Monday, May 30, 2011

freedom is not free

Today is Memorial day, a day of sunshine and BBQ's, beach time, and an ice cold beer. It's a day spent watching the local parade. A day spent with family and friends. A day off from work (woo hoo)! A National holiday.

Those are some pretty awesome things. And the reason we are able to enjoy those summer festivities is the same reason we are celebrating Memorial day: because over one million men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice and given up their lives for this country. And while I do not know anyone that has died serving, my husband is currently deployed and always in danger.

So I just want to take this moment and remember all those people who have died for our country. And thank you to all those who are currently serving, near and far. Thank you to my husband and his shipmates. We are so proud of you. It is not an easy job, for the servicememebr or their family, and we all appreciate everything you do. Freedom is not free.

Matt and I at the WWII Memorial in DC

Friday, May 27, 2011

love homework: love mantra

The assignment: come up with an official love mantra and explain how you plan to make it work for your marriage.

Our Mantra: "compliment more than you criticize"

I actually used the mantra in my Meet a Wife Monday questionnaire, but I think it's a really good one. And to be perfectly honest, one I need to work on more. I try not to be nit picky but unfortunately I am. I am a perfectionist and a neat freak and I like to be in control of the situation. That said, it is very easy...too easy...for me to pick on Matt about various stupid things. He has pointed it out to me before and I'm now actively working on it. I am trying to let things go and not get all worked up over the house being a mess or errands not getting done. It will all work itself out. And instead of complaining about how he didn't clean the kitchen the right way, or whatever ridiculous thing I happen to be focused on at the time, I need to compliment him on even attempting to clean the kitchen! I should be happy I have a husband who is willing to pitch in and help out around the house. Be a little grateful Shannon!

So baby, from now on I promise to try harder to compliment you more than I criticize you. We all know a nice word and a sincere "thank you" goes a long way. And I do appreciate you and all you do. I get a little outta control sometimes and I need a chill pill. And when I start to act a fool, say to me "sweetie, remember the love mantra" and hopefully my 'tude will turn right around!

And as a little bonus mantra, because we can always use more inspiration, "live life to the fullest". Yea I know it's been said a thousand times before, but it's true. And that is exactly how Matt and I try to live. When we travel, when we spend time together, we try to take advantage of every opportunity and enjoy all our experiences. Heck no I didn't want to get up at 3am to go see the sunrise in Hawaii, but I did. And let me tell you, it was amazing. It was my favorite day of our entire trip. Watching the sun come up together, riding our bikes down the volcano, stopping for breakfast, and then relaxing together that afternoon. It was worth it.

We like to see it all and do it all, together, as a team. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so instead of stressing out about some minor issue, let it go, say I love you, and enjoy every moment. When you look back on your life, it won't matter what you wore, how expensive your car was, or how much money you made. What matters is the time you spent together, as a family, the things you did, and the memories you made. Live life to the fullest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

take that body fat!

As you all know, one of my goals for deployment has been to tone up and lose some body fat. My original goal was 2.5% - 3.5%. An attainable goal, but nothing too crazy. And my actual weight wasn't important to me, I was more focused on the body fat. But of course I will take any weight reduction I can get, I'm no fool.  

Throughout this whole process there have been good days and bad days. Good weeks and not so good weeks. I try to stay on track but sometimes wine or maybe even a delicious dessert get the better of me. When that happens all I can do is keep on trucking and work out hard and push myself the next day. And what keeps me motivated and on track is Wired Fitness Bootcamp! I have been going to classes for about a year now, and regularly for 7 months. And it definitely works. I am down 4lbs and 4% body fat in 4 months!!! I have surpassed my goal! I am so excited I really don't know what to do! Part of me wants to go work out and part of me wants to grab In-n-Out and reward myself! haha!!

So a quick thank you to Bryan and Amber and all the trainers at Wired Fitness! I enjoy every class even when it's a cardio ladder and I just want to give up! You have all kept me motivated and on track. And I am sure Matt will be thanking you too when he sees the results for himself in a few short months.

And to all the readers who are working on their own weight loss right can do it! Take it day by day and just keep going. Don't give up if you have a bad day or week, just keep trying. Find a class or sport that interests you and go often. If you hate it you won't keep it up, so find something you love. And make sure you are not only exercising, but eating healthy too! They go hand in hand. Plus, I notice the more I work out the more I want to eat healthy. Believe in you!

For anyone in the San Diego area that wants to do a serious workout, check out Wired Fitness Bootcamp! Or email me and we can go together. I know sometimes that first class is scary, especially if you don't know anyone.

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

can I get a carrot please?

We all know that dogs are garbage disposals. They will eat just about anything, especially people food. They are the plate lickers and the floor moppers. And they take great pride in their job. And while meat of any kind is rated #1 on their doggie menu, I am sure that fruits and vegetables would not even make the cut. Not by a long shot. have yet to meet Mr H. Let me introduce him. His mug shot:

Harley James Clute was born in Fresno, California on January 30th, 2008. He was adopted a few months later and became an official member of the Clute household! And since Matt and I are organized planning machines, we were well prepared for his arrival. We read all the puppy books and got all the necessary supplies. We wanted to make sure he had the best upbringing possible. And we were going to follow all the rules. And one of those very important rules: no people food.

