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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A new year! 2014 Goals

 Don't you love the feel of a brand new year?  It's like a clean slate, a chance to start over, with huge motivation to achieve that long list of (lofty) goals you set for yourself.  Ahh, I love it!

As always, I have those broad goals that are the same every year: save money and pay down debt, get fit (already well on my way here!), eat healthfully, do better at house cleaning/organization, etc.  I'm definitely not letting those get forgotten.  But I also have some more specific goals for 2014.

Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and events.
It's not that I don't remember these special days, I'm just really terrible at sending cards and/or gifts.  Well, that's going to be different in the coming year.  I'm have all of these occasions marked on a 2014 calendar, and I'm going to prepare for them the month before, by buying cards, gifts, whatever, and sending them out about a week before the day.  I'm also going to buy a roll or two of stamps so that I can't use lack of stamps as an excuse!

Black Hills Bucket List
Matt and I have decided that we are going to grab the bull by the horns this year.  We live in an area of the country that is absolutely gorgeous, and overflowing with things to do.  We enjoy the outdoors, and have decided to stop making any kind of excuses as to why we shouldn't go and do something on any given weekend.  The kids will be 3 and 4 1/2 this coming summer.  Naps are important, but no longer crucial.  We can work around that stuff.  Making family memories is more important to us.  We plan on hiking, camping, picnicking, exploring, and discovering all that the Black Hills have to offer.

Monthly Goals
Along with the two resolutions above, I want to set one or two goals for myself each month.  Whether those goals be to organize a room of the house, or to try a new recipe, or learn my new DSLR camera, or re-fashion a new clothing item, I want to challenge myself to get things done throughout the year, rather than just tackling one huge list in January.

So that's about it for me in 2014.

Well, let's hear them!  What are your resolutions for this new year?  


Monday, December 30, 2013

Outdoor Campus West

Saturday morning, we decided that we needed to get out of the house. After a week of sickness in our household, we were all feeling (for the most part) better, and decided to checkout the Outdoor Campus.  This is a division of South Dakota Game Fish and Parks, and is free to the public.
 
They have this beautiful facility, as you can see in the picture below.  Inside are created habitats of South Dakota wildlife and lots of taxidermy of said wildlife.  Everything can be touched, and it's a great learning experience for kids and adults alike.
 















 
Another really cool aspect of the Outdoor Campus is that they offer free classes for all ages.  I really hope to get Hendrix in some of the classes yet this winter, and also this coming spring.   They offer classes on fishing, hunting, hiking, and tons of other outdoor activities.
 
There's a weekend long class in Pierre at the end of June called "Becoming an Outdoors Family," and I think we might take it! Also, there's a class on January 9th for women about learning how to handle and use handguns.  Matt thinks I should take that one, so I probably will.
 
It's a really cool program with a really cool pricetag. :)  The Outdoor Campus will definitely be seeing more of the Metz family in the future!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust - 2013 in Review

January
We packed up our lives and moved to Rapid City, SD.  This move involved a distinct cultural change, a bit more than I expected.  Many people here feel that they live in the Midwest.  Coming from Illinois/Indiana/Ohio, I certainly feel like I'm living out west!
 
February
February was pretty chill.  I headed to Sioux Falls for some training, but other than that, nothing too exciting happened.

March
We had decent weather, and Matt and I got to go on our first date in South Dakota.


April
Jameson started pumping!  We chose the Animas Ping pump, and so far we really love it.
We had a lovely (sarcasm) spring blizzard.  It was not fun.

May
Between tweaking insulin pump ratios and a double ear infection, Jameson ended up in the hospital with a little bit of dka going on.  He was only in the hospital for about 30 hours, and recovered quickly!

Matt celebrated his 31st birthday, and we got ready for summertime cooking!

June
With summer finally arriving to the Black Hills, we got out and about!  We checked out Reptile Gardens, headed up to the Rossow Angus Ranch, and explored Storybook Island.
We also celebrated Jameson's 2nd birthday!

July
My whole family, along with Matt's mom, came to Rapid City to visit us!  It was such a fun weekend, and we all hated to see it end.

August
I celebrated my very last birthday ever, #29.

We went camping in the Badlands (on a very hot weekend).

Jameson became potty-trained! Hallelujah!

September
Jameson had a very nasty bout of the flu that, once again, put him in the hospital.  He stayed there for two nights, getting hydration, and keeping his blood sugars leveled out.

After ten months of irregular bowel movements, and four weeks of severe diarrhea, we decided to have Jameson tested for celiac disease, which goes hand in hand with Type 1 Diabetes, unfortunately. After the bloodwork came back, we were referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist.

We did a little bit of geocaching around Rapid City, and plan to do much more once the weather warms back up!

October
On October 4th, Mother Nature decided to dump 23.5" of snow on Rapid City.  We spent our entire 6th wedding anniversary weekend without power (or heat), and unable to go anywhere that did have power.  It was not fun, in any way.

