Thankful Thursday: A Short Week

Oh my, it’s been awhile since we had a Thankful Thursday around here! I have to admit, I missed it. And on this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful that it’s kinda like Friday!

The thing about a short week is, it’s rarely just the one day that feels special. The whole week seems to be impacted by the idea that everyone is taking off the same workday. It’s kind of magical (or maybe I’m just delighted by simple things).

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for this short week because:

  • Meetings have been relaxed and casual.
  • I get an extra day with my main men.
  • Waking up on Monday was sort of like waking up on Tuesday.
  • I can have more than one post-game IPA after my soccer game tonight.
  • We get to have a whole weekend. And then we also have Sunday.
  • #WorldCup2014
  • Singing Happy Birthday to America.
  • Getting caught up at work since so many folks are out this week.
  • Fireworks.
  • Spending Friday in the Poudre Canyon.
  • Grilling with friends.
  • Cooking family breakfast three days in.a.row.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Maybe a quick Friday 5k.
  • Dressing up the little one in red, white and blue.
  • Waking up today was definitely like waking up on a Friday.

I hope you enjoy your short week. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

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Thankful Thursday: Changing Leaves

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Turns out, it’s fall.

Yup, autumn is officially here in Colorado. There’s a chill in the air. The trees are radiant shades of orange, red and gold. It’s snowing in the high country (that’s what we call the mountains). Change is upon us.

Daylight savings is probably soon, too. Right?

I’m unsure of exactly when fall happened. In Crazytown (where I spend most of my time), there are no seasons. But in Fort Collins (where I actually live), autumn arrived at some point in the last few weeks and now that I’ve finally noticed … autumn is awesome (as is alliteration).

Of course, fall is just a precursor to the real event (Christmas). But, it’s nice to stop and smell the dead leaves, too. Autumn, just like ever other season, is another chance to start over. Another list to start (you know how I love lists). Another chance to get it right (whatever ‘it’ is).

Lately, life has been a little hectic with a side of emotional outbursts. But, I’m optimistic about the coming months. I’m looking forward to the chance to get it right. I am thankful for the changing leaves that alerted me to this season that’s zipping by at lightening speed. I plan to slow things down a bit and enjoy this time of year as much as possible. (And, I’m thankful it’s almost Christmas!)

In summary, in case you didn’t notice, fall is here. Take time to enjoy it. Happy Thankful Thursday, what are you thankful for today?

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Thankful Thursday: State of Mind

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Happy Thursday!

Well, it’s another day of rain for Northern Colorado and things aren’t looking good out there. Lots of flooding in our part of the state and the rain is still coming down. Please send us good thoughts to dry us up! And, if you’re in the area, be careful out there!

But, that said, I am thankful for today. I would be more thankful if there wasn’t flash-flooding but I am thankful nonetheless. Why?

 …. Running!

I know, you’re getting sick of me talking about running. I can’t help it! I think about it all.the.time.

This week, I’m thankful for running because it has had a very positive impact on my state of mind in recent weeks. Endorphins aren’t just giving me a runner’s high every so often. Oh no. I’ve been better equipped to handle stress and all the ups and downs of life. I’ve been happier, more calm, more relaxed, and have experienced less anxiety. And, I believe it’s due to running a lot (like a whole helluva lot).

There are a ton of great quotes that sum up how running really does impact your overall well-being (you can find 41 of them here) and these are a few of my favorites:

  • I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought. – Arthur Blank
  • If you train your mind for running, everything else will be easy. – Amby Burfoot
  • Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about. – Patti Sue Plumer

And this one seems especially fitting this week:

  • When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t.  – Peter Snell

I hope you find your never-ending runner’s high. Stay dry out there!

Happy Thankful Thursday!

P.S. Clearly the image above isn’t about running but it is amazing state flag art I recently purchased from my friend, Matt. (State of mind. State flags. Kind of all goes together, no?) Aren’t they awesome!?

Image via Matt’s Instagram

Thankful Thursday: Fast Friends

You know when someone comes into your life and you are instantly attached to them? It’s like you can’t really remember what it was like before you were friends? Has that happened to you? One day, no relation. The next, BFF?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a handful of friends that I’ve had instant connections with over the years. One weekend in New Jersey (while visiting family), we met a long-time family friend’s sister (for the first time ever). We were all shocked by how easily she meshed with our zany crew. Next thing I knew, I had invited her to my wedding and she was making out with my cousin.

Or, even further back, I was starting my second year of rugby. My close friend and I were asked to pick a rookie to take under our wing. We took one look at the newest rugger in the line-up and said, “HER!” Insta-friends and still going strong.

