Monday, January 31, 2011

Marriage Monday: Marriage Prep is DONE edition

I've blogged a lot about the Catholic Pre-Marriage Preparation process.

And what a process it's been.

To recap, in order to get the official stamp of Catholic approval, Scott and I have read over 400 pages, paid over $500, gone to three-day group retreat, answered 150+ FOCCUS questions, attended a Natural Family Planning one-on-one, attended four one-on-one meetings with the Priest, and attended a two-on-two FOCCUS follow-up.


We began the process on July 5th, and completed it on January 26th.

To be honest, the process was both better and worse than I expected. It was considerably longer and more comprehensive/expensive than I was anticipating, but there were definitely things that came to light that we hadn't discussed (would I be "allowed" to buy a pair of $300 jeans without checking with Scott? Would Scott be "allowed" to invite his brother over for a weekend without checking with me? Who is going to balance our checkbook? How often are we going to take vacations?).

Scott and I have been together for over four years, so we've discussed... almost everything, but we still had things we had yet to figure out, so marriage prep served it's purpose there - even if it took more money, time, and energy than we had anticipated.

Lyrics of the Day: Awake My Soul

Where you invest your love,
you invest your life
- mumford and sons, awake my soul

(I have recently become aware of this band, and they are rapidly gaining rank on my iTunes most-played list).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happiness is...

.... the SAG Awards, a glass of Diet 7-Up and cherries, and a new nail polish color to try

.... outfits picked out for every day this week (that's normal right?), a new boot camp starting tomorrow, and the laundry done

.... the four-month countdown, a shrinking to-do list, and a groom-to-be that makes me laugh

.... best friends, cousins, best friends that are cousins, and getting to see them all in three weeks (!)

.... turning off the TV, a new library book, lots of blogging inspiration.

How was your weekend, everyone?

Lyrics of the Day: White Blank Page Edition

oh tell me now where was my fault
in loving you with my whole heart?
- mumford and sons, white blank page

(i've been listening to this on repeat today)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

Two weeks ago I mentioned that I had just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and LOVED it. Perhaps my strongest compliment could be that the day I finished it, I started the second book in the series, "The Girl Who Played With Fire".

I loved it.

Loved, loved, loved.

The characters were well developed and interesting, with enough unique details that you could (mostly) keep them straight, the plot was detailed enough that you could follow, and the ending was surprising enough that you'd never guess it (although simple enough that once you read it, you're shocked that you hadn't guessed).

I am hooked on Lizbeth Salander. HOOKED.

Before I endorse the series too heartily, though, I should mention that the book (the whole series, in fact) is violent and graphic and not for kids. The material is dark, but the writing is superb and I will say that the book would not be as addictive or captivating without it. I do not like gratuitous or graphic violence in books or movies, and even I can understand why it was probably necessary to include in the series.

Again, the book is fiction, so I don't want to spoil anything, but I would highly recommend the series and I will begin the third book as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Regarding Green Bay

My loyalty to the Bears is well documented, but to summarize: I love them. I try - sometimes unsuccesfully - to keep my schedule open on fall Sundays to be able to watch the games. I have a lucky Bears shirt, and I can name nearly every starter (but not quite - I'm working on it).

Kind of ironic that the whole season came down to a game against our rival, but it did, and we were on the losing side. It happens. I never thought this was our year, and yes - I'm proud that "my" team made it as far as they did. All in all, a good season - even with a disapointing end.

Obviously, Sunday's game was a bummer, to put it mildly. It was hard to watch and yes, it sucked.

.. But it WAS a game. Sometimes when you play games, you win them. Sometimes you lose. It happens.

If you would have asked me a few months ago, I would have told you that my other favorite NFL teams included the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers (how's that for supporting the NFC North?). I don't know why, but something changed this season and now I loathe all things green and gold (apologies in advance family). Not only do I want them to lose, I want them to lose embarrasingly.

(Sometimes I behave like a shameless twelve year old).

Truly, the transition has nothing to do with them beating us on Sunday (although certainly that added insult to injury). They were the far, FAR superior team that day (and this season) and they beat us fair and square.

I don't want to hate the Packers (or the Vikes for that matter). I'm happy that some of my favorites are so happy and that their team is doing so great.


... Go Steelers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vanishing Act

Three emails and one concerned text later, I've come to the conclusion that more people read my blog - and WANT to read my blog - than I even realized. Thank you so much. The hiatus is over.

So what was up with the hiatus? Honestly, it wasn't intentional. It's been a busy week - the wedding decision-making time is, um, right NOW (wine at the tables? what kind of cake? what font on the invitations?), I'm 75% through another great book, boot camp is still kicking my ass, and I still dislike Jay Cutler.

(Now you're caught up).

Quote of the Day: Bill Maher Edition

"You want your country back? Well I want mine forward" - Bill Maher

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Da Bears: An updated love story

I had great intentions of blogging my way through the Bears season, but a couple of unfortunately scheduled marriage seminars later and I lost my Bears blogging mojo.

(Compounded by a few uncomfy and unfortunate losses).

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Bears do not have a Super Bowl quality roster. Call me a fair weather fan, call me a negative Nancy - whatever. The fact is, we simply don't have the required skillset.

