too excited!

too excited!

I’m relieved that it’s a foggy, grey morning. Yesterday I was just too excited for the day. I had chocolate in my coffee and was stoked about that, and then it was so beautiful and spring-y and I was so buzzed on caffeine that I just couldn’t stand being at work. I was too excited! I sat there for a couple hours flitting between tasks and accomplishing nothing before I decided I needed to take a walk on the preserve to try to calm down. It ended up being kind of a long walk and didn’t help my excitement much, but at least enough to get a couple important emails sent so I could go home earlyish without totally failing. And it was totally worth it.

I have chocolate in my coffee today and I’m still pretty happy about that, but not enough to need a dance party. But no promises.

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full time life

full time life

I’ll admit, I’m ready for winter to be over. But not because of the snow and cold, only because of the short days and okay, a little bit the cold. The cold only gets in my way at night when I really should go for a run or go to the gym. And that is only bothering me right now because I’m supposed to be training for a marathon. Other than that, this has been a wonderful winter. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be based on last year, and we got a lot of our field trips in at work. I’m totally accustomed to the cold, but when I get home I start to feel lazy, which makes me want to get cozy, which makes me get into bed to be cozier, which for the last two weeks has resulted in me “accidentally” falling asleep at 7:30pm and not getting a single thing done at home.

It’s a vicious cycle, because then I’m motivated to get things done in the morning, but I need to be at work in the morning, so i dawdle for the first hour making my own to-do list for when I get home and have to stay at the office longer that day and..

I make a lot of excuses.

Bottom line, I’m getting really excited for this year. I’m excited for Steven to move here this summer and start helping me stay on top of life and stay motivated at home. I’m excited for the weddings and celebrations. I’m excited to take on new responsibilities at my job. I’m excited to hopefully join a few local groups and make some new friends. I’m excited to become an aunt. I’m really excited lately because I’m working on picking out my wedding shoes which means I get to splurge and not feel guilty and get really cute shoes that I love. I subscribed to birchbox and will hopefully get in better habits of taking care of myself, skin care/makeup confidance/health wise. I’ve been trying to look cute at work for the last couple of weeks because we haven’t had field trips so I don’t have to wear grungy field clothes and I like feeling fancy. Sometimes I even go as far as “business betch” and feel really professional. I’ve even started carrying a briefcase everyday instead of a backpack!

I’m feeling more bridal each day, which is a good feeling. I have never been all that excited to be a bride like I feel is expected of women, even though I’m stoked about the wedding. But as I start to actually nail down details, I embrace it more. I found a rehearsal dinner dress on my first try and it’s actually white, I’m really excited about shoes as I already mentioned, and I’m even starting to get excited about having a bridal shower (Steven’s aunt asked to throw one for me). With 149 days left to go, I need to stop procrastinating and cross some more things off that list.

Here are some pictures of what’s been going on so far this year, in no particular order, because pictures make blogs more fun:

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Steven was really excited to hold Lake Michigan when we visited West Beach on Valentines Day to see the ice shelf. I can’t wait til it’s warm and I can spend as much time as I want out here!

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As one of my new years resolutions, I pulled out my roommate’s keyboard and had mom give me a short lesson to get some tips on how to start. I quit playing when I was 10 or 11 which breaks my heart now.

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The last magazine I was subscribed to was TIME, because I always end up reading it when I go to my parents’ house and I thought it would be a nice way to keep up with the news. I got way behind with the weekly issues though, and decided it was best to cancel it and stop wasting paper. (I did eventually read them all before I recycled them, though. About two years later.) For Christmas I asked for National Geographic. The first issues of the year came this week. Wheee!

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Totally should have mentioned this in my January post, but I ran a 5k a couple weeks into the new year and WON it. Well, for the girls. Came in 5th overall. Not too shabby, even for a small race!

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Captain is as cute as ever. The size of his personality and ego constantly amaze me. I know I love him a lot more than any other dog, but I truly believe he’s one of a kind with all of his ridiculous expectations and habits.

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I was lucky enough to adopt my grandmother’s old sewing machine over Christmas. My mom did most of her sewing growing up on this machine. We’ve already been spending a lot of quality time together, mostly sewing decorations for the wedding. I meant to sew a coat for a Captain this winter, but I did at least repair some huge rips and holes in my rain pants so I could use them as a waterproof layer on snowy field trips.

That’s all for now, ya’ll. Hope to visit with you all again soon!

Improvement

Improvement

Week two of my “new” job went a lot better than the first. I was more motivated, felt more confidant, and started feeling like I can do this. When I came in on Monday, I wasn’t really sure what projects to work on but kept myself busy. Two hours later, my boss came in and gave me at least 5 things to work on – none of them are that difficult, but somehow they’re ridiculously time consuming. I’m not used to projects taking so long. I am quickly growing out of my desk with the new responsibilities I have.

