September 25, 2017

#GreatPumpkinSwap

Fall officially started on Friday and PraisetheLord, right?

I haven't started decorating for fall yet. Isn't that kind of blasphemous? Usually I've got all the prints on the walls and the pumpkins on the end-tables by Labor Day. It's still been in the 80s and 90s most days so I just don't "feel" it. This weekend, it finally dipped into the 50s/60s, which I realize isn't usual. It's only the end of September. But I'm so much more of a fall and winter person these days. I don't thrive in the summer.

Getting out my fall decorations...which I did at least dig out of the shed on Saturday...means that I can reflect back on falls gone by and I can even see some of the fun gifts I've gotten from past Pumpkin Swaps. It's such a reminder of genuine connection and friendship that's been ALL facilitated through blogging. I even bought my pumpkin Scentsy warmer from a blogger!

If you love fall and if you love connecting through social media, this is for you...

Bloggers, Instagramers, and Twitterers are welcome. If you don't have a blog, that's okay. You can share on other forms of social media!



1. Fill out the form to sign up for the swap! Sign-ups end on Friday, October 6th at 11:59 PM (EST)
2. By Monday, October 9th, you will get an e-mail from me or from Becky with your swap partner.
3. Once you know your partner, please make contact within 48 hours (by Wednesday, October 11th) to get to know a bit more about each other.
4. Spend $15-$20 (excluding shipping) to put together a fun fall-themed package for your partner.
5. Mail your package on or before Tuesday, October 24th.
6. Link up with us on Tuesday, November 7th to share your swap goodies! You can link up your blog post and/or share on Instagram or Twitter. Use #GreatPumpkinSwap and tag @rebeckann2 and @kedarhower!




Let me know if something doesn't work or if you have questions! We're thrilled to set this up again!

September 22, 2017

5 Friday Things.

Well, now that BIP is over, it's time to get back to life and whatnot. I feel like there's a gaping hole in my weeknights now. And in my blog posting schedule.

But, in case you missed it, we now own property in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition, I'm working on getting over my own issues when it comes to social media.

We'll try some Friday Favorite posts for a bit...



1. I took these boots back to Famous Footwear and tried on a few different pairs. I got these ones and they are, or at least should be, good. They're a little dressier, not as clunky, and no one I dislike owns them (that I know of).



2. I bought some vanilla protein powder from Target the other day. $20. It's surprisingly good. I've been blending it with baby spinach, coconut/almond milk, and frozen mango. I prefer frozen pineapple, but the store was out.


3. I went to kickboxing yesterday. It's a battle sometimes, weighing my options throughout the school day...do I want to go? do I not want to go? is there anything else I have to do instead?...In the end, I knew going to the class would pay off in energy dividends last night and today. Yesterday was very stressful in that I just feel so behind all the time. I woke up feeling like I hadn't even slept on Thursday. Kickboxing was a good choice.

The new sneakers worked out. The waytooexpensive bag I bought last year for work has become a gym bag so maybe I should start going to the gym more. 


4. Fall is coming. We're looking at 50s/60s next week. So maybe I'll get to try out the half of my wardrobe that hasn't been worn since April.

Still haven't seen LOTR, so I'm assuming this is from LOTR.


5.  We are PUMPKIN SWAPPING again!


Sign-ups and the informational post will alllllll be up on Monday. If you love fall, this is for you!

September 21, 2017

We're moving to Wyoming (kind of)

Exploring a "new" built-in-the-1950s house

I mentioned in July that Scott officially changed command. He passed off the company of 200ish soldiers to a new captain. With this came a complete shift in our lifestyle. For awhile there, he still jumped when the phone rang, getting out of bed at 3am to answer a wrong number because "it might be important". That's something only a commander would do. He was in command for 19 months and over half was deployed time but, let's face it, he worked 12-18 hour days for the 9 months he was at home anyway.

But it was time for us to leave Ft. Carson. Which is really weird, because we're still in Colorado.

