Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old Wife to Garrett, Mom to Holden and a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what we are currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
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Tis the season for reflective naval gazing, yes? Honestly, 2017 was a year for quiet, contemplative naval gazing — obviouslsy evidenced by the fact that I haven’t posted since May. In the past when I’ve gone through major shifts (like I feel like I did this year) I’ve written through it and shared a lot here. This year I just…couldn’t.
I think this was a tough year for a lot of people. Personally, politically, there was just a lot of turmoil out there in the ether and I didn’t really know how to talk about that here. That is some of the reason why I didn’t write much.
But the other part, for me at least, was that in 2017 there were so many changes that I could have shared that I just couldn’t keep pace with them. Honestly, had I written through them, I probably would have given you whiplash. You’re welcome for keeping quiet for a bit. But here we are at the end of the year and I am feeling pulled to share a little bit. I don’t know what to do with this dusty old blog, but I’m not quite ready to give it up.
I thought we could start with everyone’s favorite end of the year wrap up?
1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
I have never really been a devotee to the “word of the year” phenomenon, but in hindsight I definitely see that there was a theme for me throughout this past year. 2017 was the year of Surrender. The year I had to say to myself – Holly, you can not do it all. And I couldn’t. And I didn’t. And if you know anything about me, you know that was a very tough pill to swallow. I mean, for evidence, please see the name and content of this blog for the last decade.
In 2017 I didn’t set a single goal. I didn’t aim to improve myself, or push myself, or plan for something, or execute on a big project. None of it. And honestly that was hard for me. There were so many times I felt lost and un-anchored and desperate for some structure. But there was also part of me that felt free. Free to just flow with where life took me. And I did that. And so many times I felt energized, and alive and surprised by what surrounded me. It’s been an interesting thing to reconcile.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My goals at the top of this website are from 2016 – so that should tell you pretty clearly about whether or not I kept any resolutions. Ha! I’m not sure if I’m going to make goals for 2018. We’ll see.
Never say never. I mean, I am turning 40 in 2018, so…
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one in my immediate family gave birth but a good friend did.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No deaths in my immediate family. It was another year of feeling oddly connected to dying celebrities though. I think this has to do with the fact that I’m getting older.
5. Where did you travel?
Zero trips this year, which was just fine by me. But I definitely have the itch to go back to Palm Springs something fierce next year.
6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Holden woke up 2-3 times a night until we sleep trained him in June. BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE OMG WHY DID WE WAIT SO LONG. It literally took one night and he has been a champion sleeper ever since. But I went 8 months straight without really sleeping more than 4 hours at a clip and that took a toll. We’ve been sleeping a solid 6 months now but it took quite a few months FOR ME to get back the ability to actually sleep through the night. My sleep isn’t perfect but it is steadily improving and I look forward to feeling slightly more rested in 2018.
7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Holden’s first birthday. (Joy)
The night before my mom had a major surgery. (Anxiety)
Christmas Eve. (Because Holden slept in until 8am and so did I, and WOW I woke up feeling festive and rested and we had a wonderful day with family.)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I found balance between work and motherhood. It’s a new pace for me, and it took ¾ of the year to figure out, but I’m there and I feel good and I don’t feel like I’m failing at everything in life.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I maybe worked out 5 times this year? That might be giving myself more credit than is due. I completely lost my fitness mojo. Obviously I wasn’t sleeping until July and working out just wasn’t going to happen – my body was pumping out enough cortisol just to survive. But in 2018 I would really like to get back to moving my body in a way that feels good physically. It’s so good for my MENTAL health, and I really missed that in my life this year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Pregnancy a C-Section and the natural loss of some core stability shined a light on a congenital back issue that I have going on that caused me to suffer quite a bit of pain this year. I began seeking help for it in spring and only in the last few weeks have I felt a decent amount of relief. It’s been a long, slow process and it’s made me realize that CrossFit is not in the cards for me in the near future (or maybe ever again.) This was a very sad thing for me to come to terms with this year. I want to continue rehabilitating my back in 2018, lose some weight since that will only help things, and find new fitness that both me and my back will love.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
We bought our first home in September after looking for almost 12 months. It was exhilarating, scary and hands down the best thing we bought. I feel grateful every single day for this house. It is all the things we hoped for but thought we would have to compromise on. It was really an exercise in patience because we saw so many houses, made multiple offers, had our hearts broken and really thought we may never find The One. But then our house came along and literally everything from start to finish was easy, effortless and exactly what we had been asking for all those months. It felt like a literal gift from The Universe.
