Category Archives: Team Alzen!

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New tattoo perhaps?

I’m thinking about getting another tattoo. Something small on my wrist that could be covered with bracelets and or a watch or something equally small on my foot. Haven’t found the right design yet, but I’m looking. If this goes like last time, I’ll have picked the design about the time AB is ready for kindergarten, which may be good because perhaps I’ll know what my big grown up job will be and can make a decision based on what will be considered appropriate there or not.

I’m thinking of a simple word or very short quote–probably literary. We shall see where I land.

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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Team Alzen!




After the first month in our new house, we had at least one overnight guest for 15 nights. We also had two couples over for dinner. This was after the week of painting, ripping up carpet, laying laminate flooring, and general moving stuff. Needless to say, I’m exhausted and ready to figure out what our new normal looks like.

Despite that exhaustion, I’m extremely grateful for the sweet time I had with some amazing women who have all been in my life for at least 7 years.

First, my sweetest friend who has been here for every move. She missed actual moving day this year, but was instead here to help me make the house a home. Seriously, this girl pretty much single-handedly created my gallery wall, made cookies for my neighbors, and ran a bajillion errands with me. There are so many things I will look at in this house over the years and think fondly of this trip with her. She is such a servant, and loves my family oh so well. Oh, and there might have been matching Christmas pjs and lots of silliness as well.


Next, some dear women who are very close to my heart. I enjoy such sweet conversation with these two and was blessed that they came to me to celebrate a birthday and spend vacation time. We were old ladies and finished a puzzle, watched old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and just had sweet Gospel conversations.


And finally, women who have been in my life for a good 20 years. Mentors and family, both literally and figuratively. These two taught me so much during my formative years. It was a “work” trip for my mother-in-love, but there was certainly fun and good conversation as well.

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Quality time and good conversation fills my soul. Although it was a lot of work to have this steady stream of house guests, it was good. I am blessed to have each of these women playing their own unique parts of my life. I’m thankful I got to see each one of them this Christmas.

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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Team Alzen!


Doing “Nothing” in 2016

I struggle to do nothing. I constantly need to be moving or generating ideas or doing “something”. I told my friend today that it was the last day of vacation, so I was just going to rest. Well, rest ended up meaning rearranging the furniture in my bedroom along with several other odds and ends after church. It’s pretty difficult for me to just sit and watch a TV show or a movie. I always feel like I should be doing something else like making my grocery list or folding laundry or putting toys away. It’s like productivity courses through my veins like an unstoppable force. This means two things: 1) I get a pretty good amount of stuff done and 2) I don’t rest well. I’m really trying to work on #2 this year. I need to stop more. I need to rest more. I need to be in the moment and enjoy others more. I need to ground myself in the Word more. Each day doesn’t have to start going 100 mph from 4-9. It’s ok if I start of slowly with a cup of tea and some Jesus. It’s ok if I end slowly with a TV show and some quiet down time. These are the things I’m going to tell myself more this year.

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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Housewifery, Team Alzen!


Goals 2016


I’m not much of a new year’s resolution writer, but I enjoy the freshness of the new year. I like thinking about what habits I want to reinvigorate or what new routines to add to my life. This year is no different, but I have a graduated list. By this, I mean I don’t intend to get all of these up and running on January 1. That’s unrealistic and setting myself up for failure. Instead here is my list and planned time line.
1) Whole 30 (January 1st)

We generally follow a paleo lifestyle, but I’m excited to reset. We haven’t done a full and strict Whole 30 since summer of 2013. I’m part of a couple of Facebook groups this time around, and it’s a very different world from the first time we set out on this journey in 2009. It will be hard, but it will be good. Took my before pictures and measurements tonight, but I’ll go ahead and keep that to myself. lol

2) Bed by 9 on a regular basis (January 1st)

We’ve had several house guests which meant many late nights. My kid is up by 5. I need to prioritize sleep. I’m also going to try and renew my night routine which includes tea with a magnesium supplement, magahol spray on my legs, and orange glasses at least 30 minutes before the preferred bed time. The explanation behind all of that is for another day.

