What to Expect…

You know that question you should never ask a woman unless you are completely sure?

You know? THAT question?

Well, this woman was asked that question yesterday.

I don’t know what to think about it, but here’s what happened:

I was at church. The hubby and I were sitting on a couch in the lobby, waiting for the teens to show up. An older gentleman that we see every week sat down and started chatting with us.

I mentioned that I was feeling tired (I had worked on Saturday night and didn’t sleep well).

His response?

“Oh, you’re tired? (He grinned) Are you going to be giving us some news?”

I didn’t get it, “What? What kind of news?”

“Oh,” he said, “well, my wife and I have been talking and she was saying she thought you’d be telling people that you were expecting soon.”

My response?

“Um… well, not that I’m aware of.” (Insert my jaw hitting the floor)

“Well, I thought you were saying you were tired because you were dropping a hint,” he said.  “You know, you don’t want to say anything too soon…so I thought you were trying to give me a hint.”

Nervously laughing, I replied, “Well… If I was expecting, I think it would be a pretty big surprise to Ben and me… I’m just tired because I worked late last night.”

*Awkward Silence*

“Oh.” He paused for a moment, unsure what to say, “Well, when the time comes, at least you’ve been blessed with a great husband. That’s a huge thing.”

Source

Source

Nice save with the husband comment. Totally true. And I can imagine he was as mortified as I was for that mistake.

But I have to ask….

1. Why do people expect couples to start having babies right away?

Ben and I have been getting “so, when are you going to start a family?” for a long time (funny enough, this question comes from everyone but our families). Why do we have to rush? We haven’t even been married two years!

Honestly, it wouldn’t even be on our radar, except we’re asked this question all the time!

To put it simply, we aren’t ready. The fact that I even have to explain that is frustrating.

2. Does this mean I look like I am starting to show? Or is it ….something else?!

A few friends assured me it was the latter, but I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t bother me some. I’m going to chock it up to the age of the parties involved.

Let’s chat, have you ever gotten THAT question (or worse, made that mistake?!)? What did you do? What are your thoughts on marriage and babies?

PS. Second funny story: the same day, another man (who we see weekly at church) asked if I was the wife of Ben’s best friend…while Ben was standing two feet away…Really?!

 

 


Questions Only

Can I just vent for a moment?

I just did that thing where you write something and then delete the whole thing. And then I did it again.

Deep breathe, here we go.

Without going into detail (honestly, the details don’t matter), I had a very frustrating conversation today that makes me wonder if certain summer plans are going to be worth the constant headache, which this conversation reminded me that I will, without a doubt, have.

I have to ask myself some questions.

  • How far am I willing to go to achieve certain goals I have for myself?
  • And will it be worth the constant frustration?
  • Is this a test?
  • Or is it a sign that I should turn around and run in the other direction
  • And how do I KNOW? 

Tell me, have you ever been in this kind of situation? What did you do? 

Is it Friday yet?


Mischief Managed

So… things have been a bit nuts lately. For real… This post is, for lack of a better word…a mish-mash of everything.

Race planning is still going strong. We’ve gotten even more sponsors and are getting more registrations… have you signed up yet?!

We also put up our really sweet banner.

Donated by Loreman's. Pretty sweet!

Donated by Loreman’s. Pretty sweet!

Check out our Facebook page to see some really awesome prizes!

I’m taking a really cool class through the University of Florida, but it’s got bonkers forum posts. Seriously…every morning I have approximately 27 new emails notifying me that someone added to a thread. I think it’s time to update my subscription settings….I just can’t keep up. Per my usual fashion, I am behind on my journal posts (whoops!) but will be catching up this weekend. The good thing is, I am getting a refresher on economics.

Our home has turned into a chicken sausage test kitchen. Really delicious… but holy cow (ha ha! Get it?) , I’ve been getting so much protein lately! My body is so…confused!

Here’s what we had for dinner last night:

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Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs.

I’ll call it a win.

Tonight, I’m making this sauce…partly because I need to use up the cauliflower that has been hanging out in the kitchen for the last week and partly because it’s delicious….and pretty good for you.

