Week In My Life: Monday, November 24

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

Only one month until Christmas! Crazy! Here’s how yesterday went down:

Morning // After my alarm went off a little before 9, I spent a few minutes in bed checking the Internet. It’s how I feel I best wake up and I don’t care if studies say it’s bad! Eventually I tested my blood sugar then crawled out of bed, made breakfast (more gluten-free waffles) and finished my take-home Statistics exam. I realized that since I have a Mac that I probably should wait until I got to school to finish my PowerPoint presentation, because I’ve had issues with exporting Keynote to Powerpoint. I spent the remainder of the morning making a few phone calls — reordered insulin pump supplies and made an orthodontist appointment (yep, still dealing with that) — and then I decided it would be a good time to color my hair! It wasn’t, because it took more time than I realized. But I still managed to get to work on time!

Afternoon // I spent the afternoon working at Pier 1. I realized soon into my shift that I was supposed to work an hour longer than I planned! Eek! But my manager said I could leave early, which means I still had time to get my powerpoint presentation done. About an hour into my shift, my CGM alarmed telling my to calibrate. My blood sugar was a little high because I only did a partial bolus for breakfast, but since I was at work, I knew I didn’t need a full correction this time either. Work was uneventful — kinda slow actually — and at 4:00 I went home. My blood sugar was good, but since I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast I knew I would need to eat something. I had a leftover pork chop from when we went to Haute Dish in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, a piece of gluten-free toast and a couple of clementines. I grabbed my laptop and headed to school. Terrible traffic, but I managed to get my presentation finished with time to spare! Whew.

Evening // I gave my presentation, and it was probably the worst presentation ever but I don’t really care. I’m so over that class. But I’ve turned in all my assignments, so I pretty much am done! When I got home, Erik and I had a very late dinner — salmon, green beans and sweet potatoes — and then I was starting to feel pretty tired. I was also in a pretty bad mood because we haven’t had a lot of people available to come to our holiday party, which we’ve hosted every year since we got married. It’s just another reminder of how hard it is to move and how we still don’t have a lot of friends. Even though intellectually we know we made the right decision, it’s still really freaking hard sometimes.

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Week In My Life: Sunday, November 23

Monday, November 24th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

I’ve seen several of my blogger friends (er, friends with blogs?) doing this project and it sounded fun so I’m going to play along. I’ll be writing brief synopses of each day between Sunday, November 23 and Saturday, November 28. Enjoy!

 

Morning // Although my alarm didn’t go off until a little before 9 am (I’m trying out the SleepCycle app), I woke up around six o’clock because of a high blood sugar. I corrected and went to the bathroom, then fell back asleep. When my alarm did go off, I stayed in bed for about an hour (!) because I was still feeling a bit tired. Mostly dorked around on my phone. Finally around 10 o’clock, Erik and I got up and I made breakfast — eggs and gluten-free wildberry frozen waffles. I did some chores, like loading the dishwasher, putting some winter sweaters in my closet and starting the laundry. A little bit before I was about to leave for work, I felt a little low and I was 81 mg/dl. Had a ton of insulin on board, so I drank a juice box and suspended my insulin pump to hopefully keep from going low at work. I also went to Starbucks for coffee (Chestnut Praline, which I’ve decided I’m not a fan of) and a fruit bar (mango + apple), as well as a gluten-free rice krispy bar that I saved for later.

Afternoon // Before arriving at Pier 1, I had to go to CVS to get my passport photo taken (Mexico!!). The printer wasn’t working so I ended up needing to go back later. Work was pretty busy but luckily there weren’t any emergencies, which is always good. About halfway through I noticed my blood sugar was going up, so I stopped into the break room and tested. I was 210 mg/dl, so I corrected. I was supposed to work until 5, plus two hours of “flex” but they only needed me for one of those so I left at six o’clock. I stopped at CVS quickly. As I was leaving, I started feeling a little low, even though my CGM said I was fine, but I went ahead and ate the rice krispy bar and didn’t take any insulin. Big mistake! By dinner time my blood sugar was pretty high. Overdid that one!

photo-7Natasha basically lives on the radiators — this is her as we were going to bed

