Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Snapshot of My Life

Oh hey, almost-over month of April. I'm sorry I haven't been around as much. Life has gotten... sort of busy, mostly to the extent that I haven't been able to sit and just write. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't write here unless I have something really great to share. But let's be real, who regularly has something really great to share, say once a week? Sometimes you just need to write about regular old life.

Nick and me at church on Easter Sunday.
My April has looked something like this...

My hours at work have been picking up. Sometimes this is a mixed blessing. More money is always good, but more nights/weekends spent away from Nick, not so good. I enjoy most things about my job, my coworkers, our clients, the cute clothes, the constant activity, the discount. But I struggle to focus on the good when the schedule reads that I'll be sitting at home while Nick's at work, then going to work when he's at home. (Hate that.)

I got to thinking the other day that the childhood me would be in love with my job, especially the part that involves using the register to ring up purchases. I always loved things like cash registers and adding machines as a kid. Something about pushing the buttons was like crack to my kid brain. One of the best gifts I got as a kid was a decommissioned adding machine. Boy was that the coolest thing ever. I could push buttons and pretend to run a shop to my heart's content. So the childhood me has a little party in the back corner of my brain every time I start a transaction.

The start of April also brought back the Whole30 into our house, or I should say, a modified Whole30. We decided not to be quite as strict this time, allowing things like beans, a little corn, some peanuts, and possibly some chocolate. But otherwise, no dairy, no grains/breads, no sweets, and definitely no soft drinks (though I had cut those out months ago). The biggest hurdle for me is the no grains rule. I love me some bread. Bagels, toast, rolls, crackers, homemade biscuits... mmm mmm! But because I love bread so much, I know I lack the self control to moderate my intake. Most nights when I would get off work, on my drive home I'd start thinking about food and all I'd want to make was cinnamon and sugar toast, slathered in butter. Bad news.

The good news is, I've already been achieving some weight loss, thanks to the diet and my very active job. I realized that it's mostly the job contributing to the weight loss because how else would I be able to walk for four to six hours a day with a desk job? Add to that less crap in my system and I've already been feeling healthier, happier, and slimmer. One of my coworkers noticed the other day, which prompted me to pull out the Wii and weigh myself. Back in January I had set a weight loss goal for myself and last week when I stepped on the Wii Fit board, I was happy to discover that I had met the goal. (A little late, but met nonetheless.) I set a new goal and plan to keep up with this modified Whole30 diet.

On the family side of things, April brought Nick's and my nine month anniversary! (I think that's the one where you say "Happy nine months!" and throw confetti.) Being married has been awesome. It really just feels like hanging out with my best friend and tackling life's challenges together. Some days bring difficult circumstances while other days bring nothing at all, but we always enjoy doing whatever it is together. The main project we're tackling currently is clearing the last few moving boxes out of the spare bedroom so it actually looks like a bedroom and not a storage closet. In the process we've been unearthing some interesting things (mostly my things), like notes from friends in college and old art projects. It's kind of like an archaeological dig into my past.

Also, we had my family over for Easter, which was really fun. We started off by exchanging Easter presents (my mom was so thoughtful and gave us non-edible gifts since we're avoiding sugar), then we had an Easter egg hunt around the condo. I had hidden all the eggs, so I had the pleasure of watching everyone scramble (ha!) around to find the most. I think hiding eggs can almost be as much fun as searching for them. After that, we sat down to a late lunch of ham steaks, potatoes and rolls for those non-Whole30ers, cauliflower puree, green beans, and apple sauce. Nick did most of the cooking, and everything was delicious. We talked for a while, then took a walk down to our local cupcakery (again, for the benefit of those not on a diet). We finished the day with a movie before my parents and brother headed back home.

Besides all that, life has been pretty normal. I'm still working on building up my freelance portfolio, ELM Creative, by writing guest blog posts and book reviews, and doing the occasional blog re-design. I haven't been aggressively pursuing opportunities just yet because I'm enjoying where I'm at currently and I want to build up a collection of work samples first. I love that it gives me a creative outlet and place to start up new projects and partnerships.

I hope that you're having a fantastic April and start to this lovely spring we've been so ready for! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: Captive Trail


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

"Captive Trail" is the second book in the "Texas Trails" series, following "Lone Star Trail." In "Lone Star Trail" readers are introduced to the Morgan family, which was robbed of its youngest member--a little girl named Billie--by a band of Comanche Indians. "Captive Trail" tells her story.

Billie becomes Taabe Waipu as she is forced to forget her name, language, and culture over 12 years in captivity. We are given a glimpse of her first days with the Comanche, but do not meet her again until she escapes to try to find her family that she barely remembers.

During her escape, Taabe is injured and discovered by a stagecoach driver and a group of nuns on their way to start a mission and school in central Texas. The nuns take Taabe in to care for her and teach her English while the stagecoach driver, Ned, tries to uncover her real identity with the hope of reuniting her with her family. Meanwhile, the Comanche have other ideas, hoping to bring Taabe back to their tribe.

I was excited to read "Captive Trail" because of my interest in and love of Native American history and culture. I was a little disappointed that the book didn't focus more on Billie's time with the Comanche, but it did provide a heart-warming, engrossing story with moments of love, sacrifice, and excitement. In that way, it did not disappoint. I would recommend "Captive Trail" to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, Texas history, Christian fiction, or romance.
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