Thursday, September 14, 2017

Filling it all in

I'm going to get a little philosophical here...but I've been doing a lot of reflecting this summer. And as my time in the Midwest comes to a close very soon - I have realized a few things.

When I learned we would be returning to the Midwest back in March I was ecstatic. I knew this time would go extremely fast, it would be very full, and I would get to strengthen my relationships with family.

All that has been accomplished.

I also wondered, "will it feel weird to be back?"


I've realized that I have changed a lot since I last called this place my "home". Grown is probably a better word choice than "changed".

This time has made me feel as though during my time away - I was painting the outline of a painting. Understanding what was going on - staying in touch with where everyone was it - but you don't really get to "fill in the lines" until you are face to face with those people.

I really felt like I've been able to get to know my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews much better this summer - and have grown much closer to each and every one of them.

When 20 year old Abby hopped in the U-Haul a mere 9 years ago...I don't remember crying. Probably because I was naïve and excited for the future. Also because I had never really left home before - and didn't realize what "home" held. I didn't realize what it felt like to spend holidays away and miss birthdays and reunions.

Now I know that feeling very well. I was able to play  little catch up this summer and be fully present for my sister's wedding, the 4th of July celebrations, and just time with everyone.

In a few weeks, we will pack up our cars and head back home. This time my goodbyes won't be as naïve. I'm going to be honest and say there will probably be more tears shed this time. (and that is hard for me to admit - as I cry about 2-3 times/year maybe)  But I also know that everyone will always be a plane ticket or FaceTime or phone call away.

This post may have some scratching there heads - as we had ample opportunity to summer to change our lives and make Fargo our forever home. It was a very difficult decision, but we have decided to return to our new "home" - Tucson. We have made it our home. We have made it our place. We have found friends who are like family.

I have about 2 weeks left in the Midwest, and I fully intend to drink in each moment as much as possible. Instead of tears or fear of saying goodbye - my heart is filled with extreme gratitude.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Midwest Update: Where did summer go?

Where do I even begin? How has it been since June 28 since I've checked in here. Gosh, so much to catch up on. So many events, I think we will need to do a "bullet point style recap" to get this all down before time flies too fast and I forget it all! Ha!

I'll throw in a few pictures, as well.

Hold on tight - lots to cover ;)
  • 4th of July weekend was amazing. So full - so much laughter - so much fun. We got to bond with family from California, cousins, siblings, nieces, nephews.
  • Much boating, laking, laughing, eating over the 4th of July.
  • Have I mentioned that I feel like this trip home feels like this freeze in time where I'm kind of covering ground I lost over the past 9 years? Blog post to come on that soon....
Out to dinner over the 4th of July weekend with family on my dad's side!
Fedora picture taken after a day of tubing down the river with aunts and cousins on the 4th of July

Pontoon ride that weekend with several of my siblings, their children, and my parents! And Ryan's awkward selfie face :D

  • The actual 4th of July didn't end so great. We got a call that night from the police that our house was robbed.
  • We got a take a surprise visit home to clean up the damage. We made the most of it though, got a lot done, and was even able to squeeze some time in with our friends!

