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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Goodbye, 2015. 

Goodbye to a year I never saw coming.

Goodbye to the last year of being a party of two.

Goodbye to classes and studying and tests.

Goodbye to interview adventuring and trying to picture ourselves living new places.

Goodbye to being morning sickness that pretty much lasted my whole pregnancy. Some people rave on and on about how much they love being pregnant...I will not miss it one bit. I'm ready to meet this guy!

Goodbye to a year of so much love and adventure.

Goodbye to a year of surprises, of growing, of exploring, of learning.

Goodbye, 2015. It's been a hell of a ride. 

Hello, 2016.  

Hello to a year of the biggest changes of our lives.

Hello to finding out what new place we will be calling home.

Hello to our family growing, and to a new little guy joining the tribe.

Hello to learning how to be a mom. To making it work.

Hello to Christopher becoming a doctor. To all of that hard work paying off.

Hello to new adventures, new places, and new dreams.

Hello to a year I never thought I'd be saying hello to. To a year brimming with excitement and potential. To a year that promises to make my heart grow more full of love than ever before.

Hello, 2016. I have a feeling you're going to be the best one yet.

What are you saying hello and goodbye to as we close out another year?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dear 2015.

Dear 2015,

Where do I even start? You were, by far, the best and weirdest year of my life.

I set out for this year to be all about me--I wanted to say yes and be brave and experience and adventure--and less than halfway through the year, that came to a halt as my life was suddenly all about someone else-someone I haven't even met yet.

You taught me that I can do hard things-things that seem impossible. I learned that I'm way stronger than I think I am. I learned to savor every season, even the hard ones.

You taught me that comparing myself to other people is absolutely pointless. That doing my best is absolutely enough.

You were the year where I decided to just write, no matter what, no matter who read it or how it looked. I've written creatively this year more than any other year, and I've done it for fun. Thanks for teaching me that doing what you love is essential, no matter what it looks like.

You taught me that most of all, I want to be empty when my time runs out. That I am spending my life. And that spending my life doesn't have to look like grand adventures and spontaneity...that I can spend my life in the best way right here at home.

You taught me that fresh starts are okay. That I don't have to wait for permission to make one. That I can wake up on any random Thursday and decide I want to start over.

You were the year where I learned that I won't always have a plan. I won't always be able to make a plan. And even though I desperately want to know everything, it's all going to work out, even if there's no plan on the horizon.

Five months into you, on a Wednesday, I woke up with no idea how drastically my life was about to change. I woke up thinking you would look one way, and went to bed with no idea how you were going to turn out.

Let me just tell you, you have been wonderful.

You've also been terrible, sure. But I won't hold that against you. Because you taught me so, so much.

You reminded me to not sweat the small stuff, because in the long run, it truly does not matter. You taught me that not all friendships are forever, and that's okay. You taught me that marriage is the greatest gift, because it is forever. You taught me what it's like to suddenly have a ton of responsibility, what it's like to work through the hard things and trust that it will all work out.

And sitting here, at the end of you, I have to say, it looks as if it's all worked out.

So thank you. Thank you for being the year that looked absolutely nothing like I thought it would. Thank you for being the year to teach me the things I didn't know I needed to learn. Thank you for being the year to bring me what I didn't know I wanted.

This may be where we say goodbye, but I can't say I'm sad to part ways-not when 2016 is hovering, promising so much, a cracked door that I can't wait to swing wide open and run though.

Goodbye, 2015. I will forever be thankful for you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Three Years of Marriage.

What. A. Year. 

The third year of marriage was nothing like I expected, but it was the best so far. There were lots of ups and downs, lots of good times and bad times, lots of in sickness and in health. Most of all, there was teamwork-we're a team when it's time to work through the hard things, and we're a team when it's time to celebrate the good. 

I know that in the grand scheme of things, 3 years of marriage may not seem long enough to be significant. But for me, it's already been a lifetime of adventure and learning and growing. A lifetime of building a life with my very best friend. 

December 29th will always be a favorite day of mine, because it will always be the day that we changed our lives forever. The day we became a family. The day we chose each other. And we've been choosing each other every day since. 

Being married to you is my greatest adventure. Happy 3 years...cheers to many, many more. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

37 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember.

Merry week-after-Christmas! I hope you all had the most magical holiday. Last Thursday wasn't just Christmas Eve for me, it was also the day that marked making it to 37 weeks-which is full term! Hooray! Baby Jack can safely come any day now-although I wouldn't be mad if he stayed put just a liiiiiitle longer so we can get a few more things ready for him!

  • On Christmas Eve, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights with Gatsby in tow. We drank peppermint hot chocolate and searched out the most festive houses, and Gatsby would sit nowhere but directly on my baby bump. It was weird and adorable, and I can't wait until next year, when we'll be looking at Christmas lights with two little rascals. 
  • Doing last minute shopping and other Christmas festivities, I kept catching my reflection in the mirror and actually shocking myself with how hugely pregnant I looked. I think it's because I've felt this big for so long, but now that I actually look this big...well, the size of my stomach keeps surprising even me. 
  • We've passed the point where people ask questions trying to feel out if I'm pregnant and gone straight to the point where strangers see me and just say congratulations. It's weird and I always want to say, "For what? What are you talking about?" Just to scare someone, but I haven't worked up the nerve yet. 
  • On the 23rd, we went out for a fancy Christmas/Anniversary date, and they brought us a cake that said "Congratulations." At first I was confused about how they knew we were celebrating our anniversary, and then I realized that I was getting chocolate congratulations for being pregnant. Hey, I'll take it. 
37 weeks down, 3(ish) to go. THAT IS INSANE. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Because No One Says it Quite Like Linus.

It's my favorite day ever! Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you soak up every single second of today and tomorrow. May your days be the merriest and brightest of all. And may you remember what Christmas means to you.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Once Upon a Time.

