Friday, January 18, 2013

2012 Reflections, Looking Forward to 2013

Am I the only one who resists jumping on the “New Year, New You” bandwagon simply because it’s a bandwagon?

I kick and scream just for the sake of kicking and screaming, because I don’t waaaaanna do what everybody else is doing.

Plus, it usually takes me a couple (or three) weeks to get into the swing of a whole new year, assess my current state and decide whether I want to make any notable changes in my life. (That's my excuse for this uber late New Year-related post.)

Last year, I made five big promises to myself:

 1. Give more.
  • What I said I would do: Admittedly, I can be a bit selfish. This year, I plan to take less and give more. To people we know. To people we don't. It's so easy to want, want, want. Time to show a little love to someone other than myself. 
  • What I did: Gave more! Granted, I probably didn’t give as much as I intended when I declared the goal, but I gave more nonetheless. Some recipients were people I know. Some were strangers. Good mix of giving, I suppose.
2. Simplify.
  • What I said I would do: I must de-clutter, purge and simplify my life. For real this time. I'm getting rid of clothes, furniture, household décor. The excess must go. (This goal goes hand in hand with the "give more" goal, huh?)  
  • What I did: I kind of, sort of tackled this goal. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you “once a hoarder, always a hoarder” (of clothes, photo frames and vases, mostly). Now that we’re moving into a brand new casa, this goal is a big priority for 2013. I’m getting rid of all kinds of stuff, and I LOVE it. Feels good to purge. Problem is: now I want all new stuff to go with the all new house!
 3. Find a church we love and GO!
  • What I said I would do: This needs to be a priority for us. Jonathan and I love to sleep in on Sunday mornings (whatever "sleeping in" means when you have a baby), but we need to get our butts out of bed and introduce Elena to God. Yea, kind of important.   
  • What I did: Nothing (embarrassingly). My daughter knows Santa (who she refers to as “Tanta”), but if you ask her about Jesus, she looks at you like you have three heads. MAJOR fail. I'm working on it. Sort of. Not gonna list my excuses here. That's another post for another day.
4. Get out of debt and SAVE!
  • What I said I would do: This is probably numero uno for me. We're already so close to accomplishing this goal. I can taste it. By early spring, we'll be debt-free and one step closer to buying a house we love. Ohhh, I cannot wait!   
  • What I did: Mission accomplished! We paid off debt in 2012, and I started a new job in July. We’ve saved money like mad, and now we’re in the process of building a new home. We’ll be moving in a matter of weeks. I couldn’t be happier about it!
The new house (as of January 13). Still lots to do, but move-in day is getting closer and closer!
 5. Lose 15 pounds before Elena's first birthday.
  • What I said I would do: Cliché, I know. But I can't use the "I just had a baby" excuse anymore since the babe is almost eight months old.  I'm still trying to figure out an action plan for this goal. Not sure how I'm going to fit exercise into my daily routine since I am tethered to a baby 24/7. (It's a common misconception that stay-at-home moms have plenty of time to work out. If you believe that, then you are so wrong.) 
  • What I did: In the spring of 2012, I started attending Barre3 classes, which I loved. But, the membership fee was quite expensive (especially when I was a stay-at-home mom trying to get out of debt and save money). In May (right before Elena's birthday), I discovered What’s Beautiful: Team Knoxville, which since changed its name to Knoxville Beauty Hunters. I worked out almost every day all summer, and transformed my mind. My body changed, too, by the way. But, honestly, I was (and am) prouder of the fact that I have no idea whether I lost 15 pounds in 2012, because I got rid of my scale. Letting go of the three-digit number that often dictated my self-worth was one of the best decisions I've ever made. All I know now is that I'm mentally stronger than ever before, and I can wear clothes I haven't worn in years. (Proof that sometimes being a clothes hoarder pays off. Hello, jeans from 2005!)
Elena's first beach trip, and the first time in very a long time this momma bear felt comfortable in her own skin.
2012 was an action-packed year for our family. We experienced a lot. Accomplished a lot. It wasn't perfect, but I'm proud of that part, too. Perfect is boring. 

As far as 2013 goes, I don't have any big goals to declare. Just gonna keep on living and loving (and blogging when I can find the time!)


Monday, January 7, 2013

And the winner is...

Happy Monday!

Hope your week is off to a fantastic start.

Many thanks to the lovely ladies who participated in last week's giveaway. It was a lot of fun to read your comments about parenthood or the anticipation of parenthood. Oh, how I remember the anxious days of pregnancy. "Am I cut out for this whole motherhood thing?" The answer: Yes. You'll be fine. Promise.

Now, for those of you who are expecting #2 or already have more than one kiddo: sorry, can't help ya. I'm still figuring out how to keep up with #1.

