10 Things I Didn’t Expect About This Last Year of Life + Hard is NOT Impossible.

A workout with my sister!!! It felt like ages since I last hung out with her because of her kitchen remodel (turns out that takes a little bit of time) but we finally got the chance to catch up with each other.  And the best way to catch up with your people… while working out.  I’ve had my favorite conversations with my sister over the years while running.  We snatched the elliptical and treadmill that are next to each other and I got in 8 miles.

My sister always does her weights first so things started off with leg day!  Her leg day workout is in this post (with all of the explanations/pics) and it is a tough one for me… especially to do and then run afterwards!  Ummm can you imagine even being able to lift up these 140 lbs dumbbells?  Let alone do any type of movements with these?  That is impressive.

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Back home with the crew.

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Lunch was a salad!  While it is currently snowing in the mountains right by is, I’m just going to keep convincing myself it is summer with my food choices.  Spinach, chicken, feta, strawberries and a vinaigrette (we love the   Brianna’s Home Style Creamy Balsamic).

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Why sit on a chair when you can just sit on Andrew’s knee?

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Later on in the afternoon Brooke and I made our way to the Tuesday movie deal (movies are really cheap on Tuesday’s here).

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We came prepared with our blankets which is always a great idea especially in the recliner chairs.  That popcorn was amazing too.  We saw Smurfs and Brooke loved it.

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Then we stopped over at Megan D’s house because it was her birthday!  She hooked up Brooke with a cinnamon roll flavored Oreo.

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When I got home I had some work calls and emails to do and these two got to work on crafting together.

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For dinner we topped some cheese/egg/ground turkey tacos with cowboy caviar (the bowl of goodness that keeps getting better with each day it sits in the bowl soaking in all of the flavoring).

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Andrew finished off the meal with his favorite… graham crackers dipped into milk!

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The quote that Jordan Hasay had on her IG about running is a new favorite for me.  “It’s going to be hard, but hard is not impossible.”  I think I love this quote so much because it is honest, real and hopeful all in one.  It’s good to know that the hard is going to come (and not be naive to what is going to happen during our races) but to remind ourselves that we can overcome the hard… just because it is hard doesn’t mean we can’t do it.  It just means we’ve got to really work for it.

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Today is our one year anniversary since Andrew’s and my very first date together.   We were set up on a blind date. I went into it with the best feeling (which was not normal for me) and at the end of that first date when he asked me to join him on a 12 mile trail run a few days later… I had high hopes for him.  I was thinking the other night about some things that on April 25th, 2017 I sure didn’t expect happening over the next year and thought I would share some of them.

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*I sure did not expect meeting someone and getting married so quickly!  When we first started talking about marriage we began by planning an October wedding (which was still fast).  I felt so happy, peaceful and excited for this adventure together… with zero anxiety (which was strange).  I had never felt more right about something.  And then we decided to move the wedding to August and before you knew it, we chose July 8th.  We knew we were going to get married so we thought, why not just go get married and start our family together.

*The day before I met Andrew I sure did not think that I would have the most sweet step-son that I absolutely adore… that is just 5 weeks younger than Brooke.  I also did not expect to have such an amazing step-dad for Brooke that plays such a huge role in her life.

*I sure didn’t expect having a house (I had been in apartments until then), a dog (although I think Beretta misses the time when she was the alpha-female of the household) and such awesome neighbors.  That was a big change for me coming from a more transient life of moving once a year to a new place and not really feeling any roots.

*That blending a family took a lot of work.  Andrew and I just kind of expected it to be seamless and just all mix together.  I’ve told you before but the hardest part for me is just trying to understand my part in it all, where I fit in and what my responsibilities are.  There is a lot of back and forth business, people to work with and things that pop up.  It keeps getting easier but that was a huge adjustment for the both of us in the beginning.  The kids were SO happy to have each other but it was also a learning curve for them to go from all of the attention to splitting attention from their parents.

*I didn’t expect the things that have happened with my family this last year.  There were some very stressful things going on (so much better now) and I cried a whole lot to Andrew.  He was definitely my rock and really helped me get through that time.

*I didn’t expect being so adventurous (for me;).  Andrew has gotten me out of my comfort zone by swimming with whale sharks, mountain biking down a mountain (yeah, that freaked me out;), helicopter rides, sailing and camping (yeah, didn’t really do that before Andrew).