Once upon a time, I started a Christmas date being rushed and told to hurry up and open my presents, and ended a Christmas date with the prettiest diamond ring on my finger. It was the stuff fairy tales are made of. 

I didn't yet know what I was saying yes to...I didn't know the adventures and the hard decisions and the laughter and the hard times and the perfect days I was saying yes to. I didn't know the little fox or the tiny apartment in the sky or the sweet baby boy that would be on the way one day that I was saying yes to.

I just knew that it was my best friend, the love of my whole life, the one who I wanted to live every day with, the one who would give me a lifetime of adventures and memories that I was saying yes to. It was the stuff fairy tales are made of. 

As I was trying (and failing) to fall asleep after the excitement of the most perfect, magical night, I held my new ring in front of my face, admiring it, thinking about how much our lives would change over the next year, and how happy I was that it was happening with him. It was the stuff fairy tales are made of. 

Today, four years later, there's no fancy date on the water or trips to the beach in our formalwear or front-row seats at Cirque Du Soleil.

I woke up, insanely pregnant and uncomfortable, next to the love of my life. When I look at him and imagine how our life is going to change over the next few weeks and how happy I am that this is all happening with him, my heart feels like it may explode, just like it did when I was staring at my new ring.

Today, we'll celebrate us. We'll celebrate our own personal little Christmas that we've had going for so many years now. We'll celebrate the yes that was said four years ago, and all the yeses that have been said since then.

We'll eat somewhere fun, or do some shopping, or exchange gifts, or go look at Christmas lights. Whatever we do, we'll be celebrating deep, honest, once in a lifetime kind of love.

And you's the stuff fairy tales are made of. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Stopping to Take it All in.

As I'm writing this, the sun has yet to come up, but my apartment is lit by our pretty little Christmas tree. My husband is asleep next to me, my pup is curled up sleeping on my feet, and my little babe is just waking up, bouncing around in my stomach. We're just days away from Christmas, just weeks away from having a baby, and I'm thankful for this quiet moment to just stop and take it all in.

It has been a magical holiday season. It's been way different than I would have pictured it, and honestly, it's been a bit unconventional--Chris had to travel a lot for interviews and I spent a lot of nights falling asleep before 8:00, since I wasn't someone who's symptoms miraculously disappeared after 12 weeks--but it's been magical nonetheless.

It's been full of date nights--whether they consisted of actually going out on a date, or staying at home and playing yahtzee. It's been full of snuggling and watching movies, falling asleep to the glow of the Christmas tree. It's been full of getting baby stuff ready, of balancing cherishing the present and dreaming of the future. It's been a season of celebrating my favorite time of the year...Christmas movies, peppermint mochas, Grinchmas at Universal. It's been the best. Most of all, it's been a season of so much love. 

These still moments before the world wakes up are perfect for reflecting, for taking a moment to just be thankful for everything. And today, as the sun rises and the world wakes up and the day comes alive, I'm so overwhelmed with thankfulness. The next few days will be a whirlwind, and something tells me life won't be slowing down any time soon after that. So here's to the quiet moments, the moments that fill us up and help us power through the hectic days.

Merry Christmas, friends. No matter what season of life you are in, I hope you're able to find some quiet moments of your own to just stop and take it all in.

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's the Merriest Week of all...Enjoy it!

Merry week of Christmas! No matter what this month has looked like for you, whether you've had the Martha Stewart-esque holiday season of your dreams, or you didn't make it to the first thing on your Christmas pinterest board, it's Christmas week, and it's here. 

So enjoy it! Soak up every hour of every day. Go overboard with the Christmas music and the eggnog. Stay up too late so you can watch Elf and Home Alone. Spend too much time shopping and wrapping and playing Santa. Enjoy every bit of this magical week. 

If the holidays haven't gone the way you envisioned them up until now, let it go. If you just haven't been able to get into the Christmas spirit, well, now's your chance! It's not too late to have an absolutely magical Christmas. 

It's the merriest week of all...enjoy it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fitting Christmas into One Week.

celebrating the week of Christmas

We all know that the holidays tend to fly by. Sometimes, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and you're listening to Jingle Bells play while you're shopping all the decorated stores, and you're making all these Christmas plans in your head. You're going to host a fancy Christmas party, go on the best Christmas dates, make handmade Christmas presents, bake all sorts of Christmas cookies and have Christmas movie's going to be the best Christmas season ever.

Then, you go to sleep that night, and wake up the next morning to find that somehow, it's already the week of Christmas, and you didn't get to do any of that stuff. And even though Christmas hasn't come yet, that can make you feel like you missed out on everything that you wanted Christmas to be. But you didn't! We've got one week until Christmas, and while you may not be able to do all of the extravagant plans you had in mind, you can still fit the best parts of Christmas into one week.

what to do the week of Christmas

Fitting Christmas into One Week: 

Watch Christmas movies. What movie do you know you're going to regret letting the season pass by without watching? Watch it! If you haven't watched Elf yet this year, then there's your answer.

Make your house smell like Christmas. Whether you like your house to smell like a Christmas tree, or Christmas cookies, or candy canes..whatever your favorite Christmas scent is, pick up a candle and make your house smell festive.

Bake something. What screams Christmas to you? Cookies and milk? A certain pie? A cupcake recipe your grandma passed down? Bake it!

Go look at Christmas lights. Just because you may not have gotten around to creating the winter wonderland you had in mind doesn't mean you can't enjoy everyone else's hard work! Grab some hot chocolate and make a date out of looking at all the Christmas decorations around you!

Have your own Christmas party. Sure, it may be a little late for the well-attended, formal holiday party you had in mind. But who cares? Have your own! Whether it's a family dinner, or drinks with a few friends, or a fancy date with just you and your man. Whether you can go all out and dress up or just meet at a restaurant after work and then watch The Grinch after...if you say it's a party, it's a party.