Last fall, Scott applied for the Advanced Civil Schooling program. He's an engineer and this is a program the army offers for engineers. He was accepted this past spring. It means that he can pick any university in the country and the army will grant him a second masters degree in engineering (his first is in environmental engineering from MS&T in Missouri). Since we have this house, and since we have this land, and since we are pretty well-settled in Colorado, we decided he'd apply to schools around here. He chose the University of Wyoming in Laramie because they worked well enough with all the military paperwork and documentation that he had to file and they have a good program for what he wants to do. He'll work toward a masters in civil engineering and will likely work as a civilian for the Corps of Engineers and that could put us anywhere in the country. At some point in there, he will hopefully be promoted to major and that would send us to Kansas for a year or so for school. The exact timeline, again, is up in the air.

IF Scott hadn't gotten into ACS, we (he) would get out of the army. ACS guarantees 4-5 years of non-deployable time while counting as active duty years. If he'd decided to get out, that would be a whole other story of obstacles to overcome because we'd have to decide where to settle, where he'd work, where I'd work, etc. IF he'd stayed in the regular active duty army without ACS, we'd move to another base likerightnow and start over, likely facing another deployment pretty quickly. We're not ready to start over yet and are exhausted after 3 deployments of varying lengths over the last 3 years.

In August, we bought a house in Laramie and we just closed on it it this week. While he'll live there during the week (Laramie is 3 hours away), I'll go up there on the weekends or he'll come back here. With his class schedule, unless he needs to be there for some reason, he can leave here Monday morning and be home by the time I get home from work on Friday.

We plan to use the Laramie house as a rental property once he graduates. Rent is shockingly expensive in Laramie, Wyoming and in order for him to keep the dogs with him, we needed to buy. It was a tough pill to swallow, the fact that he wanted to keep the dogs there, but I knew it was his turn. I've spent so much one on one time with Jett and Scout and he's missed a lot of their little lives. For the next 8 months, for at least most weeks, he'll have the dogs. We didn't want to pick up and move our entire lives to Wyoming without selling or renting this house. We're not at a place where we're ready to sell or rent it.

We talked a lot about what I should do this fall. I could've quit working and just hung around Wyoming. But we have this house here. And teaching, while exhausting, is something I love. And I couldn't turn down a known income. I figure I can get this one more year in, or maybe two, depending on what his 2018-2019 calendar looks like. Plus, I've been so bored this past summer that I know I need something productive to do with my days. There have already been multiple days where I've second-guessed this choice but, most days, I'm okay with it.

So while we're not at Ft. Carson anymore, I'm still in Colorado and he sort of is too. It's an odd situation. I will say that I 100% prefer this arrangement to him working 18 hour days and constantly bringing work home after those 18 hour days. And, again, I don't even know what next year will look like yet. Maybe I'll move up to Laramie? That's likely. Maybe he'll find a placement in Colorado and we'll stay here for a few more years after all? Or maybe we'll head off to a new state, rent out our houses, and start over somewhere else. Making peace with the idea of not knowing yet is just part of the military life.


I don't have a bunch of new pictures of the house there yet, but it's nice to kind of live on a regular street again, and be able to WALK to restaurants, stores, etc. Imagine the novelty I feel after 3+ years on the prairie. 
(As for the four-wheeler, there was a hunting trip last weekend so I ended up meeting Scott there. #priorities)

September 19, 2017

My issue with Instagram


The jeans are American Eagle and are amazing. They're not super high-rise but I can't remember what they actually are. I bought them last year. The tank is Gap and I would've bought ten had I known how much I'd love it, but they never sold another one after last summer. The Keds are from Amazon because they are cheaper on Amazon than they are anywhere else.


Oh Jett-Jett.

I did this thing where I dropped Instagram. I took it off my phone because it wasn't making me happy. It was making me feel awful, actually. I fully understand that this is a "me" issue and has nothing to do with anyone else. I needed a social media detox in a major way and it was very freeing to just cut that out for a bit. It was about 4 weeks that I needed to clear my head of constant connection.
To give you the lay of the land, I don't have Facebook on my phone and eliminating IG just meant that I was left with Twitter so I've read a lot of Twitter over the last month. Snapchat is something I'm just hoping will die sooner rather than later. I've never tried it.

