I really, really, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally failed at blogging this time.
But I’ve got a good excuse – him.
Meet Jackson: The squishiest, happiest, most all-around adorable and perfect baby to grace the world with his presence.
And no, I’m not at all biased.
Thanks for asking.
OK, fine I admit it: I’m head-over heels totally in love with him.
Jackson stormed into our lives and hearts at 3:43 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2016, and from the first moment I laid eyes on him, he has filled me with such awe and wonder and amazement at just how good of a God we have. His design for life is just so incredible and as I’ve had the privilege of watching Jackson grow and develop and reach new milestones (like the time he lifted his head up off my chest three hours after he was born and made eye contact with me), I’m filled with a sense of wonder at God’s creativity and love for us. It really is overwhelming at times — but in an amazingly awesome way.
In all honesty, the last four months have been an absolute whirlwind of adventure and straight up crazy. I’m pretty sure between the two of us, The Man and I experienced every emotional high and low known to human existence.
In addition to turning our life as a happy, care-free twosome on its ear with our chunky bundle of love, we decided to buy a house and move. An hour away. And sell our condo. And paint the new house. And replace light fixtures. And go back to work.
— All major life earthquakes on their own, so we decided to kill all the birds with one stone and do it at the same time. Now that I’ve slightly distanced myself from the situation/unpacked most of our boxes/regained a semblance of sanity, I’m happy to report it’s totally doable (though not entirely recommended).
Now, thankfully, The Man has his garage and The Man Cub has a room of his own that doesn’t have two bikes, canned goods, random tools and patio furniture cushions parked in it.
Through it all, I feel like I’ve learned some valuable life lessons.
The experience taught me the value of patience — especially with one another. No, I’m not saying I’ve arrived and am the wonderful patient person that I’ve always wanted to be. We all know that’s not going to happen. But I’d like to think at the very least that I’m making progress.
Sometimes having patience means looking beyond a perceived (or very obvious) slight and having the maturity to show some grace and let it go. That doesn’t mean being a doormat, though. Just know the battles that matter and the ones that don’t and be secure enough in yourself that you don’t feel like you need to validate yourself every three and a half minutes.
Also, give others the benefit of the doubt.
Have you ever found yourself in that situation where it seems like everything you say, do and think is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG so you don’t know what to say and suddenly even that is interpreted as having an attitude?
Oh. Right. Me either.
But theoretically, imagine if it did, and you’re just standing there wishing the other person would just give you the benefit of the doubt and not take things the wrong way … now remember that feeling when you’re in a situation and someone says or does something to you that you really want to let them have it for … and decide if it’s really a hill you need to go to war over, or a battle best saved for another day.
Most importantly, remember, to have a good marriage you don’t really get to coast. When you start to take the attitude that “I’ve done X, Y, Z I’m going to hold here until you do A, B, C and match some of the effort I’ve expended,” you are going to have trouble.
Right here in River City.
With a capital T that rhymes with — OK, I’m done.
Seriously, though, marriage isn’t about going half way. It’s about going 100 percent of the way whether you receive the same amount of effort from your spouse or not.
Give and take doesn’t always work, because we won’t always measure things the same way. And once you get yourself in a situation where you feel like the scales have tipped in your direction, unless you miraculously feel like your SO has gone above and beyond to bridge the gap, you’re going to start feeling bitter and resentful.
Maybe not at first. But it will happen.
And trust me, that’s not a happy place to be.
Give without the expectation of getting.
That way you are free to give with a joyful spirit and won’t get stuck waiting for someone to make something up to you that may or may not come or that they may or may not even be aware of.
Be happy. It’s a choice — not a set of circumstances.
I really hating breaking resolutions, which is why I’m always hesitant to make them.
However, despite my failed attempt to crank out any postable content over the year, I did kick off a new writing project (details to be disclosed at a later date. Maybe.) … so that’s kind of a win. Right?
Before I set out any new resolutions, I feel like I should do a quick recap of last year’s successes – or lack thereof.
