Mastering The Master Bedroom

I have a new obsession. Surprising, I know. It’s not like I do this every month.

Since Glenn and I first bought our home in 2013, we’ve never really put much effort into our bedroom. It has always been the one room in our house that we passed over when styling, the last to be cleaned, and generally just ignored. Then we uprooted last year and bought our current home, and with that came a ton of work. Complete renovations to the bathrooms, new paint, new flooring, as well as deciding on a new color theme and style to fit our new home. When we finally settled down, the most we had really done to our bedroom décor wise was to put in our furniture and hang up some curtains. It was sad, you guys, and it only got worse.

Over the next year, our master bedroom has become a catch-all for anything that didn’t have a place in the house. It became even worse after my cousin moved into our spare bedroom last September, and we had to move our junk to make room for all his things.

But no more, I’m done having random items line the walls and having to reach over piles of stuff to get into my closet. I’m done having our bedroom be a collection of odds and ends. Everywhere else in our home has been more or less decorated with a purpose but our bedroom was always an afterthought. I am finally ready to put the effort into turning our room into a place we love, not just a place we sleep.

I’ve actually been musing this for weeks now. I looked through my old pins and their common themes. Turns out- they’re pretty much the same picture over and over again. Seriously, look.

Bedroom Inspiration

Imperfect, simple, soft, and cozy. We already have a strong gray and white theme through our house, and the addition of a soft pink gives it a uniqueness to the rest of the rooms. This is my retreat.

There actually isn’t much I have to do. The biggest will be getting rid of the things that don’t belong and organizing the rest. I want to do something with our closet. We got rid of the doors since they were very old and yellowed, but the closet itself is lacking. Right now my clothes are folded and placed directly on the shelving, which wouldn’t be an issue if I could close it off- but its front and center right now. I’ll be investing in something to make the space a bit more uniform until we can afford to invest in a real closet set up.

Then, I’ll focus on adding more light (our one lamp is not cutting it), and a few little décor touches. I don’t want to add items to the tables, but I do want to add more color and brighten the space up a bit. Our furniture is expresso and our duvet, curtains, and carpet are grey- it’s pretty dark. I’ll definitely be adding some white and a light pink in the mix to help lighten the overall feel.

Finally, it’s time we got something on our walls. This is honestly the least of my concerns, but it will make the room more personal, which I like.

I think I’ll be able to do the major renovation this weekend, depending on shipping times, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. In the end it will probably cost me something around $150, but it will be worth it to finally get this room in control.

As A Mom: My Body Post Pregnancy

Of course, pregnancy was only half the story of my new “mom” body. My delivery and post-delivery have dramatically shaped how I view my physical self, though this is a bit more emotional than my experience while pregnant.

I was a bit hesitant to go into this. In some ways I feel like I can’t properly express all the emotions that went into those first ten days of Jackson’s life. The joy at him being there and okay despite what happened, the tears of missing out on so many of those first moments of his life, the fear of the wires in and around his body. The fullness of that can’t be put in to words. In the end though, he is here and healthy, and we are so grateful for that. We are so lucky when so many aren’t. But the experience still remains in the back of my mind, and it has changed me in so many ways.

I labored for over 30 hours before the nurses called in for an emergency cesarean. I had assumed that this was coming, and actually asked that they just do the cesarean before it became an emergency, but they seemed to think a natural birth could still happened for a while. Eventually though, my labor became too hard on the baby and it was time for plan b. By the time it finally came I had long made peace with the new plan and was more than ready both physically and mentally.

The surgery itself seemed to go by stunningly fast. Jackson was born and emitted by far the angriest cry I’ve ever heard from a child. But something was wrong. He was sent to NICU with Glenn following closely behind. After some time in recovery, I was allowed to visit him for a few minutes. I stared at him, touched him gently, and apologized over and over. This was not the birth I expected, I couldn’t even hold him.

After twenty minutes, the nurse told me I had to go rest, and they wheeled me back to my room until I could “prove myself” the next day (they want to make sure you can walk and won’t faint or bleed, I’m assuming). The prospect of being able to see Jackson again gave me the will to stand up the minute they put me in my room, but unfortunately that didn’t mean they thought I was ready.

Ten hours and a hundred requests later, a nurse came in and asked if I felt up to it. I was standing by the time she finished her sentence.

