Monthly Archives: December 2011

‘Tis the Season to be Married

This wasn’t Mr. Ladyfingers and my first Christmas together. That honor goes to the Christmas of 2009, during which I was laid up on my couch, unable to walk, sit, move, or lie comfortably due to a … weird medical thing.

It wasn’t our first Christmas living together, either – that would be last year, which was also our first Christmas as an engaged couple.

This season did have the distinction, however, of being the first Christmas we spent as a married pair. To celebrate the occasion, we carried forth a few of traditions we started last year, and started new ones for our new life together.

This year, we also bought a few ornaments to represent the year and its goings on, with the intention of doing so each year following. Over the course of the month, we received additional ornaments from Aunt Ladyfingers and a special blogging friend from the Bee.

Top row, left to right: A puppy ornament to represent Puppy Ladyfingers; my Bee moniker in ornament format from Mrs. Seabreeze; a little something we picked up for our cat, since he may have felt left out (being black and white, it was the only thing we found that could really rep him well).

Middle: Our new shared last initial.

Bottom: Aunt Ladyfingers’ gift to us (we weren’t quite as cold as this couple!), and our ornamental gift to Puppy Ladyfingers.

This year, as with last, we attempted to snap a few self-portraits with the pup in front of the Ladyfingers Family Christmas Tree… but as usual, she’s a bit camera shy.

That, combined with our poorly timed and placed shooting in the middle of the day in front of a large picture window made for… a very, very ludicrous holiday shoot.

She didn’t really love the antlers we bought her, either.

I, on the other hand, was a big, big fan.

Christmas morning came and went with the usual flutter of wrapping paper and subsequent isolation with our new goodies. Mr. L made out with a Yankees knit cap and belt buckle (yep) from my dad; and a Christmas story T-shirt, boxer shorts (what?), a new wallet, a baseball trivia book, and an iPod.

And me? A necklace and a Kindle 🙂

And a little visit from the hair fairy, apparently.

Puppy Ladyfingers got herself a sausage and cheese squeaky toy set… which we already regret buying her (squeesqueeSQUUEEEEEsqueesqueesqueeSQUESQUSQUSQU)…

I’m sensing a pattern here… I don’t believe she’s a fan of things on her head.

In all, it was quite the banner year in the newly minted L household. There were tears aplenty on my part when I received my first-ever “To My Wife” Christmas card. I remember my mom getting one of those every year, oversized and puffy with sentimental somethings inside. I used to think they were so lame. Is that what growing up does to you? Makes you cry at cards and that part in “A League of Their Own” when Betty Spaghetti finds out her husband died in the war? If so, I’m a total grown-up.

Pretty soon, we’ll be ringing in the New Year, and then it’s that sad, dead period of the year with no major holidays until the Fourth of July (or holidays period, if you count Memorial Day).

How was Christmas in your household? Any traditions — either old or new?

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#WEverb11: Thrive

What was your healthiest habit of 2011? What would you like to change or do differently in 2012?

By far, my healthiest habit in 2011 was exercise. Before this year, I could count on two hands the number of times in my life I’d attempted exercise. I guess you could say I wasn’t ready. But still, I had been crying for months because my snack-and-fast food habit had earned me more extra pounds than I was comfortable with and clothes that no longer fit. Enter the engagement — and a concerted effort to drop weight and feel better.

In the final months of the year, my workouts started to grow less frequent. I’m a big fan of the workout-at-home DVDs, but I found myself dreading the work and just napping instead. So I started walking and running in the mornings, and plan to (try to) supplement this activity every other day with some sort of workout to tone certain areas of my body.

So far, I feel healthier and more accomplished, waking up an hour earlier than normal to stretch and walk/run for about 20 minutes. My day is more productive before I even leave the house — time to take my time, eat a good breakfast, do some reading — and I get to work earlier. Things go more smoothly. I still have a ways to go on eating better, but I feel better getting back on things.

In 2012, I hope to continue the Couch to 5K program and run a 5K sometime during the year. I plan to get a routine down for additional workouts that can tone problem areas and help boost my overall serenity — yoga, pilates. I plan to be more conscious of what I eat, practice better sleep hygiene, and get my body and mind nice and prepared for the family planning years.

What was your healthiest habit in 2011?

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Tonya of Life, Accomplished. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Try

What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012?

1. Read a new book each month. I’ve just recently had the time and inclination to begin reading again, and I’ve started finding fiction interesting again. I’d like to ride this wave and discover new authors and stories.

