Santa Barbara, you are a beauty.
Recently I’ve been finding myself going through photos and missing the holidays terribly. I feel like when you’re in customer service and it’s the holidays, it’s a lot harder to get into the spirit because you’re so concerned with making everyone else happy. Or helping everyone else pick out the perfect present. Around the holidays I started a new job and felt bad asking for time off. My boyfriend gets about two weeks (maybe a little more) off for the holidays. I had roughly a week which I’m still beyond grateful for but I wish I got a bit more time with Charlie + our loved ones. This year I found myself roaming around O’Hare in the wee hours of Christmas Eve. I always find myself wanting to reenact the scene from Home Alone where they’re running through the holiday as “Run Run Rudolph” plays. For the past (almost) 12 years I’ve been a holiday traveler. I’ve been that person running through airports on Christmas Day and I’ve also been that person slowly admiring the decorations on 12/22 (sometimes earlier). I’m usually packed into a carry-on except the past two years when an extra suitcase is needed because of one person and his name begins with a C.
This year I spent Christmas Eve holding cute babies (ouch, my ovaries!) and came home to wrapping. Not just a few gifts like last year – A sea of never ending presents! I was THAT person who went overboard. I picture my bank account cursing me and the credit card companies laughing in an evil tone as they pet their hairless cats. I was an idiot when it came to gifts this year! I watched the Yule Log. I watched midnight mass. I watched almost everything I possibly could as I violently wrapped said sea of presents. Good thing work prepped me for that very moment. Next year – i’m giving gift cards and lottery tickets. Kidding… maybe. Christmas Day was awesomesauce. From the moment I went to pick up Charlie to the moment we all laid our heads down on our pillows that night. It wasn’t about the presents it was everyone’s presence that mattered. Charlie and I are blessed with a lot of love. Especially Charlie. His constant smile and happiness that day was all that mattered. That little boy is so loved.
Washington DC is one of my favorite places to visit and it has nothing to do with my old obsession with the TV show Scandal. It’s also Charlie’s. The museums… the statues… the presidents.. the history… how can you not love that place?! Except the potholes. Weird that the nation’s capital has so many of them. It’s worse than driving through Arkansas and that’s pretty bad. I bought Charlie a space helmet at the Air and Space Museum. I think every single one of us at one point tried it on. Sometimes we were taking off into space. Other times we were exploring Pluto. If I got my way we were exploring Mars and spying on aliens. Mostly we were motorcycles or police on motorcycles (obviously this was Charlie’s choice). We even got to visit the lights at the National Zoo. We saw Lions and tigers but no Pandas. It did decide to pour which meant we all got our chance to pretend we were runners in the Olympics.
J’s parents got a new puppy named Jewel. Which meant she got a new BFF in Charlie. Also, snaps are deserved for my child and his fashion sense. He’d wear PJs all day everyday if he could. He’s also into wearing other people’s shoes. Obviously those golden beauties are J’s and not J’s grandfather’s.
Let’s just take a moment to admire that beautiful family photo above. Also, let’s admire this Peeps store thats at the National Harbor. I didn’t even know Peep stores were a thing outside of Bethlehem, PA!! I don’t eat Peeps but I love me some Mike and Ike jelly beans. The useless information that people decided to share with the internet…. jeez!
There was a lot to be thankful this holiday season and it wasn’t just because J bought me the Becoming Cindy Crawford book. I briefly mentioned this above but Charlie, J and I are each surrounded by some of the best people to walk the face of this planet (or maybe I’m just partial to all of those beautiful creatures). We’re loved, supported and accepted and those are some of the greatest gifts we could ever receive. New Years has never been my time to make resolutions. I usually make goals around my birthday/beginning of the school year (August/September). One of those goals was to continue to everyday to be loving, kind, accepting and supporting of others. If I’m able to make you laugh – even better. I may not be successful everyday and those days that I fail, I feel awful about it. However, I brush myself off and get up again and try to be better the next day. I’m looking forward to working on my own art/crafts a bit more and hopefully finding a bit more time to share some inspiration on here!
Towards the end of last year (still weird saying that) things started to get faced paced. It’s been a welcomed change. I’m learning to cut out time for Pinterest because it’s something that relaxes me and helps get the creative juices flowing again. So here’s my first inspiration post of 2016!
In my last post I mentioned how November has slowly become one of my favorite months. I’m not sure when or how it grew on me but it did. It also helps that one of my favorite family members celebrates their birthdays this month (looking at you, Oma!). I’ve also come to realize that my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. There’s something about gathering the ones you love around a table and feeding them delicious food and having good ole conversations. Most importantly it’s a rare holiday about giving thanks and focusing on being thankful than receiving something.
Holidays can be difficult. The older you get the more you start to make your own family. This is especially true when you live far away from family. My first few holidays away from home were tough but now I like it a lot more. I enjoy being able to make dishes that I prefer rather than preparing dishes to appease picky family members. The table discussions are usually a lot more interesting because you don’t have to worry about saying something that might offend family. While this may not be true for some, it’s true for others. In this modern day, blended families are all over the place. It’s not easy sharing a child. I had an extremely difficult time at first splitting holidays for Charlie. I also had difficulty sharing him in general but that was also due to post-partum which is an entirely different conversation. It gets a little easier as time goes on. I never believed it when people told me at first but it does. I still miss him and sometimes shed a few tears when I don’t have him on a holiday but it’s in his best interest. He gets to be with more family who love him to pieces and that’s important.
