Thursday, December 31, 2015

Natalie 2016: Intention

Each year I set a theme to focus on instead of doing new year's resolutions.  I love the idea of a theme or Strategy.  It gives you guides but doesn't confine you to something that you might give up in a month. 

For 2015, my theme was Simplify/Streamline.  I revisited my theme in this post if you want to see how I had done half way through the year.  I struggled with some of the individual goals that I made for myself but I feel I did a good job overall of staying focused.  In 2014, it was Mastering the Task at hand and in 2013 was a list of goals.  It's fun to go back and read what I had wanted to focus on that year.  When I began to think about 2016 and what I would like to focus on, I struggled with trying to define it all in one theme.  This usually happens but it's great to get your mind thinking this way and pushing you to really put into words all the ideas in your head.

Before I get started, I wanted to share with you our family holiday picture this year.  So grateful for the year we have had and looking forward to many more adventures in the new year.  There will be ups and downs as every year but I hope to cherish the good and shine through the hard times.  

So, Natalie 2016 is going to be the year of...Intention.

This year I am also going to loosely follow the S.M.A.R.T goals guidelines for setting the different goals based on my theme.  Some won't have all the details because it might be a bit personal but otherwise I'll be an open book.

Run a full 5K by my 36th birthday. I started the Couch to 5K program recently and had issues with my knees.  I'm going to have to work out the knee issues but I'd still really like to run a 5K.  I may need to find a buddy for motivation as well.

Take at least one class/course/instructional session a month. This can be anything as long as it's something I learn from and can grow from.
Read a book a month. I already was able to start this in Dec and knocked out a short but good book call Fish!

Meet up with one or more of my friends at least once a month.  This can be as easy as a lunch or going to knitting group.

Have a working budget for our family by March. I've become obsessed with budgeting and getting control of our money.  I've been reading and listening to many different resources about how to figure out budgeting and how to make it work for each family.  A lot of people(me being one of them) always felt a budget was constraining and frustrating but it doesn't have to be that way.  Having a budget is a way to tell your money where to go instead of not knowing and then finding out where it went.  Some resources that have been my go to lately have been Dave Ramsey, which he is a bit extreme but he has a lot of great ideas and things that I have learned from.  Also Derek and Carrie from Better Conversations about Money and Marriage podcast and Dave's daughter Rachel Cruze.  They all say it takes 3 months to figure out a budget that works and so we've been working on that and I'm giving us 4 to get it right.
Pay off a large portion of our debt by Dec 2016.  This won't include our home but the rest of the debt we have. I have a set amount in mind but feel that's personal.
*Savings and Emergency fund goal* For some reason I feel the details of this one are private.

Have a movie/game night for our family once a month
Have at least one date night a month with my husband.

Find a church home by Easter.  This has been a struggle for me.  The church I went to for a long time just doesn't feel like home anymore so I stopped going.  My sisters and I have been trying out different churches and we haven't quite found our place yet.  We will.
Read a devotional daily.  I use the Bible app on my phone and set a reminder.  They have a ton of great devotionals but I think I'm going to re-read the Joyce Meyer year long one.  I've read it before and I really enjoyed it.

 And because this essentially is a knitting blog too.

Send my TKGA Master Knitter Program Level 1 notebook by my 36th birthday in May.
Finish the projects I have already committed to making by June.
Always have a project for me on the needles.

I think this is a great start to the new year.  The goals are great but mainly I hope to follow my theme of being intentional with my time, energy, and thoughts.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read my goals.  I wish you the best of luck in the new year!

Happy New Year!

What are your goals/themes/hopes for 2016?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015 with the Rush Family!

Yes, I know it's been a while since I posted...I've been struggling with my voice on this blog.  Once I can find it again, regular posts will resume.  I just know how much I love looking back at my blog posts so I wanted to get this one up here.

Halloween!  I have never been a fan of dressing up for Halloween.  There has been a Halloween or 2 that I did something but never elaborate and usually last minute.  However, once I had my first daughter, my sister quickly stepped in to make sure her costumes were 1. AWESOME and 2. handmade!  For the past 4 years, she has done amazing work! (scroll to end of post for line up of past Halloween costumes ALL hand sewn by my sister "Aunt G")

This year with 2 very opinionated little girls...we had to wait until we could get them to commit to what they wanted before starting.  This didn't leave my sister much time to get both done so I stepped in and took over creating CGRs.  My sewing skills are limited.  I can sew but not very good and I need support and guidance, which my sister provided me.  I don't know about you but I think it came out perfectly!  For her costume, I ordered her leotard online and painted the wonder woman emblem on the front using some puff paint.
I sewed the circle skirt using this tutorial and then painted the white stars using puff paint.  I had my sister help me with the bottom edge because she has a serger and she's better at things like that.
I used a tutorial that my friend sort of gave me through Facebook messaging for the cape and painted a wonder woman emblem on it using puff paint.
The cuffs, headband, and belt were made using some thick Ribbon type material and sewing elastic on them and painted using puff paint.  Her magic lasso was made of gold ribbon as well.  Thankfully my brother-in-law and sister took over hunting down the boots and painting them with paint that we were able to peal off so that she could still use them.