Evening // When I got home from CVS, I started dinner by marinating the chicken with a Stubbs marinade. Did a little cleaning around the house, like vacuuming and Swiffering the kitchen floor. Erik got home and finished making the chicken along with a bagged salad, just in time for us to watch The Walking Dead. Great episode! After it was done, CGM started alarming and my blood sugar was even higher, so I took another correction. Ugh. I had a several assignments due on Monday in Statistics — a take-home test, a research article critique and a short presentation — so I skipped Talking Dead in favor of being productive.  I worked for about three hours, but couldn’t quite finish everything. I got ready for bed, and just as I got into bed, I saw on my CGM that my blood sugar was now dropping really fast. I drank a juice box and suspended my insulin for an hour, and hoped it wasn’t overkill. But I managed to sleep through the night without any interruptions. Yay!

 

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This Week

Friday, November 21st, 2014 | Posted under This Week

The high of my week was getting an A on my Developmental Psychology midterm!

The low of my week was finding out that I might have to work 11 hours (between my two stores) on Black Friday. Ugh.

A blog post I loved was something I didn’t bookmark… Oops! See, this is why I can’t do the Friday Finds thing anymore. I read stuff, and always forget to save it for later.

For my workouts, I completed two workouts at Orangetheory Fitness and candlelight yoga at Tula Yoga and Wellness in St. Paul.

The best money I spent was probably just yoga! There were a few things I wanted to buy this week, but didn’t end up getting around to any of it. Boo.

My plans this weekend include going to dinner and seeing Mockingjay with Erik. A much deserved date night considering I’m working fourteen days in a row!

Gratuitous cat picture of the week:

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What was the high and low of your week? Anyone else seeing Mockingjay this weekend? 

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People I Find Fascinating: Becca Rivka, Transgendered Person

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Posted under People I Find Fascinating

This week is National Transgendered Awareness Week, culminating in tomorrow’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. Most of us have probably only heard about transgendered individuals through the media, like Sophia on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.

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As Ben

I met Becca — born Ben — when we were both members of a college Christian organization at the University of Oregon. I recently learned that Becca was officially transitioning from male to female and I asked if she’d be interested in answering a few questions about her experience and Becca graciously agreed to answer.

Most of us don’t get the opportunity to ask someone what it’s like to be in this situation, so I wanted to seize the opportunity to spread some awareness. Becca, who now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, opened up about her experience growing up while living as a boy, the transition process, and how her relationships with people and religion have been affected.

I believe Becca really is the epitome of living life with faith and grace.

An Interview with Becca Rivka

AN: When did you first realize that you felt more like a girl than a boy? Did something specific happen or was it more gradual?

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Becca


BR: Before I answer, I should amention that this is just my story, and my story does not speak for all transgender people. We are a diverse bunch.

It was very early, and there is no specific moment in my memory where I “realized” I felt like a girl rather than like a boy.

It just sort of felt like this perpetual dissonance. I remember wondering why I wasn’t wearing feminine shoes like the other girls in my Sunday school class, and I kept imagining my penis turning into a vagina at a very young age. I often just wanted it to go away, but I was also very shy and was aware that I was atypical, so I was too afraid to voice this and kept it secret, though I found that it was very difficult to do throughout my life.

What does it mean to you to “feel like a girl” versus a boy?

For me, it means having this constant dislike for my “boy parts” and consistently feeling drawn to “female” things as part of my persona. It means that I identified myself as a girl internally, and I remember trying to convince myself privately that I was a boy and not a girl, but I would keep saying “I’m a girl” when I was alone. There were some moments in my life where this almost came out of me in public places. Hiding this, as I said before, was very difficult.

When you realized that you identified as a girl, what did you do?

Well, as I said before, identifying as a girl was something that just seemed like something I always was. It goes back to my earliest memories. I always knew that I was different. I was smart enough to know that according to society, I was a boy, that I had “boy parts,” but none of this sat well with me. I saw myself as a girl.

There was one time when I was seven years old when I finally got the courage to ask my mom, “Mom, do you think I’m really a girl?” It was a very scary thing for me because I was very afraid at what she would say, or whether she would think I was crazy. She responded with, “Of course not!”