  • We had a great Camping weekend with my sister and her family at Lake Carlos near Alexandria, MN. We spend pretty much all weekend out on the boat - as there is a chain of about 3 weeks. We couldn't have asked for better weather - and again...the weekend was filled with so much fun!
Friday night after setting up camp and eating dinner - quite the storm rolled through. Luckily - my sister and her husband have a large Expedition with a dvd player in it! We all cuddled up in there and watched Dumb and Dumber.
Many good memories were made this weekend! Here we are being very "Midwest" - donning my Twins shirt and drinking Woodchipper ale while being eaten up by mosquitos! Heaven lol
  • Ryan turned 30. He had the work night shift the weekend of his birthday, and was in Ohio for week the week before - but was able to spend Friday night at the lakes to celebrate the new decade. I baked him a chocolate cake and make authentic green chile enchiladas for his birthday meal and we went on a sunset cruise on the pontoon! He was super exhausted and not much in the partying mood. Maybe 40 will be a bigger "bang" - but let's not rush into that lol.
  • We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Not sure how that happened so fast...but it sure did!
We celebrated by going to a Redhawks game, out to dinner at Vinyl Taco downtown, and did some beer tasting at Drekker Brewing company while listening to live music. Perfect night in my books!
  • In between all that - we have been spending every possible free second at the lakes.
  • Ryan has been very busy at work going through the training to be an instructor pilot in his new aircraft, and is almost done!
  • And I have been very busy with some career related news I will be sharing soon.....
I can confidently say this is a summer I am never going to forget and will always hold a very special place in my heart! I am off to Minneapolis to visit my sister this weekend. I am so excited to get some bonding time with her!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

If we were having happy hour

How did a month just fly by like that since I last blogged?

Instead of a "Currently" update -- which is my "standard" when I haven't blogged in awhile. I'm going to switch it up and do a "If we were having happy hour" post. Because I kind of miss having happy hour with my girlfriends back in AZ! Or our 5 am runs. I never realized how much "head clearing" all that provided me with ;)

If we were having happy hour I'd tell you.....

  • That I am being faced with some challenges at work right now. And it's weighing on me a lot! I am focusing on the good, and trying to not the stress/pressure bring me down. I'm also having to make some tough decisions. I'd probably vent a little - but I watch my clock to assure I don't spend too much time ranting away about my internal struggle ;)
If we were having happy hour I'd tell you....
  • How much I'm enjoying the amount of time we are getting with my family. I've spent more time with my family these past few months than I have in 10 years, and it has been incredible. It's going to make leaving hard! But again - I'm taking what I can get, and focusing on the positive.
If we were having happy hour I'd...
  • Talk about my run training. We have found a gym/athletic training center here that focuses on power/agility training and I want to take it home with me. But it's a giant dome built around a football field - so I cannot pack that in my luggage back to AZ ;)
  • I'd tell you how much I am really enjoying my runs lately - and soaking up the cooler weather temperatures. As in AZ it is 85-115 degrees F daily right now. No thank you...
If we were having happy hour I'd tell you...
  • About your trip to Peru we are currently in the planning stages for.
  • How over-the-moon excited I am to hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu
  • That we plan on spending 4 days in the Amazon rainforest doing excursions.
  • That we have been watching a lot of Planet Earth and PBS to get amped about our trip :D
If we were having happy hour I'd ask for advice on....
  • Skin issues! I always have taken pride in having good skin, and that has NOT been the case lately.
  • I have acne for the 1st time ever in my life.
  • I've developed some rash on my stomach, back, arms that comes and goes periodically. I'm starting to wonder if it's some soap or laundry detergent I'm using? But it's pretty annoying. Ryan and I only sleep in the same bed a few nights / week now because he is on night shift, and I feel so bad for him because I can't sit still in bed because I'm so uncomfortable.
  • I'm about ready to set up an appointment with a dermatologist if this doesn't improve soon!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fargonian Adventures

Greetings from Fargo! "Dontcha know" we have been in Fargo since April 9?

I have been a bit absent from here. Here is my list of excuses:
1. No one reads this blog.
2. It's been kind of busy.
3. By the time I finish my day of work where I'm staring at a computer screen for 9 hours in my work from home office, I don't want to look at another screen.
4. Everytime I think about posting a blog, I don't even know where to begin :D

So what have I been up to?

Well, for one, trying to stay warm. It hasn't been the best weather here in Fargo. But I'm not letting that stop me from enjoying myself. And I really soak up the beautiful days.

Work has been quite busy. I don't tend to talk much about that part of my life these days. I'm feeling strained, and while I'm working or thinking about working - my stomach hurts. So let's focus on the fun things in life!

