why the words you use to define the last year matter.

reindeer jack

As each year comes to a close, it’s so nice to reflect on the year and lessons I’ve learned. However, my reflections of the last year went a little differently than usual.

I’ve been thinking about the words I want to use to describe the last year. There are a few words I’ve observed in my own life, news, social media, and from friends and family that I keep coming back to. I haven’t been able to get them out of my head. Fear, Hurt, and Shame. The more I take in the world around me, the more those three words resonate.

Fear

Fear alone seems to have become a part of a lot of people’s daily lives. It stems from politics, health concerns, natural disasters, finances, anxiety, safety, freedoms, the rising number of sexual harassment cases, shootings, hate rallies. It doesn’t end there. We may fear not being accepted for who we are, what will happen next, or being looked down on. We may fear we’re not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, trendy enough, beautiful enough. Perhaps we fear someone we love and care about doesn’t trust us. We may fear people we love won’t be in our lives anymore or for very much longer.

Misunderstanding leads to fear, and out of this comes fear of the unknown. When intentions, actions, or words are misunderstood and misinterpreted, we tend to begin our lock-down process. We as humans are designed to protect our physical state first and foremost, and then worry about everything else.

When we don’t know who we can trust, it’s easy to guard ourselves against the worst possible outcome. Fear causes us to build walls. I can see those walls everywhere. A lot of people are protecting themselves, never allowing a break in their strong veneers because of fear.

Hurt

Hurt. If there’s ever a word that is reverberating off every bad thing that’s happened this year, this would be it. I heard someone say something that has interested me for awhile, although now (of course) I can’t remember exactly who said it. They said, “Hurt people hurt people.” At first, the idea of that statement didn’t really mean anything to me. The profundity of it took a little while to seep in and show itself to me. Then I realized, “YES, THAT IS BEYOND TRUE!”

I can’t even begin to rehash the number of arguments, heated discussions, and distressing hardships I’ve experienced myself or witnessed that ultimately derive from hurt in someone’s life–whether past or present. There are countless stories from the news or social media or friends and family that reach into spaces where people are deeply hurting. It seems this pain can become a vicious cycle of feeling hurt and then causing hurt to others.

Many of the developing stories from the year that truly struck me are the amount of sexual harassment cases that have flooded the news. It takes my breath away for so many reasons. The amount of pain felt by the women and men who’ve been sexually harassed is overwhelming. To be someone in a position of affluence, power, influence, and/or even charm, and use it to cheapen another person’s worth… To coerce someone into feeling, for whatever reason, they had no other choice but to be targeted. All I can see is hurt. From both sides. The person of power who feels like they are above common decency or entitled to something sexual because of how hard they worked to get to where they are? That person is hurting. The person who’s been put in that lose-lose position and then expected to keep quiet? That person is hurting.

What made these people of power feel like they didn’t have to consider what their position meant to someone not of the same caliber? Why is it difficult for these people to realize that, if they abuse their power to get something from someone else who doesn’t feel empowered to say no, they are flat out wrong? They are causing damage with or without care for the other person’s well-being. They are whittling down the confidence held by these women and men who were being targeted. Why is it that we only tend to see the pain that someone caused and not want to discover the root of this pain? It doesn’t fix anything to shame the perpetrators into finally admitting their actions were wrong and kicking them off their Clydesdales. What are the root causes of these thoughts, actions, and words?

Whenever someone causes me hurt, I do my best to remember that they must be hurting, in some way, as well. And while this never makes what the other person has done okay, it makes me understand the human condition. We’re all flawed, each one of us with our own hurts, insecurities, and patchy values. We’re all working with what we have. It’s not up to me to make what someone else did about me. It’s ultimately about them and the pains they haven’t dealt with. It is up to me, however, to create boundaries for those who continually cause me hurt.

Shame

The best example of shame I can think of is from any sexual harassment case, so I have to bring it up again. Can you imagine the shame that both sides feel in a sexual harassment case? The one who was harassed feels shame because they weren’t able to say no, didn’t want to say no, or might feel like they let this happen to them. The one who was the harasser feels shame because they are now fully aware that taking advantage of someone else, especially in a sexual way, was deeply wrong. And now their shame is easily found on the internet. Now, both parties feel their shame, but it’s exponentially worse as they are exposed to the world, open to words of criticism and judgment from others.

“No one is superior to another, certainly not because of how ‘good’ one person is compared to another. We’re all people. And we’re all navigating.”

I ask you, though, to put yourself in their positions–the harasser and harassed. You might say you’d never be in either position. Well, then, think of whatever would bring you the most shame, especially if it were splattered all over the internet for public consumption. Think of what deep sadness you’d feel. Think of the amount of hurt you’d feel. Think of the fear you’d have for your future and what people would now think of you. Think of what it would be like. “May you find yourselves the bulls-eye of an easy target. May you be publicly flogged for all of your bad choices. And may your noses be rubbed in all of your mistakes.” That’s from the movie, Runaway Bride, from ages ago. The source doesn’t matter to me as much as what is said. This says that we all have messed up! No one is superior to another, certainly not because of how “good” one person is compared to another. We’re all people. And we’re all navigating.