I wholly understand that social media is the highlight reel and it's what people choose to show; something about people taking pictures of donuts and family walks on Saturday mornings when I'm doing outdoor chores and trying to make it to the grocery store just rubbed me the wrong way. Again, I'm still trying to sort these feelings out. I think that maybe if I were more present on IG, and even Facebook, I could help alleviate some of this pressure I feel. It's a funny balance to try to get to, because I don't want to put too much of myself out there after 2016-2017. I attempted to be very careful of my internet footprint.

I do know that part of the problem is that I have blog friends and real-life friends on IG and I feel awkward about posting things...I used to have a much less filtered view of life and social media but now I worry about what people think. Maybe this means it's time to move and start over ha ha ha. But really now. I don't worry about posting on my blog because I don't know who reads it. I can see who likes my IG pictures or FB posts. 

This is a weird issue to be concerned about, right? It is the ULTIMATE in first-world issues. I suppose a hiatus from anything can be good for a person, though.

I think Instagram is a great way to share, to learn about others, and to communicate and stay in touch. Aside from the "social media influencers", I don't think anyone needs to use it to make money. I've actually had Instagram since 2011. That's waaaaay before the general population and clearly I have blogging to thank for that.

I think that when you are in a place of feeling "less than", Instagram is a horrible place to be. Whether that "less than" comes from difficulties, strife, or just not feeling good enough, it's somewhere I've found as not a good place for me to hang out and spend my time.

On the flip side, I don't think I've ever just dropped the ball on IG. I've done that with Facebook plenty of times. Then, I realized that Facebook, even if I post little to nothing (EVEN SCOTT POSTS THINGS ON FACEBOOK), is a valuable tool for keeping in touch with people. I do this mainly through messages because I get super weirded out by the fact that just about anyone can search for me on Facebook and find me, even if I have my privacy settings locked down.  This is also why I took my Instagram to private. I don't want people I work with or know too well in real life to find me. It's unprofessional on some level, I feel. Plus, if I worked in an industry where social media was a thing, that would be totally different. Social media is not part of public school on the teachers' end and the fact that I am scrutinized for every other word I say verbally means that I don't want to leave an imprint. It is shockingly obvious to me, writing this, that this problem came about when we moved to Colorado. I never, ever feared this before when we were in Alaska and Missouri.

Scott. Posting on Facebook.


ANYWAY. Lots of thoughts.

What do you think? Instagram? Facebook? Private? Public? 



September 18, 2017

WIW Last Week

I'm really trying to get back into the habit of wearing things I'd like to actually remember with a picture. I don't know how long this will last, but I'm going to try.

None of this is new. But a lot of it is new in the sense that I bought it last spring in clearance sales and never took the tags off because I ran out of time at the end of the school year. Also, I didn't really care about much of anything at the end of last school year and I was basically putting on the most comfortable thing I could find each day.

(The bricks are from last February when we needed to prop the door open to move furniture. This may be an issue of priorities...)

Shirt is J.Crew clearance last spring//Skirt is Stitchfix last fall and the crazy amount of times I've worn it makes me want to try Stitchfix for the umpteenth time//Sandals are Target

This is a t-shirt from Target. // The skirt is Gap from two years ago and I just now took the tags off. There was something I didn't and still don't love about it, but it worked. It's probably too short. But I'll wear it with tights in the winter.  // Shoes are Target.

Side note: I almost always wear my hair half back because I cannot stand it falling into my face. 

Fall is thankfully arriving this week, not only by the date, but in the sense of temperatures below 80 degrees. Not every day, of course, but enough to make me okay with Colorado weather.

Is it fall where you are? I want to wear my boots. 

September 15, 2017

5 Final BIP Things.

I don't actually know what I'm going to talk about on Fridays now that this show is over. I didn't mean to post about it every week lately, because it's kind of embarrassing that I watch and follow so closely. The big question is: what am I going to do with all of my free time?

