Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

This year has undoubtedly been the best year of my life. Among all the incredible things that happened, I got to see my baby sister and quite a few wonderful friends get married, we welcomed a new niece into the world, my best friend moved home, and I was able to stand in front of (almost) all of my closest family and friends and declare my intentions to spend the rest of my life with my amazing husband.

It’s going to be hard to top this year.

That’s not to say there weren’t some negatives because there were, and there will continue to be. Such is life.

However, I am determined to keep the good, the happy, the positives rolling in 2015. As you are aware (or at least should be if you’ve been around these parts at all over the last few years), I am a sucker for challenges. While work is generally a constant source of stress and frustration for me, this year I have learned/been reminded time and time again that when I am pushed out of my comfort zone, when I am CHALLENGED to focus on something other than my current dilemma, I thrive. I grow and change for the better.

It’s very easy to say, “Yes, this year/week/month I’m going to PUSH myself.” I’ve done it. Time and again. And time and again I’ve relaxed back into a routine, back into the depths of my oh-so-comfortable couch, and said, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

That’s the thing about New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow is actually the beginning of a whole new year. I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I always figure if you want to change something, do it now, not when January rolls around. However, January is right here. On top of that, I’ve got some partners in crime who somehow knew/could tell or have flat out been told that I need a good, solid kick in the pants to make some of the changes I’ve been talking about since far too long ago.

Therefore, 2015 has been dubbed the year of the challenge.

First, my dearest aunt Melissa invited me (and a bunch of family, which is always motivating) to a healthy living challenge. Eight weeks long. Plenty long enough to make some better habits (veggies, get in my face). I don’t have any intention of winning this challenge, as my daily afternoon hot chocolate is sometimes the only thing that keeps me from freezing into a solid block of ice at my desk, but the family element, the extra motivation, that is what I’m counting on to push me out the door when I’d rather take a nap.

Second, in continuing to focus on the positives when things get a little rocky, I’m going to participate in a challenge similar to my Instagram 100 Days of Happy. That was a challenge that I was sad to see end, and honestly, I should have just continued it. This year, Katie (my wonderful friend Heather’s sister) is spearheading a small change challenge. The purpose is to focus on small, easy changes on a daily basis to bring more light and happiness to your life.

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Seem like something you’d like to do too? Head over to this page right here to sign up. This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard about it. I’m excited for another reason to focus daily on something to make my life better or to just put more smiles on my face.

And last. The big one. Oh my goodness. This one is something I unequivocally blame Ange for. Phew. Guys, this year Ange and I are going to run for a combined 2,015 miles. Which means I’ve signed up, literally put money where my mouth is, to run over 1000 miles by the end of 2015.

I just….whew, I have a lot of FEELINGS about all of this. Especially given just how many miles I’m looking at running starting tomorrow when I’ve run approximately five times since my last half marathon in October.

ESPECIALLY when today’s run was cut short because HOLYCRAPIT’SCOLDOUTSIDE. I suppose not knowing that it was only 18F/-8C was a good thing or I may not have had the wherewithal to walk out the front door.

The thing is, I’ve got reasons to believe I’ll not only meet this challenge, but surpass it. Well, reason.

I’d considered not posting anything about it, but you know, screw it.

I’m running a marathon this year. And I’m terrified and elated and worried sick and intimidated and excited and in equal parts want to vomit and giggle. I know I swore up and down that my Disney race would be my only full. It was, for many reasons that I’ll not expound on here, a miserable experience, and then, for many reasons that I’ll also not expound on here, I decided to do another.

So I’m trying again.

And this. This I believe will be my biggest challenge of all. Physically, mentally, emotionally, this will be my biggest challenge. There will be plenty of other races, I’m sure (of course I am, as I’m already signed up for others), but this one is the big one.

Woah, this got rambly. Let me explain! No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

1. CHALLENGES!
2. Healthy Living in 2015! More veggies! Fewer sweets!
3. Instagram and small changes! (Go sign up!!)
4. 2,015 (well, 1007.5) miles in 2015!
5. Marathon!

No matter what happens, 2015 is going to be a great year. I’m DETERMINED to make it a great year.

Happy New Year, my friends!

