Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The bigger things

On Thanksgiving, I wrote about the littler things - the things I rarely think about like insurance and doctors and vitamins but the things I am ever grateful for.  I continue to give thanks for the smaller things, but as 2014 comes to a close, I can't help but think about the bigger things.  My faith, my family, my friends.

It's so easy to be cliche on this day.  We get all sentimental and reflective.  And we're excited about ringing in the new year.  Well, that's exactly what I'm doing today, being cliche, that is.  I'm getting all sentimental about this year as this was the year we welcomed a sweet girl into the world.  I'm thankful for Ella's Godparents, our friends who have been there during times when we've needed a friend.  I'm thankful for my best friends who take time out of their schedules for three hour Skype dates and who shower Ella with all kinds of love.  I'm thankful for my vibrant, little nephews who never fail to bring a smile to my face.  I'm reflecting on goals achieved, and personal growth, and what I've learned this year as a wife and mother.  And I am excited.  Excited about what 2014 brought and waiting to see what 2015 will bring.

Happy New Year.  I hope you ring in the new year satisfied and proud of 2014 and beyond elated to make 2015 a year to remember.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A transformative year


Can you look back and point out a year that was a particularly big year for you?  Maybe it wasn't the best year or the worst year, but it was a year that significantly changed you?

Up until this year, I would have told you that the end of 2007 through 2008 was my most transformative year - the year I spent my last days as a seventeen-year-old and entered the legal age of eighteen.  I lost both my grandparents within five months, moved out of my house, was dealing with the repercussions of being kicked out of high school (due to absences), enrolled in online school, and got a full-time job.  As dramatic as it sounds, this is how '07 - '08 played out.

Truthfully, I was miserable that year.  For a hundred and two different reasons, I often seriously questioned how I was going to get through that year.  But with a few kicks in the pants, support from many loved ones, and a lot  of undeserved grace I made it through and entered into 2009 a little more mature and a better person having gone through the previous 365 plus days.

Six years later, the year 2008 has been pushed to number two.  This year - 2014 - has been my most transformative year to date.  There was the more minor, worldly stuff that changed.  I moved a couple times, left a job, started routinely writing.  Then there was the bigger stuff.  My husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary.  We celebrated the arrival of our sweet Ella James.  All of these changes - big and small - combined fueled the great inward transformation I experienced this year.  All of the stuff you can't see - the emotional, the mental, the spiritual.  These were the things that changed significantly this year.  I was challenged in ways I've never experienced and found an inner strength I never knew I had.

I found my voice and made a choice to stay true to myself.  I took risks, did things that terrified me, I learned when to say "no" and when to say "yes." It seemed like my comfort zone knew no boundaries.  A quarter of the time I wanted to crawl into bed and not get out, but it's because I refused to do so that I became more of my best self this year.

I, like all of us, have a slew of things I'd like to work on and claim them as my "2015 resolutions." But too often, do we get caught up in that notion - bidding good riddance to the year that was and counting down the days until we can start anew.  And, all too often we don't give ourselves enough credit for what we've accomplished in fear of being too proud.  Of course, be modest, but don't write your 2014 self off.  Acknowledge your year.  Your achievements, your failures.

So before I make any new year's resolutions, I'm going to take this post and a few minutes to relish in this year, 2014, a hard one, a great one, and one I'm beyond proud of.

Here's to you, 2014.  Thanks for the challenges, the blessing, the joys, the accomplishments.  You've equipped me well for the years to come.

Monday, December 22, 2014

'Tis the season for twinkle lights

On Saturday night, we went out to look at Christmas lights.  If you know me, you know I'm one to have twinkle lights in my house all year round, so a block full of twinkle-light-covered-houses is my true happy place.

Last year during Christmastime I was pregnant with Ella.  So this year is Ella's year of first's.  And taking her out to enjoy all the lights was so much fun.  The Winter air and hot chocolate made the evening complete.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ending on a high note

If you couldn't tell by my last post, this week was a harder week.  The effort I've been putting into getting this postpartum anxiety under control failed me.  This resulted in figuring out what the next step should be and then to make an action plan.

All the while researching various therapies and medicines, I quickly became discouraged.  I got hung up on the previous course of action not working and was in the midst of dealing with side effects from my current medicine.

Hold on.  It gets better.  (Actually, not sarcastically.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perseverance and hope

When I first wrote about getting help for my anxiety, I thought I was close to solving the problem. Sure, in the back of my head I knew these things take time, patience, and effort, but somehow I thought otherwise when I was given a prescription and a therapist recommendation.  I was told it would help.  I wasn't told about and didn't think about, however, the possibility of it not working.

So when a few months later I experienced some unpleasant side effects and the same anxiety I had been experiencing before, I was thrown.  I thought getting help + treatment = healing.  And while that's true, the process isn't as formulaic as a math equation.  The first doctor might not be the right one, a medicine might not work.  The healing process is just that a process.  We may experience setbacks and curve balls but that doesn't mean we stop trying.

So enter phase two.  Changing current course of action and trying a new approach.  More phone calls, more questions, new offices, new people.

