January 31, 2012

My Life is Crumbling Under the Pressure

My laundry hasn't been done in two weeks, all my meals have been on the go, I'm up to 2-3 cups of coffee per day... it's day 10 of the medallion hunt and things are crazy.  We know the park and have hours already invested there.  I will be leaving work shortly once Justin is done with his meeting to continue on.  We are having a hard time sleeping because our brains are on constant noodle mode.  I have a good feeling that tonight is the night.  I'll be back at blogging as soon as this thing stops consuming every available moment of my days.  Wish us luck.

Here are some photos the Pioneer Press featured from the hunt:



January 26, 2012

Hunting for Treasure


Tuesday night, we went out and the picture here shows our pure joy that our favorite activity of the whole winter had arrived and we were outside in Highland Park digging and laughing and maybe enjoying an adult beverage.  No luck the first night, but there were lots of hunters out and about.  Last night, we got in the car and did some exploring and then after a Mac & Cheese hot dog at the Lowertown Bull Dog, we called it an early night.

Here we are on Thursday and we are getting really fired up to get on the hunt tonight.  Katie & I both have tomorrow off, so there could be an all night dig followed by breakfast, a quick nap and some more digging... you never really know.  I will post some more photos and possibly a video as the night progresses.  I ever received an upgraded headlamp from a coworker, so that is a great sign.


So, we will be out and about this evening around St. Paul & Ramsey County.  Stop us & say hi if you wish.  I'll keep everyone posted on our hunt.

January 24, 2012

I Heart Treasure Hunts

The third clue came out at midnight and it set our emails boxes on fire.  All of us had the same ideas.  We spent the day making plans and decided to do something crazy.  We went digging on day 3.  We did this last year too.  It's a little silly to get out there with only a slight idea of where to look.  We spent two hours in Highland Park tonight.  We split up and Justin & Aaron walked and dug up their own circle and Katie & I split off the other direction and did our own investigating.  We also went down the slides at the playground and learned that when you are full grown adult, you go WAY faster down the slides.  I think I actually screamed out loud.  We looked in trees and fallen logs.

Right before we left, we found one huge tree and got down on hands & knees to check it out with the head lamps and found a dead squirrel tucked in.  Good thing we looked before sticking our hands in the hole.  I may be a little less aggressive now with my digging.  I'm pretty excited to get the clue tonight.  We are going to clear our minds and pretend like we haven't already found a park we liked and see where the next clue leads us.

This was our game plan tonight :)

The whole idea of thousands of St. Paul families out and about every day and night for two weeks in the middle of winter is fantastic.  Everyone is exploring parks they may have never been to and meeting new people and getting great exercise.  I read all about previous winter carnival traditions today on the Pioneer Press website.  Here are some of my favorite photos:

Building the Ice Palace in 1886
Overthrowing King Boreas in the early 1900's
Snowmobile Races in the 70's
Lighting the Torches 2008

January 21, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Kennedy

Our niece (and Justin's Goddaughter), Kennedy, turned one yesterday.  This year has flown by.  She is the first "second child" niece and has been the easiest for us to get our hands on.  She has a personality very different from her sister and her cousin.  It's so fun to watch the three girls grow up together.  Having cousins around the same age is something that I didn't really have growing up, but Justin had so many cousins and almost all of them are close to his age.  Kennedy is just one of those easy going babies that laughs all the time.  She laughs at the sound of her laugh.  I'm including my favorite pictures of her from the last year.

Still in the hospital - this is the first picture we saw of her.
Hot pink skirt... all 3 month olds look like boys.
First food = avocado
Boatin' Boji Baby

Her facial expressions kill me.

By 9 months, she would see the camera get ready to flash and would smile HUGE!


Almost one... celebrating her first Xmas.

January 19, 2012

Bucket List? Do you have one?

