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Friday, April 29, 2016

Goodbye April, Hello May.

April felt like such a long month in the very best way. It was so full, I can hardly believe we only had four weeks of it. I love when months are like that.

Goodbye April.

GOODBYE, MEDICAL SCHOOL! Clearly, I'm only a little excited about this.

Goodbye, birthday month. You were super fun.

And really, that's all I'm saying goodbye to this month. For once, it's less about the goodbyes and more about the hellos. Isn't that the best? A new season, and SO many new hellos.

Hello May.

Hello Christopher's graduation. Hello to him becoming a doctor. Hello to being done with med-school  f o r e v e r . 

Hello to trying to buy our own house in our new city.

Hello, packing and decluttering our tiny apartment.

Hello to the hot, summer weather that will stick around until September, maybe later. I'm so excited for Jack's first summer, and so happy that it gets to be a Florida summer!

Hello to a month so full of celebration.

Hello to beginnings and ends. The end of our time in Orlando, the end of four years of hard work and med-school. The beginning of a new chapter, a new city, a new season.

Oh, and hello to being a doctor's wife. Fair warning, I'm going to be insufferable about this for at least a month. You've been warned.

What are you saying goodbye and hello to this month?
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

What April Taught Me.

I can do hard things. See also: Jack is teething. I realize that this sounds silly-people do hard things every day, and I'm comparing a baby growing teeth, as all humans do, to hard things. You can laugh, it's cool. But teething Jack is a fussy, clingy, sleepy-but-won't-sleep baby. It's so sad, and I wish that I could just tell him that it's going to be okay and he's going to love having teeth, but since his english isn't that good yet, I have to settle for holding him 80% of the day.

And I love snuggling him all day! But trying to do that, along with other things like, you know, working...well, it's hard. But I'm doing it, and nothing in my life has fallen apart just yet, and I'm actually pretty proud of that. And it's totally okay if you're laughing at me.

I can't do everything. Why is this even on here? Why have I not learned this yet? I think this might be one of those things that everyone is constantly learning, forever. You can do hard things, but you can't do everything. So pick the most important stuff and do that, because everything else can wait.

I'm ready to be settled. I think I fight the idea of this, because there's something romantic about the idea of being adventurous and always going somewhere new. I still want those things; I want to travel and be spontaneous and raise Jack to be a wild and free little adventurer, I just want to have a long-term home base while doing all those things.

Having somewhere of our own, somewhere no one can raise the rent and make us have to decide if it's worth it to stay another year, somewhere with a yard and a swing set and string lights, somewhere we can paint and hang pictures and just settle into that is what sounds romantic to me.

True, deep happiness doesn't go away because of circumstances. I am so happy. Unapologetically happy. The kind of happy that circumstances can't touch. Teething baby? Tired, but still happy. Someone bought our dream home just hours before we were putting an offer in? Bummed, but still happy. Really, life is way too short to let little things get in the way of your happiness.

What has this month taught you?
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Let's Have Coffee.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that house hunting is both exciting and terrifying. And that it moves quickly and slowly at the same time. The thought of committing to one house for such a long time is a little bit scary and a whole lot thrilling. I can't wait to make a house ours. I'm so excited to decorate it with bright colors and pictures and not worry about what I'm allowed to paint or hang on the wall. It's going to be so much fun.

I'd probably show you my planner and tell you that it's the best one I've ever used. It's completely customizable and is so much fun to use. It's called The Happy Planner, and it's very aptly named. I love waking up and drinking coffee and jotting things down in it. I'm a planner junkie, so trust me when I say: You need one. 

Also speaking of things you need, I got this Journaling Bible and it's gorgeous. You should be able to use creativity in all areas of your life, even when it comes to in reading the Bible.

I'd tell you that there are 23 days until Chris graduates and becomes an actual doctor. This fills me with more pride and excitement than I even know how to put into words. It's such a huge, massive accomplishment that's been so long in the making, it doesn't even feel real yet. I'm so excited for him and I'm so excited for us and I'm just so freaking excited. 

