spoil like this (since he’s likely Jon’s only grandchild to live with us) – so what the hell, right?


We’re having a dinner (with guests, etc.) on Christmas Eve and I specifically requested ham vs. turkey because I had these little ham sliders at a party and am TOTALLY making them on Christmas Day with leftover ham.

I am also making homemade hot chocolate and doing the whole hot chocolate bar thing I keep seeing on pinterest.

And Jon always gets up super early on Christmas morning and makes homemade cinnamon rolls.

So I guess I better make sure my stretchy pants are clean.

Looking forward to it.

So, November.

Our 9th anniversary happened.


I was in the final stretch of the semester and was super busy, plus anniversaries just aren’t really a big thing for us – so we didn’t do much. But it happened.

Married for 9 years now. Makes me sound like some kind of adult or something. ❤️❤️❤️ #100happydays (47/100)

We’re planning a trip for our 10th. Likely some place tropical. Good excuse, right?

Thanksgiving also happened.

We spent the actual holiday with my family in the Memphis area and then drove home (6+ hours away) and nearly immediately headed to the Atlanta area (3+ hours away) for Jon’s brother’s 40th birthday party.


Going on too many hours in the car this week. #worthit #100happydays (54/100)

It was a fun long weekend, though. I’m glad we were able to make it both places.

I wrapped up nearly all of my work prior to Thanksgiving to ensure a decent winter break. I needed some time do to NOTHING, and I’ve pretty much accomplished that. I’m working on my dissertation proposal and have a huge stack of books to read to prepare for an upcoming class, etc. but I don’t have any pressing deadlines.

I had a list of stuff I wanted to do during this winter break and I’ve accomplished nearly all of it – with a month to go!

I cleaned out and organized all of our closets, have done some yard work, cleaned out and organized book shelves and all of my school stuff. Etc.

Basically took care of everything that went into disarray during the semester. And caught up on a ton of podcasts in the process.

I’m done with Christmas shopping and wrapping and mailing.

AND! I turned our upstairs into a playroom for MC (with Jon’s help).

This is something I’ve been wanting to do, but couldn’t justify taking any time to do it until the semester ended.

We’d been using the space as a guest room, but it’s really perfect for MC.

It’s sort of odd up there. It was obviously the attic at some point, but someone turned it into 3 rooms – one large space and 2 tiny rooms that have built-in platforms for beds. One of the rooms is so small only a very small child can walk in it, yet it has two bed platforms.

(Doors to the 2 rooms at the top of the stairs – that tiny door is maybe 3 feet tall at most)

(Beds in the tiny room – one platforms fits a twin bed and the other fits a full, so we put both in there – the ceiling really is RIGHT THERE)


(Bed in the other room – this is all that fits other than a small chair in the other corner – but an adult can walk around in the room)

Weird. I guess the upside is we always have plenty of room for guests?

Anyway, the large space is what I wanted to use for MC.





I left the bed and tv and everything, which worked out. Got rid of a bunch of junk and turned the closet up there into a baby stuff storage closet.

(The lighting is so bad. Dreary day, not much inclination to edit photos.)


I’m still working on it, but it’s functional now and is working out really well. Looks like a totally different room. We’re slowly migrating his toys up there.




(He’s saying and signing “more” here to get me to keep reading. We have no idea how he learned to sign, but he just … does it.)


I don’t know what else we’ve been up to. November was a whirlwind of activity re: school then I went into full-on domestic mode and now … I’m not doing much.

Jon had his work holiday party last Friday night, which was a lot of fun. Several people gave toasts and talked about how much they appreciate him (as their boss) and it made me weepy. I’m happy things are slowly getting better and he’s settling into his new role so well.

My party is this week. I had a gala at school a few weeks ago and we went to a fundraiser for my work a few weeks ago, too. All fun events.

The tree is up and I’m done with presents as of this morning. It’s crooked and a strand of lights is out and I haven’t gotten a decent picture … but whatever. Good enough.

(Sunday morning tv watching. Not sure what happened to MC’s pants.)

I haven’t been taking many pictures lately because I just haven’t been in the mood (as evidenced by above – best I’ve got).

I’m also on a short hiatus with the trainer and the gym. Just taking a short break until the new year starts.

This has been my general attitude about exercise lately:

Social work gala + made it to last call elsewhere afterward last night + 30 degrees this morning = glorious morning to start running again. 😁🏃#justdoit #100happydays (49/100)

I think I’m just in some kind of funk right now. It will pass.

