Personal Stuff

Christy’s 2014 Recap

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Following the lead of our fabulous Tiny Oranges’ founder and fearless leader, Jen’s 2014 Recap, I was inspired to write my own.  Here we go!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

We drove across five states with two kids in a rented mini van.  That was an adventure!!  We flew from Orange County to Chicago for a long weekend with family, then drove to upstate New York.  Gorgeous part of the country!  Looonnngggg drive with two little ones.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Good question. My husband and I make goals, both personally and for our family, each new year…and I’d have to say that I reached most of them!  And some I don’t mind rolling into 2015…

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I had several dear friends give birth this year, and I just loved cooing over their sweet new little angels.  LOVE new babies!!!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My grandma.  My beautiful Grandma Jean passed peacefully after a nine-year battle with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia.  She was an incredible wife, mother, grandma, aunt, sister and friend, and I miss her everyday.

5. What countries did you visit?

Hmmmm, no countries this year.  But, like I mentioned, we did take the kids to Chicago for a long weekend to visit family, and then drove to upstate New York.  We stopped in Niagara Falls (which was amazing!), and then spent a week on the family farm to celebrate my husband’s grandma’s 100th birthday party.  It was a GREAT trip!

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More free time!  More hours in the day.  Ha ha.  A mama can dream…

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

On January 25th, I received a phone call in the middle of the night.  My dad had suffered a seizure, and was being rushed to the hospital.  I hopped the first flight out to be with him, and we found out 12 hours later that he had a brain tumor.  I will never, ever forget that day.

Fast forward almost a year later, and my dad is doing fantastic.  He did have brain surgery to remove the tumor, and it was successful!  He’s spent the year recovering and focusing on his health.  We are very proud of him.

The other date is October 19, the day I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco with Team in Training.  An absolutely fantastic race and fantastic time in San Francisco with my Team in Training family, running for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I would have to say running my third half marathon (and earning that gorgeous Tiffany’s necklace bling for my “medal!”), and fundraising again for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – an organization near and dear to my heart.  This was my third running season with them.

Nike Women's Half Marathon 2014

9. What was your biggest failure?

I over committed.  I’ve faced this challenge for years.  I get so excited about new projects/committees/groups/new ideas/volunteering etc., that I tend to overcommit and run myself thin (pun intended!).  I’m working on it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Besides a few minor running injuries, I was relatively healthy.  And, so were my babies and my hubby.   On the other hand, my family (both close and extended), suffered some pretty difficult illnesses and injuries.  Praise God, everyone seems to be doing better and recovering.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

New running shoes.  And special running socks. And that small, spiky ball thingy that you roll your foot on after a looonnnggg run.  Heaven!

Oh, and a new iPhone 6.  Only because I smashed my old phone.  And, I LOVE my new one!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Both my mom and my dad showed me how strong they truly are, each in their own way. I am amazed at their courage, strength, determination and dedication.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Hmmmm, does my four-year-old’s tantrums count?  He is a fabulous kiddo, but I am so ready for his preschooler tantrums to subside.

14. Where did most of your money go?

My children, hands down!  School, activities, clothes, shoes, birthday parties…you name it, my babies needed it this year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Family travel!  I love to take trips, whether it be one day, or two weeks.  We ended up going to Vegas (albeit, for only 24 hours!), Arizona (several times), San Francisco, Chicago, and beautiful upstate New York this year.  I have the best memories from these trips!

Family Vacation Collage 2014

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

“Wake Me Up” by Aloe Black and Avicii, and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you  a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer?

a.) Definitely, without a doubt, HAPPIER. b.) Sure, I would love to report that I am thinner.  The fact is, I’m not.  But I’m okay with that.  Because I’m healthier and happier and eating cleaner.  c.) Not richer, not poorer.  I’m going to say that my hubby and I are on the same page with money and our financial vision for what we want for our family.  And, that is the best feeling in the world!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Carve out more date time with my husband…I would have loved to take just a couple’s trip (even if it was a long weekend).  Maybe in 2015!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stress over the small stuff.  It’s not worth the time and energy and sanity it takes.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

I loved (and love!) Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Downton Abbey, Scandal, Bones, New Girl, Parenthood…can you tell my TV taste is all over the place?!

24. What was the best book you read?

Gone Girl, What Alice Forgot, My Husband’s Secret, and the Divergent series.

25. What did you want and get?

A family summer vacation.  Lots of time with my good mama friends.  To complete a half marathon and fundraise for cancer research.  To write more (thanks, Jen!!).

I also crossed something off my bucket list.  Don’t laugh. (Okay, you can giggle a little).  My maiden name is Cleveland.  So, when we trekking across five states, on a family road trip from Chicago, IL to Buffalo, NY, we stopped in Cleveland, OH.  And I got to take a picture with a sign that says “Welcome to Cleveland.”  I don’t care how cheesy this is.  I was so excited!

