Dec 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

This post will be short and sweet! I haven't really been blogging enough to recap but the highlights of my year have been getting married (whoot whoot, 4 months tomorrow!), getting my puppy, and my big brother getting engaged! Pretty great year for my family!
My first trip to Chicago, running my first 5k, and chopping off my hair were among the other top events!
Here is to wishing you all the happiest new year and I hope to get to know you all better! I'm off to get ready for my new year's festivities,  many sloppy pictures to follow tomorrow!







Dec 28, 2012

That List Everyone Hates

Yes it's time for those New Year's resolutions. The ones that we all make but let's be honest, never make it past the first few weeks of January unless you're really lucky. I think my problem is I always throw them together on the last day of the year. They're super vague and stuff I know my lazy ass will never accomplish.

This time I've been thinking about mine over the last two months. The things I never accomplished this year because I was all ga-ga over wedding stuff. Things that have become important to me. Things I want to get back into the habit of doing.

So, here is my list for 2013! I like to make them extra long so I at least give myself a chance of accomplishing some of them

1. Be more spontaneous
Sneaking into the pool at our hotel the night before State Cheerleading
I used to be the most spontaneous person and lately I've been feeling quite like a grandma. It's fun to have plans to look forward to but I want more impromptu events in my life.

2. Get back to my "cheerleading" body
I'm the cheeser in the bottom right corner
Or my high school body. Whichever you would like to call it. I know this one is lame because everyone does it and most people fail. I know I'm better off to do it now because it's an uphill battle and the farther I fall the harder it will be. I really haven't gained more than 5 pounds over the past few years but I feel really out of shape. I would love to have my abs back and feel fairly confident in a swimsuit. I've lived the lazy college student life and thankfully I didn't pack on the full 15 pounds! There are two gyms on campus including one where most of the machines have personal TV's (best motivation for me) so I really don't have an excuse. Time to get off my lazy buns and do something. Plus, I would really like to be in tip-top shape for my first trip to Florida in 3 months!

3. Become more organized
from barelymommy.blogspot.com
I'm seriously the most unorganized person ever. I have such good intentions but they never last more than a week. This rings especially true with my blog. I plan to post every day but then I either can't think of something or I just forget. So in order to help with this I've already started a blog calendar and a daily life calendar. I'm much more productive when my day is filled with things I need to get done rather than free time where I should be doing things. Free time = Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogger, Repeat. I have my class and work schedule finished so now I'm scheduling in blog time and workout time among a few other things. I found awesome blog planner printouts here and here. The personal calendars I love are here and here {the second one printed out sort of funky so I'm going to try the first one}.

4. Make a better effort to stay in contact with friends/reconnect with old friends
Bachelorette party..nuff said
Over this past year I've lost contact with most of my high school friends. I got pretty good at keeping in contact pre-wedding but then I sort of got caught up in the whole newlywed thing {sorry friends!}. This past semester I didn't live around any of my friends from freshman year so I didn't have much contact with them either. Although I hate feeling like I'm the one who always initiates the conversations, I feel even worse when I'm stubborn and then we don't talk at all. I'm going to work on being the one to get in touch at least once a week with all of my friends.

5. Learning to be a good wife
We are never serious. Wedding day wouldn't have been complete without a cake smash!
Being a wife is absolute unexplored territory for me. Although I'm dying to have kids like right this second, M and I have decided that college comes first. So while we're still somewhat free of obligations I want to learn to be the best wife I can for my husband. There are tons of ways to be a cookie cutter wife but I don't want that. I want to know what M needs from me as a wife and how I can serve God through my wifely duties. 

6. Serve at least 1 charity
These kids are practically my little siblings, but I'd love to fill that big sister role for someone
I want to join Big Brothers, Big Sisters. This has been a goal of mine for quite a while. While I live in a bigger town it's something I can actually achieve. This year I'm going to find out what I can do to get involved. I also was really affected by a presentation on child trafficking in my human sexuality class and I really want to get involved with that. I know two charities is a HUGE goal for one year but I'm really hoping I can accomplish them this year. {If you have any information you can give me about either subject or other charities you're involved in that would be great!}

7. Grow in my faith

I feel like a lot of kids get distanced from their faith while figuring out who they are. I know of many people who haven't but I was not one of them. I've been really bad over the past few years about diligently exercising my faith and attending church. I pray and talk to God every day but that has been about the extent of it. I went on a mission trip as a freshman in high school and it was one of the most life changing experiences I ever had.
This year I want to attend a service at least every other Sunday. I want to actively read the Bible and grow in my faith and understanding. I would love to do more mission work also.