*I didn’t expect to love pizza so much.  Too bad that In-N-Out hasn’t grown on me more, right Andrew?  Before Andrew I never really thought about ordering pizza.  I was all about eating the same thing each night and focusing on the important part (dessert).  Now I feel like it is just part of my routine to order pizza once a week for a movie night with Andrew and the kids.

*I didn’t expect to double my family, have a best friend and partner in crime over the last year.  I didn’t expect to love marriage so much.

*I didn’t expect our current work situation to work out so perfectly!  Andrew had applied to nursing school before he met me and we found out he got in a few months later.  Once he started being gone all day at work and then having hours of school to do at night, we talked and decided that he needed to focus on school.  I was trying so hard to do the stay at home mom thing, hang out with a husband, work, cook, clean, shop, take care of two 3 year olds (at the time), blend, etc with a husband that was gone all day (with a rough schedule for him)… so he quit his job (don’t worry, he was more than happy to quit and see us all again:)  Now we still get that time together but have the time to get all of the things done that we need to get done.  Sure the budgets could be more flexible with both of us working right now but we chose for Andrew to really be able to focus on school right now.  I get to keep doing the job I love doing and he is on his way to a job that he has wanted to do forever (and his dream of helping others).

*I didn’t expect that I would have to convert to be an Angels fan.  My Dodgers loving brothers (even thought they are different leagues.. it’s just the principle of switching to a different team) still haven’t forgiven me for this.

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What has been the biggest change in your life over the last year?

Last movie that you saw at a theater… what’d you think?

A food that you didn’t really used to think about but a friend/significant other/family member got you into it and you can’t stop eating it?

Last salad combo that you had?

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57 comments

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This is such a cool idea to reflect on your year! Sometimes we’re always looking ahead that we don’t take the time to see how much we’ve grown or changed over the past 365 days. Thanks for sharing!

Juliette | https://namastaytraveling.com

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Hmmm. 2016 was a long, tough year for me. About this time last year, my nearly 6 year relationship came to its true end. It was coming for a long time, but this was the week we had the final conversation of “we’re breaking up.” Thus began a summer of apartment hunting, then followed by a fall of adjusting physically and emotionally to a new life. At this point, a year out, I’ve gotten my head into a much better space. I’m slowly starting to house hunt (on my own!) so I can set down roots, and have been officially accepted into the doctoral program I began as a non-matric two years ago…. and have also kind of started dipping my toes into dating, though I could take that or leave it. All positive moves, moving forward and onto bigger, better things.

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Meesh. I am so incredibly sorry about everything that you went through last year. I am SO happy that you are doing so well and CONGRATS on your doctoral program… you are amazing! Keep me updated on how house hunting, your program and dating go!!!

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Biggest challenge in my life over the last year is absolutely sharing my kids. For the first three years after our divorce, their dad had his own stuff to work on, and didn’t even do overnight visits on weekends–just a couple hours on Sundays, sometimes not even that. Over the last year he’s done a little more and more, and now they are with him every other weekend. It’s so good for them, but still hard.

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Lynn. I am truly so sorry about this… yes, it is so good for the kids to have a good relationship with both parents but it is so hard. I totally understand and so does my sister… we talk about it a lot and try to help each other because it is so hard. If you ever need to talk to anymore, I’m here:) Hope you are having a beautiful day!

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I have been enjoying having salads too lately. Strawberries and spinach are such a good combo.

2016 and 2017 have been Boring years for me. There haven’t been a whole heck of a lot going on, which to be honest has been okay by me.

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I didnt expect to love my job as much as I do, which is amazing! I also didnt expect to have found a place to live in SF since its costs a bajillion dollarsa to do anything here.

Your salad combo is ON POINT by the way.

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Carrie, I am SO happy that you love your job so much… that is the best! AND YAY for a place to live in SF:) Bay area living is $$$$$$$ (especially San Francisco)!

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My biggest change over the last year would be moving, then getting sick and having to move again…and this next year my biggest change will probably be another move in August. Haha.
I honestly can not remember the last movie that I saw in the theater. Cold rooms make me want to sleep.

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There are so many foods I could list under the never thought I would eat so much. My safe eating was more about knowing what I was getting, not a calorie or weight thing. My anxiety is SO in check right now, it is like the peace and confidence have taken away the food ruts. Gosh, there are so many delicious flavors out there. I told C I wanted to take a foodie vacation to Italy now that I would really enjoy it.

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Erica, I am SO happy for you. I think that vacation needs to happen asap and Andrew and I need to join you guys:) How fun would that be… we would eat everything!

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Putting it on the bucket list. It would be awesome!