Celebrate Christmas Eve. If you don't celebrate Christmas Eve already, then you are missing out! Two days of Christmas...come on! Christmas eve is one of my favorite days of the entire year (I may like it even more than Christmas Day!) and it turns a 24 hour celebration into a 48 hour celebration. What's not to love?

Make your to-do's merry. This week is probably packed full of things you need to do-not just celebrating Christmas. But just because you have a long to-do list doesn't mean you can't celebrate Christmas while checking things off! Sip on a peppermint mocha while you're finishing up your shopping. Put on a Christmas movie while you wrap gifts. When you get out of a meeting super late, take advantage of the dark and go look at Christmas lights. Don't let having a lot to do keep you from celebrating this week.

Read the Christmas story. Slow down, grab a hot drink, and read the Christmas story. It's good to stop and remember what it's all about.

Do the one thing you do every Christmas. What makes the season special for you? Having Christmas dinner with your family? Going a certain place? Watching a classic movie? Making something? If nothing else, make time to do that one thing that makes Christmas special for you.

How are you celebrating this week?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

36 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember.

36 weeks and counting! Less than 30 days until Jack's birthday. I think I've reached the point of just feeling surreal about everything--I should be far more nervous/scared/excited than I am. Instead, I feel like I'm excited about something that's in the far off future, something that may happen one day...not something that is very much happening in only a matter of weeks. 

  • When I left my doctor's appointment this week, she said, "I'll see you next week! Unless you have your baby before then!" To which I said goodbye to her and then sat in the room having this reaction: 

  • I can no longer reach my toes. I've heard people say this, but I thought it was dumb--just because your stomach gets bigger doesn't mean you can't reach your feet, right? WRONG. I mean, I can reach my toes, but it lasts about five seconds before I start to pass out because I cannot breathe. So yeah, toe touching is off the table for now. Now, since I've married the most amazing guy in the world, he actually painted my toenails for me this week. If you were wondering what true love looks like, there you have it.
  • I'm enjoying every bit of this Christmas season, and it's making me so sentimental. I've never felt such true love as I have this season: Love for Chris, for our baby we haven't met yet, the love he has for me. How he paints my toenails when I can't reach them, installs carseats in the backseat of his sports car, looks up stuff for me to read and watch so I'll feel more prepared when it comes to having a baby. This is a terrifyingly new experience, and I can't imagine doing it with anyone other than Christopher. I am so, so thankful for the love he has for me and our little guy, especially this week. 
36 weeks down, 4 weeks to go. FOUR. WEEKS. TO. GO. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dear You: A Christmas Letter.

Dear You,

I hope that this Christmas season has been-and continues to be-one for the books. I hope it has been full of magic and cheer and that the next two weeks are filled to the brim the best kind of hustle and bustle.

I hope that this year finds your surrounded by people who love you fiercely-whether that's family or friends that have become your family. 

I hope you take time to savor each moment, even the busy ones. I hope you remind yourself of what Christmas is really all about, and that you celebrate each and every day to the fullest. 

I hope that-in the midst of the madness and hurting in the world-you allow yourself to believe in magic this year. It's Christmas, after all. If there's any magic left in the world, it can be found in Christmas. So this week, allow yourself some wonder and excitement over the little things.

I hope that no matter how full your to-do list is, no matter how long your to-buy list is, no matter how quickly your bank account is shrinking, no matter how many obligatory gatherings you have to choose to be happy instead of stressed. 

I hope that if this Christmas is hard for you this year because of someone you lost in 2015, that you tell someone. I hope that you choose joy over grief and precious memories over tears.

I hope that every single day left in December brings you unexpected joys, both big and small. I hope you learn to look for these joys, learn to delight in the small things like a cup of coffee in a Christmas mug, or the sight of little kids seeing Santa for the first time. I hope you pass that joy on to others, in the forms of gifts and smiles and Merry Christmas greetings.

I hope you do whatever it is that you want to do this Christmas. I hope you don't fall victim to the pressures of having a pinterest-perfect Christmas, and I hope you don't feel guilted by the articles that shame you for having anything other than a minimalistic Christmas. I hope you find what is just right for you and yours, and that you celebrate in the way that makes you the happiest.

I hope that your Christmas is truly merry and bright, that it is filled with happiness and magic and all things festive, that it overflows with love and glitter, and that you feel the happiest you've felt in a long time.

I hope that you laugh at Will Ferrell parading around Central Park in yellow tights, that you tear up a little when Linus reads the Christmas story, and that you fall asleep each night warm, happy, and full of magic in the glow of a Christmas tree.

I hope that this Christmas is nothing short of magical for you. Merry, merry Christmas. 


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas & Love: Six Christmases of Forever.

Six Christmases ago, I spent December 22nd panicking about what to get Christopher for Christmas. What do you get someone you've only been dating for six months but are also pretty sure you're in love with? I turned to my dad, who is the gift guru:

"You can't go wrong with sentimental. Pictures, a scrapbook, something like that." 
"Um, is six months too soon for a scrapbook?" 
"Nope. He'll love it." 
"Mmm, is it going to scare him away if I literally hand him a book of our relationship and he gets me movie tickets?" 
"Chelsea, stop talking and make a scrapbook." 

So I did. And it is to this day one of my most treasured belongings, because we have the earliest moments of our relationship recorded, and I have the sweet memory of being terrified to give it to him on December 23rd, when we celebrated Christmas together.

Five Christmases ago, I was absolutely in love, but there was no ring on my finger. There were no plans, only dreams. I made up a scavenger hunt and we spent December 23rd driving around our hometown, taking pictures and exchanging gifts and kisses.

Four Christmases ago, December 23rd brought me the best surprise of my life in the form of Christopher down on one knee and a promise of forever. Each time I opened a gift on Christmas morning, seeing the shiny diamond on my ring finger overwhelmed me with happiness and thankfulness.

