The girl who loved to write about life.

Friday, February 5, 2016

30 Things to Say Yes to For The Best Year of Your Life.

1. Waking up 15 minutes earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee. 

2. Actually listening to the answer when you ask, "How are you?" 

3. Saying what you want. In the mood for mexican food? Say so, instead of saying, "Oh, whatever is good with me."

4. Chasing your small dreams, even if you think they're silly. 

5. Getting rid of anything you don't love. 

6. Drinking more water. 

7. Unwinding at the end of a busy day. Too often we go from a busy day at work -> running errands -> knocking things off our to-do list at home -> responding to emails in bed -> passing out for a few hours before repeating the whole thing. Take a little break and unwind, instead. Take a walk, have a glass of wine, take a bubble bath. 

8. Being present. 

9. Wearing whatever the heck you want. Is it in style? Who cares! Are you standing out? Who cares! Not you, because you're too busy looking fantastic. 

10. A second cup of coffee. And sometimes a third.

11. Saying "I love you" more often. 

12. Cleaning out your car every once in a while.

13. Bringing up what you're upset about as soon as it upsets you instead of letting it fester for weeks. 

14. Choosing to love your life how it is, right now, right where you are. 

15. Making kindness your first reaction. 

16. Staying up late sometimes, just to talk about life. 

17. Going to bed early sometimes to catch up on sleep. 

18. Finding a lipstick you think you look great in and wearing it all the time.

19. Getting dressed up for work. Or a trip to the grocery store. Or wherever it is you're heading on any given Tuesday.

20. Anything that makes you feel like you've found the reason why you're alive.

21. Trying new things. 

22. Getting outside more. 

23. Being content with what you have.

24. Being unapologetic about how you choose to spend your time. 

25. Shopping your own closet.

26. Changing the things you don't like about your life. 

27. Trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

28. Leaving your phone behind every now and then. 

29. Being thankful every single day. 

30. Being unafraid to just be who you are.

What have you said yes to that has made your life better?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Do You Measure What's Really Important?

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon on the rooftop, hanging out with Jack. We pulled some seats close to each other, wrapped Jack up in a blanket, and just soaked up the warmer weather. And it felt so, so important.

We weren't doing anything that any to-do list would have classified as important. We weren't discussing our rank list for match (which is due in like two weeks, so expect the panic attack any day now), we weren't cleaning or studying or working or replying to emails or any of that other grownup stuff...we were just hanging out. We were enjoying warm sunshine and sipping cold drinks and looking up funny things on the internet and hanging out with our new babe and just being a family.

And it was important. I needed to just sit there and do nothing. To enjoy the fresh air and relax with the love of my life. To take a few deep breaths and snuggle my little man in the sunshine.

Jen Hatmaker posted this on her instagram a few weeks ago, and it's been bouncing around in my head ever since:

"As you move into 2016 hoping for a saner schedule that prioritizes your actual life and keeps you focused on the things that matter the most, let me share the decision-making filter my agent Curtis always gives me: "If it's not a HELL YES, then it's a no." So that medium yes, that I-feel-like-should yes, that guilty yes, that coerced yes, that I-actually-hate-this-thing yes, that I-guess-so yes, that who-else-will-do-it yes, that careless yes, that default yes, that resentful yes, that I-probably-shouldn't-but-struggle-with-boundaries yes? 

NO. Nope. 

No thank you. I am unable to commit to that this year. Thank you so much for asking, but any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and sanity. I am so flattered you asked and count on my prayers, but I am at my maximum bandwidth right now. I appreciate your work so much, but I've already committed my time and energy this year. I've loved being a part of this, but I am no longer able to continue. We are aggressively focused on x, y, and z this year, so as a family we've agreed on no new commitments. This is what I can give but won't be able to do more right now. 

Now, the things that make your heart race, your blood pump, the fire in your belly burn, your gifts to leap to life, and keep your family and home healthy and strong...the hell yeses? ALL IN, BABY."

Would it have made sense to anyone else if I had told them yesterday that sitting on a rooftop was the most important thing I did all day? Probably not. But that doesn't matter. 

Maybe it's becoming a mom, or maybe I'm just growing up and caring less what people think, but I've been thinking a lot about just how much we do because we feel like we should, like it's supposed to be important, and how much we miss out on because of it. 

So here's to saying no more often. To saying no to a mundane life that you just don't want, or to saying no to the life that has become too fast-paced for you. Here's to saying no to spending time with people just because you feel like you should. Here's to saying no to all the responsibilities you've taken on that aren't yours at all, you've just made yourself feel like they are. 

And here's to saying yes more. To saying yes to spending your time with your favorite people. To ordering pizza for dinner when you're too tired to cook. To going on spontaneous adventures and shutting the laptop off while you do so. To saying yes to the important things. 

Sometimes, the most important thing you will do with your day will be big and life-changing and you will remember it forever.

And sometimes, the most important thing you will do is sit on a rooftop, doing nothing with the loves of your life.

Only you know what's really important right now. And only you can say yes and no to the right things to make the important things happen. So do that! 

Wishing you a month full of no thank you's and many, many big, important, strong, passionate yeses.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sometimes, You're Closer Than You Think.