Why the words we use to define this last year matter

It matters what words we use to the define and describe the year that’s nearly behind us.

It might seem like I’m focusing on the worst parts of the year. I don’t think so. I think it’s important to name those bad things that have happened and see them for what they are. Name the fear you felt, the hurt you felt, the shame you felt. And feel them. It’s so easy to shut down once we feel something that doesn’t feel good like gratitude or hope, joy or love, kindness or compassion.

This next quote helped me understand the idea that we tend to shy away from hard feelings. “It’s amazing how in our culture we don’t understand how to [be with our feelings.] We are so intellectual. We feel a big feeling and then think, ‘Something’s wrong with me.’ Actually, we are feeling machines who happen to think. What we need to learn to do, collectively, is how to observe our emotions without reacting to them. There’s so much intelligence in those emotions if we don’t shut them off and give priority to our intellect. We want the two working together.” Traci Ruble, a therapist and speaker who founded the Sidewalk Talk Listening Project, said that. I learned about her from one of my favorite podcasts, Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields. You can listen to Traci’s episode here, on Apple’s podcast app, or itunes.

How profound is that idea? That we must observe our emotions, but not react to them? We can become emotionally intelligent, identifying those hard feelings and not allow them to sway us. We can see our fear, yet not shut down and decide we shouldn’t trust anyone. We can witness our hurt and learn from it. We can be with our shame and grow as we overcome it.

I digress. This is why the words we choose to define our last year matter. We live our lives in two ways–our experiencing self and our remembering self. We have experienced hard things like fear, hurt, and shame. But if we allow ourselves to remember the last year with words that feel negative and heavy, then we are doing a disservice to our personal growth and well-being. If we allow that darkness to overtake our future days, it’s so much harder to move forward when we feel like we’re stuck in such heavy emotion. These are important feelings to have, recognize, and feel. But if we don’t attach hope to them, we lose the lessons we can learn from them, along with the benefits we can ultimately reap one day.

Here’s my thought. If we allow ourselves to remember our tough experiences as challenges or opportunities for personal growth or as hard lessons, then I think we’re allowing ourselves grace and room to breathe. If you had a bad year, think of those events as rough patches and challenges. If you are no longer speaking to someone you care about, think of this as a lesson in love and loss, and truly loving yourself. If things cascaded out of control this year, I think this gives you every reason to hope for the next year.

For me, it helps knowing there’s something deeper within a bad experience. There are important feelings I have that I need to recognize and let myself feel. When I allow myself to view things this way, it’s as if that bad thing feels a little better. It allows me to attach hope to that bad thing. I think the difference is in knowing how to separate feelings instead of lumping them all together as one big, rough year. Don’t deny yourself the levity you deserve by realizing everything has an ebb and flow. Always. Hope is the one activity you can do now, when thinking about the future, that is productive. It allows us to see the light in the future, gather up any light we can from our past, and keep moving towards the light we see.

“Hope is the one activity you can do now, when thinking about the future, that is productive.”

Give yourself permission to look at your hardships with grace for yourself. They are a chance to learn something and apply it to your days ahead. And if nothing else, they are allowing you to give yourself the chance to hope for good things to come your way. Because, my fellow dears, you all deserve everything lovely. I wish that for all of you, always. Grace yourself with that chance, as well, by not defining your year a “bad” or “awful” or anything else negative. Define this past year as full of challenges that helped you encounter your truer self. Apply it to next year and see what personal growth you’re capable of. If you can’t detach the label of “bad” etc. from the last year, then I encourage you to not beat yourself up about it. Be careful of the bad things you say to yourself because, chances are, you’ll end up believing them. You’ve seen how unproductive being hard on yourself has been, so why not try loving yourself?

For me, this is what this year has brought me: awareness that everyone struggles and the grace to know people can change and are inherently good. We need to stop defining people and boxing people and qualities into categories of good and bad, right and wrong. Good people are capable of bad things and bad people are capable of good things. We are not the mistakes we make and we are not the good deeds we do. But thank goodness we get to learn from all of it. The possibilities are endless. We get to learn from all the times we’re brought to our knees, the times we are filled with joy beyond compare, and everything in between.

Happy new year and much love!

analysis paralysis.

Beyond any efforts made to attempt an organized life since my last post, my life still looks the same. On the up side, it feels different. Mind over matter is definitely a thing. While the concept is overused in the world of fitness, it belongs in other areas of our lives as well.

Take, for instance, organizing and storing Jack’s baby clothes by month. I put that off for weeks upon weeks, and then added even more weeks to my procrastination. Because: a) ugh; b) eye roll emoji; c) temper tantrum gif; and d) I’d much rather do the dishes. So that’s what I did. The dishes.

Dozens of times.

laundry

Jack in August 2017, nearly buried by laundry!

