Five Things Friday

2017 Goals Recap
For those of you who read my 2017 goals post you know that I have laid out some specific goals for not only the year, but also each month. As to my yearly goals, I have successfully abstained from soda, posted a weekly best photo, and used my planner (though I could probably use it for more than I have). January’s goal was no fast food, and I’m happy to say that was a success. It was really only hard when we would come home from BSF, because it’s lunch time and I want to feed J before he falls asleep on the 40 min drive home. But, we persevered, had some fun sit-down Mother-Son lunch dates and didn’t cave. February’s goal is “No Social Media Saturdays” – so when I go to bed tonight, I will not be back on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter until I wake up Sunday morning. So don’t do anything awesome on Saturdays this month, because I’m all like:
fomo-family

Haha, but really, I’m hopeful to spend some quality time from my boys and really be present. Obviously if you need me, or really have to tell me something exciting like you’re having a baby, you can text me.

FB 30 Round 2
As of this morning I’m two weeks deep into an eight week Fitness Blender program called FB 30 Round 2. I LOVE the workouts Fitness Blender offers, because they’re easy to follow along to, FREE if you don’t purchase a program (but even at $14.99, for an orchestrated workout program that you can reuse over and over, you can’t beat the price – I got it on Cyber Monday for $9.99 I think), and the trainers aren’t annoying. I mean, p90x has some great workouts but when Tony Horton does like two reps and then goes to “check on the kids,” I get annoyed. Kelli and Daniel are right there, doing every rep with you, so you can respect that they are suffering too. FB30 is great because it’s the plan “for busy people,” so each workout is roughly 30 minutes a day. They set up a calendar for you with a mixture of upper body, lower body, core, HIIT, cardio and stretching. Even with a crazy busy three-year old, and BSF two days a week, and weekly prayer group, and keeping our house acceptably clean, I can squeeze that in.

img_2986

Sometimes Jonathan joins me for workouts – and sometimes he wants to lift even during the cardio portion. I get that.

Sickness
Jonathan has been sick-ish the last couple days, which is no fun (except the extra cuddling, I’m totally into that). I use the term sick-ish because although he was running a fever, he was still playing and running and chatting up a storm. He would stop for cuddles more often than he normally does, but the boy doesn’t stop for anything. Unfortunately this morning he woke up with pink eye, but thanks to the Kaiser online chat with a doctor feature, he has started eye drops.

img_3059

“I woke up like this.” – Jonathan (and Beyoncé)

img_7185

Jonathan taking Batman’s temperature, just in case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m hopeful that he’ll be back up to full health quickly so we can get together with friends for playdates and not infect everyone we know (sorry to anyone we may have infected unknowingly).

BSF
I talk about BSF a lot, because I love it a lot. Bible Study Fellowship has been a big part of the last year and a half for Jonathan and I. We started last year for the study of Revelation, and now we’re about halfway through our study of John. This was my first year serving in the children’s ministry, and it’s been great to see our kiddos learning about Jesus and telling their parents about the Bible stories we’ve taught them. Jonathan and I have joined a prayer group recently that meets to pray over the class we are hoping to open in the fall in Castle Rock! Like within 15 minutes from our new house! If you’re interested in joining next fall in Castle Rock, let me know and I can keep you apprised of new info/add you to the invitation list! It’s one morning a week (I don’t know if we’ve officially nailed down Wed or Thurs yet) from about 9:30-11:30 with amazing teaching for the moms and kiddos (if you have them). And every bit of it is completely free – the classes, the weekly handouts, the childcare. Next year we’ll be studying Romans, and I’m really excited for it! All ages welcome and all denominations. [It’s worldwide, so if you’re not local to me, check your area at the link above!]

img_9503

J and I in the parking lot, ready to head into BSF

 

 

The Happiness Project
I’ve been re-reading a book that I read a few years ago called The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun and it’s been fun to look at it now, as parent, and see how it hits differently in this stage of life. I saw it on my shelf, and since I’m doing a monthly goal thing this year, I thought it would be fun to read the tales of someone doing a similar thing. It isn’t focused on being unhappy and trying to become happy, but instead being happy and trying to see if you can become happier. It’s fun and worth a read. Plus, I’m a big fan of the “year challenge” kinds of books, hence why I’ve read all the AJ Jacobs books I’ve encountered.