Three Christmases ago, I was a little preoccupied, because I was getting married four days later. We had decreed it would be a day of no wedding talk so that everyone could really enjoy Christmas, but my mom and I exchanged glances all day.."Oh, you KNOW what's coming." 

Two Christmases ago, I had one of the best days of my life. For the first time, I woke up on Christmas morning in the same bed as the love of my life. Opening presents and snuggling with our tiny little fox before visiting my family with my new little heart had never been so full.

Last Christmas, my heart was even more full than it was the year before. Every Christmas song I heard, every peppermint mocha I drank, every time I plugged our tree in, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that this was my life. The good and the bad, the sweet and the hard, it was all mine. And as I celebrated that year, in a tiny apartment in the sky, with my best friend and our tiny little fox, I was so full of joy. "Um, I think that I might love you" five Christmases before brought me such an incredibly full life.

This Christmas, I'm overwhelmed by how much can change in a year. That the boy I made a scrapbook for on our first Christmas together has moved from boyfriend to fiancé to husband to baby daddy. Christmas feels so full this year. The music, the decorations, the presents under the tree, the all feels so full. Not because it's the most put together Christmas we've ever had--because it's has made me sick and miss out on some of the normal Christmas cheer--but because I've never felt such real love as I have this December. The thought that this will be the last Christmas just the two of us has made me cherish every moment, even the hard ones.

This year, we're not only counting down to the most magical week of the year, we're also counting down the days until our little guy decides to join us. This year-the most unexpected, insanely shocking year-has brought me to a place of being more full of love for our life than I knew was possible.

When I was wrapping gifts our first Christmas together, I was so nervous and excited to give them to Chris. On my drive home that night, I was so happy. I actually remember thinking, "It just doesn't get any better that this."

This year, wrapping presents (from bed, because my overly giant belly doesn't really allow me to sprawl out on the floor anymore), I thought of that night six years ago. I wish I could go back in time and share with my seventeen-year-old self a glimpse of all that's coming. And I'd tell her, Oh, but it does. It gets so much better.

Because it just doesn't get any better than this.

How many Christmases have you been with your significant other?

Monday, December 14, 2015

I Love the Hustle and Bustle, I Love the Peace and Quiet.

The holiday season is funny, because it's known for the hustle and bustle it brings. Yet, when we think of the holidays--Christmas, for example--we tend to think of a certain element of calm, serene peace that comes along with it.

As for me, I love it all. Every bit of it. I love the hustle and bustle, I love the peace and quiet.

I think one of the biggest things about enjoying the holidays is appreciating each day for what it is. It's being content with your Christmas, no matter what it looks like. It's soaking up the magic of every day, simply because it's Christmas.

Not because it's a perfectly planned day that turned our exactly how you imagined, though those are nice, too. But just because your day resembled more of a chaotic Black Friday and not so much of the quiet, peaceful, 5-course white and silver themed Christmas dinner you saw on Pinterest doesn't mean it wasn't a beautiful day.

Soak them all in. The loud, busy days of hustle and bustle and the sweet, slow days of peace and quiet. Love them for what they are. Even when the days you had planned to be quiet and peaceful turn hectic, and the days of celebration turn out much more quiet than you had planned, love them both. Because they are both a part of the holidays.

I'm enjoying them all. I'm enjoying the peaceful moments of drinking peppermint mocha coffee in front of the Christmas tree, and I'm enjoying the hectic moments of shopping and rushing around. I'm soaking it all in. The happy, the stressful, the quiet, the noise.

Because Christmas is magical simply because it's Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tis the Season: Make, Watch, Sip, Listen.

Tis the season: Make, Watch, Sip, Listen

I was originally going to write a post with all of the Christmas movies available to watch on Netflix, but when I logged on to look, I saw that Netflix already has them all in one section! Convenient!

So instead of a list of movies you can watch on demand, here's my suggestion of how you should spend your weekend: Making and sipping and watching and listening. Tis the season, after all.

M A K E : Gift tags for your Christmas presents! This can be as simple as writing some Christmas carol lyrics on an index card or printing off and cutting out some pre made tags, or as complicated as going to Joann's and buying stamps and fake snow to add to your tags. Either way, it adds a festive touch to the boxes under your tree!

W A T C H : Any of the Christmas movies on Netflix! Just browse the holiday section...there are classics (White Christmas), Comedies, (Christmas With the Kranks), and an endless supply of cheesy, Hallmark-esque movies.

S I P : Mulled wine! This recipe looks absolutely delicious. Now, if you happen to be housing a tiny human like I am this holiday season, sip on some hot chocolate instead. This recipe for white peppermint hot chocolate looks divine.

L I S T E N : To Christmas music, no matter what you're doing! Pretty much everyone has a Christmas album these days, but you just can't beat Harry Connick Jr. when it comes to classic Christmas music. Be still, my heart.

Realistically, we all most likely have things to get done this weekend that may have nothing to do with celebrating Christmas, but that doesn't mean your weekend can't be celebratory! Sip hot chocolate while you run errands, play Christmas music while you clean the matter what your plans are this weekend, I hope you find a way to make it festive! It's December, after all...time to celebrate the best holiday of all!

How will you be celebrating this weekend?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

35 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember.

Five weeks left. F-I-V-E. If you wanted to count that, you could do so ON ONE HAND. 

So, to recap: Christmas Eve is two weeks from today. New Years Eve is three weeks from today. And Jack's (supposed to be) birthday is five weeks from today. I know every single one of those things is going to be here before I know it. 

  • We tried to install the carseat...only to realize it doesn't fit in the car. So we went and bought a different carseat, and it barely fit. Does anyone have any recommendations for compact carseats? 
  • We went to Universal and walked around yesterday, and we went into the Christmas ornament store (which is there all year, but I only like to go in at Christmastime-because sweating bullets and looking at Christmas trees in June just feels weird, ya know?) The past two years, we've bought an ornament for our tree, and this year we got one with Jack's name on it. 
  • I had a scare yesterday morning where I thought he may be trying to make a break for it, and that made me realize how not ready I am. There's still so much to do! Here's hoping he actually waits five more weeks. 
35 weeks down, 5(ish) weeks to go!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sometimes Christmas is Just the Best Gift of All.

