Three 31


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Resolution Update // July 2015

I’m scared to even go through this list to see what I did not accomplish this month, but here we go:

HEALTH + FITNESS

Lose 20% of my body weight
Take advantage of health coach provided by insurance
Eat breakfast every day I’ve been making homemade granola bars with whole oats, flax and chia seeds, and honey and they are really delicious.
Take a daily multivitamin
Exercise four days a week I managed to do this one week.
Work out with a personal trainer
Drink 150 ounces of water every day Probably a success, I know I am drinking a lot of water but I’m not exactly tracking it either.
Complete a juice cleanse
Complete a 90-day challenge
Eliminate something from my diet each month (i.e. sweets, fried foods, sugar, fast food, etc.)
January – Rough start at the beginning of the month, but I’ve managed to stay away from excess sugar for two and a half weeks. Small steps.
February – I avoided tomatoes like the plague.
March – Still avoiding tomatoes.
April – No tomatoes.
May – No tomatoes.
June – I don’t remember the last time I ate an actual tomato but I have had tomato-based products a couple of times: pizza sauce, barbeque sauce, and ketchup.
July – Tomatoes are back, at least a little bit, and I’ve not reacted.

Be showered and in bed by 10:30 every night
Learn more about and use essential oils
Find a skincare routine that works for me
Participate in a “new-to-me” group exercise class January 9 – tried a 60-minute cycling class, January 24 – tried INSANITY, January 28 – Zumba with Miss Ivy
Schedule annual appointments with OB-Gyno, eye doctor, and dentist January 16 – comprehensive eye exam; January 19 – purchased eyeglasses at Warby Parker; January 20 – teeth cleaned; January 21 – cavity filled (booo!) 

BLOGGING

Create a blog post calendar … and use it!
Attend a blog conference
Attend a creative writing workshop
Publish a blog post every day for a month SUCCESS – I posted every day in the month of June. Check out 30 Days of Manna.
Publish a “how to” post
Publish an original recipe
Continue the weekly FINISH THIS link up FAILURE – I did not make it 100 weeks. I think I stopped at #73. Whatever the number, this link up was beginning to be a burden, lacked direction and creativity, and I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of the year to eliminate things in life that were not satisfying and/or joyful. I’m grateful to the participants, and I apologize for not noticing them sooner about it’s elimination, but my Wednesdays are improving already – despite it being one of my busiest days of the week!
Start a blog series January 5 – Monday Musings began; January 24 – weekly meal plan with menu/recipes
Meet five bloggers in person
Host a sponsored giveaway
Host a bloggers’ watch party for 50 Shades of Gray February 13
Continue writing for MOMquery 
Continue writing for Sweet Jesus Girls

PHOTOGRAPHY

Organize and back up my photos
Sell my current camera and upgrade to this one I’ve changed my mind and WANT this one.
Acquire a 85mm prime lens
Acquire a telephoto lens
Expand Three 31 Photography by scheduling at least 10 sessions
Take a Lightroom class
Join a camera or photography club January 19 – first meeting with Cleburne Photography Club

HOME LIFE

Refinanced our home mortgage for a lower interest rate February 11
Execute our living wills
Create a gallery wall in the living room
Hang a family picture above mantel/fireplace
Rearrange the living room furniture
Buy new comforter + bedding for guest room
Buy new side tables + lamps for master bedroom
Repaint the side table in Kamden’s room
Install new kitchen sink + granite countertops
Make our home more energy efficient
Have a technology-free weekend
Find a cleaning schedule … and use it!
Eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant
Try a new recipe every month
January – Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole Husband’s reaction was meh.
February – Blueberry Muffins
March – pork tenderloin in the Crock Pot
April – French Onion Chicken Noodle Bake Husband’s reaction was yum. He went back for seconds … and thirds. He has since renamed the dish “Chicken Scratch.”
May – ?
June – homemade granola bars
July – Peach Crumb Bars and Homemade Nutri-Grain Bars with Strawberry Jam

Make the perfect omelet
Host a dinner party with other couples/families
Host a “Friendsgiving”
Host a game night
Meal plan for a month … and stick to it!
Use the Crock Pot once a week for a month
January – used the CP three times (roast beef and pinto beans)
February – meatballs and homemade spaghetti sauce
March – roast beef and teriyaki pork tenderloin
April – pinto beans, roast (twice), and meatballs
May – roast beef
June – pinto beans
July – beef roast and vegetables