One day, this laundry monster attacked me. I wasn’t about to let it overtake me, so I told my brain to get over it. And I slayed that laundry monster so good. Just like that, I took over the beast. Next stop, taking over the world! Or something less Pinky and the Brain.

All this to say, when I decided to stop letting this monumental task bug me out, I was free. The power was within me all along (and perhaps the coincidental external deadline of someone coming over to babysit gave me a nudge, too. I didn’t want them to think I’m an unholy mess :). That’s our little secret.). It didn’t even really require that much convincing myself to get it done, either. I just did it.

laundry2

How often am I overthinking things to the point of stagnation? Or as Gretchen Rubin calls it in her book The Four Tendencies, Analysis Paralysis. I like to weigh my options, think of possible outcomes, view scenarios from different angles, ask questions. Now, I’m not talking about organizing clothes, am I? I’m referring to life’s buffet of choices.

If I had my druthers, I’d prefer doing it all. And that’s exactly where I get off track — lack of focus. I touched on this in my last post. The vitality of adopting a focus, though temporary, will enact a calm sense of direction in my current circumstances. My interests range from writing to healthy living to home improvement (not Tim Allen, but hammer and nail) to cooking to interior design to photography to traveling to finding good food (but I will never call myself a hastag-foodie because it’s hashtag-overused. I enjoy eating amazing food that tastes delicious, was thoughtfully prepared, and looks like an artful masterpiece, too; but that doesn’t make me a foodie.).

The significance of this project is so salient and palpable. It seems the sooner I take the reigns on my main direction aside from everyday commitments, the sooner I will feel more centered. As of now, I kinda go wherever the wind takes me. While having no direction is pleasant for a little bit, it can’t go on forever. I’m not a good enough cook or housekeeper to call myself a stay-at-home mom. And my other various pursuits don’t elicit a title, either.

As Jack just closed out his first year of life last week, it’s time for me to adjust my sails and catch the wind. I used to think I was a jack of all trades (pun sorta intended), but I don’t know if that state of mind will serve me in the coming future. I’m ready to hone in on some passions of mine and really develop myself in those areas. Namely, I’m really excited to start writing more.

1st

Jack boy’s 1st birthday party

Now, if only I could cut it out with the analysis paralysis already and make some moves… Because, quite honestly, I have no idea what writing more will look like for me.

P.S. Not much of this next little side note has anything to do with the above. I saw a pin on pinterest that listed out a schedule to plan your baby’s first birthday, and it started at least 8 weeks in advance of the party date. 8 weeks! Lolololololololololololol guuuurrrrlllll, please. That sounds ridiculous. I love my baby boy to pieces, but he won’t even remember his first birthday. I’m saving that planning time for when this kid remembers his birthdays. Then maybe I’ll pull out all the stops and hire a Spiderman impersonator to come web the party with silly string, have a petting zoo, and have the Wiggles perform a set for us (are the Wiggles still a thing?). We all know the first birthday, maybe even second, and quite possibly the third are for the parents. Like “Hey, we made it, let’s throw a party!!!”

cake

I digress. Keep me in your thoughts, prayers, and good vibrations as I develop my focus on writing.

Much love!

 

still here, promise.

Ciao a tutti!

Will you do me a solid & completely ignore the fact that it’s been a hot minute since my last post?

Thank you! I knew I could count on you. ;)

Those of you who follow me on instagram or facebook know I’m still alive & kickin. If you’ve only been following my blog, then it might appear as though I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. Truth be told, life feels like it’s been in a constant state of evolution ever since moving into our new house, Maxine, back in March 2015.

Life’s funny that way. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day & lose sight of goals along the way. Blogging has always been one of my goals. Well, at the core of it, writing is the true goal.

What’s also funny is that, for us, our day-to-day over the last two & a half years included massively renovating the interior of our home & having our first baby! Clearly, these are awesome things we’ve accomplished.

still here promise01

Left to right: 21 weeks, 26 weeks, 28 weeks

Perhaps what I can take away from those “day-to-day” accomplishments is that they didn’t happen overnight… or even over the course of several nights. I mean, that baby took 40 weeks to cook!…and a lotta work to bring into the world. What makes me think I can accomplish the vague notion of blogging with a few good intentions? So much time, energy, & focus are required to formulate good ideas, good content, good photos, good taglines, good ALLLLLLL. And if I’m allowing myself a little bit of grace, I have to remember that babies take a lot of time, energy, & focus. If I don’t have as much of those to spend on other goals, it’s to be expected I might fall short in other areas.

Okay, real talk. I don’t like that I just wrote “fall short.” But it’s the only way to express what I’m actually feeling. I think it’s really easy to feel inadequate in some area of your life once you become a mother — whether it’s being a wife, a friend, an employee, family member, citizen, neighbor. Man, I’ve even felt like an inadequate mom at times!

still here promise02

Left to right: 30.5 weeks, 38 weeks #cankles, 39 weeks #canadiantuxedo

There’s something so enlightening yet disrupting about becoming a mom. In a way, it feels like I have to reinvent parts of myself in order to provide my little guy with the best parenting I can at that time in my life. And I guess that’s what it means to become a parent — life as I once knew it has changed because we brought a cute, little, squishy baby into the world who needs every bit of me, and preferably as my best self.

still here promise03

Oct 31st – the last day with my friends, cankles and Wendy. Just before going off to the hospital to be induced and meet baby Jack!