I have cookies to bake for people who have been pretty awesome lately.

I really want it to start getting warm outside. Why do I live in Upstate NY again? Also, why does everyone have their cranky pants on today?! Geesh!

Also, I made a really awesome (slightly crazy) decision the other day and cut my hair… super short. I love it! Thank you, Lianna!

Mischief Managed.

Mischief Managed.

Happy Friday!


Life Update?

You guys! Oh man, you guys! I have so many things to tell you.

First, my online class starts soon and I am beyond excited!

It’s March 21 and the ground is covered in snow. What is this crap? The joys of upstate NY living.

I have made a decision about the marathon.

I’m getting excited for racing this year.

Race planning has officially taken over my life. I admit it.

I am okay with that because I know it’s all for a great cause. And I know if James were here, he’d be so happy.

That being said… I’m still behind on blogging, so I decided to call in reinforcements. I’ve got some guest posters lined up that you are going to love. These people inspire me in so many ways and I cannot wait to introduce them to you!

My current food obsessions are as follows:

Mashed avocado with black pepper, parsley, scallions and lime juice

Popcorn (always)

Pickles (always)

Giant salads with sprouts and hard-boiled eggs

Thin mints

Bagels. Everything bagels.

While planning a race (I’m sorry… I can’t help it), I’m learning a lot about people:

They can be incredibly kind, helpful and giving. Some days I am just overwhelmed by all the help, donations and kind gestures the race committee has received.

I’ve also found that people can be very…funny. They can be conniving, evasive and sometimes, downright rude!

But for the most part, people are good. And our group has been very blessed.

Speaking of which, we’re going to have some amazing prizes for the race. I am so excited.

Also, I love Farmer Ben. He is pretty great.

In the last month, I have been to two baby showers. That is more baby showers than I’ve been to…. ever… maybe.

I also have a wedding this weekend (and a mini college reunion!).

And a bridal shower next weekend.

When did I get so old?! And furthermore, how is it that so many of my friends have children?! I mean… I know how…. but, aren’t I still 18 years old?

Food for thought from Noelle’s Notebook.

Word.

Happy weekend!


Happy Things

I’m in an incredibly good mood today. Why?

The sun is shining.

It’s turning out to be a pretty nice day.

Coffee.

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In my ceramic travel mug. Love.

I finished last night’s run before it was completely dark out. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Spring is coming!

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Okay… it looks pitch black here, but it really wasn’t!

Spinach Soup for lunch. This stuff is so good and so good for you! I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, with a few tweaks (white potatoes, veggie stock and chili powder to start).

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Green Monster soup.

The hubby is at home,  on his day off, cooking and baking bread. I cannot wait to go home and try everything!

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Basil Bread (L) and Whole Wheat Mini Boules with Brown Butter, Sage and Flax… all in a day’s work. I know…I’m spoiled!

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Meyer Lemon Chicken Stock

Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga Fries

We’ve decided to do a dairy CSA Share. Hello fresh milk in glass bottles! Homemade butter and cheese are going to happen!!! I’m super excited. I’ll give you details in a separate post.

I signed up for a couple more (free!) online classes, it’s definitely going to be year of learning! If you haven’t checked Coursera out, do it now!

I got an awesome pair of compression socks (the kind that go up to your knees!) as a gift last night…. perfect timing. I was pumped.

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Compression socks are sexy.

I also got these beauties.

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Love the color!

Both are made in the USA and made with sustainable products. Love this. Here is the website for more info.

I also got an awesome print of a photograph taken by my super talented aunt…which I didn’t take a picture of. Can’t wait to hang it up!

Anyway, like I said. I’m feeling pretty blessed today. Life is good and I am happy for so many reasons.

What brings a smile to your face? Tell me about it! 


“A List for the New Year,” an Update.

Oh hey! It’s March 4, 2013. Where has the time gone?! I figured I owe you all an update on how my 2013 To-Do list is going.

So, here you are! Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

I haven’t given this much thought….I can’t even pretend.  Shame.

