Dear Aubrey-Happy 3 Months

(Month 1, Month 2) A-3Months Dear Aubrey, Three months have come and gone so quickly, yet it seems like you’ve been in my heart forever. Everyday I grow deeper in love with you, even on those trying days… You and I are starting to figure each other out and get a routine down. On days that mom works, we’re pretty rushed in the mornings, but I always take a few moments to enjoy the morning with you because you are such a delight in the mornings–hopefully you stay that way and don’t become a grouchy bear like you daddy is in the mornings. We’ll play and talk, you’ll smile and kick your feet a million miles a minute. You’re starting to sleep longer stretches at night, which lets mommy sleep a little longer, so we’re both happy.

Morning snuggles are the best

Morning snuggles are the best

You still love daycare, and I love that you love it. Your favorite toy is a piano you can play with your feet, so as a little “3-month-birthday gift” I found one for the house and you’ve been going to town on it ever since (even while mom needed to wash the car and trim the bushes in front of the house over the weekend).

Mommy can multi-task pretty well now.

Mommy can multi-task pretty well now.

Daddy was able to come home a couple times during April. You’ve recently discovered the television and you’re just infatuated with watching things like car racing, and horse racing (as I discovered on Derby Day). Your daddy’s excited that he actually might have someone to watch car racing with him. Whenever the races would go to commercial, you’d voice your disapproval, so we’d find another car race on TV. Daddy-race Your hair is getting longer, so it’s settled down and not as crazy right now. It’s still a lighter brown, so we’re not sure if it’ll stay that color or change. Your eyes are a dark blue/gray and can be so expressive and big! A-RaceCars You must be hitting a growth spurt right now, because you’re demanding more than your usual four ounce bottle when it comes to meals. We’re still doing half breastmilk and half formula, and you’re finally putting on weight–at a doctor’s appointment a few days before your 3-month birthday you weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces! You’re wearing all 0-3 clothes now (and size 1 diapers), and even some of your 0-3 pants are getting short. It’s a little sad to be putting away all your newborn clothes to sell–there was a time that I thought you’d never grow out of them! You’re really starting to get strong, already starting to hold yourself up on your elbows when we do tummy time (though you get tired of it after a while).

Baby Yoga

Baby Yoga

You met your great-grandmother on a trip to see your daddy’s family one day. She said seeing your photos helped keep her spirits up while recovering from a stroke, so you’re already an inspiration to someone (besides your momma, of course)! You’ve watched your first Kentucky Derby, visited friends at your first dog agility trial (but mom didn’t compete), and felt the grass on your feet for the first time. Firsts I’m excited for even more firsts to come this summer, and I look forward to sharing more of my world with you in hopes you’ll be the same horse-dog-workout-run-crazy girl like your momma. HappyMornings

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Catching Up: Already at 25 Weeks Pregnant!?

I have totally been slacking on my blogging. Not just on here, but on my dog agility blog and on my freelancing business’s website. I don’t know what it’s been–I think I’m just so tired of being on the computer all day at work that I don’t want to do any more work when I get home. Plus, I have the article assignments that are always due, and when I get some gumption, I’m working on our baby registries online (which may or may not be easier than doing it at home).

So let’s see…where did I leave you last? Oh, yeah…I was preparing to run in the Iron Horse Half Marathon. Well, I did it…13.1 miles while 22 weeks pregnant. I’m trying to get at least one of the race photos for use in the wrap-up post, which is why you haven’t heard anything about it yet. Thank you for all of the positive affirmations when I posted my trepidations. I greatly appreciated them!

Since my last post, at 21 weeks, life has slowed down for me…for the most part. October was busy with weekends packed with different events with the dogs and for work. Last week I made a solo trip up to Columbus, Ohio, to cover the All American Quarter Horse Congress for a magazine. This event is huge–it’s the largest, single-breed horse show in the world, lasts more than three weeks, and has some of the best horse shopping you could ever hope for. It made me miss my horse showing days and my horse show buddies. It was a long day, but still fun. Lots of great horses, yummy food, and fun shopping.