 

 

 

Note: I am not sponsored by or given free stuff by the creators of anything I mention in this post. But if people want to give me free stuff, I’m on board. Opinions are all my own.

Things I Love Lately: Home Edition

We’ve been in our home for two weeks today (what!), and we’ve been working on making it our own. Thanks to some generous family members who sent us housewarming gifts, we’ve been able to make some purchases to make our house more homey. Our family photos are on the walls and on the fridge, which was a HUGE step towards the house feeling like home, but little touches here and there have made it even better 🙂

 

img_6301Coffee Canister | HomeGoods, Rae Dunn Collection – on Amazon here, for WAY more expensive!?
Black & White Monogram Spoon Rest | Kirkland’s – here
Clear Odile Measuring Bottles | Kirkland’s – on sale now, here

Cute kitchen touches – our kitchen  was probably the most complete room in our house because we were totally spoiled by having a big kitchen at the last house. I thought grabbing a few little things for our new house made the kitchen feel fresh and new, even though it’s mostly all things we already owned. Those measuring bottles are SO cute, and I can’t wait to use them! I only have one measuring cup (2 cup max), so I thought these would be a fun addition.

img_6768Gather Sign | Kirkland’s – here
Candle Sticks & Candles | Kirkland’s – here and here, with these candles
Globe | Kirkland’s – on clearance in Kirkland’s store, similar here
Clock | Kirkland’s – similar here
Lantern | Purchased at HomeGoods, similar here

We have so much great shelf space in our house that I was in search of some simple pieces to help fill the space. I’m still looking for a really good letter R to go in that top right area between the globe and lantern. I’m kind of picky about it though – it needs to be the right color and the right font. I’m still looking for something for the mantle, besides old mail and a bike helmet, that is!  Choosing which books to display on the bottom right was fun/hard, but I’ve got Becoming a Supple Leopard (how amusing is that title!), a book about World War II, the Planet Earth book,  a photography book,  a book about learning Lightroom, and Stephen’s bible, among a couple of others. I feel like that’s a fairly accurate representation of us.

img_0271Star | Old Christmas decoration that I keep up year round
Sign | Made by Sweet Pea Crafting Co.

This sign was actually a birthday gift from my sister, Nikki, and it’s perfect for our house! It got here just in time for our move, and I’ve actually got another plan for it, but for the time being it looks perfect with my Christmas star that I refuse to only have out at Christmas time. (OMG YOU GUYS I GET TO DECORATE OUR OWN HOME THIS CHRISTMAS)

img_9565Captain America Personalized Hooded Towel | Made by Sew Dreamy Designs
Batman & Spiderman Hooded Towels | Target – here and here

I couldn’t decide whether Jonathan would like a Star Wars or superhero room more, so I’ve decided to do both (kinda)! His bedroom will be Star Wars and his bathroom will have super heroes. The bathroom came with three hooks on this wall, so we took the awesome Captain America personalized hooded towel my Aunt Susan sent him and added Batman and Spiderman hooded towels he got from my Nana for his birthday.  Now our little superhero can choose which one he wants to be after he takes a bath and they double as super cute décor!

img_3556Cork Letters | Target – here
Bible Verse Prints | Some place on the internet I can’t remember now, similar here
God Keeps His Promises Cross | Enesco – here

We haven’t done anything yet to make Jonathan’s room Star Wars, but his Uncle Aaron is making some awesome stuff for him right now, so I’ll update on that soon. His room at the old house looked very much the same as it did when he was still cookin’ and we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl. So, now that we have our own house, we’re going to give him a proper boy’s room. And I love that this room was already grey with blue in it (which already suits him better than the cream of his old room). A few things came with us, though, and I love his initials over his bed, the bible verses and the cross. Star Wars or not, those stay! The verses are Zephaniah 3:17 and Psalm 139:14. The cross says “God Keeps His Promises” and I can’t even type this without tearing up because we (and by we I mean so many people – family and friends) prayed for us to be blessed with Jonathan for a couple of years. He truly is an answer to prayer.

