Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Five More Things

Hello, Readers!

It's been a while since I have posted! Have you noticed? I haven't had much time to write quite honestly. But recently I hit another milestone in my life which spawned this post.

I really love lists. I love writing them, checking items off of them, and of course sharing them.

So before my 40th birthday, I made a list of 40 things I have learned in 40 years. I shared one item a day on social media (Facebook) until the big day arrived. Some of the items had humor. Some of the items were serious. All of the items were my observations and musings over the years.

Here we are five years later (there's the milestone...), and you know what? I've learned some more stuff, and thus, I've got more to say. Five more years calls for five more things. Here we go...

41. Empathy and compassion must precede advice. The world needs more empathetic people. We are all consumed with ourselves, aren't we? It's always "how will this affect me" or worse... "That doesn't affect me, so I don't care". Some people are so quick to judge and force blame. Just think how much better the world could be if we stood in another person's shoes first. See with their eyes. Feel what they are feeling. Every person has an inner desire to be understood. So practice empathy and be compassionate. Instead of putting someone in their place... put yourself in their place.

42. Teenagers are harder to raise than toddlers. Now if you are the parent of a toddler, you are probably laughing at me right now. I get it. Every stage of parenting has its challenges. There are pros and cons to every age. And in some ways, teens are just overgrown toddlers... They have meltdowns, they don't like to go to bed on time (but they still need lots of sleep), and they are desperately trying to be independent. They may look and sometimes act like an adult, but they are still children that need and want their parents' approval. But unlike toddlers, teenagers often don't seek it. This new stage of parenting for me has been difficult because I'm a doer. I like to do things for them. And I'm constantly trying to figure out where that invisible line is between being supportive and overbearing. It's mentally exhausting... but keep this in mind....

43. You are stronger than you think - both mentally and physically. And just when you think you can't do it anymore, you do. Just because you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean you should give up right away. If you believe your self-doubt, you'll struggle to meet your goals. It will influence how you feel and giving up can become a habit. Don't let it! If you can stand it for one more minute, stick around for two. Don't let negative thoughts ruin your potential.

44.  Your cheese will always be moved. My gosh, how this has come true for me lately. Don't take things for granted, and don't get too comfortable. Change will be triggered by someone or something. It's inevitable, so stay alert and ahead of the game. Better that you initiate the change and move it to where you want to be.

45. Don't let the things you want make you forget the things you have. We always want more. We always want to be better. And because of this, we sometimes overlook the wonderful things we already have in our lives. So here's another list I have: a list of gratitude. When life gets hard, and it most certainly will, I read this list to remember all of the good things in my life. And when I look at the list, I realize how truly blessed I really am. Life is hard, but it's still all good!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015


It's the end of an era.

Coach Gary Pinkel resigned as head football coach of the Mizzou Tigers a few weeks ago due to health reasons. The team played inspired for their coach on November 14 at Arrowhead against BYU. But the last two games were very typical of this lackluster season ending with a loss to rival Arkansas on November 27. Final record of 5-7. We were invited to a bowl game (yes, even with a losing record) but declined because we're in the middle of a coaching search. Season done.

This is definitely not how I thought the season would go. And I'm sure it's definitely NOT how Coach Pinkel thought his last season would go. But I'm not going to remember him for this season. Not at all. Do you know why?

I remember when the Tigers always had a losing season. Bob Stull was the head coach when I was a student at Mizzou. We were lucky if we had one win. Larry Smith was the next coach. He wasn't much better, but we did have two winning seasons. We went to the Holiday Bowl in 1997 and the Bowl in 1998 under his watch. That was pretty exciting and new. Bowl games were not a regular thing. They were a gift.

Gary Pinkel was hired in 2000. His first few seasons were really rough. It probably wasn't until 2005 when we won the Independence Bowl against South Carolina that Mizzou football became exciting.

