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Friday, December 9, 2016

Adjusting Expectations: Holidays as a Resident's Wife.

When Chris was in med-school and people who were on the other side of residency found out he wanted to be a surgeon, they would tell me I needed to lower my expectations about life. "Expect nothing, and if you get something, then it's a nice surprise." I absolutely hated this. I'm sorry, but to tell someone to expect nothing from their marriage is just bad advice. 

That's not to say the advice wasn't coming from a place of experience and wisdom, though. Because it's true, residency is unpredictable and extremely hard on relationships. But I prefer the advice of adjusting your expectations. 

Being the Christmas freak that I am, I have a deep love affair with celebrating this season. I have a lot of ideas of how that should look like. And sometimes, scheduling and free time and reality just don't line up with my ideas. So I have to adjust my expectations.

I've been thinking a lot about this the past few weeks, and I know I'm not the only one who's having to adjust her expectations this holiday season. Maybe you're married to (or are!) a resident or a police officer or a retail worker who just doesn't have as much time as you'd like to this year, and you need to adjust your expectations because of time restrictions, too. Or maybe you lost your job or didn't get a bonus you were counting on or just had a lot of unexpected expenses this year, and you're adjusting your expectations because you can't fund the Christmas you had in mind. Maybe you won't get to travel this year or see your loved ones or maybe you work on Christmas. Whatever the reason may be, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me adjust, not lower, my expectations so that I enjoy this season to the fullest. 

Ask yourself: Will this matter next year? This is something that I hope to take well beyond this season because it has been so helpful to me. I blogged last week about what a difference a year makes, and how with 365 days between me and a stressful season, I remember all the good parts.

Some things feel so awful in the moment, but 365 days (or 30 or 14 or even 3) later, they won't matter. The night we were going to decorate for Christmas, Chris didn't get home until almost midnight. I had been so excited all week, and it was such a bummer to realize that wasn't going to happen. But a year from now, when I think about Christmas, am I going to feel heartbroken that we didn't get the tree set up on that certain day? Of course not. That would be insane. Instead, I'm going to remember Jack's first Christmas and how much fun he had and all the fun things we did get to do. So why not focus on that now? 

Remember that life is short and life is good. Plain and simple. Of course life is hard sometimes, but it is also good, and way too short to spend wallowing over the hard parts. We spend entirely too much time talking up the bad parts and not nearly enough time remembering all the good parts of our day-to-day lives. Focus on the good. It's simple and difficult and just what you need this holiday season.

Narrow down what's most important to you. I made a list of things I consider essential when celebrating this season. It's short and simple and I am 95% sure we'll complete everything on it. Take a little bit of time to plan out the must-do's. Not the always-done's or the should-do's, but the absolutely most important must-do's.

Make every day a little festive. Wanna know what I wanted to do last night? Go look at Christmas lights. Wanna know what I ended up doing? Cleaning. But I did so while listening to my favorite Christmas music and burning my Christmas tree candle. Then I watched Frosty the Snowman with Jack and drank coffee in front of the tree. And at the end of the day, it felt festive. 

Cut yourself some slack. It's okay to get upset when things don't work out. It's okay to feel sad that Christmas doesn't look like you wanted it to. But only for a minute. Don't get mad at yourself for feeling down, but don't let yourself stay feeling that way, either. Be sad and eat some chocolate or watch a cheesy movie, and then move on. Because it's Christmas, and there's no time to waste feeling sad.
Just because the holiday season looks different than you expected does not mean it's not good. This could be the best Christmas you've ever had, but if you're too busy being sad that it doesn't look like you expected, you'll miss it completely. 

So that's my advice. Not from someone with loads of wisdom learned from experience, but from someone who's right there in the trenches with you. This life? It's really hard sometimes. But I don't think about it that way because it's my life, and it's the only one I have, and I love it. I love spending it with Chris and Jack. 

Merry Christmas, friends. Whatever season of life you're in, I encourage you to adjust your expectations just enough so you're able to fully enjoy every day of this magical season.