Talk about pressure. Haha okay, sure, I might be overemphasizing my parenting. It can feel like such a big job that it’s all too easy to make myself feel like I’m not doing enough or that I have to sacrifice even more. It’s so important for me to do my best at teaching my baby to be a good person with a kind heart. I want him to be loving, fun, strong-willed, passionate, brave, determined, thoughtful, intentional, open-minded, cultivated, and helpful — even when it’s inconvenient.

And I know his first lesson in these areas is me.

still here promise04

Jack Waylon, born at 10:10am. 6lbs 14oz and 19.5 inches of love!

But there’s something else I want to teach him. I want him to learn be gracious to himself and not too hard on himself when he fails. I don’t ever want him to quit. I want him to keep trying. Because it’s okay when we have moments of not being our best self. I don’t need to tell you this, but it happens to everyone. If we are constantly judging ourselves because of times where we acted inappropriately rather than just focusing on improving ourselves for the future, we’re in for a world of hurt and bad self-talk.

I’m guilty of the occasional bad self-talk. And so, herein lies one part of myself I need to reinvent in order to better teach my son through example. It’s healthy to see what needs improving, but unhealthy to tell myself I’m not good enough because of x, y, and z. Sh!t happens. The best thing I can do is learn from it and move on. Dwelling on my pitfalls ensures only one thing: no improvement, no advancement, no forward movement.

Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Because whatever we give our energy to is our ultimate ruler.

still here promise06

Just 1 day old!

While I was pregnant, I had these images of myself and what it could look like to stay home with my baby. I was working at the time and, while on maternity leave, made the decision to stay home with the babe for as long as possible (finances permitting). I imagined myself keeping the house clean, staying on top of the budget, making healthy meals, working out to get back to pre-baby shape, creating content for this very blog in order to post something weekly, playing with Wendy (our pup), all while savoring the moments with my baby and cultivating a nurturing environment for him. Basically, I thought I’d be supermom and it’d be a friggin breeze.

Au contraire. What it truly looks like is:

changing lots of diapers, doing lots of laundry that takes days to actually put away, nursing, pumping, washing bottles and pump parts, “sleeping while the baby sleeps”, oh yeah eating something because i have to keep my milk supply up, oh yeah i should brush my teeth, should i brush my hair or should i just put it into a #mombun again and hope it isn’t a complete rat’s nest by the time i do brush it?, changing my shirt because i’ve been wearing this one for two days, oh man i guess i should wash my face, okay wait i should relax right?, yeah i should relax because baby is sleeping, resting and rejuvenating myself so i can crush it as soon as baby wakes up, hearing a bit of crying and hoping the baby just falls back to sleep… dang, okay he didn’t, feeding baby, changing baby, playing with baby, oh i should finish the dishes, can you play on the floor for a couple minutes baby?, putting away some dishes, baby starts fussing, playing with baby, i’ll finish those dishes later, baby’s calm and playing, oh my goodness i should eat something!, making food, baby fusses, feeding baby, eating my food…

Anyway, you get the point and that went on way too long. The point is: time is not what it used to be.

still here promise07

The day we finally found out we could leave the hospital after being there for nearly a week!

The transformation of how we experience time throughout our lives is trippy. When I was little, the minutes seemed to just ddddrrrrraaaaaagggggg on. Now, in my late 20’s, three hours goes by in a snap…even if I’m doing something I don’t particularly enjoy (Here’s lookin at you, laundry and dishes, you sons of b!tches. Sorry for the language. Couldn’t resist that rhyming opportunity. P.S. Can I be real with you and tell you I’d so hire someone to do my laundry and dishes…and food prep…and grocery shopping. Oh man, and someone to clean the kitchen, since they’re already doing the dishes, anyway, am I right!…and bathrooms are a must. Wow. You can say it, I’m living in a dream world where someone cleans up my messes for me haha. Oh my, what a life that would be!).

still here promise08

Cozy baby first morning at home.

Okay, I digress. MomBrain is a terrible reality. If anyone has any tips/tricks they’ve picked up along their mothering way to keep their brain function intact, drop me a line. And I’ll love you for always.

Time with a baby is so mystical. An entire day will pass and I’ll try to think back on what even happened. I almost won’t be able to tell you very many specifics. I’m finding ever more that I need to structure my time because there are no longer external entities placing that structure on me, i.e. an employer. Some structure is way more beneficial to my brain than I ever realized. It allows me to section my day into productive parts rather than a

still here promise09

Sweet and serious.

mishmash of whatever happens, happens. I always thought I’d be able to accomplish a ton being home with a baby. I thought I’d be blogging alllll the time, with killer content, beautiful photos, the usual. But really, it takes me weeks to remember “oh hey, I should focus on writing!” Then the thought falls right out of my brain, into a trash can, and lays there dying as I go about my daily life.