Once, at a networking event, I learned all about one person’s family and passions within minutes. Years later, I’m still following their journey and non-profit work.

Another time, I was at a post-wedding party and the wife of high school classmate and I met for the first time. We spent the entire evening laughing. She called me the next day and asked me out on a friend date. We went to happy hour. And we’ve been laughing and knocking back cocktails ever since.

On the flip-side, I am so very fortunate to have friends with whom I’ve slowly built very strong relationships (I love them so much I have to be sure they know I’m thinking of them right now). My dearest friends and I get to see each other very frequently and text and call in between visits regularly. We all go way back to college and high school and I’m pretty sure started out as “fast friends” over card games and Key Light. You know who you are. ;)

But today, I’m writing about those very special folks who I became friends with in an instant. Even though we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, we always pick right up where we left off.  We usually have to catch up on who’s working where, relationship status, and how the kids are doing – since our visits are so few and far between. But, it’s amazing how easy it is to share that information without feeling boastful and how eager I am to hear about their lives.

Last week, I had an amazing visit (and wished her luck on a big move) to my fast friend who asked me out. And today, I had lunch with one of my favorite rugger rookies.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am so very thankful for those fast friends that have become life-long friends.

Happy Thankful Thursday! What are you thankful for?

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Thankful Thursday: Now

ImageI’ve been reading a lot of inspiring, go-getter material lately. The kind that makes you say, “If not now, when?” For example, I was lured in to this motivational story of immediate and gratifying change. And I was moved by this blunt and hilarious (and maybe crazy) gal to stop talking and start doing.

I keep thinking, “YEAH! Let’s DO … something.” But then I remember that I just moved. And I am training for a marathon. Hold the go-getting, I’m not doing ANYTHING.

But, wait. There is still so much to take away from these stories. Because, I just moved. And I’m training for a marathon. And both of these actions happened out of seizing life by the … er … by just doing it.

Last spring, the spouse and I were inspired and encouraged by our friends to put our house on the market. We didn’t think we had enough saved for a new house, we didn’t think our old place would sell, we were nervous and unsure. But, we just did it. And what happened? Our house sold in one day. (Holla!) We found our new house less than a week later. And everything that needed to happen to allow our move to go smoothly happened. Because we acted. (BTW – thanks for the advice, friends!)

And, last month, I got an email inviting me to participate in the NYC Marathon. Yup, the NYC MARATHON!! (Can we say MAJOR life goal?) But, was it the right time? Not to beat a dead horse, but like, I just moved. Right? Ugh … what to do …

Then, I was given every possible reason to do it: low fundraising goal, guaranteed entry, the race was on a weekend I’d be on the east coast anyway so no travel costs … wait, what?? YES! The race is scheduled for a weekend I was planning to be two hours away from the Big Apple. How in the world could I say no? Since then, family and friends have shown unbelievable support and are already asking how they can help and training has had an immediate impact on my body and my soul (man, I love a good runner’s high).

So, the get-up-and-just-do-it moments have come. And I grabbed on to them. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of missed opportunities in my life (I’m no go-getting pro). And I’m sure I’ll miss out plenty of fun during the next four months of training. But the things that were (and are) really important to me, the big goals that I wanted deep, deep down inside of me, are happening (or have recently happened). Because I didn’t wait. I didn’t talk about plans. I didn’t over-analyze possible outcomes. It was time to live life to the fullest and make what I really wanted happen.

I know it all sounds nice, but I know what you’re thinking. “Great for you, but it’s not the right time for me.”

That reminds me of when I found out that I was pregnant – which we didn’t exactly plan. And by ‘didn’t exactly plan,’ I mean shocked the living daylights out of us. At first, I looked at so many opportunities as missed. I couldn’t do this or that because I was knocked up. Boo.

But, it didn’t take long to realize that I was given a whole new set of opportunities. I tell you what, nothing will motivate you to get your sh*t together like a 9-month deadline.

Suddenly, I was paying off debt and doing home projects I’d put off forever. I dove into my writing (some of my best posts are here) and cleaned up pretty much everything at work to prepare for a leave of absence. When the time came, I was more organized and prepared to have a baby that I could have ever imagined. (Except emotionally. Oh, and except the whole raising a child part … but I don’t think I’ll ever feel prepared or organized on that crazy-train).

Although it wasn’t what I had planned, it was full of opportunity to get a lot of other things done that I really wanted.

And that’s the beauty of now. Now is full of it’s own possibilities. It’s full of goals you might not have even realized you wanted. Of opportunities you didn’t even know were there.

