Five on Friday – Goals Edition

Hello my loyal blog followers, so basically hi Hubby, mama and steph 😉  I know I have said this before but I am just SO excited for 2017.  I have never felt more driven and empowered before.  I am making goals and actually sticking to them.  right?!  crazy talk.  Here are some tips of things I have been doing to help me stay on top of my goals.

{one}

Be intentional.  Make goals about things you are passionate about.  When you have an internal drive towards something in particular it is going to help drive you externally to achieve these goals.  For me I am being more intentional about saying “NO.”  I feel like one of my weaknesses in life is that I am a people pleaser.  I never say no.  I have started guys and guess what.  I am happier AND I am achieving more of my personal goals.  Just because I don’t go on a playdate everyday doesn’t mean I don’t want to see my friends or that my kids are deprived, but the ones we do go have become more intentional and for that I am thankful.  I have tried to apply this concept to all areas of my life and I truly am pursing my passions on the side this year instead of trying to do it all.

{two}

Make lists.  I know, I know.  This belongs in goal making 101. BUT it just holds so much truth.  When you make a simple bullet point list to lay out your day before you, it forces you to become more intentional with your actions to get through that list.  Put EVERYTHING on there that you want to get to done (quiet time, work out, laundry, make dinner, etc) and prioritize it if you can.  Whatever doesn’t get checked off automatically gets floated to the next days list.  I use the weekly part of my planner for my list making.  I use my monthly part so I can see all my big things laid out at once (DR appointments, when I work, plans with friends, etc).  This has been working SO well with me.  The very first thing on my list every day is my quiet time.  If I achieve nothing else on my list other than spending 5 minutes with the Lord then I will call it a successful day.  And guys, this week, I have been surviving.  Both my kiddos have been sick, so I have missed quiet time twice and gotten nothing else done on my list.  But that’s ok, I still made a list everyday and I moved everything onwards to the next day that I wasn’t able to accomplish the day before.

{three}

Set yourself up for success.  If your goal is to work out at 5 am, sleep in your workout clothes.  If your goal is to wake up and have quiet time with a cup of tea, set everything out before you go to bed so you know its waiting on you in the morning.  Be realistic and help yourself the night before as much as you can.  One thing I have been doing to try to help this is to make sure my dishwasher is empty before I go to bed.  Silly but for me waking up and not having a pile of dishes in the sink automatically makes my day better.  I also have been making kids lunches the night before on school days and what a game changer that is.  I am such a nicer mom on school days when I’m not rushing everyone out the door in a mad frenzy.

{four}

Accountability.  Share your goals with someone.  Put it out there on social media.  Call your best friend and tell them.  Write it down for people in your home to see.  Make yourself accountable somehow.  For me, one of my goals (since like forever) has been to finally lose some of this baby weight.  My neighbor had the same goal.  SO what we did we do?  Made it a family affair.  Husband/wife teams.  We set a start date and end date.  We created a group within a workout app so we can see when the others are working out, we weigh in every Monday morning and send our numbers into the spreadsheet.  It works.  We are having fun with it – right ridge runners??? 😉 and it is holding us all accountable.  Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition.

{five}

Give yourself GRACE.  In all that you do, give yourself grace.  God did not create us to be perfect.  He created us to be good.  Good people, Good stewards of our faith, good husbands/wives, good mothers/fathers.  No where in the Bible has God set up the expectation of perfection, so why would we burden ourselves with that expectation?  It is not possible.  We are human flesh, at the end of the day we will not achieve perfection, it is not within our reach.  So, step back and give yourself grace.  Be kind.  Look at people and smile.  Try your hardest to be the best you can be each day.

I hope to be back on my game with Friday link-ups, but if I fall off the wagon again, it’s ok.  God willing I have MANY MANY more Fridays to live.

