Saturday, June 28, 2014

1 year

On my wedding day, I was asked if I was ready.

I said yes.

But I should have said no.

Yes.  I (we) completed all the pre-marital counseling.  We were complimented on how much Tim and I compliment each other, how much we had "clearly talked about certain things."  We had a long enough engagement.  I knew and understood commitment.  We had the same intentions.  We had found the person we thought we could love and learn to love for the rest of our lives.  But I had no idea what was in store for me.

In society, we have this thing with marriage.  We think all the hard work happens during pre-married life and even at that we think relationships take little to no work.  We think once we say, "I do" our happily ever after will begin free of problems, free of tears, free of uncertainty.  We throw around phrases like "he should just get me" "it's supposed to be easy."  We've all heard 'em.  Some are even guilty of saying 'em (myself included).

I knew this going into marriage, but I've learned it in ways I couldn't foresee on my wedding day - marriage takes work.  It means listening to a long day of programming gone wrong when all you want to do is vent yourself.  It means greeting your husband with a hug, not with frustration, after his 20 hour work day.  It means staying up an extra hour to tidy up the place so it's ready for a visit from family.  It means knowing when to say something and when to say nothing at all.


It also means surprising your husband with his favorite dessert and seeing his reaction.  It means smiling big after he walks in the door with the orchid you've been eyeing for weeks.  It means impromptu cupcake runs, Thai food Friday nights, dinners on the floor in your new apartment.

Marriage is one huge mix of easy and hard, simple and complex, joyous and painful.

365 days, 2 apartments, and a baby later we've reached the 1 year milestone.  We've learned more about each other, we've grown together both individually and as a couple, we were introduced to a whole new sort of love when our sweet Ella entered the world.  And this hasn't been without work, without trial. And that's okay, because we've become stronger and more united.  After only 1 year, we've gone through what feels like a lifetime of change.

Looking back on that day, I was as ready as I could be.  I was ready to take the hand of the man beside me and walk into the unknown together.  And every day I'm reminded why I chose the man I did, and every day we get ready for the next.

In 50 years, if I'm still around (and still know how to use a computer) I'll look back on this and think, "oh Kaitlin, what you've learned since then."  But for now I'll bask in our one year milestone, our one year accomplishment and say,

Happy anniversary to my best friend, my confidant, my world, my husband.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Did someone say artichoke hearts and black olives?

Probably not.  Most people I know hate both of these.

If you're one of these people and you're willing to try something new, I'm telling you artichoke hearts, black olives, and goat cheese were made for each other.

I can't take credit for this recipe.  One of my roommates who I lived with prior to getting married came up with this divine pizza recipe, but knowing I was just as obsessed with olives (seriously, I could eat a jar) as she was, she made a point to tell me about it.  She made it on regular crust, so I couldn't get a taste, but today I recreated it on a GF crust.

All there is left to say is, yum.

Dig the recipe?

What you'll need:

A few olives
A few artichoke hearts
Some goat cheese
A pizza crust
An oven (set to 400 degrees)
8 minutes

And, enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Some highlights

New mom life is crazy.

Lately, time feels like it's moving faster than usual.  Days feel like they're blending together. So I thought I'd take a few minutes, reflect on the past week or so, and pull some highlights.

Friday and Saturday.  These 2 days were filled with highlights.  A few good friends came over, helped us packed, and helped us move.  I'm pretty sure our friend Brian was over for 12 hours or something. Did I mention the good friend thing?

Our new apartment.  The place is a bit smaller but has 2 bedrooms.  Being in SD for at least another year, finding a reasonably priced 2 bedroom place was our goal.  And this place has met our expectations.  It has a bit of character, but the layout is a much better use of space compared to our old place.  We're still trying to figure out a name for an office + nursery.

Ella sleeping through the night!  This is the highlight of the past few months.  She goes down between 10 and midnight and wakes up between 6 and 9.  As someone who really doesn't do well with little sleep, I thank God every day for this blessing.

FUDGE.  My best friend was vacationing in northern Michigan and decided to send us some fudge from Mackinac Island.  It came in the mail during our last moving day.  It was the best little surprise on a rather stressful, exhausting day.

Tim's job offer.  An adjunct professor position at the college we attended.  The subject?  Programming, of course.  I'm excited and happy for him.  A goal of his has been to teach and share his passion with gaming students.

THIS.  When family came out to visit last month, this little dude brought so much joy to our visit. Before they came out, Tim and I wondered how the boys would be around us considering they were so young when we last saw them.  I love the little guy so much, it warmed my heart to see this.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A brief retreat

Some parts of life are more chaotic than others.  Moving with a 7 week old, the past 10 days have been full of chaos.  My little girl has decided to start sleeping through the night.  And she's been doing so for the past week and a half.  An incredible blessing (yes), she's awake most of the day and loves, loves, loves to move.  This has meant a lot of eating lunch one handed and not a lot of getting anything done.

A little discouraged from the piles of boxes that still need to be unpacked, we left it all tonight.  I put on some lip gloss, we packed up the baby and drove 2 minutes to get a latte.  We came home, put our sweet girl to bed and my husband retreated to his office for a bit of gaming.  I saw the sink full of dinner dishes and walked away.  Turned on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and painted my very neglected nails.

