Life, Life Lessons


Yesterday was a special day… my birthday!

My twenty-eighth birthday to be exact.

Birthdays have always been fun to me. They are another day to celebrate and look back on the past year and set goals for the year ahead. I have a blurred memory of lots of my birthdays growing up… the first one I remember was when I was 4. I remember getting this big brown teddy bear that I actually may still have in the basement… There was one that was a surprise party on Easter Sunday, that may have been my 7th I think. I had my easter dress, bonnet, and gloves on and heard the loud SURPRISE as I walked in the door and promptly collapsed to the floor. My sweet 16 was another little surprise party with my youth group friends. On my 18th birthday my parents surprised me by pulling a “Pimp my Ride” style stunt and completely redoing my 96 Pontiac Sunfire turning into what was lovingly dubbed the Smiley-Mobile. Think bright yellow, flashy lights, and a windsheild decal that said Smiley (which was my nickname back then)



Excuse the quality of these pictures… I’m pretty sure they were taken with a disposable camera. And I had to dig them out of an old photo album, like a physical photo album… not one on a hard drive somewhere.

Anyway, that was my pride and joy for awhile. Until she died. RIP Smiley. As I was thinking about all my past birthdays and this one came up I realized that was TEN years ago. Gosh, at 18 I seemed so… young. And yes, I was wearing a tiara made out of silver pipe cleaners…. Oh life. It seemed so simple back then. I remember vividly imagining where I would be in 10 years. Man, was I wrong. And I’m so thankful too. Garth was right when he said Some of God’s Greatest gifts were unanswered prayers.

As I look back on the past 28 years there are so many life lessons and defining moments. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, especially in the last 10 years, is to not to live life solely based on expectations. Not just your own expectations, but that of those around you and society. I am no where I expected to be when I pictured 28. I’m actually in a much better place than I could have ever imagined.

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#familyselfie at the circus! #moolahshrine

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I have a handsome husband and a beautiful daughter.


I am in the best shape of my life.


I have the most amazing CrossFit family. I have a wonderfully supportive online community (you guys are awesome!) and I get a new chance to inspire people every single day.

I truly am blessed. Yesterday everyone made me feel so special. I can’t thank you all enough for that.

Here is to another year full of loving fiercely, laughing loudly, and living large.

What’s one of your most memorable birthdays?



EAT, Family Life, Life, STL

Out of the Ordinary Day

Hey Guys!

How is your week going so far? Seems like my week has been SO long. How is it only Wednesday? Today is a super special day… It’s my husbands 29th birthday! So we decided to take the day off. Payton had school so after working out this morning we went to breakfast with some friends then headed home to clean up before making the trip out to Sump Coffee… Mid-Week Coffee Date for the win!


Obviously I love coffee, so a new coffee experience is always welcomed. It was a great ambiance. It was really all about the coffee. They buy their beans green and roast them. The flavors are out of this world. It is not a frilly coffee shop. They carry only whole milk and soy milk and have no syrups or cream. Coffee truly is an art to them and I enjoyed it.


After that we went down to the Central West End and found a cool place for lunch. I forgot to take a picture, what kind of blogger am I?! I had a great Chipotle Chicken Salad and lots of chips and salsa. After we picked Payton up we went to get cupcakes. Because every birthday deserves a good cupcake!

When we arrived home I was super excited to see that my text book arrived for my Precision Nutrition Certification Course!!


I have been wanting to do some sort of nutrition certification for a long time now. I’ve looked into lots of different options but when I found this one I knew it was the one. It is not just about nutrition in general, but sports and exercise nutrition. I love that it combines the science and the application. They have a Level 1 and a Level 2 certification. I’m doing the Level 1 now and plan on getting the Level 2 next spring. I’ll share the journey with you along the way, of course.

After sneaking in a little bit of work we decided to go out and celebrate some more. We ended up at the local kids party place. I am not usually a big fan, mostly because lots of small children make me feel stressed… but on a Wednesday evening it was empty! Score!


We played lots of Ski Ball


Chris won the jackpot on Deal or No Deal


And I beat Chris twice in the Sink It game.

It was such a fun spontaneous day! I love spending time with the hubs and kiddo. And I love being able to celebrate another birthday with the man I am lucky to call mine. He is my best friend and biggest supporter. He is my sanity and keeps me grounded. Plus he has a pretty epic beard. I mean, look at it…


Can’t argue with that, can ya? #BeardStrong

Happy Birthday!

How do you celebrate birthdays?
Are you Pro or Anti beard?


Happy Birthday to Me! {insta-friday #4}

Happy Quarter Century Birthday to me! It has been a fun “birthday week” and the festivities continue today! Weird to think I’m 25… doesn’t that mean I get a discount on insurance? Oh how priorities change… Check out my week in instagram pics! Linking up to InstaFriday at Life Rearraged.

life rearranged

Cute Baby Courtney… Thanks for sending me this pic, Mom!

Today’s birthday picture… Twenty Five!

In between stormy days we were able to take advantage of working out on the deck at our rental, what a beautiful office view!

We visited In-N-Out.
Gotta have it animal style.
On this hour long car ride we discovered that Payton is prone to car sickness.

Pre-Race Garb.