Cleveland Sign 2014

26. What did you want and not get?

A mini van!  No, I’m not kidding.  Yes, I legitimately want one.  Yes, I think they are cool.  Fingers crossed, we’ll make that transition this year!

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn’t see many films last year (I don’t count The Lego Movie and Frozen) – I’d have to say I loved seeing Divergent and The Other Woman with my fabulous MOMS Group…so appreciated the nights out with my favorite ladies!  Not Oscar-worthy, but definitely entertaining movies.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 33 this year, and I loved celebrating with my family.  We spent the weekend in Arizona swimming, watching movies, eating good food and spending time with family.  Then, I got to celebrate again with my California family.  I am one lucky, spoiled girl!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Immeasurably more satisfying???  Hmmm, that’s a big question.  I’m pretty grateful for all that I did and accomplished in 2014.  Something that would have made my year more satisfying (and perhaps less stressful) would have been for me to get a better handle on my crazy schedule.  This is still a work in progress…

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Do yoga pants and tank tops count as “personal fashion?” And “dress up” clothes that consisted of sundresses? Lol!  And, of course, I loved wearing my beautiful Stella & Dot jewelry.  I’m a Stella & Dot stylist, and I love it.

31. What kept you sane?

My husband.  My amazing mama friends.  Running.  Coffee dates.  And of course, the much appreciated glass of wine at the end of the day!

This picture is of my hubby and I sneaking away for an hour on our vacation for a five mile run.  We actually ran through downtown Chicago to the lake.  It was gorgeous!

Running in Chicago 2014

32. Who was the best new person you met?

Not just one person to name – I love, love, love all of the parents I have met in my son’s preschool class, and also re-connecting with the amazing parents in my daughter’s first grade class.  How great is it when your kids’ friends have great parents?!

I also made a very good new friend in Arizona who helped my dad, and our family, immensely during my dad’s surgery and recovery – you know who you are!!  I will always be grateful!!  XOXO

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

– To have faith.  To consciously practice having faith and being grateful.

– Family first.  Period.  Nothing in life is more important.  2014 was a roller coaster with my family’s health, and I am so incredibly grateful to say that we’re starting 2015 healthier and happier.

2014 was pretty great – and I know 2015 will be even better!!!  Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, prosperous, amazing 2015!!  XOXO

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My 2014 Recap

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Following the leads of two of my favorite local bloggers, Mama Bub and Wendy Nielsen, I was inspired by their 2014 recap posts and wanted to take a stab at it for the first time.

I highly recommend everyone take this list of questions and think about your own answers – it is really eye opening to look at the previous year in its entirety.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Flying trapeze. Like the circus kind. Still makes me laugh.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t do resolutions, but I do set new year’s intentions and make a vision board of these goals at the beginning of each year. Looking back, I probably achieved about half, the other half is rolled over to this year!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Susanne had a beautiful baby girl, Shea, early December and two other friends welcomed baby boys end of December. It was a big month for baby arrivals.

Here are Susanne’s THREE girls…LOVE…

shea

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately, no, but friends close to me lost loved ones. Reminder to cherish our loved ones.

5. What countries did you visit?

Mexico! We went to the Iberostar Playa Mita all-inclusive resort with our kids in July. Highly recommend.

Iberostar Playa Mita

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

More alone time with my husband – it’s one of our goals for 2015.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Seeing my girls meet the pilot on their first plane ride. Going to the Katy Perry concert with my sister. Watching my oldest in her first gymnastics competition (I was in awe).  Seeing my dad in the hospital. Running the PCRF 10K with my sis. Getting the nicest compliment about my daughter from a classmate’s mom in her kindergarten class. Spa day with one of my best girlfriends the day before my 40th, then my 40th birthday and disco party – one of my absolute favorite days of my life.

memories collage

Disco photo by Candace Rock

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Turning 40 and feeling good about it. And, writing this post on 15 books you can’t put down, which has turned out to be my all time most popular post.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I wanted to write an e-book on how to create a local blog and partner with local sponsors. Maybe this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, thank God.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Oh my gosh, the 2015 Honda Odyssey. I have mad love for the minivan and this vehicle is a dream come true. I could not love it ANY more!!! Don’t knock it until you drive a minivan mamas. It’s a dreamy vehicle. Stop laughing.

minivan

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband had a lot of personal growth in 2014 – I am so proud of him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

A girl in my daughter’s grade was not nice to her last year and it made life pretty miserable many days. Unfortunately our first experience with something like this. Happy to say the issue has gone away this year, but it is torturous while you are going through it with your child.