All in all it was fun to create and CGR loved watching it come to life!  I'm so glad I stepped in to make this one...not sure I will do the same next year but I'm glad I did.

My sister did Ria's Belle costume using this tutorial and this came out so perfectly!  Ria was SOO excited about it and woke me up the day after Halloween dressed in it. BTW, she did not go to bed in it.
Halloween night was hosted at my house for the first time ever too! I was slightly stressed about having it as my sister usually hosts but I think it came out perfectly!  Everyone had fun and lots of yummy food and good company!
The set up of our house!  After the girls went trick or treating, they sat and watched the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, The nightmare before Christmas, Room on a Broom, and much more on that screen.  They were up WAY past their bedtime! 
Will be fun to see what they decide for next year!  Hope you all had a Happy and Safe Halloween!
 2014 below.
Did you dress up this year? What did your kids dress up as?  tell us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Natalie 2015: Simplify and Streamline (revisited)

It's that time of year to revisit the Natalie 2015 theme and see what has been accomplished and what I can focus on for the rest of the year.  Each year, I like to post my goals on the blog(2008, 2013, 2014, 2015) but often times I don't revisit them until the new year comes around again...not this year!  Let's do this now so I still have time to focus on my theme and see what needs to be adjusted.  So no it's not halfway through the year but you know the start of the new school year always feels like some kind of start so we'll go with that. The original goals posted at the beginning of the year will be in response and updates will be next to them.

1. Organize my stash so that it's visually pleasing and not just stored away. I am currently in the process of culling my stash.  Instead of just making it pleasing to look at, I decided I wanted it stored in safe place but organized.  I also wanted to rid my stash of the filler yarn/fiber and only have stuff I love or plan to use.
2. SPIN MORE!  This is big.  I really want to give Pilar some love this year and spin spin spin!  It's been a while since I spun and I just need to get back to it. Major fail on this one...but I did just started spinning again and really am enjoying it like I always do.  It just goes back to having to store my wheel out of the way from little hands...and so it's out of sight and sometimes just feels like it would be too much effort to set up.  Planning a spinning OWL for the next term of the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup so that might help keep things going.
3. Take more classes. This coming year, I hope to take more workshops and crafting classes.  I want to learn more techniques but mostly I want to learn from those teaching. I haven't managed to take more classes yet....
4. Teach more classes. This got put on hold because of my surgery and life.  I am planning another class in Oct though at Stash - a place for yarn.
5. Travel to a fiber festival!!  This is huge!  I REALLY REALLY want to make it to a festival this year.  We have plans in the works but hope it works out as well as we are planning. A fiber festival isn't working out but I did sign up to attend my first ever knitting retreat Into the Wool Retreat at the beginning of next month in Tennessee!  I'm SO EXCITED!! I am working on a way to attend the Florida Fiber-in with my local knitting guild but as of right now I might only make it out to one day...which is totally better than no days.

1. I'd like to simplify our home by purging all the things that are not used/played with or don't have a place in our home.  This especially goes for clothes that don't fit and trinkets that don't hold emotional attachments or have a place to live. This has been a big win so far. I still have a lot to do but I've also accomplished a ton!  I've already purged a LOT of just stuff from my bookshelves, kitchen, and new office area.  As I said, I'm still working on my stash and need to do another pass through my clothes and the girls clothes but I've done a lot already!  It feels great to have less stuff!  It's also much easier to keep things clean when everything has a place to go.  The kitchen is doing amazing because I visited the Homer Laughlin China Company factory store on our trip to OH and I got some amazing steals on a bunch of new stuff for my fiestaware stash!  I love this stuff and want more but have to purge if I bring stuff in.
2. I'd like to purge my wardrobe into a smaller one that only has clothes that I love and make me feel good. Sadly, I still have "maternity" clothes that get worn here and there.  They must all GO! Doing this and it feels good! I have purged my clothes down to only stuff I love.  I bought new clothes and got rid of everything that was maternity or didn't make me feel amazing when I put it on.
3. Make it through the construction that is about to begin on our home and really decorate our living room and rest of the house with pictures and more. Construction on the bathroom and roof are complete!  YAY and boy was that an experience.  I haven't tackled the living room or putting up many pictures yet but I'm getting there.  I have gotten some frames but need to print more pictures and buy more frames soon.

1. Focus less on bedtime routine and more on enjoying the time with my girls.  NOT saying I'm going to get rid of bedtime routine but often at night I feel like it's this race to get them to bed before it becomes a meltdown battle of over tired girls.  This stresses me out and I end up not enjoying the time we have together as much.  I really would like to focus more on enjoying the time and less on racing through the time.  This has been an ongoing focus.  When my workday is stressful, I have to focus harder on giving myself and my girls grace but I've been doing good with being mindful of this time.
2. Start having dates with each of my children.  My girls love to be together but I also feel they need some alone time with me.  I would like to start having fun outings with just one of them at a time.  We'll see how this goes.   We have not been good about this because we don't get a lot of time together as a family due to our work schedules.  We tend to focus on family time together on weekend.  It's funny though because this weekend Special K and CGR are going to the Rays game with others and I'm getting to spend the afternoon with just Ria.

