Day Seventeen: Shuffle iPod - First Ten Songs

Put Your iPod on Shuffle, First 10 Songs

So...[this is a moment where I wish the superellipsis existed - I'd so be using it] here's where things could get embarrassing.  No,  not because I have a bunch of Backstreet Boys and Demi Lovato on my play list (although, that's true, too), but because I don't have any songs on my play list.

I don't have an iPod or an iPhone anymore.  Although, that's not really relevant.  My phone (Samsung Galaxy SIII) can handle storing and playing back my music like a pro.  I have just never loaded my music onto my phone.  I almost exclusively use Pandora when I am listening to music these days.
Having said that, I will go to Pandora and put it on shuffle and tell you the first 10 songs that play (full disclosure: I did skip Christmas music, but at least three came up).
  1. Take Me Out: Franz Ferdinand
  2. Glad You Came: The Wanted
  3. Black Horse & The Cherry Tree: KT Tunstall
  4. Follow Me: ANGO
  5. Bubbly: Colbie Caillat
  6. Turn Around: Flo Rida
  7. The Girl Got Hot: Weezer
  8. I'm Your Man: Michael Buble
  9. Secrets: OneRepublic
  10. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin': Journey (Quick, Mama G - how many "na"s!)
 That was fun! 


Day Sixteen: Your Body

Your Opinion of Your Body and How Comfortable You Are with it

Well, this prompt is a TALL order.  My body and I have worked hard over the years to develop a relationship wherein we both get along.  Oftimes this means my brain and tongue want lots of delicious, fatty foods while my body itself wants healthy, nutritious foods and exercise.  I often find myself giving into one or the other - but never really balancing the two. 

However, my present weight or activity status aside, a lot changed about my relationship with my body a couple years ago.  Being pregnant and have the opportunity to give birth to my precious baby boy changed everything.  I once thought of my body as more of a status symbol or a reflection of my real value.  With this mindset, what my body looked like was extremely important.  The number on the scale reflected more than the mass of my body - but how good that body was.  I reflected how beautiful, how loveable, how precious that body was.  I WAS WRONG.

My body is amazing.  It has the power to create life.  The power to nurture another human being into existence.  The power to walk and talk and dance and carry around my son.   The power to smile and help lift another's burdens.  The weight on the scale is just a reflection of how much this body weighs.  Not a reflection of how wonderful and valuable it is. 

While I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a goal to lose a few pounds and get more active, those goals have so much less to do with making me feel prettier or better than they once did.  I just know that I'd be doing my own self a favor by having more energy and being healthier moving forward. 

So, my opinion of my body?  I'm so grateful it's mine.  It can do amazing things.  It has taken my abuse for years and years and still remains strong.  I love my body.  (I may not love my figure, but those are two different things, in my opinion).


Day Fifteen: Death Row Meal

Death Row Meal

To be perfectly frank, I'm a lot more concerned with what I did to end up on death row than what I am going to eat for my last meal - but, I'll do my best to set that aside for the time being.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic comes from the show Raising Hope (pretty fantastic show if you haven't checked it out).  But, in the show, the main character unknowingly impregnates a serial killer.  She ends up on death row.  When he goes to visit her, the guard explains to him: "Your girlfriend's pretty clever. For her last meal she asked for a [McDonald's] McRib and a Shamrock Shake. That should buy her a few months. Those two are almost never available at the same limited time."

And while that's a tempting - and comical - death row meal request, the idea of suffering through a McRib is in line with sitting in a prison cell.

As a side note, I did look up Ted Bundy's last meal request - it was Steak, Eggs, Hash Browns and Coffee.  Now you know.

For me, though, I think I'd choose to go with the standard comfort foods: I'd want Mac and Cheese, mashed potatoes, oatmeal with berries and brown sugar, and a fudge brownie a la mode (with rocky road ice cream - real rocky road, the kind with actual marshmallows in it, not that lame marshmallow ribbon).

And, yes, I just asked for Mac and Cheese along with oatmeal.  Mac and Cheese is my favorite comfort food, and oatmeal is my favorite general food.  So, I would want both of them. 



Day Fourteen: A Picture of You Last Year

A Picture of You Last Year - How Have You Changed

Here's a pic of myself from almost exactly a year ago.  Obviously my hair color has changed as I'm currently rockin' the blonde.  This was my first attempt at shortening my hair - I ultimately cut off another couple inches and went VERY blonde a couple months after this photo. My blonde is more toned down now and my hair is actually about the same length as this photo, if not slightly longer (I'm currently in the "growing it out" cycle). 

I've also lost about 10 pounds since this photo was taken.  I'm right at about my pre-pregnancy weight with Will (about 25 pounds heavier than I'd LIKE to be).  But, I've been maintaining that pretty steadily for about 9 months now, so that's at least a win.