Save loose change and cash out at the end of the year
Purge the entire house and donate or toss things we don’t use
Have my car detailed inside and out
Sell my car and buy a used SUV or crew cab pickup truck

PERSONAL GROWTH

Find a Bible reading plan (such as this one) that works for me … and use it regularly!
Read and study Scripture regularly and more thoroughly
Seek opportunities to improve (i.e. parenting, photography, blog writing, etc.)
Have regular conversations with Lisa January 14 – the shenanigans have begun!
Create a new resume
Get a job with new resume
Join a professional organization and get involved in the local chapter
Finish The Story Bible study May 27
Create and lead a small group for parents with young children
Read 12 books (one per month) 1. Being Christian – Rowan Williams; 2. Captivated By You (Book 4 of The Crossfire Series) – Sylvia Day; 3. Chic & Slim: How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim – Anne Barone; 4. Fighting Back With Joy – Margaret Feinberg; Grey – E.L. James
Keep a prayer journal
Keep a blessings/gratitude jar
Participate in a swap
Get my hair cut at the start of each season January 16 – hair cut
Have my eyebrows “threaded” by a professional
Get a facial/mani/pedi every other month

FOR KAMDEN

Create a 529 Savings Plan – January 30
Potty train (no more diapers) by second birthday
Continue weekly classes at The Little Gym  January 8 – Kamden was promoted to the “Birds” class (for kids 10-18 months);  May 21 – Kamden graduated from the Birds class and got promoted to Beast status. He still wears the medal around his neck.
Enroll in Kinder-music
Schedule one play date a month
Mommy + Me photo session for Mother’s Day SUCCESS – In between rain storms, and even a few sprinkles during the shoot itself, Kamden and I finally had our Mommy & Me pictures taken by Becky. It was long overdue, weather and schedules made it nearly impossible, but I’m so excited about the result and can’t wait to see more!!!!

nicoleandkamden2015

nicoleandkamden2015

Plant a tree
Make a special craft or memento
Install book shelves in his bedroom
Read a book before bedtime every night Kamden’s favorites are Little Blue Truck and God Knows You.

FOR OTHERS

Surprise Husband with a meaningful gift
Continue donating breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas January 5 – Donated 332 ounces. January 22 – My pumping days are officially over. You can read why here. As sad as I am, I was able to donated 3,442 ounces to the MMBNT.
Donate to a charity
Throw a surprise party for someone
Attend a wedding
Attend a baby shower May 2.
Leave a 100% tip for excellent service
Volunteer at least five hours each month
Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
Send a “just because” gift to someone
Send 12 handwritten notes (one per month)
Send a care package to a soldier
Celebrate special milestones (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) with greeting cards

ADVENTURE

Go to Bova for a custom ring design consultation
Go to Bova and have my ring and earrings cleaned
Have a ladies’ night once a quarter
February 13 – dinner and movie
March 13 – breakfast with the Zachry’s (and Kamden too)

Attend a college sporting event
Attend a professional sport event
Invest in quality luggage … and use it!
Visit three museums January 6 – Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas; February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library; July 14 – second trip to the Perot Museum
Visit Ruthie in Austin
Visit Lisa in Virginia
Visit Jenny in North Dakota
Visit Jacqueline in Houston
Visit Heather in Houston
Visit Jen in Arizona
Visit a Presidential Museum February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library in Little Rock, Arkansas
Visit a popular landmark I’ve never seen before
Go to Lake Ouachita (Arkansas) with Husband’s family
Go to Fredericksburg, Texas
Go hunting
Play a round of golf April 10
Go to a drive-in movie
Shoot a bow-and-arrow
Compete in a shooting sport
Complete a fitness challenge
Go paddle boarding
Attend a cooking class
Attend a line dancing class at Billy Bob’s

And for good measure …

JANUARY
Read and study the Bible for 31 consecutive days following a specific reading plan. DONE!

FEBRUARY
Exercise 1,500 minutes in a month, or 75 minutes every week day, and avoid “bad for me” foods. FAIL!

MARCH
Walk a minimum of 8,000 steps every day for 31 days (must wear pedometer). PARTIAL SUCCESS – I wore my pedometer every day but I did not get a minimum of 8K daily steps. But some days were better than others and there were even a few days where I walked in excess of 10K steps, so maybe I averaged 8K instead. I’ll try harder next month.