This act, my body literally standing up to a challenge, is what I leaned on in the following months when I began to blame it for putting Jackson through that experience in the first place. Maybe if my body had gone into labor on its own, maybe if I had been able to deliver him naturally, he wouldn’t have had the pneumothorax. Perhaps the act of being birthed would have spread the mucus coating on the inside of his lungs over the spot left unguarded and he wouldn’t have pierced his lung with that first strong cry. I know it’s incredibly unlikely, but I still question myself and my body now.

At least I know that I saw him as soon as my body was given the opportunity. Moreover, from then on my body continued to function as high as it could. I sat in a hard chair that first day for hours, not even a full day after my body had been cut open and a baby taken out. I sat in many chairs over the next 10 days, spending as much time with my little boy as I could. My body woke in the middle of the night, just two hours after I finally got into bed, to answer the call of his nurse telling me it was time to feed him. It allowed me to walk carefully down the hall to a hungry baby again and again. When I was discharged, but Jackson wasn’t, my body let me wake up at 5am and not go back home until 11 that night. It was the trooper I needed, and it let me do what I had to do. For that, I am so grateful.

Talking with friends later on, long after Jackson came home and he was adorable and chubby, the question would often be what I thought about my post pregnancy body. This is a popular topic at the moment, and it’s amazing to see women come to grips with how their bodies have changed after having children. It is, after all, the physical point of your being, right? I would respond that I thought it was doing magnificently given how poorly I was treating it.

Honestly, once Jackson arrived my body became an afterthought for over a year. At times I think I even purposefully treated it poorly, eating too many things I knew weren’t good for it and not moving it enough. After I emerged from the fog though, I knew I had let it go too long. I began to eat healthier, exercise, and take better care of it in general. It’s rewarded me without grudge, letting go of the weight I had been told it would hold tightly on to.

My body is not the same as it was before Jackson, in some ways it is better and in others it’s a bit squishier. I still have my scar, I don’t know if I will ever lose my pouch, and I’m not always a fan of how it looks visually; but I can say with absolute honesty that I am so grateful for what it has given me. It grew my son, it pushed through when it needed to, and it has been gentle with me even when I didn’t deserve it.

This is the view of myself that I hope to keep for the rest of my life. A body that is more than what it looks like, a body that is strong and up for the challenge.

As A Mom: My Body During Pregnancy

Belly

A while back a friend and I had a long conversation about our bodies and how our view of them have changed over the years. This discussion sparked a longer thought process as I began to consider how my body, and view of it, has changed since pregnancy. Long overdue considering Jackson is over a year old, but important nonetheless.

My experience is in no way a reflection of anyone else’s experience with their body during or after pregnancy. Not only do women have vastly different pregnancies, but each are colored by personal history, perceptions, and reactions. This is the reason I won’t talk about my tiger stripes (I was already indifferent about my plethora of “doughnut stripes” long before I ever got pregnant), failing to gain weight (ha, no problem there), or the experience of delivering naturally (I ended up getting an emergency cesarean after a glorious epidural.)

Caveats aside, I do believe one of the most obvious and daily experiences during pregnancy was not actually a product of my body itself. Rather, the moment I told people I was pregnant, it almost seemed as though my body became public property. How many women have shared their experiences with a waiter denying them coffee, a coworker commenting on their food choice, or dear lord- their weight? I would assume the vast majority of pregnant women have had at least one experience pregnant that they would never have otherwise.

With Jackson, I barely showed until 7 months in, whereupon a loving and doting coworker told me that I didn’t look fat anymore, I just looked pregnant. Later, after coming back from maternity leave, another coworker was astounded by how “great” I looked, considering how “huge” I got before I left. These, honestly, were hilarious to me- probably for the main fact that these women would never have said something of this nature at any other time. And yes, pregnancy does have a tendency to make someone comically large, so I get it- I really do. Sometimes you can’t help yourself.

Honestly, what was stranger was when someone would comment on something I should or shouldn’t do anymore. I remember how mind-blowingly weird it was when early in my pregnancy I got excited and jumped up and down, only to be told that I shouldn’t be jumping. At seven weeks, my mind has just begun to wrap around the concept that there was something the size of a blueberry nestled inside my body, it couldn’t even fathom how jumping four inches off the ground could threaten its survival. But time and time again I was told I should no longer do the things I had always done without a thought. I went in to pregnancy knowing this would happen later as my belly grew and got in the way; but even in my first trimester I was protected from carrying a case of water, moving a folding table, etc. Having always had a strong body, I was suddenly being told to resist doing things that I had never considered difficult. It was very hard to reconcile this new state with my old body identity.