Happy

Oh my goodness. You know how sometimes after coming home from a long weekend you can end up with a vacation hangover? That feeling where you’d so much rather be where you left, like you can’t even stay awake because you played so hard?

This trip left me with a happy hangover.

Seriously. Best. Weekend. Ever.

I could give you a whole run-down recap of the thing, but I know Ange is currently writing a race recap that will span TWO POSTS. I’ll just reblog those. 🙂

Real quickly, though, the 10k was MUGGY. Oh man. My gills had dried up from last summer (thanks a lot, winter), so I could barely breathe. Five of us stopped right at the mile 6 mark so that we could wait for our friend Lo, who was running her very first 10k. The look on her face when she rounded that corner nearly made me cry! So we finished the race running in a pack around her (pretty sure she crossed the finish line before us), and what made it better was the number of people around us who started cheering for her too. Have you ever finished a race with tears in your eyes? I have. It was incredible.

The half marathon was the slowest half marathon I’ve ever run (by an HOUR…and that’s counting the first half of the full last year). It was also the most fun half marathon I’ve ever run. SO. MANY. PICTURES. Not even kidding, we waited in line for over 15 minutes for the picture with Mickey and Minnie.

mickey

And? It was worth every single second.

I know that I didn’t ever put up a mile 19 dedication, but I’m ok with that. The last mile was a combination of exhaustion and sweat and a bit of pain and a whole lot of happiness.

But for simplicity’s sake, I’ll dedicate it to Pop Chips, which I knew were waiting for me at the finish line.

The rest of the time spent with five absolutely INCREDIBLE women before, during, and after these races made the whole weekend that much more special. I just….whew! I don’t really have words for how amazing they made this weekend.

There are already plans in the works for future races and trips, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

And of course, then there’s this.

http://24hoursofhappy.com/

Stay happy, my friends.

That’s What I Love About Sunday

I’m convinced that some days are just meant to remind you that things are good. Life is good. Today is very much one of those days.

As I’m sitting here at the computer, sipping coffee and listening to my fiance snore in our bedroom, I am happy.

Here are some other things that make me happy:

–Almond Joy Creamer

–Setting a date for our wedding (September 26, 2014) and signing the contract/turning in the deposit for our venue!

–The picture of my baby sister in her (newly found) wedding dress

–The waffles I’ll be making once the fiance wakes up

–My imminent return to the Breaking Bad marathon I’ve had going this weekend

–Being invited into a third fantasy football league this year

–Adam’s niece’s reaction to being asked to be a flower girl (pensive look, sip from her Capri Sun, and a big fat “Nope!”). She has since rescinded her no. 🙂

–Knowing that my aunt Melissa and my dear friend Sarah will be in STL in just four short weeks!! (we’ll discuss the fact that there’s been very little training for the Tough Mudder they’ll be here for later)

–That even though my engagement ring is off being re-sized, I have the ring I received on my birthday as an adequate substitute for my left hand

–The Sunday Night Dinner on the agenda for tonight, complete with incredible friends and a cheddar/bacon cheeseburger slated to go straight into my face hole

–The weather we’ve been having lately!! Mid-August, mid-70s to 80s? I’ll take it.

–Hugs

–Love–friends falling in new love, friends still being in love after many years, friends who get giddy and breathless talking about marrying their fiance, and my own love, who is still asleep but who I want to be awake so we can have waffles. I love love!

happy

New York State of Mind

The rest of the story in a somewhat Wordless Wednesday (anyone remember the last time I did one of those? Me neither).

Because I missed it last time, here is the most awesome picture of the large pizza the fiance (!!!) and I finished off at Grimaldi’s.

pizza

Delicious.

And now? Our engagement weekend in pictures.

Stadium 13!

Stadium 13!

They never would have kept this up at Busch Stadium with that kind of rain.

They never would have kept this up at Busch Stadium with that kind of rain.

Brunch in the West Village!

Saturday brunch in the West Village!

highline

Highline in Chelsea.

fave

Cupcakes at Billy's!

Cupcakes at Billy’s!

Central Park, and obligatory stop by Strawberry Fields.

Central Park, and obligatory stop by Strawberry Fields.

Quidditch!

Quidditch!