So on top of my obsession with Pinterest, I found a new blog topic that lots of ladies & gentlemen my age are participating in.  The first one I read was the 30before30project but if you Google "30 before 30," you will find tons of examples.  I have never really thought about a Bucket List, in fact, that movie had 2 of my favorite people but was extremely depressing.  I like the idea of 30 before 30.  I am a little terrified to turn 30, even though it's still about 3 and a half years away.  My husband has only a year and a half.  If I make this list, I think I will get even more excited about turning 30 and knowing the things I accomplished.  What kind of things do you put on this list?  Let's look at some from bucketlist.com:
  • Go to the Jersey Shore - Bahahahahaha.  I totally want to go to Seaside Heights and do the Jersey Turnpike.  Not sure that I want to publicly announce that as a goal of mine though.
  • Backpack Europe - This seems like something I would definitely put on my list.  Put some money away and find a place to house my dogs for 2 weeks.  We're big kids now so taking an entire summer seems unrealistic, but it doesn't say backpack for months... let's keep this on the list.
  • Conquer my fears -  Really? One rule to follow is BE SPECIFIC.  These vague items on the list just pathetic.  That being said, I wish that person the best of luck to conquer their fears.
  • Eat an entire KFC bucket to myself - Now that's what I'm talking about.  I love it.
  • Raise over $1000 for charity -  I like this one if you plan to do something to raise it.  The polar plunge scares the crap out of me, but it would be one way to put yourself out there.  I think running a 5k would be great as well especially if was something a little different.
  • Fly first class - I would like this to be my entire life going forward.  
  • Zip line through the jungle - I would change this just a little.  I would like to zip line in Alaska.  My dad & godparents zip lined in Costa Rica and loved it, but I think the mountains in Alaska would be breathtaking.
  • Knit a scarf - Already completed this.  Yes!
  • Try 5 new things with peanut butter - I made this one up myself... I guess I know where my head is at.  Peanut butter and Macaroni & Cheese are my favorites.
  • Complete a 365 day photography project - I've seen a few people start this on face book and never finish it.  It reminds me of P90X.  This could be fun and challenging.  It forces you to find something beautiful each and every day and I appreciate that.  What a fun challenge.
  • Have a Disney Adventure - I absolutely think this belongs on my list.
  • Learn to break dance - No words.
Definitely something to think about.  I recommend everyone comes up with a list and then shows it to me so I can use it to create my list.  If I had all the money in the world, my list would be extremely extravagant, but instead, it's about accomplishing things for yourself.  It's about trying new things, setting realistic goals and making a few lifelong dreams come true... like getting my picture taken with Ariel in front of Cinderella's Castle.  By my 27th birthday, I will have a list.

January 18, 2012

Learning about Winterstick



J has taken up a new hobby in the recent years after growing up a California boy - surfing and skateboarding all over SoCal.  He has taken an interest in snowboarding. We are watching Standard Snowboard Show - episode "Tahoe Early Days" and we heard the best line ever. Snowboarder about skier "People really think I could take a guy seriously when he's standing there yelling at me with super tight pants?" Snowboarding has only been a widely practiced sport for the last decade or so. Back in the 80's and 90's, skiers would look down on snowboarders. Hardcore skiers that were heavy mountain riders appreciated snowboarders, but the "weekend warriors" couldn't stand them.

 In Squaw Valley, they didn't even allow snowboarders on the mountain until the 1989-1990 season. The first few years were rough for the shredders because people didn't understand the sport and only the heavy hitters of skiing appreciated this new take on mountain riding and the talent these young men had. Lake Tahoe was the birth place of free style snowboarding. They created small half pipes and had all the guys with video cameras really taping the action. It was nowhere near the magnitude these athletes have taken the sport to today.

Have you ever seen the winter stick? They called it a surfboard for the snow. These were created in 1972 and they are still in business today. There were no boots involved like you see now. It was a simple strap over your feet. The company is now celebrating 40 years and giving away a current snowboard that has the original style. http://winterstick.com/info.php?info=win_a_swallowtail

I have never been really into Fuel TV, but watching the origins of the sport was fascinating. I am a skier. I don't have the balance to plant both feet to one object. I couldn't skateboard, surf or snowboard. I tried one time to surf the hillside with my brother helping me. He is a pro. I couldn't even get up the toe rope on the bunny hill while all the 9 year olds went cruising by. It was so humiliating. I put my skies on and enjoyed being out on the slopes.