12. Where did most of your money go?
OOF, that house down payment.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Holden sleeping through the night. Celebrating two years of marriage. Surviving the first year of parenthood. Buying a house. Moving three miles away from my mom. The Holidays in our new home. Feeling like I am getting a bit of my personal mojo back after having a baby.
14. What song will always remind you of 2017?
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Oh gosh, that’s hard. I mean – last year I was a blissfully pregnant dog mom and so excited about what was to come. This year we lived through some of the harsh realities of the first year of parenting. Haha
That said, overall I am definitely happier.
– thinner or fatter? I weigh less than I did pregnant.But definitely flabbier.
– richer or poorer? Richer for sure. In all the ways that matter.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish we had dined out more when Holden wasn’t mobile 🙂
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish I had done less panicking. I go from zero to a hundred REAL QUICK on the anxiety scale when I am not exercising. As you can imagine so this year was a hard one on the emotional management front. New baby, re-entering the work environment, family health issues, all of it. I just did a lot of panicking that probably wasn’t necessary.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
We slept in. My mom stayed the night. We had family over. There was cooking and Christmas music and way too much dessert and I went to bed with the fullest, happiest heart.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
We fell hard for The Great British Baking Show this year. That show is just too cute.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I only read 4 books this year and I don’t know if any were really favorites.
Hillbilly Elegy (Pretty darn good.)
Love Warrior (Meh.)
The Dry (Great.)
You Are A Bad Ass (Hated.)
A Return to Love (Re-Read)
I was just happy to get through them. I hope to read a lot more in 2018.
21. What was your favorite music this year?
I have been on a Country streak ever since I was on maternity leave and up all night nursing and watching old episodes of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. Spotify tells me Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, Lady Gaga and Beirut were my most played artists. Seems about right.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Did I even watch a film this year? I don’t think I did and that is sad.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 39 and I can’t remember what I did. Is that mom brain? Did we just relax? I’m not sure. Hoping to make this next year’s milestone birthday one to remember.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It was pretty darn good, I don’t want to be greedy.
25. What was the political issue you that stirred you?
Like so many, I think everything under the entire feminist umbrella made me feel stirred up and like taking action.
26. What kept you sane?
Am I sane? Is that a fact? I am not sure sure. I don’t know if I would bet on that you guys — I went a really, really long time without any sleep. 🙂
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
I am much stronger than I thought I was, despite the fact that I have much less muscle.
These days are going by in a flash so I thought I better pop in and do a little brain dump or this month is going to fly by just like April and I will post nothing! I already hate that I’m only averaging a post once a month, so I at least have to keep that pace up!
I think I’m experiencing that lame blogger feeling where you feel like so much time has passed that you would have to give some long sweeping updates (for example: Holden’s darn birth story) in order to just start posting about fun, little things again and that is giving me a feeling of overwhelm. So if you see me popping in and just randomly blogging and you’re like “WHAT THE HECK?” just know I am just over here trying to get my blog mojo back. Anyway, on to some random updates!
Last Friday Holden was 7 months old, and so far this age is my favorite. He is so fun, interactive and mobile — but not TOO mobile that I have to chase him everywhere. He just delights in everything and is constantly curious and smiling. It is so cliche, but seeing the world through your child’s eyes is really a magical thing.
A month or so ago they had a “Picture Day” at his daycare, and you guys — YOU GUYS — when we got the proofs back we basically just offered them all of our money because OMG, it’s a baby! Doing Portraits! ha! The whole things just cracks me up, but obviously we had to order them.
His sleep right now is mostly good, but inconsistent, and I just feel like: what a wild ride my life is daily. It is the best and most exhausting thing, all at the same time!
Speaking of exhausting, my caffeine intake is still OFF. THE. CHARTS. right now and I’m hoping to rein that in sometime soon but I have to pick my battles these days and being functional at work (and at home!) is required and the coffee helps. I recently helped my mom move and as a thank you she sent me $50 in Starbucks gift cards. She and I talk every morning on the way to work so she is totally in on my habit these days, but when Garrett saw that he was like “WOW, that will take you forever to spend.” and I just chuckled. It didn’t last me two weeks. 🙂
Apropos of nothing, I have to admit that I am really enjoying Instagram Stories. I have basically completely abandoned Snapchat, which isn’t saying much since I lurked on both and didn’t actually put out content, but I am very much enjoying seeing my favorite friends and Instagrammers use video. I think at this time in my life video is easier to ingest than words (yep, that’s my brain that you hear melting) but FWIW, I’m really enjoying them! I wish PRODUCING video type content came easy to me because I think it looks so fun but I legit can’t handle anything new right now.