1. Schedule monthly date nights with my husband.  We are good about doing date nights but we often realize we haven't had one in a while and then plan one.  I would love to do this monthly in the new year. This has not been nearly consistent enough but we have managed to get some dates in there.
2. Focus more on what I'm bringing to my marriage than what I'm getting.  I feel this is such a better way to love and helps to curb the tit for tat mentality that can often cause grief.  Still focusing on this and it's been great!  Sometimes I get caught up but I refocus and it changes how I react to things.
3. Plan more time with my sisters.  We always love going to brunch together but do not do it often enough.  Downton Abbey is starting soon and we always watch that together on Sunday nights and it's nice to be with them.  Need to work on this for the rest of the year...we haven't been intentional enough with this.

And to finish off I would like to cut out the excess in our life and focus on the good and what truly matters.  Focus on our family and our home.  Give our journey to God and know that he has big plans for us and enjoy the ride that he takes us on.  All I can say to this is Amen!

How are you doing with your theme/resolutions you set for yourself this year?  Are you struggling with any and need to refocus?  Have any made a big impact in your life?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our 4th of July trip to Ohio in pictures.

Last month we were able to take a week off and make the 16+ hour road trip up to visit our family in Ohio!  We had a wonderful time with lots of memories made.  Some of the highlights were meeting the girl's new twin boy cousins, spending the day fishin on the lake, and getting to spend an afternoon at our Aunt's house for 4th of July celebration.  We all enjoyed the trip and were so thankful we were able to make the drive up to be with our family up there for a whole week in the summer!

Let's first start with this word FL had been having a very hot summer but I had not realized that Ohio had been having a very wet and chilly one.  Not sure what I was thinking but I didn't pack a single pair of pants for the girls and I.  Thankfully I did grab some pullovers for the three of us and those came in VERY handy the first couple days when it was quite chilly for us FL folks.  The girls did look very cute in their Wonderful Wallaby pullovers I had knit them late winter so they had not been able to wear them yet. 
We had so much fun on Austin lake!  We originally went for a short time on Monday and rented paddle boat and just went around the lake but then Special K got the idea we should take the girls fishing.  We got a great deal on a pontoon boat and spent 4 hours on the boat with these silly girls!
 The girls did so good and really enjoyed watching the worms try to escape from the little container.
 And learned how to fish from their daddy!
 And fishing with their new frozen fishing poles.  We have some for them here but since we didn't think to bring them we did a quick trip to the store and bought some.
And those Frozen fishing poles caught lots of fish!  The girls themselves did not catch fish but daddy and I did!  The girls just wanted to touch them before we threw them back in.
 Daddy's catch! 
 Mommy's catch!
Happy girls in our Happy place!
 Daddy's Happy Place!
 And that was our boating trip!  We are already planning another trip!  We may not make it up again next year but we plan to take the girls again!

Here are some cute pictures of the at our 4th of July celebration and their Graunt's house.
 And here they are riding the cart when we were checking out from our hotel room on our way home.
As I said, we are so thankful we were able to make the trip happen and were so glad to spend this time with family and friends.  Here's to next time!

Happy Traveling!

Have you done any traveling this summer?  Do you have any end of summer travel plans? 

Friday, June 19, 2015



- taking it easy on my body and letting it heal.  Five and a half week's ago I had surgery on my stomach to add mesh to help prevent future hernias.  My doctor had told me this was going to be a major surgery and would take a min of 6 weeks of recovery...I'm closing in on six week's and while I feel better...I still don't feel healed.  I need to let myself heal.
- taking the 30 day push challenge by Chalene Johnson.  If you haven't heard of this before, check it out here.  I came across this challenge through one of the blogs I read...sadly I can't remember which one.  I'm only on day 3 but I am excited to focus my goals and todo list to help balance my life.

- enjoying summer!  Summer weather is in full effect and while our air conditioner is running constantly and hating life, the rest of us our enjoying the activities summer brings.  The best is spending time at our neighbor's pool enjoying the water and having a blast!

- gearing up for a long road trip with our girls to visit family!  We've got a house and pet sitter all lined up and just have to get all our bags packed to spend time with my in-law family.  So excited!

-focusing on savoring the moments...with my girls, with my husband, with my friends, with my family, and with myself.  Really focus on just enjoying and being in that moment.  As a planner, this if often hard for me but it's one of my focuses.

- searching for my knitting has disappeared and I can't seem to locate it.  The cure is often to find a new irresistible project to work on but don't even have the brain power for that yet.  Need to make a list...and then go from there.

This list could go on and on but we'll stop there. 

What are you currently *?