November
I published a blog post that kind of went crazy, and that ended up sending Hendrix and I to NYC to interview with Fox & Friends, had ABC Good Morning America showing up at our house, and had me pulling my hair out answering call after call from media sources.  I never expected any of that to happen, and it was a great experience.  But I'm not gonna lie - glad it's over!

We made a trip to Indiana to visit with our families, and it was so great to catch up with everyone that we don't get to see very often.

December
I travelled to Las Vegas and Sioux Falls in the same week for work events.

We spent a quiet Christmas at home, just the four of us.  Hendrix caught influenza, but fortunately made a quick recovery. Santa brought Hendrix a Nintendo DS and a remote helicopter.  He brought Jameson an inflatable trampoline and an Angry Birds game.


And there you have it.  In writing this post, I'm recalling the events that happened in the spring and summer, thinking that there's no way those things happened 6 or 8 months ago.  Every year really does seem to fly by faster than the last. 

I hope you all had a blessed 2013, and are ready for the adventures that 2014 will bring your way!

Happy Holidays, friends!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

I hope you all truly enjoyed your Christmas with your loved ones.
 
Our holiday started out with an influenza diagnosis, which was less than fun.  But after about 36 hours of sickness, things turned around and we were able to enjoy Christmas day.
 


 
Christmas Eve was celebrated with a big bowl of popcorn and "It's A Wonderful Life."

 
Cookies were prepared for Santa.


 





 
We spent all day Wednesday just being lazy and playing with our new toys.  It was pretty darn enjoyable.
 
Now, onto 2014! 
 
How was your Christmas?
 
 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Indiana Trip: Part Two

Sunday morning, when we woke up, we packed up all of our belongings and headed to the town where I grew up to visit my side of the family.  We met at my parents' house and squeezed my mom and dad, as well as my sister, her husband, and my niece.
 
We had lunch at the most amazing Mexican restaurant ever, then headed to the local bowling alley for my niece's 10th birthday party.  (Which, by the way, is impossible.  Because it was just last week that I was leaving my night class at Ball State University to head to the hospital to meet her for the 1st time.)
 


 
Sunday evening, we just relaxed and spent time chatting and catching up.  My dad might kill me when he finds out this picture made the blog, but I'm so in love with it.  My dad's a pretty quiet and reserved kind of guy.  This shot is 100% candid and legit.  Hendrix got Beyblades from his Uncle Travis and insisted that grandfather play with him.  This shot is pretty much the only time that my dad's Beyblade beat Hendrix's and dad was stoked. :)

 
My mom had made cookies and her grandkids were decorating them together. 

 
The three grandkids (on my side of the family) in their new jammies!

 
Forgive the terrible iPhone pictures, but this is my mom and dad with their grandkids.  They love them just a little bit.

 
 
My sister and I!  She recently lost a ton of weight and she looks AMAZING!
 

 
Mom and dad with their girls.

 
There isn't much activity to report while we were at my parents' house.  We basically sat around and played with the kids and chatted and caught up, and it was everything I dreamed it would be!
 
We headed towards the Indianapolis airport around noon on Tuesday.  This is where things got eventful.  Our flight was to head out at 5:30.  We got to the airport ridiculously early as it was.  Then the plan we were supposed to be on was having mechanical issues and our flight was delayed about 3 times before it was finally cancelled.  Since it was the last flight out for the day, we ended up being put up at a hotel in Indianapolis.  We got to the hotel around 9:30, and had a 7:30 flight out the next morning.  So needless to say, we got about 4 hours of sleep.
 
Wednesday morning, we got to the airport at 5:30, got some breakfast with vouchers from the airline, and boarded the plane around 7 am.  Then the plane had a mechanical issue, which was fixed, but still took a lot of time.  Then, once that was fixed, there was a problem with the toilet on the plane not flushing correctly.  So that delayed us even further.  You probably see where this is going. 
 
We missed our connection in Minneapolis, so got to spend an extra two hours at the Minneapolis airport.  We had lunch at the airport, then boarded our plane from Minneapolis to Rapid City at 11 am.  Then there was - you guessed it! - a maintenance issue with the plane.  Then, we had to de-ice the plane due to some crazy snowy weather.  It took forever just to get in line for the de-icing, then another 3 forevers to get the plane de-iced.  We boarded at 11 am and left the ground at 1:30 pm. 
 
The kids were remarkably well behaved through all of this.  They had a couple of rough moments, but heck - so did Matt and I.  We were tired, grouchy, and over it all.
 
We landed in Rapid City around 3:30 in the afternoon, I think.  We went straight home and relaxed, and called it an early night.
 
Other than getting home, everything went really well, and it was so wonderful to be able to visit with family that we so rarely get to see.  A rendezvous is already in the works for mid-summer, and the planning wheels are turning!
 
