Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The littler things

Every year Thanksgiving comes and goes and my list of things I'm grateful for rarely changes. Religion, family, friends.  Things like freedom and a paycheck and food on my plate at the end of the day.  The sorts of things that should never be taken for granted.  The things we should give thanks for more than one day out of the year.

But this year was a particularly big year.  So I got to thinking about all the other things that I'm grateful for that I rarely, if ever, give notice to.  Things like insurance, low gas prices. And other things like invested, truly invested, doctors.  Therapists.  Medicine.  Vitamins.

I didn't realize what these things had in common with each other until now.  But, this year, I'm most grateful for things that have allowed and empowered me to heal.  Heal physically from a marathon of a pregnancy.  Heal emotionally from baby blues and a life-long battle with anxiety and that seemingly, all-too-cliche, swarm of unsettling feelings that pop up from your childhood when you have a child of your own.

These things, like insurance and low gas prices, have allowed me be a better wife, a better mom, a better friend.  I'm able to see the invested doctor because of the good insurance plan and the unusually low gas prices allow me to make the near hour drive to said doctor's office for a little less money.

I am, of course, thankful for the bigger things.  My husband, my daughter, the feelings that come from your baby gripping your finger or succumbing to a gut-bursting fit of laughter.  I'm thankful for the light my daughter brings into my life and the passion my husband brings to his job and anything that's thrown his way.

On Friday, I won't forget about those things.  My daughter will laugh when the dog wags her tail in her face, Ella reflexively letting out a giggle or three.  And I'll think man God picked me to be your mom.  And I'll be simultaneously flooded with gratitude and awe.

But on Friday, I will forget about insurance.  The gas prices will probably start to rise once again.  I may have to sit in the waiting room longer than I'd like at my next doctor appointment.  Frustration might hit when I'm told I have to change a dosage of medicine - that it's not working.

So before any of those very likely scenarios have their chance to occur, I'm giving thanks for the things that I'm lucky enough to have, the things that I go throughout my day-to-day barely giving second thought to, the things that have helped to make this year what it's been.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope all is set aside today and you spend the day with those you're thankful for and who are thankful for you.

And here's to the little things.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The way there

What. a. weekend.

We met up with some family, got ready for a road trip, and then hit the road.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Aunt Ellie & Ella

Friday, November 21, 2014

Road trip ready

Well, unlike last week I feel like I've accomplished more in these past seven days than I have during the entire month of November.

It was one those weeks where I took everything out of the storage closet and put everything back in an orderly, organized fashion.  (I had to in order to get our luggage.  And the Christmas tree).

I filmed a video with a friend (stay tuned for that) and got us ready for our Thanksgiving vacation. Tonight we're headed to Anaheim to have dinner with Tim's aunt and cousins who are in town from Alaska.  I'm looking forward to the good company and the temporary change of scenery.

And then on Saturday.  We'll be heading north to spend the week with my brother and sister-in-law and our two nephews.  I'm crazy excited we get the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with family this year!  But we first must conquer the sixteen hour drive to Washington.  We're departing Saturday evening, so we can tackle most of the drive while Ella's fast asleep.

I'm a little nervous.  But I packed an emergency kit for the car that I'm pretty proud of.  But don't let it deceive you, I'm usually not this organized.


Happy Friday.  Have a great weekend.  I'll be spending most of it on the road accompanied by Serial, coconut cashews, and a lot of coffee.

I'll see you on Monday from Washington.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The peanut butter cookie

I'm always working to perfect gluten-free recipes.  Gluten-free baking is hard.  You often need a variety of flours to get that fluffy, gooey cookie that everyone loves.  And finding that balance of flours (or perfect all-purpose flour) can be a process.

Recently, I found a peanut butter cookie recipe on Pinterest and decided to make it gluten-free. Acknowledging my most recent baking ventures have been some big fails, I wasn't expecting much.
But this recipe turned out so well that I had to share it with you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A love letter to note cards

It's Wednesday!  And that means I'm talking about what I've learned.

I learned a lot in college.  One of the things I took away from my three years though had little to do with a particular course. And that was:

Note cards are a dreamer's best friend.

Early on in my college career, one of our professors mentioned how he makes to-do lists on note cards and mentioned how satisfying the feeling of crossing off a task was.  Being the impressionable college kid that I was, I decided to adapt this seemingly mundane routine in hopes it would make me an organized student who got As.  Some As came, others didn't, but the organization stuck.