Wedding Fun:
Love has been in the air in my family. My sister got married this past week. Blog post to come on that! What an event. What a month, really. I thank God every day that I get to be in the Midwest during this time to be able to attend and be a part of her shower, her bachelorette party, and the wedding festivities!

I was lucky enough to get to "steal the bride" aka "Bride-chilla" (instead of "Bride-zilla" - because she was super calm and at ease on her wedding day) the morning of the big day. We ran from downtown Minneapolis, past the beautiful church she got married at, and along the Mississippi river! 

 Sibling Photo! I love my siblings - so fiercely! There's a lot of us, eh? 5 siblings - but I count my in-laws as my siblings. I am super close with my sister in laws, and my sister's picked some pretty awesome men to marry as well! I got a new "brother" last weekend, and am so excited to get to know him better. He is a great guy! And hilarious. 

Lake time:
We are just 1 hr 15 minutes from my parents' lake home. So just about every weekend while we are here, we plan on spending the weekend there! It hasn't been exactly "lake weather" yet - but we still have found some time for boating, kayaking, and I ever got out on the paddle board 2 weekends ago! (I just prayed hard that I would not fall in LOL) 

1st fish of the season! My 2 favorite men in the whole wide world: Husband and Father. Good guys. 


I have been finding all the great places to run in Fargo and at the lakes! Every Thursday morning, I run with a local run club - and am meeting some of the nicest people! I also enjoy running along the Red River, as there are miles of trails to keep me busy. It is so peaceful along the river.

I run on this path about 1-2 days/week. It's so quiet!! Hoping for it to warm up better soon, so I can get my bike out here! It's just been too windy and cold for cycling. (For me, anyhow...)

This is a run in did while staying with my sister in Minneapolis: my favorite place EVER to run! Cannot wait to return in September to run a half marathon together!

Snapshots of Glendalough State Park. This place is truly a hidden gem! 

At the lakes, I have enjoyed Glendalough State Park. Another great running venue with paved and off-road trails to enjoy!

I'm really trying to soak up every day we have here. As I know October 1 will come fast. I do miss our friends in AZ with all my heart - and our house and our garden. (And perhaps the sunshine....)

But, I am just really loving this time. My heart is very full.

So I'll leave you with my favorite quote that sums out my belief on life....

Sunday, April 2, 2017

It's actually happening...

We are rapidly approaching 9 years of being Tucsonans. While at the same time...we are REALLY rapidly approaching our departure for Fargo, ND for  6 months. And I have to be honest and admit....even though it's 6 days away, it does not feel real yet.

First of all, it doesn't feel real. For I was told it was happening, and then it wasn't happening, and then it was for sure happening, and then there was only about a 30% chance of it happening. But now it's really happening.

I've kind of warped my brain to not believe anything is happening until I'm fully living it.

But we really are moving. I've changed our address w/ USPS and I've packed 1 suitcase so far! ;)

I don't even know how to explain in words how excited I am. I've missed and pined for my family so much over the past 9 years. It doesn't feel real that I'll be with them for 6 months.

While at the same time, I'm going to miss my friends. I have a group of friends who have become family here in Tucson. We run together 3-4 days/week at 5 am. We've formed an inseparable bond. We communicate ALL day long via text. We don't skip a beat.

The beauty is - they aren't going anywhere ;)

Here are a few things that have been keeping us "busy" over the past week. (Besides work and regular life!)

-Ryan has built us our garden. I assisted. When we get back, he is going to install a rainwater harvesting system and we will have quite the setup and year-round garden to enjoy! I am very blessed to have such a talented woodworker for a husband! I helped with this project, but really I just held boards in place and fetched tools for him.

-I've been super busy at work trying to get licensed in as many states possible, so I don't have to deal with that so much when we are in Fargo. I'm required to get licensed in pretty much all 50 states, per a new policy. Some states require notaries, proof of degrees, birth certificates, fingerprinting, etc -- and it's just easier to take care of all that paperwork at our home.