2. Take a trip to a town we’ve never been to (together). We won’t be able to travel very far in 2012, but there are plenty of little towns in our state we can take a weekend trip to. I like it when we go away together at least once a year, even for a couple of days.

3. Conceive a child. I’ll try not to lose my stuff if this doesn’t happen in 2012, but it’s a working goal at this point.

4. Buy a house. We plan to start lining up the finance end of things soon, and start looking and hopefully be somewhere by May. It’s when our lease on our rental house is up, but if need be, we can go month to month — if our landlord will still have us. I really crave a place of our own!

5. Create our wedding scrapbook and our wedding and honeymoon shadow boxes. Lord knows I saved enough paraphernalia and whatnot from both events :).

6. Run a 5K marathon. I am just on Day 3 of Week 1 of Couch to 5K, and if all goes well, I should be wrapping up the program in January and ready to run my first marathon. I’ve really found that I love running in the morning, and it sets the tone for my whole day.

7. Bake 5 things I’ve never made before. I have so many recipes saved up, and I so love sweets! Most of all I like baking something and having a bit, then taking it to work for others to nibble off of 🙂

8. Learn to sew. This has been a goal of mine for the longest time. If we do end up pregnant in 2012, I can start slow with crib sheets, perhaps…

9. Participate in a daily photo blog challenge. I’ve loved WEverb and want to get more use out of my camera. I really enjoy seeing others’ works on their blogs, and would love to participate at least once in 2012.

10. Learn HTML coding and start self-hosting my blog. I have a monthly membership to Lynda.com, where they have tons of useful tutorials. I’d like to have more control over my blog layout and design, gain a new skill, and just in general get super frustrated all the time. Yay!

What 12 things would you like to accomplish in 2012?

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Kimba of The Ultra Trail Goddess Blog. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Create

Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking, home decoration, crafts, photography … whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself?

It’s hard to write one of these posts without referencing the wedding. It was the BIG EVENT of the year (at least for us). And by far, it was my biggest creative project. Some highlights:

 

 

 

What did you create this year?

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Tara of Two Wishes and Eileen of My Name is Eileen. Check out their blogs!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Appreciate

In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012?

I try to make gratitude a part of my everyday life. I write a nightly gratitude list — sometimes it’s very detailed, other times it’s “husband, job, friends, family” — but it keeps me in that mode. If I have the opportunity to slow down during my day and experience life, I’ll get a glimpse of gratitude then, as well. But so often I’m rushing through, complaining about what could be and what is. I’ve started the Couch-to-5K Running plan, and running every other day early in the morning is a nice chance to reconnect with gratitude. I’ve also made a conscious effort to spend less time on the computer while at home, and more time cuddling with my husband and our dog, talking about our day, reading — just slowing down.

As for my MOST grateful moment of 2011, it just may have been the moments I spent in the bride’s room, after my bridesmaids had left me to take their walks down the aisle, while I waited for the cue to exit the room myself. I heard our processional song swelling up, and stood there holding my breath in my tight-tight dress, trying to remember how to hold my bouquet. It struck me how I never really thought I’d ever get to that moment — not with him, but just in general. For many years, I thought a marraige-caliber relationship was out of the question for me. I had to undergo some significant life changes to put myself on a path where that was possible. I haven’t been as grateful as I was in that room, in quite some time. A close second would be walking down the aisle while a bunch of people stared at me.

What was your big moment of gratitude this year?

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Megan of Everlasting Present. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Choose

What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

I’ve sat on this prompt for days, now, sure that if I wracked my brain enough, I could come up with the perfect, most profound and jarring answer to this question.

Of course, if I’d made a decision that mind-blowingly huge, I probably wouldn’t have needed to wrack my brain to uncover it.

Every year is made up of a million small decisions. Sometimes, they’re difficult. Sometimes, they’re life-changing. Sometimes, they’re the difference between eating strawberries for breakfast or oatmeal. Or wearing a brown shirt or a black shirt. This year, most of my choices bordered on the latter two types.

Some choices lobbed my way:

  • Take the shiny, new, potentially awesome job? Or stay in the soul-sucking, dead-end position that gave me ulcers and made me sick every Sunday night and turned my own home into a cesspool of despair because it had become my office? Decision: Take the shiny, new, actually awesome job. Why did I choose this? Self-preservation. Logic. Fear. The fact that my at-the-time-fiance probably would have broken up with me — and my friends would have stopped talking to me — if I’d passed up this opportunity.
  • Remain aloof but polite to a former BFF I’d grown apart from over the past couple of years, or allow her to reopen that door and have a probably awkward coffee date during which I tried to explain why we weren’t really buddies anymore? Decision: Avoidance. To be fair, I thought this was a chickenshit decision. But after talking with every “advisor” type person in my life, I realized I get to choose my friends. And if we’re not friends anymore, it’s OK to keep it that way.