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We’ve had our 25 week doctor’s appointment, and things are going well. Baby A&W is actually measuring 26.5 weeks, and according to the doctor’s notes, I’ve only gained 14 pounds. I took some time off from running due to recovery and schedule, but I’m slowly starting to get back into it with shorter runs after work (2.5-3.5 miles), which are much more manageable. Last week M even rode his bike along while I ran, which I greatly appreciated because I felt like it motivated me to keep going. If I can get him to continue doing that with me one or two nights a week after work, it’d be so awesome.

I’m still hitting Man O’War CrossFit 4-5 days a week, and the guys I workout with are wonderful and so motivating. Our coach, Taylor, is careful to make sure I’m not feeling uncomfortable with any movement or workout, and has commented that my activity outside of the box is helping me continue to be active, flexible, and strong in the box and in pregnancy.

I’m still going to the chiropractor. The bulging disc in my lower back has not calmed down. My chiropractor is hoping that now that I’m done with distance running (until after Baby A&W’s arrival), this will help my disc relax and we can get a handle on things. I feel it when I do lunges and definitely have troubles getting up when I’m on my back.

We also started our birthing classes at the hospital we will be going to. The classes are for three hours every week for four weeks. So far we’ve watched a video on the stages of labor (including showing actual births), learned positions to help with pain during labor, and just gone through a lot of paperwork.

Besides that, it’s been pretty uneventful, which I guess is why I haven’t been writing much. But I’m hoping to get back into the swing because there is a lot to talk about, including my free pair of Wave 18s Mizuno sent me to review–yay new running shoes!!

Your turn: What’s one new thing you’ve learned in the last week or two? 

Getting My Groove Back

Ever since M and I discovered we were expecting, it seems like life has gotten even more crazy…yet not much has changed. I’m still working basically two full-time jobs and one part-time gig, he’s back on second shift (4pm to midnight) so we rarely see each other, and I’m still working out like usual.

Saturdays have been full of activity lately–wake up early to get in a long run with my running group (usually 6-8 miles for me right now), errand running, etc. Then Sundays have been the days that I am supposed to devote to my freelance writing, but they mostly end up being the days I wake up with a crick in my neck from falling asleep on my laptop at least two or three times throughout the day. I’ve heard everyone tell me making a baby is hard–they weren’t kidding! I’m about to say that’s my third full-time job.

I’ve still been working out regularly. 3-4 days a week you’ll find me up bright and early at Man O’War CrossFit getting my sweat on. I’ve toned back on my weights (not going as heavy as I normally would) and my intensity (taking more breaks during WODs to catch my breath). My coaches have been great, offering different options for me and making sure I’m not overdoing things.

My coach at Man O'War CrossFit is always inspired by WODs he does in competitions, so this week has been all about mirroring some of the CrossFit Games WODs... Oy! Monday's was fun, though--finished in 7:37 with 1 35lb kettlebell. Also, accidentally, earned a new PR in the overhead squat--80 lbs (I didn't realize it, I promise I wasn't pushing it--it actually felt easy).

My coach at Man O’War CrossFit is always inspired by WODs he does in competitions, so this week has been all about mirroring some of the CrossFit Games WODs… Oy! Monday’s was fun, though–finished in 7:37 with 1 35lb kettlebell. Also, accidentally, earned a new PR in the overhead squat–80 lbs (I didn’t realize it, I promise I wasn’t pushing it–it actually felt easy).

 

Right now I’m running only once a week, but I know I need to add at least one more day to that list. I run on Saturday mornings with the Striders and have slowed down my pace from the usual 9:30 to 10-10:30. At first I thought it would be difficult to scale back on the intensity of my runs, but surprisingly I’m OK with it already. I’m just hoping to stay as close to 10:30 as possible for as long as possible right now. For my half marathon in October, they have a pace cut-off of 14 minutes, and while I know I am still pretty far from that, that’s also still two months away and a lot can happen. I’m trying to keep my distance up, without pushing it too much, so it’ll be easier as I get heavier.

I got new running shoes!! Found the same Saucony Ride6 on Ebay for 46% off the regular price! Score!! (Can you tell it was time to get new shoes??)