Anyway... I'm so happy to announce that Mrs. Christie of "The Reynolds" is the winner of a copy of Secrets of the Mommyhood by Heather Alexander. I happen to know that Christie is expecting her first child (a sweet baby girl), so the timing couldn't be better.

Congrats, Christie! (Send me an e-mail with your address, and I'll drop your prize in the mail this week!)

For those of you who didn't win: turn that frown upside down. You can still get a copy of Heather's book. Visit her website for details.

Also, this isn't my last blog post. I'm not ready to give up on my little online outlet. =)


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goodbye (Maybe) and a Giveaway


So. I’ve been—ahem—away for a while.

Let’s be honest, here. I don’t have time to maintain the blog. I’m a full-time momma and a full-time career woman. Plus, we’re in the process of building a house. “Spare” time is practically nonexistent these days. And, frankly, if I do have spare time I like to spend it with the mini me. Or take a shower. Or sleep. Hell, I’m barely on Facebook or Pinterest anymore. My "internet life” is lagging. (That makes me LOL. Internet life?!)

This all makes me quite sad, though, because I particularly love blogging. I love to write, and blogging is a great way to document life. Marriage, pregnancy, motherhood. All of it. I’ve also met some pretty cool people in the blogosphere (yep, you!)

But I haven’t written a legitimate post since September.

(September was a long time ago. Like, last year.)

It’s probably time to tie a pretty little bow around this lil ol’ blog and call it a wrap.

Truth is, I’m not ready to fully “let it go” though. So, I’m going to carefully consider my options before saying goodbye for good.

Much to ponder.

In the meantime, I have a giveaway to tell y’all about. (Random, I know.)

Heather Alexander from The Mommyhood wrote a book. A BOOK! (I happen to think that’s pretty darn cool.) She’s a Knoxville gal who uses her blog to chronicle parenthood adventures and connect with other moms. Her book (appropriately titled Secrets of The Mommyhood) offers information, practical tips and funny stories about pregnancy and becoming a mother. It’s also a great alternative to the more popular expectant mother books. (Does anyone else think “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is a hot mess?)The Mommyhood is shorter, easier to read and just as informative.

AnnnnndI’m giving away a free copy of the book! (Get excited, yo.)

To enter leave a comment on this post. If you’re a mother, describe what surprises you most about motherhood. If you’re a mom-to-be or just a gal who might have kiddos someday, describe what makes you most nervous about parenthood. All comments must be submitted by Sunday, January 6 at 11:00 p.m. (EST). I'll adraw a number at random and announce the lucky winner on Monday, January 7.

Happy New Year, blogosphere. Hope 2013 is off to an AMAZING start.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours... Merry Christmas!
Framed In Snowflakes Christmas Card
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View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Once upon a time... In the fall of 2004...

In the fall of 2004...
  • George W. Bush was was about to be reelected.
  • Livestrong bracelets were cool.
  • Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook.
  • "Lean Back" by The Terror Squad was like, the best song ever. (Just ask my friend Brittany.)
  • Justin Timberlake still made music.
  • We were all still mourning the loss of Sex and the City.
  • I didn't own a digital camera.
  • Or an iPod.
  • We were all about to die from Bird Flu.
  • I was a 22-year-old super senior at the University of Tennessee. (Ahhh, the good ol' days.)
  • The Tennessee Vols beat the Florida Gators.
Big, big, big moment.
I miss the student section! Except now I am waaay too old to stand for four hours straight.
Overall, it was a good year.

Big game this weekend. Big.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Later rather than sooner

It's been more than a week since I last wrote.

Gah. Promised myself (and you fine people) I'd be back sooner than later. Well, I lied. And I'm beginning to think I suck at life.

Except I don't.

I'm just

It's a problem.

Between mommy duties and my career duties, I have very little time to do selfish things I love. Like blogging. And exercising. And reading. And shopping. And brushing my teeth.

Just kidding. I still brush my teeth (most of the time). Shaving my armpits? Forget it. Ain't happening.

Seriously though... my life is in overload mode. I want to have it all. Do it all. But, frankly, it isn't possible.

There are so many things I want to write about. Things like:
  • Our first family vacay with the mini. Y'all must see the pictures of Elena running around on the beach and splashing in th ocean. I'm talking blog-worthy cuteness at its finest.
  • The Tennessee Vols being ranked (!) and the fact that I'm actively searching for #23 foam fingers. Dead serious.
  • My exercise routine. I know, I know. I've already told you how amazing/incredible/life-changing What's Beautiful: Team Knoxville has been for me. But I need to tell you again.
  • Our big plans to build a house. We have dirt, y'all. Soon, there will be a foundation. I need to document this stuff.
  • Elena's ever-growing vocabulary. The kid can say "sea shell." And "touch down." She's a genius.
  • My daily routine. Seriously. I need to share the daily logistics of life with you.
"When will you write all these posts, Melinda?