With new beginnings so close...a new house and a new city and a new phase of life...I feel so inspired. There's so much potential that comes with fresh starts. On that note, I'm learning that it's one hundred percent possible to be overwhelmed and inspired and exhausted and happy and stressed and content all at the same time. I think it's called being a mom. 

What's new with you?
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Books I Read in April (And Whether or Not You Should Read Them).

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Plot: "One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter. 

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: I didn't copy any down. 

My thoughts: This one took me a very long time to finish. Actually, that's not completely true. It took me a very long time to finish the first half. After that, I was intrigued and wanted to know what happened. So obviously, I found the first half a little bit slow. It's written in before/after split perspectives, which was interesting towards the end, but it took me a little while to feel invested. That being said, once I got towards the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down. And I really was shocked by the ending, which I love. 

Should you read it? Maybe. It reminded me of The Girl on the Train. I didn't love it, but it did reel me in and managed to surprise me a bit. If you liked The Girl on the Train or books like that, I think you'll like this one. 

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Plot: "The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too. With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In 
Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote(s): "My brain turns toward fiction like a flower toward the sun, like writing with my right hand...spinning tall tales... knitting yarns made of stories is my dirty little vice, and I like it. But it's not just a bad habit. I need to do it, I have to do it."

"My point is that it can be scary to graduate. That you can lie on the hardwood floor of your dorm room and cry while your mom packs up your stuff. That you can have an impossible dream to be Toni Morrison that you have to let go of. That every day you can feel like you might be failing at work or at your home life. That the real world is hard.

And yet, you can still wake up every single morning and go, "I have three amazing kids and I have created work I am proud of, and I absolutely love my life and I would not trade it for anyone else's life ever.."

You can still wake up one day and find yourself living a life you never even imagined dreaming of.

My dreams did not come true. But I worked really hard. And I ended up building an empire out of my imagination. So my dreams? Can suck it."

My Thoughts: I got this book because this woman is a writer who pretty much owns television right now. I wanted a look behind the scenes, to hear stories about my favorite shows. I assumed it was just going to be a very interesting autobiography. And it was-but there was so much in there I wasn't expecting! She talks a lot about creative process, about failure and fears, and even surprising things such as being a good mom. It left me feeling inspired and motivated and like all my dreams could come true.

Should you read it? Yes!

Bossypants by Tina Fey 

Plot: "Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: Way too many to list. I started keeping track of them, until I realized there was at least one on almost every page. She hilariously recaps her thoughts on Kim Kardashian and the expectation of women's bodies, what she prays for her daughter,  stories from high school and college. One of the more serious quotes from the book: 

"So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you."

My thoughts: Tina Fey for President. Really. This book is a hilarious look at her life and successes, but it also covers some serious issues. Any book that can make me laugh out loud while also bringing up real-life issues is a winner.

Should you read it? If you know who Tina Fey is, then yes. If you don't, first reexamine your life, then read this book. Priorities, you know.

What are you reading this month?
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Your New Favorite Blog: Oh Dear Abbey.

You know those blogs that you follow along with, and reading them is like catching up with a friend over coffee? That's how Abbey's blog is. If you read her about me, she'll strike you as a bit of a modern-day Audrey Hepburn. If you know me at all, you know I consider that a huge compliment. 

I've asked her a few questions so you can get to know her better!

Hands-down it has to be the community! I’m sure this response is a dime a dozen, but isn’t the point of all of this to connect with others through our words? Everyone that I’ve had the chance of connecting with so far through my blog has just been beyond wonderful. I can’t wait to meet more people! 

Always, always say ‘yes’ to new adventures.

This video, which I’m sure everyone has seen already since it’s been circulating for a little while. I just can’t get over how cute and funny it is! 