Monday night, we had our annual Christmas date. Chris picked me up at the door of our apartment with flowers...something that doesn't really happen anymore once you live together! We saw Love, The Coopers, listened to Christmas music, went shopping, walked around the mall with the giant Christmas was a magical night, and it was my favorite.

It made me think of how much I love Christmas and everything that comes with it-the parties, the music, the anticipation, the time we get to spend with people we love. Those are the things that make Christmas so magical for me.

Sneaking around the mall, trying to buy each other gifts without being spotted, and then laughing and sneaking a kiss when you get caught...that's why I love Christmas. And no matter what gift I could have found for Chris, or what present he could have bought for me, nothing could possibly beat out the feeling of happiness that the date night brought me.

Sometimes, I can feel discouraged about gifts and having a smaller Christmas. Having a baby and having residency interviews all around the Christmas season doesn't leave a lot of money left to go on shopping sprees for the perfect gifts. But then moments like Monday night happen, and I remember that Christmas is the best gift. The running around and the music and the family and the cheer....regardless of what's under the tree, there's no way it could beat out the magic of the season.

So cheers to celebrating Christmas for the next two weeks-to enjoying it for the gift that it is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's Your Story. You Should Tell it.

don't be afraid to tell your story

If you've been reading around here for any bit of time, you know that this year, I got pregnant, and it was a surprise.

I love writing-it's such a big part of my life-so of course I wanted to write about how everything was changing. I didn't want to write about weight gain and cravings, I wanted to write about how this surprise was changing my life, how I was processing everything, what the ups and downs were...I wanted to write the real stuff.

And you know what? I felt incredibly guilty. And very, very timid.

Who was I to write about how the idea that I was going to be a mom was taking some getting used to when there are women out there who have been trying for years to become a mom? Who was I to be honest about my first reaction being one other than pure joy when there are people in this world who would do anything to be able to be in my position?

The first few things I wrote about being pregnant (and even the first few discussions I had!), I felt like I had to filter them through a certain light. I couldn't be too real, not when other people had so much bigger stories to share than mine.

But here's the truth: The second that plus sign showed up on the test, it became part of my story.

I had not planned on having a baby, but I was having one nonetheless, and it was hard to process. That became part of my story.

It took me awhile to feel anything other than scared. It took a bit before I was truly excited to have a growing family. That became part of my story.

I'm now almost 35 weeks pregnant, sitting with a mug of peppermint mocha coffee balancing on my stomach, watching it move up and down as he tumbles all around in there, and having a hard time imagining life having gone any other way. I'm so in love with this little guy, still terrified of the unknown, but mostly just so excited to meet him. That's part of my story.

And yes, other people have stories that seem bigger to me. Stories that seem better, that seem worse. But those are their stories.

I believe everyone should tell their story, because it's theirs. I'm going to write about and talk about my story, because it's mine. And I hope you do the same.

Just because there are people who have it better than you, people who have it worse than you, doesn't mean your story isn't worth telling. It is. Because it's yours. You should tell it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Remember What it's All About: Savoring the Season.

savor the season

Savor has been such a big word for me this year, but especially now that the holidays are in full swing and we're getting closer and closer to little babe making his appearance, it has been so important to me.

The thing about savoring this type of season is that sometimes, it doesn't come naturally. Sometimes, the easy thing will be to rush through every day, constantly looking ahead to the next task and ignoring the present. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to slow down and take a deep breath and savor the current moment we're in.

I'm not saying that in order to savor a season, you have to put a halt to everything else--I'm having a baby in a few weeks and it's Christmastime, hello, there's stuff to be done. But being busy and savoring the season aren't mutually exclusive.

So this month, I hope that you savor your season. I hope you just stop to take it all in on several occasions. I hope that instead of getting caught up in the busyness that can so quickly overtake a day, that you pause to remember what it's really all about. To remember who it's all about.

Cherish the people you love. Your friends and family and the time you get to spend together. Cherish the quiet moments and the busy ones. Cherish the slow mornings when you have time for a second cup of coffee and the hectic ones where your first cup has to be to-go.

Because it doesn't matter what the season looks like--be it busy or calm or fast paced or peaceful or anything else...if you remember why it means so much to you, you'll be able to savor each and every day.

Cheers to a season full of savoring every day.

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Traditions!

Christmas Traditions to Try

Once Thanksgiving has come and gone, every day feels worth celebrating. Because hello, it's Christmastime! While I try to find a way to celebrate Christmas each day of December, there are a few days I especially look forward to each year.

Black Friday. Black Friday happens the night of Thanksgiving, and it kicks off the Christmas season! I never went Black Friday shopping before I dated Chris, but once I tried it, I was hooked. It's just so much fun! One of the reasons we have such a good time is that we go into it without a plan. We know where we want to go, but we don't set out with a list of things we must get. That makes it a night of just enjoying everything, and if we find any great deals, it's an added bonus. But if not, we're not disappointed. The only rule is that the night absolutely must include a white peppermint mocha.

After we sleep all the excitement off, we get up and blare the Christmas music while we put up the Christmas tree and decorate our's the best! This year, we decorated and put the crib together on the same day...something that will probably never happen again, but was so special!

Grinchmas at Universal. This is one of my favorite, favorite things in the world. I love Christmas, I love Universal, and I love the Grinch. Hello, happy place. Even if you don't live in Florida, everyone should make a trip to do Grinchmas at least once. It's so festive and gorgeous and FUN. I can't even remember how long my family has been doing this, but my dad's gift to us is that we all go to Universal for the day, go shopping at City Walk, watch the Macy's Day parade, and then go out to a fancy dinner. It's always one of the best nights of the year! No matter where we end up living, Jack WILL come back to Orlando to experience Grinchmas!