When I came out to her last January, I asked if she remembered this episode, and she didn’t. She probably dismissed it as just something kids say. But it was a huge deal to me.

I never really brought it up again because of that response. And I felt like I had to hide it. But hiding it felt like trying to push a beach ball under water. I would go and dress in my mom’s clothes in secret when she wasn’t around, and this was something I started doing as early as 7 or 8. I would sometimes pray for God to turn me into a girl or just take whatever this was away.

I was scared to death to share this with anyone, especially my parents. I was afraid they would try to put me through some program to “deprogram” me or something.

You’re going through the transition process right now. What is that like?

It’s hard in it’s own way. It’s not a very comfortable process. But it is so worth it. I am finally becoming more comfortable with who I am because of it.

I’m still in the beginning stages, and there is still a lot more to my journey, but it is so refreshing to finally start showing people who I really am.

I began going in for some laser and electrolysis appointments to permanently remove my facial hair in January of this year (2014). There will be many more appointments like that before my beard is permanently gone (it usually takes a grand total of 200 or so hours of electrolysis to permanently remove a full beard).

Because it’s also expensive, it may take a few years before I’m done with that process.

Also, I started taking hormones in July (estrogen and anti-androgens). My breasts are growing, and my body is gradually taking on a more feminine shape. I’m also training my voice to raise the pitch and sound more naturally female.

Also, it will take a while, but I’m in the process of a wardrobe change too. Lots to learn, lots to come. My journey really has only just begun! The other day I went in for eyebrow waxing for the first time. The ladies there were very nice.

I’ve had people call me “ma’am” from time to time and correctly use pronouns like “she” or “her,” which just make me feel right at home for the first time. It’s so refreshing when people listen to me instead of look at me, judge me, and try to dictate to me.

But this is still a hard process. I have to go in to see the doctor every month to see how things are going. Sometimes I have to endure things like “microaggressions,” and being around guys at night sometimes is a lot more nerve-wracking to me (but it depends on where I am and who the guy is or how he is acting).

What has it been like explaining your new identity to people who knew you as Ben?

It’s been a roller coaster, and probably still will be. And it always depends on the person, their level of compassion, and their ability to deal with change. People who knew me as Ben end up transitioning just as I am, though for people who knew me as Ben who have not seen me for a long time, it may be a challenge for them as well, but I take each of those encounters as they come and on a case-by-case basis.

I believe in explaining this with grace, though it is still quite hard for me to open myself up to that method, as people can still be abusive, hurtful, and condescending in what they say, depending on who it is.

I am always making myself vulnerable when I talk about this. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about when people refuse to listen to my story, but I try to remember to love others even when it is very hard.

You and I met through our Christian youth group. How has being transgender changed your relationship with God and also your relationship with organized religion?

I’m so glad you asked that question. I could spend paragraphs on that question, but for now, I will give you a more condensed version of my reflections on this.

The biblical text I used to beat myself up with while I was growing up was Psalm 139:14 (the verse in which the psalmist thanks God because he knows he is “fearfully and wonderfully made”). This verse often gives comfort to people. But for me, I saw it as a tool to punish myself, and for the longest time, I felt oppressed by that passage.

So I often thought that God was massively disappointed in me and saw me as a huge liar or pretender. Thankfully, I grew up in a family that would often talk about God’s grace, but talk is not the same thing as experience. I had no means to experience God’s grace tangibly about this area in my life because I was scared to death to talk about it with anyone, especially Christians, and especially Christian men.

The church would hardly ever talk about this. If I found anything on it at all, it would almost always be negative or disapproving. Sometimes I would find websites authored by affirming Christians who said they were transgender and had come to a place of accepting themselves, but I had such a hard time getting to that place myself. None of them seemed to address Psalm 139:14, and again, I had no one to talk to about this.

When I went off to a theological grad school to do work in the biblical languages, it was during this period that I began to rethink some things. It was a very gradual process, but I began to encounter some literature written by others like me, and it started changing my perspective even on the text of Psalm 139:14 itself.

I began to see it differently. I began to realize that we have no issue giving medical treatment to others suffering from other medical issues, and we realize they are no less fearfully and wonderfully made because of those.

