Monday, April 21, 2014

Sring has Sprung.

It's been a busy couple of weeks around the Erickson household! A few weekends ago, we did an 80's Pub Crawl with several other dental friends. It was a blast! It got a little crazy, as it was on campus the same night the University of Minnesota Men's Hockey played in the national championship game. The game was actually played in Philadelphia, but riot police were on full guard and a riot did indeed break out after their loss. We were still at our friends apartment grilling while the game ended, so thankfully we avoided the mass chaos, but we did still see the riot police out a few hours later. We thought the pub crawl was going to be a huge event, but our group made up roughly 50% of the participation. It was still so much fun though. Adam and I wore my parents high school letterman jackets. They both graduated in 1983 from Park Center High School, so it was pretty much as 80's as you could get ;)  

Easter was spent with my family this year in Maple Grove, and we couldn't have asked for a better day! We went to Grace Church in Eden Prairie (the church we have recently started to call home) and it was an amazing service. It was a beautifully written sermon and was obviously centered around the resurrection of Jesus. The message was so powerful. As Christians, we know what the meaning of today is. We know that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and today was the day he rose again. We've been told the story since we were little children. This sermon, however, was in-your-face and had a very unique approach. It was not sugar coated or meant to make us feel whimsical when leaving the church. It was thought provoking, truthful and tough. Had Jesus not been resurrected, what would that mean for us? What would our fate have been? Is the story of his resurrection symbolic, or the actual truth? Those were the main questions posed and discussed during the sermon. I never want to feel comfortable in my faith, and this message pushed me out of my comfort zone. As a person, you are constantly learning, growing and experiencing new things. Life as a Christian is no different. There are always lessons to be learned and ways you can better yourself and others by glorifying Him more. A few tears were shed as a man shared his testimony and 30 people were baptized on stage while the band and congregation sang worship songs. It was so moving. Our Easter service was incredible and left us with a fresh appreciation for our everlasting life.

After church, we headed to my parents for a brunch with the family! Both sets of grandparents were there, along with siblings, nieces, a few extended family members. So great seeing everyone. This was the first Easter that my niece, Emeri, was old enough to appreciate an egg hunt. My parents hid eggs around the yard and decorated the trees with them too! It was adorable. She loved it and thought her treats inside (usually an animal cracker or a couple fruit snacks) were the best thing ever. The weather could not have been better! I think we hit the mid-70's, which is so bizarre after our snow storm last week. We relaxed, filled up on delicious food and enjoyed each others company. Later that night, after most people had left, we went on a bike ride with my parents and brother. I felt like it should have been filmed and titled 'Griswold Family Bike Ride'. We only had one helmet (which I wore), Adam and I didn't have exercise clothes and had to wear long basketball shorts of my brothers and my dad wiped out, almost rolling into a lake lined with dead floating carp (low oxygen levels this year). Nobody got hurt and we enjoyed the sunshine. I'd call it a success! On our way back, we passed a lemonade stand ran by these three adorable little kids. Nobody had money, so Adam and I biked back later to get some quality fresh squeezed (I'm sure...) lemonade. As we were leaving we heard them yell 'lemonade for sale!' at another passing biker, to which she replied that she didn't have money. They had the sweetest response ever, 'you can have some anyways!'. A small, perfect reminder of what kindness there is in the world. God is good.

Our first Easter as the Ericksons!

The gang.

Adam and Emeri

Easter Egg Trees

Willa girl
What's a girl to do with Good Friday off work? Play with puppies!