Read about my Saturday Race Adventure here.

After the race we visited General Granbury’s Birthday Celebration.
Payton got spoiled.
(also, please notice that Payton is wearing a teal dress that she refused to take off, pink leggings and polka dot shoes that don’t match. some battles aren’t worth fighting)

I found this amazing purse on a $10 sale rack.
I have been bedazzled and texa-fied.

Visiting Fossil Rim!

After Fossil Rim Ice Cream Treats!

Lunch @ Hammond’s

Found her wearing Uncle Kevin’s glasses saying “I cool, Mommy!”

Payton was also Texa-fied.


Dinner with her friend Chloie!

Fun with Friends at Dave and Busters!

Representing District 12 on our way to the Hunger Games Midnight showing!

Staying out late, totally worth it for a fun time with my hubs watching The Hunger Games. Overall great movie, even if they weren’t accurate to the book.

How was your week? Have an instafriday post I have to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll come check it out!

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Family Life, parenting

Happy Birthday Payton!

Two years ago today I had the privilege of welcoming the most beautiful baby girl into the world. That 7 lbs and 20 1/4 inches of heaven got placed into my arms after more than 9 months o nurturing her in the womb.


I didn’t think I could experience a deeper love than I did that day…but two years, some tears (from all 3 of us Norman’s), and countless smiles and laughs later and I can tell you that love is stronger than ever.

I’m so proud of you, baby girl. You are so beautiful, smart and sassy! Your personality shines brighter than the sun. I am so thankful for you and the lessons I’ve learned being your mommy. Daddy and I love you so much!


Happy birthday, princess!



happy birthday, to me.

growing up birthdays were always special. it was the one day of the year that we stopped being “the kids” and got to be special on our own. it was a day of being honored and praised. self consciousness was gone as i walked around wearing any variation of a tiara. i was the princess. i remember loving when my birthday would fall on a sunday or wednesday so i could spend it at church. when i started public school i was actually sad that my birthday fell on spring break cause i didn’t get to walk around and flaunt my birthday.

some birthdays are more memorable than others. i’m pretty sure my 15th birthday was one of the most notorious for a very specific reason….


For my sweet 16 my parents threw me a surprise party. For my 18th, everyone pretended to forget about my birthday, I got locked out of my house and felt neglected… until my family and friends surprised me with a “pimp my ride” style car makeover after a memorable outback dinner. I loved my smiley-mobile. Wish I could find a picture of it…

On my 19th birthday I was in San Francisco at the San Fran Battle Cry at SBC park working registration with one of the best bosses I’ve ever had (Love ya Mr G!)

My 20th I was sick as a dog but doing what I always wanted to, traveling and acting! It was actually in Nashville that I spent my birthday weekend.

My 20th year was a big year, I moved across the country and got married! I’m so thankful I didn’t hesitate to elope. Best decision ever.

My 21st was pretty great, my first birthday as a married woman! We went to outback with our extended “family”

My 22nd birthday we signed an offer on our house. things change a lot in a year.


Last year, 23, was so so different. Payton was itty bitty. my birthday snuck up in a whirlwind of diapers and midnight feedings. Last year was when i realized birthdays will never be the same. and i’m ok with that.

This morning started with cuddles and giggles, best presents ever. I can’t really think of a list of things I want more than that. I realize that my birthday is no longer about celebrating “me” but celebrating this life I am blessed to live. That includes my amazing and handsome hubby. my beautiful baby girl. all the extended friends and family I am so lucky to have.

So here is to an amazing 24th year!!!

Family Life


whoa, when did this happen? my baby girl turned one!! it seems like just yesterday we found out we were pregnant and then we were at the hospital and then bringing her home… and now she’s one! she has such a huge personality, it’s almost scary. she has been drinking whole milk for awhile now and doesn’t use a bottle anymore. she gets around fast, which keeps me on my toes. she loves to talk and knows a lot of words. she just started learning “please” but doesn’t understand the concept of thank you just yet.

to celebrate her birthday we had a get together with family and friends. she was in minnie mouse heaven. watching her eat her cake was hilarious. she even licked the plate! i have to admit, planning a party can be stressful, but this went better than i imagined. i made the food myself, lots of chips and dips along with my homemade mickey mouse shaped pizza snacks. she was overwhelmed with her presents, but had lots of fun playing with her friends while exploring with her new things. she just seemed so grown up. i really was laid back in my approach to the planning and execution of the party and i think everyone enjoyed themselves. the best advice i can give when planning parties is to think about the demographic of your attendees. i knew it would be mostly adults, but i also knew there would be a few kids. i made sure i had games and goodies for the little ones, while having good grub for the big kids.

on her actual birthday i took her up to playtime party center for lunch. she crawled around and played on their toddler play place and kept screaming and laughing cause she was so happy. we spent the evening in Greenville, IL with the Naes’ since Erika and Payton are birthday buddies. it was so fun to celebrate!

check out a few pictures from the celebration:

the cake, grandma made it for her!
mmm cake!
mmmm, thats good!
plate licking good!
loves her mickey mouse bouncy ball
obviously excited about something!
dance star mickey!
riding her rocking horse
sitting at her big girl table
fun with friends!

how do you celebrate birthdays with your family?