I love the start of a new year, so I’m looking forward to 2016. I think I need to go with a full-blown goals & objectives list for the new year. I know Jon wants to start running – for real – again and train for a half marathon. I don’t want to do anything that time intensive, but I’ll come up with something. I think part of my funk comes from feeling aimless.

I love a good health kick and I think we need one. My food choices have been less than stellar lately and I’m feeling it.

One thing’s for sure – I might quit and/or not accomplish goals, but I’ll never quit trying.


I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but seriously: time is flying.

I have just a few weeks of this semester left. Coming up: one more semester of classes (that will be super light) and a dissertation proposal.

October was kind of a whirlwind.

My aunt died, so we threw the dogs in the car and made a very quick trip to Memphis. We spent more time driving there and back than actually seeing her – but I’m really glad we were able to do it. We left the day she died.

Travel companions. ❤️ #100happydays (21/100)

The very next day, we flew to Denver.

Whirlwind week. 🌛🗻✈️ #100happydays (23/100)

We had a little bit of time to sightsee around the area, but we mostly stayed downtown.


My conference had something like 2,500 attendees, plus there was a zombie crawl, plus it was marathon weekend. Pretty festive downtown the whole time we were there.

It was a good trip. My workshop went well. Jon has some customers in the area, so it worked out really well for him to work while I did conference stuff.

We did the hay ride and pumpkin patch afternoon when we got home.



🎃🎃🎃#100happydays (33/100)


This child LOVES animals. Or, really, dogs – and animals that look like dogs.



So I've mentioned that they love each other, right? 😍😍 #100happydays (36/100)

Halloween happened!


MC was scared of us, which made me feel bad – but seriously, Jon’s costume was the best yet.


MC was fine with Jon once he took his sunglasses off, but he never came near me even though he would say my name (he calls me “da” right now) and point.

He thought the tattoo was fascinating.


Super fun night.



My hypochondriasis paid off. I had a little red spot on my face near my nose that didn’t appear to be typical (for me) acne. Turned out to be something that I can’t remember the name of, but it’s a pre-squamous cell carcinoma stage. (I seriously can’t google anymore because the images make my stomach hurt). Anyway, they froze it, which created a blister. It’s gone now – just left with a red spot. I suspect it will be red for a while. My skin damages easily and takes FORRREVVVVER to heal.


I’m worried this thing didn’t go away completely because the red spot is still kinda raised, but I have a regular whole body check in January.

So – I guess that was the month. Some fun mixed with sadness and a lot of work. I guess it all balanced.

MC is even more like a little boy these days. He’s 16 months old. CRAZY!

He’s super opinionated and says a ton of words (or really communicates with us – not sure other people would understand his words).

He started daycare, so he got sick for the first time, which was super sad – but he’s mostly been his happy, energetic self.


Jon's a sweet Poppy. #throwback #handsintheair #100happydays (34/100)

He can throw a spectacular fit.


But he’s mostly just the best baby.



I haven’t weighed myself in ages. I honestly can’t remember the last time.

I’ve been trying to get over the feeling that I’m rapidly gaining weight and trying to just learn to be ok with where I am at any given time.

I feel like I’ve taken training wheels off and am still a little wobbly.

My brain tells me (all panic-like) that I MUST be gaining weight if I’m not strictly monitoring and paying attention.

I have a few events coming up over the next 2 months, so I’ve been shopping more than usual. Imagine my surprise when I was able to grab a ton of dresses in my normal size – the one I’ve been in for several years now – and they all perfectly fit and looked great, etc.

It’s so weird that my mind says one thing, but reality is another.

This no-weighing thing is something I’ve needed to do for a long time. I just reject this notion that I will be a 100 pounds heavier again if I don’t monitor and watch and stress.

Just don’t have time for that drama anymore. I can do this maintenance thing without it. I’m clearly doing just fine.

It’s just scary.

Time’s up. I have appt with the trainer to get to. Going to try to run after my hour with her.

Keepin’ on keepin’ on.

Ok, almost 2 months has flown by. CRAZY!

I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll just start somewhere and hope to hit the highlights.

School is going well. I’m about halfway through the semester (or close). One more semester of coursework to go. I should be doing something right now because I have a million things to read/write/work on, but I have a headache, so …

Henry and Molly are both great. Henry’s diabetes is under control and Molly doesn’t look so ridiculous now that her hair is growing out. They both still love MC and he still loves them back.

She's such a sweet girl. 👶🐺❤️ #100happydays (7/100)

Henry decided to get in on the book action this morning. ❤️❤️❤️


I turned 35.

I didn’t run the 13.1 distance because I didn’t feel like it (we all saw that one coming, right?). Jon took the day off to hang out with me and we had MC that morning … so I went to breakfast with them instead of spending my morning running/recovering.