Now, my list of goals - big and small - reside on note cards.  Currently, I have about five note cards (with big goals) lining my mirror in my bedroom.  That's a weird place to tape note cards you might say.  And I'd reply You are correct.  But when craving an over-priced pastry the savings goal staring back at me is my motivation to stay the course.  

I highly recommend heading to your local Staples and picking up a pack of these babies.  Come home, put on some Jessie J and get motivated.

Because I'm pretty convinced the road to success is paved with note cards and Ticonderaga pencils.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Loving your postpartum body

Some fitting room shenanigans.
I'm almost seven months postpartum.  And I'm still ten pounds away from my pre-baby weight.  Truth be told, the number doesn't bother me.  I try to live a healthy lifestyle, and how I feel on a daily basis mostly reflects my efforts.  But I haven't gotten used to shopping for and dressing my new shape.

Even if and when I get back down to my pre-baby size, I'm unconvinced my old pant selection would fit me.  I'm fuller in some places and smaller in others, so I have few things in my wardrobe that fit me well.  Over the weekend, I was out looking for a couple fall pieces to take on our upcoming vacation to Washington.  On my list?  Boots, black pants, leggings, maybe a coat.

I wasn't having any luck.  Styles that would have flattered my figure a year and a half ago no longer do so.  We all know that feeling after making multiple trips to the fitting room and looking at one too many pairs of ill-fitting skinny jeans.  So I gave up.

And I went and bought a lipstick.

I put everything back (except for a $6.99 pair of fleece-lined leggings.  I mean, come on) and went on a hunt, for a bright, look-at-me, berry lipstick.

We're all told to love our postpartum bodies.  And I do.  I appreciate having shape, which I greatly lacked before having a baby.  But we all experience those fitting room blues when we're struggling to find a flattering pair of jeans or a jacket.

That's okay.  If you're finding that your self-esteem tank is running on "E", go buy a red or more specifically "cherries in the snow" lipstick.  It'll give you that boost of self-confidence and fuel you up for your next shopping outing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

End of the week

This week was one of those weeks that simultaneously dragged on and moved at lightning speed.  It felt like a lot happened and nothing happened.  You must be able to tell by these short two sentences that I'm excited it's Friday and the weekend is upon us.  This weekend will consist of going to the chiropractor, catching up on The Walking Dead, watching an episode of Last Man Standing (or 2), and shopping for boots and coats (in preparation or the crisp Washington air!).

To be honest, all I want to do is have a 72 hour sleeping marathon, but that's not very real-life like so I'm off to pay bills and be an adult.  Though with this way-too-good cappuccino by my side, I feel like I'll be singing my way off to pay our student loans.  (No, my coffee isn't spiked, it's just that good.)


Happy Friday.  Have a great weekend.  Maybe I'll make more sense on Monday.

(P.S. 13 days until Thanksgiving!)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Building a nursery

Currently our little baby girl resides in a room that is half office, half nursery.  And by nursery I mean a pack 'n play and a basket of stuffed animals.

Ella didn't have a room that was home when she was first born, because we moved a short 7 weeks after she was born.  And when we moved, well, we couldn't afford a crib.

We're finally getting to the place of being able to put together a sweet nursery for our sweet girl!  It will still be home to Tim's desk and computer, so we'll be limited on space, but I don't plan on that getting in the way of the cute factor. 

Here's some inspiration and what I'm going for:

(Hope you enjoy!)

DaVinci Emily Mini Crib 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I've learned Wednesday

I'm typically one to shy away from alliteration.  Every time I think of a title like, well, like What I've learned Wednesday, I hear the irate Toby Ziegler tell the young Will Bailey:

"you're alliteration happy!"
(West Wing, anyone?)

 But for whatever reason, I couldn't shake the inkling of wanting to start a series called What I've learned Wednesday (Sorry, Toby) in which I'll share with you lessons I've learned during my short (almost) 25 years on this planet.

Since more life is thrown at me daily, I hope to never run out of lessons to share with you.  So here's the first out of what I hope to be many:

Sometimes all you can do isn't enough.