Maybe I’ll dabble in a story or two but I feel weird talking to my phone. Is there anything you would be interested in seeing on my Instagram stories? (Are you even following me over there? Is anyone even still out there? Is this thing on? tap tap 🙂
If you are still tuning in, you might remember in my February post I mentioned how much I was missing CrossFit but I was having some lingering postpartum issues that were preventing me from going back. Well two things have happened in the past two months that are basically killing that dream to go back to getting my WOD on.
The first, on the injury front, I’m dealing with some pretty bad lower back pain and I’ve found the source of it and it’s kind of a bummer. I have a lot of degeneration in my L5 disc in my back that is clearly causing the pain. It’s congenital (there is no sign that it was caused from trauma and I really haven’t experienced any back trauma ever, so that makes sense) and my doc thinks it was probably that way before I had Holden but since I had a very stable core (heavy lifting, for the win!) I didn’t experience any pain. Now here we are post-having a baby, and my core is less stable, so NOW I’m experiencing pain related to that disc degeneration. Anyway — long story short: I’m restoring my core, heavy lifting and high intensity exercise are off the table until I make some progress (BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) so CrossFit is out.
The second, is that my CrossFit gym closed. WEEP!!! You guys, I am so sad about this. Above is all of us on the last day at the gym, helping tear things down. Man, it’s a bummer. It’s a great thing for our gym owner for sure, but it feels like such a loss of community. It also comes on the heels of one of our dear coaches passing away, so it’s been a double whammy as of late on the CrossFit front.
To say we are feeling a bit untethered as far as fitness goes in an understatement. I’ve been doing CrossFit at the same gym for 7 years and now I have a new baby, a new schedule, new priorities to juggle, a new injury, and no gym to go back to. It’s definitely a pickle, but if you know me all you know that I am doing my best to map out what’s next because fitness is MY SANITY. (And I’m very protective of my sanity these days! haha)
I hate to end this with a negative story, so on a happier note — the weather has been SO BEAUTIFUL lately and that, combined with Holden being a little older and a little more independent means that Garrett and I are getting out into the world so much more these days, being more social, and getting to bring Holden with us everywhere. It has just been the best! I anticipate lots of time outdoors this weekend and this season and just enjoying our little family. Life is so, so good right now and while it is not without it’s challenges, it is really nice to capture all of the good happening lately.
Hope things are going well in your neck of the woods. Hope to be back here sooner rather than later!
Since Holden was about 4 weeks old and began noticing what was playing on the tv screen, we’ve made a marked effort to listen to more music. This will not be a diatribe on Modern Parental Guilt and screen time or anything like that, but it just seemed since we were just using the news for background noise in those early days, it was just as easy to have music playing.
[Also, if I’m being totally honest (and if you are doing the math) November 2016 just wasn’t a super uplifting time to be watching the news in our country if you were already feeling overwhelmed. So. MUSIC IT WAS! And I’m happy to report, among others, Holden already has a healthy appreciation for everyone from Technotronic (WHAT??) to the Wu Tang Clan.]
Hey look: Here’s Proof! (He definitely does NOT dance like that when Lester Holt is talking about Donald Trump, I promise.)
When I got home on Friday night, I told Garrett we needed to play Sultans of Swing for Holden, and he happily obliged. On my way home from work I had called my mom, as usual, and she was excitedly detailing how she found the 70s Music Station on Pandora. Usually she just plugs in a song or an artist, so she was pretty impressed with herself for curating such a varied playlist and she had spent the day listening to The Doors, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits and thinking about good times with my dad back in the day.
“I hadn’t heard some of those songs in years,” she said so sweetly. My dad had been a MAJOR music enthusiast, and it was cute to hear her talk about all the songs my dad used to know and love and talk about.