My mom and aunt came into town the weekend before to celebrate. My aunt is not doing well (cancer/brain tumors), so my mom has been taking her to see a bunch of stuff she’s never seen. She’d never been here, so the mountains were the goal.


We went out to breakfast one morning and I made the lemon/blueberry cake I love and we just hung out having a quiet weekend. It was nice.




I did a workshop at a conference in the DC area with some colleagues – and Jon tagged along. Super fun weekend. We ate a ton of good food and just generally had a really good time.



Headed to Denver soon to do something similar at a much larger conference. Both nervous and excited – but mostly excited. I haven’t been to Denver since I was a kid. The workshop is like ONE HOUR of what will hopefully be several days of fun.

I’m running again with the running group.

I’m just making it work with my schedule, which means I spend at least one morning each week running at 5:45AM. I’ve missed it.

Slow and painful, but I'm so glad I have the (mostly mental) space in my life again. #100happydays #running #canicallitrunningatmypace? (3/100)

Jon rejoined, too.

(And MC tagged along – in a stroller – for a Saturday run.)


I still work out 2 times each week with the trainer. Nothing has really changed there.

I’m just doing the 5k running program – so I’m not pushing it or anything. Just want to get some cardio a few days a week … and be outside … and be social. I go to their once weekly circuit training class, too.

So – I guess I get about 4-5 days a week of pretty good exercise (depending on how many runs I do on my own). Seems like that’s been my norm over the years, so I’m happy with that.

Jon turned 47!

We celebrated his birthday weekend traveling to see his child #4 play soccer, his mom came into town … and then we spent the actual night eating take-out in front of the tv, which is exactly what we both wanted to do.

We have a good life.

Celebrating his 47th with take-out sushi and TV. ❤️🎉🎂🎁🎊 #solucky #100happydays (6/100)

Jon has a (sort-of) co-worker in town from Germany for several months, so we’ve done a bunch of fun stuff with her lately. Took her on a hike her first weekend here and have hit a ton of restaurants/bars and other sightsee(ish) stuff over the past few weeks. She joined the running group with us, too, so that’s been fun.

Last Friday, she threw an Oktoberfest party for their work people at our house. The plan was to do it in our backyard, but it rained all day – so we moved it indoors.

Disappointing, but it worked out ok.


She taught me how to make spaetzle (which she served at the party).

Learned (watched) how to make spaetzle today - then ate it with cheese and sautéed onion and now I can never have noodles from a box again. 😋🍴🍺 #oktoberfest #100happydays (4/100)

And then I HAPPILY ate leftovers (with cheese and sauteed onions) for several days.


She had (drinking, obv) games planned for the party, so we did that stuff in the garage … and we were able to do SOME things outside when it stopped raining.



Fun night.

So MC is like … a little BOY.



He walks! And eats real food with us (though still breastfeeds, too)! And communicates!

(This dinner = a trainer meal consisting of salmon, eggplant & asparagus plus cottage cheese straight from the container (that MC and Jon both LOVE) and sparkly water from a can. Pretty typical these days. We don’t have a ton of time to cook – but we haven’t reverted to junk.)



He’s the sweetest, smartest baby EVER. For real.


I guess that’s it.

Just keepin’ on keepin’ on.

Life is really full and busy these days, but it’s full and busy with fun/rewarding/challenging things that leave me with little room to dwell on whether I’ve entered food into myfitnesspal – so I just don’t. I’ve been making adjustments to my diet here and there and my pants fit. Could be looser, but I guess I’m probably within 10-12 pounds of my lowest weight.

I’m good.

I can’t believe another month has flown by. Classes start in 2 weeks.

I was thinking the other day that I need to remember not to panic when confronted with wide open spaces of time because I always fill it – and it always flies by.

Except then I realized that this is my last “free” summer. I have 2 semesters of classes left before moving on to my dissertation. So – yeah. Not sure why I just realized that.

Free is a funny way to consider what’s been going on this summer, anyway. While I might be “free” from the confines of an 8-5 situation, I’ve been reading/researching/writing and have a pretty decent draft of a paper I’m hoping to submit for publication before the end of the year. I worked on getting some data in good shape and have an IRB application going. I’ve also been working on a couple of workshops that I’m doing at conferences in the next few months (with the help of some co-workers I recruited). And I’ve worked 8-5 at my office twice a week.

I think it’s just been a weird adjustment to drop the needs, demands and expectations of others. Everything I’m doing is self-motivated and self-directed since I’m not working with anyone at school interested in my substantive area – though I do obviously have classes where I have to earn grades (and have a great mentor who helps me navigate my path). I’m kinda liking the ability to work at 6AM on a Saturday or take a nap at 3PM on Tuesday if I feel like it.

