Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018...The Year of Joy

It's been several months since I've logged in to my blog and written a post. Even this is a couple days later than I had planned, but that is just how things seem to work around here! I had a few moments to myself this morning and have finally had a chance to reflect on the year that has now passed and the year that lies ahead. I'm feeling a little sad that the Christmas season is over (as are the kids, who ask WHY it had to end EVERYday ;)), but like we all do, I'm attempting to look forward to all of what's to come in 2018.

2017 was an interesting year, not quite as tumultuous as 2016, but definitely not bland, either. Here are a few highlights from the year....

My mom came home from the hospital and has made a miraculous recovery. We celebrated in the spring at a Go Red for Women event and it was a moment I'll never forget. 

I hit the 100 lb weight loss mark! This was such a huge milestone in my life and a lifestyle change I am incredibly proud of. 

We visited Disney World as a family of four and had the best week EVER. We are planning and saving for a trip back soon and I can't wait. It is worth every penny. 

We did a lot more traveling! Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis, Destin, Fripp Island...our kids love to travel and I can't wait to do more in 2018. 

I got a dream job that has changed our lives. That is not an exaggeration! While I'm still getting used to being a "work from home mom," writing for OnlyInYourState (both Kentucky and Cincinnati) has been a game changer and a purpose that I love so much. I work with an amazing group of people and feel so lucky to have this opportunity.

We experienced A LOT of Cincy. Thanks to my other role with Cincinnati Parent, we've taken the city by storm and been lucky enough to experience quite a bit in the past year. As I look back at it all, I feel so thankful that my kids get to see this city and area in ways I'd never dreamed.

I wore a bikini in public for the first time. This may not seem like a big deal, but it sure was a big step in my life in so many ways. More on that in my next post :). 

Andrew and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. This just happened a few days ago, but each day of every year, I am thankful for him and our relationship. It is far from perfect, but it's the perfect place for each of us and we only get stronger as a team with time. 

At the end of 2016, rather than make resolutions, I chose a word to focus on in 2017. That word was Peace. It was appropriate given all we were going through with my mom, having just moved to a new house and all of the other craziness that was happening. I would come back to that word often throughout the year, but I have to admit that I came far from achieving it. In 2018, I want to continue to work on finding peace in my life, but I'm also adding the word JOY. This word first came to mind for many reasons, but one was inspired by my dear friend who is facing a tremendous battle right now, yet is somehow consumed with joy. I say somehow, but really, I know how this is possible and it is through her faith, trust, and love in Jesus. 

I haven't talked much about God on here, and I'm not sure why. Over the past year, I've felt a strong pull to work on my relationship with Jesus, which has already made a few big changes in my life. We've finally started going to church regularly, I'm committed to spending time each day reflecting, learning, and connecting with God and His Word. 

With all the good that came from 2017, I fear that I will likely look back on that year as the one where I dealt with quite a bit of anxiety and stress. I wrote about those feelings here, but I am most excited about starting 2018 with a fresh outlook and renewed will to deal with and handle those feelings. 

2018 will be a year filled with God, family, friends, fulfilling work, travel, fun, peace and JOY. And hopefully more time sharing on here. I miss it, and it's definitely a free form of therapy for me ;). 

Happy New Year! Wishing you a healthy, peaceful, and joyful 2018! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Aiden & Audrey... 4.5 and 3 Editions

Wow, it's been awhile. More on that in another post, but today is all about Aiden and Audrey who are now officially four and a half and three. Since time is not my friend these days, I decided to put these "Baby Book" posts together into one. I've had a goal to keep this updated every six months until they turn five...I'm only a couple of weeks behind ;).

Aiden was halfway to five as of August 19th. Five seems SO old to me, so I'm hoping these next six months take their sweet time. He starts his last year of preschool tomorrow and is already excited about the "Big Boy School" and kindergarten, thanks to the awesome playground there that we walked to several times this summer :).

Aiden has changed in many ways, but has also remained the same. He still loves trains and every other mode of transportation. He spends most of his time building and rebuilding train tracks, towns, and right now he is working with Audrey on "A wonderful town with volcanoes and dinosaurs." :) Speaking of dinosaurs, he's pretty into them right now, as well. He is interested in super heroes, and says he wants to be Batman for Halloween....we'll see if that sticks!