I know without a doubt that this and any other comment I received while pregnant was made with love and protectiveness, and not only for me but also my unborn child. Of course I made a few playful retorts, but I really did try to take this advice as the ultimate form of compassion. Nevertheless, it is very bewildering when you are suddenly being told how to function when you’ve been functioning fine all along.

In the same vein was the profound realization that I was vulnerable for the first time in my life. Not that it was the first time I was actually vulnerable, but certainly the first time I actually physically felt like I could no longer “go to bat” if a situation required it. I spent months processing this new information. Having always been a tall and fairly large woman, I rarely ever felt nervous about my surroundings. I knew it was unlikely that anyone would ever try to start anything, and if they did- at least I knew I could fight back. More concerning was knowing that if something was ever happening to Glenn that I wouldn’t be able to help. I know that not many people consider this the women’s “role” in the relationship, but I have always felt the need to protect those I love. However, as Jackson grew inside my belly, I knew that his life came first. It wasn’t that my arms were weaker, or I was slower (though that definitely happened too), but rather that I couldn’t place him in danger. He was vulnerable, and thus I was completely vulnerable too.

This vulnerability and protectiveness has continued to have a profound effect on how I navigate the world since Jackson was born. While I once was too overprotective, often willing to put myself in harm’s way for others, I’ve become more protective over my child and myself. It’s not surprising that I’m this way for my child, but I’m still surprised by the change towards myself. I guess that makes sense though, right? Now that my well-being directly affects my child, it’s no wonder I consider it a higher priority.

While I often thought of how my body was changing physically during pregnancy, it was how this affected others and my actions that really caused me to pause. This, more than anything, shaped my view of my body during that transitional period.

Talking It Out

I was going to start the Friday off with a Lovely Things post, but my head is just not in it today. Rather than pushing it just to get something out, I figured I’d have a one-sided discussion on communication (the irony is not lost on me, I promise).

I feel like the topic of communication has kept creeping up in my consciousness lately. A discussion on the communication between Lorelei and Luke during the latest season of Gilmore Girls, going to dinner with my mom and sister and talking for hours, discussing a lack of a coworker’s communication with my boss- this and so much more have happened just in a week’s time.

While I briefly alluded to working on my social skills on my 2017 Bucket List, communication is really the driving force in it all. I want to get better at listening and responding to those around me. But this week, like many before, has been so hard- I’m just so tired and all I want is to be home. I am looking at a weekend of exciting activities and being surrounded by people who will inevitably be interesting and interested in discussion, but I’m having a really hard time getting pumped for that right now.

Also, since my cousin has come to live with us, I’ve noticed how quiet of a family we are. Now dinners are much livelier, and we’re talking more than I ever realized was possible for a weeknight meal. I love it, and I want to work on this so it’s something we’ll have after my cousin leaves, but I know from my own childhood how easy it is to fall back into silence.

This isn’t just at the dinner table either, I am always surprised how much people have to say to their children while at the park, talking to them about everything under the sun while pushing their babies on swings. This isn’t to say that I don’t speak to Jackson, I go out of my way to talk things over and explain what is going on around us, but there is definitely a difference in our topics. Most often, I only remember to talk when there is something that needs to be communicated- information that should be shared. I will ask Jackson to “please stay on the sidewalk love, the street is dangerous” but I have a hard time thinking of things to say like, “Do you see that ball? Isn’t it a pretty ball? It’s blue, it’s a blue ball.” Don’t get me wrong, repetition is absolutely how children learn, and I’m not knocking it. I just have a seriously hard time thinking of what to say when I know I should be saying something, anything.

This doesn’t even just apply to children, I’m the same way with the adults around me. I have a select few people that I can talk to for hours. However, if I’m with someone I don’t know as well or if I’m not well acquainted with the subject matter, my brain shuts off until it has information to communicate again. Small talk just doesn’t come easily; but in our society, it’s imperative that I’m able to do it. It lubricates the gears of friendships, business, etc.

Thankfully, I do have my few that I communicate well with, but I want to train my mind to be better at this with the broader population. So, while I would really prefer to pop in my headphones and fold laundry or go on a long walk, I will take this activity laden weekend and use it for the fantastic opportunity it is.