Do we think conjoined twins are less fearfully and wonderfully made when the decision is made to separate them? Do we think intersex people are less fearfully and wonderfully made when we give them surgery to help them function better in their gender identity?

I’ve had to face some very uncomfortable opposition from some others in the church now that I’ve come out, and I will probably still face more. But I am understanding Psalm 139:14 differently now. It is no longer a whip with which to flog myself into submission. I now believe that God knew about my trans-ness from the time I was formed in the womb. Why does God put us through these things? Why didn’t God just make me cisgender (that is, having agreement between my assigned sex and gender identity)? Why did I go through all this? I don’t know. And I fall on the mercy of the Almighty.

But I have experienced real, tangible grace because of coming out as trans. I have received grace in unexpected places. And it makes me all the more eager to share it with others.

What do you think is the most common misconception of transgender people?

I don’t even know where to begin on this question. I don’t think I can identify a “most common misconception.” There are many common misconceptions, and I’m not sure which is the most common.

I would say a big one is assuming that one transgender person speaks for all transgender people. Another big one is conflating “being gay” with “being transgender.” Being transgender is about the gender one identifies as. Being gay is about sexual orientation (to whom one is attracted sexually).

There are a lot of misconceptions I’d like to cover here, but they are too numerous to mention.

This is a good resource (I strongly resonate with this myself) if you want to learn more about misconceptions about transgender people.

Much love to you all! And thanks, Allison, for letting me answer these!

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Tuesday Wisdom

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 | Posted under Tuesday Wisdom

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Hola Mexico!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 | Posted under Travel

We are going to Mexico!!

I’m not sure what first got me thinking about it. It might have been the freezing temperatures that hit Minnesota last week. It was probably hearing about Jessica booking a trip to Cancun with her family. But I started looking around to see what kind of deals were available, on Groupon, on various vacation deal sites, on Expedia.

Eventually I saw a crazy good deal for a resort in Mexico, and Erik was as enthusiastic about escaping Minnesota this winter as me. But we weren’t entirely sure that that resort was the one, so we kept looking. For like four days! We looked at different cities, even different countries. We thought about what kind of resort we wanted. Did we want lots of action or quiet and remote. We thought about if we wanted all-inclusive or not. We compared prices over a few different date ranges. I thoroughly analyzed — and agonized — over each and every review on the dozens of resorts I looked at!

It was exhausting!

I was so stressed out because even thought we were looking at deals, it was still expensive. Obviously, I wanted the best resort for the least amount of money.

We finally decided on a beautiful, extremely well-rated resort in a small coastal village that’s halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s not all inclusive, but we think that will work out well because we’ll be going on a couple excursions, and we also want to go down to Playa del Carmen. So not being beholden to an all-inclusive plan will probably end up saving us some money.

We’ll be going the last week of January for five nights. It’ll be right over my 21st diaversary — anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis — which has always been a day I try to mark by celebrating how well I’m doing. So being in Mexico seems pretty fitting for the 21st! Plus, it’s smack-dab in the middle of winter, and we’ll definitely be suffering some cabin fever by then.

 

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Can. Not. Wait.

Have you been to the Cancun area? We’re still researching tours and which Mayan ruin we want to go to. Any suggestions? Anything we should know?

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This Week

Friday, November 14th, 2014 | Posted under This Week

I’ve decided to retire Friday Finds.

It’s been about a month since I last did one, and honestly it just wasn’t fun anymore. And what’s the point of blogging if it isn’t fun, right?! I thought about trying to get to 100 (I think I was around 85 posts) but I don’t think I can keep it up. I haven’t been able to spend as much time collecting good posts as I’d like. I know it’s a favorite feature around here, and I might bring it back again later, but for right now, I’m going to move on to other things.

I’ve seen this meme on Stephany and Amber’s blogs, and I think it’s great, so I’m going to start doing this, and probably some other types of posts mixed in. I used to think I wanted to have a set schedule where each day had a “thing” but honestly sometimes it doesn’t work to wait! So I’m going to go back to more free-form blogging, just post what I want, when I want, and not worry about fitting some weird editorial calendar that I’ve created. I thought it would help, but it’s really just making me miserable!

Anyway, on to the week!

photo (7)Spotted this in a cute little shop in St. Paul. So true, right?