And I’m really wondering if there’s adult onset ADHD because I’ve gotta have it. Millions of ideas enter my conscience one second and exit stage left the next second. It’s gotten so bad that I have to leave visual cues throughout the house to remind myself to do certain things. I only realized this recently as I started noticing little piles of items in different areas I typically am throughout the day. To chalk it all up to laziness is just too easy an explanation. ;)

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Wendy and her baby Jack. She wasn’t at alllllll jealous when we brought him home!

Man, sorry for the abrupt ending to this babble-fest, but a baby’s screaming behind me and I have to go find his mom! HAHAHA, oh, that’s me!

Enjoy your week, famiglia!

welcome to trade-off town.

It’s getting dark & windy outside as clouds roll over & blot out the sun. My husband is taking a nap on the bed – it’s a rare occasion you’ll find that man sleeping during the day (me on the other hand?…). The entire 1st floor of our house is covered with several layers of dust. Drywallers are coming tomorrow to finish their part of the project (&&& I’m crossing my fingers like mad, hoping this will truly be the last day we have to deal with the drywall ever again!!!). And you can find me sitting in a dining room chair awkwardly located in our bedroom – as hanging out on the 1st floor is entirely out of the question – with thoughts racing through my mind of what to do next. I can’t wait til this is finished. We have sooo much left to do before this kitchen will be done. Why did we think this was a good idea? I wish we had more summertime left to complete projects. [Insert an astronomically lengthy list of remaining to-do’s here.] Is it normal to go crazy during a renovation?… because I think I’m getting close to hopping on the crazy train. I need a vacation. Crazy train, take me to the beach.

I wrote this around the end of August. Luckily, our drywall was finished that weekend & we were filled with the excitement of getting to check something else off the list. But then bummer set in as we remembered how much was left to do. Each step forward in this renovation process has strangely been a bittersweet one. We’re forced to realize what is left to accomplish with each accomplishment we make, so excitement tends to wear off rather quickly.

closetWe all have to make trade-offs in life. It’s near impossible to have or do it all at one moment in time. Isn’t this the case in most of the decisions we make? We choose to do one thing in place of another. Time is limited. We are only able to do one or a few things at once, dependent upon each thing’s level of brain capacity, physicality, & emotional drain. This means we must be mindful of what we spend our time on.

closet2For example, I really, really wanted to travel somewhere this summer. Anywhere. But we made the choice to dedicate time (&&& funds) to renovate our house.

closet3And suddenly I became a woman consumed by wanderlust.

closet4However, there are times in life when our choices are limited by external realities, such as finances, time & place, health, or even planning ahead. In our case, it’s the fact & act of renovation. This all-encompassing, exhausting, soon-to-be-rewarding renovation (oh dear God, I hope it’s soon). I kind of want to just take a nap even thinking of it as I type. It’s crazy that we’ve truly been in the thick of renovating since the beginning of June & I haven’t been able to make the time to post about any of it.

closet5That’s just how busy & tiring it’s been. My husband has been so motivating through the whole process, working hard everyday to help build a house we’ll adore for years to come. He helps me keep my head up, knowing we’ll get through it all together.

closet6Two of the biggest things I’ve learned during our renovation so far:

  1. There are only 24 hours in a day. I know, this is oh so obvious, but I’ve experienced it’s way too easy to forget. It’s even easier to get frustrated with ourselves & feel like we aren’t accomplishing enough. But one of the coolest things is looking back through photos & getting to see the amazing steps forward we’ve made.
  2. An opportunity isn’t an opportunity unless the timing is right. We have nearly beaten ourselves up over the fact that we could’ve put a nice chunk of money in savings, or gone on some extravagant vacation, or straight up bought a really cool car, if we hadn’t started this renovation. But it wasn’t time for us to do any of those things. Now is our opportunity to mold a home into our vision & create a dwelling that makes our hearts feel at home.

closet7Huge progress has been made over the last 4 months, however.

closet8In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the first project Maxine endured.

closet9The entryway housed a coat closet. While functional, it was astounding how much this closet truly cut into the entryway. It was a relief when John figured out we could get rid of this closet to open up the front of the house.

closet10And so, demolition began (the first of many, I might add). And I’m so thankful for it. The front of the house feels absolutely different, & it was so worth it.

closet11Should we talk about those unsightly yellow walls? No. Please. I can’t.

closet12Those yellow walls have really gotten under my skin. And I just can’t wait for the day when there are zero yellow walls in sight.

closet13Don’t even get me started on the popcorn ceiling. Oh my. Let’s talk about the worst design decision of all time haha!

closet14I’ll be sharing more highlights in posts to come. Please keep us in your thoughts & prayers as we continue to tackle each project.

Much love!

name reveal!

Happy Monday, friends!