-We have been trying to see everyone before we leave. The reality is - we won't get to see everyone. But we are making our best effort. Our weekends have been packed full of dinner parties, date nights, and get-togethers with good friends. 

-Friday night we hosted one last dinner party with some of our closest friends. It was a fun evening full of so much laughter. This is a mix of the ladies I run with every morning and a few of our travel/scuba diving friends. Unbelievable bonds! 

I know the week ahead is busy. So I assume this will probably be my final blog post before we are North Dakotans!! See you all on the flip side! 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A few changes....

Wow. Where do I begin... It's  been a rollercoaster of a few weeks.

Ryan is supposed to be coming home tomorrow. He's been home for a week. (Yay!!!)

Let me tell you about last week. We went from thinking we were going to be spending 6 months in Fargo ND near family, then it was going to be Nashville, TN, then it was going to be Syracuse, NY, then it was back to Fargo.

The funny thing about this life is it warps your brain to not even care where you're going -- you just want to know.

But the amazing news is....we are going to Fargo, ND on April 7!!!

We still don't know what kind of living situation we will have. That is changing on a hourly basis. Literally every day Ryan comes home with new "news".

I don't care. I'll live in a box. Well, my company won't approve of that. But you get the point ;)

As thrilled as I want to be - it's hard for me to take the excitement seriously. It changes so much that I almost am starting to feel like I'm standing on the outside looking in with everything going on! But once it's all in writing, and we have a lease signed - I think I'll start believing the excitement a little better.

Words cannot describe how excited I am to be closer to family. I miss them so much. I also get to be home during my sister's wedding festivities! So timing just could not be more perfect!

We will supposedly (lol) be living in Fargo, ND from April until late-September! Perfect time of year to get out of Tucson ( I hate our summers) and spend some quality time at the lakes.

I already know our time is going to fly....and it is probably going to be difficult to leave. But I'm going to do my absolute best to not focus on that. Goal is to focus on enjoying every single day I get there. People don't realize how many days I've spend in AZ pining to be near family. Well, here is my big chance! I cannot wait....

On to the next adventure! ;)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Weekend Adventures: NYC

Due to the fact that Ryan was going to be stuck in Syracuse for about 3 months, we decided it was a great opportunity to get us to New York City for the weekend.

Syracuse is about a 4-5 hour drive, so we ended up meeting in NYC for President's Day weekend.

I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking here.

Miraculously we get to our hotel about 20 minutes of each other. Ryan had to take a bus (long story). And I obviously flew, and took the Subway. (FYI - Google maps was the best way of figuring out the subway system!!)

We got freshened up, and headed out for some exploring. Our hotel was the Marriot Residence Inn - which was wedged between Times Square and Central Park. Great destination!! We walked around Times Square for a bit, bought broadway tickets for Saturday night, and asked our guy where a local goes for the best Thai food.

Times Square is a lot like Vegas. Too people-y. But pretty cool to see. Once ;) Ha!

We headed a few blocks north to "Yum Yum Bangkok". This place did NOT disappoint. Ryan and I usually get different things to order, and share. But we both wanted their green curry so bad. It was incredible. I wanted to lick the bowl. Prices were really good for Manhattan, too!

I could have gone back to this place again and again...but you aren't supposed to do that on vacation ;)

Saturday morning, we got up early for a big day of sight seeing. This was the sunrise that greeted us from our hotel window.....

Not bad, NYC, not bad!

We took the subway to Battery Park, and got in line for our ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I think our favorite part of this was the ferry ride. We are such view-lovers.....

I think this one will have to make our 2017 Christmas card, what do you think?

There she stands - so proud! It was surreal seeing that Statue of Liberty in person. Seen so many pictures of it. It's cool to be there. And if you remember from my 2017 "Bucket List Post" -- I wanted to touch the statue. Well, here you have it!!:

Me. Touching Lady Liberty. Pretty fun. We only made it this far up. Tickets to the crown you much buy in advance. And we aren't "buy in advance" people. I don't even know where I'm going to be living in 1 month. How could I possible plan months in advance for a trip??