And then I’m going to go to sleep early, because man, I am SO TIRED.

enhance

And then there are times I can’t shut up

Photo by my incredible sister

My 2017 Bucket List

Hello! Happy to see you this new year.

As Adele says, “Hello from the other siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide”

*Ba dum tiss*

Yea, I know I’m about 10 days late to the party. The champagne has long been drank (I know, I drank it), the ball has dropped, and several million people have already failed their New Year resolutions.

That’s where I come in. By pure tardiness alone, I’ve already won over them ALL.

Just joking.

No, I’ve actually been planning my 2017 Bucket List for weeks now. WEEKS you guys. And I keep rewriting it!

Let me back up, lest you get lost.

A long, long time ago (2014), in a galaxy far, far away (my couch), I decided that only one bucket list a lifetime was for losers. Instead, I began a tradition of creating a yearly bucket list of activities I want to experience. This is anything from a breathtaking hike, dancing at a concert, experiencing something (anything!) new, going on a fun trip, etc. While I cross off activities throughout the year, I update my list with a brief note and the date. By the end of the year it kind of functions like a condensed journal. Fun idea, right?

[As a queen of lists, I also have my lifetime bucket list, organized by degree of effort and scale of travel, but we’re going to ignore this one for now because I do not have enough time to delve into that vat of crazy.]

So- 2017! What do we have in store for me?

Truthfully, it’s been a bit hard to really think of items to do this year. Previous years seemed so simple, but I was young and naïve and had a lot more time on my hands. This year, I’ve also really felt the need to include a stronger push for a new subsection, “Be A F*cking Adult”.

That’s why I’ve struggled, I guess. In the past my goals were mainly focused on activities to cross off, fun to be had, and while I certainly want to keep this ridiculously important aspect of my life, I also strongly feel the need to include items I would never have included before. And then it turned into a revolving door of self-reflection and that tedious question, “dear god, is this who I am now? I do not do resolutions!”

Guess what buttercup? I have some d*mned resolutions.

So here we go. I’ve organized it…. because of course I would.

Activities:
_ Go to a concert (Backstreet Boys) – March
_ MS Walk with Glenn and Jack- April
_ Alzheimer’s Walk with Jeni- October
_ Go on a crazy beautiful hike with Glenn
_ Go on a vacation with Glenn, just the two of us
_ Buy dinner for someone in real need
_ Go to a drive in movie with Glenn
_ Work on a headstand
_ Practice calligraphy
_ Go to a concert with Glenn
_ Seriously, join a damn book club (if you can’t tell, this one has been a previously unfulfilled goal on many other years)
_ Complete the yoga challenge: 10 days of yoga CLASSES (none of this at home bs)
_ Become a constant donor to a charity
_ Enjoy wine and cheese at an outdoor movie with Tootsie
_ Take mom indoor skydiving
_ Go to an indoor trampoline gym

Long-term Goals:
_ Do an outdoor activity with Jackson at least once a weekend
_ Do an outdoor activity with myself at least once a weekend
_ Distance self from constantly checking Facebook (or other media) on my phone. Put it away from the time I get home until after Jackson is in bed
_ Spend more one on one time with Glenn
_ Be more generous. Don’t expect anything in return
_ Try to be more patient with everyone
_ Spend more time with Jackson and less time doing unimportant things

Be A F*cking Adult:
_ Create a living will with Glenn
_ Stop cursing (we really don’t need Jackson saying *sshole)
_ Work on your social skills at work (…and everywhere else)
_ Build up this blog into a legitimate working machine. Not for profit, per se, but as something I can be proud of.
_ Start my 401k (seriously though)
_ Save $1500 in personal savings

As the year goes on I will inevitably add to this list. Usually it’s when I do something cool and add it on so I can check it off again. What can I say, I like being efficient. Nevertheless, at the end of the year I will repost this list with my notes on what I did, what I didn’t do, and how the year went in general. I do really hope to make solid progress on not only the fun activities, but some of the more serious matters as well.

What’s on your list, fellow resolutioners? Do you usually strive to become better in some way, or are you more like me and just look forward to all the fun you’ll have this year? Do you have a bucket list or five?

Christmas Traditions: Part II

Happy Wednesday!

The rain is coming down swiftly outside, and I’m inside with my heater going.

Is it just me or is this week going unbearably slow? I think I say this every week, but this one in particular is like molassess. I feel like a child again, I just can’t wait until it’s finally Christmas.