I got new running shoes!! Found the same Saucony Ride6 on Ebay for 46% off the regular price! Score!! (Can you tell it was time to get new shoes??)

I’m finishing up the summer league playing on two sand volleyball teams, and after that I think I’ll be done playing until next year. I’m careful not to dive too much for balls (and, if I do, I lead with my leg so I’m not flopping on my stomach), but I’m finding that I’m moving slower than I used to. It’s not fair to my teams to have them cover for me, especially on my exhausted days. Plus, there are too many circumstances that I need to be conscious about. I’m going to miss playing because I’ve had so much fun this summer, but I’ll still be reffing for a couple more months, so at least I’ll be somewhat part of the action.

I’m trying to do better about eating healthier. I figured, while this baby-making stuff has me eating more often than usual, I need to be more attentive to what I’m putting in my body in mass quantities. Granted, there are days I say, “Screw it…I want ice cream” and I get ice cream, but luckily that doesn’t happen everyday, and we don’t keep it in the house.

Healthy meals, healthy snacks, for a healthy baby & momma--I've tried to keep us stocked up on fruits, and making filling meals that are easy to heat up for lunches.

Healthy meals, healthy snacks, for a healthy baby & momma–I’ve tried to keep us stocked up on fruits, and making filling meals that are easy to heat up for lunches.

This blog has always been a work in progress ever since I started it over two years ago. My plans for right now are to try to document life as a 30-something active, extremely busy, woman who just happens to be pregnant. I’m currently at 11 weeks and we’re one week from our second ultrasound. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about things, and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to share them on here. Right now I’m just trying to wrap my head around how much my life is about to change and how much I’ll have to really find myself before I can bring a child into the world.

So, stick with me as I continue this journey!

Traversing the Unknown

This post has been two months in the making…and it might not be totally fleshed out at this point, but I have just felt the need to write.

I mentioned earlier that I was going out on my own for now–it’s time for me to really find the path that I’m meant to do and that will make me happiest. It’s been more than a  month since and I’m still in a fog of the unknown.

Let’s backtrack a little, for those who don’t know me as well. I grew up wanting to write. I’d write short stories and books telling many different types of tales. When I was in grade school I helped launch the Raider Reporter, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s newspaper when I was in sixth grade. It was then that my love of journalism blossomed. I started attending writing camps at Butler University, and I knew I wanted to be a journalist.

In high school I took the required English classes, as well as an introduction to journalism before I was able to join the staff of the Rock Release, our bi-weekly newspaper in which I was a photographer, staff writer, and later Photo Editor. I completed an internship with the local newspaper as a photographer and did independent studies in photojournalism, all while planning to major in journalism in college. While attending college, I majored in print journalism and minored in equine science, deciding to aim my career to be an equine journalist.

More internships (media relations at a local horse racetrack and an equine association publication) led to freelancing gigs until I landed my first full-time job as an editorial assistant with another equine association publication.

Dream

Building a freelancing career in an already-flooded marketplace is difficult. You rack your brain daily to come up with an article idea that hasn’t already been done before so you can pitch it to a new magazine. You realize that your livelihood is managed with each word you type.

So it makes one wonder… Is this something I can continue the rest of my life?

But if I don’t want to continue writing and being in the journalism field, what do I want to do?

It seems so crazy to think I’d want to change my life from what I had as pre-determined since grade school. I was so focused on journalism, I didn’t explore other subjects or other ideas of another career. So I kind-of pigeon-holed myself into my area.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I have to decide what it is I want to do for the rest of my life. You’d think I had that figured out in my 20s, but now that I’m 30, it’s time now to really traverse the unknown that is my career and my life.

Have you ever hit a point where you’re not sure what you’re doing now is what you want to do the rest of your life?

Weekend Scenes from my Phone

Happy Monday, everyone!! It’s July 1st, which means the year is half-way over, but there’s so much life left in 2013! Also, July 1st is my momma’s birthday, so I have to give a shout out to her! Happy birthday, momma!!

This weekend was a pretty fun one, which started with my hubby having Friday off, so we enjoyed ourselves.

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We enjoyed a BBQ picnic at the Kentucky Horse Park, watching riders work their horses in Rolex Stadium.