Christmas Date. The exact details of our Christmas date change a little bit each year, but it always includes going to the big mall here that goes all out in decorating for Christmas. Because there's no way you're not going to have a magical night when your night includes a 50 foot Christmas tree.

December 23rd. This day has been special to me since 2009. It's the first time me and Christopher ever celebrated Christmas together, and we've kept the tradition since then. It would've been a special day forever no matter what, but in 2011, Chris proposed on December 23rd, making it a must to celebrate every year.

Christmas Eve. Growing up, my family had this tradition where every Christmas Eve, we would go to the mall (Yes, it is crazy), and I would go with my dad to buy my mom a present while my brother went with my mom to buy my dad a present, and then me and my brother would switch. I think it started out as my dad making sure me and my brother actually bought my mom something nice for Christmas, but it turned into the best family tradition ever. We see a movie and then end the day somewhere fun for dinner.

I was lucky enough to marry someone that went along with my borderline obsessive love for Christmas, and me and Chris still join my family for Christmas Eve every year, and it's still a favorite day of mine. Except now I love it even more, because I get to go home with my best friend, we order takeout and open a present from each other and make cookies for Santa. Best day ever. 

What are some holiday traditions you look forward to? 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

34 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember.

And just like that, Christmastime is here and Jack is thirty-four weeks along in his little life. 

Thirty. Four. Weeks.....what? 

It's not that thirty-four weeks seems so long, it's that six weeks seems so short. Very, very short. I feel like six weeks is a phrase we throw around all the time. You go to the doctor or to get a haircut and they say, "See you back here in six weeks!" You meet about a project at work and say, "We'll revisit our progress in six weeks." And I'm over here like, "Oh, just having a baby in six weeks!" 

So, that's happening. 

  • We read him a book for the first time this week. We took turns reading pages of The Lion King, and Jack loved it. He did not stop moving until the book was's the most I've ever felt him move so constantly like that. I say it means he's going to love reading!
  • Our Christmas tree is set up and perfectly cozy, and when I stay curled up in bed drinking my coffee and looking at it every morning, I wonder if it will still be set up when Jack gets here. I usually leave it up for at least the first week of January, sometimes longer. So who knows!
  • After spending a lot of time researching (so, browsing Pinterest), I made several lists this week: Things we need before he comes, things that would be nice to get, and things I want to get for him, but don't need immediately. As a planner, it was a huge relief to get everything down on paper and see exactly what I need to be doing until he gets here. But it also made everything seem so I was making a grocery list for company coming in town. It's so weird to be planning for this member of my family that I've never, so weird, but so exciting. On that note, any suggestions for things that are absolutely necessary for life with a newborn? 
34 weeks down, 6(ish) to go. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is seeing the decorations everywhere I go. It's so much fun to see how some people decorate simply, some go all out, and some opt-out completely. I love walking around the mall and seeing the giant decorations, or driving down a street to see every single house lit up. It's just so festive!

I'm so excited to one day have our own house that we can decorate for Christmas, but until then, I make it a point to make a little date out of going for a drive and looking at all the houses around us. If you do something similar, but want to change it up a bit this year, grab some friends and go on a Christmas light scavenger hunt! Bundle up, grab some hot chocolate (or wine, you know, whatever), and head out for a night full of taking pictures and listening to Christmas music. Bonus points if you dress your dog up and bring him with you--that's my plan. 

Drive around until you find:

A house using only white lights.

A sleigh.

A nativity scene. 

A snow globe.

A snowman. 

Blinking Lights. 

Candy Canes.

Decorations that involve music. 

Decorations that have nothing to do with Christmas (You know, like the house that will decorate their entire yard with Mickey Mouse. Not Christmas Mickey, just Mickey).

Fake snow.

Lights Spelling out a word. 

An elf.

Rudolph and his buddies. 

Rooftop decorations. 


The nutcracker. 

Oversized gift boxes. 

A house where the lights are out.

Are you planning on going to look at Christmas lights this year?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Spending Your December: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Most Magical Month of the Year.

It's here! The most magical month of the year has arrived! I promise, it will fly by faster than any other month, so take charge of it and decide how you want to spend it. Of course, I have plenty of ideas. 

1. Make a countdown to Christmas. There are so many cute ideas for this online. Why buy an advent calendar when you can make your own? I've seen them with 25 different candies, flavored beers, Christmas movies...they can be as extravagant or as simple as you want. Just make something that will make counting down to the 25th fun!

2. Decorate for Christmas! If you didn't do this the second after Thanksgiving, like I did, do it now!

3. Make some Christmas music stations. I would say "make a Christmas mixed CD," but we both know you're just going to make a pandora station.

4. Dress your dog up like Santa. Or a reindeer. Or an elf. The possibilities are endless.

5. Buy or make someone a gift in secret. Like I've said, being generous does not have to be expensive. $5 can make someone's whole week.

6. Decorate gingerbread houses.

7. Go on a Christmas light scavenger hunt. I'll post more about this soon!

8. Have a classic Christmas movie night. Whether you watch the old classics, like It's a Wonderful Life, or the newer classics, like Elf and Home Alone...pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate, and have a marathon.

9. Buy new pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. I'm going to use being pregnant as my excuse to wear them all day on Christmas.

10. Play Dirty Santa. The best part of any Christmas party!

11. Kiss someone under mistletoe. 

12. Make Christmas cookies. 

13. Do a 12 days of Christmas for someone. Growing up, there would be a stocking hanging on my door with a cute little trinket in it every day in the 12 days leading up to Christmas. My mom got most of these things at the dollar store, but it added so much to Christmas and it was so fun to wake up to a little gift every day.

Note: You can also do a grown-up version of this. I am married and pregnant, yet still cannot bring myself to write about these things on the internet. But if you want to make your man's Christmas, google "12 lays of Christmas." (So sorry, Dad.) 