I like the freedom.

Anyway. Things always work out. I think I’m mostly over the adjustment hump.

I’ve been plugging away at the weight loss situation and I feel like my clothes are starting to fit better. Honestly, though? I’m not trying that hard. Just trying to swing my ways back to smaller portions on a more consistent basis.

I’m still eating the same stuff I’ve eaten for years now.

Rice cakes with hummus and salsa have been a favorite this summer.
Having a rice cake with a little bit of black bean hummus & salsa. Guess Molly is, too. 🐶

I’ve been making a big salad each weekend for easy weekday lunch-making (had already tossed it around and everything had migrated to the bottom).

Still ordering meals from my trainer here and there. Typically every other week, but especially on weeks we know will be busy. I take them for lunch sometimes when I’m working in my office.

Jon made (baked) chicken nuggets for us one night with the coconut flour/flaxseed meal/etc. recipe he’s used for a long time. We had them leftover for days, which was great.
Haven't had chicken nuggets since my long-gone paleo days.  (ground chicken, flax seed meal, coconut flour, eggs, some spices and butter) #bakednotfried 🍴😋


I bought a new protein powder and tried it with almond milk in a shaker thing and in a smoothie and I still HATE IT no matter what. Always have, likely always will. I get sucked in every now and then when I feel bad about my low protein consumption, but I just can’t do it. They all taste fake and gross to me. I’ll go through this again in another year or so, I’m sure.


Jon still cooks most nights we don’t have trainer meals.
This was a chop a bunch of stuff and stir it up kind of night.  #plusrice

I still eat plain yogurt and frozen blueberries nearly every day. Some days with almond butter on top.

And I’m still eating the shit out of these homemade muffins that I make with oat bran, egg whites, chia seeds, yogurt, bananas and a little honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. I try to make a big batch every weekend.


(I just realized I eat at a desk while working A LOT.)

We’re trying not to eat out much and have been mostly successful. We’ve fallen into the habit of taking MC to Salsarita’s once a week when his mom is at work at dinnertime – but I don’t count that since we walk there and back and since I can eat pretty basic stuff.



It’s the pizza and the Mexican food that’s the problem. Always a work in progress.

Exercise is the same, too.

I’m still working out with the trainer twice a week – once during the week and once on Saturday morning.

I go to the gym two or three additional times each week to do the elliptical for 30 minutes. Jon and I have also been going to the greenway quite a bit for walks at night and on the weekends. We walked 5 miles on Sunday because it was a nice day and we felt like being outside – and then another few on Monday night after dinner.

Running is … not happening. I run here and there, but nothing like I used to. I’m just not feeling it lately. I’m still planning to do the 13.1M on my birthday, but it will be more walking/slow jogging than anything. I’m ok with that. Just want to do it, in general, and see what happens.

(Plus I know where I want to go for dinner and what cake I want – so 13.1M of exercise will hopefully balance all that. Maybe.)

Overall – I’m pretty happy with my activity level. I’m lifting heavier and heavier weights, which makes me happy. I still prefer that over any other form of exercise, which is likely why I’ve consistently stuck with it all these years.

I like walking with Jon or with the dogs because I like being outside and I like moving and I like being able to talk to him while doing it. I like that we can just spontaneously go for a walk with minimal effort/planning.

What I DON’T like is having to stick to a training plan. I think I would enjoy running more if I could let go of the idea that I need to be training for something and could just run for the hell of it. I could get behind running 3M or so a few days a week for my 30-40 of min of cardio (instead of the elliptical) – so I might try to work on that when it’s not blazing hot outside.

I just can’t seem to stick to something that requires extra planning or focus. It was great when I had the space in my life for it, but I’m just not there anymore. I have enough with the dogs and a household full of people and school and blah, blah, blah. I can’t do the running group anymore, anyway, because classes conflict with it.

Maybe I’ll have room again sometime soon. For now? Just keeping on with what I can do …

Henry’s doing well. He’s not thrilled that he has to go in his crate when we eat (so he doesn’t get MC’s dropped food) or that he can’t have popcorn anymore, but he’s otherwise pretty ok.


We’ve raised his insulin dose again and he’s on a maintenance allergy med to try to prevent skin problems (that could be problematic re: diabetes), so he seems to feel pretty good. He’s been super playful lately, anyway.

