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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Four Years.


four years &

three cities &

three apartments & 

one house &

one dog (fox?) & 

one perfect baby &

one messy, wonderful life. 

When we got married four years ago today, I would have never imagined our life now. To be fair, I didn't really know that residency was a thing when we got married, and our plan for having kids was to make a plan in five years or so (ha), but still. It would have been tough to imagine where we are today. Two people who have built a life together. That's what marriage is, it's building a life together. 

We were both in a wedding this summer and had been pretty much separated the whole weekend, and the afternoon of getting ready, Chris texted me that he was in the hallway of the girls' hotel and had brought me Chinese food. All of the girls getting ready thought it was so sweet, and said, "I want to marry someone who brings me Chinese takeout, too." I laughed, but I agree. And as silly as this sounds, that's what a good marriage is. It's having someone know that you're going to be hungry after spending six hours getting your hair and makeup done, and not even needing to text you to double check or ask what your order is. It's having someone show up when you didn't ask them to, bearing fried rice. And if that's not just the best thing in the world, I don't know what is. 

Happy anniversary to my partner in crime. Love you always. 

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dear 2016.

Dear 2016, 

I feel like I could make this very simple and just give a quick, "to hell with last year!" and be done...but this: 



and this: 



and this: 


So I can't just write you off as some weird year that kind of sucked (although, I've gotta say, that seems to be the general consensus) and was really painful (even though that's true), because in the midst of everything else, you were the best year of my life. 

Two weeks into you, my life was permanently changed when Jack joined the party. Everything clicked, and my life became complete in a way I didn't know I was waiting on. 

You are the year that made me a mom. And you know, I'm actually pretty good at it. So thank you. 

When I look back at the last 365 days, it's sort of shocking how much can happen in a single year. You were quite the rollercoaster, my friend. But, as I reflect at the close of this chapter, I can see this: 

I am the strongest version of myself that I have ever been. If someone would have made a list and handed it to me and told me, "This is everything you will have to handle this year" I probably would have checked myself in somewhere because there is just no way. But I did it. I handled newborn life and rank lists and uncertainty and match day and moving and intern year and dark times and loss and confusion. I would like to say I did it all with grace and dignity, but alas, not true. Instead, I fought my way through this year. 

I won't sugarcoat it: You sucked. You sucked a lot. But 2016 will always be the year that brought me Jack, the greatest, greatest gift. And because of that, you've earned yourself a spot in the best years category. Lucky break for you, I guess. 

I've never had such a good year, I've never had such an anxiety-ridden year. I've never been more thankful for a year, I've never been more ready to say goodbye to a year. 

So, 2016: Thanks for making us a family. Thanks for being the year that brought us to a new home in a new city where we can settle in. Thanks for working out when you did and thanks for making me stronger when you didn't. 

And now: Goodbye, good riddance, I'm keeping Jack but you can have everything else, I never want to see you again, get out of my life, BOY BYE. 

PS: Dear 2017: PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOODNESS CAN YOU BE BETTER AND MORE CHILL THAN THIS CRAZY YEAR? 

What did 2016 look like for you?
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What December Taught Me.


Welcome back to real life, friends! I hope you all had the merriest Christmas ever and that your post-Christmas blues aren't too painful. Not to rub it in your face, but this picture is from yesterday. I spent the day after Christmas in an 85-degree paradise by the pool. If there's one way to fix the after-Christmas slump, it's that one. 

December is coming to a close, as is 2016, so it's time to talk one final time about what I'm learning from this year. December taught me. . . 

To be more present. I know a lot of people say, Stop working, put your phone away, be more present! But that's not my problem. Mine is that I look ahead and try to plan, constantly. Chris doesn't get a lot of time off, so when he does, I always want to take advantage of it. Sometimes that makes me look ahead too much and not enjoy the moment. We'll be on a walk and instead of just enjoying the walk and the time we have together, I'll be thinking, if we head home in the next five minutes, then we could eat dinner quickly, then we'd still have time to watch a movie before we need to go to sleep so we can get up early enough to go to breakfast and have time to go shopping after that. Please tell me I am not the only one who does this. 

I'm learning that on many days, silencing my need to plan every detail is the key to being present and enjoying the moment. 