14. Look into Christmas festivities in your town. Most towns offer fun things around Christmastime...parades, Christmas tree lightings, that sort of thing!

15. Send Christmas cards. I've never been one to want to take pictures and have professional Christmas cards to send out each year, but there's something fun about picking up a pack of cards from the dollar store and sending them to your loved ones.

16. Plan a Christmas dinner. It doesn't have to be on Christmas, but plan to cook something fun and festive!

17. Start a Christmas devotional. It's nice to remind yourself what it's all about.

18. Watch the Grinch. And The Holiday. And Elf. And...I will have a list for you soon.

19. Have a full on Christmas day. Maybe your schedule is hectic this year and won't allow for lots of days spent celebrating. If that's the case, dedicate one day to doing all your favorite holiday things. Bake cookies, watch movies, go shopping..whatever it is that you love doing around Christmastime.

20. Make cookies for Santa. I don't care that we're still kid-less, me and Chris make cookies for Santa. And we get to eat them without having to be sneaky about it. Sorry, Santa.

21. Take way too many no-pressure pictures. Snap up the memories, and don't worry too much about posing the perfect picture. Just capture life!

22. Go on a Christmas date. 

23. Make the most of a festive month, whether you have money to spend or not. I'll let you in on a secret: We're having a baby next month. We've been flying all over for residency interviews. So to say that we aren't exactly in a situation to blow tons of money on every single day of celebrating Christmas would be accurate. But you don't have to spend money to celebrate. 

Take advantage of a season where everything feels more festive. Listen to Christmas music while you cook dinner (free). Go for a walk and look at Christmas lights (free). Make shopping for gifts for your family into a date (free-you would have done the shopping anyway). Just make the most of celebrating the most magical time of the year, and don't get hung up on money.

24. Exchange a gift on Christmas Eve. I'm pretty sure that this tradition started when I was little because the temperature had dropped a lot on Christmas Eve, and my parents had bought me and my brother new coats for Christmas. Either way, growing up, we got to open one present on Christmas Eve. Obviously. I have made Christopher continue this tradition.

25. Soak up every bit of magic that Christmas Day has to offer. This day is scientifically proven to fly by faster than any other day of the whole year. Soak it all in.

26. Combat the Christmas hangover. Whether you do this by staying in bed and watching movies all day or going out on the town, do something fun! Me, I'll be freaking out over how it's almost time to have a baby. Don't mind me.

27. Go for a hot-cocoa walk and soak up the last bit of the town being covered in Christmas. 

28. Return/exchange any gifts. Let's be honest: If you don't do this soon, you won't get around to it until it's too late.

29. Bundle up and have a late night picnic under the stars. With hot cocoa!

30. Write a letter to 2015.

31. Celebrate New Years! 

How will you be spending the best month of the year?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Goodbye November, Hello December.

And just like that, Thanksgiving weekend has passed and we're back to real life. Except this month, real life is all about celebrating Christmas. Sure, I have to go back to work today and tackle a long to-do list, but I'm currently drinking peppermint mocha coffee out of a snowman mug (that I got at the dollar store 3 years ago, holllaaaa), listening to Christmas music and staring at my Christmas tree. If that's what real life looks like, I have zero complaints about welcoming December. 

Goodbye, November. 

Goodbye to the coziness of fall.

Goodbye to pumpkin coffee and baking pumpkin everything.

Goodbye to fall decorations-tiny pumpkins and scarecrows and sunflowers.

Goodbye to the beginning of the perfect touch of chill in the air.

Goodbye to Thanksgiving.

Goodbye to the weeks until the baby comes being in the double-digits.

Goodbye to a romantic month of fall dates, pumpkin patch outings, and sweet thanksgiving celebrations.

Goodbye, fall. Goodbye, November. You were one of my favorites yet. 

Hello, December. 

Hello to my favorite month of the entire year.

Hello to all Christmas, everything, all the time.

Hello to being able to count the weeks until the baby comes on. one. hand.

Hello to peppermint mocha taking the place of pumpkin spice.

Hello to Christmas decorations and making my tiny apartment look like a Christmas village.

Hello to drinking coffee by a lit Christmas tree every morning.

Hello to a month full of list making, present shopping, and being sneaky.

Hello to watching every Christmas movie I can get my hands on.

Hello to only listening to Christmas music.

Hello to the last full month of just me & Christopher.

Hello to Christmas parties.

Hello to some of my favorite days of the entire year: Going to see the Christmas parade at Universal & Christmas Eve & Christmas dates!

Hello to living in the moment, to soaking up every moment of magic, to savoring this festive, perfect season.

Hello, December. I sure am glad to see you. 

What are you saying hello and goodbye to this December?

Friday, November 27, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS & 33 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember.

It's the day after Thanksgiving, which means HELLO, CHRISTMAS! If you think I will be spending today doing anything other that listening to Christmas music, putting up the tree, and drinking hot chocolate, you clearly don't know me. 

Christmas is my favorite thing in the world, but I also adore fall, so I am very serious about waiting until the day after Thanksgiving for anything Christmas-related. But here we are, so bring on allllll the Christmas! 

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, but it was also 33 weeks for me and baby Jack!

  • Last week, we traveled all over. We covered North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas in just four days. It was an adventure and I'm so glad I got to see those places that could be potential new homes for us! However, I do believe I have hit my traveling limit until the baby comes. Traveling while pregnant is hard. 
  • Speaking of: Wanna know what else starting happening this week? Contractions. I've been having Braxton Hicks for a few weeks now, but this week they started to hurt. Is the baby coming? Nope! Just my body playing pranks. Really cool. I feel like the last two months of pregnancy should be super chill and pain-free since you're gearing up for a life-changing and most likely pretty painful experience, but hey, no one asked me. 
  • Thanksgiving was yesterday, and I obviously took my "eating for two" responsibility very seriously. Gotta keep this little guy fed, am I right? 
  • This holiday season is the most sentimental one yet. I want to enjoy every second of it just being Christopher and me, but at the same time, we keep talking about how next Thanksgiving and Christmas, we'll be a family of three! It makes me view the holidays in a whole new light, especially Thanksgiving. My heart has never been so full!
33 weeks down, 7(ish) to go. PS: That's less than 50 days. WHAT IS LIFE.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a wonderful, magical day filled with family and friends and entirely too much delicious food. I hope you watch the Macy's Day Parade in a home full of holiday cheer.