Matilda on Broadway

Matilda on Broadway

Times Square

Times Square

Rockefeller Plaza

Rockefeller Plaza

South Tower Memorial Pool

South Tower Memorial Pool

And then possibly the best part. When we got home, he took me to the place where we had our first date, Ted Drewes. Waiting for us were friends and family ready to celebrate our brand new engagement.

This part was supposed to be a surprise as well, but my sister Melissa kind of spilled the beans before I was even off the plane. Granted, this is a good thing as if it had been a surprise, I would have burst into tears when I got there, and no one would have gotten a word out of me for an hour.

Emotion + exhaustion + excitement + THAT surprise = Ann’s meltdown.

We’re going to ignore that there were moments of meltdown, like when our friends from Springfield (3 hours away) walked up. Like hugging my best friend and nearly asking her to be my maid of honor right then and there (I did wait to ask….for a day). Like showing the video clip of the actual proposal to my mom and future mother in law.

Yeah. Tears.

Ted Drewes! Where we had our first date.

Ted Drewes! Where we had our first date.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Hey Baby, I Think I Wanna Marry You

So this happened.

IMG_0084The story!

Friday morning, I was woken up at 450am (ick). I was really confused because Adam was waking me up, and I was kind of worried that I was sleeping through my alarm. Then I noticed that it was the four o’clock hour, not the five o’clock, and I was confused. Adam goes, “How much do you trust me?” which is not something to say to a not-quite-awake person. I, in my ever so eloquent state, mumbled, “Um, a lot?” So he told me to put my glasses on and handed me two half sheets of paper.

It took me a second to realize that it was a boarding pass. Then I registered that it said LaGuardia. Then I registered that my name was on it. AND THEN I registered that the date was for that day.

And then I flipped a little bit.

I asked about whether I needed to call into work. He told me it was taken care of. I reminded him of plans I’d had with April and Ali for the weekend. He told me they were fake plans, and that it was taken care of. He told me that I had one hour to pack and get ready (he did apologize profusely for me having to pack, but he wasn’t sure what I’d want, etc).

So I packed. Kind of. It took me a bit to figure out what I needed to take since all he would tell me is that I needed walking shoes, comfortable stuff for walking, and then something a little fancier for Saturday night. Do you know how difficult it is to pack multiple options into a tiny carry-on bag? Difficult. Mostly because of the shoes.

Anyway, as we drove off to the airport he played two songs for me. Sinatra’s New York and Jay-Z/Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind. I started teasing him about missing opportunities. Where was “Uptown Girl”? Where was “New York State of Mind”? Heh. As we were driving, I googled which baseball team was home because I know him, and obviously we were going to a game since I’d never been to either stadium.

After getting through security, he told me he had a surprise for me and handed me a little bag, out of which I pulled a fancy new camera. He said, “We are NOT taking just cell phone pictures while we’re in New York.” And then he handed me an envelope containing tickets to both a Yankees game (see?) and Matilda on Broadway.

People keep asking me if I had any idea this would be coming, but because he pulled out the tickets immediately, I really didn’t. I figured it was just a fun surprise since I’m trying to get to all the stadiums and have always wanted to go to NYC.

When we got there, we took our bags to the hotel and headed off to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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He said he wanted to take me to a pizza place that came very highly recommended. As we were walking across the bridge, he was telling me how there were a ton of locks locked on the bridge, as people would write/engrave names/dates/etc on them and then leave them on the bridge. I thought this idea was awesome and was really bummed I didn’t know since I had an unused lock at home.
IMG_0067
Here’s where I have to interject that in hind sight, I was incredibly blind to just about everything once I figured out we were going to NYC, but during everything, I was just happy to be there.

We ate at this place called Grimaldi’s (omg, YUM), and after we finished off a large pizza (yep) we took a walk down to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. We were just kind of walking along, and I sat down to just look at Manhattan, as I was still marveling that I was there in the first place.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, and figuring he was getting up so we could keep walking I started to grab my stuff, but then froze as he was on one knee in front of me. My jaw just dropped as he slid the ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. I don’t even think I fully was able to choke out “of course I will” before I was crying and kissing him all at once. He told me later that he had been looking for a somewhat secluded area so it could be a private thing between the two of us, and for NYC he did ok. There were, though, six people who were walking behind us who started clapping and cheering for us, which I was surprisingly ok with.