To review, in 2015 it was my goal to:
Finish reading through my Bible – STILL WORKING ON IT. REALLY MAKING IT HAPPEN THIS YEAR.
Write more – I KIND OF DID? THIS YEAR I’M GOING TO BE MORE SPECIFIC AND TRY TO BLOG MORE. FINGERS CROSSED.
Share my faith with someone – CHECK. RESULTS PENDING.
Keep promises – CHECK.
Build trust and give it – ALWAYS A WORK IN PROGRESS, BUT I’M THANKFUL TO BE ABLE TO REPORT ACTUAL PROGRESS IN BOTH OF THESE AREAS (DESPITE SOME BUMPS AND BRUISES THAT COME WITH THE TERRITORY)
Forgive quickly – MRRMPH. STILL WORKING ON THAT.
Don’t hold grudges – WILL ALWAYS BE WORKING ON THIS.
Be kinder – AND THIS.
Read more – CHECK. (I BECAME MINORLY – FINE, MAJORLY – OBSESSED WITH THE “RED RISING” BOOKS)
Travel more – HOPEFULLY THIS WILL HAPPEN MORE THIS YEAR. THE MAN AND I HAVE MATCHING VACATION TIME, SO I’M CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC THAT THIS. WILL. BE. THE. YEAR.
Play the guitar more – SPORADICALLY?
Drink more water – … WHEN I TRACK IT ON MY FITBIT?
Do the 5k Resolution Run – CHECK!
Do the Whole30 – BLEW THIS ONE OUT OF THE WATER WITH NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREE WHOLE30S! AND I’M PLANNING TO START ANOTHER ON SUNDAY.
Be bikini ready by the summer – really this time – YES, I ACTUALLY WORE A BIKINI TO THE LAKE THIS SUMMER.
Be a better wife – #LIFEGOALS
Workout together – WE HAD A COUPLE GOOD WEEKS IN THERE … LOOKING FORWARD TO STEPPING UP OUR GAME IN 2016.
Install ceiling fans – STILL ON OUR TO-DO LIST, BUT WE DID PUT IN A NEW KITCHEN LIGHT, SO SCORE. BESIDES, IT’S WINTER AND IT’S 30-SOMETHING DEGREES OUTSIDE. NO ONE NEEDS A CEILING FAN.
Buy new switch plates – BOUGHT AND INSTALLED.
Put in kitchen backsplash – WE’RE STILL DEBATING THE WISDOM OF THIS ONE.
Revamp/reorganize guest room – CHECK … BUT IT COULD USE ANOTHER.
Buy knobs and/or handles for kitchen cabinets and drawers – DONE AND DONE! (AND FOR THE BATHROOM, TOO)
As you can see, my list is pretty hit and miss, but overall I’m happy with the things I was able to accomplish.
Yes, I failed at blogging.
And a few other things.
But tomorrow is a new day, brimming with opportunity that I’m ready to meet head on.
With that being said, here’s to 2016 and:
Reading my Bible every day
Running a 5k in under 30 minutes (preferably 28 minutes)
Well, somehow, and I’m not entirely sure how, we’ve managed to make it through another year.
Not gonna’ lie, 2014 was a little rough. Yes, it had some great high points (new job, better hours, actually getting to actually SEE my man while we were both still conscious), but generally speaking it’s a chapter I’m thankful to turn the page on.
On to 2015 will all of its promise, adventures to be lived and memories to make.
I’m typically not very big on resolutions.
They’re always made and broken so easily, and that really bugs me.
However, I was thinking about it, and had something of a light-bulb moment;
It’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.
On that note, (and in no particular order) here are of few resolutions I’ve set out for myself in 2015:
Finish reading through my Bible
Write more (Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Here I am!)
Since my last post regaling you with newly-wedded bliss, pretty much the only thing that’s stayed the same is, well, the newly-wedded bliss.
My hair went from blond to burgundy to brown to black to bleached blond, now to a slightly more natural-ish shade of blond.