Now that it’s only a short FOUR days away (FOUR! Yay!), I figured I’d finish off the rest of our Christmas Traditions list.

chrismtas

Christmas Eve- Growing up, my father’s family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. Starting with his own parents, who often worked late into the Christmas Eve night, the family would wait until my grandparents came home and unwrap their presents before going to bed. Years later and many states away, my father would bring my sister and me to celebrate Christmas Eve with my uncle and his family. My Mexican aunt would make the most amazing chicken tacos for dinner, my uncle the most amazing chocolate fudge, and everyone would open at least one present.

We still get together every Christmas Eve, though times they are a changing. I’m not sure what the future of Christmas Eve will look like in terms of company, but I am quite sure that we will always celebrate it with Opa. Now that Jackson is here, we will also be giving him a present (or two) to unwrap before going to bed. This will most likely be his pajamas for the following Christmas morning (more on that later), but may also include a little toy that he can play with (because, let’s be honest, what kid gets excited about clothes?)

Breakfast Cinnamon Rolls- Every Christmas morning, without fail, my father would get up from bed and immediately start a pot of coffee and put together a coffee cake for breakfast. My sister and I would always spend this time staring at our stockings, like racers on the start line, waiting until the moment he was finished so we could begin The Unwrapping. The coffee cake was always done about halfway through opening presents, and everyone would get a piece to nibble on while we spent the morning together.

I loved always knowing that we’d have something warm and sweet on Christmas morning, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the cake. After we got married and had Christmas morning to ourselves in our new house, Glenn and I agreed that cinnamon rolls were vastly superior. While I’ve debated doing a semi healthier approach (like waffles with strawberries), cinnamon rolls require much less effort- which can, in turn, be used for opening presents.

Stockings- A few years back I actually debated nixing stockings completely, as it was just Glenn and I and it seemed a bit too much on top of our presents to one another. However, we’ve slowly come to using the stockings as our gifts for one another. And of course, the introduction of kids means that the tradition is going to stay. This year, I am only including a side toy I picked up for Jackson in his stocking, but as the years go on I will have to put more effort in. However, Glenn and I have really come into our own on the stocking front, and our current roommate (my cousin) will also be benefiting this year. Among the various items you’ll find on any stocking-stuffer list, my favorites for adults always include a chocolate orange, liquor, and some lottery tickets. You know, all the vices.

Matching Pajamas- I mentioned Christmas Eve pajamas earlier, but this really translates to my love of the babies wearing matching pjs for Christmas morning. My sister in law, bless her amazing self, has gotten on the matching pj train with me. Last years it was candy cane onsies, which melted my heart into a puddle. This years are slightly different, sets instead of onsies, but are still ridiculously adorable. I look forward to doing this to the little ones until they are old enough to realize they can refuse.

This, of course, leads to the final tradition-

The Babies Opening Gifts Together On Christmas Morning- I hadn’t realized how important this would be for me until last Christmas, when Jackson and his cousin B were still infants. Perhaps it’s because I grew up opening Christmas presents with my own cousins every year on Christmas Eve, or perhaps it’s because neither has any siblings right now (it’s definitely because we are all very close), but I can’t imagine a Christmas morning that doesn’t have these two together. This is also the time that Jack’s aunt visits from Seattle, so it’s extra special to get that time with the two of them together. Of course, I imagine this may change as the families grow and get older, but nothing can beat watching my favorite two kids together on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to see how much they love it this year, since they are in their prime unwrapping phase and old enough to enjoy all the Christmas goodies. I, myself, will be enjoying extra squishes and kisses that I can steal from them.

And that’s that. There are more, smaller, traditions that I’m sure I’m overlooking, but these are the big ones that I hope Jackson remembers as he grows up. Traditions have always made the holiday seasons that much more special in my mind, as I’m sure it does to everyone to some degree. It’s something you know you can rely on, an act that provides a sense of continuity and comfort over the years. Some may fade with time, but the precious few we hold on to can transport us back in an instant.

As A Mom- Singing

At least once a day, I’ll note how I’ve changed since becoming a mother. It could be anything as simple as letting a friend know that any night out must begin before 7pm, regardless of the activity. Or it can be as big as watching my son and husband roughhouse and feeling more love than I ever knew. Some are big, most are small. But I have found that one interesting result of having Jackson is how I sing.