This second house of ours has been left nameless for all too long. At long last, the name has been decided with your help! (Disclaimer: it didn’t take 2 months to choose a name. I’m just terrible at organizing anything, i.e. my life, & I happened to not write a post until now. I promise to get better at this. The only way to go is up… Am I right?)

and the name is...

<<drum roll, please>>

This (future) beauty’s name is Maxine, or Max for short. Maybe even Mad Max if she’s giving us a run for our money with all our planned renovations haha (which is highly likely because, let’s face it, renos never go quite as planned, hoped, or assumed.)

I’ll admit, the name Maxine holds a soft spot in my heart. There’s a comic collection about an old woman, Maxine, who is crass, sarcastic, grumpy, & cynical. She has white, fluffy short hair, a frumpy body, and always wears huge horse-blinder sunglasses. The only reason I know of this comic character is because of my Granny. She loved these comics and ironically reminds me of the character. My Granny is the most lovably, brutally honest woman. She’s strong-willed and -hearted. She’s close to 93 & still kickin’. We don’t know how much longer she’ll be with us, but we’re so lucky to still have her in our lives. As an homage to my Granny, the name Maxine for this house feels so fitting.

maxine

Maxine has seen a bunch of renovations so far & I’m excited to share them with you very soon! I’ve thrown around the idea of starting to show renovation progress on Snapchat. That way you could experience the renovation real-time! What do you think?! Would you tune in?

Stay tuned for some of our recent projects.

And now it’s time for another week. Let’s kick ass & have a great time! Much love, y’all!

all new errthang.

Hi, you guys!!! Can I just tell you how tired I’ve been recently? I had no idea nearly two whole months disappeared from the last time I wrote a post. Not acceptable! I haven’t even told you about this little gem of a new house.

house1

I snagged some pictures from the listing of the house, since… I have lazily not edited any of my own pictures yet. Well, truth be told, I haven’t even taken that many. That’s blasphemy, you might be thinking. And I completely agree with you. I promise I’ll slough off my sloth-like ways & snap back to reality one of these days. Oh & please keep in mind—what’s pictured is not our furniture!!! :)

house24

I digress. Let me tell you about our new girl.

house8

She’s got 4 bedrooms, two and a half baths, a spacious first floor with plenty of living space potential, a wood-burning fireplace, picture windows, a master bedroom that actually has a master suite (!!!!! holla!!!!), & an awesomely big yard with lots of potential as well.

house9

I’m so very excited for the plans we’ve started dreaming up for this house. There are several things that need improvement–& the list has started to grow quite long–but I know all these things are attainable. Strategic planning, timelines, & budgeting will be entirely necessary to reach our home improvement goals. The amount of work we’re taking on is slightly intimidating. But hey, we knew what we were getting into when we put an offer on this house.

house4

Here’s what I need from you guys. We haven’t picked a name for her yet, & this house needs a name! That was the first thing I wanted to do, but could never choose the right name. I’m leaning towards several & can’t seem to make my mind up (sheesh, women, am I right?!).

house11

Below I’ve included a list of name possibilities that have been swirling around in my brain.

  • Alice (yep, as in Wonderland)
  • Winnifred (but I’d probably call her Winnie)
  • Maxine
  • Margo
  • Matilda

house10

So… will you help us out & take a vote below?!

house25

Moving into the new house was hard work in & of itself. Add on getting sick the weekend we moved in, starting a new role in my company a week & a half later, getting used to a whole new area of Aurora, & even trying to part my hair a new way… several times… unsuccessfully… & you’re looking at a whole ton of all new errthang. Man alive, I feel like I’ve been playing catch up ever since these huge life changes. (Changing the way your hair is parted is a huge life change, guys!!! Just try it. Your world will be shaken.)

house22

And wow, do I have yet to catch up!!! I digress (again). I’ll leave you with one of the only photos I’ve taken & edited of the new house. Let us know what name you think belongs to her. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

house_epic

on the hunt (part 3).

After hearing the news we didn’t get the first house we put an offer on, I was heartbroken & pouty. Nowhere in my negative thoughts could I find a silver lining. We took a break from looking at any houses during that week. That weekend was such a rollercoaster of emotions, my heart needed a little refresh before jumping into the hunt again.

By Friday, I was feeling better about things & wouldn’t you know it that John found another house that night for us to see. Saturday morning, we stopped for breakfast near the neighborhood this house was in & chatted about the whole house hunting process. Looking at houses, falling in love with them, seeing yourself living there, & making plans for the future in that house. Nothing’s more frustrating than false hope, so we attempted to lock down our excitement so we could look at this next house with a clear mind.

We drove around the neighborhood & it was homey and charming. Then we pulled up to the house & oh em G! Picture: a huge front porch, square footage for days, 4 bedrooms, huge kitchen with so much potential, fireplace in the family room, adorable built-ins, & the master bedroom was just giant. I still remember looking out a window from the master bedroom & saying, “This house is going to break my heart, isn’t it?”

Needless to say, this house wasn’t ours either. Our offer wasn’t accepted, but we were told our offer was second in line. Being second best in a situation like this hurts more than not even being considered at all. I honestly still think about this house. The biggest downfall it had was being in Aurora school district rather than Cherry Creek school district, which is where we’d like to be.