To think more about my priorities. December always seems to bring the reminder that you don't have time for everything. You don't have money for everything, you can't go to everything you're invited to, you can't do everything you want to do...you have to choose what's most important to you. This is something I want to carry on throughout the year. I want to think often about what my biggest priorities are and shape my days around those. 

To put things in perspective more often. Life is good, end of story. There are hard days, but those will always (eventually) be followed by good days. We made it through this crazy year and had a wonderful Christmas. The good is always on its way.

That Christmas with a baby is the most magical thing ever. There's really no way to explain this, so I'll just leave you with a picture. 


I MEAN. Pure joy. Nothing like getting to see that for the first time. 

What did this month teach you?
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Everything + A Happy Always.


Every year around this time, I get so overwhelmed with thankfulness. The music and the lights and the cheer make me feel so happy and sentimental. The heat is on (sometimes...this is Florida, after all), the presents start stacking up under the tree, and I think about how fortunate I am. Not only do I have a home to sleep in, but I can buy presents for the people I love. 

I think about what Christmas signifies for me - The birth of a savior. About how vastly different my life is because of that. I think about how many people I love, and how many people love me. And I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness and feel so, so lucky. 

This year, though. This year there just aren't words. 

I could sit here and write out a list of everything I'm thankful for and why, but there's too much. My baby and my love and my family and my old friends and my new friends and grace and good food and my house and my city and, and, and, and...

Instead, I'll just say I hope you feel thankful today too. I hope I can carry this feeling...this overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and humbleness and awe and coziness and cheerfulness...I hope I can carry it into all of 2017. This year has had its ups and its downs, but sitting near the end of it, I am thankful for each day, even the ones that hurt, because they all brought me to this place. 

Merry Christmas, friends. May you have the most wonderful holiday weekend ever. And may you capture the wonderful feelings that surround you this weekend and hold them dearly in your heart the whole year long. 

I'll leave you with my good friend Linus, because no one says it like he does. 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Seven Christmases.

Seven Christmases ago, I spent December 22 both making a scrapbook for a boy I had only dated for six months and worrying that a scrapbook was an inappropriate gift for that early in a relationship. We exchanged gifts on December 23rd, not knowing then that we were unofficially picking a day that would always be special to us. PS: The scrapbook was the perfect gift. 

Six Christmases ago, we spent December 23rd driving around the town we had fallen in love in a year and a half ago. I made a scavenger hunt and gave him cheesy little gifts at each stop. We took pictures and ate ice cream and laughed and watched the sunset and it was perfect.

Five Christmases ago, December 23rd brought me the very best present in the form of a surprise proposal and a shiny diamond ring. With every gift I opened on Christmas morning, the ring caught my eye and reminded me just how perfect life was. 

Four Christmases ago, I was just a little distracted because my wedding was four days after Christmas. After almost a year of wedding planning, my dad put a ban on wedding talk for one day only, but that didn't stop me and my mom from sneaking off to the kitchen to remind each other of last minute things.

Three Christmases ago, I woke up in the same bed as the love of my life, in our first apartment. It was one of the best days of my life, opening gifts and playing with our new puppy fox. My heart was so full and life was so good. 

Two Christmases ago, we did all the fun Christmas things downtown had to offer and celebrated in our little apartment in the sky. Our tree was set up against the window and it looked like our Christmas lights blended right in with the city lights, and it was the perfect place to live. 

Last Christmas, we were right on the cusp on everything changing. We were two weeks out from the baby that had taken us by surprise that year, and it made Christmas feel so full. Everything was uncertain - what would parenthood be like? Where would we be living next Christmas? But as we spent our last Christmas just the two of us, everything felt so precious. On Christmas morning, we exchanged gifts and talked about how next year, there would be three of us. 

This Christmas, absolutely everything is different. It will be our first Christmas in our new city, our first Christmas with a house (that we decorated!), and our first Christmas with Jack. It has been wonderful. 

Jack has brought a whole new meaning to Christmas. The joy and thankfulness and celebration I usually feel this time of year is doubled because of him. Buying him toys and watching Christmas movies with him and dancing around the room to Christmas music while he laughs has made this the best Christmas ever. 

As I always do this time of year, I think about our first Christmas together and all the Christmases we've shared since then. And I look at my life now - my beautiful, messy, perfect, stressful, joyful life - and know that it all started because two teenagers fell in love in a little town by the beach. 