So there we have it, folks, a little glimpse into our home. I’m sure there will be many forthcoming house posts, because I love it so. It’s really perfect for our little family, but still gives us room to grow. I am so excited for the many memories yet to come in our home and the family and friends that we will share them with.

Our First House!

A week ago, Stephen and I got to do something that we have wanted to do for years. We closed on our first home.

img_2841

Taken in the parking lot, at the title company

We first began looking at homes back at the end of September. We met with our Realtor, Rae, and then hit the market running, seeing our first three homes the very next day. In total we toured 16 homes during this process, if my count is correct. Of those, we either put in an offer or wanted to offer (but weren’t fast enough) on 5 of them.

Things moved pretty fast and furious for our house. Rae texted us at around 9am saying that the house had dropped in price into our range. We decided that we wanted to see it, and because it was going to snow that afternoon, Stephen would meet us there on his lunch break. I went straight to the house from BSF and we saw it at 12:30. We decided that we wanted to put in an offer, and we gave them a deadline of 8pm to accept it. This was a little trick we learned from getting beat out on two homes because we didn’t get a chance to get an offer in before the other offers they received expired. Our offer was accepted around 7pm. And just like that, we were under contract.

One of my favorite things about the house, and something that I noticed right away when we came to see it was the house number. I don’t believe in numerology or anything like that, but I do notice patterns with numbers. It’s just how my brain has always worked.  So when I saw this:

img_5847

A peek at our awesome front porch chandelier, too!

I instantly saw 5/27 and 6/27. Which are my brother and my mom’s birthdays, respectively. I considered that to be “good juju” for the house.

Once we get everything up on the walls, I may do a little blog home tour or something. But for now, here’s our lovely little home yesterday as the sun set.

16112787_10105177294497153_8547381648634903743_o

Here’s to new adventures in our very own home!

2017

We find ourselves here again, at the end of one year, with anticipation to the start of the next. And while the entire internet seems to have really hated 2016, I found it to be a year like every other, with peaks and valleys.

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. I think they’re generally pretty vague and that’s why they’re often unattainable. But, I do think it’s good to set goals for the coming year. So here is what I have in mind for 2017, call it what you will.

new-year-new-me-crap

If this is you, you should probably stop reading now. I respect that.

 

I’ve decided to go with a few overall 2017 challenges, and then something for each month. I wanted to make it a mix of things good for the heart, body and mind, but that are also a combination of inward and outwardly focused.

2017
No soda for the entire year : a habit that has snuck up on me recently that I want to break
Actually use a planner for the whole 12 months : I always buy one and then quit quickly
52 week photo project: best of the week, using only my real camera, posted on Facebook

January: No Fast Food
For the purposes of this challenge, I define fast food as any eating establishment with a drive thru. Chick-fil-a and Del Taco have become my go-to places for a quick bite between errands and when I get them, I also tend to get a soda (Dr. Pepper at CFA and Cherry Coke at DT). This will help start the year off right for my yearly goal as well.

February: No Social Media Saturdays
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter… it’s so easy to get sucked in. For the month of February I will be unplugging from social media entirely every Saturday. I’m hopeful to spend that time really enjoying my time with my boys and being extra productive.

March: No Starbucks
A delicious, but no doubt costly habit, my love of the Cinnamon Dolce Latte shall be put on hold for the month of March. My sugar intake and wallet will be all the better for it.

April: Read 3 Books
I used to read. A lot. In 2012, I read 30 books. Since Jonathan was born, I’ve not read many at all. I definitely want to get back into the habit, but need to be intentional with how I spend my time. In April, I want to read 3 books. No particular genre, just reading for enjoyment.

May: Walk/Jog/Run/Hike 100 Miles
100 sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It sort of is. According to the latest information coming from my Fitbit, I average about 2 miles a day, give or take, in incidental steps. 100 miles in 31 days averages out to 3.23 miles per day. This will be a challenge that encourages me to go that extra mile (almost literally) each day.

June: Take a Class
Learning something new is always exciting, but taking the time to do it is always the hard part. In June, I want to take a class that will further my knowledge of the world. I’ll probably take something free through Coursera or EdX. I’ve done a Coursera class before, but I saw a couple archived courses on EdX that are self-paced that I’m interested in!