Outside of just the physical, behind me you can see the front window of my house - which we sold in October.  I've was promoted in the past year and am now working in a supervisory position at my company.  I had another birthday and have now lived for OVER a quarter of a century. 

It was a great year.  I learned a lot and go to watch my teeny little newborn grow into an amazing little toddler.  I developed a lot personally and professionally.  I helped my hub finally get his Bachelor's degree.  I wonder what I'll be saying next year!


Day Thirteen: Goals


So, this prompt has been holding me up a bit for a couple days.  A few of my personal goals these days are a little bit, well, personal, and I'd really prefer to keep them private.

My other goals seem either too frivolous for a blog post or kind of serious and heavy.  So, I find myself at a bit of a loss on how to spin this post into something fascinating for you!

I considered reviewing the tales of the times I scored goals as a part of my semi-pro hockey career - but then I remembered I didn't have one of those.

I thought about telling you about some goals that I have set and later achieved - but then I remembered I didn't have one of those (of course, I'm not being serious).

So, what this leaves us with is a list of really lame goals that I'd like to achieve this week:

1) Go to bed each night with the dishes done/kitchen clean
2) Get Will to say one new work each day (not that he'll say it again, but we're working on more words!)
3) Plan a really killer talk to give at church on Sunday (so, yeah, that's happening).
4) Get signed up at the nearby Snap Fitness and start going 4 days a week.
5) Have dance parties with my boys each nice. 

Sorry.  ;)


Day Twelve: Something You Don't Leave the House Without

Something I Don't Leave the House Without

Well, my mind immediately goes to the staples: wallet, keys, cell phone.  However, I'd be full of lies if I pretended like I didn't forget at least one of those things on a semi-regular basis. 

I typically drop Will off at day care on my way to work in the mornings.  This means that, on those days, his stuff comes first.  I pack up his bag with snacks, diapers, wipes, a clean bottle, pacifier, and his blankie.  I get him dressed, his shoes, his coat.  However, this often means I DON'T have my own stuff as organized. I hardly ever forget my work laptop, but, in all the preparations, I often forget to stick my wallet in the bag or to stuff my phone in my pocket. 

The only thing I'm guaranteed not to forget these days is my coat - as Fargo winter weather won't let you make that mistake. 


Day Eleven: A Quote You Love

A Quote I Love

I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.
-Dudley Field Malone

I think I have a problem.  I do not particularly care for confrontation, per se; I'm much more of a dispute-resolution type (can't we all just get along!).  However, I have this problem, you see, where I feel obligated to defend the underdog in pretty much any situation. 

If you tell me you hate something, even if I hate it, too, I feel inclined to defend it explain why some others may not hate it.  If you think Tierra on The Bachelor is looney-tunes, I might feel obligated to defend her as a poor, lost soul who has been hurt a lot in her past (not that I think she should win or anything, but I think she got a bad wrap). 

As a result, however, I've come to really appreciate this quote by Dudley Field Malone.  I don't think arguing is productive and I think our society generally spends way too much time fighting instead of listening to one another, but the combination of differing opinions and listening with an open mind can result in the most exciting realizations, innovation, and teamwork. 


Day Ten: Something You're Afraid Of

Something I am afraid of

Well, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you already know I'm afraid of spiders and trampolines

I've been thinking about this prompt since I first reviewed it after I posted Day Nine, and I won't lie, I've had a little trouble coming up with a good answer! 

I'm a pretty cautious person.  I wouldn't say I'm exactly risk-averse, but I do carefully weigh all the pros and cons of an action before I do it.  If it breaks laws, heads in a direction opposite of my own moral compass, or has a high likelihood of injury or harm to property, you can count me out.  You won't find me spinning donuts in any parking lots or jumping out of planes or packing up and moving across the world.  (Yes, most of you just called me BORING or a wet blanket - another amusing post).  But, it's not because I'm afraid of these things.

I guess I have enough experience (which I know is laughable coming from a gal in her mid-twenties) to know that there's not much I need to be afraid of.  I know that I can handle whatever comes.  It doesn't mean I LIKE spiders or trampolines or the dark.  But, I do know that if I find myself coming across one, I can handle it.  (And, obviously I'm talking about a lot more than spiders and power outages).

Fear doesn't stop scary things from happening, it just prevents you from action.  So, I guess I choose not to be afraid.   


Day Nine: A Favorite Picture of Your Best Friend

A Favorite Picture of Your Best Friend

Just one?  Not possible.

Mmm.  Fresh Laundry.  P.S. Check out that sweet Nokia.

I'm famous for my piggy-back rides. 

Clearly we still haven't grown up.