 

Enjoy your weekend friends!

xo,

j

A Christmas Roadtrip – Branson, MO

We just returned from our first ever Hooper family road trip and ya’ll – it was good {FREEZING COLD} FUN!  When we first started planning our little winter excursion Nashville was the only stop on the list. Branson somehow made the cut and was our first {kinda first stop} on the way to Nashville. On our truck up to Branson we decided to boondock in the Winstar Casino parking lot and try our luck at the slots (well, Andrew’s parents and I did while he stayed with the kiddos). Well, we weren’t lucky but I did get a chocolate caramel candy bar and free coke out of the deal. It was a fun way to break up the drive. The next day we hit the road and drove uphill (or so it felt) to Branson. Driving {if we want to get technical riding ;)} was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. I LOVED seeing the country. It is just so beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me how you can be driving through flat farmland one minute and be between mountains the next. I am just in total awe of God’s beautiful country and I have only seen 0.03895473% of it. Once we pulled into Branson city limits we found our quaint little RV Park, Shenanigans, and we were immediately greeted with open arms and welcoming smiles. The owners helped direct us into our spots, got us checked in, and helped us plan out some of our days! Side note: it was like 15 degrees outside when all of this was going on and they were still outside waiting for us to arrive. I cannot speak enough of how friendly and helpful the staff was at Shenanigans. We got settled and cranked up the heat BECAUSE IT WAS SO COLD. Like freezing. BELOW freezing. Abnormally cold for this time of the year was the quote of the trip. OF COURSE it was! We just had to laugh. The Texans venture out and the record cold temps hit. We froze. I didn’t think Corbin even knew what freezing meant but he used the word very appropriately in about every other sentence he spoke the entire trip. I reassured him that we were ALL freezing and it wasn’t just him 😉 Despite the cold we still ventured out and explored. The boys learned how to layer and what gloves and mittens are. The cold didn’t stop them – they were still outside playing in the leaves running around. We went to the Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not. They were both fun indoor, kid friendly attractions. The boys especially loved Ripley’s. We had the pleasure of seeing Dolly Parton’s Dinner Show, Dixie Stampede. It was a great experience and we are so happy we chose to go to that show. The Christmas theme was fun and festive and the live nativity was beautiful (my favorite part of the show). We attempted Silver Dollar City, but one hour in and a train ride later we had to call it quits. When Wyatt’s hands started turning purple UNDER his gloves we knew it just wasn’t worth it. As BUMMED as we were to miss the Christmas light parade we can’t wait to bring the kids back there. It seems like the most fun, genuine, clean little theme park that there ever was. It felt like a tiny Disney from the 1800’s( we got to watch a blacksmith at work and watch glass blown be made) with some good ‘ole fashion Jesus loving’ thrown in. Overall, Branson was great. The people of Branson are incredibly friendly and SO welcoming. The town is very faith-based (which totally caught us off guard in the best way possible). It was a bit touristy for my liking BUT I want to go back. Now that we have been I have an agenda. I have “seen it and done it” as far as “Branson” goes and what people envision when they hear Branson. I want to experience the NATURE Branson has to offer. I want to hike and see things. AND go to Silver Dollar City again of course {because let’s face it I am a kid when it comes to rides}. So will we be back Branson? Bet your bottom dollar on it! We will totally stay at Shenanigans again and hit up Table Rock Lake and explore that Beautiful country side that Branson has to offer. See ya soon Missouri – maybe in July this time 🙂

my winnings for the night.
great little park we found to stretch our legs and eat lunch at in Oklahoma
Shenanigans at Shenanigans RV Park
corbin in his cave and goofing off in camper

 

wax museum fun

Ripleys Belive it or Not and IMAX adventure on State Parks. Very inspirational for the travel bug in us 🙂
FREEZING at Silver Dollar City
Dixie Stampede Show
camper life
Billy Bob’s Dairy Land after we left SDC early. These burgers and brownie fudge sundaes made everything better.
Branson won the award for the most adorable fur trees lining the highways. I just wanted to hop out and cut down my own Christmas tree. I worked on addressing our Christmas cards while on the road

up next…..Nashville.

