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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Being a Wife.

Growing up, I wouldn't say that I was one of those girls that dreamed of being a bride. I never really imagined my wedding or my "Prince Charming." I was interested in a lot of things and hoped that I would find someone to share my life with, but I wouldn't say it permeated my everyday thoughts. 

So I did the normal things that kids and young adults do--I went to college, I traveled a little, I tried news things and met interesting and exciting people. After all of that, I got a job and settled into single life. I loved it and I really valued being independent, but along the way, something inside me started to change. 

Actually-- maybe nothing really changed--maybe certain things just became more obvious. I valued being independent, but I also felt myself starting to be somewhat predictable and at times, stuck in my ways. I liked things the way I liked them and I didn't like to change. It worked for me, but that's because it was just me. I started to realize that if I wanted to share my life with someone in any capacity, I probably needed to ease up in a few areas. I just didn't know how to do that...

Enter Dan--my husband. He is great--kind and thoughtful. Intelligent and caring. We get along great and genuinely enjoy each other's company. When we first started dating I was still working, but now, since we have been married, I am not. I go to school and do some contract work but nothing at all like my past work life. I love it-- it is really perfect for us. Dan's job can be really stressful and when we were both working, it seemed hard to have us both under stress and cranky at the end of the day. Now, just one of us has to be cranky. :) 

But remember all the other stuff? The single life, valuing my independence--this new life really tested all of that. Especially when I stopped working and didn't have an income. Please know that Dan would never let me want for anything, so it wasn't about that--it was about being the strong female that I had always been. I feared that was slipping away. 

I struggled with that--I thought a lot about going back to work. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt that I should. I felt like a weak female and I didn't like that. 

Then--one day, I realized that this is my job. It is my job to be a loving, caring wife to my husband. To relish this time I have at home--to make our house a welcoming and loving place. To make it a CLEAN place. To take pride in dinners and lunches and always having clean clothes. To know that on the weekends we can do exactly what we want to do. After all, Dan loves me unconditionally and goes off to work everyday--this should be easy for me. 

Everything doesn't always fall in to place though--sometimes we fall behind, we (mostly I) worry about money, but for right now, this works and I love it. Perhaps what is perfect is that if I decided tomorrow that I wanted to go back to work and spend all day there, Dan would be happy. If I stayed home for the rest of my life, Dan would be happy. Dan is a happy guy. He makes me happy and he makes me want to do things that I would have normally deemed boring or stifling. 

Don't get me wrong--I still have plenty of days where I do things for myself and "play," but I love this job I have inside my home. I love that it is stress free. No mad rushes out the door in the morning or weekends lost to housework. Maybe in a year, this won't work for us, or me, anymore. Maybe it all will change--and that will be okay. For now, this works. 

I used to think that being independent and strong meant not giving into a stereotype of "housewife." I think I was wrong about all of that--I think being independent means doing what it right for you, for your life and your family, despite what society might say. In fact, I think doing that takes more strength than any 9-5 could ever ask for. 

This Summer...

This summer has been a whirlwind. Starting with that glorious day in May. The 27th to be exact. I became a wife to my charming, kind and loving husband. We had a dream wedding. I loved every minute of it. I wasn't nervous at all--everything felt so right. Surrounded by family and close friends; sharing the most magical moment ever with my love. What could be better?

Immediately following the wedding, reception and brunch (the next morning) we jetted off to our amazing honeymoon in London and Paris! It was like our dream was on auto pilot. We fit right in with the Londoners--traveled everywhere on the Underground, had afternoon tea, saw all the sights and even caught a movie. We rented an apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood and fell in love with the area. We would highly recommend staying in Chelsea--the location was perfect and the area was filled with history, yet very modern. A perfect mix. 
At first, I was sad that the CCTV camera blocked my shot of Big Ben, but later I decided it was a good representation of the city. CCTV cameras are everywhere! I guess we became so used to seeing them that I didn't even notice it in this shot. 

The best thing about being in London this summer? The Queen's Jubilee! We had planned our trip perfectly--and really, we didn't even realize that the gravity of the festivities until we arrived. There were parades and parties in the street, cake baking contests and even a concert and fireworks show at Buckingham Palace--which we watched from our apartment window! It was truly unbelievable and something that I am pretty sure I won't ever be able to duplicate. This picture above is one of the street parties we attended--just outside Parliament. 
In the middle of our London adventures, we took a short hop over to Paris, where we spent 3 days eating crepes, walking around taking in the sights, seeing the Mona Lisa and going to Disneyland Paris! Yes--thats right--Euro Disney! A caveat--if you plan to visit anytime soon be prepared--the rides are like the US versions, but on roids. Very adult and sometimes, to me, scary. Worth a trip if you have a day to kill though. 