The high of my week was finding a cute coffeeshop in my neighborhood that might actually work well as a work-from-home location.

The low of my week was eating gluten pizza which, as good as it is, has made me sick for the past couple of days. So that’s really sucked.

A blog post I loved was my guest post on Fannetastic Food! Okay, it’s bit of shameless self-promotion, but if you can’t shameless self-promote on your own  blog, where can you?! It’s a list of 14 things you should know about diabetes, because today is World Diabetes Day! This is such a huge healthy living blog and I was so nervous writing the post because, really, there’s about 100 things I could say about diabetes! But you know, I don’t want to put you guys to sleep either…

For my workouts, I completed restorative yoga at Yoga Sol in Northeast Minneapolis. It’s a wonderful studio that’s pay-what-you-want so it makes it affordable for me, especially since yoga isn’t a regular thing I do. I actually did not make it to any Orangetheory classes this week. Tuesday and Thursday mornings were just not working for me this week, but I definitely need to get back next week. It’s not a cheap place, and I need to get my money’s worth!

The best money I spent was I haven’t spent too much money this week. Yoga, some food, and then the book and journal for Kathleen’s postal book club. So I’ll go with a tie between yoga and the book, because those are pretty awesome things.

My plans this weekend include working both day (boo), and possibly trying out another church. We went to one last weekend but I wasn’t crazy about it. Finding a church is sooo hard!!

 

What was the high and low of your week? What are you doing this weekend? 

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My Day Off

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 | Posted under About Me

When you’re in grad school full-time while working two retail jobs, you learn that your weekends are going to be a little unconventional. Now that I’ve picked up a second job at Pier 1 Imports, I’m back to working the whole weekend. Add class on top and it makes for a very packed week. Almost no day is untouched from work or school.

Today, however, isn’t one of them.

I’m not coming off a very long stretch of work — I wasn’t scheduled for this past Friday or Saturday — so I’ve only had 4 days of work / class this week. But I’m heading into a long stretch this next week, so I decided to embrace my day off.

I didn’t sleep very well last night because I decided to throw caution to the wind and eat regular pizza, and ended up having a terrible stomach ache the entire night, plus crazy high blood sugars. I was miserable. So I skipped the Orangetheory class I was scheduled to take and instead I slept in, which was nice. I have a routine of certain TV shows that I’ll watch during the day if I happen to be home and feeling lazy. If I’m up early enough, it’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and/or Gilmore Girls (depends on the episode), followed by Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then there’s about an hour where not much I like is on so I’ve gotten into the habit of watching The Middle (which is seriously underrated!) and sometimes Kitchen Nightmares (which comes on after Star Trek) but I don’t really love Gordon Ramsey. Then there’s a two hour stretch of Reba which then leads into a mini Boy Meets World marathon. By that time, Erik’s home. Now don’t get me wrong, I rarely watch television the entire day (although maybe I have once or twice), but the point is, there’s always something to sit down and veg out to. It’s awesome.

I did a bit of TV-watching this morning and early afternoon, and then I headed out for the afternoon to run some errands. I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the book for Kathleen’s postal book club which I’m super excited about. I can’t tell you what I bought because it supposed to be a surprise for the girls, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. But if you really want to know you can ask me. Then I went to Target and braved the stupid parking job people do when it snows to buy some vitamins and earplugs and managed to leave Target with ONLY THOSE THINGS. I was quite proud of myself. I’m actually a pretty restrained Target shopper, if I do say so myself.

Then I went to the post office to mail said book and now I’m at a new-to-me coffee shop in my neighborhood, blogging, reading the book Quiet, and drinking a Dirty Chai and a gluten-free Apple Pecan coffee cake. Honestly, I think it tastes better than most regular pastries I’ve had! The only gluten-free substitute I really just don’t like is pizza. But I can’t do gluten pizza. I just can’t. I will never try it every again. I’m done with it.

Tonight, we’ll have dinner and watch The Vampire Diaries and plot a possible winter vacation to escape this blasted snow…

What do you like to do on your day off? 