2. Excel in my new position.

I’m still learning a lot of new information. Every day.

Just when I finally think I have something down, something happens and I realize I am just scratching the surface…. Whether I am excelling or not, I don’t feel that I am, yet…. but I am definitely enjoying the learning process.

I’ll check back in another month or so.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

I think I’m doing pretty well with this one.

  • The hubby and I did a Valentine’s Day Wine Tour. Wine and Chocolate. Perfection.
  • I attended a farm and food event and got to chat with some local farmers and producers.
  • I signed up for some fitness challenges
  • I volunteered to make favors for a bridal shower (super excited about this…even though I’m not very crafty)
  • Expanded my cooking/recipe arsenal.
  • I am working on the perfect dessert for the wedding of two friends. It’s not cake!
  • I’m also signed up to take two online nutrition courses. I cannot wait!

With everything else,  planning Strides for James (a charity run) has gotten me out to meet a ton of new people as a direct result. Getting sponsors and taking the lead on this has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

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Terrible picture, but here is an initial race flyer design. I love it!

Yes!

As far as spending less time on my phone, it depends on the day. Race planning has taken up a lot of my time the last couple of months and because I get emails, texts and check our Facebook page on my phone, some days I spend a lot more time doing these things than I should… it’s a work in progress.

Any suggestions to continue my “Yes” Year?!

5. Take more time to read.

I’m killing this one! So far I’ve read a lot of books and have expanded my blog reading (some blogs have been added to the current web obsessions page)…

Books include my Bible,  all three Hunger Games Books, A book of stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (which, surprisingly, I hadn’t read before), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Garlic and Sapphires and I just started The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest… that’s been in the last month.

I’ll be re-reading the Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice… just because, I need to.

Any other reading suggestions?

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

As you know, I started marathon training. However, winter running is not going as well as I had hoped….between being sick, silly injuries (falling down a flight of stairs and shin splints) and my body not wanting to cooperate, I’ve had a tough time.

Initially, I planned on doing a May race but given some setbacks, I am starting to have second thoughts. I realize that a few bumps in the road are part of the training process, but I worry that I won’t be ready.

So, I am tossing around the idea of doing a fall marathon and checking off the half marathon in the spring. I haven’t made any decisions yet. And I won’t for another couple of weeks.

I’ll keep you posted. And don’t worry, the GBN posts will be starting up again soon!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

Not gonna lie, I’ve had some setbacks with this one, some out of my control… but it appears that I am back on track.

I’m working on practicing an incredible amount of self-restraint to get me even closer…. we’ll see how I do.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been working on my burpees. Fail.

10. Do more food-ing.

As I mentioned above, I’ve expanded my food-blog reading in the last few months, I also signed up to take some nutrition classes online…done some wine-tasting and gone to a farm/food expo.

I’m working on expanding my cooking knowledge… I feel like I do pretty well, but being married to a chef, a lot of times I just let him take care of our meals. Not anymore. I’ve tried a few new recipes, nothing crazy difficult, but still tasty and have been dabbling with vegan and gluten-free cooking/baking.

I also have been doing some food research. With friends, for other people and through other people. Food research is a great conversation starter!

Farmer Ben has been diligently planning his garden and I am pretty pumped. I hope to improve my growing skills and help him out a lot more than I have in previous years.

Oh! And we are looking into a CSA. Meat, Dairy and Eggs. So excited about this!

So, there you have it. I’d say for the most part, I’m doing pretty well…

Don’t forget to sign up for Strides for James!!!! (Sorry…shameless plug… I know!)

Now it’s your turn! How are you doing with your goals? Anything you’re struggling with? OR, do you have any advice to help me out?! Let me know! 


An Explanation…and Other Stuff

Alright, the “worst blogger ever” award goes to…Me.  I have no excuse for my long absence other than…well, I’ve just had a lot going on. And…I haven’t really been moved to write much of anything lately.

An example? I spent the better part of last weekend with one of the worst stomach bugs I’ve ever had. Six pounds in a weekend–NOT the best way to lose weight! Ugh! Obviously an over-share….sorry.