I’ve never been much of a singer. I grew up surrounded by people with beautiful voices- a cousin who practiced opera, my first boyfriend who was in choir his entire life (to this day), many, many friends, and so forth. And I tried, on several occasions, to follow in these footsteps.

Let me get to the point and say that it never turned out well. I will never forget the look on my sweet first boyfriend’s face as he tried to think of a kind way to tell me the bad news.

So I resigned to singing alone in my car with the windows up and the radio blaring. When I pulled up to a stop light, I would stop so none of the other passengers would be able to see (or worse, hear) me.

As my husband, Glenn has absolutely heard me sing the most- but I have to admit I still feel a ping of embarrassment when I try to hit a note that I have no business trying to hit. He’s a sweetheart though and never mentions it.

But something changed when I became pregnant. All of a sudden, it became absolutely imperative that I find a song for my baby that they would have for the rest of their lives. More than a lullaby, I wanted something that could randomly show up and remind them just how much I love them and how much they mean to their father and I.

We didn’t know at the time whether Jackson would be a boy or a girl, but I knew it was especially important to find the right song for a son. It seems that nowadays, songs about men are generally quite demeaning- either emphasizing the guy being an idiot, or expressing how horrible he is to women. That wouldn’t do for my sweet baby, if he were a boy I wanted him to know just how loved and special he was.

I decided on the Carpenters, “Close to you.”

An odd choice, I imagine, for anyone that didn’t grow up with my mom. But it echoed the sentiment I wanted my son to feel.

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

Why do stars fall down from the sky
Every time you walk by?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

On the day that you were born the angels got together
And decided to create a dream come true
So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair
Of golden starlight in your eyes of blue

Over my pregnancy, I would practice this song over and over and over. Not only did I hope my little one would hear it and remember it once he was born, but I honestly also hoped to get better at singing it.

I don’t remember the first time I sang it to him after he was born. It seems odd that I don’t, since it had become so important in my mind. It was likely once we got home, though it’s possible I had sung it to him once we got out of the more intensive sections of NICU, where there was a little more privacy. Nevertheless, it’s the song that I still sing almost nightly.

In the year and a half that I’ve been singing to Jack, I can honestly say several things. One, I’ve gotten significantly better at singing it (though I’m no Karen, let me tell you). Two, while babies love listening to you sing in their first year of life, later on it means they’re going to bed and they are no longer as happy to hear it. And third, I know without a doubt that someday he will love hearing it again.

When I reflect back now, I remember how much I would love hearing my mom sing when we were younger. I always thought she sounded beautiful and always wanted to hear her sing more. Never once did I judge her voice, it made me feel safe and loved. And I hope that’s what Jackson feels when he hears me singing.

I will never join a choir, I will never sing loudly in a room full of people (I’m not sure when this would ever happen, but I wouldn’t do it nonetheless), and I still sing in my car with the windows up and the radio blasting.

But I do feel much more comfortable with my voice. It’s not perfect, but it brings my baby comfort (when he’s not screaming that he doesn’t want to go to bed), and that’s more than enough for me.

I’ve already decided what the next baby’s song will be. A little preemptive, but once you know, you know.

Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
If I can’t help falling in love with you

Like a river flows so surely to the sea
Oh my darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
So take my hand, and take my whole life too
‘Cause I can’t help falling in love with you

Like a river flows so surely to the sea
Oh my darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
So won’t you please just take my hand, and take my whole life too
‘Cause I can’t help falling in love, in love with you
‘Cause I can’t help falling in love, falling in love,
I keep falling in love with you

Ingrid Michaelson, “Can’t Help Falling In Love”

All the Lovely Things: Rainy Friday

It’s finally Friday, hallelujah! Not sure about the rest of you, but this week DRAGGED on for me.

This weekend should be full of fun things in preparation for Christmas, lots of wrapping presents and baking cookies. Glenn also went above and beyond in planning our Friday night date, and got tickets to our first hockey game! I’m so excited to finally experience one, we’ve been meaning to go for years now.

There is still a whole day before we reach Friday afternoon, however, so here are some things that I’ll be focusing on to pass the time.