Winning seasons became a regular thing and bowl games were expected....which is why this season is so bittersweet.

But I remember...

  • beating Nebraska in 2003 for the first time in 24 years.
  • being the number 1 team in the nation!
  • playing back to back Big 12 Championships (and I went to both games).
  • our team becoming the "Beast from the East" of the SEC.
  • remember earning that title again!

Coach Pinkel put Mizzou football on the map. He has the most wins as a coach of all time earning that with the Cotton Bowl victory in 2014. When I watch Monday Night Football, I look forward to hearing NFL players say they went to the University of Missouri. You make me proud as a football fan and fellow tiger.

Thank you, Coach, for all of the memories you have provided for me and my family. You're the only coach my kids have ever known. You are Mizzou football to them. Your many accomplishments will remain in our hearts forever.

With every ending there is a new beginning! Thank you for bringing Barry Odom back to Mizzou! You know, you kinda hand-picked your successor. How cool is that? Now that the new coach has been named, I'm looking forward to the future. Go Tigers!

"And a bully for ol' Mizzou!"

Thursday, September 10, 2015

And Now I Feel Old

It happened. I finally feel "old". 

It wasn't turning 40. I embraced turning 40 and actually enjoyed it! I'm told over and over again that I don't look my age, so turning 40 didn't affect me at all.

It wasn't my son starting high school. Contrary to what I read from my other mom friends, I don't mind my children getting older. I have an 11 year old and a 14 year old, and they are so much fun! Really!! I love watching them grow and mature. I love the fact that they don't need me as much. I love seeing them become more independent. Sure they still make mistakes and anger me on occasion, but who doesn't? Nobody is perfect. So that doesn't make me feel old.

It wasn't finding my first gray hair. Oh, don't get me wrong. I yanked that sucker out the moment I saw it shimmering among the normal brown strands. And I'm still yanking them out today! No gray hair is safe on my head. I should really just get some highlights in my hair and be done with it, but yanking them out gives me some control over this sign of aging. I like control.

But this thing that made me feel old, I have zero control over. Can you guess what happened that screamed out "YOU'RE OLD"?


Bifocals are something that your grandmother wears. Bifocals are needed because your eyes have presbyopia which literally means "old eye"! How charming. Bifocals are for old eyes. I now wear bifocals. I have old eyes. I. AM. OLD.

Over the past year, I have seen the signs. I would get a headache while reading. I started pulling books and papers away from me when pulling them closer didn't bring them into focus. Small print was completely blurry.  If I were in a dimly lit restaurant, I wouldn't be able to read the menu. For this aging issue, I couldn't just yank out the annoying silvery strand. I needed new glasses.

Now, when I heard that new glasses were a necessity, my immediate thought was "then I'm getting new frames, too!" Shopping!  That's a prefect way to cheer a woman up! So, I picked out new frames, and in two weeks I'll have my new glasses.

I decided to get multi-focal contacts as well. They are a bulls eye design in which I have to look through the close up vision to also see far away. It gave me tremendous vertigo in the beginning. I felt like I had one too many glasses of wine without all the fun! Definitely took some getting used to, but the good part was my vision had improved. When we went out to dinner the first weekend of wearing my new contacts, I could SEE the menu. Success!

Yesterday I picked up my pretty new glasses. Fortunately these are not your grandmother's bifocals. The design is sleek, and the line is NOT there! Progressive lenses are awesome, people. Just like coloring your stubborn gray hair, nobody knows you are wearing bifocals. It's the perfect disguise.

Unless, of course, you see the person tilting their head to walk down the stairs. Oy! Still getting used to walking down stairs. I guess it's just one more learning curve in the game of life.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Tunes Review: Jekyll + Hyde

The long anticipated release of Jekyll + Hyde by Zac Brown Band occurred this week. It's full of transitions from soft to hard and high to low. By the album title alone, you knew they were aiming for kind of a shock. Does it work? Well... I'll let you decide. They've never been ashamed to admit that they will take risks and do their own thing. This album puts an explanation point on that claim.