Good question.

Don't know.

Gotta go. Lunch break is over, and there are press releases to write.

Love y'all. Miss y'all.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh where, oh where...

I gave up on blogging, apparently.

Unintentionally, I assure you. (Let’s be honest; you barely noticed my absence, if at all. It’s OK. I know I’m not a very big blog deal.)

A LOT has happened since I last posted. Like, A LOT, A LOT. I’m so “behind” I don’t even know where to begin. So, here’s an abbreviated list of what’s happening…  

I started my new job on July 2. (Forgot to tell you I decided to go back to work! Ooops.) After being a stay-at-home momma-bear for a little over a year, I decided (yes, decided) to re-enter the corporate world. I’m working in the corporate communications department of a national healthcare company. So far, so good.
Elena attends preschool, and she loves it. Like, “peace out mom and dad, I have friends now” kind of love.
First day of preschool!
I cried the first time I dropped the babe off at school. I also cried the first time I saw a beautiful finger painting in her backpack. It was perfect, and I didn’t get to help her create it.
This is not the artwork that made me cry.
This is the one that made me realize my daughter is an artistic genius.
I still know how to walk in high heels.
Look out corporate America. Mama Collins is back.
Oldies but goodies. Probably the best impulse buy of my life.
I’m still kicking major butt (mostly my own) at “What’s Beautiful:Team Knoxville.” I have a new outlook on life, body image, self-esteem, the whole deal. Not even kidding. What’s beautiful? I’m beautiful! I actually believe it these days. (Not in vain, but in a self-acceptance, Jesus loves me, so I should love myself kind of way.)
Some of the lovely WBTK ladies! (I'm flexing my big gun on the first row, far right.)
In July, I ran in my first EVER 5K. Like, ran. The whole time. No walking. No stopping. It’s kind of a big deal for this self-described non-runner. And I did it in 38 minutes. That’s not super fast, I know. It's actually considered slow, I guess. But for me, it was a huge deal. I'm running in another 5K in October. Super excited.
You know how some people have 13.1 bumper stickers on their cars to show everyone in traffic they're badass runners? Well, I'm getting one. Except mine will say "5K." Gotta start somewhere, right?
I have no idea what I weigh anymore. I gave my scale to my trainer. It was (and is) one of the best decisions of my life. I also made a promise to myself and the WBTK girls not to step on a scale for one year.
The day I gave up the scale for good. I refuse to let a three-digit number dictate my self-worth. ThankYouVeryMuch.
Elena is such a BIG girl these days. Well, not that big. At 15-months-old, she weighs a whopping 16 pounds. That kid is sooo Little People Big World.

Oh yea, we decided to build a house. Like, contract is signed, cash money is deposited. Like, "hey y'all --- we're moving!!!" 
Yep. A LOT has happened since I last posted. Hope to be back to the blogging world sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's been a while since I've participated in WILW. But I'm baaaack. (For now, anyway.) 

I am loving that I spent last weekend with my BFFs. Husband-free, baby-free, Facebook-free weekend on the lake with my favorite people? Yes, please!

Rachel, me, Sheryl, Brittany D. and Brittany C.
I am loving that several close friends are expecting little ones this year... More babies to love!

I am still loving my new workout regimen. It has been years since I've felt this good. (More updates from the front lines of bootcamp coming soon!)

Before a 6:00 a.m. workout!
I am loving that the husband and I are in the midst of planning a family vacation. I haven't been to the beach since our Antigua Babymoon. The sea is calling...
Jon and me at Half Moon Bay in Antigua
And, finally, I am loving my beautiful baby girl.

She is just amazing.

Happy Wednesday, friends! The weekend is near!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Miss Priss Does Dollywood

Last week, my mom and I took Miss Priss to Dollywood.

If you're not from the south, or you're just unfamiliar... Dollywood is an insanely popular amusement park created by the one and only Dolly Parton. It's where rollercoasters meet bluegrass. And where you can eat a week's worth of calories in funnel cake, corndogs and cotton candy. It's redneck heaven. And oh-so fun.
My girl and me at Dollywood!
Elena riding the carousel for the first time. She didn't hate it!
On the carousel.
MiMi and Miss Priss
On the ducky ride... she LOVED the ducky ride!
Yes, her over-protective momma rode the ducky ride with her.
Playing in the kiddie area.
Self-picture at the end of the day...
And, finally, ya gotta see this cute video of Elena on the Ducky ride. She thought it was so fun!


So cute, right?! We're going back later this week for another Dollywood adventure. Fun times ahead.

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