His favorite activities are definitely riding his bike, swimming, and digging. He also loves to climb, run, and learn to play sports. He is playing soccer right now and loves it. He also loves to toss a football with Daddy and hit a ball off the tee. One minute he's running around on a mission, and the next he is sitting in the corner with a book.

Aiden loves spending time with both Mommy and Daddy, as well as his other family and friends. We're working on not playing rough (sorry, little sister) and thinking before acting ;). This wild boy has the softest, most sweetest side - he wakes up and immediately finds my lap and has to snuggle before bed at night. I hope that stays around for awhile.

Audrey turned 3 on September 4th and I'm not sure where those years went! She has changed SO much this past year, it amazes us everyday. She starts her second year of preschool tomorrow and seems pretty excited. She talks about making friends and playing on the playground, hopefully she'll have a great year!

The biggest change in Audrey is in her speech and personality. While we're keeping an eye on her articulation, she gains better language skills daily and is pretty hilarious. She has a bit of a free spirit and just wants what she wants. It's difficult to reason with her, so if something sets her off, we pretty much just have to wait out the storm.

Audrey still has her Kitty and Blankie nearby at all times, but she's definitely not as attached. She LOVES Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and all of the other princesses are not too far behind. She is rarely out of a princess dress and talks about Disney World daily. She loves to draw and play with stickers and playdoh, and also loves to be outside - running, swimming, digging, and playing.

Audrey gets comments on her long, curly hair daily and I never want to cut it :). There will be tears that day, for sure! I tell people she is the sweetest, most precious angel one minute and a complete terror the next. There is no in-between. And that is the truth! She is still a Mommy's girl, but that is slowly getting better. She's not as cuddly as Aiden, but loves to give me five million kisses before bed (she's the stall queen!).

This summer has been crazy, with lots of travel, work and fun. I've been adjusting to a new work schedule and they've been along for the ride. When they play together (which they happen to be doing right now), it melts my heart and I try to soak it in, because you know there's a disagreement right around the corner :). I know I'll look back on these posts one day and smile, remembering the time when the days were oh so long, but the years were way too short.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Two Months

Two months! That's how long it's been since I last posted. I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure that's the longest break I've taken since starting this page over two years ago. There have been several times that I've sat down to do a post, but it just didn't happen. As I mentioned in my last post, I started a new job in March that increased my workload by A LOT. Well, that job is actually now expanding, so I'll be adding more work/writing to my everyday routine. So, before that takes off and I have to adjust again, I figured it was now or never for a long overdue update. 

Let's break this down into categories, shall we? Feel free to skip over the boring parts ;). These are my favorite types of posts to look back on, so I apologize for the "life dump."

Work Life... 
Since I already mentioned it, let's start here. I continue to work with both Cincinnati Parent Magazine and Cincinnati Moms Blog, doing a variety of things. I love everything about both of these roles! In March, I started as the Kentucky writer for onlyinyourstate.com. If you don't already, please follow along on Facebook! I LOVE sharing any and everything about Kentucky. And I love working for amazing people and an incredible website. In fact, I love it so much that I'll be adding Only In Cincinnati to my repertoire! I'm so excited to write about my hometown on a daily basis. 

It's so crazy to think about this career I've built. I remember when I was teaching, how, although I loved it, I wanted so badly to find a way to be home with my kids and have more flexibility. We took a huge leap of faith when I decided to stay home and with a lot of hard work and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, we are making it work. And it's better than I ever imagined. 

Aiden Life...
Aiden finished up a great year of preschool and is growing up so incredibly fast. I'll do a more complete update on him when he's four and a half in a couple months, but a few quick things.... All of a sudden he is eating everything in sight and sleeping like a rock at night. Who is this kid?! He loves to ride his bike and is about ready to lose the training wheels. He's still obsessed with all things that move and loves to dig in the dirt. 