APRIL
Walk 10,000 steps every day for 30 days. Begin the “Total Transformation” challenge at the gym. Exercise like it’s my job. Purchase a pair of cycling shoes with bike clips. The month of March was a resounding success at failing miserably. The only thing I accomplished from this list was purchasing a pair of cycle shoes with bike clips, which I thought I did this in March but it doesn’t really matter.

MAY
Submit five articles for SJM. Fail, I only submitted two. Exercise 2,000 minutes in 31 days. Fail.

JUNE
Write four articles for SJM. FAIL – All of my writing efforts this month were focused on “30 Days of Manna.” Exercise 2,000 minutes in 30 days. Semi-Failure. I logged 1.505 minutes in June.

JULY
Write four articles for SJM. FAIL – I submitted one. Publish a weekly health update. SUCCESS! Log 2,000 minutes of exercise. MAJOR FAIL! Make reservations for a mini family vacation. FAIL.

AUGUST
Register for a 5K race.


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Mind + Body Transformation: Week 4

Weekly Update

Weight on July 24, 2015 // 258

Last week’s wins:

  • After a wonderful visit with a childhood friend, I have decided to complete a 5K before the end of the year. Now, I am no Olympic runner (have the boobs to prove it) but I made significant improvements this week by walking and jogging on the treadmill at the gym. More on this in a minute!
  • I made it to the gym four days this week, wow!
  • I did not eat the healthiest of foods this week, or watch my portions very closely, but I managed to eat big meals during the day instead of in the evening before bed. That’s a miniature success, right?

Last week’s struggles:

  • Food and portion control has been crazy. I’ve eaten at Chick-Fil-A twice, dinner at a local café, and lunch with another friend at a steakhouse.
  • My. Hip. Hurts. So. Bad. Walking and jogging excessively this week has really taken a toll on my right hip. I rarely, if ever, put a lot of weight on it and this has been going on for a while – I usually ignore it and go about my business but it’s been more uncomfortable than ever. I don’t know exactly what is going on but I need to see a specialist sooner rather than later. I don’t know if all the years of walking unthinkable miles on the golf course are catching up with me. Or if I have the beginning of arthritis. Or if I am out of alignment. Or if my right leg is actually shorter than my left and I’ve adjusted my stance and gait to compensate the difference. I don’t know if I need to see a chiropractor or orthopedic specialist. I’m also hesitant to see a doctor right now because I’m afraid they’re only going to preach at me to lose weight in order to relieve pressure on my joints. Well, doctor, I’m trying. Believe me. RANT OVER!

Pounds Lost:

  • No change on the scale this week, which is surprising considering the meals I’ve eaten. Ugh, gotta do better with food choices.

Goals for the week ahead:

  • Exercise five days and rest Wednesday and Sunday
  • Strength train at least twice
  • Increase water consumption
  • Go to bed by 11:30 every night

5K Practice Results:

  • If you’re not familiar with 5K races, they are equivalent to 3.1 miles. There are lots of 5K events in the Dallas/Fort Worth area coming up, so choosing one will not be a problem, but I definitely have to prepare for it. I’m not calling it “training” because that’s a big, serious word. I’m starting on the treadmill because 1) it’s too hot outside and 2) I can adjust the incline and speed of the machine very easily. I found several schedules and guides for 5K training (eek, there’s that word) and I’ve implemented a little from each of them. I begin with a 5-10 minute warm-up (brisk walk) before alternating between jogging a minute and walking a minute, then ending with a cool down (at least 5-10 minutes of walking). If I feel up to it, I might jog for 70 or 90 seconds. My first attempt at this 5K Prep was Monday and I already see/feel improvements based on the time it took me to walk/jog 3.1 miles:
  • Monday, July 20 – 55:37
  • Tuesday, July 21 – 52:05
  • Thursday, July 23 – 50:25

Most folks can run a 5K in 30 minutes or less, but my goal is 40 minutes. I don’t think it’s ridiculous or impossible, but it’s a goal nonetheless.

Who wants to walk/jog/run this 5K with me?


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Being a wife/mom/adult is hard.

Folks at the fitness center where I exercise are quite concerned with my safety, and it has nothing to do with buckets of sweat pouring off of me. It seems like every time I am on the treadmill or elliptical machine, I’m jotting notes on a piece of paper. The habit formed months ago when I was listening to a talk show about health and some of the comments were really poignant and worth remembering, so I paused the treadmill, ran to the service desk and asked for a piece of paper and a pencil. I got back on the treadmill and ever-so-carefully continued walking while writing notes. Since I have added jogging to my workout regimen (in hopes of completing a 5K before the end of the year), my note-taking habit is becoming hazardous. But I happened to catch a popular speaker on a Christian TV station yesterday and, to my surprise, I desperately needed to hear what she said. So I jotted down some notes in hopes that you might need to read them too.