3) Bible reading on a regular basis (January 1st)
I was leading a small group up until Thanksgiving that was keeping me accountable to regular time in the Word. Since then the holidays, moving, and guests have derailed me. I miss my Jesus time. Not sure what this is going to look like quite yet, but I’m excited to be filling the pages of my journal again.
4) Dissertation five days a week (January 1st)

I need to touch this in some capacity each work day. Some days will be more than others, but each day nonetheless.
5) Blogging/journaling on a regular basis (January  1st)

I’ve already started this one. I’m hoping to keep up doing this at least once a week.
6) Water (February 1st)
I’ve been terrible about ensuring I get appropriate amounts of water consumed each day. I’m going to be intentional about this from the beginning, but won’t track it for a while.
7) Cleaning schedule (February 1st)

I have a schedule posted in my kitchen, but I’m not totally committed to it yet. I’ve been working up to the routine. I’m also working out the kinks of the plan I originally set for myself that I’ve already decided needs some tweaking.
8) Pleasure reading (February 1st)
I want to read at least 20 books for pleasure this year. That doesn’t seem like many, but I’m not sure I can make it. I am not the fastest reader and I don’t have a lot of free time for reading. This is less than two per month though, so I feel as though it’s doable. I’m looking forward to blogging my thoughts on at least some of them.
9) Regular exercise (February 1st)

I’m a strong believer in diet and sleep being in line before taking on exercise. When I figure those two out in January, I will start thinking about my plan for exercise in February. Childcare and finances are what’s killing me here. I’ll be doing a relatively easy 30 day challenge in January with a friend just to get my body moving each day, but I won’t be attempting to be a fire breather again until February.

10) Sending cards (March 1st)

I used to be in the habit of sending little cards and notes to people once a month or so and fell out of that practice. I want to bring it back.
11) Memorizing scripture (March 1st)
I want regular reading to be a solid habit before I take this up again. I put a “verse of the week” sign up in my new command center. I want to my use that as a tool to help me memorize more scripture again. That and husband also got me a bunch of post its in my stocking. I will use those to post the scripture in other places around the house as well.
12) Sewing/lettering/Crafting (March 1st)
I would like to get a good amount of time on this kind of stuff at least once a month, but with still trying to figure out routine, I’m not sure it will be a really regular thing for a little while yet.

Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Blogging, Moving, Team Alzen!


The Alzens Take Gray Street

We bought a house! Yup. We did it. We have absolutely loved living here along the Front Range in Colorado and although it isn’t a guarantee we will stay here long term after graduation, we decided it is very likely I will find a job after graduation that will allow us to remain in this area. That and real estate here is ridiculous, so we’re hoping this is just a good investment whether we stay or not. We aren’t in Boulder proper because the house prices there are ridiculous, but we’re in a close by suburb. Here are just a few of the things I love:

  1. It’s a decent driving distance from both Boulder & Denver
  2. There’s a walking path and creek out back
  3. We can walk to multiple parks
  4. It’s a nice quiet little neighborhood, but we’re 10 minutes away from pretty much anything we need/want
  5. Pretty much all of our local friends are within 20 minutes of the place
  6. It’s within walking distance of a nice little school
  7. It’s a good size–big enough to be comfortable without being overwhelming to need to clean

Now, you should know that when we first saw this house, I did not fall in love with it. In fact, when we were touring it the first time, another family came in and pretty much immediately walked back out. The MLS listing included zero interior pictures. This place needed a little love, but we put a whole lotta love in during our first month here.

We repainted most of the house and added some fun colors. If you know me, this is not unexpected. If I had to do it again, I would have toned down that yellow, but I don’t hate it enough to paint over it. As you can see in that last picture, we aren’t quite finished yet. The wall between the kitchen and living room has been taken out, but we have yet to replace it with our breakfast bar. I’m quite excited for it to be finished as I think it will make our great room really GREAT! Please also take note of the beautiful flooring dear Husband put in for me. There are plenty of other things to be done, but we’re loving. Come visit some time!

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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Moving, Team Alzen!


