Thursday, December 30, 2010

Come on 2011!!!

I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of 2010.
This year, like the one before it, has just zoomed by.
Which, of course, fits with the theory that the older you get, the faster time goes.
Remember when we were kids and an afternoon would stretch on into eternity?
Or heck, how a 10 minute time out seemed like a disproportionately long punishment to whatever crime we had committed?
Now it seems like 10 minutes might as well be 10 seconds.

Anyway, this has been a wonderful year, and a year of many changes.
Many of our friends have gotten married, and we have been so blessed to be a part of that journey.
Bryan and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, and now our 3rd is only 5 months away!
We got to travel and enjoy time with friends and family.
We've had to make adjustments (hello disability) but we're stronger than ever...even if I'm still adjusting to staying at home full time.
Hey, at least I finally learned to cook!!!

I'm excited to welcome 2011--even if we only welcome it by going to bed early lol.
2010 has been a great year, but I'm ready to get on with it, so to speak.
The holidays have been wonderful with all of the family time, but I'm ready to get back into a routine--and to determine what that routine is going to be, outside of working out and trying desperately to stick to the whole Weight Watchers thing (yeah, joining during the holidays? not the best idea I've ever had :-P).
2011 is going to be a busy year, but I hope one in which I and we establish positive routines and patterns, as well as enjoy what we have.

So, with that in mind, here are some goals that we have for the beginning of 2011:

Get all the Christmas decorations down and packed up.
Deck the attic.
Clean out the storage/nursery room--put boxes and Christmas stuff in the attic.
Paint the game room.
Join a church.
Actually work on the two stories I have going.

Finish setting up the game room (except for the furniture Bryan will build).
Keep working out and adhering to Weight Watchers.
Start volunteering.
Hopefully my husband will be convinced to hire someone to paint the downstairs from our attempt at the gameroom.  Otherwise, we start that rather overwhelming task.

Beyond that, there's quite a bit of "up in the air" at the moment.
Well, back in November (the 18th to be precise) my doctor cleared me to go off all of my meds except for my NSAID.
Yep, I've been pretty much unmedicated for a month now.
And to tell the truth, I cut out the methotrexate as of October 2nd--so that will be out of my system as of January 2nd-ish.
No wonder I'm starting to get achy!  Lol.

Again, the question remains: why?
Why deprive my body of the meds that prevent my immune system from damaging my joints?
Well, to get those meds OUT in preparation for trying to put something else IN.

Or rather, someONE else!

That's right!
Dr. C has cleared Bryan and I to start trying to have a baby at the end of this February!
Or rather, he said that there was never going to be a "good time" for me to go off all of my meds in order to have a baby, so we might as well do it now.
I'll have to go off the NSAID about a week before we actually start trying--NSAIDS and babies are a really BAD combination.

So for the next couple of months, my focus is going to be on getting into the best shape I can (without throwing myself into a flare) and our collective focus is going to be on getting several house projects checked off of our list!
2011 is going to be a very busy, very exciting year, and I can't wait for it to start!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Holidays Continue!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, and that y'all all have gotten to spend lots of time with your loved ones!

I haven't been posting as regularly because, quite frankly, I have better things to do right now!

Since Friday, we've had family over at our house!
It started with my brother and parents, then Saturday Victoria and Philip and Arnie came.
They left on Sunday.
Monday we had lunch with Amber, and then Tuesday, more family arrived!

Bryan's mama, Uncle Bob, Jim and Jim's daughter Crystal all came in Tuesday night and are staying with us until Friday morning!
Once again, I am so glad that Bryan and I bought the house that we did--we have plenty of room for everyone to come stay with us!

It's been a blast having everyone over and getting to spend time together!
So, with that brief update, I'm back to spending time with the family!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Faith Fridays: Happy Holidays!

I find it funny that some people get so up in arms over the "Happy Holidays!" greeting as opposed to "Merry Christmas!"

Yes, I understand that for Christians, this is one of the most sacred times of the year--the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. 
(And I do say "celebration of" because, historically speaking, Jesus was born in the summer months.  Talk about a wait for your birthday party!  The timing is due only to a pagan holiday the Romans appropriated for the purpose of bringing said pagans into the then-government mandated religion of Christianity.)