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Friday night we joined some friends of ours at a drive-in theater for a double header–Monsters University and Man of Steel. It was a lot of fun. We took the truck, but ended up being able to sit in our chairs on the ground. It did get a little chilly toward the end, and Man of Steel went a little long (the ending could have been cut a lot shorter), but it was a great time. By the time we got home at 3 am, M and I crashed.

Saturday am I took the pups downtown to meet some friends at the Lexington Farmers Market. We munched on donuts from North Lime Donuts (I got the flavor of the month–cherry limeade–but totally forgot to take a pic). The market was packed, and having two short dogs that don’t like to be stepped on means I don’t get to look at much. But I did buy some fresh spinach and mozzarella gnocchi to make for dinner later.

Isn't this fence cute?? We walked by a house that had a real racehorse shoe fence all around it downtown.

Isn’t this fence cute?? We walked by a house that had a real racehorse shoe fence all around it downtown.

And of course, an always fun CrossFit workout at Man O’War CrossFit

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Saturday evening was spent celebrating one of my dog training groups’ 30th anniversary at one of the trainer’s houses. This meant lots of running, swimming, and treats for the Stump Kids:

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They were exhausted!

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning the house and doing more yard work. Now we’re ready to tackle the week!

Here was my meal Sunday night, using the gnocchi and making my own tomato sauce (and a side of baked zucchini chips):

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How was your weekend? What do you plan to accomplish in this short work week?

Bullying in the Workplace

A lot of attention has been paid to bullies in schools and bullies via the cyber world. It seems like it’s gotten worse lately…or maybe it’s just that our eyes are more open to things such as simple name calling or a push in the lunch line. There are shows dedicated by Dr. Phil and Katie Couric about bullying and kids at least monthly. But what about the adults? Does bullying stop when we hit 18?

In my experience, no, it doesn’t. There is bullying in the workplace–a place where humans are expected to act like adults and treat each other with respect. Where there are rules, but most of them are assumed.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), the definition of bullying is as follows:

The repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done

I had struggled with my own workplace bully for a while, but it didn’t get to a point of concern for myself until the past year or so. My stress level was sky high; my unhappiness reached a point where I could no longer cover it up by a simple slight smile. I felt threatened for my job, even though I worked hard not only from 8-5, but on the off hours, to, trying to make sure we were on the top when it came to different aspects of our industry. And yet, there were times that no matter what I did, it didn’t matter–it was like I was still a screw up and I was difficult to work with.

The WBI says that workplace bullying is driven “by perpetrators’ need to control the targeted individual(s)” and “requires consequences for the targeted individual.” There was control being forced upon from many directions. And even though one of the said-bullies wasn’t even my manager any longer, there was still that need to force control over me.

My personality can tend to be a little strong, I’ll admit that–I am a Scorpio (through and through), after all. I’m hard-headed and I will battle to show that I am right. But majority of my actions have never been malicious in any form towards anyone, yet there were a couple of people who took it that way. Instead of talking with me about it, they’d go to others to show their displeasure and ask that something be done. It was like I was targeted for some reason or another. I never took their same route–I was afraid of being labeled as a tattle tale or someone who had to rely on someone else to do their fighting. I’d straighten my posture, clear my throat, and focus solely on my job and doing the best that I can.

But some times that best isn’t good enough. And somehow, even though other parties in the company knows that you’re being targeted by someone, there’s no one that stands up for you. No one that says for a second for everyone to just stop and confront the situation head-on. No one that really has your back in the battle. Instead, everyone keeps their noses to the computer screen, until one day they’re shocked by a company-wide email. They walk around the office, wondering what happened, and how this could happen to such a hard worker, where the one who they knew was the bully got away scot-free without even a hint of a scar.

I’d hate to think that the bully won…mostly because they got what they wanted. It was a bad situation for a while, and many knew how unhappy I was and how stressed I had become (though I’ll admit I was immune to my feelings of stress until I had a few days to reflect on life then). I wanted out. I needed out. This was just more of a kick in the pants to make a move faster than anticipated, and a kick in the pants to truly start my life over, like I had dreamed of for a while now.