Keep going. You're closer than you think.

A failure. That's what I felt like when it came to writing in 2015.

To be clear: I do not feel like I was a failure in 2015. I spent most of the year growing a tiny human who already means more than anything I have ever done or will ever do. But when it comes to writing, I felt like 2015 was a giant fail.

There were no late nights or early mornings spent hunched over a computer, excitedly typing like in years before. There was no marking off word count milestones on a color-coded list. There was no trip to Target to stock up on notebooks and binders and new pens for NaNoWriMo. There was no novel.

Now, to be fair, I spent most of 2015 very pregnant and very sick. But I still had high expectations for writing in 2015. I had dreams and goals that went unmet.

Or so I thought.

77,857. That's the number of words I actually wrote in 2015.

Yesterday, I added up the word count of blog posts and poems and ideas jotted down in 2015. And as the number kept getting bigger, I was shocked. That's a lot of words.

77,857 is not the word count of a failure. It is the word count of a writer. A writer who had a different kind of year than she was expecting, maybe, but a writer nonetheless.

Those 77,857 words may not have been written into a novel, but I wrote them. And that has to put me one or two steps closer to my dreams. In fact, I'd say it puts me 77,857 steps closer.

So this is just a reminder that sometimes, you're closer than you think. Even if the dream you have for your life seems incredibly far away. Even if it seems like you'll never even get the chance to try for it, since you're too busy doing things like making sure rent gets paid or taking care of your family or just surviving...chances are, if it's a dream in your heart, you're a step or two or seventy-seven thousand, eight hundred and fifty-seven closer than you think you are.

They just might be steps that look different than you thought they would, and that's okay.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Spending February: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Month.

There are two types of people in February: Those who acknowledge that Valentine's Day is a date on the calendar in February, and those who try their best to make the entire month about Valentine's Day. Clearly, I am the latter. 

There are 29 days this month! I hope you spend them well. As always, I have some suggestions for how to do that. 

Spending February

1. Take a look at your New Years goals. It's been a are you doing?

2. Make chocolate covered strawberries. 

3. Sit down with your planner and calendar and get organized. Just because it didn't happen in January doesn't mean the whole year is a wash!

4. Buy yourself flowers. 

5. Go through your closet. The stores are starting to fill up with spring clothes, but before you spend any money, go through what you already have. You never know what forgotten treasures you'll find hidden in the back of your closet!

6. Go check out the dollar spot at Target, filled with pink V-day goodness.

7. Distance yourself from your phone. You should be able to set your phone down (or even better, turn it off) for a few minutes or hours without it ruining your day. Especially if you're spending time with other people. 

8. Make Valentine's crafts. 

9. Get outside! Chances are, you spent most of January indoors, so treat yourself to some fresh air. 

11. Find an at-home workout you love. 

12. Mail some Valentine's cards. 

13. Wish your lady friends a happy Galentine's Day. 

14. Celebrate Valentine's Day! Make it an all-day affair!

15. Clean out your bathroom drawers. Throw away the lipgloss you bought four years ago and are saving just in case you ever get tan enough to be able to pull off that shade of pink. 

16. Write your significant other a love letter. The cheesier, the better. 

17. Go through your emails and unsubscribe from all of the lists you mysteriously ended up on. 

18. Surprise someone with chocolates. 

19. Start thinking about who you might be voting for in November. 

20. Make an effort to smile at everyone you come in contact with for a whole day. 

21. Go the month without buying coffee outside of your house. Learn to make a really good cup at home, it's life-changing.

22. Spend some time thinking about what's really important to you. Being at home with Jack for the past two weeks has taught me that life is short, but we also do get so much time...we just have to decide how to spend it. So think about the most important things to you, and make sure the way you're spending your time reflects that. 

23. Laugh more. Lose the self-imposed pressure to be serious all the time. 

24. Think about your words. They're important and should be treated like they are. A good rule to use when you're not sure if you should speak up is to ask yourself: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me right now? 

25. Make a workout playlist. 

26. Throw away your mugs. Do you find yourself reaching for the same few mugs every morning, but keeping 20 others "just in case you need them?" Toss 'em.

27. Re-watch the pilot (or finale!) of your favorite show.

28. Throw a "favorite things" party. Like Oprah, but better. PS: this would be a really fun date night. 

29. Spend your extra day! We have an extra day we won't get again for four years...spend it doing something fun!

How will you be spending your February? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Goodbye January, Hello February.

Goodbye, January. 

Goodbye to a month of anticipation, of not knowing what to expect or when to expect it.

Goodbye to being worried about what life with Jack would be like.

Goodbye to being pregnant!

Goodbye to interview season.

Goodbye to knowing a world without this precious little guy, to only knowing him from the inside.

Goodbye to the most life-changing, hardest, most beautiful month of my life. The month that made us a family, the month that showed me Christopher and I can do anything together.

Hello, February. 

Hello to the month of love, to pink hearts and roses and chocolates and champagne.

Hello to actually being able to drink champagne again!

Hello to our first full month of having a baby, the first month Jack will start with us.