So we popped in Dire Straits as Garrett, Holden and I had dinner and reminisced. That’s about as wild as our Friday nights are these days — listening to old albums as the sun goes down, watching our baby kick and punch and wiggle along to the music. It’s not as busy as it once was and we are certainly more tired (that may be the first St. Patrick’s Day where were in bed before 9) but I think that lazy, hazy feeling only contributes to how special everything feels. When we turn the lights down and the speakers up, you can almost feel the nostalgia right there in the moment.
The next morning Holden made an expression that looks just like my dad, as he does often these days. He has my dad’s eyes and his round face and the way he photographs sometimes it is just so bittersweet. I love it so much, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a tiny bit painful every once in a while. My dad would have loved being a grandpa.
Sunday would have been my dad’s 63rd birthday and, hungrier than usual to connect with his memory, I posted a great Flashback Friday picture of him that my mom had recently sent on Facebook and asked for folks who knew him to share their memories with me. For most of the weekend the stories kept rolling in and I was so touched by the tiny things people remembered and shared.
On Sunday night, after a long day, I was scrolling Facebook in Costco while waiting on a pizza (#ParentLife) and a new comment popped up from a relative who lives far away and my jaw just dropped as I read it:
I don’t know how to explain those things, or what it all means in the big scheme of things, but what I do know is that those little winks and nods from The Universe keep me feeling connected to him. It felt so good, but as I sat there I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Of course I felt like my dad was right there just beyond my reach and that immediately made me sad. But knowing my dad, somewhere in the back of my mind I could just hear him belly laughing and saying — “Mark my word, that little grandbaby of mine is NOT going to grow up to be a Justin Bieber fan.”
Despite drinking ALL THE COFFEE, ALL DAY LONG I haven’t made an appearance around here in a while. I literally come home from work every single night and say “Tonight is the night I will blog!” and instead I do the following:
*Snuggle my delicious baby who has been at daycare all day
*Feed said baby
*Read him a story with Garrett and do our general “Hey, it’s time to go to sleep” night time routine
*Wash dishes, bottles, sometimes even myself (HEY-O, showers! Luxury of all luxuries!)
*And then, then if my eyelids are still open, sometimes I even sit down with that handsome husband of mine and chat, or watch like 30 minutes of some trashy Bravo program until we are both snoring heaps on the couch by about 8:30. Which is good because that baby is usually awake to eat at midnight and then again around 3am. (You know, before he is up for the day about 5am. RIP SLEEP!)
So, ahem, yes — blogging. I Not Be Doing It. And I miss it so hardcore it hurts, but I know from experience that I will figure out how to balance my personal hobbies with my sweet little baby one thing at a time. Seasons of life, and all that.
In the meantime, I thought we could catch up with a little Currently action. Here is what is going over here, currently:
Blowing My Mind:
Y’all, as of today I HAVE A 5 MONTH OLD! That is literally the fastest 5 months of my life and I feel like I have traveled to the ends of the earth and stayed in the exact same spot ALL AT ONCE! Weirdest and best experience ever, I tell ya.
I can count the days on one hand that I have slept uninterupted through the night (well, more accurately on one finger: it was on my birthday back in October) so I’m slightly insane at most moments of the day, but five months! We’ve made it 5 months! And we’re all still standing! Well, Holden isn’t yet but he sure does want to!
Going back to work at the beginning of the month was a pretty major adjustment, but with the tough parts have also come a huge reclaiming of my own independence. I’ve gotten back some parts of my life that I was missing and one of the most exciting has been reading time! (I’m pumping at work which affords me a few minutes of uninterrupted reading every day. YAY!)
I kicked off the year reading something serious, then moved to something even heavier, started a book that was so fast paced and awesome but I had to return it before finishing because it was due back at the library – SAD! Now I just need a good old fashioned easy read, and that’s what I’ve got. Fun so far.
But I’m reading! REUNITED AND IT FEELS SOOOOO GOOOOOOD!
I don’t have a ton of time or energy for watching TV and movies, but I’ve managed to watch some fun stuff in the past month or two. Granted one of these movies took us 4 days to get through, but hey — we watched it! (Bad Redbox investment for the record though. We decided after that experience that we probably just need to stick with what’s on Netflix and Amazon in this phase of our lives lol)
On the movie front we watched Deep Water Horizon (Marky Mark 4EVA!), Hell or High Water (Both were good movies that appealed to me and Garrett.) I watched Minimalism (and honestly felt a little eye rolly about it.) Maybe it’s because I heard too much hype? I don’t know. It didn’t feel life changing to me.