 The history is extremely interesting, but I also love the outfits they were wearing. I LOVE being a child of the 1980's.  Here are some of the best photos.  Google Keith Kimmel, Chris Roach and Terry Kidwell.  Those are the best guys we watched.  Check out FuelTV.






January 16, 2012

8 Travel Challenges for 2012

These challenges are from the Lonely Planet website, which I LOVE. www.lonelyplanet.com
  1. Read a travelogue - This makes me super excited because I already have a handle on this.  I would love to be a travel writer, but in order to write about traveling, you have to travel and as of now... I haven't seen more than half of the United States and I've been to Canada twice.  I have a lot to do.  Here are the travel books I have on my good reads account (a little ambitious):
    • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
    • The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure by Rachel Friedman
    • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with recipes by Elizabeth Bard
    • 360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World by John Higham
    • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
    • A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
    • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
    • Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald
    • The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
    • The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
    • Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
    • The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town American by Bill Bryson
    • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
  2. Up the action - Everyone talks about exercise and getting healthy as part of their New Year's Resolutions, so this challenge is about taking that to the next level.  Run a 5k somewhere crazy, hike part of the Appalachian Trail, climb a small mountain, rent a bicycle and tour a new city.
  3. Make your own attraction - I have visited the largest ball of twine in the world.  I didn't find it in any book of places to visit before you die, but we drove by and had to stop.  Those are the attractions and restaurants that you will remember forever because it's a one of a kind experience.
  4. Close your eyes for 30 minutes - Every time I close my eyes, I see the castle at Disney World... I guess that means my brain is already focused on my fairy tale vacation with friends, family & my husband in October.  WOOOO HOOOO.  
  5. Make a travel video - I think that this is the year that I bring back my video camera.  The vids from college of karaoke and dance parties and hours of laughs are memories that are super fun to relive and I want to continue to create those.  I hope for a great roadtrip this year because I think that would be the ultimate travel video.
  6. Be a home tourist - As much as I agree with this, I will not be spending the money this year on a local hotel or B&B.  I vow to take my husband to new restaurants and museums here in the city, but we will be saving our money for weddings and vacations.
  7. Be your own Olympian - The world is filled with ridiculous athletic competitions and they are everywhere.  2012 is a year with Olympics, so the challenge is to discover one of these competitions.  For example, Scotland has a stone skipping championship and Finland has a wife-carrying contest.  I just attended a Red Bull Crashed Ice Competition. 
  8. Rediscover forgotten history - the example they gave was the War of 1812 - unless you are Canadian, you don't really think of the War of 1812.
Hope this inspires you to start planning your vacations for the year.  Pyschologists say that planning a vacation can boost your happiness almost as much as the vacation itself.  A favorite thought on vacation:
I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgeory to remove our godamn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're assholes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!  - Clark Griswold, Vacation
Sorry, that was a little inappropriate.  Here is something better?
 A vacation is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia.  ~Author Unknown

January 11, 2012

50 Random Questions

With nothing too exciting happening in my life today, I decided to fill out one of these questionnaires.  It does make me feel like I'm in fourth grade again.  The nice thing this time around was that I was able to type the answers instead of handwriting all the answers and then copying all the questions on another piece of notebook paper and passing it off to a friend.