San Diego is experiencing one of the three rainstorms we get a year. While temperatures are remaining in the 60’s (sorry rest of the US, with your snow storms), we are still wimps and want to stay locked in our warm, cozy houses while the fireplace roars. We don’t have a fireplace, but still feel super cozy once we play this video on our tv and crank up the Christmas music. T-8 days people!

fireplace

Burning Fireplace

I just found out that Flowerbomb came out with a limited-edition holiday packaging, just mere days before Christmas and well after I gave everyone my wish lists. Ugh, so sad. Look at gorgeously sparkly it is.

perfume

Victor and Rolf- Flowerbomb 

Found this recipe for White House Eggnog through an article from one of my favorite bloggers. I’m not usually a huge fan of eggnog, but there’s something about this recipe that just calls to me (might have something to do with the 24 ounces of liquor in it though).

white-house-eggnog

White House Eggnog 

I have never seen a more accurate shirt. There will be a lot of sustaining tonight.

motherhood-shirt

Motherhood Shirt 

Christmas Traditions: Part I

I love this time of year. More than presents and cold weather (although hell yes), I love the emphasis on traditions and family. Since I got married, and much more since Jack was born, I’ve been thinking of what traditions I want to continue as our family moves forward.

There are, of course, the traditions you do on Christmas day and the ones that you do prior in anticipation of the holiday. The former is too far ahead for me to be thinking of at the moment, but the latter is perfect for the weeks leading up to the big day.

Lifetime movies– This is something I do with my mom and sister (the husband isn’t as keen on this genre, surprisingly). What better way to get in the mood for Christmas than cheesy festive movies that always end happily? Add in some seasonal food and a roaring fire, and you’ve got yourself an instant Christmas season.

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Dancing to Christmas music– Be still my heart. My little boy has developed a strong love for swaying to Christmas ballads in his mama’s arms. Only better is when he tries to hold my hand while doing so.

Picking out a tree– When I was younger my father refused to get a real Christmas tree, arguing that my asthma would be terrible with the tree inside the house. Whether it was actually because of that or whether he just didn’t want to dole out money every year is still something I need to discuss with my therapist, but thankfully my asthma has gotten better and Glenn also enjoys the fresh smell of pine in our home. Going out to pick out our tree as a family has definitely become an integral part of preparing for the season.

Traumatizing my child– We’ve added visiting Santa to the lineup since Jackson’s arrival in 2015. He wasn’t too thrilled to meet the big man this year, but it made for a hilarious timeless photo.

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Yearly Christmas ornaments: Growing up, we always got an ornament that depicted something special that happened to us throughout the year. While I love them, I much prefer the metal ornaments with pictures for Jackson. So far I have one of his newborn picture and the two subsequent fall photos we’ve taken at 4 months and 1 year. This way I’ll have a visual representation of him throughout the years.

Christmas cards: Ever the mail junkie, I am mentally compelled to send these pretty pieces of Christmas joy. It’s fantastic enough getting regular letters, Christmas cards are 100x better.

 

I’m still thinking of other ways to incorporate the season into daily life during this month. It’s especially hard with work, but it’s such a fantastic time of year that I can’t possibly think of letting it pass so quickly.

Finding Time

Before I had kids, I thought I was busy. I know that sounds pompous and haughty, but it’s not meant to be. I feel like every stage in life gets more adultier. More boring yet necessary stuff requires your time and thought, and you get to do less fun stuff. When I got married, I noticed a direct upswing in the amount of work I had to do every night, and when I had Jackson, it tripled.

Every day for over a year, I would get up at 5 am, get myself and Jack ready, drive an hour and a half to drop him off and make it to work, work for 8 hours, pick him up, hit about an hour and a half to two hours of traffic, cook, and do some variation of dishes, bath time, bed time, and prepping for the next day. This is if I didn’t have any errands to run during the day and doesn’t count the often extra little chores like sweeping/mopping, tidying, etc. that are required throughout the week (my son is a modern day Taz and my home is always one step away from an utter wreck.) Luckily my husband and I have established a good tag team effort, and as of a few months ago, my father has started coming to our home to babysit, thus taking out anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half of commute time a day. Hallelujah.

That being said, there’s really not a lot of free time in my day. There is always after Jack goes to bed, but this time is pretty limited since I should prioritize my sleep as I wake up early. To be completely truthful, this is usually the first thing to go so I can fit more in my day, but I’ve been attempting to be better at it lately.