July: Try a New Recipe Each Week
Those of you who have read my blog for a while (Hi Mom!) may remember my 30 Before 30 item to try 30 new recipes. That was a lot of fun and delicious, so I’m bringing it back for a month.

August: Read 4 Books
It appears that my reading commitments only occur in months that begin with A – just like April, but with one more book!

September: Handwrite One Letter per Week
I just finished watching Pride and Prejudice for the first time and I’m gonna bring back the art of the handwritten letter. If it’s good enough for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, it’s good enough for me.

darcyletter-writing

Hopefully I look less intense while I write.


October: Participate in The Justice Run

The Justice Run is a local 5k and 10k that benefits various non-profit organizations that fight human trafficking. You can either walk or run the 5k, so that’s probably what I’ll do. One of the organizations that benefits is Free The Girls, which you may remember from a previous post.

November: Compliment Someone Once a Day
November is the start of the holiday craziness, and it’s really easy to get focused on everything that’s going on and less on personal connections. I hope to be able to bring a little joy to people’s days in November by spreading some love via compliment. Strangers, friends, family, whomever.

December: Thankfulness Journal 
Speaking of getting caught up in the busyness of the season, December can so often be about getting things done that we fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day. I want to spend the month remembering things that I am thankful for each day so that I can be mindful of my blessings and end the year with a thankful heart.

So there’s my game plan for 2017! I’ll probably check in at the end of each month with a progress report and let you guys know how it goes. Anyone who wants to join me for a month or who has any recommendations for the books I read, the recipes I try or the class I take, I welcome any and all.

 

Five Things Friday

It appears that Five Things Friday is now my primary method of blogging, so here we go with a nice little mini-update on life!

House Hunting Update


As of Tuesday, we are currently under contract on a home in Castle Rock. I’m going to keep details to a minimum for the time being as there are still a number of variables between now and our closing date, but we’re pretty excited. Our inspection is on Sunday, so that’s one step closer. If things go well with the inspection and the appraisal, we’ll be moving into our first home in mid-January. Just in time for a certain tiny person’s 3rd birthday (WHAT). There are some awesome coincidences with the house address that I totally love, so hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all about it soon!

 

Paranoid
We have just started a new Netflix show: Paranoid. It’s a crime/mystery show that Netflix recommended because we watched Broadchurch. If you haven’t watched Broadchurch yet, do it. We watched two seasons in a shockingly short amount of time in July/August. I hope that this one will be just as good – we’ve only watched the first episode of the mini-series so far.

Speaking of TV shows…
Who watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life? What are your thoughts? I was lucky enough to be in California when it premiered, so I got to watch “Winter” with my sisters, one of whom is the most Gilmore-loving person I know. I’ve since finished the revival and have read some really great thoughts on the internet about it, but I’d love to know what people I know think about how it all went down!

Pinterest & Craigslist & Sales, Oh my!
Since we are potentially buying a house soon, I’m on the lookout for decorating ideas and cheap, but awesome, furniture. We own so little furniture because we haven’t had to (Mike & Marcie left a lot of stuff in the house when we moved in), so it’ll be pretty bare for a while. We don’t even own a kitchen table! I’m super excited to decorate our own home and I already have some ideas for the house formulating in my head. Stephen will soon rue the day that I was given the wifi password.

Today is my birthday
And I’m 32. If you would have told me in high school, or even in college,  that this is what my life would look like at 32, I wouldn’t have believed it. But lucky for me, God always has a better plan than my own.

I am so blessed to get to spend my birthday with these two handsome men that God has given to me. Stephen took the day off, so I’ll get to spend the whole day with my two favorites.

Five Things Friday

House Hunting

It’s a long process. We’ve been actively looking with our realtor for a few months now and we’ve seen a number of houses we’ve liked, some we did not, and some that we liked enough to put offers in on. We’ve been under contract once, but it didn’t work out. We’ve put in two other offers that got outbid. And we definitely have one that we consider “the one that got away.” I was hopeful to be in our own home by Christmas, mainly because I have a sickness and love to decorate and can you imagine how much fun it will be to decorate our OWN HOME? I’m not sure that Stephen is prepared for the eventuality that I go completely insane when we do end up having our first Christmas in our first home.  But, I’m trying to maintain the attitude that God has the perfect house already picked out for us and that our time will come. Patience is hard.

