Friday, January 23, 2015

Kenny G

Tonight was our monthly date night to the symphony, only this month there was a special guest for the Pops series: Kenny G. I'll admit, I'm a bit of a Kenny G fan. I remember hearing plenty of his songs on the radio growing up, and his Christmas album is one of my favorites. I was pretty excited to be able to see him in concert.
I would tell you it was amazing, but you probably assumed as much seeing as he's like, the best soprano saxophone player ever. He played several of his hits and also a new song from his album that comes out this next week. He even played My Heart Will Go On and his encore was Somewhere Over the Rainbow. We bought a CD during intermission because he was giving away one of the soprano saxophones that he designed. He has a whole line of saxophones you can purchase, which I never knew (probably because I don't play saxophone, right?) You had to buy a CD to get a raffle ticket (I see what you did there Kenny) which was way more than the same CD would have been at Walmart, however after the show he came out into the lobby and autographed them for us all. I had him sign the disc, the cover, and Nick's concert ticket as well. 
He was pretty friendly, although a bit of a diva and didn't allow any photography. Or perhaps it's because he's kind of not so attractive up close and personal? Anyway, naturally I had to sneak a photo, although it's not good. See the curly hair? That's Kenny G.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pop's Birthday

Saturday was Pop's 62nd birthday. We headed out to the house to hang out with him all day. Since he wasn't feeling well, there really wasn't any kind of party or activity that we did, but that wasn't really why we went anyway so it was no big deal. Kate was a little sad that Kylie and Logan weren't going to be there (she has decided that every time we go to Pop's house, it means she gets to see them too) but she was still happy to see Pop and Nannie.
Dad has non-Hodgkin lymphoma, type B. We finally have a diagnosis, a label a little more descriptive than "cancer" and a plan as well. It's very treatable, and I have been thankful for all the posts and stories from people about family members they have that are in remission or have been though this same type of cancer and come out on the other side. It eases a lot of anxiety and fears to know that although the road of chemotherapy will not be easy, it is a road that he can travel and make it through.

He gets tired easier, has night sweats, and probably just feels bad a lot of the time. That's ok. We can deal with that. This is the time to rest and let his body fight anyway, so there's no need in pushing the limits just to make us feel better. Kate had fun hanging out and playing around the house. She picked out some Dallas Cowboy themed cupcakes for Pop's birthday cake and a card as well. Mostly we were just happy to spend some time with him, and that's the important stuff anyway.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another day in Ranger

My camera club decided to have another excursion to explore abandoned houses in Ranger, Texas again this January, just like we did last January. I was excited to go back, even though we went to some of the same places as last time. It was sort of weird to see that they hadn't change in all this time. I had even written on one of the windows there and it was still visible, although the window was now partially broken.

I took my GoPro along this time and shot some cool and creepy footage as well as took pictures with my big camera. I'll share some of my favorites from the day:
 These were all taken by other members of the photography group:
Photo credit: Becky Reed
Photo credit: Jake Felts
Photo credit: Jake Felts
Photo credit: Kelly Cave

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Girl's Shopping Day

Yesterday we met Heather and Olivia in Rockwall for a day of shopping. Heather was on the hunt for some lamps for her bedroom and curtains. I didn't need anything in particular, but ended up buyinga couple of small things anyway.
Kate and Olivia exchanged their Christmas ornaments to each other. Olivia got Elsa for Kate, and Kate gave Olivia a Cinderella ornament. They've been going that for three years now, rather than giving each other a toy or something that they won't remember. This way they will always have their ornaments from each other.
It was cold out, but we manged to hit up several stores before finding Heather's lamps and curtains (Thank you, TJ Maxx). Shortly after that, Olivia was getting tired and Kate and I were facing some heavy traffic getting back home if we didn't leave soon, so we parted ways. We're down to just a few months before they are back in Texas permanently and then we can plan these types of little shopping days more often!
Next time we will see the Hooks family? Disney trip, 2015!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Birthday dinner

On Thursday night, Nick took me out for a fancy, kid-free birthday dinner to Texas de Brazil. IT just so happens that he took me there last year too, but hey, they always send me a good birthday coupon and it's difficult to pas up a good deal there because it's pricey!

It was pretty cold Thursday night, so I wasn't expecting it to be too crowded. While it wasn't crowded, it also wasn't too empty either. Sometimes, it's worth the cold for some amazing meat. Everything was good that night - the filet mignon, flank steak, even the lamb was yummy and I normally don't care for lamb.

We ordered dessert of course, and they brought it out with a candle and wrote Happy Birthday on my plate for me.
We wandered quickly over to Sundance Square after dinner because I wanted to see the ESPN set up, but we didn't linger because we were pretty cold! It was a good way to work off a few calories though.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy 37!