However, Christians do not have a monopoly on December holidays.
(Heck, they don't even have a monopoly on Christmas--many non-Christians celebrate Christmas as a secular, family-centered holiday.)

With all of that in mind, I find it very narrow-minded and religous-centric to get upset over the "Happy Holidays!" greeting.  I have no problem with being wished or wishing others a "Merry Christmas!"--after all, I celebrate it--but in deference to the fact that my holiday does not stand alone or, in my opinion, inherently above any others I prefer "Happy Holidays!"

Here's a list of holidays of other religions that happen in December!


  • 2-9
    • Hanukkah * - Jewish
  • 6
    • Saint Nicholas Day - Christian
  • 7
    • Hijra - New Year * ** - Islam
  • 8
    • Bodhi Day  (Rohatsu) ** - Buddhism
    • Immaculate Conception of Mary - Catholic Christian
  • 12
    • Feast day - Our Lady of Guadalupe - Catholic Christian
  • 16
    • Ashura * ** - Islam
  • 16
    • Posadas Navidenas through December 25 - Hispanic Christian
  • 21  Solstice
    • Yule * - Wicca/Pagan Northern hemisphere
    • Litha* - Wicca/Pagan Southern hemisphere
    • Yule - Christian
  • 25
    • Christmas * - Christian
  • 26
    • Feast of the Holy Family - Catholic Christian
    • Death of Prophet Zarathushtra ** - Zoroastrian
  • 28
    • Holy Innocents - Christian
  • 31
    • Watch Night - Christian

* Means that Holy days begin at sundown the day before this date.
** Regional customs, group preference or moon sightings may cause a variation of this date.
Bold titles are primary holy days of a tradition. 

 So on that note, Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating tonight and tomorrow, and Happy Holidays to everyone else!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Show Us Your Life: 'Tis The Season!

Show Us Your Life is a blog theme that I follow only occasionally, but I always enjoy it when I participate!
It's from Kelly over at Kelly's Korner!
Normally, this is a Friday theme, but seeing as tomorrow is CHRISTMAS EVE! I'm going ahead and posting it today!
Heck, I'll be doing good tomorrow to be on time everywhere and still manage a Faith Fridays post!

Anyway, without further ado, I present my home--all decorated for the season!

Our outside lights, Happy Holidays yard hanger and my wreath (again)!

Our formal dining room!

The kitchen!

The breakfast area!
This year's Christmas card collage!

The living room:
The coffee table centerpiece!
 The poinsettia bowl and my ivy cuttings!
 The couch with my inadvertently Christmasy pillows!
 The other end table!
 The entertainment center, complete with Aggie Santa!
  My homemade Christmas "swag" thingy!

The stairs!

The guest room holiday sprig!

The game room:
Our tree!
Santa's milk cup and cookie plate, made by a very young hubby!
The bookshelf with our stockings, the nativity scene and Tree Guardian Penguin on top!

And the pups' Christmas pictures!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Biting the Bullet

 So, I haven't posted my "get in shape progress" for quite a long time.
There's a reason for that.

That reason is that progress is a misnomer--if anything, I've been participating in one hell of a backslide!

Back in August, I weighed around 165 pounds.
Not horrible, but not great.
My goal was to get below 150.


Right now, I'm around 175 pounds.
That's right--I've gained 10 pounds in the last 4 months.
I am rather disgusted with myself.

I know the whys.
At the end of August, I received 2 6-month cortisone injections.
Those always make me gain at least 5 pounds, but generally with good eating habits and exercise, I can mitigate that gain after a couple of months.
However, I'm ashamed to say my eating habits have been sporadically good at best.

On top of that, since being put on disability, I'm very limited in my work out options.
In the past, when I buckled down on losing weight, I did it with a combination of water aerobics, elliptical workouts and weight routines.
However, presently I'm only cleared for water aerobics and the recumbent stationary bike, neither of which burn many calories, even though I participate in a combination of them for an hour each three to four times a week.
And weights are absolutely out of the question, which inhibits weight loss by cutting down on muscle development.
So, I know all the reasons, and I realize that they are actually somewhat valid.
However, that doesn't solve the problem or make me feel better about how I currently look and how much I currently weigh.
With my limited work out choices, I have concluded that the only thing to do is to modify my eating habits.
However, I've proven time and again (especially now that I'm home full-time) that, on my own, I do well for a bit and then suck it up.
So this time, I'm going outside of myself for structure, planning, and accountability.
I've joined Weight Watchers.