Have you had to adjust your expectations this year?
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Very Merry Grinchmas.

Christmas time in Florida is pretty amazing. It's the second week of December and we're walking around in tank tops and flip flops over here. While some cool weather would be nice for Christmas, I don't mind the sunshine one bit. 

We may not have snowy landscapes or cold weather when it comes to our Decembers, but we do have one thing: Grinchmas. 

It's one of my favorite holiday traditions and I was so excited to take Jack this year. And although his face may not look like it, I promise he was excited too. It's gotta be confusing to fall asleep in the car and then wake up to snow everywhere. 

Jack's experience meeting the Grinch: 

1. Laugh a little bit at the green fuzzy guy, because he looks funny and he tried to sit in your stroller. 

2. Realize that you are, in fact, standing next to the Grinch, and realize maybe you should feel a little panicky about this situation.

3. Promptly burst into tears. 

4. Hold on for dear life in case the Grinch tries to snatch you away. 

He was much happier after we got him away from the Grinch. It was hilarious and I'm so glad we waited in line like tourists to see his expressions. 

Universal puts on their very own Macy's Day Parade and it's so adorable. Jack loved it so much. I'll never forget the look of awe on his little face while he watched all the floats and saw all the characters dancing around to Christmas music. 

His first Santa sighting!

I love Christmas. I love Florida life. If you're ever in the sunshine state in December, you absolutely must go to Universal and experience Grinchmas for yourself. 

Did you do any fun holiday things this weekend?

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Monday, December 5, 2016

December Traditions: Old & New.

December is my favorite month of the whole year for so many reasons, but traditions are at the top of that list. It's a month just so full of tradition...old traditions that you probably have no idea who you inherited from, new traditions you found on Pinterest that you want to try out, Instagram and facebook filling up with pictures of other people enjoying their own traditions. It all feels so rich and festive.

My three favorites:

Celebrating Christmas Eve. If you know me at all, you know that I freaking love Christmas Eve. Growing up, my family had our own Christmas Eve traditions that are my favorite. When we got married, Chris and I decided we'd make our tradition Chinese take-out and a movie. I'm not sure what exactly we'll do this year, but now that we have Jack, it's going to be that much more magical. PS: Tell me any fun Christmas traditions to do with an almost-one-year-old. 

Turning Christmas shopping into a date. Chris and I have been doing this ever since we were dating. It's a weird thing to call a tradition, but I love it. We get Christmas coffees and go to the nearest festive mall, where we split up and finish up our shopping for each other. It's so much fun being sneaky and trying not to run into each other. Then, since we usually do this just a few days before Christmas, we meet up and pick out any gifts for anyone else we still need to get before we go to dinner. The stores are so festive this time of year, it's easy to make running errands feel like Christmas fun.

Grinchmas. I know I've said this before, but if you're in or around FL, you neeeeed to go to Universal in December. They go all out for Christmas Grinchmas and everything is so fun and festive. The parks are decked out with Christmas decorations, their shows are Christmas-themed, everything is just perfect. And at the end of the day, they do their own Macy's Day parade (with some of the actual floats from the parade!) and it is just the best. Put this one on your bucket list. 

Three new traditions I want to do this December:

Go see Santa. I'm so excited to take Jack to see Santa. He met the Grinch yesterday and it didn't go so well, so stay tuned for funny pictures. 

Go to a Christmas lights festival. We drive around neighborhoods and look at lights every year, but apparently Gainesville takes their lights seriously. There are several light festivals around that you can walk around or drive through and I'm so excited to see them!

Bake Christmas cookies. I bake almost every day in the fall, but weirdly enough, not so much in December. We always make cookies on Christmas Eve, but they're just store-bought cookies. This year, Chris actually has some time off for Christmas, so I want to bake a few fun things. 

What are your favorite December traditions?

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Spending December: A To-Do List For Adventuring Through The Most Wonderful Month of Them All.