Monday, April 14, 2014


About two months ago, Adam and I journeyed to become more active and healthier. We had a loose plan in motion, but were winging it for the most part. We ate clean and healthy, while exercising several times a week. We felt wonderful, were drinking plenty of water and both enjoyed it! My skin became more clear and I truly noticed that I was more alert and upbeat. We also had so much fun cooking with fresh vegetables and experimenting with new ingredients! That lasted about three weeks. As someone who never pays much mind to what I eat, that was a huge success. Although it didn't last, it did teach me that I have the will power to overcome sudden cravings and beat bad habits. This weekend we decide that we needed a change and would give it another shot, but doing so in a more purposeful manner this time. Last time, I believe it didn't stick because 1. We didn't have enough positive encouragement or challenging feedback if we veered off track 2. We weren't as diligent as we should have been on weekends 3. We didn't have any structured goals in place. Yes, I know motivation should come from within, but if that cookie is staring at me, I need a good kick in the butt to remind me of what my goals are. Although our short-lived healthy spree was only a few weeks long, there were far too many cheat days sprinkled in. I would be very on track all week, bringing healthy and filling lunches, working out most nights (and enjoying it). When the weekend would come, we would go out with friends or family and heck, what's one piece of pizza matter? Well, that one piece would turn into three pieces and two breadsticks. That one bad lunch would turn into an unhealthy dinner because hey, I already scratched today off as a bad food day. One bad day turned into a bad weekend and add being low on healthy groceries. You get the picture. My big issue is that I have a weak spot for salty, cheesy things- especially bread. My name is Courtni and I'm a carboholic (Hi, Courtni...).  

We now have a white board calendar hanging in our bathroom and will be writing down every few weeks what our weight is, but more importantly writing down goals we have. We hung it in the bathroom so we would see our goals every morning and remind ourselves that we can make today count. Adam had a great idea of making it our first goal to run around the lake my cabin is on. It is roughly 12 miles around and seems to be a challenging, yet obtainable, goal. It's also a specific goal of mine to stretch every night and give up soda. We will make it a point to check in with each other before bed to see how we're doing with it. This will hopefully give us both the encouragement needed to make being healthy a long-term habit. That's the main reason I decided to blog about it. It is a very personal journey, but the more people that know you're on it, the more accountable and supported you will feel. Neither of us are obsessed with the scale and both agree that it's not the main thing that will determine our success. Will the number go down as the weeks go by? Of course they will. More importantly though is that we feel better, stronger and overall healthier. Last time, I used an app called MyFitnessPal. It's a calorie counting app/website and yes, I know that can easily lead to someone getting overly obsessed and crazy. I assure you, this did not happen last time and it will not happen this time. It's so helpful, informative and was one of the things that helped me make it as far as I did last time! Like I said, I have never been one to watch what I eat. This app taught me so much about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the food I was consuming. It prompts you put in your starting weight, goals and several other factors. It calculates how many calories, grams of protein, carbs, sugar, sodium and fat are recommended to reach those goals. You log everything you consume and how much/what type of exercise you do. I usually logged every morning for the precious day's activity. It only took about two minutes to enter everything in and I found it became a wonderful accountability tool as well. The app even gives you encouragement if you've exercised or log a certain number of days in a row. Thanks, MyFitnessPal! (pretend high five to my phone). I may not need this in the future, as I become more aware of food content. But for now, it is my buddy. I've encouraged Adam to try it, but I know it's not everyone's up of tea.

This is not a diet and this is not something that will go perfectly smooth. I will have bad days where I cheat, choose to watch Netflix instead of workout or briefly indulge my bread cravings. That's life though. The goal is to make healthy our normal, and the other stuff an oddity. I need to stop thinking that I deserve a cheat day or that I deserve a treat because I had a healthy lunch. My body deserves to be given healthy foods. My body deserves to be ran, walked, moved and stretched. We only have one body and it's my goal to start taking better care of it. I will post updates on the blog (again, working on the accountability thing) for us to look back on. Hopefully we look back and smile, knowing that our unhealthy selves are a thing of the past.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Daily Dose of Inspiration