These dogs.  ❤️❤️❤️

Had a little problem with a new groomer. Asked her not to shave Molly. This is what we got:

Took Molly to a new groomer bc the old (great) one closed. Told her we'd shaved her in the past & didn't want that done again. Assumed she'd know how to cut her hair since she's a professional groomer and all. Well. Even HEAD and EARS have been shaved. Sh

Our old groomer did a great job – but closed and moved away.


Molly looks kinda crazy – and I was REALLY DISPLEASED that they even shaved her head and ears – but I guess it’s ok. It’s just hair.



She looks so scrawny without it.

Henry spent the day at his vet's office and I'm thinking they missed each other.


I guess I need to start looking for someone new.

Ok, how about some baby pictures from the past month?

I swear he’s a genius. Jon played the trumpet and then gave it to MC to try and he IMMEDIATELY made a loud hooting noise with it in his mouth.


It embarrassed him when we laughed, but it was so funny. He just knew it needed to make noise and I guess he decided to quickly go with what he knew how to do.






He looks so much like a little boy these days.






I can’t believe this sweet boy is a year old.


The past year has FLOWN BY. It’s sort of scary how quickly time is passing these days.


He has the sweetest, most joyful nature.


He’s crawling like a champ, pulls up on everything, walks along the furniture and stands alone for short periods of time.

His favorite word is “ball” and he LOVES balls. He also loves pointing at every round or circular object/picture in sight and exclaiming “ball!” He loves when we see balls in books and squeals and points and kills me with the cuteness.

I’m convinced he’s a genius, of course.


He loves to read books. We keep a bunch of his books in a basket in our office, so he’ll insistently start saying “ba” (for book) and pointing when we’re nearby. He kicks his little legs and gets SO excited when we get to the basket.


He also says “da” for dog, “yum” for food/water (along with a firm pointing of the finger to indicate he wants some), “mamama” for his mom and I swear he’s saying “pa” for poppy, though it often sounds like ball. He points at Jon, though, or reaches for him when he says it – so I think he’s trying. The other day he said “ha” in an effort to mimic me saying “hush” at Molly.


And the best? He says “bye” and screams it (and waves) whenever anyone leaves a room or leaves his presence or if he hears a door open/close. It sounds SO southern. I don’t know how to describe it, but it sounds like he’s saying “baaaa” – like a person with a super southern accent. None of us really sound like that, but we’re starting to mimic him when we say it back so it’s pretty ridiculous. It’s really the cutest thing ever.

So he was TERRIFIED of balloons for his 11th month pics, but flat-out loves them now. Who knows? Baby brains are funny.


We had a really fun 4th weekend.


MC’s birthday was the 3rd, so we had a party that afternoon.

Jon’s child #3 wanted to do some kind of theme, so she went with beach balls and bright colors. Perfect for the ball loving baby, but simple.


(I’m so glad we did this every month.)


The party went SO well. We had been hoping for good weather and had sprinklers and a little pool and all that – but it rained.

So we hung out indoors with all the beach balls. Not a big deal.


People from both sides of her family came from out of town, so we had a real dinner to feed everyone.


Jon marinated and grilled a bunch of chicken and we did the fajita buffet that we’ve done for other parties. It’s SO great for large crowds. Everyone always seems to enjoy it.

A friend of Jon’s child #3 made a cake, a smash cake for MC and cupcakes and brought them over the night before the party. She came in with this cute little beach ball cake when she got here – which we thought was the perfect smash cake and totally gushed over – and then she brought in a SMALLER cake to be the smash cake. We all just sort of didn’t say anything because I think we were too surprised.

We stood around talking about what to do after they left. I thought we should buy a new (larger) cake and just go ahead and use the small (cutest) cake for the smash cake since it was perfect for that, but Jon’s child #3 didn’t want to hurt her friend’s feelings.

Molly solved our problem, though. We turned around and found her chowing down on the little smash cake we didn’t want.

Seriously. MINUTES into the whole thing.


SO STRANGE. She never touches anything. She’s not a counter surfer and never steals food – even if we drop it on the floor.

Finding a decent/plain cake at the last minute proved to be a problem, but it worked out.


I think this cake – the one intended to be for the party people – was the perfect little cake for him.


He did not, however, appreciate the singing.


He wasn’t really into the cake, either, which was kinda funny because he kept giving everyone dirty looks.





He LOVED opening presents, though.


Fun day. I still can’t believe he’s SO BIG.


Jon’s mom, brother, sister-in-law and nephews stayed with us for the weekend, so we spent the 4th here. Jon grilled stuff and we were able to spend time outside between rain showers – so that was nice.

This is pretty much what Sunday looked like after everyone left:

I guess the weekend wore them out. Haven't heard a peep for hours. 😴😴

Great weekend.