1. Ben Zorn's relationship with his dog is a lot like my life. I don't understand why everyone thinks it's so weird. I'm not even being sarcastic here.


2. Oh poor Jack Stone.  I can't even with this...he was too good for any of those barely-employed chicks anyway.



3. Anyone who randomly punches Robby is okay in my book. Robby is the worst. Here's the latest from Reality Steve. If you listen to Rose Pricks, Ronnie Karam does the funniest impressions of Robby. Like, laugh til you cry kind of funny.



4. And this is exactly why Peter is the one everyone loves.



5. If you didn't need another reason to dislike Dean, he's a Broncos fan.



Um, and he drinks Bud Light. 


Thoughts on the couples? Derek and Taylor will probably do just fine. Adam will hang onto Raven until she puts her name in to be the Bachelorette next year. And that's all that we've got...Oh, and we can talk about the relationship between Lacey and her quest for validation/self-esteem. But we've probably all been there. Just not with Daniel, so that's a particular kind of low self-esteem problem that she had.

Until January!

September 14, 2017

Stuff and Things I found on my computer




Because I finally cleaned off my desktop this past weekend. It was bad.


Because it's funny and true.


I took these next three screenshots because I was appalled by the fact that these recipes have so many ingredients and so much mash-up happening and this is why I don't cook or bake for the internet anymore. I can't do this. It makes my head hurt. I'm sure it all tastes amazing but I don't want to spend two years getting from raw ingredients to eating what I made. I feel like this is what is expected out there because of Pinterest. But do people really want to eat complicated food on a regular basis? I like to experiment with flavors and ideas, but so many ingredients just means I'll never make it.






Amanda is 100% a mean girl. 




The dogs sleep while I get ready for school. 


So I did buy these sneakers and I think they'll be just fine. Since it was BOGO, I got these boots too. 



I'm undecided about whether to keep them though. Thoughts? I realized that someoneIdon'tlike has them and that makes me not want them. 

Tomorrow I'll have my weekly (final) BIP thoughts. It's been quite the "journey".

September 13, 2017

September Goals

Whoa.

My last goals post was in April. Or was it March?

I don't remember.
I did have goals for May, but then May ended up being pure survival mode.

Then it was summer and goals don't matter in the summer, obviously.

August was stressful and busy.

But now it's almost fall and the world can right itself again.


So here's a few things I want to stay on top of this month...

1. Get my school work/grading done during the week. Scott is away during the week these days so I have no excuse not to get it all done while I sit around and watch TV. Then I can enjoy the weekends.

2. Finish the most recent season of Once Upon a Time. It's on Netflix now and that makes it so much easier to watch for some reason. I attempted it on Hulu in June and that didn't work out. I don't actually know if I'll finish it because seriously...it's boring me.

3. Finalize plans for traveling to Pennsylvania in October. I need a dress/shoes, we need plane tickets, hotel reservations, etc. (etc.)...there's a lot of "etc" happening here. I need to arrange for the dogs' care and for the time I'll miss  from school (which will probably only be two days or so but still...#planningahead). My brother is getting married.

4. Maintain 30 minutes of Pilates a day. I can do it...it's just a matter of taking care of it before I get too tired at night because then I'll just give up and go to bed. I'm doing well so far.

5. Get The Great Pumpkin Swap organized and off the ground. Yes, we ARE pumpkin-swapping again! Sign-ups start on 9/25 so mark your calendar to join in with me and Becky if you're interested!



What goals do you have this month? I need inspiration for October.

September 12, 2017

August Book(s) 2017

I had a weekend recap more or less ready to go...it mainly involved Scott taking the dogs hunting and me watching hurricane coverage..but then I woke up to an internet outage yesterday so I scrapped it.

I taught a somewhat brilliant 9/11 lesson yesterday (I'm sure I'll get a phone call or something) and put more into it this year than I have in the past. These kids were born in 2008 (...). They really just wanted to know about the specifics of the towers, both Twin and the new one, and the planes. We also got into a conversation about how the subway works. We read some great non-fiction kid-friendly articles and watched the BrainPop video, as well as listened to President Bush's speech from that day. I will #primarysource forever.