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What a year it’s been for you! I also didn’t expect a house to come into my life last year. Adam and I had loosely talked about buying a house at some point but mostly we were comfortable renting and liked our apartment. But then we started thinking about buying an apartment since rent prices in our area keep going up and our complex was going to raise our rent by a couple hundred dollars a month — making it so that a mortgage would be cheaper! Somehow that all led us to our townhouse which we now love and a mortgage payment that is (slightly) cheaper than our rent used to be – win win!!!

My cat doesn’t like when I have to leave the house to go to work but I remind him without me going to work we don’t have a house to live in :D.

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Unrelated to any of your questions, I think…MAKE COWBOY CAVIAR!!! I used your recipe all summer last year and it was such a crowd pleaser! So easy and so delicious! I could eat it by itself like its own salad…maybe I did do that…

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Oh Marianne!!! I am so glad that you love it… we are obsessed! Good to know I’m not alone in just wanting to eat it by itself:) Enjoy your day!

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I love that quote too. I try to do something everyday that scares me, or at least pushed me out of my comfort zone.

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isn’t it amazing what can change in a year? or even in a day? You just never know what will happen each morning that we wake up which makes life so exciting if you ask me. So happy for you!

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Love that quote.

Biggest challenge has definitely been going from 1 kid to 2 kids. And they are almost 5 years apart so it has been difficult doing the whole baby thing again (goodbye, sleep!!) but it has also been so wonderful to complete our family and see them interact.

Last salad I ate was a Caesar salad with hard boiled eggs. Last movie I saw was Beauty and the Beast but I am taking my kiddo to see Boss Baby on Thursday. I only see kids movies these days!

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Oh Laura… that is rough! Not getting enough sleep makes me crazy! Enjoy all of those sweet moments and I’m so happy for you guys (hopefully you get more sleep:)! Have fun at Boss Baby, our kids loved it!!!

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Why have I never thought to take a blanket to a movie theater?!?! lol Genius.

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Once you try it, you will never go back! Hope you are having a great day Jen!

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Love all of it minus you’re not a Dodger fan anymore?!;)
I finally saw Beauty and the Beast with my daughter and loved it, we both did!
Tritip on salad with ranch so good

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This is a really sweet post! It seems like things didn’t go as expected, but a lot fell into place for you and your family (in the best possible way). Love the picture of you and Andrew!

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That salad looks so yummy! And just reading about you and Andrew is so sweet! You guys really made a blended family work and I think it really shows through your writing that your heart is just so full. As far as food goes, I would have to say biscuits and gravy! I never understood it but my husband loves it so I started making it for him and it’s not bad!

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It’s been a little over year since my husband’s last operation and scan to check that his cancer was gone. I honestly think this past year has been a kind of weird limbo. I am starting to look for a different job now and thinking about what I really want to do. It took me a while to feel confident enough to not be here in case he needed me. (we both currently work from home). I’m starting to feel ready to make changes, both out of necessity and desire.

I make avocado egg salad and put it on top of mixed greens with cucumber, tomato, mushrooms, and tomato. (I’m not a fan of mayo so the avocado and egg works nicely for me).

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Nina, this last year must have been so weird for you. I am so glad how things have worked out though and please keep me updated with how the job hunt goes!

I need to come over for your egg salad… I agree avocado > mayo!

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This is such a sweet post – happy one year anniversary! I love all the things that you got over the last year that you weren’t expecting. You have such a beautiful family. The biggest change in my life over the last year has absolutely been dating my boyfriend, Chris. Our first date was May 4 last year (super close to your anniversary!) and he has just turned my world upside down, in the best way. I am happier now than I ever thought I would be again after a really tough breakup last year.

Last movie I saw in a theater was Get Out. I thought it was so good and kept me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time.

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The last movie I saw in the theatre was Hidden Figures. It’s clearly been a few months since I last saw a movie.

Isn’t it amazing how much things change in one year? I graduate in June, so I’m excited to see what my life will be line in a year, working at a job that’s in an industry that I love.

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I totally feel you on the blending thing and finding your place. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years. He’s divorced with 2 girls (almost 14 and almost 12). It has been mostly seamless blending but I don’t have kids so they just needed to relate to me and thankfully they do very well. While we had hoped to buy a home together this year, we’re going to delay that a year or two as he opens a new business and I continue to strengthen my freelance business. I almost just moved into his place but after owning my own home and living alone for almost 17 years I wasn’t ready to give that up. Needless to say we’ll be looking for a home that is large enough that i have plenty of my own space and both girls will have their own bedroom too.