Our next stop was very sombering, but also incredible. The 911 Museum. If you are every in NYC, this is a MUST SEE. Picured above is the new WTC they are building. Very impressive architecture.

I'm didn't take pictures of what laid within the museum out of respect. But it was truly a sight. They kept the original foundation of the WTC, and build the museum around it. There were melted pieces of steel, concrete stair cases covered in blood from the resuces that when on that day, and a room filled with the 3000 people who died on 9.11. I was tearful, heartbroken, nauseated, angry at times - but also in awe.

Above is a quilt that 4 women from Pennsylvania got together and made after 9.11. Each square is about a person who's life we lost during the attacks. Something about this quilt really touched me. The quilt squares were so personalized. Some squares had apples for teachers, a stethoscope, a pair of running shoes. Just unreal....

This is the actual memorial they have created. Also incredible. 

We also got to stop at Ellis Island. Pretty impressive - felt neat to "walk the floors" where our ancestors came to America on. 

This is where they would have to enter and go through "customs". 

It was about 2 pm, and we had seen the statue, Ellis Island, and every hours at the 911 Museum. We were hungry. We hit up a bar/burger in the Fidi that was definitely a firefighter haven. The walls were covered in patches. And our table happened to be next to the Mesa, AZ one. Kind of fun!

Next up was the Financial District. Anyone who knows Ryan well, knows how much he has followed and taken quite an interest in the stock market since he first started working at age 14 ;) So he really enjoyed seeing where the magic happens. 

He wasn't excited that I had to take his picture by the Wall Street sign ;) 

George Washington overlooking the New York Stock Exchange Building....
And I just loved this view. The tall buildings of the Financial Distict, with the cathedral in the distance. Beautiful! 

We headed back to our hotel, actually vegged out for about 2 hours to regain our energy (with coffee, of course). And then headed out for a Broadway Show.

I really, really, really wanted to see Chicago. And that is what we saw! Definitely enjoyed every second of the show!

Here we are all fancied up. Ryan shaved this mustache Saturday morning that he had been growing as a "pact" with his training buddies. I was so pleased!! 

Sunday morning we slept in a little, and headed to Central Park for a run. I was officially in "taper mode" for my marathon (I planned that). So did a nice 3 mile jaunt through the park! 

Such a beautiful place!! 

After our run, we were hungy and I was ready for some carbs and calories (I've been 80/20 paleo lately...and that went out the door on our weekend!!) This was Maison Kayser. Delicious pastries. We had the pain au chocolat and americanos. So good! 

Then we headed out to explore the city. We checked out Chelsea Market, High Line, East Village, and had dinner in Little Italy. 

It was a wonderful day and evening!! 

Sunday morning I had to squeeze one more Central Park run in! So we headed back for another nice 3 miler. Then we just walked around Central Park and enjoyed the sights. And soon thereafter had to part ways again....

Goodbye, New York City! 

Such a fun place and  wonderful memories. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Phoenix Marathon

The marathon is complete. This is a story about the day I pushed my body to places I didn't know I could take it.

As you know - I have trained hard.

It wasn't just the 18-week training program. I've had Boston on my mind for about 2 years now. However, when I started training, I had a variety of health issues come about. From getting bumps all over my bones with joint pain to plantar fasciitis. I had my share of "road-blocks".

I also trained for a marathon last year, and couldn't run it because of a training at work.

So let's fast forward to the day before the race (as I gave plenty of training updates on this blog). No time to think about the race, as work was so stressful this week. But that's not to be discussed today ;)

I did the race with some of my best girlfriends. In fact, they are some of the best girlfriends a girl could ever ask for. We hit up the expo 1st.
We always really enjoy the expo as a time to just really soak it all in and relax! 