My Experiment with Project 333

A couple of years ago, we were getting ready to move and I said something on Facebook about throwing away all of my clothes so I didn’t have to pack them. In response, a friend linked Project 333. I’m not going to describe the whole project here because you can just click the link. In short, you wear only 33 items for 3 months, and then switch out items based on the season for the next 3 months.

At the time, I thought that was completely untenable. I loved so many of my clothes! Colors! Styles! Fun! Shoes! There was no way I could do it. Though I did start the journey to minimizing my closet that move and got rid of a lot more two years later when we moved again. My life has changed a lot in the past few years, so now I’m ready to dive in. Here’s my quick list on why I’m now trying this out:

1) I want to stop looking schmucky every time I go out (Read: I want to stop wearing yoga pants and tank tops all the time)

2) I want to use time that would be spent trying on multiple outfits in the morning on things that are more important to me

3) I want to pull back on my consumerism

4) I want to have fewer items to move

5) I want to know every piece in my closet fits well and matches with multiple other items in my closet

I’ve put together my first capsule of 33 items.

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This capsule includes the following:

  • 2 plain t-shirts
  • 2 graphic tees
  • 3 plain tank tops
  • 3 fun, summery tank tops
  • 3 tops that are nicer than tank tops/t-shirts, but aren’t professional tops
  • 2 professional tops
  • black pencil skirt
  • denim skirt
  • 6 short dresses
  • 1 maxi dress
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of long black shorts
  • 1 pair of dark denim shorts
  • 1 pair of denim cutoffs
  • 1 pair of denim capris
  • 1 pair of black sandals
  • 1 pair of gold sandals
  • 1 pair of black dress flats
  • 1 pair of sneakers

This is clearly the capsule of someone who doesn’t have an office job. I suspect this capsule will change drastically after I move on from PhD school.

Things that don’t count:

  • Undergarments and socks
  • Gym wear
  • Lounge wear

The hitch with the gym wear and lounge wear is that you’re not supposed to actually wear those things outside. I’ll need to keep this in check because I’ve pretty much been going out in gym wear and (ashamedly) lounge wear for the majority of my outings the past 9 months.

I’ve fudged a couple of the rules here. You’re supposed to include outerwear and all accessories in the 33 items. I did not for several reasons:

  • I get to wear jewelry so infrequently due to the kiddo that I decided they wouldn’t count
  • I have exactly 3 purses that serve specific purposes and only one pair of sunglasses. Counting them didn’t fit into the spirit of why I signed up for this to begin with
  • I will possibly wear my exercise shoes out, and I didn’t count them
  • It’s summer, so I expect there will only be a rare occasion in which I will need outerwear

Even with this fudging, I’m already looking at the items I chose and thinking I could get rid of a few more things. Then I would have space for that other pair of shoes and some jewelry. We’ll see how the first month goes. I may edit and provide an updated capsule at the end of the season. Also, even though I didn’t count the jewelry, I went through and  minimized my collection. If I stick with this until next summer, I think I’ll potentially include jewelry in my count of items. I will also use this season to investigate the outerwear situation. Next year I will potentially count my raincoat and a light sweater in my capsule, but similar to the jewelry this year, I’m not sure I really care. That said, I know I own too many light sweaters and need to let some of them go.

So where did the rest of my clothes go? I’m donating or selling those things that are in good repair that just aren’t my favorites or that fit me weirdly. I’ve put items more appropriate for other seasons under my bed. Also under my bed are clothes I like but didn’t make the cut. If I don’t miss them, and they don’t make it into another capsule, they’ll be donated or sold as well. This round was relatively easy. The hardest thing was getting rid of several items that I have emotional attachment to because of good memories in those clothes but are just not appropriate for this season of my life. I expect the colder seasons to be more difficult for me as they just seem to need more items of clothing, but we will see.

The “official” Project 333 round is starting July 1 and the three months goes to the end of September. Frankly, that doesn’t make sense to me given how the seasons run here in Colorado. I’m planning to use this capsule until the end of August and switch for September – November. I’ll re-evaluate when September comes and see if I’m ready to move on to fall clothes or not. For now, here we go!

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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Team Alzen!