Day Eight: A Place You've Traveled to and Where Else You'd Like to Travel

A Place I've Traveled to and Where Else I'd Like to Travel

This could, honestly, end up being a really lame post.  Honestly, I'm not much of one for traveling!  My current job has given me the opportunity to travel quite a bit, but the nature of our work means I'm mostly traveling to small, Midwestern towns.  It's been a really fun experience, but I don't feel like travel is exciting or interesting, necessarily.  Trips as a kid were fun.  But, as an adult, it's just an awful lot of work.

Don't get me wrong, I like a good trip, but I just don't WANT to travel.  Ha. 

Having said that, I will answer the prompt.  But, those of you out there who have traveled the world and loved it, you'll think I'm a real bummer. 

So, a place I've traveled to.  This is a weird question.  It doesn't have to be a cool place, a place I loved, or a unique place.  Just, a place.  I guess I'll go with Washington DC.  When I was a senior in high school, my choir had the opportunity to sing at the lighting of the national Christmas tree.  This was a really cool experience.  As a bit of a (US) history nut, I really enjoyed the chance to tour and sing in the White House, to tour the Pentagon (it was close enough after 9/11 that general tours weren't being done), and to shake the President's hand.  Also, as a California girl, being there at Christmas time and watching big, fat snowflakes flutter down from the sky was really neat.  I'd love to go back to the area and do a lot more sightseeing. 

And, where else I'd like to travel.  As I said, I'm just not yearning to travel around the world.  I'm sure I would love many places.  I think that Italy, Greece, China, Japan and Australia would be the experience of a lifetime if I were to go - but I just don't really feel strongly that I need to make it happen.  I really want to take Geoff to Disneyland (he's never been!!!), but that's something we are saving for when the little man is a bit older.  Anywhere with a warm beach is welcome in my life, so Hawaii or the Virgin Islands would be fun.  But, I'm pretty content to find adventure close to home and sleep in my own bed at night. 


Day Seven: What Makes You Happy

What Makes Me Happy

I have a little blurb on my Facebook profile that states "I love my husband, my son (1-year old), TV, movies, winter clothes (not winter weather) anything by Maroon 5, facebook-stalking, dancing in inappropriate places (i.e. the grocery store), singing in the car, Diet Mt Dew, and sunshine (that kind that warms both your body and soul)."

That's a pretty good summary of what makes me happy.   A few I might add to the list include: talking to my mama, thrift store shopping, performing, laughing so hard your belly hurts, elliptical trainers, DQ Blizzards, story time with Will, and pay day.

What makes YOU happy? 


Day Six: Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves

Here are a few of my pet peeves.  I'm honestly pretty laid back about most stuff (read the last sentence of number 2), but there are a few things that get me going.  After writing this I realized most of this is applicable to the workplace as well.  

1) Basic spelling and grammar errors.  The difference between "their", "they're" and "there" is extremely important.  Apostrophes have an important place and should be used properly.  And the word tomorrow doesn't have an "a" in it. If there is one thing I'm determined to ensure it's that my son will know the difference between an adjective and an adverb and that he won't leave his participles dangling [insert prepubescent giggling here].  **Disclaimer: This does NOT mean I claim to have perfect grammar or that I never make an error.  My own errors peeve me as well.  :)

2) Whining.  I took a personality test, called the SELF test, a little while ago at a management seminar.  I learned that I am an Efficient type.  This basically means I like to get stuff done.  Now.  Excuses really bug me, but whining is the worst.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes venting is necessary to regroup and refocus.  But, whining just means that nothing is being done to resolve the issue at hand.  I'm a firm believer that if you can do something about it - do it.  If you won't do anything about it - get happy about it.  If you can't do anything about it - let it go. 

3)  Bad attitudes.  I have a quote up in my kitchen that says "Happiness comes to those who seek it."  I think this is extremely true.  If you walk through your day looking for reasons to be unhappy or to make yourself a victim, you'll find them.  If you walk through your day looking for reasons to be grateful and joyful, you'll find them.  If you do the project with a bad attitude, your quality of work will suffer and the whole project will be an ordeal.  If you do the project with a good attitude, you'll have better results and feel more self-satisfaction for a job completed.


Day Five: What Song Inspires You

What Song Inspires You

As you may have gathered from my day three post, music has been a pretty powerful force in my life.  There have been many influential songs.  Some inspire me to let loose and have fun.   Some remind me certain times in my childhood or youth and remind me to stay young at heart.  Some remind me of the glory of God and the joy I have in Him.  Some make me cry, some make me laugh, some make me sing. 

However, for this post, I think I am just going to go with the first song that I thought of when I read the prompt for today. 

My job has brought me to many places around the country.  One of my job functions has been to travel to non-profit radio stations during their on-air pledge drives and provide software support.  Most of the stations who request this particular service are Christan Pop radio stations.  There is one song that I have been introduced to at these drives called "The Voice of Truth" that has come to mean a lot to me. 

The following lines from the song are the specific ones that echo in my mind quite often:

"Oh, what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant with just a sling and a stone. Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors shaking in their armor, wishing they'd have had the strength to stand.