I took this obligatory cheesy picture. I felt  silly taking this. Becuase at this moment, I didn't think I was going to qualify. 

We rented a lovely VRBO on Tempe Town Lake in Phoenix, enjoyed our own home-cooked meals, and had a really relaxing evening. 

Sleep was your typical "pre-race sleep"-- very restless. Nevertheless, we all got some sleep!

We were awake at 3:50am and out the door by 4:30 am race morning! Full of excitement. I had my traditional banana with peanut butter (which was my fuel for every long run). 

Lisa and Amber (the 2 beauties on the outside) were doing the half. Sharon and I did the full. So we had to part ways at this point to take buses to our race start! 

It was a brisk 38 degrees. It was probably about 32 degrees at the race start for Sharon and I up in the mountains.

We arrived to our race start 1 hour before the gun. Plenty of time, right?

No. The lines for the port-a-potty were unbelievable. I've never seen such lines in my life. But what do you do? You HAVE to use the bathroom before a 26.2 mile run! Panic started to set in. But Sharon (my dear friend who has run about 20 marathons) kept reminding me that our chips give our time...not the gun! 

We got out of the restrooms in time, but by the time we got to gear-drop, the gun and fireworks were going off. We missed the gun by 4 MINUTES. I cannot believe I missed the start line to the race. But...there was nothing to it but starting to run, right? 

We had a pretty set strategy in mind.

The 1st 5 miles, we blew past hundreds of people at about a 7 min/mile pace. I also couldn't feel my feet because they were so cold/numb. 

I grabbed this photo off the BMO Phoenix Marathon race website. Great photo of what it looked like! Beautiful views!!

Mile 13: My goal was to be at 13 miles by 1:40. And I think we hit it about 1:39. Which gave me a 1 minute cushion to stretch out and use the restroom. 
(This is me about Mile 20)

Mile 20: "The Halfway Point of a Marathon". A marathon is 26.2 miles. The 1st half is the 1st 20, the 2nd half is the final 6! 

Sharon looked at me and said "This is where if you have it - give it" That is so true!! She also made me laugh at this point. She said "What does the honey badger say, Abby? You are the honey badger these next 6 miles. What does honey badger say?" And I responded, "Honey badger don't give a ****!!" 

Then mile 23 I started unraveling a bit. I felt like if I stepped wrong, I was going to fall because my calves were cramping up BAD. I knew I didn't have cushion to walk. So I had to keep pushing. 

Sharon was a big motivator here. She reminded me that I didn't train for nothing. She also pointed about that we are NOT going to come in 1 minute behind a Boston qualifier. We can come in 20 minutes behind. But not 1 minute! 

Then I started praying. I had to close my eyes and find the deepest strength to not just keep moving, but to push out a 7:30-7:40/mile pace when all I wanted to do was stop! 

I chased that 3:35 marathon pacer for about 1 mile. I knew if I passed him, I was sure to qualify since he started with the gun.....and I started 4 minutes behind the gun. I passed him at about 25.5 miles. I felt tears building inside of me. 

I can't really explain in words what I felt when I saw the finish line, and the clock, and the inner realization that I made my goal. I worked so hard for it. I started to yell "I'm really doing this! It's really happening!!" 

When we crossed the finish line, a few tears came out. Sharon and I hugged. It true joy!! I honestly don't tihnk I could have done this without her. She really helped believe in me, and push me to prove I CAN do it! 

I realized that the marathon is my favorite race. It is the true test of the human spirit, not just the physical body! I cannot wait to run in the Boston marathon come April 2018. (Assuming I get in the lottery. Hopefully 4 minutes is enough!!) 

Biggest thing I learned this weekend? One can truly do what we put our heart and soul into. I was never an athlete. Fast doesn't come naturally to me. I had to put a lot of heart to get this done. And I did it. 

Here we are post-race with our Boston-Qualifier hats. Amber and Lisa had great half marathons as well! They both ran super strong. Amber ran a 1:31 half, which is pretty impressive! My friends are fast...