8. Find my place
I hope photography can be a passion of mine over the next year
I feel like I just haven't quite discovered who I am. I want to find my place in this world. Figure out what I'm meant to do with my life. I especially want to find my place at college. I want to be involved in something I can be really passionate about. I've been somewhat afraid to put myself out there and find something I love. I haven't made any new friends this past semester and that makes me really sad. I want to learn something new about myself. I went to college certain of what my major was going to be. I switched after my first semester. Now I'm a full year into my new major and although I love kids I'm still not sure what I want to do with my future in this major. I feel like I just haven't figured it out yet. Maybe that's okay, I'm only 19. But I would really like to find something this year that makes me feel like I'm meant to be there.

9. Encourage others

I love the blog world. I feel like it has helped me realize a lot of things about myself over the past few months. One thing I've realized is that we all need a little bit of encouragement. My biggest goal, above all the other resolutions this year, is just to constantly encourage others. God has granted me a lot of support among other things this past year and now I want to pay it forward.


These are my resolutions for the next 365 days. They may be a long shot but I'm hoping 2013 leads me to be a better person. I would love to hear what some of your resolutions are this year! Good luck and may 2013 be a prosperous year for you all!

xoxo, Mandy

disclaimer: images 1-2,4-6 belong to me, images 7-9 are from google

Dec 27, 2012

Hard Day

Ever have that one phone call or message that just sort of throws your whole day off? Not anything major or catastrophic, just sort of puts you in a funk.

That message came for me this morning.

A message that I just wasn't ever expecting to receive. From an old friend who I haven't spoken to in almost 6 months.

Long story short, she was supposed to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. Things happened and she was no longer a bridesmaid. It was a tough decision; one that took me a long time to be okay with.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. A week before the wedding said friend informed me that they just found out her 1 year old daughter had a brain tumor (later discovered to be cancer). I feel maybe things went south with us when they did because God was watching out for us both. It would have been hard to have her drop out of the wedding the week before and I don't think she would have wanted to make that decision. I'm just not sure.

Today she messaged me for the first time since the original blowup.

I was shocked and not quite sure where to go from there..

Because her daughter has been going through such a struggle it was really hard for me to make the decision that I did originally. I felt it was better for me to pray my heart out from afar and not try to work through the problems between the friend and myself.

Now I'm stuck in a hard place.

I was extremely hurt by this person but I have never felt right about the situation. It was an awful decision that I had to make so I could get myself to a better place. Now that I'm there, I don't know if I can take on this friendship again.

I have forgiven her but I don't know where to go.

This may be over-sharing but I just want to ask my blog friends, would you say an extra prayer for me tonight? I'm struggling and I just need help.

xoxo, Mandy

Dec 26, 2012

One Piece of Advice I Never Got

When you're engaged marriage people crawl out from under their rocks just to give you the best advice they were ever given. Let me tell you, most of it sucks. They insist on giving it to you anyway.

Fast Forward.

Holidays are busy. There is no way around that. From Thanksgiving all the way until January all weekends are generally full of holiday related functions. At least that's how it is in my life!

For some reason this year I got slammed with all of my extended family Christmases in one weekend. Normally my mom's side has Christmas the first weekend in December. My dad's side gets together the last weekend before Christmas. Because of misunderstandings and conflicts both families decided to have Christmas this past weekend. This would have been overload enough for me but that's not all! 

Being as this is my first married Christmas M and I wanted to make a real effort to get to his extended family's Christmas. He doesn't have many cousins so he only has one extended family Christmas which was usually done around Thanksgiving. This is the first year it hasn't been so we decided we would go no matter what.

His cousin is in hockey and has a very busy schedule so only one weekend worked for them. We agreed only to realize that was the weekend both of the other get togethers were.

Awesome.

So we missed one Christmas. Drove 3 hours to the next Christmas. Drove 2 more hours to the next one.

The one piece of advice I have never been given is how to deal with spending equal time with both sides of your family. It is seriously hard! I love spending time with my family and I'm pretty stubborn about giving up time with them.

I know marriage is about compromise but is there any way to make this easier? I lost two family members on my dad's side in the last two years so missing that get together was not easy. Tears were shed. I know that it's something I'm just going to have to get used to but sharing holidays is never something I've had to deal with before.

Married friends, how do you deal with splitting your time?






xoxo, Mandy

In Need of Help Bloggy Friends

So I met this totally cool Florida girl my first week of college. I'd never met anyone from Florida so I was immediately intrigued. She became a great friend to me and even though she switched schools I still love her to death.