I saw the movie Lion in the theater a few months ago and it was amazing.

My boyfriend always has pretzels at his house. I never used to snack on them but now I do.

Every day I have a salad with romaine and spinach and I use garlic infused olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. I top it with chicken. Simple and delish.

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This makes me so happy!! I’m so happy for you guys and your relationship really has to make you believe in fate and karma, doesn’t it!? My year has been completely crazy too but in a different way, haha. I’ve been in Peru for almost a year now, and managed to become practically fluent in Spanish from knowing nothing but “como estas,” which might be my most useful accomplishment to-date; I also adopted a dog who is like my child, hehe

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I think the biggest change in my life in the past year was getting even more involved with the running community in my town. Race Ambassador. Moms running group. Running shop coach. Love all of the new people I am meeting!
My salad has been regular for a while now – Gala apples, cranberries, walnuts, mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I make them every day for lunch at work!

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There is something about strawberries, spinach, and chicken that is just sooo good!

Biggest change in my life this last year is losing my dad. My mom has been able to spend so much more time with my little family though and I could not be more thankful for the time I have with her. I miss him often and I am so grateful for the moral compass he was for me growing up.

I like to take whatever leftover veggies and protein we have and throw them together in a salad!

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Love this and I’m so happy to see you so happy Janae!

The biggest change for me in 2016 was becoming a mother! It has been the most amazing experience and while it has its own challenges, being a mom is the best “job” I’ve ever had!

Another big change for our family, was moving to a new area (which we LOVE!) and for me personally, learning how to come back to running postpartum! I’ve taken it slow, but I feel stronger than I have for a long time and am chasing down that marathon this fall!

Love the Jordan Hassay quote too- she is one of my favorites!

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I think this is a beautiful post. One year ago I was certainly not imagining that I was going to be where I am right now. I think last year helped me become a stronger person and that’s helping me achieve goals I never imagine.

I never used to think about fried plantains and for some reason my roommate hooked me up with those.

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I love this! Congrats on one year with Andrew! It’s crazy to think how quickly a year can go by, but still change so much at the same time. My boyfriend and I went from living 10 hours apart when we met to living together within five months. I definitely didn’t expect that to happen so quickly! We’ve been together for over year and a half and we’re still crazy about each other.

The tough part has been going back to long distance because of his job. He works on federal disaster areas, so he’s been gone for 7 months since working on a hurricane recovery. He’s coming home next week for a couple weeks (!!) but then it’s right back to work until at least the end of July. Not wild about that, but we’re making it work.

I last saw Beauty and the Beast in theaters (twice lol). No kids for me, just once by myself and again with my parents and sister. I’m totally an adult — but I loved the movie. Brought me right back to being a kid!

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Biggest change last year, I switched jobs and learning to share my condo which was previously all mine. My partner moved in and while I love it sharing a space when you are used to living alone definitely takes some adjusting!

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You don’t convert to another sports team just because of your spouse!!! In football, I am a life-long NY Giants fan and my husband is a life-long Dallas Cowboys fan. We’ve been married 30 years and have no plans of converting :)

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Amen to that! My husband is a life-long Winnipeg Jets fan, and I will never abandon my beloved Columbus Blue Jackets. You’ll change with marriage, but goodness, don’t turn into a mini-me of your spouse! Besides, it’s way more fun at Jets/Jackets games to rib the Mister when his team is losing ;)

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The last movie we saw in theaters was Beauty and The Beast! Amazing!! We saw it twice.
I married my husband when my little boy was 4. He came in to our lives when my son was 1.5 years old. I never knew how it would all work out and it was scary dating with such a young little one. It wasn’t just me, I was a package deal. I couldn’t have been more blessed to find someone who loves Carson as much as I do. Blended families are hard, but luckily we haven’t had to deal with too much stress.
My last salad was from Costa Vida! Sweet pork all the way!! Have a great day!!