We headed back to our condo, and cooked up sausage/kale/quinoa and sat on the patio and enjoyed a post-race beer. Guinness tastes fantastic after a marathon, I have decided! :)

Finally we headed to our traditional spot on Mill Ave -- Loco Patron for street tacos and ceviche! We were crashed asleep by 10 pm that night! It was a big day. 

I could not have asked for a better birthday weekend, or better friends! I am feeling pretty blessed these days! 

Friday, February 10, 2017


Recently I was put on a big project at work to help build the "nursing role" within my company. Since nurses working for insurance companies is a fairly "new" idea. I chuckled a bit when I was invited to participate on this committee...for this is my 3rd "RN Retention Committee" I've been asked to serve on in my short 6 1/2 years in this field.

After serving on the committee, I got a phone call from a "Leadership Consultant" in my company (one of the perks of working for a big many resources!!) -- who said she wanted to be my mentor. I was ecstatic about this. As every time I listen to her speak or lead a meeting, I always thought to myself "Wow, I want to be like her when I grow up." She is an incredible leader and communicator.

She has given me several tasks to do, books to read, videos to watch on my own time, to grow me as a leader.

But the most interesting task I was given was to take this "5 Strengths" Test through Gallup. It's a $15 test online that will outline your strongest qualities. And when I finished the test, I was directed to call her back and talk about those strengths.

Not that I am compensated by any means by Gallup - but if you'd like to learn about what type of lead (and really, person) you are - I strongly recommend this!

The test took me about 45 min-1 hr, and is pretty darn accurate.

My Top 5 Strengths:

1. Individiualization
This was definitely summed up by her 1st question to me after reading my results. "Is there anyone you hate?" My answer is no. I am extremely quick to forgive. I look at every individual, and can see someone good about them, and therefore get along with just about anyone.

Are there people who behave in ways I don't like? Of course. I'm not Mother Teresa in any way. But I feel like I can "name" the issue, and move on quite easily. In fact, I kind of enjoy connecting with people are are incredibly different than me -- because it makes me realize that we can all get along and love another if we try!

2. Achiever
This strength isn't so much on being an "achiever" as it is getting great joy of "doing". People strong in this area, are often the one's who don't like the sit down. We can sometimes irritate our family members, because we overbook our calendars and overcommit. We love "to do lists". The 1st question from my mentor was "Abby, How many *to do lists* do you have going?" I started laughing. I have them everywhere in our house. And sometimes I'll even write things down that weren't originally on my to-do list JUST to cross them off.

And I am currently in an "over-committed dilemma". So this trait definitely fits me.

3. Strategic
This trait was described as the type of people who get from Point A to Point F in the most direct unique manner. And if other people don't see your method, we often get annoyed.

I never really think of myself as "strategic". I'm horrible at "strategy games". (Especially when I play with my husband who is an engineer. )

However, when explained in that way - I do come up with some clever ways of doing things and figuring things out. I wouldn't say I "cut corners" - but I use "strategy" to get what I need.

4. Learner
I'm kind of surprised this wasn't higher up on my list. The learner is always wanting to learn and try new things. This is absolutely me. This doesn't mean I'm super intelligent or an expert at learning

 We read hundreds of different articles about different things. We probably aren't an expert in any one thing. But we have our hand in every pot we possible can get our hand in.

This can be a weakness. And it is for me! I want to be everything. Just look at my job history: Health Insurance Case Manager, Cross Country Coach (part time), Pulmonary Research Nurse, Hospital Case Manager, ER Nurse, Travel Nurse, Fitness Intstructor (part time), Telemetry RN, House Supervisor, Charge Nurse, Bank Teller, CNA, Waitress, Hotel Housekeeper.....

Sometimes for fun I just research random nursing jobs. Ex: The other day I looked up what it takes to be come an Esthetician. And how I could start a business as one. What in the what?!