So maybe the bully didn’t win. But that’s the point, right? To not let your competition feel as though they’ve won? To just pick up and move on, dust off your shoulders and move forward like no one saw you trip and fall? You’ve been dealt with a shitty situation–now it’s time to make the best of it. It’s not about lemons and lemonade–this is your life, your career, your passion we’re talking about. The bruising from all the punches you took for the past year or so will soon fade. The things you were forced to remember because you had been there for longer than some will soon disappear and your memories will be filled with better, happier things. But how do you move on, without that feeling of bitterness, without that feeling of being letdown by those you trusted and thought had your back? How do you move on from the hurt that has damaged your trust?

That’s what we do. That’s just what you do. You continue showing that you’re a strong person (in your will, physicality, mentally, etc.) and that you are better than your bullies thought of you. Their opinions and their thoughts mean nothing to you any more. They mean nothing to you any more. That time you spent in that work environment now only means time on your resume. And for that, you should be thankful for that experience, because it’s taught you more than the career skills you’ve acquired for that next job and that next experience, but it’s taught you how to be a better person than they were and how to be a better employee who hopefully stands up for herself better.

 

In an Odd Place

I’ve been pretty sporadic with my blog posts lately. LIfe has been pretty sporadic, quite frankly. I just feel like I’m in an odd place right now.

QuestionThings are going well with my relationship with M–we’re starting to get a routine with his odd (midnight-8 am) schedule and have figured out how to make it work. I’ll admit, it was a little rough for a while there, but now I think we’ve got it handled. And we’re much happier for it.

I’ve been released by the sports medicine doctor to start (slowly) get back to running and to be careful adding mileage and speed. Yet, as I’ve gotten back to pounding the pavement, it hasn’t been an easy restart. My knee still bothers me at times, and when it does I back down on the speed or the mileage or just back off from running period. I ran Sunday morning for four miles and was ouchy after, even with the stretching and such that I’m supposed to do. I’m going back to physical therapy next week for ultrasound therapy to help break down some of the swelling that’s still around my knee.

I’m doing my best to just take it easy, but I want to get back to running so bad. I want to feel that sense of accomplishment I felt every weekend when I tackled my long runs and the camaraderie of the running group I joined this winter. I miss running.

In other fitness news, I’ve become immersed in CrossFit. I’ve been going to Man O’War CrossFit for a month or so now. I try to go at least 2-3 times a week. I’m good about babying my knee–if I see that a workout could be a potential pain for my knee, I tell Taylor and we come up with alternative workouts for me. I’m feeling stronger already–Monday morning before spinning I did some push-ups and crunches, and I was able to do five sets of 10 push-ups on my toes! W00t! Granted I couldn’t go all the way down, but it’s still an improvement, and I’ll take it.

So everything is going great, right? I’m living a healthy life again? Umm no. 

The eating has been way off track. I don’t really know why. Well…maybe I do. I’ve been under a lot of stress at work. My sweet tooth has been in overdrive. It’s been hard to squelch it. I’ve read about how certain things can trigger sugar cravings, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to wean myself off the sugar and off the need for sweets. 

M and I have challenged each other to a month of cleaner eating. I’m hoping it’ll inspire him to think a little more about what and how he’s eating, and then hopefully it’ll inspire him to start taking his health a little more seriously. He purchased a Groupon to try Man O’War CrossFit with me almost a month ago, but he still has yet to use it. So I’m hoping a month of health-conscious living will help not only him, but myself as well. 

And then there’s the professional life. Well…let’s just say it’s not the best right now. The freelancing has picked up, which is nice, and I’m enjoying it. But in other terms, I’m learning that having a strong personality and strong opinions some times needs to be harnessed when it comes the professional setting. I need to learn a little more self-control when it comes to my emotions and to think not once, but twice, about responses. It just doesn’t feel like a comfortable, happy place any more. It feels like an odd place for me to be in.

So this turned out to be an odd post, but maybe that’s the best fitting since I titled it “In an odd place.” If you have any advice on any of the above–cleaning up our eating, breaking the sugar cycle, runner’s knee, work environments, etc.–I’d appreciate you sharing.