On the TV front I have been catching up on Scandal again while nursing. Also I am LOVING HBO’s adaptation of Big Little Lies. I loved the book and I think the show is so good so far! I’m kind of a Reese Witherspoon fangirl so this is not a surprise.
My two current obsessions are both beauty related and impulse purchases picked up at Target. Those are the best, right? The first is this hand cream. Holy hell, I love it! Smells great (not sunscreen-y), isn’t at all greasy and is suuuuuuuper moisturizing! And then I went a little HAM on the NYX Butter Lipstick display and picked up a big range of shades because they were on sale and I love that formula. (Its so moisturizing that it doesn’t have hours of staying power but it feels like lip balm going on, so whatever.) I picked up Root Beer Float and Snack Shack (scary looking, but actually GREAT nudes for fair/light skin) and Moonlit Night (which is a gorgeous berry color.) Impulses for the win!
Crossfit! But you probably knew that. I just really haven’t figured out a way to fit in working out AT ALL since Holden was born. I miss my friends, the workouts, the feeling of accomplishment, the rough barbell in my hands, EVERYTHING!!!!
But I’m also have some lingering post c-section issues that I need to get in check before I get back to working out anyway. I have 2 Dr.’s Appt’s this week to hopefully do some digging, but man — people aren’t kidding when they say pregnancy can ravage the bod. I’m hoping it is just some piriformis and hip flexor issues that are exacerbated by weaker abdominals. I don’t really want to think about the other possibilities. UGH. Keep your fingers crossed, would ya?
So what’s happening with you CURRENTLY? Tell me some things! I feel like a bad friend. 😛
This post is probably a day or two late and a dollar short, but since I have a ton of catching up to do, this seemed a manageable place to start today. Beware, my kid is probably going to factor in heavily here. 🙂
1. What did you do in 2016 that you had never done before?
Saw a positive pregnancy test, grew a human, birthed that human, struggled to figure out how to care for a newborn. I mean, let’s be honest: this year had A LOT of firsts.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
My 2016 goals (as usual) were many. But honestly, after finding out we were expecting many of them were just not feasible. I am pround of a few things though: I sent a ton of birthday cards, I spent a good amount of time with friends and family, and I finally got a damn headboard for our bed! (If you’ve been reading here a long time you know that’s been a goal for like…YEARS. I don’t know what the hold up was.)
3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve
We spent our NYE “sleeping when the baby sleeps.” He’s going to bed between 7:30 and 8 these days and I’m rarely up for more than an hour after he is. I guard my sleep like a crazy person, and I caught the Mariah Carey disaster when I woke up in the middle of the night to feed him. It made me glad I didn’t stay up.
4. Did anyone close to you give birth? Did anyone close to you die?
Yes! My family had so many births this year it was so exciting! My cousin Jenny gave birth to a son 6 months to the day before I did. My cousin John and his wife gave birth to a son 3 months after Holden was born. It’s so fun that we had three baby boy cousins all born in the same year. The thought of them all growing up together like I did with my cousins just melts my heart.
There were also a ton of babies born between some great co-workers of mine. There was a serious “Don’t drink the water” situation happening at work because I think there were 8 of us having babies around the same time. Nuts.
As for anyone close to me dying — we had to say goodbye to my sweet Buster and I am still not over it.
5. Did you travel this year?
After we cancelled our official honeymoon to Maui when I had serious morning sickness, I didn’t think to much about travel. Some years are exploratory, and others you stay close to home. This was the latter and it was great to nest, reorganize, and focus on the homefront.
6. What would you like to have had in 2017 that you didn’t have in 2016?
Not much. This year was so full of literal blessings that anything I could have wanted for has been completely overshadowed.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
You know, I would say successfully navigating my life with a real understanding that I am not in control. I mean, yes, that sounds a little hippie woo-woo and, no, I’m not a recovered control freak yet; however, 2016 was a real practice in that area and I feel accomplished at the end of it.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Writing here. And I mean that. 2016 feels like a huge success in so many ways. It’s a year I’ll remember forever. But I definitely felt a hole where this blog lives. I know people are saying blogs are dead, or rather the personal (non corporate) blogs are dead. But I’m just not ready to believe that. This has been my life’s scrapbook for over a decade now. I’m not quite ready to let it go.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I went through the entire year illness free though ironically it is the year I vomited the most in my entire lifetime. (Sorry, but it had to be noted. UGH Do. Not. Miss. That.) As far as injury goes, nothing official, but I’ll tell you what — having a c-section is no joke and I feel like my body still has some ground to gain in the muscle department. But I’m doing it smartly and slowly and with absolutely zero judgment about my physical appearance. Having a baby has been so liberating in that way!