xo,

j

A Christmas to Remember

Y’all.  I LOVE Christmas.  SO SO SO much – LOVE IT.  I LOVE birthdays too – maybe that is why Christmas is my favorite.  It is like the ultimate birthday party for our Lord and King.  I finally got the last of our decorations packed up and put away and I am feeling the post-Christmas blues. I am missing all the family time – guys we HAD an untold of amount of time off of work to just be together.  It was the best gift of the season.  My living room is looking pretty barren, I miss the soft glow of the tree lights, and I miss my boys turning them on and off 10934375 times a day and being equally amazed each time they would light up.  I miss it.  This Christmas also brought so much bittersweet emotion with it as well.  It was our last Christmas in our first home and it was also my parent’s last christmas in my childhood home.  So many lasts and so much excitement for the all the firsts to come next year.  We really had fun digging into the family traditions with the kids this year.  I know it is only going to get more special each year.  We started with our annual polar express ride that you can read about here.  My mom hosts cookie decorating for Santa every year on the 23rd.  Once my kids reach the glorious age of FOUR I can drop them off and enjoy some momma time while they decorate but until they become of age to attend Nannie camp alone I get to go swimming in sprinkles and frosting and it. is. messy magical.  Corbin actually totally surprised me this year and was totally into it.  He took his time dumping the entire jar of sprinkles onto his cookies.  I expected him to either not care, just eat the cookies or throw sprinkles everywhere and then lick them up.  So, I was pleasantly surprised.  Bubba on the other hand.  He lived up to every expectation I had and then SO much more.  He was in his happy spot.  He claimed the jar of rainbow sprinkles immediately by licking the entire thing and then proceeded to eat cookie after cookie with and spoonfuls of frosting here and there and then would tip the sprinkle jar back like it was an ice-cold beverage and wash it down with rainbow sprinkles.  I lost track of how many cookies he ate, but I am pretty sure he is still feeling the effects of the sugar high.  We left with some pretty special cookies for santa.

this cookie front and center is a Christmas staple at moms. A york mint in the middle of chocolate heaven with frosting on top. Fights ensue over these cookies ya’ll. My mom’s tree is one of my absolute favorites. Every ornament has meaning and a story and I can’t wait until one day my tree is filled with treasures that tiny hands made….like this glitter star I made in kindergarten.
my most prized Christmas treasures. I would totally run into a burning house to save these…

Christmas Eve we attended church, and by we I mean Andrew.  The kids must have been experiencing some post sugar withdraws or something terrible because they were acting CRAY.  straight crazy.  It immediately resulted in us worshiping in the car while Daddy enjoyed church.  After church we changed into our tacky Christmas sweaters for the annual Hoopers go tacky Christmas tradition we started a few  years back and then headed to my parents for Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve is just so special to me.  I LOVE being with my family and I know the kids will cherish these memories of running around with their cousins and getting their magical PJs from the PJ Elves before we leave Nannie and grandpa’s house.  It is a night filled with red beans and rice, birthday cake and songs for baby Jesus, gifts, lots of laughs and lots of little kid squeals.  It is perfect.

Hoopers go tacky 2016
PJ elves left urgent packages at the door and then the blurry excitement that ensued to put the PJs on ASAP
a handful of sweet memories from the night

Christmas day we will always spend at home.  I want the kiddos to have that memory of going to sleep at home and waking up to Santa at their house.  It was such a fun morning this year because Corbin was SO excited.  I know next year will be even more magical.  Santa was good to us and we are so blessed.  Andrew spoiled me rotten and sent me on a scavenger hunt through the house to find my gifts (that we weren’t supposed to give).  He is so creative and it really made me feel so loved and so special.  I even got a Christmas poem with my final gift – an apple watch – eeeeeep!  SO exciting.  I am actually meeting Andrew for lunch tomorrow and we are going to pick it out!

One of my favorite memories this year. Bubba could care less about the presents but he was in HEAVEN when he saw some leftover cookies and milk. Cookies for breakfast. smart kid.

Mama getting spoiled. Not pictured was my fancy new die cutter(and lots of fun stocking goodies) – can’t wait to get crafty
Christmas Poem