Recently, I shared what has become the beginning of my journey in battling anxiety.  I talked about how my lifelong battle took a turn for the worst after I had my baby.  For the longest time, I tried tackling it own my own.  Thinking I had dealt with anxiety for years, I thought it wasn't a real problem, that everyone suffers from anxiety.  And if I just bought a couple more lavender scented candles, that maybe the problem would go away.  Breathing exercises, the "just say yes" mentality, meditating, stretching, nothing could reign in what was becoming a debilitating problem.  

In realizing I had a bigger responsibility to care for myself now that I have to care for a little one, I decided to suck up my "it's embarrassing" feelings and told the doctor about my family history and my symptoms.  

The diagnosis?  A little medicine and a little therapy.  As a 24-year-old, new mom and recently married, that was pretty scary to hear.  A)  I don't like to pop pills for really anything and B) therapy? But doesn't that make me some sort of... weirdo?

Here's the deal.  Everyone has their stuff.  Everyone has a thing that they have dealt with or are currently dealing with.  The sooner one comes to terms with a problem and starts to fix it, the sooner you're free to really live.

And if that means therapy, there's no reason to feel ashamed.  I know there's a stigma around mental illness which is heartbreaking beyond words.  I've witnessed years lost and relationships ruined due to untreated mental illness.

As terrifying as it can be, break down your walls and reach out, ask for help, and be open to healing.

Because sometimes you need more than just you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day


Many of my favorite memories of my grandpa consist of him telling stories of "the old days".  The topics varied from my grandma, various travels, and Willie Nelson.  He every now and then would tell a war story.  Since we bonded mostly over country music, story time, and waffle cones, it became known I would be guaranteed two things of his upon his death.  His Johnny Cash collection

And his dog tags.

They hang above my desk as a reminder of sacrifice, heroism, courage, and the strong bond that can be between grandfather and granddaughter.

A deep and most heartfelt thank you to all those who have served for the greater good of our country. And thanks to the families who support those who have served.  Your sacrifice hasn't gone unnoticed.

Rest in peace, grandpa.  We're remembering you today.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Comfort zones and new things

Another Pinterest quote.
This weekend, I hosted my first articles club (inspired by Joanna Goddard).

And it was kind of scary.  As someone who suffers from anxiety, it can be nerve wracking to attend a club of any sort let alone start and host one.  But with recently tackling anxiety head on, I decided taking this step would be a good challenge for myself as well as an opportunity to build and strengthen friendships, and talk about real things with real women.

I'm so happy I decided to take the plunge.  The five of us sat around a table full of chocolate, wine, and various cheeses and discussed an article from Marie Claire.  As Goddard mentioned in her articles club post, it got personal real quick and it was refreshing to hear candid anecdotes from everyday life.

Once again, I have to thank my husband. I woke up Saturday with a strained neck and little sleep, and I felt overwhelmed and exhausted and admittedly I wanted to cancel.  He reassured and encouraged and I'm so thankful he did.

Thanks to the ladies who came and made the night effortless and enjoyable.

Here's to stepping outside of our comfort zones this week.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Those mornings

We all have those days when we are just dragging.  We can't seem to get moving no matter how many times we visit the Keurig.

These 3 things get me moving every time.  No matter what.

1)  Make the bed.  I don't know if everyone feels this way.  I might be embarrassed if I'm the only one...but making the bed is one of those things.  You know, those things.  The things that take no time, aren't a big deal, but we seem to ignore anyway.  Making the bed takes no time and always makes me feel like an adult who pays bills and votes and stuff.

2)  Clean something.  The counter, the sink, your desk.  During your morning routine, you may not have time to clean the entire kitchen, but cleaning up or organizing something that needs tending to will give you some extra productivity fuel.

3) Dance.  When all else fails just stop and bust a move.  Today, I had a particularly slow morning.  The type of morning where you remember you're out of eggs, your baby wakes up earlier than usual, and you have more than one cup of coffee.  Ella was fussy waiting for her bottle, so I turned on some music and started dancing with her.  She started laughing, so I started laughing and the morning blues melted away.


Happy Friday.  Have a great weekend.

Maybe dance a little.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An AM dish

Having a baby who likes to rise before the sun, I tend to prefer breakfasts that take little prep. Granola, greek yogurt, and berries is usually a convenient go-to.  But lately, I've been all about this morning dish.  It takes more time than throwing some yogurt in a bowl but the extra few minutes are well worth it.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Highlights

You know those weeks where you take more Instagram pictures than usual?  This past week was one of those weeks.  So here are my highlights - Instastyle.

God is good.