Audrey Life...
Oh, Audrey. She is the most adorable, sweet, funny child one minute and a complete terror the next. She's unpredictable and has decided sleeping (in her crib) is optional. She's extremely picky with food and cries a lot. But she's smart. She's funny and silly. She does everything with her whole heart and is fearless. She still carries her kitty and blankie everywhere, which I'm sure won't stop anytime soon. It's so hard to believe she'll be 3 in less than three months. 

Married Life...
Andrew remains my biggest cheerleader in anything I choose to do. He's been so supportive of both my writing endeavors and my health goals. We are desperately trying to make time for the two of us, and we're looking forward to a fun summer. 

Health Life...
While this remains a top priority, I'd be lying if I didn't mention that I've had some struggles. I still have goals I'd like to reach in terms of gaining more muscle and toning up more, but I'm in more of a maintenance phase right now. I try to keep my eating at 80/20 - 80% very healthy and 20% of freebies. I'd say it's been a bit more like 70/30 the past several weeks. I don't really believe in doing cleanses or hardcore diets to "get back on track," since I continue to live an overall healthy lifestyle. But I have recommitted to using the MyFitnessPal App and scheduling my workouts for the week. I'm going to try and post more about this soon. 

Well, I think that's enough for now :). This blog is not going anywhere. In a weird way, it's been my therapy the past two years and I'm definitely not ready for it to be over. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Limke's Lately

Well I guessed right when I said in my last post that it'd be difficult to keep up with this blog! I feel like I'm coming up for air just a bit right now, and wanted to stop in and share a few pictures from the past couple of weeks. Plus, I truly enjoy using this space and a quote I came across this week reminded me of that... "You always have time for the things you put first." :)

We enjoyed a beautiful spring day last week with friends downtown. When I remembered the picture we took with Aiden 4 years ago in this spot, I knew we had to replicate it. He's bigger, I'm smaller :). I've been very hard on myself recently with food and working out because I've felt that both are a struggle. I'm in a rut with eating the same things and I have a nagging injury that is making it hard to work out. But pictures like this remind me how far I have come and to give myself grace. 

Monday was Opening Day in Cincy, so we had to dress for the occasion. This was the first year in a long time that I haven't gone to the parade but it just wasn't going to happen this year. Next year for sure!!

We made a quick trip to the zoo to see all of the beautiful flowers and say hi to our fav animals. These two were SO good that I almost didn't recognize them!

And Aiden is so used to me taking his picture that he now sits down in picturesque spots and demands a photo. Whoops ;). He looks SO big here!

Audrey has been taking a gymnastics class for a bit now and Aiden felt like he was missing out. So this session, they are in a class together! They have a blast running off energy and bouncing around the gym. 

We had a wonderful opportunity to go see Matilda the Musical this week and it was adorable! Aiden loved it and Audrey, well... she managed :). It's crazy to think that my first broadway style show was Phantom of the Opera when I was like 12 and they've been to so many shows already. I hope they know how incredibly lucky they are!

When I was pregnant with Audrey, everyone always said she and Aiden would be best of friends, being only 18 months apart. Until recently, I wasn't sure they were right. But something has definitely changed and they are so much fun together! They fight (full out wrestling at times!) and scream at each other, but they love each other fiercely. Aiden is now able to calm her down almost better than I can. Here he is rocking her to sleep and giving her milk. :)

And reading her a bedtime story.... I was sitting next to them folding laundry and my heart was also next to me in a big puddle. He's reading a story he "wrote" and completely made up all on his own!

And just for fun... Thanks to an Instagram contest, I won a gift card to Erin Condren and took advantage of a big sale to finally get one of her planners. I now know what the fuss is about and am obsessed. Worth every dime. And this cookbook is by one of my favorite bloggers! I'm hoping it will help my kids branch out a bit with food (and give me new ideas!). 

It's going to be a beautiful weekend here and we have a few fun things planned! Hopefully I'll be able to get back to this regularly, but for now - thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

'Round Here

I feel like we got back from Disney and things have been pretty much nonstop. We slowed it down this past weekend and only left the house once...for pizza and groceries! But this week, I've officially started a new job, which is why I wanted to squeeze in this update. I'm honestly not sure how often I'll be able to post for awhile, until I get used to my new schedule. My goal is once a week, so we'll see!