My rat died.
That’s pet rat, for your information. Don’t judge.
I made a swan dive from reporting into a world of gallon/pound conversions, number crunching, stock control and inventory adjustments … and couldn’t be happier.
It’s kinda’ like shopping on steroids.
For the first time in our entire relationship, The Man and I are on the same schedule and love it. It makes every day feel like a weekend – with the exception of the whole getting up at the crack of dawn thing.
Gotta’ admit, I was a little nervous to completely change fields … to give up a sure thing for a one-year contract job, but hey, what’s life without a little uncertainty?
Anyway, the move paid off – BIG TIME – and, as of last weekish, I now have an offer for a permanent position.
[NOTE: Cue the happy dance, because I actually did one when I got the official email]
Now I can continue my stint with the other crazed commuters watching out for even crazier motorcyclists whiffing past our side view mirrors and shooting practically non-existent gaps in traffic with the best of them. I swear, people are straight up crazy.
Now, I find myself on the cusp of adulthood – you know, those people who actually plan for the future and occasionally find themselves contemplating foreign topics such as retirement, 401ks and insurance … eeep!
I say all this, not only to try to sweep over the 11 month gap since my last post, but to say how much I have to be thankful for – which is fitting since Thanksgiving was two days ago.
Mind you, I’m not saying life is really that rosy all the time, but when you take a step back and evaluate the things that really matter … time spent with the people you love, making memories, sharing a good laugh with a friend, having plenty of food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in, it can give you some much-needed perspective.
I don’t know what the future will hold in the next year, the year after that, five years from now or when I’m 40 … but there’s no point in worry about that today. Today gives us all plenty to deal with.
I’m the last person in the world you’ll ever hear going all “YOLO” bonkers, but cliché references aside, it’s important to make each day count.
Remind yourself that you can’t make everybody happy all the time – and be OK with that.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably your own worst critic. Cut yourself some slack; As much as you try, you’re not a superhero and sometimes something’s got to give. Deal.
Forgive quickly; Grudges only hurt you and hold you back. Plus, they have the nasty habit of growing into something worse (bitterness) if you give them half a chance.
Love long; As shocking as it may be to believe, I’m not 100 percent charming 100 percent of the time … I’m going to go out on a limb and guess – just guess – that you aren’t either. Remember that when you deal with others and hold on to those who matter for dear life.
Most of all, always go to bed with a clean conscience. Say what you mean, doesn’t expect others to be mind readers, don’t be fake, don’t be sketchy … it will always come back to bite you.
Marriage is an adventure. A very fun, very wild, sometimes frustrating always-thrilling rollercoaster filled with the highest highs and, unfortunately, what feels like some pretty stinkin’ low lows sometimes. Still, it’s an adventure I wouldn’t trade for the world, and that’s something I’m reminded of every night when I get off work and get to come home and snuggle with my best friend and the man of my dreams.
Yes, I’m well aware how sappy that is, but I’m a newlywed, so I’m pretty sure it’s allowed. Despite the rapturous joys of married life, there have been a few moments when The Man and I haven’t seen quite eye to eye; In hind sight, it usually plays out like a scene from a romantic comedy, but at the time requires buckets of patience — something that has never been my strong suit.
However, thanks to a lot of prayer and a lot of advice from those older and far wiser than me, I’ve picked up on a few tricks to help make the bumps a little less bumpy. More like pothole status.
(There also may or may not have been a marriage/relationship self-help book in the mix, too … “Love & Respect.” BUY IT NOW. Run, don’t walk. You’ll thank me later.)
I like to be right. I like to be fair. I like people (i.e. The Man) to see things from my point of view, or at the very least put himself in my flipflops, see why what he said was insensitive and give me a quick “I’m sorry, baby.”
Is that asking too much?
Sometimes a misconstrued example, no matter how innocuous — or ridiculous — can be like pouring gasoline on a beach bonfire. Who knew?!