Hello to figuring out this whole parenting thing. To winging it when necessary. To lots of snuggles and extra cups of coffee.

Hello to finalizing and turning in our rank list for residency. To being simultaneously terrified and excited.

Hello to not being stuck in bed anymore, and to being able to move around and take Jack on some adventures.

Hello to a beautiful month full of new things, chocolate, and baby snuggles. It just doesn't get much better than that.

What are you saying hello and goodbye to this month? 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Baby Jack: A Birth Story. (Part One)

And this is the story of how baby Jack came into this world.

Tuesday, January 12th. I had been having contractions on and off since Christmas, and I just knew that at this appointment, only two days away from my due date, the doctor was going to tell me I was super close to having a baby. Instead, she said that wasn't the case and scheduled me for an induction on the 21st. I cried and told Chris I did not think I could physically be pregnant for nine more days, so we went to Chick-Fil-A. We ended up having the best night ever…we got pizza and watched The Martian and just hung out. When we went to bed that night, we said that if that had been our last night just the two of us, it would have been a great one.

After my appointment on Tuesday, I wrote this in my planner, like mayyyyybe it would make it true.
Wednesday, January 13th. Chris made us a big breakfast and we were having a lazy morning watching Netflix. I was having contractions, but at this point, I didn’t trust them at all. I downloaded an app that tracks them, and they were coming between 8-25 minutes apart. The problem was that they started hurting way more than before. We were in the middle of an episode of The West Wing and I decided to take a bath to see if I could get my body to relax if it wasn’t the real thing, which I was positive it wasn’t. Chris was not so sure, but I chalked that up to it being the first day he’d been with me where I had a lot of contractions. I was sure my body was still lying to me.

I could tell that he thought something was happening because while I was in the bath, he took the dog out and refilled his food and water, which was something on our list of what to do right before we left for the hospital. I kept the app open on my phone and just pressed the button when I had contractions, not really paying attention to the timing.

When I got out and went to lay down, Chris picked my phone up…and saw that my contractions were 4 and a half minutes apart. He told me I needed to get dressed because we should probably go to the hospital. The problem was that they were only lasting about 40 seconds each, and I was sure that I was going to get sent home from the hospital, which I had made a goal to NOT happen. Now, I’m pretty happy with who I am as a person, but even I have to admit that I am incredibly stubborn once I have something in my mind. At that point, I had in my mind that I was not in labor, and going to the hospital would only get me sent home with a bill. Let us also take a moment to remember that I am married to a man who will be a doctor in May. And still, I'm so stubborn. 

The following conversation took place between contractions.

Chris: Hey, why don’t we just go to the hospital? Just for kicks.

Me: I don’t think we need to.

Chris: Why don’t you get dressed, just in case?


Me: Okay, but it’s not time to go yet.

I wander around the house, trying to decide what to put on and if I want a snack.

Chris: Chelsea, why don’t you get dressed?

Me: Because I don’t want to go to the hospital yet.


Chris: Okay, so why don’t we do this: You get dressed, and we’ll go to Chick-Fil-A, and while we’re there, we’ll decide if we should maybe go to the hospital. And we’ll take our stuff just in case.

At this point, Chris has gotten all of our stuff together, packed all of the last minute things from our list, and I am literally just standing there in a towel telling him my contractions are fake.


Me: You know what’s funny? All this time I’ve had to plan, I haven’t thought at all about what I wanted to wear to the hospital.

Chris: You haven’t—what? Okay, no. Just get—


Chris: You are going to get dressed before your next contraction, or you are going to the hospital in my boxers and a t-shirt. Your choice.

So I got dressed, hugged Gatsby, told him we’d be home soon, and had about three more contractions while grabbing random things I thought I might need at the hospital before Chris made me go stand outside so we could actually leave.

On the way to Chick-Fil-A, I told him that I felt stupid because I was pretty sure they were going to send me home. He said not to worry about it, and then said something that struck fear into my heart.

“It’s better to get there too early and get sent home than it is to get there too late to get an epidural.”

We pulled into the drive-thru at that moment, because I wanted to eat a meal before checking in, and the mother of all contractions hit. While Chris was paying for the food I checked the app and saw they were coming at THREE AND A HALF MINUTES APART. I managed to eat exactly one chicken nugget and two French fries before starting to sob that I had waited too long and now wasn’t going to be able to get an epidural and that was going to be the end of my life.

We got to the hospital, where we had preregistered so we wouldn’t have to wait. I guess when I imagined not waiting, my imagination did not include a grumpy nurse at the front desk.

Me: Hi, we preregistered. Gives her information.

Grumpy nurse: Why are you here?

Me: Has contraction.

Chris: She’s in labor.

Grumpy nurse: You don’t look like you’re in labor. You look like you could go jogging right now.

Me and Chris: …….

Grumpy nurse: Well...come on back, I guess. But I don't think you're in labor.

To be continued!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

just write: life's great secrets.

chelsea jacobs poem

I think that you might know the answer
to every time I've wondered why,
because you smile like you are holding
life's great secrets deep inside.

I'm desperate for some answers,
grasping at any I can find.
I promise if you tell me how to smile like that,
I'll lock the answer safely up inside.