They shine the brightest on the songs that bring them back to their southern-country roots. "Remedy" has a Celtic sound with heavenly harmonies and inspiring lyrics behind a choir. The arrangement is a bit busy but not out of place. I was a fan of their first single, "Homegrown," after the first listen. It's the fourth track on this album. It has a great head-nodding beat with a solid country sound about growing up in a small town. I've got everything I need, and nothing that I don't. "Dress Blues" written by Jason Isbell is about a soldier who doesn't make it home. Unfortunately this song is buried in the latter half of the album and could be missed. Seek it out. And finally, "Wildfire" is a pretty cool track that's worth a listen.

There are two songs that feature guest artists that I should mention. "Mango Tree" has a big band arrangement that features a wonderful vocal from Sara Bareilles. They harmonize so well together, however the song seems extremely out of place on this album. Following that is a completely opposite track, "Heavy is the Head," which features Chris Cornell. Thick on the guitars and drums, it's certainly more hard rock than country.

Expect the unexpected on this album. That seems to be the overall theme with this band, so maybe just expect more of the same? Except there are more cringe worthy tunes than not on this album which leaves me disappointed overall. This kind of album makes me appreciate iTunes where I can buy the tracks that I really want and just skip the rest.

Overall rating: C-

Notable Tracks: "Homegrown"  "Dress Blues"  "Remedy"

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Timing Just Seemed Right

It was finally time. We've been thinking, scheming, and planning for months now. Searching for the right design, locating the perfect materials, and deciding on colors we could both agree on. It's a little intimidating taking on a project like this, but we were ready....

The BEFORE photo
Bathroom remodel time!

Yep, it's a big project but the timing seemed right. We figured it would take at least a week to complete. We were almost right about that. But since we were flexible on the completion date, that really didn't phase us much. The delays were mainly because we decided to get fancy with the tile design (totally worth it) and just drying time on the grout. Sometimes you forget to factor that in. We had great help, stayed within our budget (a little over but eh...), and LOVE the results.

The "before" photo I posted was actually taken at the end of day two. I completely forgot to snap a photo before they started. So just imagine a tiny shower with a glass door around that wall.  The mud you see was a regular wall which will now become the extended shower.  Also imagine ugly linoleum on the floor and an old white toilet. If you can imagine all of that, you definitely understand why a remodel was necessary! Not pictured is the vanity to the right which did not change.

Day Three
They made great progress and by day three the shower tile was finished! Doesn't it look great?  This picture is pre-grout. I think cutting the tile and doing the diagonal (like I said before, not in the original idea) added some time to the project. A peek around the corner into the actual shower is posted later (it was still a big mess at the time of this photo).  It's hard to capture it all since the space is so long and narrow, but basically the new shower does not have a door and extends the entire length of the wall. We lost about an inch of width but gained a lot of length and no ugly door to clean (bonus)!

By day five, the floor is tiled and the grout is finished.  Then we had to pause. If you walk on the tiles, they could pop loose or the grout could break... I actually don't remember all of the rules. I just knew I couldn't use my bathroom for a few more days!

Day Six
As you can tell, I don't know much about laying tile, but supposedly there is an acid wash you put over it to remove the film. That happened around day six or seven. Also around this time, the new toilet was installed, the shower was sealed, and then my help was needed....

Day Eight
It was time to paint! Yes, I'm the painter. I don't really mind it as much as my husband (he loathes painting). I actually find it quite satisfying seeing the end of my work. It's a bit messy (I always get paint in my hair) and my arms are usually sore the next day, but I don't mind it. However, I would NOT want to do this for a living. That's one thing I always learn through these projects - I could never, ever do this as a hobby or for a living. That's why I have a desk job.  Ha!