A few months ago, around the time I began this blog, I realized how much I missed doing things that were “me”. I have since made it a point to try and find ways to carve out time within my day that I can use for things that are important to my wellbeing. One of my work friends wakes up at 4am to complete a workout before her day. She’s crazy impressive. I am not like this. Instead, my moments are sporadic, here and there throughout the day. I’ve noticed that as long as I realize that these things don’t have to be more than short bursts, I’m more willing to put the effort into doing them. And while they do require that effort, they have proven to be so much more beneficial than staring blankly at Facebook for 20 minutes (which I also do daily, no judgement).

Listen to podcasts

As stated earlier, I spend a lot of time commuting. A LOT. And I hate driving. So much. It’s ridiculously boring and if I could, I would definitely buy one of those cars that would drive me everywhere without me having to pay attention. Or I would get a chauffeur.

Not being made of money, I was lucky enough to stumble on the podcasts app on my phone. I know, everyone knows about this- it’s not new. I’m technology inept, so trust me- this was a HUGE deal. Since discovering the wide world of podcasts, my commute to work and back every day has expanded to a time that I really enjoy. I listen to my weird and quirky side with science fiction podcasts, like Lore, Limetown, and The Bright Sessions. I learn things I’d never even think to ask with podcasts like Stuff You Missed in History Class, TED Radio Hour, and This American Life. Hell, I even listen to a podcast specifically made for Gilmore Girls fans (yes, this is a thing. Gilmore Guys. You’re welcome).

There are so many wonderful shows that I can tap into whenever I want. And while not the same quality as a Pulitzer Prize winning novel or some book on ancient Athens currency, it’s sometimes semi educational and almost always interesting in a way that the Kardashians will never be.

Walking/Stairs on Break

This one was definitely not my original idea. You know the friend that wakes up at 4am to work out? Yea, it was hers. She’s been doing it for a long while, and one day as I sat all fat and lazy I asked if I could join her. Thankfully, she said yes and this has absolutely been one of the steps that led me to finally losing baby weight and getting back to a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t a full workout, just a mere 15 minutes. I figured I can do anything for 15 minutes. I can especially do anything that doesn’t require a change of clothes or driving somewhere.

This mindset has since extended into my night when I started to work on my core strength by slowly working up the time I could plank. When I began, I literally dedicated less than a minute to it. Now it’s up to two and a half minutes, but dude- it’s two and a half freaking minutes. And I don’t even do it every night. For something that takes so little time though, it has had a surprising affect. I feel stronger and my arms have toned a bit, to the point where a friend even noticed after not seeing me for a few weeks. Can’t get better than that.

Dancing in the Living Room

Glenn actually started this one. Sorry, this isn’t a “How I fixed my life in 10 steps” but more like, “How I stumbled upon doing these things and oh, that’s cool- I’ll keep doing it.” So dancing. You know what’s better than dancing alone like a fool to loud, heart pumping music? Doing it with a super handsome guy and an adorable toddler who laughs and interpretive dances with you.

Ditching My Husband with the Toddler to Take a Long Shower

Poor Glenn knows this well. When I feel like I need some alone time, he’s kind enough to distract the little dude long enough for me to bolt to our bathroom, shut the door, and ignore the screams of my darling son calling for me on the other side. Pretty smelling scrubs and lotions help the sound barrier. Joking aside, bless this man because I know I take extra-long showers when it’s been one of those days.

Once upon a time, when Jackson was still a glimmer in our eyes and I had my spa style bathtub, I would spend an hour or two lounging in the hot water, candles and all. With an upgrade in children, an upgrade in home, and no more tub- this looks a bit different. But I’m the indulgent type, and while the candles and reading while submerged are no more, I certainly turn up the music and use all the smell goods I can get my hands on.

Writing Here

Since starting this space to just write and have a place solely reserved for the little things that make me happy, I really feel like I’ve been rediscovering (and just discovering) what interests me. Not all of it is important, most of it is just fleeting moments, but it gives me a space to just be. Like the zen you find at the top of a mountain while watching the sun set, just a hell of a lot more superficial. That’s cool though, I already have a lot of incredibly deep and intense other aspects of my life. Like podcasts and body scrub, my quiet time typing and looking at pretty things can just be what it is. And if, along the way, I find a little peace in my day, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

I’m still a far cry away from having the typical set of hobbies that I once used to encompass, but I’m getting there.

PS: In the time it took me to type this up, I helped Glenn fold a load of laundry and put Jackson back to bed after he woke up. Even my breaks require breaks.

PSS: Now it’s 11:30. Maybe I’ll sleep more tomorrow night.