Let’s look at the opening verses of Psalm 23, you might already be familiar with this passage:

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
~ Psalm 23:1-4 (New Living Translation)

The first seven lines are nice and sweet and lovely. They speak of God’s loving protection and sustenance. He gives us rest and peace, renews us, and guides us. Then life happens. Our sunny disposition becomes clouded with doubt, insecurity, fear, and disappointment. The valleys of life are deep, dark, and overwhelming.

God never promised that life would be happy all the time and, here lately, my world has felt upside down and inside out. I’m trying to find the delicate balance between loving mother and consistent disciplinarian with a toddler who still doesn’t talk and likes to throw things when he’s mad. To be honest, I’ve realized over the past few days that I can be too harsh, even with myself. I fuss at or correct Kamden for too many things while getting frustrated with Husband over insignificant things. All the while, I have exceedingly impossible expectations for myself and constantly fall short. While my intentions are sincere, both as a wife and mother, my deliveries are often abrasive. I need to tighten the belt on a few things, and loosen it in other areas.

Being a wife is hard. Being a parent is hard. Being an adult is hard. (Deep breath.)

Thanks to Psalm 23, I am reminded of God’s steadfast love, faithfulness, and ever-present assurance that He is with me in the deepest and darkest valleys just as much as the mountaintops.

When I get frustrated in a situation or covet someone else’s life or situation, God lovingly redirects my attention back to him.

When I am upset or disappointed that my plans didn’t work as anticipated, God asks me to humbly trust and obey His schedule.

When I get discouraged and want to abandon everything, including faith, God holds me even tighter. He refuses to let go, despite my fears, doubt, frustrations, insecurities, and selfish plans.

I hate arguments and confrontations and avoid them at all costs. But, sometimes, I have to swallow my pride and desire to be right in order to be at peace with myself and others. When I give up control and anticipated expectations, I am able to say with humble content, “God, I want what you want more than I want what I want.”

when i get discouraged - three 31

Friends, don’t give up on yourself or let go of God.


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My Mom Friends Are Cooler Than Yours

Last week, Kamden and I were invited on an excursion to the Perot Museum in Dallas with T and her daughter, C. I thought it would be the four of us but, lucky for me, the rest of our friends from The Little Gym came too. I didn’t take a single picture because I didn’t take my camera (mom fail!) but we had so much fun and shared so many laughs together. The kids (all two and under) really enjoyed the play area built specifically for young ones on the museum’s lower level. I took Kamden back in January but he really enjoyed this trip more and I want to take him again in a few months because I know it’ll be even better.

Because it’s summer in Texas, the museum was crowded and I swear every daycare and youth camp decided to take a field trip the same day as our museum visit too. Instead of waiting in a really long line to eat at the museum’s café, the adults unanimously decided to head elsewhere.

Where do six adults and five children end up for lunch in downtown Dallas?

momfriends

Yes, that’s right, we ate at Hooter’s. Thankfully, it’s just two blocks from the museum and we proudly parked our caravan of strollers beside the hostess stand. Everyone was hungry and tired from walking around the museum for several hours and thank God for tator tots and grilled cheese sandwiches served hot and fresh to extra hungry and tired little people! The kiddos were also entertained by the sights (on the TVs, of course) and sounds of a large, noisy restaurant.

By the time we finished eating and walked back to our cars, parents and kiddos were toast. Kamden and C were sound asleep within minutes on the drive home.

Parents of little ones, what are some toddler-friendly places to see or visit in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? The more unique and off-the-beaten-path the better! After this trip, I’d like to avoid crowds for a while.

 


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Mind + Body Transformation: Week 3

Weekly Update

Weight on July 17, 2015 // 258

Last week’s wins:

  • I went to the gym two days and had exceptionally good sessions.
  • I’m building my support tribe and I couldn’t be more excited or grateful.
  • I went to bed earlier most nights because I was so tired at the end of the day.

Last week’s struggles:

  • I skipped the gym Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It’s never good to go three days without exercising.

Pounds Lost:

  • Surprisingly, I lost 6lbs since last week. Maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s water retention, I really don’t know. But, six pounds is six pounds and I’m going to appreciate the loss.