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Goodbye October, Hello November!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 | Posted under Monthly Check-In

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October was insane! Let’s see what happened…

In October, I…

Ran my first half marathon. Woohoo! I did it! I ran a half marathon in a little over 3 hours, which wasn’t my goal time but since I had a couple of diabetes things pop up, that’s really the best I could do. I’m definitely planning on doing another one this spring, probably the Get in Gear Half Marathon at the end of April. I did the 10K this past spring, so I’m familiar with the course so I think it’ll be a good one. I have a feeling I’ll PR!

Celebrated Erik’s 31st birthday. We had a few friends over on Halloween for Erik’s birthday, mostly from high school and from work. Then on Saturday we went over to Erik’s mom’s house along with some of the family that lives in the area.

Officially reached Onederland. The day after my half marathon I reached Onderland at 199.8! Now I’m down to 197.6 and I know it’ll just keep dropping. Very happy and excited to see where I’ll be at the end of the year.

Went gluten free. I’m still not sure if it’s really solving all my stomach problems, because it still seems to come and go, but for the most part I think a lot of my gastrointestinal distress has been mediated. I tested out eating regular pizza on Friday and had a terrible stomach ache on Saturday. Of course, I still have stomach aches every once in awhile, so something must be causing it, but I haven’t figured out what it is yet. Sigh.

 

In November, I will…

Moan that the snow has already arrived. I just… I can’t. I have no words.

Keep a budget. We’re always trying to be better with our budget, which is oh so hard. I just got a second job at Pier 1 Imports, plus I’m babysitting occasionally, to try to help bring in extra income while I’m in school. It’s definitely tough to juggle but we have a lot we want to do and it all takes money!

Work a ton. See aforementioned second job. I working about 30 hours every week this month, between the running store and Pier 1 Imports. That’s pretty much all I’m doing. So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not blogging quite as much as before! It’ll go back to normal in December, I promise.

 

 

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Currently

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 | Posted under Currently

86e3cfa0be8651a3a6783b0dcc1c0975Writing… my midterm essays for Developmental Psychology. Well, okay, technically I’m writing this blog post, but then I’ll be back at it! That’s part of the reason why it’s been quiet around these parts lately. Grad school + two jobs + husband = Busy!

Happy… that I got an A on my midterm essays for Theories of Personality!

Annoyed… that our next door neighbors are doing construction on their house. Don’t they realize I’m a student who is trying to study?! So inconsiderate. (I’m just kidding.)

Eating… gluten free. I’ll probably do a longer recap next month when my gluten free challenge is over, but I thought I’d mention it briefly here. Basically I’ve been having tummy troubles for the past three or four months that haven’t really made any sense, so I decided to investigate gluten since it appears to be a leading cause of a lot of digestive issues. So far it seems to be helping, although it’s not perfect. I’m suspecting that dairy may also be an issue, or at least, certain amounts of dairy, but that will be another challenge for another time! I’m not happy that I might have a gluten intolerance, but I have found a few gluten-free replacements for pasta and bread that I like, and there are just so many resources. Plus, having gone Paleo — which is completely grain-free — I feel almost lucky that I can still eat some grains!

Planning… my next semester. Registration is next Wednesday!

Wondering…  if I should change my emphasis in school. I’m contemplating getting my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy because it’s a little more specific. There are a few different requirements but the core classes are the same. I have to take Intro to Family Therapy anyway, so I’ll decide after that if I want to switch.

Excited… that we are going to Oregon for Christmas! I haven’t been to Oregon since May 2012 and Erik hasn’t been to Oregon since we got married in July 2011. It’s been a long time for both of us! December in Oregon is dreary and rainy, but there are a lot of fun things to do in Portland during the holidays. There are a lot of things that I haven’t done in a long time, and I’m excited to share some of my childhood traditions with my husband.

Worried… about my knee. Now my right one is hurting! I hope I don’t start developing knee problems from running. I really like running!

Researching… other half marathons I could do next year. I have learned my lesson and I know I need to sign up for a half marathon soon or I will not be motivated to train for one!

Shocked… that it’s almost November! We’ve been in Minnesota for almost a year! Holy crap!

Loving… yoga, Orangetheory Fitness, sunny fall days, leaves changing colors, snuggly cats, tiny babies, coffee, the fact that popcorn is gluten-free, a new mattress, crossing the finish line

 

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