Quick #Elf4Health Update — Week 3

Morning folks! I meant to write Sunday night, but I spent the evening baking, making dinner with the hubs, wrapping presents, and being overall busy! But I wanted to write a quick update since we started Round 2 of the Elf4Health Challenge, which means a new elf for me and new challenges for Week 3.

First of all, here are my challenges for Week 3:
Monday – Drink your weight in ounces of water (I didn’t get my weight, but I was more conscious about how much I was thinking and bumped it up a notch. I’m always carrying a water bottle with me during the day, and I try to drink 2-3 of them [a little more than 24 ounces each], so this challenge was a no-brainer for me.
Tuesday – Clean out your fridge/pantry (M and I clean out our fridge every week before grocery shopping, so this was pretty easy. The pantry? That’s another story. I won’t have time to do this Tuesday night, but I’m planning to try to set aside some time to organize the kitchen better this coming weekend.)
Wednesday – Get in at least 3 servings of veggies before 3 pm (This one will be tough, because I don’t generally eat a lot of veggies in the first part of my day, so I’m going to be looking for some recipes to have veggies with my eggs for breakfast!)
Thursday – Buy coffee for the person in line behind you, or treat a co-worker (Money’s really tight for me until I get paid, so this might have to wait until Friday, but I’ve heard about people doing this for others, and it’s a great thing! I’m looking forward to it!)
Friday – Workout with a buddy (I love running in the morning with my agility friends, and I loved when my husband joined me at the gym, but lately I haven’t gotten to do much of either. I’m hoping I can sweet-talk M into finally rejoining me at the gym on this day–it’s good for both of us!)
Saturday – Donate to a holiday charity in your area (It’s hard for me to ever walk by a Salvation Army bucket during Christmas, so this one is a no-brainer as well. Also, my company is always doing things for one or more charities in the area, which I love.)

So, not too bad, huh? I’ll keep you updated on how I do.

Now to my new elf. I loved having Annica as my elf the last round–she’s sweet and very down-to-earth. She celebrated her birthday on Saturday and finally got my card Monday, so I hope she had a good one.

For this round, I have the honor of having one of the Elf4Health creators as my elf! Lindsay and I have a few things in common, like she’s married (though married for a few years, not a couple months like me) and she and her husband have four fur-kids–two dogs and two cats. She lives relatively close to me, too, which means there might be some point where we actually could meet up. (You never know!) She’s gone back to school to be a registered dietician, and is almost done with her internship–you go girl! (It’s really inspiring me reading more about women around my age going back to school for a second career already…it really makes me think…) I’m looking forward to getting to know Lindsay so much better. You can follow her on Twitter: @LeanGrnBeanBlog, and of course read her blog: The Lean Green Bean (how could you not want to learn about healthy eating/living from a blog named like that!?).

Have a great week!!

Gratitude

It is Thanksgiving, so that means a time of reflection…

I’d like to start off with my family. Some times we take our loved ones for granted, though we don’t do so intentionally. We just assume they’ll always be there because, well–they’re your family. But in the past few months, I have been quite aware of the support my mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law have provided for me. They have had my back, listened to my cries of frustration and fears, provided advice knowing I might or might not take it, and they’ve spent countless of hours and money to help put on the wedding I was hoping for. I can’t tell you how much I needed them to be there for me, and they were without question or hesitation. It is because of my parents’ love and support I have become the woman who I am because they never once questioned my efforts. You can’t top that.

I’m thankful for my wonderful husband. Things haven’t been easy for us lately, but he has kept his head high and trudged on, trying to do what’s best for both of us. He has been one of my biggest cheerleaders, but still does his best to keep me grounded and remind me of the our potential future. We’ve had a lot of fun in our almost 4 years of being together, and I can’t wait until to see what lies ahead of us.

I’m one of the lucky ones to still have a job and a great boss who inspires, encourages, and supports us. She has our backs. She definitely knows her stuff about the business of the web and it’s refreshing.