14. Where did most of your money go?

If I figure it out, I will let you know.  My husband would say Target.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My 40th birthday party.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

This is How We Do by Katy Perry

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer?

a) HAPPIER. Way happier. b) probably a few lbs heavier. haven’t been on the scale in awhile. c) richer, but not just monetarily

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had gone away alone with my husband more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Distracted internet time…e.g. I am online to look up the Honda user manual, when I see I have a Facebook notification, so I click over there, and then see some link on Facebook and I click over, which lands me on another site….and this can go on for a long time without even visiting the site I went online for in the first place!

23. What was your favorite TV program?

My husband and I got into House of Cards – amazing. And, I don’t know why it took us so many years to discover Friday Night Lights.  But we are obsessed. Binge watching Season 1 on Netflix.

24. What was the best book you read?

What Alice Forgot

25. What did you want and get?

A memorable 40th birthday celebration.

26. What did you want and not get?

Big increase in income from my business.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I saw one grown up movie this year in the theater, Boyhood. Good, but not gush worthy. Wish I had seen more.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Yep, it was the big 4-0 this year. We had a 70′s Disco Party and danced the night away looking completely ridiculous. It was one of the most fun nights of my life. Highly recommend the theme party. People really got into it and it was hysterical.  Look how creepy authentic my husband looks in his leisure suit…

candacepic

Photo by Candace Rock

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Again, more time with just my husband – but that is our number one goal this year – and 2015 will be different.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Mom chic. LOL

31. What kept you sane?

Friends, exercise and therapy!

32. Who was the best new person you met?

I have met a few awesome new moms in Kindergarten.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Nothing on this earth is more important than family. I always knew this, but this year the importance of my family was magnified in my dad’s surgery and recovery ** The importance of surrounding myself with healthy people with good energy, because their energy rubs off on me.   ** Everything has it’s time.  I wanted big, huge growth for my business last year, but my youngest didn’t start Kindergarten until September, so my time was limited for expansion. There will be more time as the years go on, and again, my family comes first.  ** And, I think people in the 70′s must have had a really good time. Disco music, mustaches and jumpsuits inspire memorable evenings.

Cheers to 2015!

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Oh Lordy. I’m 40.

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I’m 40 tomorrow.

I feel 30, but I’m 40.

Here’s the thing about turning 40, I started thinking about it the day I turned 39 and now I am SICK of it. I am ready to just be 40 instead of thinking I am almost 40.

The “I’m turning FORTY” realization made for a roller coaster of emotions over this past year. In hindsight, I behaved rather ridiculously so I thought it warranted a blog post about turning 40.  Please, someone tell me I am not alone with my journey on the Imminent 4-0 Cray Cray Train?

Blog post about turning 40

The Rah! Rah! Stage

When I turned 39, I went all Rah! Rah! about turning 40.  It wasn’t going to bother me! Life is good! Life is for LIVING! Let’s celebrate it! No time like the present! Woooo hooooo! I want to do new things!

This Rah! Rah! made me do things like go indoor rock climbing and trapeze flying. Damn daily deal sites for feeding my mania.

trapeze2

Botox or Bangs?

Then as the date loomed closer I started looking closer at my face. Geesh, I am really turning 40, and I have the fine lines to show for it.  Should I be DOING something about it?

As I was pondering this, I volunteered in my daughter’s 3rd grade class for the first time and a boy asked the teacher loudly in front of the class (talking about me) “Who is that? Is that your MOM?”

The teacher’s MOM?!

The teacher is not 22 right out of student teaching. She’s my age. Actually she’s two years older. 

Are you kidding me? Was I the teacher’s MOM?

She thought it was quite hilarious. I did not.

That same week I was shopping for a costume at a Salvation Army and the lady asked if I was over 55 to get the Senior Citizens 30% off Wednesdays discount?

I almost jumped over the counter and wrung her neck. Was I OVER 55?! I had to convince myself that she didn’t actually look at me but asked everyone in hopes of getting them that 30% off, but REALLY?! Was I on Punked? Is the Universe playing a cruel joke on me?

That pushed me over the edge. OK, I need to do something. Grow bangs? Get Botox? Buy some daily deal to laser out my 39 years?  Fill some lines up with God knows what?

So I made a Botox appointment.

I had done it a few times in the past, but never kept it up, because although effective, when looking at photos I sort of thought I looked a little odd.  But odd was better than Senior Citizen 30% discount, right?

The topic of Botox came up with my sister around and told me, like only a sister would, to NOT do it. Yes, that’s what sisters are for, they will say the things friends can’t. Because we can’t un-sister them.

But she was right,  even with the fine lines and wrinkles, I do think my face looks better when it moves. So, what’s an almost 40 girl to do?

Enter PartyZilla.

PartyZilla 

Now the question was, how am I going to commemorate this milestone? Pretend it didn’t happen or celebrate it? I am in the celebrate it category.  If the big 4-0 was imminent, I might as well use it as an excuse to have the celebration of the century!