Have you made, or are you planning on making any trips during this holiday season?
 
Ever deal with any crazy flight delays/cancellations?
 
What's your favorite travel destination?
 
Merry Christmas and happy Saturday, friends!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Indiana Trip: Part One

On Thanksgiving Day, we hopped on a plane and flew to central Indiana to visit with our families and friends for the holidays.  We hadn't seen my family since they came to South Dakota to visit in July, and we hadn't seen Matt's family since last Christmas, so this was a long-awaited and anticipated trip!

The boys did great on the flights, though I guess I was hoping for a little more excitement from Jameson at the thought of flying.  He was pretty un-impressed.  Hahaha.
 
 
 
My awesome parents had dropped their extra vehicle off at the airport on their way out of town the day before we left so that we had a vehicle to use while we were there.  Our travels TO Indiana went smoothly and were un-eventful, but it was still a tiring day.
 

 
We "based" ourselves out of our good friends' Wade and Amy's house during the first half of our stay in Indiana.  It's kind of hard to see in the photo below, but Wade was wearing this shirt when we arrived.  I just love him!
("Blogger mom is the bomb!")

 
My eating habits weren't exactly on par while we were away from home, but I didn't miss a single scheduled workout, thanks to my gym membership at Anytime Fitness.  I really didn't expect my key fob to work at other gyms, but it did!  So cool.

 
Friday afternoon, though I don't have any pictures of it, we met up with Matt's middle brother and his wife (Matt's the oldest) and took our boys and their son (same age as Hendrix) to an indoor playground with bounce houses and games.  All three of the kids had an awesome time, and so did the adults!  We raced each other through the inflatable obstacle course and laughed and had a grand old time!
 
Friday evening, we went to Matt's youngest brother and his wife's house for our Metz family Christmas.  We ate tons of delicious food and had the kids open their gifts.  It was so fun to watch all four of the cousins play together!





(Not sure why I don't have a picture of our niece on here, I need to remedy that.)
 
We spent the night at Matt's youngest brother's house on Friday night, and headed back to Wade and Amy's on Saturday morning, for the day we had planned with them.
 
Their daughter, Kenna, is 6 and the kids just had so much fun together!

 
Fortunately, the weather really cooperated on Saturday, and we spent some time outside!  (Their yard made us REALLY miss living in a house.)

 
Saturday evening, two other couples and their kids came over for a game night.  It was so great seeing our old friends we hadn't seen in several years.

 
This is Julie. She's a Type 1 Diabetic, so her and Jamers had to get a shot together with their pumps!

 
While we played games, the kids formed a rock band and performed for us.  It was ridiculously cute.

 
Hendrix didn't get to sleep until 11:45 pm which is ridiculously late for ME, let alone a 4 year old!  But we crashed after game night in preparation for heading to see my side of the family on Sunday.
 
Stay tuned for Part Two!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Storybook Island Nights of Lights

You guys.  Anyone think I fell off the face of the earth??
 
This happens every single year.  We're trucking along, getting by, doing fine.  Then BAM!  December hits and we don't know our heads from our tails and we're running around like crazy people.  This year has been no exception.
 
My family travelled to Indiana the weekend after Thanksgiving, then we came home and I was gone the entire following week in Las Vegas and Sioux Falls for work meetings and conferences.  Now that I'm back to work, I'm tackling the mountain of tasks one at a time and barely have time to breathe!  I've been neglecting my little blog baby, but don't worry!
 
I've got some fun posts in the pipeline, and even have my first "sponsored" product review coming up, probably after the first of the year (which is only, like, two weeks away - what!!?).
 
But in the mean time, all is well.  We've made it back home.  Other than a quick trip to see Matt's mom and grandpa after Christmas, we are DONE travelling for a while!
 
Last evening, we took the boys to Storybook Island.  During the summer months, this awesome park has free admission and all kinds of fun things for the kids to climb and play on.  After Thanksgiving, then whole park is covered in Christmas lights, and for $2 per person, you can walk through and see all the lights, and the money you pay for admission allows the park to be free the rest of the year.  It's pretty cool. :)
 
You can't see behind them, but they were posing with Vixen and Comet.


 
Hendrix made sure to remind Santa that he wants a Nintendo DS and a remote helicopter.
Jameson just yelled, "I want presents!"


 
It was a fun experience, just VERY cold!  The park was piping old-fashioned Christmas music through the speakers as my little guys were waddling around in their puffy winter coats, all Christmas Story style.  Haha.  If you ever visit Rapid City during the holiday months, I recommend checking out Nights of Lights at Storybook Island!
 
Thanks for sticking with me in my absence, guys!  I plan to get back at it with posts about recent travels and other fun stuff!
 
Have a great last-weekend-before-Christmas-weekend!  (Yikes, I have to go shopping!)