Then, onto the 3rd house we put an offer on the next weekend. We are actually relieved we didn’t get this one as it wasn’t exactly our dream home. We slightly gave up & were just trying to get in somewhere… anywhere. And that is not the way anyone should house hunt. Buying & owning a home is a commitment. Simply, if you aren’t in love with it, don’t buy it! Ironically enough, we saw another house the very next day we liked more than the one we had just put an offer on. Seriously, thanking God on that quick save.

Enter in the 4th house we put an offer on. Yes, 4th! Is it just me, or does four houses seem like too many? Haha! Don’t even get me started on how wrong I’ve been about everything throughout this whole process. House #4 was a bank owned home & the realtor really liked our offer, but had to have it approved by the bank first before he could accept it. But let me tell you about the house. It had the best layout for living space, a fireplace in the family, a backyard that went on what seemed like miles, & a kitchen/dining/living room area that had wonderful potential to be made into one large open space (the dream!).

measuringPictured above: John using his height to measure the master bedroom & make sure a king bed would fit. He has so many talents!

As luck would have it… we didn’t get this one either! The bank wouldn’t accept our offer because of our contingency. Bollocks! Do we keep looking? Is it quitting time? Is this God saying, “Yo, stop looking already, you aren’t moving!” We are trying our darndest to find a house & have offered on 4 & yet nothing has come our way. Did we bring this all on ourselves or are we supposed to move? Which is it?

I digress. Moments like these kinda suck, if I’m being honest. Because faith is a hard thing to have when you have no idea what’s going to or supposed to happen… when you have zero control… when you’d much rather concede to fear & doubt.

And so, we let faith lead us to where we find ourselves. We will be closing on House #5 on Thursday this week. Part of me is feeling superstitious & doesn’t want to utter this to anyone so as not to jinx it. My goodness, am I over letting my happiness be squelched in fear the worst will happen! I want to be excited, dammit, & excited I am.

More on our new house next time & until then, I hope everything great has been happening to you. I hope you’re taking risks. And moreover, I hope they’re paying off or that you’re at least learning something new from them.

Woot woot, happy Monday!

on the hunt (part 2).

I’m trying to condense this house hunting [ad]venture into manageable pieces. Forgive me if I ramble on too long. It’s what I do. I’m attempting to defy my own odds. Ready! GO!

After seeing the house I mentioned in my previous blog post, I knew we had to make an offer. We made what we thought was a pretty competitive offer. This house had so much character, lots of space, a ginormous yard, 4 bedrooms, a fireplace, vaulted ceilings & exposed beams in the living room. Just a money house. It ended up being too good to be true.

However, this house somewhat forced us to put our own house on the market. We have a contingency that we won’t sell our house unless we find another one to buy, & we won’t buy another house until we sell ours. It was necessary to get ours on the market so we could have something to put in our offer about our contingency. The way our realtor put it was that we were trying to buy another house with no deniro if we didn’t at least put ours on the market.

Two Sundays ago a little after 8 in the morning, we took a leap of faith & put Ms. Laverne up for grabs. It was such a strange feeling. Are we going to get any offers? Would anyone even want to see it? Goodness, I hope we get at least one offer. Well, I guess if no one’s interested in our casa, that would officially & firmly shut that door & idea of moving.

Then around 8:40am, I got a call from the realtor’s office saying someone wanted to see the house at 9am. Wait a minute, wai-wait a minute (please tell me you’ve seen this Kevin Hart skit)! Luckily, the realtor’s office knew this wasn’t a logical request & pushed them towards a showing from 10-11am. Oh thank goodness. BUT HOLY MOSES, I STILL HAVE TO CLEAN THE ENTIRE HOUSE!

My heart burst through my rib cage & sat outside my body for the next hour as I raced around my house like the most unattractive, mad woman I’ve ever seen myself be, trying to clean & straighten up & “sell” our house in a matter of 60 ungodly quick minutes knowing full well I wasn’t at all prepared for this mentally, emotionally, or physically (I was literally panting like a dog from being sooo out of shape … I really need to start exercising more). John was at his masters’ class & I just so happened to be car-less because my cool jeep decided to die while I was waiting at a stop light a couple days earlier (haha, you’re so funny, car! RAWR!). My MIL dropped off her car so I could actually get out of the house & not be the weirdo homeowner who’s there watching you walk through their house.

And I did this all sans breakfast. My goodness, that was such an accomplishment. But man alive, was I starving & drained. Wendy & I took to the borrowed car that I’d thrown several of our belongings into that had no place in a home showing & took our (un)happy asses to Dunkin Donuts where we belong. For those of you who don’t know Wendy yet, you’ll get to know her very well. She’s our adorable dog who gets away with altogether too much & is too cute for me to care when she breaks “the rules”.