1. Where were you 3 hours ago?
Finishing my book by Mindy Kaling which was awesome and hilarious.
2. Who are you in love with?
That question is stupid.
3. Have you ever eaten a crayon?
Not that I can remember, but it really wouldn't surprise me.
4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
Lola's toy
5. When is the last time you went to the mall?
The week of Christmas which is the silliest time to go to the mall because it's insanely busy and hectic. 
6. Are you wearing socks right now?
Yes, they are brand new so it's totally OK.
7. Do you have a car worth over $2,000?
Yes, I still owe on my car and it's definitely more than $2000.
8. When was the last time you drove out of town?
Girl's weekend in Lutsen was 2 months ago and that was the furthest I've driven recently.
9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?
Sadly no, I have not.
10. Are you hot?
My body temperature is just right.
11. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Water
12. What are you wearing right now?
Hawkeyes football shirt and black sweatpants
13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?
Once a year, I save myself $8 and wash it myself and then I remember that I am not sexy in my driveway like the girls in the movies and run it down to the gas station with soap still on it.  Once I return home, I make a fruity summer cocktail and move on.
14. Last food that you ate?
Protein bar & Chicken Soup
15. Where were you last week at this time?
I was at the local watering hole, Schroeder's, playing bingo and losing, but then we won big on pulltabs.  Also, my parents bought us dinner which was such a nice surprise.
16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
I bought a new workout shirt.  It's lime green.
17. When is the last time you ran?
Yikes, I don't remember.  I ran out of Christmas Cookies two weeks ago, so I'll use that as my answer.
18. What's the last sporting event you watched?
Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves -
19. What is your favorite animal?
Dogs - any kind
20. Your dream vacation?
Around the World in 80 days with a stops in India, China, Scandinavia, France, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, etc.
21. Last person's house you were in?
I stopped at my parent's house yesterday after work to drop off some CD's for my dad, Adele, the Decemberists and Mumford & Sons.
22. Worst injury you've ever had?
Not sure if illness counts, but Pneumonia was pretty horrible and lasted forever.  I have broken wrists and ankles and feet as well, but those are more just a pain in the butt.
23. Have you been in love?
I am in love right now and will be for the rest of life.  My dogs are so wonderful.  I have this great husband too.
24. Do you miss anyone right now?
Right this second I wasn't thinking of anyone in particular.  I missed Jerry yesterday because it was his birthday and I would have rather celebrated with him than sent him an email accross the world.  I miss the people who are no longer with us, but I try and focus more on memories that we do have.
25. Last play you saw?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
26. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Dance moves and chapstick.  Thank God I'm married.
27. What are your plans for tonight?
I went and met Katie at Costello's for a cocktail after my workout and dinner.  I'm watching the People's Choice Awards and then I plan to read the second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire.
28. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment?
It has been 4 years since I've ever even thought about MySpace.  Do people really still use that?
29. Next trip you are going to take?
Not sure which order yet, but this year, we are planning a trip to Nashville, Disney World, Maryland and LA.
30. Ever go to camp?
Church camp and French Language Camp
31. Were you an honor roll student in school?
Middle school & college were rough for me, but I rocked it in high school & elementary school.
32. What do you want to know about the future?
Truly, I don't really want to know anything, it's way more fun to guess and dream.
33. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
I had on Burberry Brit earlier so it may still be lingering, otherwise it's just my natural awesomeness.
34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
Yes, I would like to get my cholesterol tested once I lose a little weight and change up my diet for at least a month to see how I'm doing on my own.  I have to be so careful with my family health history.
35. Where is your best friend?
I think they are all at home right now, possibly one at yoga or class.
36. How is your best friend?
The one I just saw is doing pretty good.
37. Do you have a tan?
Never.
38. What are you listening to right now?
Kaley Cuoco as she hosts the People's Choice Awards.  I love the Big Bang Theory and I love her.
39. Do you collect anything?
We collect cheesy souvenirs from each anniversary trip we take.  We use the traditional "gift" for that year to pick it out.  For example, your 1st anniversary is paper, so we saved the label off of a bottle of wine and our 2nd anniversary, it's cotton, so we bought a pancake batter from the black hills that came in a bandana tied up in a bag.  Other than that, our house doesn't have room to collect anything.  Even though I love digital cameras, I still have a habits of printing out pictures at a rapid pace which is unnecessary.
40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
Every single person I communicate with on a daily basis, and I am totally OK with it.
41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
The last time I got pulled over was the night before my 18th birthday.  I was speeding on 494, going 15 MPH over the speed limit and I was smoking a cigarette.  The cop handed me a ticket and wished me a Happy Birthday.  Lame.
42. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?
I would be happy if I could drink everything from a straw.  I just purchased one of those plastic cups with the plastic straw that look like fountain drink cups.  I put everything in it.  I love it.  Plus, they say that if you're going to drink soda, it is better for your teeth to drink through a straw.
43. What does your last text message say?
Well, this is embarassing.  It actually says "groovy."
44. Do you like hot sauce?
I am from Minnesota, which I've learned is a great excuse for liking really bland food. 
45. Last time you took a shower?
About two hours ago, right after my workout and right before I met Katie at Costello's for a cider.
46. Do you need to do laundry?
Shockingly, I am caught up on laundry, but I have an entire basket of clean laundry unfolded upstairs.  It is super annoying when everything is clean and all that's left is putting it away.  That is my least favorite chore, other than picking up dog poop.
47. What is your heritage?
I'm French, German, Norweigan & Swedish.  Can't you tell?  I'm annoyed when I shave my legs, I love beer and my skin is super, unbelievely pale - but my cheeks are red, all the time.
48. Are you someone's best friend?
I know Lola thinks I'm her best friend.  I think having one best friend is really hard unless you are a twin.  Doesn't everyone now have a group of best friends?  I know I do and I love each and every one of them.
49. Are you rich?
Not by my definition.  I would love to travel way more and that takes money, I guess I don't have enough.
50. What were you doing at 12AM last night?
Sleeping... really?  My life is not glamorous enough for anything exciting at Midnight on a Tuesday.