While we’re on this unpleasant topic, thank you to Farmer Ben for being the best hubs. Period.

Anyway, besides being sick….again (seriously, I have been sick more in the last four months than I have in the last four years!), life has been a bit crazy. The routine I’ve desperately tried to (re) establish is still eluding me… but it’s getting closer.

Winter has definitely gotten the best of me, but I am working my way out of this little funk I’ve been in as best I can. It’s been a slow process.

For whatever reason, this time of year is always a bit of a struggle and even though there are things I know that I should be doing, sometimes it’s just easier to put on my favorite pair of sweatpants, curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and lose myself in a good book instead of facing the real world…which is exactly what I’ve been doing most days the last few weeks, instead of…almost anything else.

Honestly, I’ve felt like a zombie for the last couple of months… and I’ve been dragging my feet and being stubborn about some things I need to do.

I’ve got some stuff, for lack of a better word, I need to work out and some decisions to make in regard to goals I’ve set for myself. Luckily I have Farmer Ben here to help me out and give me a push when I start procrastinating.

In other news…

This weekend I attended an event called “Food from the Farm.” It was basically a big information expo: Lots of local farmers, wineries, cheese-makers, orchards and the like in  one room, tasty food made with local products and tons of other great info. Obviously, I loved it!

I didn’t take any pictures because that would have been a great idea… but I got a lot of great information on CSA options from area farms and got to meet and catch up with some amazing people from the area.

As you probably know, the hubs and I grow a ton of veggies in the summer, so we don’t really need to buy vegetables in those months… or even in the winter for that matter. (I did pick up some information on vegetable CSA shares for friends, and if you live in the Plattsburgh area and are interested, I can pass it along to you as well.)

But, we are dying to get a meat CSA.

We very rarely buy mass-produced meat, we’d rather get our meat from a local and known source…

So, we’ve discussed it and decided the best solution would be to get a CSA share. We could also go the “buy a half cow” route, but that’s an awful lot of meat for two people.  There are also options to buy an egg and dairy share. Dream come true. Seriously!

Surprisingly, there are quite a few options in our area,  from a traditional CSA to more of a “Farm Bucks” program (the amount you pay gives you a credit to the farm, you select what you’ll need for the week and the total is deducted off of your balance.) Again, if you are in the Plattsburgh area and are interested in meat CSAs, I can send you information.

Let’s be real, I’m just happy that we have options and that this local food thing is FINALLY catching on up here. Thank you, Lord!

Anyway, we’ve got some options!

 

Here is a sneak peak at dinner lately:

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Spinach soup a la Joy the Baker

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Homemade stuffed shells and sauce

Happy Monday!


Confession Time: Life, Lately.

It’s finally Friday.

The weekend.

Today, we are doing a lunch-time perch fry at work . I made pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. Recipe is coming…I still have half a pumpkin in my fridge!

There are some perks of living in the North Country…like random Friday Frying at lunch. Yum. Is it sad that this is the highlight of my week? I don’t feel bad.

I’m obsessively reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started The Girl Who Played with Fire last night and I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping much until I finish it..probably sometime in the next two days.

I am also obsessed with the library. Movies, books, cookbooks. My inner nerd is so happy these days. Yesterday, I borrowed Citizen Kane and requested a few books that I have been dying to read. I also took out a book on Jewish Food for Farmer Ben. He loves it. I love him. It’s perfect.

My last post highlighted a serious food event. I melted a giant chunk of dark chocolate in a double-boiler. Then I dipped pretzels, placed them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and stuck them in the freezer. Such a quick and easy snack to satisfy your sweet and salty craving. Farmer Ben had gotten to the pretzels during the day, so I’ll have to make more this weekend. Le Sigh. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous brick of chocolate that is dying to be used.

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Chocolate Pretzels.

That’s another thing. The hubs and I have gotten into a routine of prepping food on Sunday night for the week. I blame our Financial Peace class…

But I love it. I get to mess up the kitchen, chat with the hubs and daydream about all the delicious things we’ll be eating throughout the week.