Since Harley was so young and didn't know any better, he was totally fine with this. Occasionally he would get a special treat in his dish, but never anything from the table. That was all fine and dandy until he went to live with Grandma for a month. All the rules went out the window and it was a free for all. Well, not exactly, but there was definitely some begging and some table scrap handouts taking place at the Hall house. Shame shame. Since that little vacation Harley has never been the same. He just can't seem to shake the begging and pleading for food. And it's hard to say no...have you seen that face? Here it is again in case you forgot:

See what I mean? Impossible. So instead of caving and giving him chicken and steak all the time (I hear lots of protesting from the doggie gallery), we decided we would give him fruit and veggies. He loves it! What a weirdo huh? We thought it would break or at least reduce the begging habit (who wants to beg for healthy food?!) but we were wrong. Apparently Harley loves healthy food!

His favorite healthy snacks:
1. Carrots (these are a big hit!)
2. Apples (loves these!)
3. Watermelon (just discovered this one)
4. Mango
5. Cucumbers

He will eat most fruit and veggies except lettuce, and we all know lettuce doesn't really taste like anything so I can't blame him there. He is a pretty healthy eater and he is proud of it! In fact, the last time he went to the vet he weighed in at 26lbs, perfect. I'm sure it has more to do with non-stop playing with Sonny and not with eating healthy, but this blog post is about food, not exercise. haha. In fact, because Sonny has been living with us and hanging out with Harley non-stop he has started to eat better too! Sonny loves a good carrot! Isn't that just the funniest thing?

Do any of you have pets that like weird or healthy food? If so, please share!

Monday, May 23, 2011

weekend highlights: roc race and half way party

What a fabulous weekend. Where to start? Where to start? How about at the was a warm day on July 5, 1983...oops..haha. Not the beginning of about just this weekend yea? :)

Saturday was the day of the Roc Race. We picked the 9am time slot, I know, a little early, but boy am I glad we did. Yes we had to get up earlier, yes it was cool, yes it was cloudy. BUT, we got a great parking space, we warmed up minutes after starting (until we got hosed off) and we were one of the first few on the course. That meant it wasn't trashed and there weren't long lines to get through the obstacles.

at the start line!
monkey bars...these were tough
getting nice and wet

The race was a lot of fun! The obstacles weren't too tough and we made it through pretty quickly, 32 minutes! Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Go team sisters! And I walked away with a lovely party favor: a bruise and some scratches on my tushy. The one wet slide got the better of me and left a lasting impression. haha. Oh well, totally worth it. Awesome way to start the weekend.

finish line yay!

After getting home, showering and relaxing for a few hours (the race really drained me) I got ready for my next event of the day: the ship's half way party!! Yes, it's official, we are half way done with deployment. Finally!!

In honor of the milestone, the FRG put together a fab party: a Masquerade ball. (Of course I forgot it was themed and did not bring a cool maybe next time) It was held at Dave and Busters, where we had a private room. We had food, drinks, a raffle, and massages. We mingled and met new people and watched a super cute video the guys on the ship put together! It was so sweet. And Matt had a nice little message for me in it. And he was in the helicopter tower when he was talking, which was very sexy :)!

My only complaint: not very many people showed up! Come on spouses, where was the support? Get out there and meet your fellow navy peeps. It's always good to have more friends and to be more involved. Don't exclude yourself from the group, we're a friendly bunch!

Overall it was a good weekend. Got some exercise, crossed the half way point and celebrated it with some really awesome Navy spouses. Good times, good memories. Now if time would speed on up I would really appreciate it! I'm ready to have my hubby back!

Friday, May 20, 2011

blog remodel

As some of you have probably noticed, the blog has been remodeled a bit. I've added a new background, some tabs (more to come when I can think of cool things to fill them with!), and a fabulous new header.

I have to give a big shout out and thank you to my bestie Jessica Absher who designed it for me! It took a couple of weeks, a lot of emails and a lot of formatting to get it just right. Plus I bombarded her with so many choices of pictures that she finally had to make an executive decision and just pick the ones she liked. haha. I think it turned out fabulous! And I hope all of you like it too!

Feel free to email me with any blog questions or comments. And if any of you are looking for a blog header remodel I can pass along Jessica's info too!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

military life wednesday: cake in a jar

I am always looking for random things to send Matt. Things that will cheer him up and make him think of me. When he left he told me "no bad food, healthy snacks only". No problemo. I am a healthy eater and surely I can find lots of good things to send him. Well, I caved. I made an executive decision: Matty needs comfort foods. A treat to enjoy when he is having a rough day. And home baked good would be absolutely perfect. Something that I spent time on, that he can enjoy and think of me. However, the mail isn't exactly reliable and I was afraid it would be green and moldy by the time it got to him.