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A Different Kind of Birthday

I turned 32 on Friday, May 1. Normally, I’m a bit obnoxious about my birthday. I start talking about it months in advance and make plans for my  birthday adventure and/or gift. This year was a little different, but it was perfect.I asked that I not have to cook or do dishes all weekend, and between our delightful housemate and Husband, my wish was granted. Throughout the weekend we had amazing food including shrimp cocktail, skirt steak pinwheels, cake and ice cream, biscuits and gravy, mimosas, burgers, sweet potato fries, and French toast! I got to read, play video games, go to the Farmer’s market, explore a park I hadn’t yet been too, and husband watched the baby for me so I could start working on a quilt I’ve been wanting to try. On top of all of that, some dear friends and family sent me small but indulgent gifts that I have wanted for quite some time but have yet to spend the money on. We wrapped it all up with dinner out last night after I successfully defended my dissertation proposal. All in all turning 32 was low key, but wonderful.

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Team Alzen!


Annabelle Rose: Month 2

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Nicknames:AB, Little Bug, Little Lady, Little Miss

Enjoys looking at the Christmas tree, wiggling in the bed in the mornings with mommy & daddy, and sleeping at an incline

Dislikes going too long without being held.

Able to hold her head up, track sounds around the room, hold her rattle, sleep 4-5 hours through the night relatively consistently

A little story to remember: We went out the other day when it was about 8 degrees outside. We bundled AB up very well, but her eyes and eyebrows were exposed. As soon as we walked out of the door, her eyes got huge, and we heard a quiet “eep…eep…eep…eep” until we were in the car. So adorable.

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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in parenting, Team Alzen!



Annabelle Rose: Month 1

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Nicknames:AB, Turtle, Bright Eyes, Bug, Little Lady, Gremlin, Double A

Theme song: Sleep All Day and Party All Night

Motto: I do what I want

Enjoys going outdoors, looking out of windows, laying on the changing table, going on car rides, listening to thunder storms, being rocked by daddy, and laying on mommy’s chest.

Dislikes having clothes pulled over her head, having her hands swaddled at her sides, and going to bed when mommy and daddy want to.

Able to hold her head up for a few seconds and turn her head when she hears mommy or daddy’s voice

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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Team Alzen!


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Parenting: Month 1

I’ve been a parent for about a month now. I can honestly say that having a child is the single hardest thing I have done in my life. I think I have cried more tears  through pregnancy and the beginning of parenthood than I have in the past ten years or so. The experience has been the biggest roller coaster of my life.

The sciatica was painful, I was ill-prepared for the c-section, breastfeeding is not even in the same neighborhood as easy, and postpartum hormones are a serious situation.

Despite all of that, I’m desperately in love with my daughter. I love Husband even more than before not only because watching him with our daughter melts my heart, but also because he has been my rock in the middle of some very dark places these past few weeks. Also, there’s nothing like touching a newborn’s skin, I could sit and look at my daughter for hours a day, and I already know I would do anything I could to make her life as full and complete as possible.

Because so much has not gone as I expected or wanted, I have thought a lot about Psalm 139:16

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

I’ve thought about this verse in reference to both myself and my daughter. When I worry about all the things new moms worry about, I forget that my Creator knows all of my child’s days, and He is the one who gives and takes away. I have the responsibility to shepherd this precious life, but I am not who ultimately sustains her. Also, these days that are some of my most difficult are not a surprise to God. He knew the trouble we would have with pregnancy and breastfeeding and whatever additional trials that are still to come. In the midst of these things, He waits for me, He hears my cries, He loves me despite my brokenness, and desires to use all of this for His glory.

I’ve had a few days clear of “the baby blues” now. I hope they’re gone for good because my blues were very dark. Husband’s mother left yesterday. I’ll spend the next month trying to figure out a new normal, but first I’ll spend a few days laying on the couch with my beautiful little girl. We’re relaxing and napping and just enjoying one another for now. There will be plenty of time to figure out when I can go back to the gym, clean my house, cook paleo meals, take regular showers, and, you know, write a dissertation.

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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Team Alzen!


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