I just wanted to share a few highlights from the last couple of weeks.  Despite the major "Disney Depression" going on, it's been pretty great around here.

So, I mentioned Disney Depression.  It is real, my friends. I think the combination of missing the actual time spent there and no longer getting to look forward to it...well, it's a bad combo. We are all a little "grumpy" and the kids ask to go back multiple times a day. Someday, hopefully!

We planned a night away a couple of months ago, knowing it would be nice to have a date night after Disney. We saw the Bare Naked Ladies and spent the night in the adjoining hotel.  It was awesome!  I highly recommend the Hilton DoubleTree in Lawrenceburg, IN! 

Breakfast in bed = dream come true.

The following day, I got to pick my mom up for my cousin's baby shower.  My mom has been through A LOT these past few months and to stand next to her in a picture was very likely one of the highlights of this year, let alone the week.

On a lighter note...have you tried these individual Power Cakes? I got this one at Target...so good! I added blueberries and a few chia seeds :).

I also got to try out a new workout last week, that I fully intend on adding to my routine! Boga is kind of like yoga on a board, but there are also cardio and bootcamp options. It was a blast and an amazing core workout. 

Our first lunch on our deck! The first of many, I'm sure. Now if the forecast would just cooperate...

So my new job! I was recently hired by onlyinyourstate.com to be the Kentucky content specialist! I am SO excited and love the work! If you haven't checked this site out, do it now! You can find the Facebook page here and follow me on Instagram at @onlyinkentucky. 

Our one outing this weekend...we've been meaning to try Strong's Pizzeria, since it's just a few minutes down the street. I had this meatball salad and sampled the pizza...delicious! 

I hit a HUGE milestone last week.  100 POUNDS DOWN! As we were cleaning out our basement yesterday, I came across this poodle skirt from my girl scout days.  When I was TEN. It was even a little big :).

Happy Monday to you all, and I hope you have a great week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Audrey Kay - Two and a Half!

Our baby girl is halfway to 3! She has changed so much the past few months, so I thought I should definitely squeeze in a half birthday post before time gets away from me.  Yesterday, Audrey was playing outside, with her hair in a ponytail, chasing after Aiden and talking to us in full sentences.  But then minutes later, she'd be in my arms asking me to hold her.  Although she's quickly turning into a little girl, she is most definitely still my baby.

Audrey had a fabulous time on our Disney trip a couple weeks ago.  She loved the characters, the rides, the pool...and for me to carry her 90% of the time!  She's about 35 pounds right now and 36 1/2 inches tall...much to my dismay because 37 inches would have gotten her on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ;). She is stubborn, feisty and a little OCD, haha.  She likes to do things a certain way and gets upset when things don't go her way.  So basically, she's me :). 

Audrey is still extremely attached to her Kitty and her blankie.  They go everywhere with us, especially Kitty.  She also loves her baby doll, her new stuffed Dumbo and the array of other stuffed animals she sleeps with every night.  She loves wearing jammies and often goes through multiple pairs a day.  She hates to have her hair put up and doesn't seem to care in the least when it is always in her face.  

She is taking gymnastics (with me) right now and loves it, especially the trampoline!  She is pretty fearless, as long as I'm nearby, and loves to "bounce" at home in our bouncy house as well.  She also enjoys play dough, swinging on her swing set and playing with Aiden (which is my favorite to watch!). 

When Audrey turned two, I was a little concerned about her speech because she wasn't saying much.  That has drastically changed and she's now going through speech bursts, which are causing her to stutter a bit because she wants to say so much but can't get it out fast enough.  Her sweet voice is so unbelievably cute.

Audrey is a pretty good sleeper, generally going down okay for naps (she takes them about half the time now) and mostly sleeping through the night.  She loves her milk and reading endless stories before bed and always wants to kiss both of my cheeks before I lay her down.  She knows how to work me ;).

Our baby girl is our princess and she knows it.  She brightens our day and has such a fun personality. I love watching her and Aiden grow closer and I can't wait to see what the next 6 months will bring!