So I wasn't thrilled with turning 37 this year. There's this mental issue I have with 37. When you're still 36, you're in your "mid-thirties." "How old is Brandi?", someone may ask. "Eh, she's in her mid-thirties I think." that I'm 37, one might say that I'm "almost 40". I know, I know. 37 is still technically mid-thirties. I'm telling you, it's my mental issues (although when I discussed this with my brother earlier he agreed with me).

Let's add to that a diagnosis of bronchitis yesterday, after feeling pretty yucky over the weekend and coughing up all manner of stuff. So now I'm slightly depressed about being 37 and then sick on top of that, which elevates the "oh my word I have my first 10k in 47 days" stress just a bit. So I wasn't expecting a lot out of today, since I really couldn't do much anyway.

The universe had a different idea.

I took Kate to school this morning, and the Facebook birthday wishes had already begun. One of the many things I love about Facebook is how great you feel on your birthday with hundreds of "happy birthday!" posts on your timeline. People don't have to bother, but they do. I think that's awesome.

Then I talked to Dad on the phone. We chatted about him and his cancer issues and another friend of mine dealing with similar things, and then we had to laugh a bit because of the silly things my daughter comes up with. Like last night, when she told Nick that she had "chosen not to go to school tomorrow." I talked to my brother on the phone for a while, and we discussed running stuff since he's a pretty amazing runner and I'm not, and he also gave me some bronchitis tips.

Meanwhile, my friends Jake and Mandy are keeping me entertained by texting me silly videos about my birthday, and I'm laughing so hard that I have to cough for a good 10 minutes after each video. Although it hurt, they were totally worth it.

Right before I left to pick up Kate from pre-school, my sweet friend Aimee stops by with the best care package ever - loads of chocolate (a square a day keeps the binge-ing away! she wrote), a green smoothie drink, and a bottle of Purification essential oil for my illness.

While Kate was at gymnastics after school, I managed to walk one brisk mile before my lungs started protesting (I usually try to walk in the neighborhood while she is at her lesson) so I casually walked the remainder of the time which pushed me over my step goal for today. (That's right - despite being sick, I've still hit my 10k steps each day - they may not have been brisk, but they were there).

When Nick arrived home from work, I was given two birthday presents - a really pretty blue stone necklace and earring set that Kate picked out for me, and some more Bath & Body Works smelly good stuff. Then we set out to dinner at Genghis Grill and Kate talked Daddy into some birthday ice cream at Braums. They still have pumpkin ice cream, so I had a small scoop.

Once I got home, I decided that Momma needed a long, hot bath with my new bubble bath and drank some hot apple cider with honey in it for my throat while I relaxed. While I was in the bath, a friend alerted me to the fact that my blog post about walking last year had been featured on Leslie Sansone's Facebook page! Dude - I'm sort of famous. I love all the sweet comments from total strangers (and a few of my friends!) It was like the cherry on top of my day.

So far, 37 isn't all bad.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Time to reflect. Or something.

So I stopped updating my MapMyWalk stats in like, October? September? I don't even remember. It wasn't intentional - when October rolled around, I got busy and forgot. By the time I realized I didn't do an update, it was halfway through the month. So I decided I would combine the next two months...only that didn't happen, and then December, and now it's January! So, I'll just sum up the whole year here:

For 2014, I ended the year with 705.17 miles! I hit my goal of 600 miles and just kept going. I'm pretty pleased with that!

Since I began wearing my Fitbit in April, I have walked 3,132,312 steps in 2014.

Overall, fitness-wise, I am in a much better place than I was a year ago, although weight wise the change isn't as significant as I was hoping. I have shed 20 pounds since my highest point this year.

I have to give a ton of credit to my Leslie Sansone DVDs. I have never really liked working out, but I love Leslie. They are walk at home programs, and are pretty simple in design and steps - it's literally walking in place and variations of that. They have made a huge impact on my fitness level and I do a video every single day, unless I run outside or have a very rare non-exercise day. I have discovered that no matter how well you may be eating or counting calories or points or whatever - if you aren't bothering to do some form of exercise every day, you are probably in a losing battle. Walking around Walmart doesn't count as exercise. You've got to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes. It's hard, trust me. When I first started doing the Leslie videos (I found some for free on Youtube) I struggled through a 30 minute video. I could do it, but man it was hard work for me. Now I can easily tackle the 45 minute and hour long workouts without being out of breath but still get a good workout. As I type this, my rear and thighs are sore from a simple 10 minute leg blasting session that I did yesterday on one of my new Leslie videos I got for Christmas. I know they have helped me with my running outside too. The stronger my legs are, the easier the running, right?

I have my first 10k in 52 days. Soooooo....guess I better keep up with the running, huh?

And finally, some comparison pictures:
Bring it on, 2015.