1. First things first: DECORATE.

2. DIY a countdown calendar. There are so many cute ones, you could totally copy one and make your own!

3. Go visit a Christmas tree farm. Even if you're not actually cutting down a Christmas tree, they're still fun to walk around (and smell, obviously).

4. Watch your favorite Christmas movies. ELF.

5. Watch a Christmas movie you've never seen before. If you didn't see Love the Coopers last year, I recommend that one just for the ending. 

6. Make Christmas cookies. For Santa, but of course you will test them out for him first. 

7. Kiss someone under the mistletoe. 

8. Create your favorite Christmas music stations. 

9. Experiment with hot chocolate recipes. There are so many! White hot chocolate, cherry hot chocolate, coffee hot chocolate, boozy hot chocolate. Get to sipping! 

10. Look up what your town offers in the way of Christmas celebrations. Lots of towns offer free stuff this time of they year.

11. Leave a secret gift on someone's porch. 

12. Have a fire and drink mulled wine and make smores and listen to Christmas music. If that doesn't sound like the coziest night I've ever heard of, I don't know what does. 

13. Make a date out of Christmas shopping. 

14. Go see Santa. Take your own kid, borrow a kid, take your dog...

15. If you are anywhere near Florida...Go to Universal's Grinchmas. It is 100% worth it. 

16. Send Christmas cards. 

17. Go to (or host!) a Christmas party. Bonus points if you play Dirty Santa. 

18. Buy your pet a Christmas sweater. It's a necessity. 

19. Decorate gingerbread houses. 

20. Go on a Christmas date. 

21. Go look at Christmas lights.

22. Buy yourself new pj's for Christmas Eve. 

23. Go last minute shopping. Don't take yourself too seriously and you'll have the best time ever. This is the best people watching of the entire year. 

24. Celebrate Christmas Eve. My favorite day! 

25. MERRY CHRISTMAS. Stay present today. 

26. Be lazy. Don't lie to yourself and say you're going to be productive today. You're not. 

27. Make a smoothie. Or a salad. New years resolutions are coming up and if you're anything like me you lived off of chocolate and candy canes all month long. 

28. Exchange any gifts you need to. If you don't do this soon, it just won't happen. 

29. Go back and look at your goals/bucket list/hopes for 2016. Pick an easy one you didn't do...and do it!

30. Reflect on 2016. 

31. Celebrate New Year's Eve!

How will you be spending your December?
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Goodbye November, Hello December.

GUYS. Tomorrow is December! The most magical month of them all. Our tree is up, the Christmas music is playing non-stop, and I've got the most delicious Christmas candles burning. I am ready to welcome December with open arms!

Goodbye, November.

Goodbye to fall.  Ah, the only bad thing about December coming is the end of fall. Goodbye to my first fall with Jack, getting to take him trick-or-treating and to pumpkin patches. 

Goodbye to Thanksgiving. Thanks for teaching me you can be different from tradition and still be wonderful. And also that Jack really really likes turkey. 

Goodbye to Election year. Good. freaking. riddance. 

Goodbye to the worst month of residency yet. I know we will meet again, but I will not miss you one single bit. 

Goodbye to a wonderful month of pumpkin spice lattes and perfectly chilly weather. A month that stretched and exhausted me but a month that filled me to the brim with thankfulness.

Hello, December. 

Hello to my favorite, most magical month of the whole year.

HELLO CHRISTMAS.  Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas movies. 

Hello to Jack's first Christmas. Pure magic. Hello to my first time getting to experience the most wonderful time of the year through the eyes of a child and also having someone to blame my Christmas craziness on. It's for the baby!

Hello to getting to spend my favorite month with my favorite baby and my favorite guy. A month full of tradition and presents and cheer. The best month of them all. 

What are you saying hello and goodbye to this month?

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Monday, November 28, 2016

What a Year.

Time-hop is absolutely slaying me on a daily basis lately. 

A year ago, we were flying all over the country for interviews. We had zero idea about where we would end up. I was so pregnant. 