And then 20 minutes later I'm researching how to build yourself as a Private Youth Athletic Coach. I am all over the place. My husband is a patient man.

5. Communication 
This one is kind of obvious. It relates to being able to express yourself without difficulty. Anyone who has spent time with me knows I'm not one to "hold things in". "Communicators" take great care in conversations, and we put a lot of thought into making our conversations come out positively.

My apology for the novel. This was just kind of fun. In fact, when I saw Ryan 3 weeks ago in NY, I told him about this test. and he has taken a variety of these types of tests in his job - so it was fun to share and talk about our results. Doing so really "clicked" as to why we work well together!

Have you had to take a leadership-type test? What were your top strengths?? 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Peculiar Destinations

As I was writing about our trip to Syracuse, I made the statement " I don't think we would have visited this part of the country, if it weren't for Ryan's job.". And it dawned on me that there are a lot of beautiful, amazing places I wouldn't have explored...if it weren't for just that!

"We will see how things play out" are words that come out of my mouth several times/week, in fact. When trying to make plans in advance.

And I'm okay with that. We cannot control what we cannot control!

So here are few gems we have found due to our situation:

1. Tucson!! When I look back at "me" 10 years ago, I would not have chose Tucson. In fact, if you gave me a map and said "Pick anywhere" -- I'd pick someone with more seasons. But, WOW, I can't picture life had we need found this place. Our adventures, the hobbies we've picked up, the friends we've made, the lifestyle we developed....

2. Montgomery, Alabama. Now this would not be my #1 place to visit. But since Ryan graduated from officer school here -- I visited him for his graduation back in March of 2012. If you ever have to be there -- it is a gem of a downtown! Really good restaurants, very charming old buildings, great history!

3. Las Vegas. Ryan has had to go to Vegas for various trainings over the years. We are exactly crazy about Vegas, but always have made the best of our trips! 
City lights views from the Stratophere

I went to visit him a few years ago, and while he was in school all day - I ventured out to Red Rock Canyon Park to trail run. Incredibly beautiful!!

4. San Antonio/Austin, Texas. We got to live in San Antonio for about 5 months summer of 2013. I do not recommend the Riverwalk. But there are many gems to found be in this region. Pictured below are a few of my favorites!
Guadalupe River. We went tubing down this with friends a few times. 

I also found a bike route that goes along the river for about 20 miles! It was just a stunning place for cyclists! This picture marks such a fun and memorable day. We biked the Guadalupe River, and then had lunch in a German Town called Gruene. So fun!

This is a picture of the running rails of McAlister Park in San Antonio. San Antonio had some beautiful parks and trail running in the outskirts of town. It was common to find deer early in the morning when I'd go running!

And of course, the Texas state capitol. Bigger than the US Capitol. Of course! Everything is bigger in Texas ;)

5. Alamogordo, NM. Now I would not tell you all to get on the 1st flight to Las Cruces. Ha!!! But Ryan had to live here for 5 months in 2014, and darnit we made the best of the weekends I would come visit him!! 
White Sands is incredible. That is all sand around me. You can sled in the sand! 
I also highly recommend the mountain town of Cloudcroft!! Very charming with art stores, pubs, and good restaurants. 

6. Keystone, Colorado -- While Ryan was stuck in New Mexico - his group of classmates did a weekend of skiing/snowboarding in Keystone. It was about an 8 hour drive. This was a fast but incredible weekend!

7. The wild blue yonder. Ryan had to get his private pilot license for his job. Due to that - I have been able to go up in the sky with him. I absolutely LOVE flying. I don't like taking the yoke, but I love helping navigate and taking in the scenery!
This was our view flying over the Salt River just north of Phoenix, AZ.

8. And finally...Syracuse/Ithaca! And soon NYC because he is in Syracuse! 

So whenever I get frustrated with the process and lifestyle, I need to just be referred to this page of my blog! I cannot wait to see what adventures await. We never know in advance! ;)