It may be hard to tell, but we went with a very warm color scheme. The walls are a much darker mocha color than the light green from before. The floor is a dark tile that resembles wood. The shower tile has a lot of taupe and brown. The trim on the floor and around the window is a very dark brown. We wanted to keep everything neutral and classy.

Here's a little glimpse into the shower with this three photo collage. The bottom left shows the shower floor and far corner. The top left is the same corner with a little more of the wall showing. In the right photo you can see the built in shelves (which I love) and where the shower nozzle is. The small tile is on the ceiling also.

Welcome to Spa Marks!
Just a few more finishing touches to do like finish the door and put up some blinds. We also want to install some shelving above the toilet to store towels and other items. Total time was almost two weeks. We absolutely love it. It was well worth all of the work and sharing one bathroom as a family (my kids might have a difference of opinion there).

I think remodeling a bathroom instantly increases the resale value of your home, so don't be scared to try it for yourself. Go for it! All good projects start with a thorough plan. So do some planning and then plan some more before you begin. If you've already completed a bathroom remodel, high five, my friend! It's quite a project but the rewards are great!

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's been how many weeks?

Twelve.  It's been a dozen weeks since my last post. Three months is quite a long hiatus considering my goal was once a week. Maybe I should consider writing once a quarter.

So what have I been doing during this time? Obviously nothing too exciting to write about. I'll give you the quick rundown with a few photos, of course.

I'll skip February. It was cold. Enough said.

March 8:   I ran a beer mile! This was a fun event. Four laps, one beer per lap, try not to fall down or puke. Check, check aaaand.... CHECK! I did not fall down or puke! In fact I had a victory beer after the race. My race time was terrible, but that wasn't the point! I would totally do this again.

March 25:  We went to Branson for part of Spring Break! We received season tickets to Silver Dollar City as a Christmas gift (really great idea), so we decided to take a long weekend. However, the weather was kind of crappy. It rained really hard on our way down. It was sunny the next day but really windy and chilly. We went to SDC anyway, and it was super crowded. We waited in line for over an hour for our favorite rides. It rained the next day, so we found other things to do like Ripley's Believe It and hiked along Table Rock Lake. And on the way home, we stopped at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and Bass Pro. All together, it was nice to get away for a few days as a family.

April 18:  Missouri Beer Fest! Always a fun time. Breweries from across the state meet in Columbia to share their craft. We had special shirts printed up for Broadway Brewery which I was geeking out over! Don't you just love them?

Welcome to the Craft Side!

So that should catch you up to the present day. I promise I won't be as much of a stranger on here.

More posts to come!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy New Blog

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party.  It's January 27th, for Pete's sake. But for a moment (about a month long moment) I thought about not posting on here anymore.

Gasp! Really?!?

Maybe the fad has worn off.
Maybe the creativity has run dry.
Maybe I just don't have time.

Sigh... all of the above.  But here I am... the blog is back! And with a new look. I kind of dig the new layout, don't you? The photo header proved to be difficult to update. I wanted a new color scheme also. Plus, the new look provides some revival of sorts. So...

Happy New Blog!

We'll see how often I post an update for the very few watchers of my blog (and thank you, to all you watchers and readers). My goal is once a week. That's a nice, attainable, not too much work goal to have for a blog. I can do this, and it will be fun.

Until next week, have a look around, and send me a few topics in the comments!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Obligatory End of Year Summary

It's that time of year when we look back, tie up loose ends, and reflect on the year gone by.  Social media and the countless number of apps available allow us to do this with incredible ease. I'm a nostalgic person anyway, so I really eat this stuff up.

Here's my end of year summary from 2014 made with Flipagram.

Hope you had some wonderful moments and made great memories this year. 

See you in 2015.

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Photoaday Summary


I mentioned on here that I started another month of photoaday. Throughout August, I shared my photos on Instagram. In case you weren't able to follow me there, here's a little video I put together of my photos:

That was fun! Hope everyone had a great summer!


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