How many Christmases have you been with your significant other?

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Virtual Christmas Card: Merry Christmas From The Jacobs Family.

I've always wanted to do a Christmas card, and this year was going to be my year. We were going to get cute family pictures taken, I was going to order the prettiest foiled cards and send them out to everyone with little updates about our year...because really, if there was every a year that deserved a Christmas card / letter, it's this one. 

Alas, that did not happen. Instead, here we are. So do me a favor and pretend you just walked down to the mailbox and got this, and of course will hang it on your fridge.

***


Merry Christmas, friends!

For us, 2016 has been a year so full of new. I don't think we've ever had a year so full of changes and new things. 

New Baby: In January, we kicked 2016 off by welcoming Jack Isaiah Jacobs into our family. I don't think I need to even say this, but I'm a mom so I will: He's perfect. He has added so much to our lives. 

New City: March 18th is a day we'll always remember because it's the day we found out where the next seven years of our lives would be taking place. Gainesville! We have loved living here and have truly made this city our home over the last six months.

New Doctor: On May 20th, Chris graduated medical school and officially became an M.D. Proud doesn't even begin to describe it. The hard work and sacrifice that went into this are insurmountable, and to see it pay off was incredible. He's in general surgery residency now, still working just has hard, but getting to do so as a doctor now. 

New Home: Not only did we end up in a wonderful city, but we became home owners! We found the perfect house, one that seemed like it was made just for us. We went from living in a one bedroom studio apartment to a home with plenty of room and a big backyard for Jack and Gatsby. It still feels like a dream that it's actually ours! 

It has been the most incredible, whirlwind-like year of our lives. 


Merry Christmas! Thank you for being in our lives, near and far.  We love you. 

Love, 

Christopher, Chelsea, + Baby Jack Jacobs.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

It's the Merriest Week of All, Live it Well.


GUYS. We made it to the week of Christmas!

Yesterday we went Christmas shopping for Jack for the first time ever. It was my first time in a toy store at Christmastime since the years when the gifts I wanted actually came from a toy store. No matter how old you are, there's just something about a toy store at Christmas. 

We came home and wrapped Jack's presents and watched The Santa Clause. It was one of those nights that only comes around once a year and made me feel like only Christmas can. 

We get another week of nights like that...enjoy them.

Watch too many movies and listen to too much Christmas music and eat too many sweets. 

Stay up too late and wake up too early and squeeze all the time out that you can. 

Go shopping with the last-minute shoppers and eat lunch somewhere delicious. 

Bake and wrap and relax and drink hot chocolate and talk about how great this year has been and talk about how sucky this year has been. 

Do all the things that make it feel like Christmas to you. Drink your festive drinks and eat your Christmas cookies and laugh a lot and stress a little bit and enjoy and enjoy and enjoy. 

You get one final week of Christmas cheer, live it well. 

How will you be spending this week?

PS: How about some presents for you? I teamed up with some friends to bring you a fun little new year / new you giveaway! Christmastime is full of shopping for everyone else, so treat yo' self and enter here:

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Dear You.


Dear You, 

I hope that this Christmas season has been a wonderful one. I hope it's been full of magic and cheer and hustle and bustle and slowing down and savoring. I hope that if it hasn't, you start today. It's the merriest week of all, and it's not too late to start celebrating and savoring and enjoying to the fullest.

I hope that the next nine days are spent in the company of those who love you like no one else. If that's not an option this year, I hope the great gifts of memories and facetime help ease any sadness. I hope you still make Christmas magical in whatever home you're celebrating in. 

I hope you do whatever it is that you want to do this Christmas. That you don't feel pressured by the expectations of others. I hope you refuse to feel bummed that your presents and cookies and decorations didn't turn out quite Pinterest-perfect (do they ever?) and that you refuse to be guilted by the articles shaming you for giving your kids more that one present. I hope you find the perfect balance of what is just right for you, and that you celebrate in the way that makes you the very happiest. 

I hope that you take time to remember what it's all about. That you read the Christmas Story and call your family and tell them you love them. I hope you savor the good moments. 

I hope that you allow some of the wonder surrounding Christmas to creep in. I hope that you allow yourself to believe there is still magic left in this world.