Though I had the misfortune of learning this the hard way, I survived to tell the tale and, I hope, learned a valuable lesson in the process.
The Man and I had gone up to the mountains with his parents for the weekend and were staying with them in their newly acquired double-wide. We shared an airbed on the living room floor that Lilly, the family dog, somehow managed to worm her way right in the middle of.
We snuggled closer to keep the crisp mountain air coming through the open windows at bay; Lilly readjusted herself so she was sprawled on top of me.
The Man and I whispered back and forth, trying not to wake the others, while he played with Lilly. At some point, and I’m not even sure exactly how this came up, he said something to the effect of being in bed with a blond (Lilly) and a brunette (me? I’m clearly a strawberry blonde, but that’s neither here nor there).
I tracked with him …
Then he said the part about knowing he should have gone with a girl with black hair.
… black hair?!?
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!
I laid there for a minute … processing. I knew he was completely joking … in his junior high boy way … Still, I was irritated … I was ruffled … “should have gone with black hair?!?” I groused to myself. What the heck, bro?
In the words of my oh-so-wise sister, “Divorce is not an option, but sometimes murder is a distinct possibility.” This was one of those moments.
After mentally weighing my options, I opted to voice my lack of appreciation for his joke and to try to give him some needed (female) perspective.
Our conversation went something like this:
“Baby, that kind of hurt my feelings.”
“What did,” he replied, obliviously.
“You saying that you should have gone with a girl with black hair,” I explained, trying to keep my voice low — no one wants their in laws to hear a conversation this ridiculous. “It would be like me saying I should have married a Puerto Rican,” I added simply.
Without another word, The Man flipped over onto his side — facing away from me — and yanked the covers up to his ears.
“Ummmm … Jason?” I queried.
“What a stupid thing to say,” he said bluntly.
I was dumbfounded.
“What do you mean, you should have married a Puerto Rican?” he asked, clearly irritated and still facing away from me.
“I wasn’t saying that,” I quick defended. “I was just saying that that is what you saying you should have married a dark haired girl felt like to me. I don’t want to marry a Puerto Rican — I don’t even know any Puerto Ricans!”
That didn’t help.
Some gentle prodding, a lot of apologizing and assuring him repeatedly that dirty blonds are more my type, more apologizing, a dash of groveling coupled with breakfast and a morning bike ride later and we were good as new … although Puerto Rican has become a bit of a punch line for us …
Lesson of the day: Sometimes you don’t need to make others see things from your point of view. You don’t need to justify yourself or “put things into perspective” — something I’m actually pretty good at, if I say so myself (but that’s beside the point). Have a little grace — and a lot more patience — and let it go.
Jason and I have been frantically scrambling to pack boxes, move furniture, load and unload my bookcase, kitchen table, baker’s rack, decorations and all the random odds and ends I’ve managed to accumulate in the three years since my college graduation.
The candles, dishes, wine glasses, vases, mixing bowls, art work, crock pot and decorative balls (don’t judge) have all been painstakingly tossed in tissue paper and stuffed into semi labeled boxes so, with any luck, I’ll be able to find them again within the next three or so years.
The whole moving process, however, begs a very pertinent question: how and WHEN did I get so much stuff?!?
It’s going to take the time and patience of an 83-year-old working on a jigsaw puzzle to make everything fit.
… And, most likely, a yard sale …
Valuable things I’ve learned in the process:
– Sharpies are your friend.
– Moving music makes life much less painful … So does listening to “Gilmore Girls” in the background. I recommend taking Miranda Lambert’s new CD, “Four the Record,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis or Justin Timberlake’s “20/20” for a spin. You’ll thank me.
– You can never have too much tissue paper.
– Or boxes.
– Pretend you’re camping when you wave goodbye to your beloved couch — since there can only be one in the two-bedroom single bath you’ll soon be cohabiting in.
– Press ‘n seal wrap is, in the words of Martha Stewart, “a good thing.” Especially after the man has backed every piece of tupperware capable of containing a sandwich.