I remember being in Michigan for an interview, drinking hot chocolate and walking around shops, and this one shop was playing "There's No Place Like Home for The Holidays" and it made me cry  because I didn't know where home would be next year. 

When we got home, we decorated our tiny apartment for Christmas, talking about how next year, we'd have a baby with us and we'd be in a new home in a new city. We watched a Christmas movie and I threw up at least four times (Pregnancy did not agree with me, y'all). I remember going to sleep so happy that it was Christmas, but also very anxious because interviews were coming to an end and Jack's due date was coming up and I had never been so clueless as to what life was about to look like, and I hated that. I was worried we wouldn't have a home we loved as much as I loved our little apartment in the sky. I was worried we wouldn't have any friends. I was worried about what life would look like with a baby. I was worried I'd hate our new city. 

Saturday night we went to watch a football game on a big screen outside. It was cold enough to need blankets and there were Christmas decorations and it was so much fun. We were there with the friends we've made here, good friends. Friends who I can hand my baby to and not worry about it. It was a simple and laid back and casual way to spend a Saturday night. But this morning, it's making me cry. 

Because a year ago, I was so worried I'd never have a night like that. 

If you're going through a hard time or an unsure time, it's so important to stop and remember it won't last forever. And if you're at a place in life where things are working out and you're happy, it's so important to remember that you probably recently went through one of those times where you were sure nothing was going to work out. It's important to stop and breath and smile and be thankful and just let yourself feel happy. 

Life is not steady. It ebbs and flows and tosses you down and shoots you back up again. No one is on the up and up all the time, but no one stays down forever, either. 

Every day for the past few weeks I look at TimeHop and see where we were and remember the little adventures we had, just the two of us. Yes, I remember being an absolute ball of anxiety, but now those days are just sweet memories. 

If you're having one of those days or months or years where everything is just so hard and you don't know how things are going to work out and it's hard for you to trust that the best is yet to is, my friend. On the other side of an incredibly difficult and completely uncertain year, everything has worked out exactly as it was supposed to. 

Tonight, we're going to decorate for Christmas. We're going to pull out the tree and the lights and play the music and soak in every single second of our first Christmas with Jack, our first Christmas in our new house. 

I'm going to watch a Christmas movie and enjoy not being sick. I'm going to snuggle my baby and acknowledge that he was worth every single sick day. And I'm going to listen to "There's No Place Like Home for The Holidays" and be so, so thankful for the past year that brought me to this home, this season, this family. 

What a difference a year makes, yeah? 
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Friday, November 25, 2016

May Your Day be Merry & Bright & Full of Gilmores (Giveaway)

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and spent surrounded by people you love (I know ours was!) Today may be full of Thanksgiving leftovers, but it's time to move on and celebrate two very special things: Christmas & Gilmore Girls. 

To celebrate those four magical new episodes after all these years of missing the Gilmores, I've joined in with the ladies from Simply Love,  Fawn + Linen, Primarily Inspired, Hill CollectionLittle Blue Sailboat, and A Short Blonde to bring you the cutest little giveaway. 

So curl up with your leftovers (And coffee, duh), your best blanket, and binge-watch away. And while you're at it, enter to win all these sweet little treats that any honorary Gilmore is sure to love. 

Giveaway winner will win: 
+ Twine and Cotton Market 'Stars Hollow' Candle 
+ Snowman and Star Ornament
+ $20 Shop Credit to LulaRoe | Janelle Monaco 
+ Rose Gold Clutch
+ Mini Brush Trees
+ Milkglass Coffee Creamer + Sugar Set 
+ Coffee Mug
+ 2 Art Prints (this one and this one)
+ Darling Magazine 
+ Rose Gold Necklace 
+ Darling Nightingale Knitted Donut 
+ Poptarts (in the true spirit of Gilmore Girls)
+ Journal 

Merry Christmas, beautiful friends! It's officially the most wonderful time of the year. xo

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