Photography & Learning Lightroom

img_5332Things have been picking up over at Amanda Rabon Photography lately, which has been fun. Family sessions, maternity, and even wedding getting ready shots have been taken in just the last few months. As part of my own professional growth, I’ve decided to learn Lightroom for editing. I’ve used Aperture thus far, which I like and find to be extremely user friendly, but Apple is no longer going to make improvements to Aperture going forward. So, since Lightroom will be continually upgraded in the future, it is wise for me to be able to work in that platform. Any photographer friends who have tips or presets they love — please share!

Christmas Advent Activities

The time is almost upon us for planning the December calendar of fun leading up to Christmas! Last year we did a number of super fun things and I’m hoping to keep some classics and add some new ideas this year.

12339663_10104057002646003_3686619898758878240_o

Last year’s Christmas Cookies with Uncles and Aunt 🙂

I would love any fun suggestions that you may have for things to do leading up to Christmas!

Thanksgiving!

Thanks to the extremely generous donation of about a billion Southwest points by Matt, this year Stephen, Jonathan and I will be spending Thanksgiving in Vacaville with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, nephew and grandparents. To say that I am excited is a huge understatement. It’s been 3 years since the last holiday I had with my family (see: super pregnant with Jonathan) so I’m really looking forward to this!1486815_10102293476007523_1047337450_n

This seems like a lifetime ago.

Biden/Obama Memes

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-11-15-06-am

These Joe Biden memes that have come out on the internet since the election are so funny. I can’t get enough of them. In the days following the election and with the amount of hate out there, these make me laugh almost every time.

Five Things Friday

Ahhhh, another week is behind us and this is already the last weekend of September. This month has felt really full, and here are a few things that have been going on this week:

Free The Girls
Ever since I had Jonathan, I have had a bunch of old bras that no longer fit sitting around. They’re in great condition and really pretty, but unfortunately I can’t wear them. I had held on to them for way longer than necessary and finally decided it was time to do something with them. I wasn’t sure if it was considered kosher to donate bras, so I googled it. And this led me to a really cool organization called Free The Girls. “Free The Girls is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to provide jobs to survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries by helping them set up micro enterprises selling bras.  And, through the collection of bras in Western countries, we strive to educate people and organizations about the scourge of human trafficking worldwide.”
img_1504I looked up my closest drop-off location, which happened to be the Runners Roost in Lone Tree, and dropped them off today. I don’t know what rock I’ve been under that I haven’t heard of them, but I’m so happy to have been able to help an organization that is doing such good work!

 

Fall
Can we talk about Fall for a second? Cause the leaves they are a-changin’ and the weather is getting cooler so it’s definitely feeling like the season of boots and scarves is upon us! Jonathan and I spent most of the day outside today, enjoying a park play date with friends this morning and the dirt in our own yard this afternoon. I’m looking forward to enjoying more of the same in the coming months!


Kev & Britt’s Wedding
There are two things in life that always bring me joy: babies and weddings. I love them. And last weekend we got to attend our friends Kevin & Brittany’s wedding. It was beautiful, both in venue and in the words spoken. Stephen was a groomsman, and a mighty fine one at that, and I was asked to take photos of the getting ready process. What an honor to be invited into such a personal, once in a lifetime event.
img_1471More photos can be found at my photography site: Amanda Rabon Photography – I may have gotten emotional on more than one occasion!

Fitz & The Tantrums
This song makes me smile whenever it comes on the radio. img_1499
It’s definitely not my usual type of music, but it’s good for car dance parties with my boy. Jonathan claps along, though he hasn’t quite mastered the rhythm of the song. It’s REALLY cute.

BSF
I did my first Bible Story as a Children’s Leader at Bible Study Fellowship this week. And I wasn’t terrible at it! That’s a big relief. I feel a lot more confident having taught Hymn Time and Bible Story/Scripture each once and I’m hopeful to gain confidence each week. My co-leader is awesome, the kids are great and I’m looking forward to growing through this year as we study the Gospel of John.