I digress. That day we had 13 showings & several the next day. What a blessing! I know Laverne was thinking: Thank you! They love me, they really love me (think, The Mask)! We excitedly reviewed offers the next day, in awe that we were privileged enough to be in this situation. We’d narrowed our offers down to two great ones, & I know we made the right choice. She said she couldn’t get our house out of her head, made a very competitive offer, is completely okay with our contingency, & is willing to wait until we find our next home. I’m not sure we could have created a better buyer.

To our hearts’ dismay, it wasn’t less than 40 minutes later that we found out our offer wasn’t accepted for the house we put our own house on the market for. Our joy was absolutely smothered. I balled & felt so adolescent, like this journey was already too much for me. I didn’t feel adult enough to handle this. We thought the house was ours. Our realtor thought the house was ours. It was unreal.

My excitement seized up & I never wanted to leave my sweet Laverne. Ever. I refused to assume anything else could be out there that would ever compare.

…until… ;)

For now, I leave you with a view from my beloved backyard. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ♡

laverne's backyard

on the hunt (part 1).

Happy Weekend!

Wow – an entire week has flown by since I made a video that I meant to post. Whoopsie! Life has been extremely crazy & unreal the last week & a half, plus some. But more on that later.

I’ll touch on some of what I talk about in the video as it needs a bit of prefacing. Around Christmastime, we decided it might be a good idea to jump into the housing market. We’ve rambled about it here & there, but never really thought we’d consider buying a new house for awhile.

Until… John found a house online that looked enticing enough to see in person. We drove by & saw a couple was already looking at the house. We instantly felt a need to call the realtor & set up a showing for the next day. The house was adorable, the layout was perfect, & the square footage was a definite upgrade. But we already knew we didn’t have any plans in place to buy a house. There was just no way we could make it work. However…

We started kindling the fire, that’s for sure.

To get to where we are now, we found a realtor who has helped us walk through several homes. We decided to put an offer on one house, which is the one I mention in the video. For now, I’ll leave you with the video & explain more in another post. Here’s to jumping into the wild new, folks!

auld lang syne.

Well well well, another year gone by. I can’t believe 2014 is nearly finished & 2015 is soon to be. Out with the old & in with the new, they say. I’ve definitely noticed how quickly time seems to pass as I get older, & I’m not sure if I’ll entirely grasp this phenomena. But I’m not ready to bid adieu to 2014 just yet.

orange you glad to see me

I want to thank all of my dear family, friends, & loved ones for such a grand past 365 days. Expressing my love for you is impossible. Memories have been made, laughs have been bellowed, conversations have lasted for hours, & my life is now that much sweeter.

zesty

The passing of time is such a wonderous & terrifying realization. Wonderous in its ability to mold & shape us into a new being, almost daily. And when we finally take a moment to look over our shoulder, we see we have become a newer version of ourselves (& always hoping for a better version, at that). It’s terrifying to remember, however, that time cannot be halted. It moves forever forward. And for that, we must accept we are [gasp] getting older with every new day. I still think of myself as a 20 year old, running around a college campus trying to make my photographer dreams become a reality. Here I sit in my 26 year old body with a 20 year old brain wondering how I’ll ever mesh the two & hoping like crazy I can figure that out stat. But if I’m wishing for stuff, I want to be on the younger side of things… for always.

pile o oranges

 

I digress. My hope in this coming year is that time & tide do not frighten me, but awaken me. I hope my dreams don’t seem impossible, but attainable with as much hard work as it takes. I hope to find solace in the things I have & life I lead, while in constant pursuit of self-betterment (is that even a word?). My hope is the same for you, gentle friends.

juicy

To ring in the New Year, how about a simple & delicious drink? I adapted Tyler Florence’s Cranberry Kir Royale. (I knew you were wondering why I had so many photos of oranges in the blog, haha!)

Ingredients: 1 cup frozen cranberries (or if you’re like me & the store you go to has zero frozen cranberries, 1 cup fresh cranberries), plus 1/2 cup for garnish | 1/2 cup frozen raspberries (to make up for the lack of frozen cranberries) | 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (ahem, ditto to the former) | 1/4 cup sugar | roughly 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (ergo, the juicer, but you can sub for boxed orange juice & I bet no one would be any the wiser) | 1 teaspoon orange zest (that’s the pile of orange goop in the 2nd photo) | 1 bottle Champagne | raw sugar with orange extract & orange zest for the rim (optional)

Directions: Add cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, orange juice, zest & sugar to a large pan & set over medium heat til berries break down & liquid is syrupy (12-15 mins). | Pour into blender & process (***be careful of hot liquid expanding when you blend – use a towel over the top of blender for safety***). | Strain & discard any solids, then set aside to cool. | Pour 2 tablespoons of berry-orange syrup into bottoms of 4 chilled champagne glasses. | Pour in champage & give a gentle stir (it won’t really mix with the syrup if you don’t). | Add a few cranberries to the top of each glass & voila!

drink up

Now I bid you adieu, to follow your folly & find those aspirations that call to & inspire you. Salut & goodbye until we meet again. Happy New Year!!! Welcome to the Wild New, 2015!