Then my friend Samyjo told me about cake in a jar. You bake the cake in the jar and then seal it. It stays fresh for 6 months to a year. SOLD! So I looked up some recipes and finally settled on boxed cake (its just easier and I didn't want to go nuts on my first try). So I got yellow cake and red velvet. And I added some almond extract to the yellow cake to give it a little something extra. YUM! I also bought the packaged frosting (2 different kinds for variety) It was super easy to make and lots of fun.

note: the cake should be to the top. I didn't fill it high enough on the first attempt. :)

Then I decided I would get creative and make them look all pretty and fancy. So I hit up Joann's and Michael's and got fabric, ribbon, and festive paper:

They were a hit! I sent Matt one of each, I sent his Mom a red velvet for her birthday, and I kept one of the yellow for myself. They are a great gift idea for deployed soldiers, but you can also give them as gifts during the holidays. And if you get the smaller jars (I got the largest ones) the batter goes much further and you can give them away to a lot of people for very little money.

To make your own cake in a jar:

1. Make the cake batter according to the instructions or recipe.
2. Grease the jar by liberally spraying the inside with cooking spray.
3. Fill jar no more than 1/2 way with batter.

4. Place jars on a cookie sheet on the rack in the oven. Follow the box's baking instructions, checking with a toothpick or wood skewer to make sure they are done.
5. While baking, boil jar lids in a pan of water.
6. When cake is done, take a jar out at a time and cover with hot lid. Screw on the jar ring, tightening it slightly.
7. The lid will seal as it cools. Listen to hear the "ping" as they seal.
8. As the cake cools, it will pull away from the jar slightly. That's ok, it just means that it will slide out of the jar easily.
9. DO NOT FROST cake in the jar! Send frosting along.

10. After they have cooled, get creative! Decorate them and personalize them how you wish!
11. Make sure you wrap the jars well (bubble wrap is preferable, but wadded newspaper or clothing and other items will pad it too).

Monday, May 16, 2011

a glorious day for a run

I think I am officially addicted to racing. I love it. It's funny because I never ever thought I would enjoy running and actually pay to do it. But the crowd, the locations, and the causes they awesome!

On Sunday Sara and I completed our second race. We started in San Diego, ran across the Coronado Bridge, and then down to a park on Coronado. It was beautiful and breezy and fun. The incline on the bridge, not so fun. But we pushed through and made it in under 40 minutes (4 mile race)!!

Our journey...
 the crowd....10k people came out

putting on my bib 
waiting to get started!!

heading up the bridge
mid-race shot :)
at the top

finish line :)

Next up: the Roc Race this Saturday. It's an insane 5k obstacle course with mud. Soooo excited for that!! And then I may try and improve my time for a 5k race on 4th of July. Goal: 25mins. Time to start practicing!

Friday, May 13, 2011

so close....yet so far away

Wow. This last week has been a little rough. I am missing Matt more than usual. Even though I was on vacation with my family, I found myself thinking "well if Matt was here we would be doing this" and "I wish Matt was here to see this" or "Matt would love this place". What I thought would take my mind off deployment and missing him somehow made it a little worse. Not cool. Plus, post vacation blues. And going straight back to work on top of it. Lovely. And then this week I went to dinner with some friends. I thought it would be really fun, and again, take my mind off deployment. However, these were some of our Navy friends and it made me miss Matt even more! Seems like I can't catch a break here! I thought that being around Navy people would be good, help me forget about it all...nope. Hanging out with my sister or girlfriends, yep that works. When there are husbands involved, it just reminds me of what is missing right now.

But there is some good news in all that complaining....we are almost half way! In a few short days we will finally be on the downhill portion of this stupid deployment! YES! Take that deployment! AND, I have lots of wonderful things to occupy my time in the next few weeks: running another 5k this Sunday, completing the obstacle course race next weekend, the ships half way party, a wig pub crawl, maybe a visit from the Momma, and my friend Jenn is coming to see me too! And starting in July I am jam packed full of wedding related events: bachelorette parties, showers, weddings. Party central!! I am hoping that not only will these things keep me busy, but they will also make the time fly!

...I can see the top. The peak is within sight. Come on half way point...I need this!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

military life wednesday: hubby on a stick

As you all know I was recently on a family vacation to Mexico. And I really wanted Matt to be a part of that too. We love traveling, especially with family, and I didn't want him to feel left out even though he is on deployment. I originally thought I would just bring a framed picture of him to Puerto Vallarta but then it hit me: Matt on a stick!!

Matt on a stick takes Puerto Vallarta:

Matt at the bar and the pool getting his drink on....
Matt and I by the pool

some beautiful pictures of Puerto Vallarta
shopping with Matt

Kiss at the pool bar :)
Wearing Sara's silly

 family shots

Matt on a stick is fabulous. He is very light and easy to travel with. He fits into most bags or purses. He loves to be in all sorts of pictures and people really get a kick out of him. The only downfall, he has a glare, so watch out for the bright lights! 

To get your own hubby on a stick take a close up picture of him (crop if needed) and blow it up to an 8x10. Print it out, and cut out their face. Glue it to a piece of cardboard (I got mine from Costco!) and tape popsicle sticks or skewer sticks to the back. Grab a camera and have some fun!

Monday, May 9, 2011