We started walking back to the bridge to cross back over into Manhattan, and we hadn’t gotten more than 20 feet when he told me there was just one more thing and handed me a hunk of tissue paper, which contained the lock in the very first picture of this post. And then I cried again.

Shortly after, we stopped so I could call my family, and then we took a deep breath, knowing our phones were about to die, and put the picture on facebook and twitter.

And then our phones exploded.

We talked to his mom for a little bit as we walked back to the bridge, and then shoved the phones into bags and pockets to give us time to find a place to put the lock.

As we walked by one place, we realized that there weren’t too many locks and that we’d be able to get ours on pretty easily. It took us just a moment, but THEN we realized that the light post we were standing next to looked directly down at the bench where he proposed. So there we left it.

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And there we will go back to find it over the years. I will never see the Brooklyn Bridge, whether in pictures or TV/movies or in person without feeling very fluttery in my stomach, remembering the absolute apex of happiness in my life so far.

Happy

I am happy.

So happy that sometimes it feels unfair, like I’m taking more than my share. I recognize this is flawed logic, but still.

Reasons that I’m happy!

  • Just spent the most PERFECT weekend with GCB. Pub crawl Saturday, quiet Sunday, anniversary and Cardinals home opener Monday, and waffles and turning in the keys to my old apartment Tuesday. I don’t know that I can fully express JUST how good it feels to be done, DONE, with the old place. When I moved in, I was finally back to living alone (which I truly enjoy). But this, the living with the boyfriend thing, is SO MUCH BETTER than living alone. That and the perfect weather on Monday, baseball being back, recreating our first date (Ted Drewes!!), and just relaxing made all four days out of work so worth it. Going back to work today was rough. Ha.
  • This weekend my lovely friend Josey, along with her awesome husband and daughter, are coming to St Louis! Baseball, good friends, beers. What more could you ask for?
  • NEXT weekend, my roommate from my freshman year of college, Laura, and her husband are coming in for the Tap’n’Run. That weekend will be HOCKEY, good friends, and beers. And running.
  • And then there are the plans. OH the plans! Trips to the lake and to Chicago; my sister, brother-in-law, and adorable nephew coming to Missouri in July; going to visit family in Baltimore in May; concerts, baseball games, SUMMER, a new nephew!!!
  • On top of that (there’s more?!). The running. And GCB running WITH me! Tough Mudder in September, then a month later a Halloween half marathon. I am SO excited to have him want to share in these type moments with me. I really hit the jackpot finding him.

Things are just so, SO good right now. I feel lucky every single day.

Perma-grin, right over here.

Two Weeks

Two weeks from today GCB and I sign the lease to our very awesome, very OURS, very downtown loft.

Guys, I am FINALLY moving back into the city!!! I lived in the Central West End for a year back in 2008, and I LOVED it. I loved being able to run for less than half a mile and end up in Forest Park. I loved walking to assorted eateries and coffee shops. I loved the noise, the PACE, the fact that it seemed to pulse on exceptionally busy days. I moved straight to U City after the CWE and have been here for the last four years.

But oh man, I am so excited to get back. This time it will be even better! This time I’ll be MUCH more financially stable. Not to mention the whole “walking distance to both Busch Stadium AND Scottrade” thing; being super close to things like our favorite restaurant, my dentist, and the place I would go for PT on my hip; guaranteed parking spots; grocery store super close; etc.

The fact that I’m finally going to officially live with GCB? Icing on the cake.

The only problem? It’s still two weeks away. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW FAR AWAY THAT IS?!

You see, two weeks is too long to go ahead and pack my kitchen, since we still use the majority of stuff frequently (hell, yesterday I used a pie plate to make chicken pot pie….when I’d originally thought I’d be packing it yesterday). Clothes? Yeah, right. I live in the midwest. I will probably need t-shirts AND hoodies over the next couple weeks. And you’ll all be pleased to know that no, in fact I cannot pack my bathroom stuff either as I’m quite attached to regular bathing.

I just…..I want to move NOW. I want it as bad as this Harbaugh wants cake. I WANT IT NOW.