Steven came to Valpo this weekend for Valentines day. We didn’t used to bother doing anything for Valentines day, but three years ago it started to bother me for some reason – perhaps because we had been so “anti” Valentines day that it felt like a bad day. I don’t think it’s a bad day, I just think it’s overblown. I still want to take time to celebrate, because usually we don’t do special things because it’s too expensive or unnecessary or we’re lazy. So, this year we went to a couple of breweries and watched a movie (Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Steven had never seen it). I hate it when he leaves.

We’re getting to the point in our real-adult lives where we need to start making the difficult decisions. I have been feeling more and more adult (duh) lately, especially with my first full time job. Steven is moving up here in July, before the wedding, so we need to find a home. Looking for a place to live in Northwest Indiana is no fun at all because there are just too many choices. I want to stay in Valparaiso, but it’s a more expensive option. Once I start thinking about other adult expenses we will soon accumulate, I start considering living in Hammond or Gary. This is something I’m going to have to really work at if we’re going to find a hidden gem.

So many projects. So little time. I am having to try really hard to not feel like I’m failing all the time – every step I take is an improvement.

Titles Hold Me Back

Titles Hold Me Back

I used to feel like I was a pretty good writer, and now I can never get started. Maybe I’m trying too hard. I want to blog more but I’ve been holding myself back.

Let’s dive in.

I started training for my first full marathon two weeks ago. So far it’s not going so great. The first week I didn’t do my long run and skipped one of my short ones, too. Last week I got my long run in and it felt great, but I didn’t do my short run yesterday and I’m currently avoiding the gym and risking skipping my run today, too. This is not good at all. I just hate driving in the snow and am not crazy about running on the treadmill. Unfortunately, with the roads how they are and the sidewalks completely impassable, running outside is really not an option, even if I wanted to brave the cold.

I’ve been doing pretty well on my other goals for the year. I inherited a sewing machine over the holidays and it just came back from the shop. I’ve been working on wedding decorations and just patched a pair of rain pants, so that hobby is going well. I got some music from my mom and had a short piano lesson with her, and have been practicing on my own with the little keyboard Lauren has here. I have cooked three real meals and feel like that habit is getting back on track again.

My reading and journaling is not going well. My books have been overdue at the library twice now and I haven’t made any progress. When I am home with plenty of time to do things, I want to go to bed at 8:30 and then hang out on instagram/netflix until 11. First of all, I should never be ready for bed before 10. Second of all, that computer time is supposed to be reading time and I’m very disappointed with myself.

I was recently promoted to full time, so I have one week left at Bdubs and will have a lot more time to devote to being good at my job, training really thoroughly for a marathon, planning the wedding, cultivating hobbies, and keeping up with myself and my friends. I currently feel like I’m sort of bad at my job, which is discouraging and unmotivating. As I get more confidant I think I’ll also feel more productive.

I FINALLY got my new lens (borrowed from my dad) out and took some photos of birds at the feeder at work, and they turned out really well! I need to take my camera out to some of our preserves and explore them and this rediscovered hobby. I was photo editor of the yearbook in high school and have really missed it. I also need to become more familiar with the properties my land trust manages and get to know Northwest Indiana better. All of this will help me improve at work. I really don’t want to disappoint them!

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2014

2014

2014 was a good year. It started out strong, with me and Steven celebrating our seven year anniversary in Indianapolis and picking up our new roommate, Steven’s best friend Blake, the next morning. I finally started applying for work in January and started having interviews for field jobs. I started working with Steven, helping with various projects and painting houses.

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I was offered a job in February, which was a huge relief. We had a going away party of sorts at our house before I went to California to be my sister’s field assistant for two months. I explored California, caught lots of Juncos, sang lots of silly songs and camped in lots of new places for March and April.

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On May 1, I flew home to Indiana for a couple days before I started the road trip to Montana with Steven. We had a nice vacation, stopping at Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, his cousin’s in Wyoming, and had a couple days to explore in Missoula before he flew back to Indiana and left me on my own for the next three months.

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My new roommate and I started training for a half marathon at the end of May and through June, and both ran our first half in July. We visited Glacier National Park for 36 hours, caught lots of bluebirds, sang lots of silly songs, and accidentally adopted neighboring cats.

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In August I left beautiful, big sky Montana to come home to Indiana – this time Northwest Indiana. Started a new job, moved in with my old roommate from college, and made lots of visits to Muncie to make up for the three months apart that Steven and I endured. Valparaiso is a cute little town and Northwest Indiana is very different from home. It’s cool to be by the Lake (can’t wait for summer!). I’m so happy that this move worked out as well as it did.

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September was the start of field trips – the main part of my job. I learned a lot about being in charge of elementary kids, very quickly. (I’m totally a pro now.)

In October I ran my second half marathon with two weeks of training under my feet. Steven turned sexy 26 and I couldn’t be there, but 27 will be a whole different story!