Once home, our travels continued. In July, we took a long weekend cruise to Mexico. This was very last minute and a screaming deal. It was our first cruise for both of us and it didn't disappoint. We ate pretty much 24/7 and lounged all day. The stop over in Mexico was just okay--not much to do, but we did disembark to get the whole experience. 

Then, in August came our long awaited DisneyWorld/ Star Wars Celebration trip to Florida. We had been planning this trip since the middle of 2012 and we were both very anxious to go. Dan because he loves all things Disney and Star Wars and me because I had never been to a Celebration or Disneyworld. 
I thought that DisneyWorld was pretty cool. It is actually 4 parks--The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios--but most of you know that, I'm sure. I loved them all--Magic Kingdom being my favorite, but Animal Kingdom was a close second. Epcot's World Showcase was a nice change from the typical amusement park experience--and I ate more soft pretzels in "Germany" than I really care to say. 

After surviving the heat and humidity of DisneyWorld, we moved to downtown Orlando for Star Wars Celebration. It was indoors and my first time visiting, so I was pretty excited. We ended up spending a lot of time at the panel sessions, but we had our fair share of "floor time" too-- visiting vendor tables and getting autographs in the main convention center. I really had fun--I wasn't sure that I would fit in so well--I like Star Wars, but my husband REALLY likes Star Wars. He understands all the jokes, satire and can appreciate the collectibles much better than I can. Still, I loved it and most of all, I loved sharing this new experience together. 
See this incredible view? It was taken from the back steps of my Uncle and Aunt's home in Wisconsin! It is so beautiful. Shortly after our Florida trip we traveled to Wisconsin for my cousin's wedding, held in this very backyard. It was such a perfect setting and she was a beautiful bride. I was so happy to show Wisconsin to my husband and share this wonderful family event together. Congrats Amy and Jason!

Phew. That is just about it...almost. :) We have one last trip of the summer to visit my parents in California. We are so excited--this is probably our favorite place to visit. The town they live in so quaint and pretty--we have such lazy days there and at the beach, which is just a short 10 minute drive away. On this trip, we'll be doing some new things too--which we're excited about. Dinner at one of my parent's fav places in a town we've never visited and a cute stage show production near their home. It will be a great weekend!

I hope your summer was as exciting and fun as ours was. Make no mistake, we don't plan to have a summer like this one again soon--so we took full advantage now. As my sister says--YOLO! (you only live once) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Malted Milk v.2

Before I had this blog, I had another more, shall we say, basic blog. It was fun, but it didn't have nearly the bells and whistles I have now. 

Even though this blog was very basic, I seemed to write some deep stuff. Pretty deep for someone who isn't deep. 

Just a few days ago I found this little piece I wrote at a time in my life when I was clearly feeling lonely. Ha!

I decided to repost it here, not because I think it deserves to published multiple times, but because I feel so grateful that all the things I worried would never come true, actually have. 

As of yesterday, I have entered my "marriage month" and I couldn't be happier about it. It feels as though all the things I wrote about in this post have come true. I can see my future and it certainly looks bright. 

Also-- it is beyond funny to me that I wasn't a grocery shopper back then....I basically live in the grocery store now!

A few days ago, while in the grocery store, I purchased a bottle of malted milk powder. I love malted milkshakes and really didn't even know that you could buy powder to make them yourself.

I read the back of the bottle and it said it could be added to milk or into a milkshake. I thought I’d give it a whirl and add it to some milk that I had put into the cart just moments earlier. Seemed kinda like fate that I found this malted milk powder so soon after picking up the milk. (As you may or may not know, I don't really grocery shop, so this may be a totally normal pairing for some, but for me--it's a big deal)

Tonight I cracked open the malted milk. I stood in the kitchen of my apartment and took down a glass. I poured the milk, I added the powder. I tasted it. Too weak. More powder. Stirring. Just perfect.

And then I stood in my tiny kitchen and listened. Nothing. No sounds. I looked down at my solitary glass of milk and then around the kitchen. Still nothing. I returned the milk gallon to the fridge and went into my bedroom with the glass to enjoy it and watch TV.

But I didn't watch TV. I just sat on the bed and thought a lot about that glass of milk. I thought about how nice it is to have a little treat at the end of the day. I thought about how cool it is that they make malted milk powder (still not over it, obviously) and then I thought about the silence. But I also thought about how other people may be enjoying their end of the day treat. Maybe with friends. Maybe with their kids. Their spouse. Maybe with co-workers.

