Five Things I Learned in February

In a futile attempt to be better about sharing, I thought I would attempt monthly posts about what I'm learning. We aren't halfway through March yet, so I'm counting this a success.

1. Over President's Day weekend I had the opportunity to head to Philadelphia for a rare opportunity to visit with friends. Spending quality time with these amazing friends literally revived me. It was so wonderful to see these people who I hadn't seen in way too long, and just to be instantly right back where we left off. They are such fun, supportive, loving, generous, smart women. I am so blessed to have them in my life. We had a snow storm and a sleep over party. We had a day trip to New York City to visit with a friend. We went back to Villanova, where we met back in 1999 and holy moly, I really FELT old. I did some monkey math and I think we are closer in age to the parents than the students. Yikes. The campus has changed so much. It's growing, and I guess I've been growing too (man, a lot has happened since I graduated!) We did NOT get NY Pizza OR a cheesesteak, but I did have some major travel delays resulting in a travel voucher so I guess that means I will have to go back!

2. Right before President's Day my brother returned from a deployment to Korea, I am so thankful that he is able to be with his family again. My husband left the military 8 years ago, and while at the time we had no idea what would happen, I certainly count my blessings that we are together and not dealing with the training + deployment cycle of Army life. And to those of you who are, thank you, I know it's not easy, I certainly appreciate those sacrifices.

3. My parents were asking for birthday gift ideas, and I sort of drew a blank. Then I remembered I had a friend who had mentioned she used the book Stitch People to create the most darling cross stitch family portrait. Although I hadn't cross stitched in probably 25 years, the book is fantastic and I have already created 3 projects that I will post.

4. While I wish I could sit down an watch tv all day long, it just doesn't happen often, so instead I listen to podcasts while I do other things. I have a substantial list that I listen to regularly, but I'm always curious about what other people are listening to. Do you have any suggestions?

5. My husband is in the final stretch to receiving his MBA. It's definitely a huge accomplishment for him, and while I want to believe I've been this amazing supportive pillar of a wife, I'd be lying if I didn't say how ready I am for this chapter to be closed. My husband has been going 100 miles per hour between work, school, and family commitments, and I often wonder WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO WITH HIMSELF WHEN HE HAS TIME AGAIN?! Thankfully we will find out soon! I'm so proud of him!

I am still working on my simplifying, some days I feel like a rock star, other days I feel like hiding under a rock. Why is it so hard to stay on top of emails? And why is my car always a disaster? And why did I decide to get rid of things that we don't need anymore?!
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Five Things I Learned in January

1. Over the weekend, I celebrated my 37th birthday. Around the middle of this past summer I mentioned that I was 37 and my 6 year old son corrected me and reminded me that I'm actually 36. Oops. So I've been "feeling" 37 for some time now, but at least now I "know" my age.

2. There IS a wine I would drink (without gagging or dry heaving!) One of my New Year Resolutions this year is to find a wine that I would willingly drink. I mean, I think I am at an age that I SHOULD be able to swallow wine without gagging. My goal is to try ONE bottle of wine per week, last week didn't happen, I'm going to try to keep track and I'll hopefully share about my findings.

3. My word for 2018 is simplify. I started by doing Emily Ley's simplicity challenge and felt really great about my progress. I'm realizing that after making the early efforts to clean out in an attempt to simplify I lost some steam. SO, I am going to schedule my time and not let my efforts completely go to waste. I still have a long way to go, but my clean out goal was to "be ruthless" and it really feels GOOD to go to the places that I've finished. So far, I've done my overflowing master closet, bath vanity, the children's bathrooms, closets, bedrooms, and the pantry/under stair storage. The goal is to be unloading everything at the neighborhood garage sale next October.

4. I'm needing to reconnect. The chaos of life left me feeling a little disconnected. I'm trying to make some efforts to intentionally connect with the people that are most important to me.

5. Creativity clears my mind. My husband needs physical exertion to clear his mind...I need to slow down and MAKE something. I suppose I've known this for years, but with three little children I was less likely to USE my creativity. I am also going to try to schedule my time to allow some creativity. I've set a goal to MAKE something every month. (And I've already succeeded, now I need to share about it!)

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Introducing Jay {Wright} Knight

When I spoke to my husband about getting a puppy, I am 100% certain he was ready to certify me as absolutely crazy. At the time, we were knee deep in potty training our extremely free-spirited daughter. In retrospect, it was the worst time to bring a puppy into the mix. So of course that is what I decided to do. 

 When we visited the Oklahoma City Humane Society, and decided to bring home our little puppy it was apparent how unprepared we were, no small leash/collar, dog bed, bowls, crates. My husband was actually at work, and just resigned to let me do what I needed to do. I took a few very awkward selfies and sent them his way. The kids took very little convincing.
Once he was home, we had to name the puppy. Of course, no one could agree on a name. We went around and around, and FINALLY after 3 or 4 days a friend from college suggested that we name the little guy "Jay Wright" after the handsome Villanova basketball coach, her exact comment was something like "Jay Wright--handsome, with salt + pepper hair, and a winner!" When I told my husband we both laughed, and he was like "I think that's the name." After a few weeks, he and I were sitting together and for some reason I was thinking about combining both of our alma maters, so I mentioned "Jay Knight" and we knew that was it.  Knowing that we would probably struggle potty training a puppy AND a stubborn toddler, we decided to send Jay off to a positive reinforcement dog trainer to begin his training and then sent him back when he was a little older. I would like to work with Jay taking weekly classes once my husband finishes school.  Jay is about 9 months old now and about 20 pounds. He's durable enough to play with the children, he's great in the car, he's mostly potty trained, and melts our heart when he climbs into his crate on his own at the end of the day. While it hasn't been easy or perfectly smooth (I recall one day thinking my daughter and dog were having a dueling banjos of sorts--but with accidents!!!) 

One of the neatest things was finding out the results of Jay's DNA Results: 
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