So I threw myself into the throes of thinking about what I wanted to do for my 40th.

My husband wanted to throw me a party because, well, I love parties. I used to be a party planner, if that tells you just how much I love parties, so we started off planning a small party. Then I became obsessed.

Everything about “MY 40TH” became SUPER important. I lost my marbles and I knew it.

PartyZilla had to be exorcised.

Special thank you to my husband for remaining married to me. Moving on…

Time to Let Go 

Let Go

Here’s the deal. I had to let go. I was turning 40, like it or not. It took the entire year to get here, but I finally came to the stage of acceptance.

Yes, I am as close to 60 as I am to 20. Yes, I have fine lines because I have made expressions the last 40 years.  Yes, the metabolism isn’t what it used to be, but when I finally, finally let go, I made some importation self-realizations.

Looking back, my 20′s were spent sort of insecure and lost; trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do. Once, I finally had a better idea of who I was when I hit 30, I had my babies.

That changed everything.

My identity. My priorities. Everything. 

I spent my 30′s figuring out who I was as ME in this new role as Mom. I have grown more as a person in the last 4 years than I have in any years of my adult life – and have worked so hard to find myself and create a life that is balanced.  And sorry to sound so cheesy, but I truly LOVE my life.  My husband, my kids, my family, my friends, the experiences I have had, they are what make me THIS happy and it has been 40 years in the making.  There is a lot to be grateful for.

I’m Gonna Let This Little 40-Year-Old Light Shine 

My cousin Kristin, or more accurately, my dad’s cousin Kristin, is an esthetician and I started seeing her for facials regularly a few months ago.  Incidentally, regular facials are the one thing I am doing for my face these days and it is definitely an improvement. Although I have to visit Salvation Army on a Wednesday again to test it.

During my facial time, we have some really great conversations about life and aging and philosophy.

This last week we were on the topic of turning 40, and she told me, you know, when it comes down to it, beauty isn’t about the number, it’s about the inner light that shines in all of us.

She’s so right.  I am attracted to people with beautiful lights, and when someone is a beautiful person, that overshadows all the rest. I am going to spend my 40′s working on my light, instead of my lines, and let my little 40-year-old light shine as I exclaim, “Good Lordy!!! I’m 40!!!!!!!”

Bring it ON!!

family2

photo credit: the talented www.kristineldridge.com

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The Power of a Compliment

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the power of a compliment

“You have really beautiful legs.”

The year was 1995 and I was a waitress at Ruby’s Diner in Santa Barbara while attending college. The compliment was not from some guy trying to pick me up, but rather, an old lady who was dining out with her husband. She said it in a way that was very matter-of-fact, and, genuine.  I will never forget where I was standing.

I was wearing a pinstriped dress, apron, suntan nylons and white tennies, the Ruby’s uniform, in which I didn’t feel particularly beautiful. Especially with the extra college pounds I had put on that year thanks to pizza, beer and bagels. It was a season of my life when my self-esteem was at its lowest.

She made me remember, I did have nice legs, even with the + 15 – 20 lbs and her genuine compliment lifted me up at a time when I needed it.

The rest of my shift, I had a bounce in my step and felt uplifted. And here we are, almost 20 years later, and I still remember it vividly, because of the way she made me feel.

The Power of a Compliment 

The power of a compliment is a beautiful thing, it’s a gift.  Not only that you give someone else, but it also is a gift to yourself too, because when you see the reaction when you give a genuine compliment, it makes you feel good too.

Since that time, I have made an effort, when I think something nice about someone, to tell them.

If we have really great service at a restaurant, I will tell the server, and have the manager come over so I can tell them too, just how awesome our server was.

If I think someone I know is smart, or talented, or looks particularly beautiful, or if I admire their parenting, or pretty much, whatever it is that I genuinely think that is positive to myself, I say it to them.

I am trying to teach this to my children too.

At my youngest’s soccer game last weekend, our awesome team mom had put together these amazing game treats for the kids.  My oldest daughter said to me, “Mrs. Wilson is a REALLY good team mom.” I told my daughter, “Yes, she IS! You should tell her that! It will make her feel good.”

I would encourage you to give it a try.  If a thought crosses your mind that is positive about someone else, if you are with them, say it right there out loud, or pick up the phone and call or text.  I guarantee you will make someone’s day.

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Happy Halloween!

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Elsa Drinking Game

Happy Halloween friends!

I saw this Elsa Drinking Game on Facebook and had to laugh out loud because my 5-year-old, along with millions of other little girls will be donning an ice princess dress tonight. There was no talking her out of it.

Yep, Elsa is coming to your door.

Again, and again, and again…

DRINK UP!

Have a fun and safe holiday!

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