Thursday, September 30, 2010

duck duck GOOSE

On days like today I love my job even more than usual.  I don't think I have mentioned this yet but I work at Christ the King Lutheran School as an after school care teacher.  I started working there in January of 2009 when one of my sorority sisters told me about a position that had just opened up.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with children in an elementary school setting. It was PERFECT for me, an Elementary Education major.  Since I've been there I have also been a summer camp counselor and a substitute.  I have gained SO much experience at CTK that  I know will come in handy when I have a classroom of my own.

Christ the King is a very small, private school [K-8].  It reminds me a lot of Fayette Academy, the private school I attended, because of how close everyone is.   I've had some awesome co-workers over the past two years.  I've gotten to work with a few sorority sisters,  Brent [a good friend of mine from the U of M], and even my sister, Brittany. But my favorite part  of my job is definitely THE KIDS! The are so much fun! They can always make me smile, even on my worst days. :)

Today was an especially GREAT day at CTK. The weather was absolutely perfect so we played outside ALL afternoon.  Here are some pictures I snapped on my phone today.

Here are my little cuties playing duck duck goose.

Here is an intense an game of Simon Says!

These are some of the Kindergartners.

 My sweet Jackson!

 Isn't he a doll?! Melts my heart :)

 Mr. Brent giving shoe tying lessons :)

This is Cameron, a 5th grader, before he had to leave for his cross country meet!

Hope y'all enjoyed this beautiful afternoon as much as I did! :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"so how's wedding planning going?"

Lord have mercy. If I had a dime for every time someone has asked me that question....

And it's always a little embarrassing when I have to say I haven't really done ANY planning! I know most girls would have already dived in and started making decisions, but I keep thinking about how this is such an important day and I don't want to make any commitments yet! I see on Facebook that girls who got engaged after me have already gotten their dresses or gone registering and I feel like I should be getting things done too! So this week I decide to start envisioning what I wanted for my wedding, starting with COLORS!

I have been struggling with wedding colors for weeks now.  My favorite color is purple and before I got engaged I always thought purple would be one of my wedding colors.  But once I started looking at wedding blogs and websites I began to lean towards the blues, especially teal.  Last week one of my friends, Amy Smith, gave me a link to a wedding blog that showed a gorgeous teal, white, and pale green wedding. I FELL IN LOVE! I just love these colors together. Here are some pictures from that wedding:

I know the picture below is small but can you notice green apples in the centerpieces? I just LOVE this & will totally be stealing this idea for my reception!

I'm SO excited I FINALLY decided on my colors: Teal, white, & green :)

I have also changed photographers in the last week.  Betwixt & Between will now be doing my wedding photography and I could not be more excited! I loved the engagement pictures that Katie took and I can't imagine anyone else taking pictures on our wedding day.  Jon and I both feel so comfortable with her and I know she will do an amazing job! She just got her website up. Here is the link: Betwixt&Between.

Next thing on my list: WEDDING DRESS! I'll keep y'all posted :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

toms for sale

A couple of weeks ago I bought two pairs of Tom's shoes from Journey's.  A white pair & a turquoise pair. Both size 8.  Normally I wear an 8 and a half but the white pair fit perfectly.  The turquoise pair felt a little small but they were the last pair they had in the store and they were so stinkin' cute! So, of course I took them anyways!

Later that week I wore the white pair to work.  They were SO comfy! So the next day I tried out my super cute turquoise ones, but unfortunately they are just too tight.  My feet were killing me by the end of work.  I needed an 8 in a half but it was too late to return them.

What I'm asking is if anyone is in the market for some size 8 size turquoise Tom's? [only worn once]

Tom's are so cute and VEFY comfortable [if you get the right size].  But what is so cool about them is that every pair of Tom's that is purchased they give a pair to a child in need.  Pretty cool stuff.

I paid 55 for them but I'll sell them for 25.  If you are interested email me: or send me a facebook message. Here are some pictures of them:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the telly

We are halfway through the month of September. & You know what that means, don't you?! The arrival of FALL TELEVISION!

As I said in a previous post, I'm such a TV junkie.  Give me a television series over a movie any day.  And all of my favorites start back next week! YAY!