“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” – Audrey Hepburn

Comments have been turned off so you can go say hi to Abbey instead!

want your own post like this? click here!
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Look Around, It's All For You.

When I was younger, the winter Olympics were my favorite thing for one reason and one reason only: The iceskating. I loved watching the girls (and guys too, I guess) spin around in their sparkly outfits, dancing and gliding on ice effortlessly to popular songs. I can remember twirling around in my room after watching them, falling asleep promising myself that I would take up iceskating one day. Spoiler alert: I have gone iceskating a handful of times, and none of them have been particularly successful. It just wasn't meant to be.

I can remember one night of watching in particular, where a very young-looking girl did an incredible job, earning her a near-perfect score. The crowd went wild, and people began throwing roses and teddy bears onto the ice for her, chanting her name and cheering. She shrieked in excitement, got teary-eyed, waved at the crowd, and then quickly skated back over to her little dugout (or whatever the iceskating equivalent is).

Before she could step off of the ice, though, her coach stopped her and turned her back around. She gestured towards the dramatic, cheerful scene unfolding and whispered something to her. I'm not sure what all she said, but the camera got close enough to make out the words, "Look around at all of this. It's all for you." 

As the girl turned to really take it in, she collapsed into her coach's arms and began sobbing. The crowd continued cheering even more, and even though I was just a little girl, I cried, too. It was such a beautiful scene, watching someone achieve what they had worked so hard for. Hearing the crowd chant her name in a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

That scene has stuck with me. Every now and then I think of it, and it gives me goosebumps. Sometimes it even makes me cry again, so many years later. Because it reminds me so much of life. How we can sometimes just rush through our days, giving everything a quick once-over before moving onto the next thing. How we sometimes let huge successes in our lives slip by unnoticed, because we still have so much else to do. How we turn our backs on incredible beauty and gifts-the sunrise and laughter and summertime and good music-the entire universe cheering us on, chanting our names, throwing roses at our feet-because we've forgotten it's all for us.

Look around. Stop and take in how breathtaking the sunrise can be. Close your eyes and soak in the way the wind feels against your skin. Throw your head back and laugh with abandonment when you feel joyful. Literally stop and smell the roses. Celebrate your successes. Appreciate the feeling of the grass under your feet. Take a day off and hang out by the pool and enjoy how good life truly is. Your life. The one full of beautiful things that you are currently living in.

Look around, it's all for you.
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Things I Believe in This Week.

Making a second pot of coffee. Some days it's a second cup, and some days it's a second pot. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Pairing busywork with an audiobook. You may not be able to read while you get work done, but you can listen to someone else read to you while you work. 

Shopping in the men's section for t-shirts. Take Forever 21 and their graphic tees for example. I can buy one from the men's section for $12. Or I can go over to the women's section and buy half of the same shirt (literally, cut off before your belly button, half) for twice the money, because it was made for girls. No thank you! Bonus: The guys t-shirts are often pretty hilarious.

Sometimes you it's worth it to give up sleep to get stuff on your to-do list done. And sometimes it's worth giving up getting stuff done to get some sleep. Give and take, people, give and take.

There's not always going to be a clear right decision and a clear wrong decision. When this happens, you just have to trust your gut, even if it's terrifying to do so.

Being happy is worth it. It's worth the hard work it may take to get there, and it's worth the things you may have to kick out of your life to make it happen. Life is short; be happy.

What do you believe in this week?
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Look at The Good More Than You Look at The Bad.

As our time in Orlando comes to a close, I'm getting so excited about moving into an actual house. I've loved our studio, but ever since the tiny person joined the party this year, things have gotten pretty cramped. Looking at houses online and imagining having two or three bedrooms (that have doors! I haven't had rooms with doors in two years!) and a fenced-in backyard and a driveway where you can just pull up and walk inside instead of parking in a six story garage and waiting on an elevator sounds incredible to me.