I hope you say a simple no thank you to stress. No matter how many presents need to be bought or how many miles you need to travel or how many parties you have to attend. 

I hope that you remember that those who are closest to you love you, and they are not worried about what you're getting them for Christmas. They understand that this year's been hard, that your bank account is looking more dismal than you had hoped. That $5 gift you picked up at Target is going to make them happy because it's a gift from you. 

I hope that if Christmas is hard for you this year, you tell someone. That you let someone in. That you choose joy over pain and sweet memories over grief and celebrations over isolation.

I hope that every single day brings you unexpected joys, both big and small. I hope you learn to delight in the small things, like the warmth of Christmas coffee or the glow of the Christmas tree or the sight of excited little kids lining up to meet Santa. I hope you spend some time with Buddy the elf and the Grinch and the McCallister family. 

I hope your days are filled with all things merry and bright, with so much love and magic, with cheesy movies and Christmas music and eggnog and cheer. 

I hope this Christmas is nothing short of magical for you. I hope that when you remember it years from now, you'll think of it as one of the best holidays you've ever had. I hope that you feel the happiest you've felt in a very long time. 

Merry Christmas, beautiful friends.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Letters to Jack: Eleven Months.

My sweet little love, 

First things first, I can't believe that the next time I write one of these letters, you will be an entire year old. I feel like I've known you forever, but man can a year go by fast. 

Month ten was the most fun we've had yet. We had Thanksgiving, we went to universal, you met (and pretty much hated) the Grinch, we've watched Christmas movies, gone and looked at lights, and just had the best time. 

Every single day you are more and more aware. When we took you to look at Christmas lights, I could tell you were really taking it all in. You would turn and stare at lights, and after a few seconds of staring the biggest smile would slowly creep across your face. It was a moment I will never, ever forget. I hope you always stay this curious and in awe of the world around you. 

To say I am excited about the next two weeks is a massive understatement. YOUR FIRST CHRISTMAS. Chris and me and you and Gatsby are going to have the best day ever. I know you won't remember it, but I hope that you feel happy. And loved. Because you are so, so loved. 

Sorry in advance for making you take pictures with Santa. If meeting the Grinch is any indication, you're not gonna be too happy about that. But hey, we all have to take one for the team every now and then. 

I love you more than life, you silly, stinky, hilarious little babe. You have brought a whole new meaning to joy this year. 

Love you forever. xoxo
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Remember What it's All About: Stop & Savor.


The season of life I'm in right now forces me to stop and savor things while simultaneously reminding me of just how difficult that can be. Every single day is full of a thousand moments I want to remember forever, and every single day is full of busyness and work and stress that make it hard to slow down and do just that. 

Christmas season is my favorite season of all. Christmas with Jack is my favorite thing I've ever had. I want to enjoy the craziness of it all, not rush my way through it. 

Cherishing the moment doesn't come naturally to everyone all the time. Sometimes, especially during busy seasons like this, we have to consciously make a decision to savor it. Working out takes effort. Being good at your job takes effort. Growing a blog following takes effort. I put effort into all of those things, and I'm going to put effort into this. I hope you join me. Because these moments are so worth savoring. 

So that's what I'm going to do. For the next twelve days, I'm going to slow down and savor all the good parts. I'm going to sit on the couch and drink hot chocolate, I'm going to watch Christmas movies with Jack. I'm going to walk around the neighborhood and look at all the lights. And, because I love the hustle and bustle as much as I love the peace and quiet, I'll join the chaos that is Christmas shopping at the mall. I'll frantically wrap and mail presents. I'll enjoy it all. I'll worry a little less about having the perfect holiday and a little more about just enjoying the moment as it is. 

So here's your reminder: Slow down. Be present. Enjoy the chaos and the quiet, the frantic and the calm.

Twelve more days until Christmas. Cheers to making some good memories.  
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Monday, December 12, 2016

12 Gifts That Will Work for Absolutely Anyone on Your List.

This post was written in collaboration with uncommongoods.com. I received compensation, however, (as you can see in great detail below, ha) all thoughts are my own. I've been a customer myself several times, and I just really like talking about Christmas presents, okay? 