I think I should say here that I don't like self-pity. It's annoying and quite frankly, not productive at all. But sometimes it's hard to not acknowledge the down and dirty truth and just plain feel bad about it.

I'm not really an emoter either. I don't like crying in front of people or spilling my guts to anyone who will listen. I tend to keep it inside and work through things myself. I am constantly doing the self-talk, reminding myself that everything is okay, justifying my life and my decisions and remaining grateful for the many blessings I have.

But tonight as I sit on my bed with my glass of milk and my silence I realize that in less than 2 months I will be 30. I always thought that by now everything would be different. Tonight I realize it's the same.

Here is a secret. Sometimes, when I am at the store or the mall or just out and about, I see other women with lives that look desirable. I look at them and in my mind I say something like this:

"Hey lady! You look a lot like me. I have those tight jeans you're wearing. I carry that purse in the summer. My sunglasses are the same as yours. We look so much alike, but you have more than the material things. I want that. When will it be my turn!?"

I imagine a life different from mine all the time. I make lists, I change things about myself. I am friendly and positive. I listen to people when they talk. I deal with the crap. I act right. I keep my morals in place...but sometimes it feels like it's for not.

I think about all the people I know who did things that I would consider despicable. Choices that I would never make.... and you know what? Today 9 out of 10 of those people have what they want. It's kind of like that saying, "The nice guy (or gal) finishes last."

I wonder if maybe I should have been more daring these past ten years. Maybe I should have thrown caution to the wind more often and taken risks. Not cared what people thought. Forgot about letting others down. Just did it.

But I didn't. I lived very differently and my life today, in some ways, is a reflection of those methodical choices. I can't truly say that living a life opposite of mine would have really mattered. Maybe my cards have been dealt this way. I just don't know.

What I do know is this-- tonight I drink my malted milk alone. No noise. No crying child, no blasting TV, no requests of me or complaints directed at me. No comfortable exchanges. No bedtime stories. I will go to bed with my cat. I will wake to the same silence I hear tonight.

Maybe one day (soon or not) my days of drinking malted milk alone will seem like a distant memory. But that won't be tonight and it probably won't be tomorrow night. And who knows? I might be enjoying these small treats on my own for a long time. I might enjoy that comfort and predictability.

But I'll let you in on another secret: I'd trade all that comfort in to find out what it's like to pour two, three or even four glasses of milk each night.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I've Been Away. So Sorry. But Today? A Guest Post!

Okay. I am sorry people. I suck. 

My life has been really busy. I am getting married next month and that, along with school and normal day to day stuff has not left much time for blogging. 

But! Life is going well and I am so excited to be married next month. I promise that I will be better about blogging--once I'm hitched and all is settled. 

It's a good thing you swung by here today. I am very excited because I have a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers--Meredith. She has a really great blog--cute, creative and funny. I found her about a year ago and have been reading ever since. 

Recently, she opened a really cool online thrift store called Rubbish where she sells some of her old clothing. I ordered a few pieces from her and then thought I'd just go for broke and ask if she would be interested in doing a guest post, to which she sweetly obliged. 

I asked if she could write about thrifting... something I love and something that she knows a lot about. She is super thrifty and I thought that we could all use some money saving tips--especially when it comes to cute clothing! Thank you again Meredith! Check out her blog guys!

Hey hey! I'm Meredith, a self proclaimed chronic cheapskate and life long thrift shopper.
I was invited over today to share my top thrifting tips. Because I've literally been shopping Salvation Army and Goodwill since I was in the womb (my mom did thrift her maternity clothes so ...) I just think of thrift stores as much cheaper + messier malls. Lots of brands, lots of sizes, all types of clothes; just like the mall. Right? Kinda?