And then they referred to # as a hashtag when they saw it in front of a number.

I can't do everything.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Happy wedding anniversary day to us! 





Someone said to me a few weeks ago, "Oh you've been married what? 4 years?". No, 8 years today. It's been a VERY full 8 years at that. 
^This was exactly one week before we packed up and moved from Pennsylvania to Alaska.


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As a rule, or pattern that I've noticed anyway, I don't read in August. I don't have time. Which is a cliche excuse but I don't have the headspace to read. Headspace is equal to time, I've often found.

That being said...I had plenty of time to watch Bachelor in Paradise lately. It takes very little mental effort, that show. But it also takes an enormous amount to physical time.

Also, I suspended my Audible account but I wasn't enjoying audiobooks the way I used to. I have one if I get desperate, but otherwise, I'm okay for now with podcasts on my commute.


Beartown by Fredrik Backman C-
My thoughts are many: This is probably the most popular book out there. I was on the wait list for 3 months.
I felt that I had trouble connecting with the story because of the vague, prosy writing. This, for example, is the last page. Don't worry, it gives nothing away.


To me, this makes about as much sense as "pizza....garage.....couch".

This kind of writing makes me feel like I'm reading or watching or visualizing through some sort of filmy material. I couldn't get the clear picture of what was happening. I heard one or two reviewers say that it's a book about hockey that's not about hockey. No. It was entirely about hockey. I found myself skimming all the locker room and practice scenes. Even the game scenes, really. The big game was told in snippets of metaphors from different POVs and it was exhausting. I skimmed ahead. I found I did like the end, though I skipped from 70% to 96% in order to get there and I feel like I didn't miss a thing. The only reason, I'm convinced, I even got to the end is because I had 11 hours left on my library loan and I'd waited 3 months for the book and, darn it, I was going to get to the last page.
I didn't like A Man Called Ove either and this could very well be a translation issue because the books are originally written in Swedish. However, I think Britt-Marie was Here sounds interesting. I don't think it's the author alone; I think it's a translation problem and these Swedish books just aren't for me OR it's because Backman is put up on this pedestal and maybe I expected too much.
But, then again, it is the vagueness that got me; both of the Megan Miranda books I've read were written the same way and I'll never pick up another of hers again because I found I just couldn't connect and didn't care. Beartown was much better, as a story, than either of those, though.
But I do think Beartown had too many characters. For the ones who were introduced mid-book, I just didn't care.

Did you read it?

I really think I like the method of reading one or two books and doing deep-dive reviews, rather than reading a bunch and not being able to talk about them.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!

September 8, 2017

Ohemgee...is this show over yet?

I'm so sick of this show at this point but it's the only extracurricular I have right now. I'm in need of absolute mindless nothingness in my downtime and this fits the description. It's meaningless and mindless and takes up a surprising amount of time in order to properly follow this show (what with the tweet-reading, the podcast-listening, etc.)




1.
The only person worse than Mike Fleiss is Nick Viall. The only person worse than (the newly single) Nick...would be Dean.
Also, everyone in the franchise would fit the description of "younger than Nick".

2.  Effing Dean.



3. Scott was sitting on the couch doing something on a computer while I was watching Monday night's episode. When Ben Z. said he was leaving because he has a dog at home, Scott looked up and got interested. He wanted to know why no one wanted Ben Z. Exactly. 


4. I love this.


5. I think if we need to give Dean any credit at all, it'll be because he didn't mix up any names.


As far as Arie being the next Bachelor, I know nothing about him. I knew he was on Emily's season. I didn't watch back then. When talking to my coworkers, they didn't know who he was at all because they almost literally weren't born back then. I was closer to 30 than 20 in 2012 and they were like 19.
I am glad they went with someone out of the current clique because the folks from the last couple of seasons are really in this for followers and exposure and that's kind of annoying.


They're all a little too thirsty. 

Thoughts?