I'm actually quite excited about it.
I've joined on their Monthly Pass plan--month to month best fits my needs and my time line.
I won't be able to go to a meeting until my card arrives, so probably later this week or early next week, but I have started using my online tools today.

I get 30 points a day, and while that sounds like plenty, its going to take some overdue adjusting to my diet to keep myself within those parameters.
Today, for example, I did fine with my 6 point breakfast.
The 2 point cookie was an acceptable splurge.
However, the 19 point Freebirds burrito was my first ooopsie--especially with Ethan and Julie's Christmas party tonight.
They say that there's 46 splurge points a week, so I'll probably end up using some of those today!

If I could lose the 10 pounds I've gained in the next two months, I'll be happy.
Heck, more would be nice--I've heard you can lose up to 2 pounds a week.
If I manage that, I could lose up to 16 pounds--which would be wonderful!  

But that's getting a bit ahead of myself.
For now, I just need to focus on trying to stay on program through the holidays!
Wish me luck!

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Baby Bucket List"

 I stumbled across this title while browsing through random blogs today.
"Baby Bucket List"
The blog entry was a list of everything that the wife wanted her and her husband to do/experience together/accomplish before they have a baby.

Now, I'm all for a to-do list--I've been forming one myself!
After all, there's so much that needs to be planned out (especially in my case) and so much to do that organizing it is a must.

However, I totally object to and reject the idea of a "Baby Bucket List".

As I'm sure most people know, a Bucket List is a list of things you want to do before you die.
I have no problem with the Bucket List idea--it's a wonderful way to set life goals.
My problem comes with equating HAVING A BABY to DYING.

 I cannot believe how many people seem to think that once you become a parent, your life is over!
I felt the same way when I realized how many people thought the same thing about marriage.

Just because you become a parent does NOT mean that all the experiences you hoped to have or to share with your spouse automatically go out the window!
Yes, your life changes drastically, but it doesn't END.

This woman's "baby bucket list" included things from home projects to church involvement to travel.
Now, I can understand wanting to get certain home projects done in preparation for the baby, but the other two blow my mind.
Why wouldn't you want your child to see you involved in the practice of your spiritual beliefs?
Yes, time is at a premium as a parent, but still!

And why wouldn't you want your child to travel and see the world?
To realize that America is far from the only place and the only culture in existence?
Granted, you'd have to wait a bit until the kiddo is old enough to travel, but that only gives you more time to save up those extra pennies and plan out the upcoming travels.
And yes, traveling with a child is a lot of extra work on your part, but think of the memories you would build together!

My husband and I LOVE to travel, and we definitely don't plan on stopping after we have a kid, or excluding the kiddo from our trips!
Besides, generally speaking, you can find some family member willing and able to take care of the little one in case you and your spouse want to take a trip alone.

I do understand wanting to accomplish certain things before having kids.
However, life doesn't end when a little one comes along--it gets even better/crazier/more hectic/more incredible.

And heck, if there are some things you want to do without the kid and you can't seem to make them happen while the kiddo is growing up, that's what retirement is for!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Faith Fridays: Omniscient God, His Plan and Freewill

Welcome to another Faith Fridays post!
Last week, I discussed my views on the problem of pain.
 One of my key tenants in that discussion was that God gave mankind freewill.
As I observed, some people hold that freewill is actually superfluous because God is all-knowing, and therefore knows what we will choose before we choose it.
If God knew what we were going to choose before we did, then it's true, we wouldn't have freewill.
Remember, free will doesn't come in half-measures--we either have it or we don't.
I believe we have total free will--in this context, that means that God does not know what we are going to choose before we choose it.
I also believe that God is omniscient (all-knowing).
The question is, how do these two characteristics exist simultaneously?

Well, it comes down to definitions.
Freewill we've already defined, so let's look at what it means (in my opinion) for God to be all-knowing in this context.