(Or quarterback).

Call me what you want to call me, I am still - and always will be - a diehard Bears fan. I love them with 15 wins or with zero. I proudly sport navy and orange year round. But.

I'm also a realist, and realistically speaking, there are far better teams than the Bears this year.

(Sorry cousins but I'm not talking about the Pack).

I have high hopes for todays game, but I'm also realistic.

And besides, the 2011 season is only a few short months away.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Boot camp: kicking my ass and changing my life

All my life, I've been surrounded by FIT.

All four of my brothers were high school varsity letter winners.

In two sports. Each.

Two of my brothers were state champions.

One of my brothers was a body building champion.

My dad practically works out as part of his job.

My mom runs miles every single day.

.... and then there was me. Look, I'm not bitter - I think my family's fitness level is admirable, and I love myself in any shape. As I alluded to a few weeks ago, I decided to take it up a notch fitness-wise, and get in fighting form. Scott and I have been doing boot camp, and we just committed (and paid for) boot camp through March 31st.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, boot camp is set up like a group personal trainer session. They walk you through an hour of exercise ranging from wind sprints to lunges to non-traditional sit-ups. The instructor walks around and critiques or compliments your form and your effort. Every day, you work your major muscles in your legs, arms, abs and back with a little cardio mixed in. I won't deny it - I'm out of breath, soaked in sweat and silently cursing the instructor by the time the 60 minutes are up.

But I also feel great. Stronger, more fit, and yes - healthier.

As with many things in life - boot camp works when you work it, and it works for me for two main reasons: I'm a little on the "cheap" side - I don't like wasting money, and this class requires that you pre-pay, which means that means I will never skip class. I am also a little competitive, and with 10-15 other members of the class, well, it's a competition (in my head at least).

The jury is still out - but I could see myself being a boot camp girl for life.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Total Body Boot Camp

My gem of a fiance recently suggested that we sign up for a "wedding body boot camp" class. The class is one month, three days per week, of fitness insanity.

(And, since he knows me better than I know myself, he pre-paid so I couldn't talk him out of it).

Today is our sixth session, the end of the second week, which means we're half way through.

I'm not in wedding fitness form (YET) but I am definitely feeling stronger already. The class forces me to work out for a really hard hour three days a week, and I kind of love the commitment. I couldn't do it in a self-led workout, that's for sure. Plus, after sweating your ass off for an hour you don't really crave nachos, if you get my drift.

I don't know if this class is exactly what I need to get from A to B, but I know it's a great start.

And we signed up for a second month today, so here's hopin'.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I've been itching to read this book for months, but for some reason I thought it would be about a random Swedish girl in the "olden days". (Don't ask).

Turns out, I was wrong.

In a nutshell, the book is about an unlikely pair of investigators trying to figure out a decades old murder mystery.

I want to talk about the book more, but it's fiction - so I don't want to ruin it for anyone. If anyone has read it and would like to decompress with me, leave a comment - I'd love to talk about it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy birthday, Jen!

I mentioned my summer sister a few days ago, but today is her 21st birthday and that merits another mention, no? Jenifer is light years cooler, nicer and smarter than I was at 21.

(Or that I am now, duh).
She is truly a good egg, and I am lucky to have her in my life.

Happy birthday, Jen!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I've been straddling the line between being a "child" and being an actual "grownup" for years now.

(As I write this I realize that I've probably been a legit adult for much longer than I care to admit).

One additional barometer?

I have a recipe to share. In addition to being edible, it's delicious!

I love all things pumpkin, cinnamon and related to Fall in general, so when I was told about a delicious and healthy recipe encompassing all of those things, I had to try it. (I'll admit I wasn't going to attempt it on my own until I found out how easy it was).

Two ingredients. A can of pumpkin, and a box of spice cake. I even bought the cheapest variations of each ingredient and they worked fabulously.

All you need to do is combine the two ingredients in a bowl and spoon the resulting mix in to the cupcake molds. I baked that for somewhere between 20-30 minutes at 350 - to be honest, I'm not exactly sure how long because I put them in for because I just checked the cupcakes every 5-10 minutes until they were cooked through.

Delicious and only slightly more than 100 calories per muffin.

And full of fiber.

(That does it, I'm an adult).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Resolutions, Pt 2

I mentioned the other day that one of my 2011 resolutions is to get in to the best shape of my life.

(Both for health and skinny-jeans purposes).

To do this, I am eating very clean and very green.

And, Scott and I signed up for the January session of Wedding Body Boot Camp, which starts tonight and looks to be terrifying intense.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Quote of the Day: New Years Edition

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right" - Oprah

2011: Resolution Edition

In a way, I feel like this whole blog is about resolving things.

Resolving to do 26 27 things within a year, resolving to start doing more, living more, being more.

But there's something about January 1st, about a new year, that compels me to be resolute.

So I resolve:
- to enjoy every remaining minute of my engagement, every second of my wedding day
- to tell the people I love that I love them, more frequently and much louder
- to start reading again (I've taken an unofficial hiatus of several months)
- to work my ass off, literally and figuratively, and get in the best shape of my life
- to find a new favorite musician/group
- to blog more varied topics and more frequent posts

Happy 2011! I have a good feeling about this year.