During our many late night talks she told me about a life-changing experience for her. It was called Outward Bound. You may not have heard of it (I hadn't) but I will let her give you a quick recap. She talks about it here on her website.

The school is in danger of closing because of a lack of funding. This was a huge part of making her the amazing girl she is today and I want to help her in any way that I can. I'm asking for your help bloggy friends.

If you could donate anything, even just a dollar to help keep this amazing place open I will be forever grateful to you! My friend would be heartbroken if this place closed so this is a favor to us both!

My friend at Outward Bound Mazama

Think about it and spread the word!

Thanks everyone,
xoxo Mandy

Post Overload and Embarrassing Pictures

So I've been majorly slacking on the posts. I got pretty caught up in the holidays and I lost my laptop cord for awhile so I couldn't post. But.. I'm baaaaaack!

I'm going to have multiple posts today because if I don't do them today I'll forget to post them or I won't remember what I really wanted to say about them.

Just to start off my posts with some laughs, check out this embarrassing picture I found of myself today while looking through Facebook pictures.


Thank you frat houses for not having a place to go to the bathroom..

Now that I've given you an embarrassing picture, I can get on with my other posts. Maybe I'll post an awkward picture of myself every week just because everyone likes to see them. Maybe I won't. We will see!

We had a downright blizzard last Wednesday-Thursday which stranded us at my mom and dad's for two days. Welcome. To. Iowa. I'm talking complete whiteout conditions. The world could have ended and we wouldn't have known. Eventually we ventured out because we had Christmas Saturday in Des Moines. We counted 40 cars in the ditch in about an hour's time including multiple jack-knifed semis and flipped over cars. It was a little scary.

We got back to our apartment only to realize 50 degrees was too low to have the thermostat set while we are gone. I couldn't feel my toes for a few hours.

Saturday we ventured to Des Moines where we counted 43 cars in the ditch in about a half hour distance. That was after the tow ban had been lifted and they pulled cars out already. Even more scary. We spent the rest of the night with M's family celebrating and playing cards.

Sunday we spent even more time driving to one of my family Christmases. Too much driving for a two day period but I finally got to see my puppy again so I was happy. 

Christmas eve was spent at Mom and Dad's wrapping presents before we headed off to church. Remember when I said I cry at just about everything? Yep. Cue tears during the candle light singing of Silent Night. Good thing my whole family wasn't around or I would have gotten picked on for that one.

Christmas day we spent eating ridiculous amounts of food, opening presents, and picking on each other. Gage came away with the most presents out of all of us. Spoiled brat. His present from "Grandma and Grandpa" was bigger than mine. He should be in heaven today.

Then Dad and my brother had to try out their new toys so we shuffled out into the frigid cold to watch. After about 15 minutes of listening to guns go off I was done. I headed back inside to bake my favorite bars. 

I know what I want for Christmas next year. Kitchen-Aide mixer please, hubby!

Well there was my truly boring recap of Christmas! Hope you're day was filled with overstuffed bellies and lots of  laughter. 

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

xoxo, Mandy

Dec 20, 2012

Just Hand Me Some Kleenex..



Today I officially decided I'm a crier. I wasn't always such a crier, that I can remember, just in the last few years it started. Who knows why I am, I just am.

I cry when I'm stressed out. I cry when something good happens to people. I cry when I feel proud of someone. I cry when I think about how much I want kids. I cry when I think about how lucky I am to have all the good things in my life. Sometimes I cry for just absolutely no reason at all.


This is probably what I look like every time it happens.
You get the point, I just cry about everything. Funny thing about that is, a lot of times I don't cry when I thought I would. Example: when I got engaged I pictured myself saying yes with tears in my eyes. Not quite how it happened. I actually didn't start crying until I started calling people to let them know. I'd like to think it's because that's when it finally sunk in but who knows why. I think M thought I wasn't happy about it because I didn't cry. I reassured him that he did everything perfectly!

Some times it seriously gets out of hand. I'll watch a youtube video that someone posted on Facebook and end up in tears. Not a video that's generally sad, just a random video. I have a weird sense of pride in people I've never met before and will never meet. Some times I catch myself crying and I think "What the hell am I doing this for?" 

One thing I know is that when I have kids some day, they can be embarrassed by the fact that I'm always crying. I hear when you have kids of your own you get super emotional. If that's the case I'm pretty screwed. Unless it's one of those weird things where I don't cry like I think I will.

Am I the only one who is like this? Please tell me I'm not alone!