We typically soak some kind of bean, cook off some rice, pasta or quinoa, make a batch of tortilla dough to hang out in the fridge until we are ready to whip up some breakfast burritos or wraps, chop up some veggies, boil some potatoes for breakfast and cook some kind of meat or lentils. I even make granola or bread when the mood strikes!

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Aprihop Beer Bread with Lemon Peel and Tarragon. Another Sunday Adventure

It’s almost therapeutic. Until I have to do the dishes.

Also… Farmer Ben and I have Serrano Cream Cheese. Delicious. And Brilliant. Especially on breakfast burritos.

I’ve also rediscovered my love of all things pickled… like pickled asparagus.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Running has been rough. It’s been cold. Really cold. I feel shin splints coming on. I hate shin splints…I am not sure what to do. On one hand, I need to keep running. I need to get those miles in. On the other, I don’t want shin splints or other weird aches and pains I’ve been having.

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A surprisingly warm night. You can’t tell but I am actually wearing 37 layers.

My body hasn’t been very happy with me lately, which further frustrates me. I’m playing around with my food intake to see if I can figure it out.

On a happier night, the hubby and I, after a bit of a hiatus, moved onto Level 2 of the Shred. It’s hard, but in a good way!

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Post Shred.

I desperately need new running shoes. But I’m broke. I think it’s time to get a part-time gig…as much as I don’t want to.

I recently discovered Pinch of Yum. Great site with some great recipes. Check it out!

I also discovered Dinner with Julie. Ditto.

This is probably going to offend some people, but I want to put it out there. You are NOT going to hell if you eat meat on a Friday. Sorry to disappoint you.  If you need further clarification, open up your Bible and read Mark 7:15-23. If you still feel that you need to deny yourself, that’s fine, too. To each their own.

Speaking of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 has been all over my brain lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am training. Regardless, this passage has kept me pushing through a lot of tough situations lately.

Race planning has officially taken over (most of) my life. Speaking of which, if you’d like to enter Strides for James, click here. Not only do you get a sweet t-shirt, you also get entered into a drawing for some amazing prizes. Do it!

The amount of sponsors we are racking up is crazy. I am just overwhelmed.

This is a lot of hard work, but I am so looking forward to the outcome. Seriously. We are not only going to reach our goal, but we will surpass it.

I think that’s all for now.

Happy Friday. 🙂


Celebrate We Will

Life is moving really fast.

The last month has consisted of many crazy things:

  • A promotion
  • With the promotion, a new office, chair, carpet, replacement, and a raise…and a whole mess of craziness!
  • More free time..which I am so not used to!
  • Somehow, completely filling that free time
  • Financial Peace University (taking the class through our church)
  • With FPU, a lot of hard looks at our spending habits
  • Learning a lot of new information and trying not to be completely overwhelmed
  • Baby Showers, Wedding Invites, Shower plans… all that girly stuff
  • Catching up with friends
  • Meeting new friends
  • A lot of reflection
  • Planning a Fun Run for Charity
  • Training
  • Marathon Training
  • Some major fundraising for a great cause.

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while, you know that in June of 2012, I lost a co-worker and friend. It was all of a sudden and it was really hard. Our whole office felt it. But, we decided to do something to help James live on.

We started a scholarship endowment fund for James and have been working hard to reach our initial goal of $10,000.

Since we began in July of 2012, we have raised about $7,500. It’s been a lot of hard work and I am so happy to be a small part of this wonderful group. It’s amazing that this group (including co-workers, the family and community members) took such a painful loss and have turned it into a major positive.

In all honesty, I am in disbelief that we have raised so much so quickly. What an amazing group. And how amazing is our community’s generosity?! I’m speechless. It’s been so uplifting to see people come together, especially under such tragic circumstances.

James would have been 27 on February 12. I realized this a few days ago and it really hit me. He had so much life ahead of him.

I’ve been working with his sisters on planning this fun run and one of them sent me photos to use on race material. One was taken not long before he passed and seeing it was, for lack of a better word, heart-wrenching.