If you go Black Friday shopping tonight, I hope you have a safe late night/early morning full of good deals and warm coffee.

Most of all, I hope your day is full of overwhelming love and thankfulness. I hope that you make memories today that will fill your heart with thankfulness for the entire year to come.

Let today be a reminder of how much we really have to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving! xo

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Just Us: Our Thanksgiving.

Today is one of my favorite days of the entire year. It's a festive day full of love and chaos and really good food. It's a day that kicks off the Thanksgiving celebrations, and it's a day of celebrating how thankful I really am for Christopher and our marriage.

This will be the third year we've celebrated our own personal Thanksgiving, and it's a tradition I'm so glad we started.

Every year on the day before Thanksgiving, we go to Whole Foods. I think this is probably their busiest day of the year-it's absolutely chaotic, and that's part of the fun! We pretend we're rich for the day and pick out appetizers, drinks, desserts, the whole nine yards. Then we go home and cook everything and have the best night ever, eating delicious food and celebrating life and all we have to be thankful for.

I have never been more thankful for Chris than I am this year. We're right on the cusp of all these big changes, and every day is filled with so much unknown. But in a time where it would be very easy to freak out and miss out on all the good, I'm able to look at my very best friend and know that no matter what, he will be by my side. And because of that, I'm able to cherish every moment.

I love you, Christopher. I've never been so thankful to have such an amazing life partner. You're my babe, forever and always. 

In the hustle and bustle of tomorrow, don't let the holiday pass without taking a minute to tell your significant other that you're thankful for them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The World Can be so Ugly. The World Can be so Beautiful.

I was watching a movie with Chris last Friday night, and he paused it so he could finish dinner. I picked up my phone and was alarmed by the onslaught of pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the hashtag, #prayforparis. Over the next few hours, I watched as a horrific, heartbreaking story developed.

My heart broke for the people whose lives were torn apart on a seemingly normal Friday night, and when I woke up the next morning, my heart broke for the baby I'm carrying inside of me. I sat on the couch watching the sun come up, and wondered why I thought that bringing a baby into this world--a world clearly so awful and evil--was okay.

It sounds dramatic, I know. But the thought of my baby having to grow up in a world where things like this honestly aren't shocking just really rocked me to my core. Because when he comes out in a few weeks, I won't be able to protect him from evil like this. I won't be able to shield him from the fact that there are awful people in the world, and that sometimes the world can be a terrible place.

But as I sat there, snuggling Gatsby and waiting on Chris to wake up so we could spend the day at Universal, I thought about how Jack being born into this world also meant that he would get to one day experience sunrises and lazy Saturdays.

He'll get to experience the wonder of waking up to presents left by Santa. He'll get to learn to read books. He'll get to play in the mud with his grandpa and read books with his grandma. He'll have my best friend as his cool uncle to bail him out of trouble every now and then. He'll get to go to school and make friends. He'll get to come home to parents who love him.

He'll get to experience the thrill of the first time he asks a girl on a date. He'll get to fall in love, and go on a journey to meeting someone he wants to spend his whole life with. He'll get to discover his passions.

He'll get to discover how good chocolate tastes. He'll make memories on his summer breaks from high school that he won't know are some of his most treasured possessions until years later. He'll get to feel the rush of going to his first party. He'll sit around bonfires on the beach, he'll go to concerts, he'll discover what his favorite beer is. He'll meet his favorite people, discover his tribe, and change the world.

And he'll get to do all of this because sometimes, the world is a beautiful place.

So yes, it breaks my heart to think that one day, he'll have to learn how real evil is in this world. But he'll also get to learn how beautiful the world can be. And I think that is the best thing I can ask for.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Foxes and Fairy Tales: A Perfect Fall-Themed Baby Shower.

My baby shower was nothing short of perfection. Every single detail reflected my personality so much, and it was just the most beautiful day. It was a party full of all of my favorite people and my  favorite things! 

The day was all about the little fox on his way! This invitation (which will probably be hanging on my refrigerator forever) could not have been more perfect, and it came with a matching insert that said "Please bring a book instead of a card." So baby Jack now has pretty good library started with notes from people who love him already. I swoon. 

A little secret about these: They are some of the best macaroons I have ever had. They are way better than the ones from Whole Foods. Another secret: They are from Sam's Club. In the frozen section. You're welcome. 

A friend made that blanket just for Jack! How sweet?!

No baby shower is complete without fairytale elements of some sort! These letters were cut out from storybooks and then covered in glitter. Fairytales and glitter-my favorite things!

I can't wait to hang this in my apartment! The colors are perfect. Also, that giant stuffed fox...he came home with me, and him and Gatsby have been getting to know each other.

Little foxes and gold pumpkins: More of my favorite things in the world. Obviously, this guy came home with me. Pro tip for throwing a baby shower-if you're buying decor anyway, buy things the guest of honor will take home and use for her nursery! It was the sweetest gift to be able to take these home and know they will one day decorate my little man's room!

Instead of a guest book, guests took pictures in front of this backdrop, holding a chalkboard with a message for baby Jack! 

If you happen to be wondering the way to my heart, it is not with a bouquet of flowers, it is with a bouquet of forest creatures. 

Handmade flowers all over the house...I swoon. 

No fall shower is complete without some apple cider!

 Book pages like this were hung all over and made into garlands.