I also chose to:

  • Start exercising more
  • Take a good look at what I’m actually eating (mind you, this was a decision — not necessarily something I always act upon!)
  • Stop worrying QUITESOMUCH — not complete, that might be impossible — but in cases like, oh, if I think a coworker is slinging crap about me behind my back, and I start to obsess over whether that means I’m a terrible employee after all. Today, I choose to ignore it. If I’m a terrible employee, odds are, somebody will directly talk to me about it — and it probably won’t be the crap-slinger.
  • Treat my husband like a team member, not like an enemy. Oddly, since actually getting married, I find myself treating him with a bit more kindness. Maybe it’s the sense of ease that comes with the commitment of marriage. Maybe it’s just because I’m not in the throes of insane wedding planning any longer. Or maybe my medication is just hitting that sweet spot. Whatever it is, I think we’re both grateful.

What was your biggest decision this year?

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Melissa of 53 Blonde. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visithttp://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Travel

Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?

We took a much-needed vacation just a few weeks ago to celebrate our honeymoon: a 7-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. It was well worth the wait: We cruised to the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk. We loved the cruise enough to start planning a second one in January of 2013.

My favorite parts, in no particular order:

Waking up to the view of the Atlantic Ocean stretched out in all directions, or approaching islands we’ve never been to before.

Laughing with my new husband about stuff that only we would understand.

Giving nicknames and backstories to some of the fellow cruisers we saw more frequently on the cruise.

Visiting a 28,000-acre tropical rainforest.

Not having to really be anywhere at any particular time (sure, we’d paid for shore excursions, but nobody was going to fire us or fine us if we didn’t show up).

Falling asleep at the pool.

Getting to eat as much as I wanted every single night (oops).

Snorkeling in 45-foot water that dropped off to 7,000 feet.

The animals our room steward made out of towels each night.

The all-you-can-eat 24/7 soft serve ice cream.

The views.

Getting to show my spanking new passport around like I’m some kinda jet setter.

Coming home to a great life.

In 2012, I hope to take a little trip to visit some blogging friends, and perhaps a little jaunt in the summertime to another town within our state. For the most part, we’ll be lying low as we attempt to build a house-buying fund — and save for the next cruise!

What traveling have you gotten up to lately?

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Allison at His Birdie’s Nest. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Favor

What was your favorite month of 2011? Why did it beat out all 11 other months?

I have to go for the double threat 11/11. Why? Let’s see:

  • We got married
  • We took a 7-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean
  • Thanksgiving

I think that speaks for itself.

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Jen of Living a Brighter Life. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visithttp://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Befriend

Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

A little over 2 years ago, the hubs and I moved to a central location to live together. It was only 30 minutes from where I’d lived before, but I had to readjust to some parts of my life that relied heavily on social interaction. In a word, I had to find new friends to accompany the friends I’d left behind.

It seems strange, I know, to say you “left behind” people who live less than an hour away from you. But believe me when I say, without getting into it too much, that it was essential I find friends also in my neighborhood, who I could call on on the fly and regularly interact with. Not to mention, lives get busy and schedules get hectic. Couple that with a live-in boyfriend/fiancé/husband, and you’ve got a recipe for isolation.

At least, I do.

It took me an uncomfortably long amount of time to settle into another social circle – roughly a year before I started regularly setting coffee dates with my newfound friends, sharing with them, incorporating them into my daily routine. They’re not replacing a soul. My very best friends are still just that, 30 minutes away or not. But these new friends have provided a richness to my life. They’ve added qualities and advice and experiences to an already full existence. And most of all, they’ve reminded me that no matter where I go, I never have to be alone.

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Jen of Living a Brighter Life. Check out her blog!

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.

#WEverb11: Write a Haiku

Sum up your year, via haiku.

Leaves change, new friends move,

Hair grows long and sheds petals.

So much is the same.

Translation: The more things change, the more they stay the same. And for now, that is a very good thing.

Today’s prompt brought to you by Tara of Two Wishes.

I’m participating in WEverb11! To join in, visit http://www.weverb11.com/ for more information and daily prompts.