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me, reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed. The giant keeps on telling me, time and time again, 'Boy, you'll never win! You'll never win!'

But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"...Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth."

I feel like the lyrics speak for themselves pretty well.  I mean, who hasn't had those days where their internal demons remind them of their shortcomings?  Or those days when we feel like we aren't good enough or smart enough?  This song reminds me that we can choose to feed the demons or we can choose to remember our divine nature and walk tall and proud and defy those demons. 

Day Four: Your Parents

My Parents

This is kind of a fun topic for me.  I have been blessed with some pretty amazing parents.  I'm also a pretty good mixture of the two.  I got my looks from my dad's side of the family.  I got my wit from my mom.  I got my patience from my dad.  I got my mad baking skills from my mom.  I got my work ethic from them both.

I was pretty lucky as a teen.  My parents weren't super lame (which is a plus for any teen).  But, the three of us had a really good time together -  and still do.
I talk to my mom every day and she and I like to joke that we "share a brain."  Which of us actually gets it on any given day is a debatable.  We have delusions of someday having our own podcast, and I'd be the Regis to her Kelly.  And, of course, we would be undoubtedly famous - because we think we're hilarious.  It has yet to be determined if that is because we share a brain or because we are, indeed, hilarious. She "gets me" on a level that no one else can and I'm so grateful to have her in my life.
My dad has always had the innate power to make me feel special.  On Sunday afternoons he used to sit on the couch and listen to me sing (for as long as I was willing), while my mom accompanied me on the piano.  I was told I could do anything I wanted - but I also knew it was true.  I knew that I was strong and smart and beautiful and that my father believed I could be successful in anything to which I put my mind.  I'm pretty self-motivated, but it was my dad's belief in my abilities that really removed the need from "rules" in my life growing up.  The person I am today has a lot to do with the fact that my dad knew that I could be this person and encouraged me to take the steps to get here.  

I'm a lucky girl and I hope to be as good a parent to my kids as my parents were to me.  


Day Three: My First Love

My First Love

It's interesting; I challenged my friend, Amanda to join me in my blog challenge.  She accepted (and is, thankfully, just about as far behind as I am, so I don't have to feel like too much of a punk).  The thing that is interesting, though, is that she and I both went the same direction in our minds when we read the phrase "my first love."

Tales of my first romantic love don't seem fitting as my first real love came many, many years before.  I regret to say that I have lost touch with that love these days, which is a fact I often feel sadly about.  Nonetheless, my first love and passion is to sing. 

I started taking voice lessons at the age of 7 and continued to take them for 11 years.  I took lessons from teachers in differing techniques: belt, pop, and classical/opera.  I've been in more than 8 musical theater shows (which isn't all that many - but considering I did all 8 of those in mostly a 3 to 4-year period, it's not too shabby!), I've competed in state-wide vocal competitions, and performed with the VOENA children's choir when I was in high school.

To be honest, most of those accomplishments happened a very long time ago.  As I started to turn into a teenager and learned about all the awesome insecurities that come along with that - I shied away from performing a bit.  

But, my passion for music and singing, deep down, hasn't fizzled.  I'm sad to say that I don't sing nearly enough and I wish I were more involved in local choirs and opportunities to sing.  But, when I do find the opportunity to sing, I am filled with a joy and love that has been there (probably forever) as long as I can remember. 

I hope my son is able to find something he loves so much - that isn't a girl!  :)


Day Two: Nicknames

So, day two of the challenge just says Nicknames.

I like nicknames.  Kind of.  It's actually a little weird.  Since a young age I have been very insistent that my name is Amanda.  Not Mandy.  I even cried once in 2nd grade when, due the abundance of Amandas in my class, I had to be called Amanda G instead of just Amanda.

However, having said that, I have always been called nicknames by my immediate family.  As a kid I was noodle (for reasons I'm not entirely sure).  As I got older, my whole fam began calling me Sis (hence the Sis part of the blog).  My brother and I took an organic chemistry class together in college, so his version of Sis morphed to Cis at that time. (Google Cis and Trans isomers if you want a little insight as to why - it's actually kind of DEEP if you think about sibling bonds.  Yeah, we're deep.)

We use a lot of nicknames in our home.  Will (which I suppose is technically a nickname of William) gets called a variety of names, but his primary nickname is bean.  This stemmed from his very first ultrasound when he was literally just a bean-sized baby.  It's hard to believe he's a 25 pound toddler now!

Geoff gets call "Hub" from me most often.  My fam likes to call him Gee (hence the Gee part of the blog).  He calls me muffin (typically pronounce moofin) and hot mama.  Okay, I may have made that last one up.

Well, who knows if this is what the blog challenge creator wanted when they said "Nicknames" on day 2.  But, there ya go.  At least now you know the reason for the name of my blog, in case you never knew before!