Here is a list of what my DVR will be recording this Fall:
2. How I Met Your Mother
3. America's Top Model
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. Desperate Housewives
6. Gossip Girl
7. The Biggest Loser
8. Rules of Engagement
9. Two and a Half Men
10. Grey's Anatomy

&& I will also be DVRing these two new premieres:

1. Mike and Molly:
The new CBS comedy by the creators of The Big Bang Theory. It's about two over weight people who are trying to lose weight and fall in love during their journey.  If it is half as funny as The Big Bang Theory I will be hooked!

2. Better With You: ABC's new family comedy with the daughter from Reba & the mom from That 70's show.  Looks awesome!

By the way, HOW in the heck did I survive before I had DVR?! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

get down & break a sweat

In the last 8 months my body has gone through some pretty major changes.  I had been unhappy with my weight for along time and back in January of this year I said enough is enough.

I was on a mission. I was going to lose weight.  I hated going shopping and trying on clothes. My self confidence went WAY down. I was ready to feel good about my body again and actually enjoy being photographed instead of hiding from the camera.  Plus I just started dating a guy{Jonathan} with the PERFECT physique.  I sometimes felt uncomfortable when he hugged me because I hated my body.  He work out regularly and this gave me the motivation I needed to lose the weight. So I decided to join a gym and began keeping up with my calories daily.  This is what I did for those 8 months:

-I hit the gym everyday.
-I did 40 to 60 minutes of cardio a day.
         -I did a mix of elliptical, treadmill [walking only], and stationary bike.
-Light weights.
-I used the LOSE IT app on my iPhone. This helped me keep track of my calories.
-I made sure to check the calories of foods at restaurants before I went.
-I ate snacks in between meals.
-I bought a scale. It really helped me to be able to see the progress I was making.

Here is a list of some of the foods that helped me lose & maintain the weight loss

1. Yogurt: My favorite is Greek yogurt! It's much thicker than regular yogurt and has a lot more protein.  But I also love Light & Fit yogurt and Yoplait's Red Velvet yogurt.  And I like to add some crunch with granola on top!
2. Amy's MealsI could live off of these things. They are organic, vegetarian, low on calories, and OH so delicious! They have such a great variety: Mexican, Italian, Indian, Asian, soups, pizzas, hot pockets, breakfast foods, veggie burgers...the list goes on forever! And they are all amazing! You can't go wrong!
3. Cereal: I eat cereal for breakfast just about every day.  I love all the Special K flavors and Fiber One's Honey Clusters.
4. Skim Milk: I made the switch from 2% and I'll never go back!
5. Clif and Luna BarsI love eating them after a workout or just for a snack in the afternoon!
6. Sweet Potatoes: With cinnamon & I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter spray!
7. Vanilla Almond Milk: It reminds me of a melted vanilla milkshake but just 90 calories per serving!
8. Progresso Soups: My favorites are: Chicken and Corn Chowder, Italian Wedding, Chicken and Dumpling, & Italian Vegetable.
9. Jello Brand Mousse Pudding: It comes is 3 flavors. Dark Chocolate is my favorite! It's great with Reddi Whip on top!
10. Ice Cream Sandwiches: Most are right around 150 calories! My favorite is Blue Bunny's Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich!

*My father was also trying to lose weight and we are both super competitive! A little friendly competition is always a good push!

I lost 20 pounds in the first month and by May I had lost 50!  Here is the before picture:

Here is a picture of my father in I back in January.  GROSS.

And now for the AFTER picture:

This is us this August.  Seven months later. I am 50 pounds less that the first pictures and my dad is about 30 pounds less. Doesn't he look great? :)  

I'm so proud of myself [and my dad].
It feels good to have accomplished such a tough goal.  Now I love shopping and can't wait to start trying on wedding dresses :) 

And maintaining the weight loss is easier than I thought! Now I:
-Hit the gym 3 or 4 times a week.
-Make smart choices while grocery shopping.
-Don't make any foods off limits.  If I'm craving a cupcake, I'll eat it.  Just not often.
-Get on the scale at least twice a week to keep myself accountable.

I encourage anyone who doesn't think they can lose their extra weight to just try.  You might be surprised, I was! If anyone has any other questions about weight loss or working out just send me a facebook message!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

top 8 on the 8th

I saw this on someone's else blog but I decided to change it up a little and just do it once a month on the 8th! top 8 on the 8th! kinda cute, huh?

So, here we go! First Top 8 topic: TV SHOWS.

I love TV series! I'd rather watch a TV than a movie any day. I just get hooked and I own a ridiculous amount of TV series. All the ones below plus A LOT more, so picking just 8 was really hard! The answers are in no particular order.