Goals for the week ahead:

  • Exercise five consecutive days.
  • Increase water consumption
  • Make myself go to bed by 11:30 every night.


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Trust + Obey

Row out farther, into the deep water.

I’m not much of a daredevil, adventure seeker, or risk taker. I’m not an adrenaline junkie and I don’t get ‘high’ from thrills like skydiving or bungee jumping. The most exciting things I’ve done include screaming on roller coasters at Six Flags, riding a camel in Jerusalem, and having a baby. Some people might say I’m boring. I suspect Jesus’ 12 disciples were run-of-the-mill boring men too. They were happy and content with their lives, but Jesus asked for more. He wanted them to trust and obey Him, and the result was amazing.

When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.” So they dropped the nets and their catch was so huge that their nets were splitting. They signaled for their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so full that they were about to sink. When Simon Peter saw the catch, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Leave me, Lord, for I’m a sinner!” Peter and those with him were overcome with amazement because of the number of fish they caught. James and John, Zebedee’s sons, were Simon’s partners and they were amazed too. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.” As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus. ~ Luke 5:4-11 (Common English Bible)

Row out farther, into the deep water. Jesus instructed the men to go out farther away from shore. He asks us to step outside our comfort zone too. Most times, we’re hesitant, afraid of the unknown, and skeptical. The water is deep and our feet don’t touch the bottom. We’re unsure about the future because the plan is beyond our control or understanding.

We’ve worked hard and caught nothing. I sympathize with Simon Peter here. How often have I given 100% towards a task yet no one notices or the results were not what I expected. Or, like many people, I’m tired and have nothing to show for my efforts.

Then, something amazing happens …..

Because you say so, I’ll drop the nets. Because God calls me outside my comfort zone, I will swim in deep water. Because He has my best interests at heart, I’ll trust and obediently follow Him. Because He is Lord, I will.

Even though we are tested, our faith (our lives) rests on a foundation that cannot (will not) be shaken by deep waters, fears of the unknown, or empty fish nets.

I cannot fault the fishermen in Jesus’ time, as they were real humans with real doubt and skepticism. But their faith overcame these obstacles and they completely trusted their Master (Jesus). Their reward for being obedient was not just a few fish, but two boats so full they almost sank. God could have given the men enough to fill their nets, but He is not satisfied with enough -and neither should we. God chose to rock their world by demonstrating his extravagant generosity and abundance on a grand scale, just like His love for us!

They left everything and followed Jesus. Amazing things happen when we let go of bad habits and stay on the straight and narrow path of righteousness. God does not guarantee life without pain, hardship, or heartache, sometimes our efforts will go unnoticed and unappreciated, but, because He is Lord God, amazing things will happen if we’re willing to trust and obey Him.

Amen.


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Mind + Body Transformation: Week 2

Weekly Update

I hate the scale. I hate the number of the scale. Even worse, I hate how my weight fluctuates day to day. I did this when I was pregnant and I did it when I was nursing and pumping exclusively for 14 months. Those two major “body-altering” events are understandable, but I’m still confused by the roller coaster that is my weight. Rant over.

Weight on July 10, 2015 // 264

Last week’s wins:

  • I went to the gym three days last week for a total of 180 minutes: Monday (Zumba), Tuesday (indoor cycling), and Friday (interval circuit on elliptical).

Last week’s struggles:

  • The holiday weekend offered wonderful time with family and friends, but I lost all self-control and ate way too much.
  • I made Husband a peanut butter pie … and ate two pieces in one day.
  • I didn’t go to the gym Wednesday or Thursday because I was lazy.
  • I’m dragging and exhausted. I didn’t sleep well and one night I didn’t go to bed at all.

Pounds Lost:

  • I don’t even know. My weight has fluctuated drastically this week … Monday – 260; Tuesday – 258; and Friday – 264.

Goals for the week ahead:

  • Exercise five consecutive days, either at the gym or walking at the city park, and clock a minimum of 300 minutes (an hour a day).
  • Increase water consumption
  • Check Amazon’s special “Prime Sale” later this week for a FitBit, Garmin, or Polar monitor watch. The fitness tracker I have through our insurance needs a new battery (it lasted less than six weeks) and only calculates the number of steps I walk. I’d really like something more in depth that will calculate minutes I exercise and when my heart rate is in calorie-burning mode. I’d also like to be able to sync it with friends as an additional link of support and accountability.
  • Make myself go to bed by 11:30 every night.
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