So, I am thankful for now. Now might not be the time to travel to Europe or start a company but it is the time to achieve at least one (or several) of your life dreams. It is the time to do something on the life list no matter how small or unplanned. What are you waiting for?
You got this. Go get it.

Happy Thankful Thursday, folks. I am thankful for NOW!

Thankful Thursday: Spring

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Spring is upon us.

And so is Spring cleaning.

I have A LOT of that to do … I’ve been thinking a lot lately about eliminating clutter. What clutter? The kind of clutter that’s scattered on my kitchen counter, the kind of clutter that keeps me running errand after errand on the weekends, the kind of clutter that results in mindless munching, and the kind of clutter that keeps me from falling asleep at night.

I’m looking forward to Spring and the opportunity to clean house, mind, body and spirit. I’m thankful for the excuse of a new season to inspire me. I’m thankful for the little rain shower we got this afternoon that cleaned my back deck. I’m thankful for the tulips that are popping up along my front walk.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for Spring and the clean slate it offers.

Happy Spring! What are you thankful for?

Image via my mom.

Thankful Thursday: Firsts

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Doesn’t this book look like fun? This is definitely on my ‘to buy’ list!

The first month of 2013 is already coming to a close. Can you believe it? How have your resolutions been going? Anything to cross off your lists yet?

I’ve been given plenty of opportunities to be grateful and take action …  but I can’t say I’ve exceeded my goal just yet. Good thing we’re not too far into the year!

Reflecting on the first month of the year passing by has me thinking about all sorts of firsts today.

About a million years ago, I gave a speech dedicated to a dear friend and her spouse about firsts. I loved writing the speech; spending time thinking of all the fun ‘firsts’ she and I shared (first day of college, first jobs, first time drinking too much wine …  you get the idea).

Since writing that speech, I haven’t really given much thought to the topic. But today, dwelling on the firsts of my past brought a smile to my lips and, in an effort to be grateful for all the little things, here they are for today’s Thankful Thursday.

I am thankful for:

The first day at a new job (which was over seven years ago for me!).

The first time traveling to another country.

First dates and first kisses.

The first time someone asks to use you as a reference.

Spelling all the words in an email correctly in the first draft.

The first time you meet someone you immediately share a special connection with.

Feeling those first baby kicks inside your tummy.

The first time someone you admire recognizes your work.

Liking your body, for the first time ever.

Buying your first home. (Hoping to experience selling our first home this year!)

Running 26.2 miles for the first time ever. (And definitely NOT the last time.)

The first time you see your baby boy smile.

Letting someone else go first.

And putting yourself first, sometimes.

The first time tasting the bread pudding at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.

The first time you jumped out of an airplane. (And also the last … most likely.)

The first time someone asks your opinion on a topic you’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand.

Slipping on your skinny jeans for the first time post-baby.

The first time you realize that you do appreciate looking younger (now that you’re looking older).

Being the first person your sister calls when she needs to talk.

The first time the little guy sleeps through the night.

That first glorious day of summer.

Being the first kid – forever gaining the respect and admiration of your younger siblings.

The first overnight trip without your little man.

The first time you see your favorite band in concert.

The first time you meet said band back stage.

The first time they remember you from all them times you’ve crashed back stage.

Meeting your first nephew.

Watching your baby experience all his ‘firsts.’

Image Source & Book Recommendation.

Thankful Thursday: A Little Help

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I’m terrible at asking for help. It’s one of my major flaws. I’ve tried to tell myself that delegating makes me a stronger leader and asking for help is simply a form of delegating. I honestly believe this. And yet I still find it difficult to actually admit when I’m struggling.

I think this happens a lot. It seems that there is a sense of pride in ‘doing it all’ or being able to manage the ups and downs of life independently. It’s a shame. We can be so much more productive and happy if we just suck up our pride and say we need a little help every once in a while. I had to do that recently … but more on that later.

Today’s Thankful Thursday is about a different kind of help. Today I’m thankful for the kind of help that I didn’t solicit. Last night, I came home from a pretty long day to an unhappy little baby. As I rocked him to sleep, my spouse took care of everything I had planned to do around the house and when I came downstairs to try to take over he insisted I sit down and relax.

It.was.awesome.

I felt like a million bucks after just one episode of Modern Family. Afterwards, I got in bed early, read for bit and then turned off lights before 9:30pm. Totally zoning out was exactly what I needed and my spouse knew that without me saying a word.

I am so very grateful for his unsolicited assistance last night. He really knows how to make a girl happy.

I’m sure I’m not the only who struggles to say, “I need help,” so if you see someone who looks like they need a hand, just jump in. It can make a big difference in their day.