January 6, 2012

Failing... Duh.

I felt super old yesterday.  At about 2:00 PM, I was having horrible pain in my wrist and elbow and all my fingers were becoming numb.  I had to leave work and go home and put ice on my arm and take some painkillers.  Ever heard of Carpal Tunnel?  I believe that may be my problem, so I was not able to type last night, therefore, I skipped an entire day, so I'll be double blogging one of these days when I have REALLY exciting events to share. 

For today, I just want to share a quote that I read today that I just love:
"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusaistic about." - Charles Kingsley
What are you enthusiastic about?  Thinking about it I was sure I had a lot of things that I'm enthusaistic about.  Here is the definition of the word from http://www.dictionary.com/ :

en·thu·si·asm[en-thoo-zee-az-uhm] 

noun
1. absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest: He shows marked enthusiasm for his studies.
2. an occupation, activity, or pursuit in which such interest is shown: Hunting is his latest enthusiasm.
3. any of various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break with orthodoxy.

My list:
  1. Vacations - I really love the planning part
  2. Home Remodels
  3. The Vikings - even if they are losing HORRIBLY
  4. MN Twins, the Phillies and the Red Sox - my 3 favorite baseball teams
  5. Ricky Rubio - I just can't get enough of him
  6. My work - only about 2-3 days a week, but hey, that's better than the rest of the population :)
  7. St. Paul
  8. Macaroni & Cheese
  9. Love - mine and others
  10. Education - I love being part of other's education and I live to continue mine.  It is the best lesson my Grandfather ever taught me.
Hmmmm... a lot of that seems silly.  I guess I'm a naturally enthusiastic person and my list could go on forever.  I'm sure my enthusiasm drives many people crazy, including Justin sometimes.  I will admit that a brand new pair of expensive shoes or pajamas are "heaven" to me, but I know that doesn't equal complete happiness and with all the money in the world, you could still be lacking that one thing that makes you truly happy.

January 3, 2012

Loving Mindy


Memoirs are my genre of choice this year.  I received Tina Fey's new book, Bossypants.  I would like to read Bitter is the New Black again as well.  My choice for the first memoir of the year was easy.  I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas from my parents and I was so excited to pick out my first book.  I discovered that Mindy Kaling had just released a memoir called Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  I believe it's actually more of a collection of essays.  She is absolutely hilarious.  Working for Conan has to be one of the most entertaining careers.  I probably live in a dream world thinking that Conan is exactly the same in real life as he is during his show, but it could be true.  Anyways, I love her on The Office.  She is even better in her book. 