It was quiet.  It was relaxing.

Sometimes when life gets crazy, it's just best to leave the dishes 'til morning.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A missed 'thank you' #personal

We're currently packing up what has been our home over the past year, and we're getting ready to move into what we're going to make home for the next 12 months.  I've lost count how many times I've moved in the past four years, but every time I've moved I've rediscovered things that were forgotten over recent months. A few of these rediscoveries (this time around) include:

1) Love for my heels.
2) Just how much clothing I own.  (You never realize how big your closet is until you have to take it apart.)
3) Some 'thank you' notes in my desk drawer.

(Now stay tuned for adventures from our move) but I'm going to focus on number 3.  Do you ever mean to do something and then just...forget?  Sending 'thank you' notes has fallen into this category for me, and I'm ashamed and saddened to say so.  In retrospect, I have no idea why they didn't get stamped and mailed out. They're written, in envelopes, and (mostly) addressed.  There really is no excuse as to why these people didn't receive the 'thank you' they deserve.  All I have happened.  I was well-intentioned and then those good intentions were put in a desk drawer left to be forgotten.

I'm writing about this so it will serve as a lesson to better myself - to follow through on what seems like such a little act - sending 'thank you' notes.  The thing is, this act isn't a little thing.  It's a really big thing.  

To becoming better.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A few favorites

Every now and then I'll make a purchase and I love said purchase so much that it becomes a staple in my day-to-day.  I thought I'd share my recent favorites, because I love them.  A lot.

After purchasing this beauty, I totally get why people buy designer things.  Besides the fact that the designs are beautiful, the quality is supreme.  I would hope an originally $100 wallet would be better quality than say..a $15 wallet from Forever21...I bought this wallet months ago with a gift card I got for my birthday.  As one who errs on the side of saving money, I stood in the aisle forever contemplating if it was worth dropping 45 bucks on the once near $100 piece.  I did.  Best decision.  Has a spot for my phone, fits my cash/cards perfectly.  To top it off?  Fits perfectly in the accessories section of my stroller.  You can tell me I'm way too excited about this wallet.  It's cool.

I had been researching strollers for months.  Sometimes having many choices is a wonderful blessing, but it was during this time I wished that there weren't so many stroller models.  They ranged from $50 to $800. And of course the one I spotted on Pinterest was closer to the $800 range.  I walked away from the research for a while and that's when I spotted what would become our trusty Graco confidant at Target.  We dropped 60 bucks on it.  It's lightweight, has the perfect storage, cup holders, etc.

I walked into Forever21, spotted these, picked 'em up, and checked out.  It was love at first sight.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

To share or not to share? That is the question.

Violating Children's Dignity in the Age of Social Media.

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately.  A lot.  (So much so that I've had a post entitled 'having babies in a social universe' sitting in my drafts folder for weeks.)  After reading this article that a friend posted on Facebook the other day (and then this article linked from the first), I've been thinking about the topic even more.

Before I left my job, I was offered a new job description: new mom blogger.  This entailed heading up a content property that would follow the life of a new mom - me.  As I started to document my journey during pregnancy, I thought about this topic a lot.

What should I share?  What can I share?  Is it even my rite to share at all?  This is my daughter's life, after all.  Is it fair to her to let the Internet be a part of it?

I ended up leaving the position for reasons that didn't have to do with this question, but since we're diving deeper and deeper into the world of sharing and advancement of technology in our social universe, I'm continually asking myself these questions.  Yes, it is my daughter's life, but since she's the biggest part of my day-to-day is it weird to leave her out of my social presence completely?

I don't know the answers to these questions, because I don't know what state the world of sharing will be by the time my daughter is 5, 10, 15, 20.  Since she was born into a world of sharing, will she look back on Instagram photos as I look at my family's photo albums?  Since all of her counterparts will most likely have baby pictures floating on the Internet, will she even think twice about having pictures of her covered in mushed peas on Instagram? (There are no pictures of her covered in mushed peas on Instagram).

This is a weird question to think about.  I'm a product of the 90s.  I remember the birth of cell phones and the death of dial-up.  The most "insta" we knew was a Polaroid picture and "over-sharing" meant moms exchanging an embarrassing story or 2 at book club.  If a baby picture of myself or my friends is on Instagram or Facebook it's thanks to #throwbackthursday.

I want to respect my daughter's privacy, so I'm asking these questions.  But with our family and friends being spread throughout the continental US, I also want to share milestones, funny stories, and parts of our life as a family.  Let's be real - I'm writing this on a personal blog where I have pictures of my baby girl.

They've always said babies should come with an instruction manual.  I think if that manual existed, it should be revised and a lot more detailed, because parents today have much more to think about as we continue to walk into this "privacy is dead" world.

In this moment, this is the best answer I've got:  It's all about balance.  Want to post that cute picture of your kid in his/her kindergarten graduation cap?  Why not?  Or your toddler showing off his latest lego creation? Sure.  Maybe we just don't document our kids' journeys through potty training or his/her first bath.  That's the motto I'm living by.  I won't shield my kid entirely from the social media world, because at this point in time I think it's unrealistic to do so, but will you ever see my kid naked in an inflatable bathtub?  Absolutely not.