Once again, I'm hesitant to write about this process.  Because (who really likes to broadcast their current mental state), but mainly because I don't want to appear whiny.  Sound ridiculous?  Maybe. But think about it.  In our day-to-day lives we don't like a downer.  Hearing others' problems sometimes brings us down.  We like brightness, happiness, and those who are the life of the party.

But I continue to write about this journey because I want to realistically portray the process.  And that process is a long one, a hard one, and (so far) one that has had setbacks.

But as humans we soldier on.  Because we have to.  We have families.  We have jobs.  We have things we've got to do.  Thankfully I've learned when to put on a brave face for my little girl and when to text my best friend and let her know of the recent rough days.

The other thing about us humans is we tend to be hopeful.  And I am.  Hopeful that this next course of action will be a step in the right direction, that perseverance will pay off, and that going through this journey will ultimately have a bigger purpose.

If you're currently going through a tough time, my wish for you is that you have hope, too.

Monday, December 15, 2014

From the weekend

Monday means highlights.  Insta-style.

Shopping.  Decorating.  Baking.  A weekend spent with the family gearing up for Christmas.

Does it get any better?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Throwback Christmas

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday and getting ready for Christmas, I thought I'd combine the two and do a throwback Christmas post.  This is what the Christmas season looked like when I was in elementary school.  Pictures are from earlier years.

Christmas 1990.  My first.  That's my grandpa holding me on the right.  And my uncle holding my cousin on the left.  One of my favorite Christmas pictures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Target moms

Since having Ella, we've had some interesting encounters.  There was the lady who told us that she hates babies, but that ours was "one cute baby."  (It got even weirder when she turned back to her table and proceeded to tell her peers I really hate babies.)  Then there was the clerk at the grocery store who was irritated by a screaming toddler.  She scoffed, looked at us, then at Ella and said you're never going to do that.  You're too cute.  

When you're a parent, you experience everything from glares, stares, and smiles, but I've found that there is one place where you'll find support and a friendly smile.  And that's the baby aisle in Target.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Road trippin' with baby


We recently road tripped with our seven month old.  Since the trip went well, I thought I'd share our experience and how we prepared for the many hours in the car.

We traveled from San Diego to Vancouver, Washington.  Without stopping, Google maps predicted it would be a 16 hour trip.  Aside from the occasional bathroom break and meal or two, we planned to tackle the drive in one trip.  Here's what we did to prep.

Monday, December 8, 2014

From the weekend

This weekend was one of those weekends where Sunday came, and I thought this was a good weekend.  Nothing really special happened, we ran the typical errands, did the typical chores.  But we also managed to sleep in, make a couple great dinners, enjoyed the Christmas spirit in the air, and watched Ella reach a couple milestones.

First time sitting in a shopping cart!  Target, obviously.  This doesn't quite beat the crawling or laughing milestones.  But she was so cute as we strolled around that I kind of just wanted to wander aimlessly around the store.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday

Where did this week go!?

Oh that's right.  It got lost in tissue boxes and laundry baskets. 

We survived our post-vacation colds and quickly got into the lets get stuff done mode.  Did some deep cleaning, decorated for Christmas, and finally unpacked.  I'm currently working on a post on road tripping with a baby, but for the weekend I'll leave you with some Insta highlights (and most of them are of Ella #classicmom).

Have a great Friday!

Reading corner.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dancin' in the rain

I'm not sure if it's the sudden burst of rain (which I should be happy about), or the fact that all three of us are sick, or the recent 30 hours spent in the car, but I've been feeling pretty run down the past few days.  And you know when you start feeling run down, everything else is wrong?  You all of a sudden have nothing to wear, nothing sounds good to eat, and the untidiness in the living room starts to "drive you nuts?"

Yeah.  I'm at that point.  So for today's Wednesday post I'm here to remind myself and share with you that there are some days that come our way that we wish went differently - for big reasons or a lot of small ones.  We wish we weren't sick, we wish we had already unpacked our suitcases, we wish it didn't decide to rain on the one day you have to run out to the apartment complex's laundry facility.

That's okay.  It's on these days that we grab our rain boots and umbrellas and learn how to dance in the rain.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A week in Washington

Happy Cyber Monday!

I celebrated by buying a Shark steamer...in stores.  Oops.

Our week in Washington was a whirlwind.  Friday came and we could hardly believe the week went by as quickly as it did.  

That's the thing about vacation.  It arrives slowly and goes by quickly. 

We spent the week catching up with family and playing with our nephews.  We did a little Black Friday shopping (which was hugely successful) and attempted to explore downtown Portland (but the weather didn't cooperate).  We cooked, we gave thanks, we feasted.


It was everything a Thanksgiving break should be. 

As for today, it's back to business.  Steaming floors, doing laundry, paying bills.   We're recuperating from the near 30 hour drive it took to get home and buying chicken noodle soup and tissue to fend off the typical post-vacay colds.

What is it about getting home from vacation that makes you want to clean out the bathroom cupboards, buy new candles, and make a fresh start in meal planning?

Whatever it is, that's what you'll find me doing today.  Steaming floors and whatnot.  Then we're getting down to the most important business of the day...Christmas decorating!

Aside from that steamer, I also bought pinecones that smell like heavenly Christmas bliss. 

Happy Monday!