December 2016

Tis The Season Of Giving

No Matter Which Form It Takes,

It Could Be A Simple Hug

Or Delicious Cupcakes

It Could Be A Trip

To A Place Near Or Far,

It Could Be A Nice Conversation

Over A Drink At The Bar

It Could Be Toys Galore

Or A Handwritten Letter,

But I Bet A Poem From Your Hubby

Makes This Season Much Better

I Know That We Said

No Gift Exchange This Year,

But Again I’ve Broken The Rules

Please Don’t Shed A Tear

You Make Me So Happy

And I’d Give You The World If I Could,

You Know That I’m Serious

And You Know That I Would

But As This Isn’t Practical

You’ll Have To Settle For This,

All I Ask In Return

Is One Helluva Kiss

The Present I Got You

Oh What Shall It Be,

I Hope You Like It

It’s To You From Me

Merry Christmas To You

My Sweet Loving Wife,

I Can’t Wait To Pass The Time

With You In My Life

Love Hubby

We headed to Andrew’s parents Christmas night and did Christmas with his family on the 26th.  We all piled into his Grandma’s house and ate chili and stew and shared lots of laughs and lots of memories.  The cousins LOVE exploring through all of grandma’s treasures and it so much fun to see them all together.  We do a white elephant gift exchange and it is always so much fun.  This year we did the oven mitt gift game.  We had to open a gift with an oven mitt on while the person next to you tried to roll doubles with the dice.  Once doubles were rolled you passed the oven mittens and gift onto the next person.  Whoever opened the gift got to keep it.  It was a riot and had us all laughing.  Andrew’s grandma is an AMAZING baker and y’all she made PIES.  Her pies are like heaven.  No lie.  They are just SO good.  She gets her merengue like a foot tall and its heavenly.  They are beautiful and they taste even better.  We have the recipe for her chocolate pie and it lives in our safe – because it is just that good.

daddy and his mini-me

nothing more beautiful than the sunrise and sunset in the country

We spent the rest of the week at Andrew’s parents out in the country and it was nice.  Andrew worked himself silly putting up fence and doing jobs around the farm with is dad.  The kids ran themselves silly running around and breathing in all the fresh country air and chasing cows.  It was a good week and a perfect way to wrap up the year.

LONG days and HARD work gets you a new fence
country fun. fires, wood collecting, leaf playing, tractor rides, cow calling…..
he’s an ole’ fishing pro now 🙂
I know a good mechanic if you need one

 

hardest workers

I brought my fancy camera and had so much fun playing on it 🙂  I am a work in progress learning all the settings on it, but I am having fun.

determined
in his happy spot
honk honk
just hanging around
checking out the tractor tires
little worker
playing

I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas.  Enjoy this year, next year will be here before you know it.

xo,

j

Stirring in the Soul

We are officially 9 days into the new year and I have never felt such a stir of emotion in my soul and energy as I have this year.  My clean eating and exercise program is going pretty darn well.  I have not missed one day of my daily devotional {that really is a big deal for me}.  We had a crazy productive first weekend of the year that we will fondly remember as demo weekend.  We are starting preparations on our house in order for it to be at its best market ready self when we re-list our home in April.  We took the train down that ran across Corbin’s ceiling in his room (as much as we thought it was super awesome and fun, some people can’t look past that stuff when buying a house).  We took down extra curtain rods and curtains that made rooms appear smaller.  We smoothed down and spread a huge pile of dirt in the backyard.  Let me clarify – when I see WE I really mean Andrew.  He rocked it this weekend.  I was the moral support and cooker.  I also got all of our christmas taken down and put back into the attic.  My project 333 wardrobe is THIS CLOSE to being complete.  We have a garage sale pile the size of Mt. Rainer {and it feels oh SO good}.  I have a feeling this is just the first layer for me as well.  I am learning a lot about myself. I am very emotional and am having a harder time parting with THINGS than I thought.  EEEEP.  How embarrassing.  Does this make me a stage 1 hoarder?!  Maybe.  Whatever it is I am ok with it.  I am making progress and it is helping me to try to really step back and find the THINGS in my life that bring me joy.  We are collectively trying to make 2017 more about friends and family than THINGS.  Regardless,  I am human and I like things.  I am forever a work in progress.  Amongst all these preparations on the home I feel like Andrew and I have had some MAJOR stirrings in our hearts and souls about where exactly is life leading us?  What does God want us to do with out lives?  80% of your life is spent working and that work needs to glorify HIM.  If you aren’t happy with that work than are you really living life to the fullest potential? Are you really glorifying God every day?  Some serious stirring of the souls going on over here.  What I can say is I have a feeling this “journey” that we started envisioning in our heads 8 short months is going to be drastically and radically different from what we had originally planned out.  Kinda scary – heck yea.  Kinda exciting – oh yea.  Keep coming strong 2017 – we are taking you and all your challenges on.  I’ll leave ya’ll with an awesome poem Andrew wrote in about 10 minutes yesterday.  He has such a talent for this and it amazes me with each poem he writes.  Enjoy.