I didn't even get his name, but I met a man yesterday who gave me a much needed dose of inspiration. Adam and I decided, on a whim, to sauna and swim before running our morning errands. Adam jumped into the pool for a few laps and I went into the hot tub.  A man, looking to be around 75, asked if he could join me and said he needed to loosen up his muscles. I asked why his muscles were sore, to spark up a conversation with the friendly looking man, and he began explaining his routine to me. He said he had been an elite level triathlete, but had retired to just cross-training. He had just finished swimming 500m and a three mile jog this morning. The old man then asked me if I had time for a story. Of course I did. He told me all about the triathlons he had done and how in 1991, him and his daughter did one together. She surprised him at the starting line to tell him she had secretly been training and would be joining him- he said it was one of the most special times in his life. In 1995, during the biking portion of a triathlon, he experienced a bad asthma attack and had to pull his bike over for about 10 minutes to rest before finishing the race. It was then that he decided triathlons would become a thing of the past and he would simply train to stay in shape. When his granddaughter (one of his nine grandchildren) graduated from University of Wisconsin- Stout in 2009, she asked if her grandpa would compete with her in a triathlon as her graduation present. Even though he had been in 'triathlon retirement' for quite some time, he didn't hesitate to say yes. He went to his doctor prior the real training to make sure it was a safe decision. His doctor ran several tests and told him that he actually had a heart attack years prior, not an asthma attack. The doctor said that because he was so aware of his body and gave himself a break during the biking portion of that race, he saved his own life. He had to undergo minor surgery to unblock an artery, but still made it to the triathlon with his granddaughter. Surprising him again, his daughter joined them during the triathlon and they became the first (recorded) three generations to simultaneously compete in a triathlon in the United States.

The light in this mans eyes when telling his story was undeniable and listening to him tell it was an honor. He went on to tell me about how new goal is to compete in one last triathlon when he turns 80. He wants to be able to say he competed in his 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. He shared that his secret was carrying and eating 20 Fig Newtons during the bike portion of every race, so he would have enough energy to finish off the run. One of the last things he shared with me was that he had never finished a race without tears in his eyes. He said finishing a race has yet to loose it's meaning, even after competing in over 35 of them. He always feels so accomplished and proud that he was able to do it, once again.

I thanked this man for sharing his story and told him how meaningful it was to hear it, as I have competed in a triathlon with my father as well. Adam was just finishing his laps in the pool and the man and I finished up with small chit chat. I left the hot tub and joined Adam in the sauna, where I told him what I had just heard. We reflected on the concept that a body in motion stays in motion and how important it is to stay active. This man prioritized his health and in return, the healthy activities gave him a lifetime of memories. The man surprised us by coming in to the sauna. We thought he would be joining us, but he just wanted to show me a picture of him, his daughter and granddaughter  during the race. To say he was proud would be an understatement. It was so special to see this man light up as he showed us the pictures. He walked away and I was left with such a feeling of happiness. This old man, unbeknownst to him, filled me with such faith and motivation. I pray that Adam and I are filled with that same spark in our older age. He was a man with a story and that story was pretty incredible. I'm not sure of his entire situation, and again, I didn't even know his name. He wore a ring, but made no mention of his wife in any stories. I could speculate all day as to what the other chapters in his life looked like, but I won't. I have faith that he is okay.

Everyone has a story, you just have to have enough time to listen.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Frozen Friday

We just received a massive April snow storm and I couldn't think of a better time to finally watch the movie Frozen! I have Pandora Disney station on at work getting me excited and I will absolutely be making Adam and I hot chocolate while we watch it. Is this movie really as good as I've been hearing? I sure hope so. A night of pure relaxation sound pretty wonderful, as we're both slowly getting over a flu bug we've had all week. Other Erickson happenings- our littlest niece, Willa, is one month old today and we booked our Chicago anniversary trip! As our combined Christmas/Anniversary presents, we decided to take a long weekend in Chicago during Adam's summer break and over our anniversary. We can't wait! We've already started thinking of fun things that we can get ourselves into. The two things on our agenda so far, House of Blues Gospel Brunch and Lou Malnati's pizza. Both had great reviews and are within walking distance of our hotel. We can't wait to have a fun little getaway to celebrate our first year as husband and wife! Time sure does fly right on by. I am so anxious for summer to get here, as plans have already begun unfolding for cabin trips, multiple weddings and other fun shenanigans. Bring on the sunshine, sunscreen, campfires and boat rides.