I’ve dealt with his death. I know that he is in a better place. But the last month–especially the last two weeks–have been really difficult. Looking at old photos, sharing stories about him, meeting and emailing his sisters… It’s comforting, but it also brings back that day in June. And it all comes back. My heart still breaks for his family.

He was such a caring, warm person… Thinking about that, well…it explains why we are already so close to our goal. Because the people who knew him, knew that. And they want to share that warmth and caring with people for years to come. I know I do.

So, we’ll continuing working toward our goal–and past it! And we’ll continue to celebrate the life that touched us, if only for a short time.

I know it’s early…but happy birthday, James. You left us too soon but I know that you’re in a better place.

Celebrate we will.

Because Life is short.

But sweet for certain.


Oh Hey, It’s 2013-Or “A List for the New Year”

A new year… A clean slate, if you will.

In the spirit of starting anew, I figured it was time to come up with a few things to do for 2013.

I don’t necessarily like the term “New Year’s Resolutions,” so I’m calling it “Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013.”  That has a much better ring to it… yeah.

Anyway, this is the first moment I’ve really had to sit and think, as my NYE was spent working 18 hours and helping others have a good time.

I could have done it yesterday, but let’s be real. After getting home just before 3 am and being busy all day, I wanted to do nothing more than hang out in my giant sweats and be a bum….and I did just that.

Some of the things on this list are not very impressive…but others are kind of a big deal…at least for me. They are in no particular order…some are meant to be repeated and others are one-time items.

So, it’s the second of January. Better late than never!

Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

As I’ve gotten more passionate about blogging, I’ve decided that I want this to go somewhere. Maybe not as a full-time thing, but as a creative outlet and something more.  

It’s so touching to hear/see people tell me that this blog is helping them and inspiring them to do more and it just makes me want to make it better. Period.

That means it’s time to get serious. I’ll probably be asking some of you wonderful people for feedback and maybe even some design ideas! I’ve got a lot to learn!

2. Excel in my new position.

I’ve been holding out on you, mostly because I wanted to wait until it was official… but I’m getting a promotion. I officially start next week and I know it sounds corny, but I want to do the best job possible. I’m super excited and a little nervous to start a new chapter and to learn a ton of new information and skills. But I’m all over it.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year.

I always lament that I don’t make enough time to do more fun things. Not this year. I’m going to say “yes” and make time for new adventures. Whether it be taking a vacation, doing something silly or learning a new skill/hobby, count me in.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

4. Run a half marathon.

No big deal. If I can do 10 miles, I can do 13.1 miles.

5. Take more time to read.

I haven’t been reading as much as I used to and I miss it.

6. Run 26.2 miles.

Maybe a big deal… but I’m turning 26 this year, and what better way to celebrate than running a marathon before it happens?!

I figure that if I put all of these fitness goals into writing, I’ll be more likely to succeed.  This means that the GBN posts will be making a comeback. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

Also, the half marathon fits into the marathon training schedule… coincidence? I think not.

7. Be more present.

This kind of goes along with the third item on the list. I want to be around and available to my loved ones. I want to share in the joy, love and wonder of every day. I don’t want to work my life away. I want to live it!

I’ve realized in the last 24 hours while my phone has been completely dead–and I still totally enjoyed myself… I spend far too much time online or messing with my phone,  instead of in the real world. I’m going to work on that.

Love spending time with FB!

Love spending time with FB!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I have student loans, a car payment, a credit card payment and the regular monthly bills… I’m not terrible with money but I never seem to be able to save it–at least not for very long. While I have enough to cover my expenses (most of the time), I don’t usually have (much) extra. I want to change that this year.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I think that would be bad-ass. Right now I can do about 20-25 on a good day.

10. Do more food-ing.

Whether it be researching, growing, baking, cooking or enjoying. I want to know more about my food.

 Let’s do this.

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Here’s to a new start!

I’m sure this list will grow and change as the year grows on so I’ll be creating a separate tab to keep track. And so you can hold me accountable!

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any goals or items to check off your list this year? Tell me about them! Any advice for me? I want to hear from you!