Also I just wanted to say that I don't believe the world is ending tomorrow. I think all of this is just as blown out of proportion just like every other time. We don't have any knowledge of when the world is ending, that's up to God. It seems like we need some sort of wake up call to make us realize what we have. I hope when everyone wakes up tomorrow they have a new sense of appreciation for this day and every day after. Each day is not a right but a gift. I hope we all start to look at it that way! I'm so glad for everything I've been given and I hope to have an even greater appreciation in the future.

xoxo Mandy

Dec 19, 2012

Wedding Wednesday #5: Seeing My Man

I'm awaiting the arrival of this blizzard we're supposed to be getting. To me it just sounds like the typical Iowa weather we haven't been experiencing the last two years. Maybe I'll get to have a white Christmas again!

One of my favorite parts of the wedding day was when I got to see M for the first time. We were in the same place for almost ten minutes before I got to see him and the anticipation was killing me! I had to hide for a little bit so he wouldn't see me until I was ready. We were at a park where a band was practicing, people were taking pictures, and kids were all over the playground. Tons of people offered to move their cars so I could get closer but every time I had to explain I was "hiding" until the right moment.

My photographer was awesome! She had us set up in a secluded area so no one else got to be there but us. She caught the expression on M's face perfectly. The look on his face is one that I will never forget! We finally got to be together, going through everything together. I was starting to get anxious and I probably would have had a breakdown had I not gotten to see him. Plus, we got in cool pictures! (Thanks Fonda Photography!)

If you don't want to see your man before the wedding I totally support that. For me, I wanted to have that special moment between us before anyone else saw us. It was important for both of us! If you haven't seen pictures of first looks, google them. They may just persuade you! As for walking down the aisle, it was even more special because we got to see each other before hand. I still cried like a baby but Mom said she couldn't even tell so success on my part. I must have pulled it together on my long walk to M.

I think this looks like I'm picking my nose..but my family likes it

Biggest smile I've ever seen :)



One of my absolute favorites!


Quite hard for us to keep a straight face haha



Linking up to this Wedding Wednesday party! Check it out for more posts :)

A Happy Wife in New Orleans

Did you do a first look or was your aisle the first place you saw the one you love?

xoxo Mandy

fondaphotography.com

Dec 18, 2012

Day of Silence in This Big World




Any donations made to Newtown Youth and Family Services will be donated directly to those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. 

xoxo Mandy

Dec 17, 2012

Charity

I've been having a hard time coming up with words since Friday. I'm still in shock that such innocent people lost their lives. I've been taking a deep look at what's important in my life and that's why there has been an absence of posts. Tomorrow I'll be participating in a Blogger Day of Silence {learn more here.} and I will only be posting the button.

However, this is a post I've been wanting to do for awhile. I have been growing my hair out since I was a freshman in high school (about 5 1/2 years) because I wanted to have long hair for my wedding. About two weeks after the wedding I was ready to chop it all off for something new! I donated my hair to Locks of Love when I was in elementary school and I wanted to do it again. This time I got to donate 15 1/2 inches to some beautiful young kids who really needed it! If you haven't gotten a chance to learn about Locks of Love, check it out.

I'm a pretty big daddy's girl and Daddy likes long hair so I was feeling a little rebellious when I cut my hair. The first time I donated it he wasn't aware I was going to, end result was a very upset dad. He definitely wasn't happy about it again this time but the benefits of donating it to charity outweighed his disappointment. Here are a few pictures from when I got it cut and how it looks now a few months later.







xoxo Mandy

Dec 13, 2012

Wedding Thursday: The Boys

Wedding Wednesday posts have been some of my favorite posts to read on other blogs. I've been slacking on mine so I thought it would be good to post one. I meant to get to it before we left for home last night but things got crazy during packing. So now it's a wedding Thursday post.

Most girls involved in a wedding love all the goings-on that come with the territory. The boys however, usually not so much. They just go where they're supposed to, listen to orders, and try to cause trouble have fun somewhere in there. The groomsmen in our wedding party were great! They entertained M but didn't cause too much trouble. I'd like to think it was because my brother was there, but he was probably causing trouble too.

I was a little nervous about how M would be feeling on the big day because he stayed with two of the groomsmen after rehearsal and they were planning on getting a bit rowdy. Although a little sleep deprived, I think they did pretty well. Once we met up they were a source of entertainment and stress relief! We couldn't have had a better group of guys by our side that day.














xoxo, Mandy

(Thanks Fonda Photography!) fondaphotography.com