Top 8 TV shows
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. King of Queens
3. Sex and the City
4. I Love Lucy
5. The Biggest Loser
6. The Big Bang Theory
8. Desperate Housewives

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

8 months

8 months from today I will be Mrs. Griffin! I can't wait to be Jonathan's wife.  I love him more EVERYday :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

sacred marriage

Last week Jon and I started a new devotional called: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  It's 52 devotions that a couple {married or engaged} can do weekly for a year. BUT We are doing it everyday because our wedding day is just 34 weeks away :)

I was really excited about starting this devotional.  I am so in love with Jonathan and I want to be the best wife I can be for him.  I know that marriage always works best when God is at the center of it and I was excited to learn more about being a Godly wife.

I have learned so much in just the first week.  I am not just learning about being a Godly wife but I've also learned that by loving Jonathan, I can love God more deeply and HOW God can be glorified through our marriage.

I am learning the difference between being a spouse-centered spouse and a God-centered spouse.  Wanna know the difference?

Spouse-centered spouse                                                      
-acts nice when spouse is nice                                            
-accommodating as long as spouse gives attention                  
-goes out of way for spouse as long as spouse is affectionate and agreeable
-will romance if rewarded

GOD-centered spouse
-motivated by commitment to God rather that what spouse may give

I am not called to love Jon because he makes me happy (even though he does) or because he is a good christian (even though I am thankful for his love of Christ) or because he me makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside (even though he does). I am to love him because it will honor God.

I love this quote from the book: "...if you want to truly love God, look right now at the ring on your left hand, commit yourself to exploring anew what that ring represents, and love passionately, crazily, enduringly the fleshy person who put it there."

Whoa! I can learn to truly love God more by being totally committed to and loving Jonathan, the person I care for most in the world?! How awesome is that!

This book has got me thinking about marriage and my future husband it ways I have never thought of before.  Take yesterday's devotion for example. The title was: "God's Son, God's Daughter".  It gave me a new perspective of marriage, that  Jonathan is not only my future husband but a child of GOD. God made him and loves him more than I ever could, which is hard for me to grasp because I love him with my whole heart.  Just like a parent loves and wants to protect their child, God loves Jonathan and doesn't want others to mistreat him in any way.  So I need to always keep in mind that Jon is not just my fiance, but God's child.

It's only been a week, but I feel like I am learning something EVERY devotion that will help me to:
(1) be a better wife
(2) love others more
(3) love God more

I'm am excited to see what God is going to show me through this devotional.

betwixt & between

One day last week a sorority sister of mine, Katie Betts, asked me if would let her take some pictures of me and Jonathan.  She had just gotten a new camera and was wanting to build up her portfolio.  I immediately told her yes! Katie is super artsy and everything she does is always adorable so I knew would get some great pictures.  And I thought this would be great practice for when we took our engagement pictures this fall.  They turned out so great though I'm thinking about asking our other photographer if we can change the other engagement session to bridal portraits.

So this past Saturday Jonathan and I headed to Germantown for our shoot.  We had a blast running around town, changing clothes in the car, and taking tons of pictures!  We took over 900 pictures but it went by so quickly! Katie is so talented.  The pictures turned out great.  You can check her out of facebook. Just search for: Betwixt & Between Photography.

Here are some of my favorites from the day:

Thanks KatieB! :)

& I just made our wedding website. Take a look: Jonathan&Valerie's Wedding

Sunday, September 5, 2010

super heroes & pop stars

Tonight Jon and I went to my grandparent's house to celebrate the birthdays of my two youngest cousins, Annalise and Graham.  Since their family moved to Springfield, Missouri last year,  I don't get to see them nearly as much as I would like. So I was very happy to get to spend some time with these precious kiddos this weekend.  The theme for their party was "Hannah Montana and Batman!" Haha! Here are some pics from the birthday party:
the birthday girl. who will also be my flower girl in May :)

birthday boy!

My grandmother made us a delicious dinner!

my cousin Ryan and his girlfriend, Morgan.

Annalise turned 6.

Graham turned 3.
LOTS of Hannah Montana & super hero gifts!

my great grandmother, my grandparents, their children(my mom & two uncles), and their childen(me, my sister, & my cousins)

Zoey(our lab/pit mix)

Happy Birthday Annalise & Graham! :)