This brings me to my favorite part of Thanksgiving, the thankful part. I went through a period of time in my 20’s (my 20’s were rough) where I’d say I was thankful for something but I’m not sure I was. It was hard for me because I felt defeated at every turn, I was angry, hurt, heartbroken and was afraid everything good in life would keep being taken from me. A lot of it was the never ending post-partum I was experiencing and some of it was a need for time to happen so wounds could heal. What helps is not surrounding yourself with negativity. It’s easy as not buying magazines (especially tabloids), not watching reality TV (studies show it doesn’t do a body good), not spending too much time on social media & keeping tabs on the amount of news I’m digesting. Now when I’m starting to feel crappy – I take a moment and list a few things that I’m thankful for. It instantly shifts my mood. I won’t sit here and list every single reason why I’m thankful but there’s a lot. Everyone has something to be thankful for. Take a moment today and tell the ones you love how thankful you are for them. I’m looking forward to seeing how well my very first turkey breast turns out (which is big for someone who gets sick at the sight/thought of raw meat). I hope everyone has a safe and loving thanksgiving today!!
The older I get the more I realize how dreamy November is. October will always be my favorite month but November is starting to hold a close second. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving has slowly become my favorite holiday. I’ve found myself just staring in awe at some of the Thanksgiving inspiration that’s been on Pinterest lately. I’ve shared a few of my favorites above.
I’m trying to make picking up my camera a habit. A majority of Charlie’s first years are documented on iphones (insert not amused emoji face). It’s so easy these days to pick up our phones to document something. So in an attempt to break myself of “the easy way out”/not allow my photography skills to get rusty, I make sure to have my camera in a easy accessible spot and to make sure the battery is always charged. So far it’s working out pretty well. The last time we were out and about with Charlie we were using the camera more than the phone. Progress!! It’s also been helpful when I’m waiting for paint to dry (literally), have writers block, tired of reading text books, getting stuck on part of a piece, etc. I’ve been working on capturing the little things that make me happy that are usually overlooked/not documented. Here’s a little peek at the small things that make me happy.
- Required reading for school. It’s enjoyable and at times I have to stop myself from reading ahead.
- Anyone else pick out/receive an ornament every year? My Oma started the tradition for us before we were even born. This is my ornament from last year. The boys picked it out for me because it looked like Oscar.
- The desk after it was moved/before everything had a new home.
- I love fall inspired scents…. and Yankee Candles.
- My bedside table essentials. Not pictured: chapstick & my water bottle
Friendships. The past two weeks that subject has been weighing heavy on my mind. They’re as important as anyone else in your life. Or maybe that’s just how I feel. I have a core group of extremely close friends who are more like family. They are the sisters I never had. Their families have become my family. They’re the ones who over the past few years we’ve watched one another lose parents, have babies (i’m still the only one who is a mommy to a non-furry child), go through nasty break-ups, lose babies, get engaged, get married, deal with legal issues, turning 30, health concerns, parental issues, turning 40 and issues with siblings. Like family, these tight-knit friendships aren’t perfect. Sometimes we don’t know the proper words to say. Sometimes we say things that piss one another off. Sometimes I have to take a step back and not try to be overly motherly at times (the mom thing is difficult for me to turn off). One of the things that matters is that we’re there. We always know the intentions of the other person. We always that no matter what we do and what happens the other person isn’t judging. We are each others cheerleaders. We are the shoulder for support when one needs to cry. And we always know when it’s time to grab our favorite mix CDs and get into the car & go for a long drive with one another (because singing on the top of your lungs + car dancing is the cure for almost anything). As long as you have a friend(s) like that – that’s all that matters.
This past month I spent some time where I grew up. It’s always weird going back. However, Musikfest was a very interesting experience as an adult. My mom insisted I buy a $10 mug that everyone and their mother had. I found out the mug is great for cheap beer refills. Awesome! Let’s pressure the non-beer drinker to buy a cup! It’s okay. I’ve found it’s perfect to house my new lemon water obsession. Can we say party animal in this corner?! I won’t lie – I’ve never really cared for Bethlehem. Winters were always too much for me to handle – even as a kid. Cold weather = achy joints. I’d ask to move constantly. This last trip home was a little different. Every time my family insisted on going to Musikfest, I’d find a way to make my way to the Steel Stacks. I even drug my step-sister with me. They were calling to me just like the Desert usually does out here.
The Bethlehem Steel in it’s day was the #2 producer of steel. Pittsburgh was #1. It invented the H beam (featured in it’s logo). During WWII it would produce one ship per day. It employed generations of my family. By the time I was a teenager, Bethlehem Steel was no longer in operation. Growing up in the area this was drilled in our heads in school along with the story of how the Moravians settled Bethlehem, the American Revolution and of course Gettysburg. My love/obsession for history started here. Bethlehem Steel produced a lot of Steel that helped build America (Golden Gate Bridge, Skyscrapers & even the Twin Towers that are no longer with us). The buildings are rusty and have plants growing on them. They now have a trestle that you can walk on where you can sit and read bits + pieces about what each building did. It reminds of the high line in New York City. If you ever find yourself in Bethlehem, I suggest paying this place a visit. Except in winter.