The Grind

I’m not happy with what I’ve become
Connected all the time
Putting in all the effort
For just the daily grind

Working for someone else
Is not at all fulfilling
And the thought of this long term
Is nothing short of chilling

Voicemails, Texts, and Emails
Never putting down the phone
Sometimes I want to shut it off
And leave myself alone

It’s ingrained in us at an early age
What success can truly be
But today I find myself
Wanting more than the corporate family tree

I’m tired of climbing the ladder
I’m needing some simplicity
It may be unconventional
But I think it’s what’s best for me

It’s great to have the raises
And a promotion here and there
But honestly in the grand scheme of things
I’m not sure I really care

I was able to buy the “things”
That sit in the closet collecting dust
It’s what you’re supposed to do with money
It’s like an unwritten law that you must

Am I being selfish?
Thinking only of myself
Or am I turning the page
On my “book” up on the shelf

Change is a scary thing
And taking risk is just the same
But what I’m doing as of now
Will soon drive me insane

I’m not expecting it to be easy
There will be bumps in the road ahead
But I want to say I’ve lived
Long before I’m dead

The American dream is true
But make it all your own
For you it might be the white picket fence
For others that seed is not yet sown

I’m not sure what mine is yet
That path I’ve yet to pave
But after I become successful
I’m sure it will be all the rave

Success is of course objective
It means different things to all
But you must take that chance in life
Even if you trip and fall

I’m not sure what’s next for me
And I’ll need to take my time
To make a fulfilling career
Outside of the corporate daily grind.

-Andrew L. Hooper

What has you stirring in 2017?  What is driving your happiness?  What change do you want to make in your life?  YOUR destiny is in YOUR hands. God has given you tools and talents in life to be successful.  If we each examine our hearts and souls to find these tools I think every one of us can be living the uncommon life.  The riveted life.  The one life you are given.  I challenge you; listen to your heart.  Chase your dreams.  You are never to old.  I am reading (really re-reading) The Cure for the Uncommon Life by Max Lucado.  It is a Christian based book to help you discover your sweet spot in life.  I am a couple of chapters in and enjoying it so far.  Make it a good week friends and listen to the stirrings in your soul.

xo,

j

Hello, 2017

Happy New Years my faithful readers!  I am wrapping up the final 30 minutes of the first day of the New Year reflecting over the last year {where did the time go?!} and setting out some goals for the new year.  2016 was a good year but 2017 is going to be a riveting year.  I have big goals for 2017 and I can’t wait to start achieving them.  I am still in the process of writing out these goals, as I am trying to be very intentional and prayerful about each one of them and what result I am striving for.  Tomorrow, however is the official start date of one of our goals.  We are partaking in a couples weight loss/healthy lifestyle challenge with our best friends and neighbors.  We are the Ridge Runners and plan on ending the competition finishing a race and going on a double date where the losing couple pays for dinner.  I am super excited about this and so hopeful that it really does become a true lifestyle change for me.  I am ready to have the energy of my marathon running days back {and maybe run another marathon or two}.  Of course, another goal that is already firm on our list is to sell our house.  We plan on re-listing early Spring and are setting out an action plan to make that as quick and successful as possible.  Achieving that goal will rapidly lead to the achieving of our other goals, one being moving into our RV full-time.  Some people still think we are crazy, some think we are awesome.  I’m with the awesome crowd.  I have devoted my entire day {on no sleep} to cleaning and organizing the house {starting to} so we can start clearing all the clutter and noise out of our lives.  Andrew and I are both going to do the 333 project with our wardrobes.  I was hoping to go through my side of the closet today, but we will do it together when he gets home from the country with the boys.  I think this challenge will help me with more than simplifying my wardrobe.  I am hoping it trickles down through every other area of my life and I can then go through the rest of the house with a more eager spirit to let go.  I had a harder time than I thought I would as  I went through to boys closets and toys today.  I was able to downsize some, but I plan on re-evaluating again in a few weeks as I know I have more work to do.  It is definitely a learning curve, but I am excited to start. Andrew and I always talk about the simple life.  I’m ready to stop talking and start achieving.  We watched the documentary called Minimalism on Netflix the week before Christmas and were both inspired by it.  I look forward to the LESS is MORE life.  I look forward to living our life by doing things, not having things.  Bring it on 2017 – the Hoopers’ are ready for you!  What are some of your goals this year?!

xo,

j