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That salad looks yummy, I have some leftover chicken and am going to use it to make a similar version for dinner! The last movie I saw was the Bridget Jones one that came out last summer. I was about 9 months pregnant and took myself out on a day time date (I had already stopped working). I would not say the movie was good, but I knew it was likely the last time I’d go to the movies for a while and I enjoyed every minute. Plus, it’s a drafthouse style theater that serves food, so I could get my biggest pregnancy craving, chicken fingers :)

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2016 was the best year of my life. At the very beginning of the year an old flame from eons ago reached out to me. We spent one night talking and within days I had left my abusive husband who I had been with for over a decade. Within 2 weeks my divorce was finalized. I moved into the house that he owned with his dog (I had always been in apartments and never allowed to have a dog, so both of those things were very exciting). He let me bring my cat despite never having been around cats (he thought he didn’t like them, but he was wrong after meeting my little dude)! We were married last year and are expecting our first child in a couple of months. I was laid off from my job a year to the day after my divorce was finalized and while it was very nerve-wracking at first it’s made us better at budgeting and has allowed us to figure out how I can be a stay-at-home mom when the baby comes. If you had asked me one week before I talked to him in January 2016 if I would have gotten divorced, remarried, moved, been out of work, gotten pregnant, etc – I would have laughed and said you were crazy. This all happened so fast but I have never felt more sure of anything in my life. My husband is really perfect for me and after being in such a crappy marriage I have so much appreciation and gratitude for how good my life is now… I wouldn’t change a thing about the past year! I’m happy for all of your positive changes!

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WOW!!! JEN!!! You have had an incredible 2016! I am SO SO happy for you and keep me updated with how your pregnancy is going… CONGRATS!!!

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I might end up writing “Hard is not impossible” on my hand for my marathon this summer.
A lot of big things happened to me since April of last year but I anticipated them all (getting into law school, moving in with my boyfriend, getting a cat) but I did not think I would be training for a marathon. Funny how the universe works, isn’t it?
Matt (the boyfriend) has cultivated my love of spaghetti and garlic bread. I never liked spaghetti growing up but when we first started dating, I didn’t want to reveal how picky of an eater I am, so I tried it and ended up really liking it.

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My biggest challenge this year involves my husband starting his new career as a law enforcement officer – prior to that he was in graduate school so he was always around, but now I hardly see him at all. On top of that I was on maternity leave until last June when I went back to work full-time. Now I’m juggling a toddler and a 13 year old and trying to do everything I can to not lose my mind :-) It gets tough sometimes, but it’s rewarding!

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I am so inspired, encouraged, and hopeful by your example of persevering, and where it has gotten you! I was in a 3-year relationship (ups and downs, deception, betrayal, really heartbreaking things) that ended a while back, and there is just so much to work through within myself. I’ve been loving looking through your posts and seeing these recent ones where things just fell into place. I mean, I’m sure things are still hard, as you note, but there’s a lot of love there, and that gives me a lot of hope for the future. Thank you so much for that!

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There is so much brightness up ahead for you Allie! I am SO sorry about what you went through during your three year relationship and afterwards too… you deserve the very best. It’s all of these hard things that have made you so strong and love the future ahead of you. Let me know if you ever need to talk! Hope you are having a beautiful day and it’s ALWAYS darkest before the dawn!

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Thank you so much! I’ll surely let you know! :)

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What is the salad dressing you use for said salad above? No one else wondered? Haha

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WOW… I don’t know where my brain has been lately!!! It is Brianna’s Home Style Creamy Balsamic… SO GOOD!! Thanks for pointing that out hahah! I meant to add it in but forgot to finish the sentence!

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From a Giants fan living in L.A., Im so happy to hear that he converted you to an Angels fan : )

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1st off – I am totally on Andrew’s side with In-n-Out! I’m DYING for them to open in Seattle!
My current favorite salad is to heat up toppings in my cast iron skillet and put them on top of spinach. Today it was shaved brussel sprouts, left over diced sweet potatoes with peppers and onion and left over chicken. I’m lazy with salad dressing and just put a bit of plain balsamic vinegar on top. Yummy yummy!!!

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My husband and I like to joke that my wedding vows were to love, honor, and cherish the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think my husband is the same way with the Steelers that Andrew is about the Angels.

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BAHAHAH this made me laugh so hard! Thanks for sharing Lee:) GO STEELERS;)

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Very nice post

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Brooke, I’ve been reading your blog for years and just wanted to say I’m so happy for you and Andrew and your family together. You seem like such a wonderful person and your blog is such a treat to read. You have such a great attitude in all of life’s challenges. Please keep doing what you do! You are such an inspiration <3

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I made the cowboy caviar this wknd & OMG!!! I just wanted a “quick taste” before I put it in the fridge (‘cuz I know that type of recipe gets way better after the flavors have had time to meld). The next thing I knew about 20 min. had passed, & I had to call it dinner! Oops! SO GOOD!

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Me and my husband have decided to have a fourth child. It wasn’t easy but we did. And I am four months pregnant already.

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