When it comes to people you need to buy gifts for, there are three categories: The people closest to you, who you'll need to get a great gift tailored to what they like, the people who you feel obligated to buy for, so you end up getting them a candle or a gift card, and the people who you want to buy a cool gift for, but you're not super close to them so A) You're not really sure what to get them, and B) You don't want to spend a ton of money. 

My friends, I have come to your rescue. We're talking alllll about that third category today. 

UncommonGoods has an extensive Christmas gift guide for all tastes and price ranges, and I've rounded up twelve gifts that will work for absolutely anyone on your list without seeming cliche and without breaking the bank. So, you're welcome. 

Also, before we get started, I know we all like to feel good about where we're spending our money, especially this time of year. I've shopped here before, but this year I learned two facts that make me feel even better about spending my money here: First, because of their Better to Give program, with every purchase you make, they donate a dollar to a non-profit of your choice. So far they've donated over 1 million dollars to charities all around the world. Secondly, the CEO is incredibly passionate about fair wages, and because of that, the lowest paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above minimal wage. I love that. 

Now that we know we're dealing with good people, let's get to the good stuff: Presents. 


Craft beer flight: How cute is this? It's way more personal than a six pack and some beer glasses, and if you have friends who enjoy trying out different beers, it's perfect. Every time we're at World of Beer I say I really want to steal one of these, but I guess purchasing one as a Christmas gift works too. 

Grilled cheese maker: Grilled cheese is something we all have in common. If you are single and you live alone, you probably make grilled cheese for yourself. If you are married, you probably beg your spouse to make you grilled cheese after a late night (just me?). If you have kids, you probably make grilled cheese for them. Therefore, this gift works for anyone. 

No-break pasta pot and strainer: Let me tell you a little bit about how making spaghetti goes at my house: Step one: Break the pasta so it all fits in the pan. Send about a fourth of the noodles flying across the room when you do this, causing a giant mess. Step 2) Boil. Step 3) Pour from the pot into a strainer, both burning yourself AND sending almost half of your pasta down the drain. Step 4) Wonder how you ended up with so little pasta. This gift solves all of those problems. It is genius. 

Parlor ice cream mixing setThis is, quite possibly, the coolest gift I have ever seen. You know in high school, you would go to Cold Stone or Marble Slab and order your favorite ice cream with all these goodies mixed in and it was heavenly? And then you'd come home and try to recreate it, but you couldn't because you didn't have one of those fancy slabs with the fancy spoons? WELL NOW YOU CAN. 


Bubble wrap calendarI like gifts that make me laugh when I open them. This fits the bill, and I would totally use it. I would probably also only make it a week before I popped them all, but hey, such is life. 

City map glass: Give this gift so your friend can think of their hometown (and you!) every time they pour themselves a drink. 

College dish towel: Have a friend that still reminisces about their college days? These adorable towels with details about different colleges are perfect. 

Flavor fusion water bottle: January is coming up, which means a new year, which means resolutions. AKA most of us will be trying to get healthier and work out more and drink more water. Making this the perfect gift, because plain water is just boring. My mom would love this. If yours wouldn't, you can see more gifts for moms on the uncommon goods gift guide.


Phonesoap smartphone sanitizer: Lets be honest, we probably all need this. But this is especially perfect for people who work in healthcare or with small children. I want to buy this for every mom I know who let's their sick kids play on their phones. If your friends aren't mom friends, check out almost 1,000 more gifts for women by clicking here.
Collar stay punchOn two different occasions, I've bought my husband nice, engraved collar stays. And do you know which ones he uses almost 90 percent of the time? Neither. He uses the plastic ones that come with the shirt. With this, you could make plastic collar stays out of sentimental things...maybe you paid off that credit card you ran up in college and you're feeling proud (and rich). Or you could use a hotel key from a memorable vacation. 
Bluetooth tracking tagThe best gifts are the ones you'd never buy yourself, but also really need. Would I ever buy a tracking tag for myself? Probably not. But do I constantly lose my keys and really need one? Most definitely. 
Takeout bowls: Last but not least, these are perfect for your friend who could live off of Chinese takeout (AKA me). I think the idea of eating out of the takeout containers is fun, but last time I put one in the microwave, it caught on fire. These seem much safer. 
Who do you need to shop for that has you stumped? 
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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 come...it 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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