 For those of you not so at home in thrift stores, here are my top 5 tips for a successful trip:
 1- Forget about sizes and just try stuff on. Sizing differs from brand to brand any way and since clothes donated to thrift stores are from varied decades and manufacturers, the sizing may be way off. Vintage clothes may run small, newer items may run big. Look for the colors and patterns you love in the neighborhood of the sizes you already wearing and then try.every.thing.on.
2- Get your dig on. Shop all the sections, you may find something in the little boys or mens section that works out (like blazers). That's the beauty of thrifting: There are hidden treasures everywhere just waiting for you to unearth them! Dig. Browse through all the racks. Spend some time looking around.
3- Find out when the deal days are. A lot of thrift stores have half off days or special discounts for students, etc. At my fave local thrift store, the last Friday of every month is all merchandise half off day. Cha ching! (I'm too cheap to even pay "full price" at thrift stores at this point.) Ask the workers at your thrift stores if they offer discounts and when these deal days are and you could save big time.
4-Don't buy everything just because it's cheap. Sometimes I go thrifting and want to buy every single thing I see. "It's such a good deal! It's so cute! I loooove it! But I don't need it." Even though you're spending less money, you're still spending. Decide what you really want to get before you hit the store (if you are looking for something in particular), have fun shopping, and then try to leave with only the things you really need. When I over thrift, I make sure to get rid of a few unused items already sitting in my apartment to even things out.
5- Don't over think it. In the end you're really just walking into a  store, looking around til you find things you like, trying them on to see if they fit, and then paying for them. You're just shopping! But (hopefully) spending much less. :)

Thanks for letting me hang out today and I hope these tips are helpful!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Weekend Daily: Hunger Games and such

I was really, really lucky to see an Advanced Screening of The Hunger Games on Wednesday. Two days before it came out! Two days!
I couldn't believe that I would be walking around, like a normal person, knowing I had seen The Hunger Games before most of the country. I could hardly contain myself.
Since I have seen it I have read a lot of reviews from websites and blogs, mostly positive with some criticism, but overall quite good.
I agree with most of what I have read---the movie was fantastic! Yes, it lacked some of the elements that made the book so rich, all the same---it was a strong portrayal of the book.
There were some scenes from the book that I missed seeing in the movie, but only because I think that someone watching the movie without reading the book would be confused. I think there were a lot of implications in the movie-- betting that a majority of viewers would have read the book already.
All in all--I loved it. Movies are never as good as the books, but this one came pretty darn close. Most of all, the books and the movie have encouraged reading and thoughtfulness in young people {and adults} everywhere! It's hard to deny the benefit there.
Anyhoo...here is a picture of me, in my best Katniss inspired outfit.

See that Mockingjay pin? Dan had it overnighted to me just so I could wear it to the screening! What a guy.... 

We kinda counted this as our date night too. It was great. We only had to wait in line about an hour, but it was all fun. We ate hot dogs and nachos and got some cool free swag. 

Other than that, we hung around this weekend, ran some errands, watched some TV, ate at Furr's Cafeteria {throw back time, big time!} and relaxed with this little girl....

Have you seen The Hunger Games? Whatcha think of it???

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Been a Little MIA

I have been neglecting this blog. It's true. But not intentional. We have been so busy! I don't have a lot of words, {they'll come soon} but I do have a lot of pictures, for now.

Above: Dan and I love spring training. It is such a great time in Arizona! We visited a Brewers game a few weeks ago. It was a lovely day.

Above: A little wedding {!} shoes shopping, but no buying just yet.....

Above: Dan surprised me about a month ago with a trip to the San Luis Obispo, California. We love it there. On the first night we visited the very popular downtown farmer's market.

Above: The weather was kind of gloomy....{Avila Beach, CA pier}

Above: But we made the best of it!

Above: And ate a lot of meals like this....

We have been busy, but happy. Last night, we saw an advanced screening of The Hunger Games!! Only the most exciting thing to happen ever!! {just kidding, not ever, but close} Check back here on Friday for a review of the movie!

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Weekend Daily: Visitor Style!

This weekend, Dan's mom visited! We had a great time just going around town, shopping and eating. Riley also had a vacation of sorts---she went to Doggie Day Camp at Petsmart! {highly recommended--she loved it!}

Some photos from our weekend. Come again soon, Cathy!

Above: We found some great deals here. And some unique items too. See below:

I also picked up some really delish cranberry juice and drank the whole bottle in 1.5 days!
Riley had a little adventure herself this weekend. She went to Doggie Day Camp at PetsMart and let me tell you, this place is a Godsend! She plays all day, eats doggie ice cream and can even watch doggie themed tv shows. Best of all, she gets lots of play time with other dogs at the camp. I especially love that she gets to interact with other dogs--I want her to be well socialized and not scared/mean to other dogs she sees. Another bonus? When she gets home she is TIRED. Sleeps through the entire night! Woo hoo!
We also took a quick trip to our favorite little shaved ice spot and snapped these really flattering shots....
Just a note: If we have that slightly crazed look in our eyes it's only because it took a few shots to get us  both in the shot.

We had a great weekend! Lots of fun and time with family is always nice! Last night, as we were relaxing at home I snapped the below shot of one our beautiful Arizona sunsets.