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November was rather uneventful, although this was the month that Steven visited me in my new home for the first time which was very exciting. We hiked in the dunes for the first time since I moved and started looking at new apartments for next year.

In December I (finally) turned 24, finally embraced being a runner when I got a GPS watch and snow chains for my shoes, completed my 2014 goal of running 500 miles, and am very much looking forward to the new year!

I’m really missing Montana, especially when I drive home through flat brown harvested cornfields, but for now I’m going to try to focus on making a home here for a little while.

In 2015 we’re getting married, two of my best friends are getting married, Steven and I are finally finally FINALLY going to move in together and stop being long distance (maybe forever!) and Captain will be coming with him. I’m going to run my first full marathon in May and my first ultra in June.

Goals for 2015:

  • Run 500 miles again. I may need to up this goal as I start training for the marathon.
  • Cultivate hobbies: cooking, sewing, reading, drawing, writing, hiking. I spend too much time in front of the TV and never get anything done. This is going to be a year of accomplishment.
  • Run 10 races. The first one is next week!
just keep breathing

just keep breathing

What makes you want to keep living, even on your hardest days?

This is the kind of question I rarely think about. The answer comes to me on my best days, the days when I’m feeling thankful for everything. I feel thankful not because everything is great all the time, but because I can remember when I was feeling hopeless, and somehow everything has turned out fine. Everything is always fine.

There isn’t just one thing. Not at this point in my life. Someday when my life is completely different from how it is today, the answer will be different. Maybe even specific. But not today.

When I go to bed, I feel better knowing I’ve closed the door on today and that tomorrow is new. It has potential. It can be better. In the morning, I’m thankful that my body woke up, that I’m still here, that I still have an opportunity to tell people how important they are to me, to laugh with friends, to make an impact at work, to make things even better than they are. The sunrise and sunset give me peace and a promise for hope.

I want to keep living because I can’t imagine leaving anyone behind. Not Steven, not my family and friends, not my coworkers who depend on me. When I’m gone – either from this city or this year of my life or the world altogether, I want to have left something good behind, something important, something worth remembering. And sure, maybe I’ve done that already, but I still want to do more. There is so much untapped potential in everyone, and I wish we could realize that and use it.

I don’t meditate. Sometimes I want to learn how. But when I think about reasons for living, forgiving, trying again and again, and not letting negativity get the best of me, one of them is simply the fact that I am able to breathe. That I don’t have to think about it and I just keep doing it. That I wake up again in the morning, alive and well, remembering what happened the days before. That’s incredible, and I don’t want to waste it.

Eastward Bound

Eastward Bound

My last day in Missoula was completely gorgeous. I decided sort of spur of the moment to drive home a day early, but I still had to get up and do a last minute trip to the field first. It was so worth it – I wouldn’t have gone up the hill behind my house that morning otherwise, and it was seriously gorgeous. It has been over a month since I left, and it’s just starting to sink in that it’s going to be awhile until I see mountains again.

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I drove 16 hours straight from MIssoula to my grandparent’s in South Dakota. I really didn’t plan my itinerary very well at all, but it worked out in the end – I got to spend an entire day in South Dakota with my family.

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We spent one day at the lake. I caught up with my sister as we paddled around on the paddle board, and visited with an aunt and uncle I haven’t seen in about 6 years. Then we were headed back to Indiana and my man. I got two days in Muncie before I came up to Valpo, started moving in, and started my job.

I’m living with my senior year college roomie (!!!) and working for a land trust, teaching ecology and resource management to elementary kids. It’s pretty great. We focus on underserved schools and the kids are sorta wild at times, but most of them also don’t get to spend any time outside, especially not in natural areas. Their parents are worried about bugs and dirt, and won’t buy bug spray or let them destroy some clothes now and then. It’s so sad to think about, since I spent most of my early days climbing trees, digging for worms, and pretending I was Pocahontas. If the kids just aren’t paying attention to my lessons, I’d rather give up and let them play and enjoy their day than get myself worked up about their behavior. I just want for kids to be able to be kids, and I think that’s lost in general, and especially with the kids we’re working with.

I can see myself staying here for awhile. I’m getting slightly homesick for the mountains right now, but I think I’m mostly missing my Steven. I missed him more in Montana when I really didn’t have the option of visiting him, but I could console myself with the views and how busy I was. I don’t have a lot I need to do when I get home now, except plan the wedding I guess, so I’m not appreciating my new home like I should. Because honestly, Northwest Indiana is pretty great. Yeah, it may be more urban than I like. Yeah, it may have a terrible heroin problem. But there are so many hidden treasures here, and obvious treasures like the Dunes and Lake Michigan too.

I just got a second job and am going to start volunteering when I can. Things are starting to fall into place, which will free me up to get more involved in things, plan the wedding, and work out with Steven how and when we’re moving in together up here. Things are moving pretty fast, which is sorta the way I like it, and is also sort of terrifying. All in all, life is good.

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Home sweet home, Indiana.