A few fun random photos from this past week.

Sports Dentistry Club mouth guard making

Adam put together a makeshift desk the other night. 

One of my shelves at work :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Growing up, we played games all the time. I remember playing Twister, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Clue, Candy Land, Checkers, Guess Who and so many other classics. We also have a giant Sequence board up at our lake cabin that we loved playing-and still do! Card games are something both of our families enjoy playing and there's nothing that gets blood boiling quite like a fierce game of spoons. Games have a undeniable way of bringing everyone together and either 1. causing fights 2. making it a laugh filled afternoon. Adam has a love for games too, which is why we registered for several of them on our wedding registry. Last summer, Michael and Alyssa went to Bolivia to visit his family. They bought all of us gifts that reflected some aspect of Bolivian culture. They got me a beautiful sweater and Adam a really neat chess set. I thought the chess set looked wonderfully unique and pretty, but figured it would end up being more of a decoration piece. Chess was one of the few games that my family never played growing up and because of that, I viewed it as this mysterious game played only by superior intellects. The summer we started dating (2011), Adam attempted to teach me chess while we were up at my cabin. We only had a checker board and had to use left over candy for the pieces. The rooks were chocolate eggs, pawns were checker pieces, king/queen were Crunch eggs and bishops were Hershey kisses. It didn't go well, and we never attempted chess again until roughly three days ago. I noticed Adam was playing chess on the computer and asked him about it. He had registered for an online chess site that allowed him to play games against other people. I instantly felt guilty that he had a perfectly capable playing partner (and an amazing chess board) right in front of him, who just hadn't given chess a chance. I read up on it that night and learned what each piece did and how the rules worked. Once I figured out how it worked and became more comfortable, I was hooked! Call me nerdy, but it now consumes way too much of my free time. I love the strategy behind it and how every move is made with the next three in mind. I now see why my over-analyzing husband loves it so much ;) I officially played my first ever game of chess on Tuesday night during dinner and can finally check it off my (imaginary) bucket list. I feel as though this is something Adam and I will enjoy playing until the end of our time.

First real chess game
Our amazing Bolivian chess board (and proof of my lose)

For those of you familiar with Saturday Night Live, I'll be holding tryouts for my cheerleader positions soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our Story Begins

With year two of Adam's dental school wrapping up, I thought I'd recap our journey over the past couple years and reflect on our decision to get married when we did. Our decision to get married was two fold. On one hand, we were (and still are) completely in love and wanted to take that natural next step in our relationship. We had never felt more ready for anything and didn't want to wait another day, month or year. We wanted to be husband and wife, we wanted to start our story. The other part of our decision was the more thought out aspect. Was it a smart financial decision to get married now? Would it be too difficult to be married during Adam's toughest year of dental school? Would we see each other enough? All of these questions were ones we talked about long before mentioning to family or friends that we were considering getting engaged. With as many things there are to talk about when getting married, the conversation was simple to us. We didn't have one concern that held a candle to our desire to be together. Would it be tough being married during the notoriously hard second year? Of course it would be challenging, but what better reminder of why it's all worth it than coming home to each other every day to be supported, pray together and talk through daily trails? What about all of Adam's school loans that would now be in my name as well, instead of just his? This is a question that was raised by quite a few people, and while the concern was appreciated, the question had me puzzled. Whether we got married when we did or five years down the road, the debt would still be there. Debt is an aspect of life that we all have to find a healthy way to manage. Whether it's a car loan, mortgage or paying back school loans, managing finances is an unavoidable part of life. Why is this something that should negatively affect our decision to get married? If anything, having someone around to keep you financially organized and accountable sounds like a positive thing. And that's exactly how we both saw it. Spending time together is something we prioritize, but it is also something we've had to be creative about with our limited free time. There have been several nights where I've gotten antsy and wished Adam could go do things with me, but I've learned how to best manage my need for engagement and his need to study. If Adam needs to be in his dental world, why can't I (hypothetically) meet him there and get involved? I've learned I can quiz him on topics, have him explain what he's doing with the multiple sets of fake teeth we have in our apartment, visit his lab to see what he's working on and we've also gotten close with other dental couples. It has been so wonderful because the guys usually talk dentistry or study, while us wives get to hang out. Adam and I are blessed that we get to see each other every day and try out best to never take it for granted. Whether that's us sitting quietly for an entire night while he studies and I read, or when we're doing more exciting things. I know there are people out there who would give anything to simply see their spouses as often as we get to.