As the possibility of having all of these things comes near, I find myself getting frustrated with our current living situation easier than I normally would. I get irritated by the lack of space, how there's nowhere to take Jack if he's crying and Chris is asleep. I get frustrated by how it's such a process to take Gatsby outside. Irritated with how quickly it looks messy, how a day of cleaning can seemingly be undone by just a few things left out in such a small space.

We actually went to look at houses on Monday, and while it made me all the more thrilled for moving there, it also reminded me of how much I have loved our tiny apartment. I will always, always cherish it and the time we've spent there. I'll never forget when we first moved in, the thrill of living seventeen stories in the sky with an all glass wall. I'll never forget waking up bright and early for the first few weeks of living there, watching the sunrise. I'll always remember laying in bed with Chris, laughing at how much this new place felt like a vacation, and we got to live in it. It was beautiful and breathtaking and stunning and a once-in-a-lifetime kind of apartment.

And it still is. It didn't stop being those things. What happened is that I allowed myself to look at the bad more than I was looking at the good, and like with anything else, whenever that happens, the good seems to shrink dramatically.

So today, I'm reminding myself of how important it is to look at the good. The good is always, always there. And it always deserves to be looked at way more often than the bad does. So I'm enjoying this view for the last few weeks I have it. I'm cherishing the sunrises that shine through the glass wall. I'm soaking in the coziness of the one room we do everything in. It has been so, so good to me, and I will always look back on it with such happiness.

But also: I am really, really excited to have doors again. 
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Things First: How to Make a New City Feel Like Home.

I'm not someone who does great with mass amounts of change. I'm working on it, because I want to be this free, adventurous soul who just goes with the flow. But we live in reality, and here I still find lots of change hard.

Before we found out where we'd be moving, I starting thinking about what I love about Orlando and how I'm so comfortable here. I wondered how I would be able to feel like that in a new town. So, being the easy-going, go with the flow, whatever-happens-happens girl that I am (ha), I made a list. A list of things to do first, no matter where we move, to make a new city feel a bit more like home.

Find your Library. I love the romantic notion of filling my home to the brim with books. I love the idea of just buying any book I come across that I may one day like to read. But, I also really like the thought of having enough money to buy groceries. Because of this, the library is my best friend. As soon as I have lived at my new house long enough to have two pieces of mail addressed to me at my new address, I am getting a library card.

Find your Take-Out Haven. We all have days that were just too busy, too stressful to even think about cooking dinner. We also all have days that are hard and result in the need for a hug in the form of food cooked by someone else. When these days happen, there is a safe little haven known as the take-out place. This haven is different for everyone, but for me, it's Chinese food. There's rarely a problem that can't be solved with some good Chinese food. Moving week can be brutal, so it's probably best to start testing out take-out havens as soon as you get to your new city.

Find your Church. If you're like me, finding a good church just feels like home. It's a comforting and refreshing addition to the week, and finding one you like can make a new town quickly feel like home. Plus, trying out different churches automatically gives you something to do and a way to meet new people. If church isn't your thing, fill in the blank with whatever is. Find your art museum or your book club or your fitness center.

Find your Grocery Store. For when you run out of money for take-out. Listen, I don't particularly like grocery shopping. It's draining and a commitment and then, after you have foraged through the store in search of all the items on your list, you have to drive home and actually unload all the food. It's just not my idea of fun. However, finding a good (and clean, please) grocery store where things are in relatively easy-to-find places (I'm looking at you, Target who puts the baby formula with the cat litter) can make a not-so-fun task enjoyable enough to not dread it.

Make your house homey. I absolutely cannot wait for this one. I want to decorate our new house slowly, only filling it with things we absolutely love. I don't want to buy a bunch of so-so things just because I'm in a rush to get it done. That being said, there are things that make your house feel like your house. Things like your favorite blanket and your chipped coffee mug that you just can't bring yourself to throw away. Put those things where you can see them, because this is your house now, and they belong. And so do you.

How do you make a new town feel like home?
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