Without my animals, I wouldn’t stay sane. No matter how horrible the day has been, when I come home and I see the little faces of Dally and LaMesa (and occasionally a cat or two) in the front door, it warms my soul and I smile again. They are always so happy to see me and to spend time with me, they love their walks and love to be active, which encourages me to stay off the couch. Dally has been my rock in the 7 tumultuous years of moving around, etc. I’m still floating on cloud nine after earning our agility championship two weeks ago.

They’re always so excited to see mom when I come home, which makes my day better no matter what.

I’m grateful for the ability of being able to run and work-out. There are many that, for some reason or another, that can’t enjoy the freedom I feel when I’m out on a flat road, feet pounding the asphalt, lungs taking in the fresh air. I’m so happy I have found this wonderful retreat.

I’m sure there are many more things not listed that I am thankful for: our warm house, my horses at home (how I wish they were closer to me now), friends, etc. I have always been one to appreciate the things that I have, and I hope that I come off that way every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Your turn: What are you most grateful for this Turkey Day?

Turning the Big 3-0

Today is my birthday. It’s not just any birthday, but the big 3-0…30…goodbye twenties, and perhaps the your last decade as a carefree young adult. To some, your 30s mean it’s time to get serious about life.

Now that I’m married and we’re looking to settle down some place, once M gets a new job, it’s starting to hit me that…hey, I am an adult and I need to plan accordingly. I’m not just working my 8-5 job just as a “job” but as a means to build a career. I took a big leap in my career earlier this year, and I’m hoping to continue learning to put me on the right track towards an actual career, not just a job.

And then there’s the whole “Life Plan” push that everyone starts to ask as you get older and get married. For someone who is typically OCD and have to have a plan for some things, it’s shocking that I don’t have a life plan. I didn’t know where I wanted to be when I turned 30. Did I see myself married, competing in dog agility, and living in Lexington? Honestly, no. When I was turning 20, I was a junior at Murray State University and all I was focused on was getting my equestrian journalism career started and still training and showing horses.

Is it true that gone are the days of “easy living” like the days at Murray, where late nights were spent at the barn roping hay bales and drinking a beer (or two)? Those first years of my 20s were so much fun.

Now that I’m turning 30? I’m a (happily) married woman living in Lexington, working for a publishing company as a web producer while freelancing for a few magazines here and there, and training and showing dogs instead of horses. On one hand, it seems like I’m doing well for myself, especially considering the economy right now, but then there are those “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” moments that I’m sure everyone has as they near their birthdays.

But this post wasn’t meant to be depressing or to downplay my life now. I’m very lucky that I met M and he accepts me for who I am, because I knew that would be a hard task to accomplish. I’m lucky that I’m still working in the area in which I got my degree (not many can say that).

The best friends will “age well” with you (rather than “grow old”) and continue to be there, from the frat house parties to the fancy patios at jazz bars in downtown Louisville.

I’m lucky that I have found new loves with dog agility and running. Never would I have thought I would have run a half marathon before I turned 30 (or that I’m considering running two half marathons within a month of each other, but more on that in a later post). Never would I have thought that I’d embrace social media as much as I have (I can’t live without it now) for work and for life. Never would I have thought I’d be settling down as much as I have.

When I was turning 20, you couldn’t convince me that my “horse life” would be replaced with my “dog life” as I neared 30. But who can resist this face??

My 20s have been a roller coaster, with finishing college and meeting friends for life, to moving to Texas, then Oklahoma, and then Kentucky for work and finding a place where I was happy, to losing something very close to my heart while gaining another unconditional love. I’ve been built up, crushed, and built back up these past 10 years. I’ve lost weight, gained, and thankfully lost weight again and found a healthier lifestyle, that I just hope I can make healthier for both M and myself as time goes by. I’ve learned a lot about finances, food, life, and myself.

Where do I see things going in my 30s? Like I said, I don’t really know. I hope there are a few more half marathon finishes in my future, as well as maybe a few more health goals to accomplish. I hope M and I embark on an exciting marriage and continue to find ourselves more in each other as we grow older together. And I hope a few circumstances will be cleared up and life can be less stressful.

I might not be sure about the direction my 30s will go, but I’m happy I have my partner by my side for the trip.

So here’s to my 30s!

What insights do you have to pass on?