Everyone paints a different picture in their mind of the ideal way to do things. When to move in together, when to get married, when to have children or when to buy a house. Our relationship will never be perfect, but we choose to see life as a string of lessons needing to be lived to be learned. There are always going to be things that need to be worked on, more money to be saved, more places we'd like to visit and more life experience to be had. If we waited for every single aspect of our lives to be in perfect order before moving forward, we would forever be at a standstill. We have faith that God will see us through each new challenge and faith in ourselves to know when we're ready for the next step. Getting married when we did was something I believe with my whole heart was the right choice for us. We are young and in love, with the world at our fingertips.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You're Killin' Me Smalls

As our second co-ed volleyball league season starts up, I thought I would share my experience from when it all started last summer. Growing up, I played sports all the time. Sports were my thing and where I met most of my friends. I started basketball in kindergarden and was captain my senior year. I played on summer select teams that traveled all around the midwest for tournaments. I was our high school soccer goalie for three years and on our varsity tennis team for a year (prior to making the soccer switch). This is not me trying to prove how super awesome my high school self was, but I needed to set the stage for my current situation. Last summer, our good friends Mark and Molly invited us to play on their summer sand volleyball team. I was so excited and thought it would be a great was to get exercise and see friends! Plus, it's only a summer league, so it's probably not taken that seriously, right?

It was made obvious pretty quick that this was not just a casual volleyball hang out session. All of the girls on our team, and most of the guys, had some volleyball experience. They were warming up when we arrived and the chipper smile on my face was quickly replaced with a nervous one. We only had a few minutes to warm up and everyone was talking about league rules and their other teams, all while making perfect bumps back and forth to each other. Why aren't we talking about what we're doing this weekend, how the Twins are doing and the weather?? I was in over my head. Okay, so three people in front and three in back, I knew that. I got this. I'm in my spot and saying a quick prayer to Jesus that the balls don't come my way. Jesus must have had more important things to worry about (not surprising) and I was instantly tested. Like I said, I was athletic, so I knew how to bend my knees and get ready. It was the complete lack of technique that made almost every ball I touched plummet into the sand or straight into the net. It wouldn't have taken a genius to figure out who our team anchor was, and the other team quickly started aiming serves right at me every time. Is this a bad dream?! I had turned into 'that' girl in high school who everyone secretly hoped would roll her ankle so she didn't have to play. I was so embarrassed and would have faked an injury to put my team out of their misery, had they not been so supportive. My team is great and tried their best to teach me what to do on the fly. We all still had fun and actually did win most of our games (no thanks to yours truly). I guess it's been a wonderfully humbling lesson on patience. I appreciated so much how kind my team was and that even though I wasn't that great (understatement of the year?) they made me feel like an important part of the team. I did improve and ended up graduating to overhead serves and even got a few digs! I will never, however, be the same kind of player I had been in basketball. It's a lesson that holds true for life as well. In some areas, you will be the experienced one who has the chance to offer advice and show patience towards someone who may need it. There will also be times where you need to recognize your weakness and have an open mind about accepting someones help. It's something I am currently working on, as I naturally like to explain things to people and be the experienced one. I feel lucky to have had the chance not only to learn this lesson, but also be on a fun team with a good group of friends :)