Honestly, saying the definition of omniscient is that God knows what we are going to do before we do is actually quite limiting.
In my mind, being truly omniscient means knowing every possible choice that there is to be made in every situation we come across.
Omniscience further means knowing every possible result from every possible choice.
And then to know every possible choice that comes from every possible result from every possible choice.
And so on and so forth, exponentially.

The human brain can't wrap around that much knowledge (or at least this human's brain can't!).
And that, to me, is the true definition of omniscience--knowledge so far-reaching and interdependent that only God himself can truly comprehend it.

Now, on a related note, how does this jive with God's Plan?
Most people seem to believe that God has a Plan for their lives, and that things that happen to them, or impulses they get, are part of His Plan.
I do think that God has what I call the Ideal Plan.
In other words, there's an idea path for our lives to take, if we make the appropriate decisions that lead us down that path.
However, many times, we don't.

Let's look at an example that is all too relevant in today's world.

A 15 year old girl and her 16 year old boyfriend are at her house alone.
They're watching a movie.
Maybe they're in love, maybe they think they're in love, maybe they think everyone else is doing it.
They start making out and there comes a point when they decide to have sex.
They.  Decide.
In the heat of the moment, both decide to forgo the condom conversation.
They.  Decide.
A couple of months go by.  The girl finds out she's pregnant.
She decides to keep the baby.  The boy decides to walk away.
She.  Decides.
He.  Decides.

Did God know that this string of events was going to occur?
Omniscient God (as defined above) knew it was a possibility.
Was it God's Plan for a 15 year old girl to become a single mother?
That girl (and the boy) made a series of decisions that led them to those circumstances in their lives.
Saying it was God's Plan is simply a way to remove their responsibility in the situation.
Now, was it a path that God knew they could walk down?
Yes.  After all, He is omniscient.

I believe that God wants what's best for those He has created.
He knows what the "best" is, and what we need to do to get there.
But many times, we exercise our freewill to travel a different path than the ideal.
Omniscient God knows all the possible decisions we might make and the paths we might tread, so these decisions don't take Him by surprise.
Ultimately, it is up to us to exercise our freewill and hopefully make the best choices in each situation to lead us down the best path for us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best of 2010!

I got this idea from Emily, over at Live a Charmed Life!

I turned 25!
Unfortunately, our camera was broken, so there aren't any fun pictures.

We went to watch our first Roller Derby match for our friend Julie's team, the HotRod Harlows!

Bryan and I traveled with friends to Costa Rica for Spring Break!

We also hosted Mark and Alicia's cocktail wedding party!

We girls went out to Numbers to celebrate Alicia's bachelorette party!

 Our good friends Mark and Alicia got married!

 Bryan and I attended SOT's Crawfish Boil.

We also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary by painting the gameroom accent wall!

Bryanne-Michelle's Spring shower was in Old Town Spring!

My little brother graduated from college!

I went to Ft. Worth to visit Victoria and hang out with her and Daisy!
We also got our bridesmaid dress measurements taken!
Bryan took my parents, my cousin Brooke, Mama #2, Mike, and his cousin (oh, and me!) on a wonderful tour of NASA.
  Bryan and I went to my family reunion at the River Cabin on the Llano!

Bryan and I rode the motorcycle up to Waco for Bryanne-Michelle's wedding shower!

Our friend Allie came to visit us from D.C.!

My mom, mamacita, and I hosted Victoria's Houston Bridal Shower at my house! 
School started back up--I finally got my classroom looking precisely how I wanted it!

I was put on disability.
 (Though this was far from one of the best moments of the year, it has turned out to be the right decision for controlling my RA progression and improving my overall health.)

We painted the town in Dallas for Victoria's bachelorette party early in the month! 

Later, I flew to Ft. Worth for Victoria's September wedding shower.

I stood in two of my best friends' weddings! 
Victoria and Philip got married!

So did Bryanne-Michelle and Justin!

Bryan and I carved pumpkins together for Halloween!

 We headed to the hill country for Thanksgiving Break and spent the week with family!
It's always amazing to see how much the kiddos have grown!

DECEMBER (so far!)
      We celebrated my husband's 26 birthday with friends at St. Arnold's Brewery!


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