“I’m only marginally qualified to be giving advice at all. My body mass index is certainly not ideal, I frequently use my debit card to buy things that cost less than three dollars because I never have cash on me, and my bedroom is so untidy it looks like vandals ransacked the Anthropologie Sale section. I’m kind of a mess.” Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Another part of my resolution is to continue to read books, lots of them and the Kindle was the best thing I could have received to help with my resolution.

Back to my resolutions, I weighed myself properly today and measured my waist and hips and all those horrible places that weren't really meant for a measuring tape.  It was very shameful, but in the long run, it will make me very happy. 

Maybe later in the year, I will publicly announce my starting weight, but for now, people will secretly judge me for either making a big deal out of a number that isn't that big, or people will be shocked that my number is that high.  Not worth it.

January 2, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Started working on my resolutions today.  My dad called me and asked if I was busy or if I could get in my cold car and drive to his house just to stand in his front yard and take pictures of his Christmas lights... I immediately thought back to my resolutions and put on my boots and carefully descended my stairs without slipping on the ice and drove over to my parent's house and took some pictures for him.  It only took a few minutes and it seemed to have made my father very happy.  Totally worth it.

Now, on to my children...


Dogs are the greatest things.  We have two dogs and they are completely different from each other. 

Quincy will be 7 tomorrow and he's a laid back messy looking not quite miniature schnauzer.  He constantly needs a hair cut, even five minutes after he received one.  J & I know that he deep down loves us and is happy we saved him from the pound, but he just has a hard time showing it.  He loves to sit by himself and make you uncomfortable by staring at you.  He can eat through anything if he thinks there is a treat inside.  Yesterday, he consumed an entire bag of treats while we were out to have a cocktail.  He was howling this morning because he needed out so bad.  The vet told us last year that his svelte 30 lb frame was "obese."  Yikes.  We've worked really hard on limiting his indulgences, making sure he gets enough exercise and keeping his food limited.  He's now down to 27 lbs, another 3 lbs and he'll be perfect.  I wish it was that easy for me.

Now, as for the crazy in the video, that's Lola.  She's a 5 year old rat terrier that we rescued from the streets (well, the Humane Society rescued her from the street and we rescued her from there.)  She was a little rough around the edges and still can be a little bit, but has gotten so much better.  She is a lover and a protector.  If she isn't touching you and snuggling, then she is not very comfortable. 

They are the best of friends... well at least brother & sister and they get along great.  Just seeing them makes me happy each and every day.  We even buy them matching sweaters so we can take a family picture for our Christmas card.  I hope this video makes you smile as much as it does for me.  Soon, I will capture Quincy walking backwards up the stairs... it's a daily occurrence, but he gets embarrassed if I have the camera and then he just refused to come in.  I'll get him one of these days.

January 1, 2012

2012 (the end of the world)

First of all, Hector is still alive, we think.  Matt came over on Friday and got down to business.  Best news, we don't have a mouse infestation.  There are no signs that mice have been in our house for very long, also, Hector & Victoria were the only mice here so far...  Poison has been inserted into the cinder block foundation and Hector will be seeing his way out of the house shortly in search of water.  Traps are still set up in the basement and they will remain there forever now.  Happy New Year to Hector.  I'm so glad you could be a part of our life.  No video was taken on Friday, but there may be a picture of my husband with Victoria.

Also, side note, one of my best friends got engaged last night.  There was lots of screaming and shrieking with excitement while I congratulated them in Hebrew multiple times.  Yay for Anna & Aaron.  Tonight, we are celebrating.  The best part about our text conversation last night was that after being engaged for two hours, she was already facing an anxiety attack.  I totally understand that.  I carry a worry stone in my purse at all times. 

So, that brings me to my resolutions for the year.  I took the top 10 resolutions across the country and will make it specifically relate to my life and then I will work my ass off to follow through.  Or, I will laugh when I realize that it's absolutely not possible and I look like a fool for trying it:

1. Spend more time with family & friends - Over 50% of Americans have this as one of their resolutions.  Isn't that a little sad?  More than half of Americans admit that they do not spend as much time as they should with family & friends.  Who are they spending time with then?  Strangers? 