Happy Thankful Thursday! How has someone surprised you with a little help you didn’t realize you needed?

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Thankful Thursday: Patience

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Everyone knows the proverbial phrase, Patience is a Virtue.  

Yes, yes. It’s a classic. But is it totally accurate? Or is patience more of a learned skill?

Patience is not my thing. I would not describe myself as patient. Especially when I’m sitting in traffic or walking the length of Super Target to find the shortest checkout line or waiting more than 3-5 seconds for my phone to pull up a website. Patience is definitely not what comes to mind when the rainbow spinning wheel of death pops up on my Mac. What am I supposed to do … just sit there and watch it spin?!?!?! Why did Apple make such a torture device!??

I digress.

What I’m saying is I don’t like to wait. For anything. When I’m working out, I want to see immediate results. If I’m using a new face cream, I expect to sparkle upon application. How come contributing to my retirement plan hasn’t resulted in an early, comfortable retirement already? Waiting is the worst.

Before my bouncing baby boy arrived, I frequently said that I was too selfish for children. But I’ve realized that was incorrect. I’d like to go back in time and edit that statement. I was (and am) too impatient for children. It wasn’t that I was uneasy about putting another person’s needs before my own. I know I’m capable of caring for more than just me. It was that deep down I knew that I would have to wait.

I’d have to wait to eat dinner until the baby was settled in bed or playing happily. I’d have to wait to go for run until my spouse was around to watch the little guy. I’d have to wait to blog/watch tv/make a phone call/check the mail/do the dishes/etc. until he was dry/fed/napping/happy/playing/etc.

I’d have to wait.

As is obvious above, waiting has become an enormous part of my life. And for me (for most people) waiting = practicing patience.

As the little man grows, he’s learning all sorts of things which means that I am teaching all sorts of things. And I have to teach him over and over … waiting until he learns his new task. Basic things … like how to eat. Never did I consider that we’d have to learn how to eat. And that it would take time. And an extreme amount of patience.

Now, I’m no virtuous mama. There are times when, after having been blasted in the eye with pureed carrot, that I give up. I put the veggies in the sink and give the baby a bottle. And I still find myself leaning on my horn after the person in front of me has refused to start rolling forward even after the light has been green for, like, three whole seconds … sweet mother of pearl, just GO FORWARD! Sometimes I cannot practice patience.

But, overall, living on the little man’s time table has started to teach me patience. Seeing his face light up when he learns a new task or when he understands something for the first time is worth the wait. The meals where he eagerly opens his mouth for a spoonful of bananas (and then smiles) helps the frustrating vegetable experiences fade from memory.

My tiny dude has really helped me understand that sometimes we just have to wait. That learning something new takes time. That real results come from repetitive practice. Patience may be a virtue but it’s also a skill we all can obtain by practicing it regularly. It took nine months of waiting and the last ten months of learning for me to realize that.

Today I am thankful for beginning to practice patience.

What are you thankful for today?

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Thankful Thursday: Six Months …Already

Remember this post?

That was a YEAR ago.

A whole year has passed since I told you guys I was expecting. On that day (and the 180 days that followed), I trembled at the idea of being responsible for an infant. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like with a baby (but I was excited to find out).

Now, almost a year later, I have a six-month old!

And now I struggle to remember what life was like before he arrived. Strange how that happens, huh?

It’s amazing how much can change in one year. For example, I used to have long blonde hair…now it’s short and brown (more on that later). I used to go out and drink bottles of wine with my girlfriends…now I do that at home by myself. Wait, what? Uh…nevermind that.

Back then, I couldn’t tell you exactly how a diaper operated and today I’m a pro. Mystery items like teething tablets, butt paste, moby wraps, and nursing bras are now necessities I’m all too familiar with. And, of course, I can love someone more than I ever thought possible.

However, things that clearly have not changed are my stellar photog skills and graphic design abilities. You’d think I’d have improved over a year…nope. And things that haven’t changed in the last month…. I’m still recycling the first set of tie onesies. I still haven’t made new ones. (Go ahead and expect to see months 3 and 4 restyled in months 7 and 8.)

Speaking of changes, my little man is changing so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up with him. He’s almost got sitting up mastered and he’s thinking about crawling (I can see the desire to move forward in his eyes). He has a tooth that’s just about to show up (I know it!) and he’s developed the best belly-laugh ever. It’s truly the most heart-melting, adorable sound I’ve ever heard.

On today’s Thankful Thursday, I think it’s fairly obvious what I’m thankful for! Happy Six Month Birthday, baby boy! Mommy and Daddy couldn’t be more thankful for you!