My version:  Helping Anna with her wedding planning and helping her not get overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. Also, do something with my mom or dad once a month that they want to do, even if I don't want to do it. 

2. Fit in Fitness - Speaks for itself

My version: Sorry, nothing creative.  The Tracy Anderson Method will be arriving in my mailbox within the next week so I can avoid the gym during these crazy busy days after the New Year.  This is the number 2 resolution and everyone signs up at my gym.  Also, I will ride my bike at least once a week anytime the weather is warmer than 60 degrees.  Where am I going on my bicycle?  I guess we'll find out when it warms up a little.

3. Tame the bulge - Over 66% of adult Americans are considered overweight.  Shouldn't this be the number one resolution?  I think this is the easiest one to give up on. 

My version:  I cannot give up on this one this year since I will be wearing a short strapless bridesmaid dress sometime in July or August for my sister-in-law's wedding.  I will be taking some "before" pictures this week.  I call them before pictures because it's the first time I will actually be taking conscious efforts to "tame" my muffin top. 

4.  Quit smoking - On average, it takes smokers 4 attempts at quitting before they actually quit.  Interesting.  I don't know how many attempts I made, but I found the last one successful.

My version:  I still sneak cigs when I've had a drink or two.  When I wake up the next morning, I feel like I ate poop.  I would like to stop enjoying a cigarette after a drink.  AHAHAHAHA.  Good luck with this one, right?

5.  Enjoy Life More - WTF? 

6.  Quit drinking - There are a lot of heavy drinkers that use New Years to quit drinking.  I don't really have that as part of my plan for right now.

7.  Get out of Debt - Americans spend a lot of time stressing about their finances.  The majority of people in this country are in some sort of debt.  Whether it's a house or a car that you owe some money on, you have debt.

My version:  I am going to work on the snowball principle to pay off some old debts.  Starting with our smallest monthly payments, we will pay a little extra on that each month until it's completely paid off.  Then the amount I used to apply to that will be applied to my next lowest on top of the monthly payments, and on and on.

8.  Learn something new - Some examples here are learning a new language, practicing a new hobby or picking up a new musical instrument.  One of the keys to staying mentally fit is to keep your brain working.

My version:  I am going to make an attempt at returning to school.  I will be starting small at first and working my way up to grad school.  Also, I plan to continue to read the news every day and play words with friends (that's like "word of the day" right?)

9.  Help others - Volunteer or Donate money.  If everyone would take two or three days a year and do one of those things, think of all the things we could accomplish. 

My version:  Donate to the same organizations we have always donated to and discover 3 new ones to be a part of and support.  Also, I would like to do some community development volunteering.  I love St. Paul and my neighbors a ton and since Mighty Kids was cancelled, I don't have a community program that I'm heavily involved in.  That is definitely something I would like to do.

10.  Get organized - No description needed.

My version:  I kind of started this in about September when I kept getting super frustrated at my house all the time and wasn't sure why.  Home is supposed to be a place that is calming, comfortable and relaxing.  I realized that we just had too much stuff.  Our house was constantly cluttered because there wasn't a place for all the things we had.  Slowly, we have been cleaning out each closet and each packed box and donating items as we go.  It definitely has come a long way.  It helped me so much that I made a promise to myself to keep my work life as organized as possible and that has been a little more of a struggle, but I will use this resolution to continue working on both of those things.  Also, less clutter means a possibility of less Hector, right?  Less places for that little shit to hide.

So that's my year, sounds exciting? 

Oh yeah, I also want to travel to at least 4 new places.  Visit friends we haven't seen in a long time.  Make it to New York City.  See at least 5 baseball games and have the Twin's win the World Series... possible right?  End of 2012, let the Vikings be at least 12-3 too.  Let this year bring awesome weddings with awesome dance parties, dance parties for no reason (I tweeted today that my only resolution was to dance every day... done), maybe some babies (Taylor's take note), at least one awesome road trip, new friends, new opportunities and maybe even a new kitchen. 

Also, let it be known that I am so grateful for the people in my life, my dogs, my home and the happiness that I get to experience every day.  Peace and love everyone.  I'll drink to that.