12. Where did most of your money go?
Into our savings account. We would like to buy a house this year so we were total misers in 2016.
13. What song will always remind you of 2016?
So I cried the entire way home from the hospital after Holden was born (birth story forthcoming in 2017, I promise) and all I can say about that is — Hello, hormone dump! Ok, and also a little bit of panic. But my point is:we heard this song like 3 times on the drive home from the hospital. Then at his first pediatrician appointment we heard in multiple times on the way there and on the way back. (Sacramento radio, play some variety would ya?) Anyway, we started calling it Holden’s song and it will always remind me of this year.
14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Written here. Read books.
15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Not much. I had a really lovely year. I mean, I guess I wish I had worried about my child less (before he was born/after he was born), but I don’t think that will stop anytime soon.
16. What was your favorite new tv program?
Like everyone else in America I adored Stranger Things. I hope it doesn’t have the Netflix Season Two curse because I’m really looking forward to a new one.
17. Compared to this time last year are you:
Happier or Sadder – Immensely happier.
Fatter or Thinner – Well this is a weird one. I’m about 20 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight (Thanks breastfeeding!) but I know so much of that is muscle, which makes me sad. So I guess fatter, but I weigh less…LOL
Richer or Poorer – Richer in all the ways that matter.
18. What was the best book you read?
Did I even finish a book last year? Sigh.
19. Greatest Musical Discovery?
Old lady alert: I finally figured out how to use Spotify in a way that enhances my life. And for some reason this year I also revived my love for Country.
20. Favorite Film of the year?
The only movie I remember watching was that hypnobirthing movie and I can’t say it was a favorite. 🙂
21. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 38 a mere 16 days after Holden was born and the morning of my birthday Garrett made sure I got a 4 hour stretch of sleep and it was the first one I had gotten in those 16 days and boy did it feel like a gift!
22. Greatest Food Discovery?
Anything that can be eaten using only one hand got my stamp of approval.
25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned:
Gratitude (and lots of coffee) can get you through anything.
26. What pictures best represent 2016?
My Instagram Feed for certain. I mean, yes it has turned into a lot of baby pictures. But let’s be real, that is the best representation of 2016.
Hope you all had a lovely holiday. I’m wishing you a renewed 2017 and I hope we get to chat more around here in the coming year. I’m going to try and do better at that. Thanks for being patient.
I know it has been a while, but I wanted to pop in to announce that our sweet son Holden John Franklin finally made his appearance at 9:22pm on Wednesday September 28th. He was almost 2 weeks overdue and weighed in at a chunky 9 lbs 5 oz and was almost 21 inches long. We were so excited to finally get meet him! Remembering his first cry still brings me to tears three weeks later.
The name Holden comes from the Australian Car Manufacturer as well as the Literary Character, and seemed to be the perfect merging of both my and Garrett’s interests. His middle name John is for my father, who I was happy to see he definitely resembles, and Garrett’s grandfather. We think his name fits him to a tee!
I had a very eventful labor experience, and an unforgettable delivery (though aren’t they all, I’d imagine?) and I can’t wait to write about it soon. In the meantime we are just adjusting to life as new parents, snuggling our sweet baby, smelling his delightful little newborn head, and saying thank you every day that we got so lucky.
Things we are not really doing: sleeping. Eating nutritious food (hello apple cider donuts in the middle of the night! #breastfeeding) But I guess that can be sort of expected, right? 😛
Hope to be back soon with the birth story, and just to get back to writing more regularly – I miss y’all TERRIBLY. Toward the end of my pregnancy I felt a little superstitious about writing too much. I don’t know where that came from, but it was the main reason for my absence around here. That said, I wanted to say thank you for all of your positive thoughts for us throughout this journey. It’s been an absolute life changer and we are just so incredibly happy (AND TIRED. HAHAHAHAHA)
I’m having trouble writing about this pregnancy and I didn’t think that would be the case. I have things to say, of course. Many, if we are being frank. But they seem to be mostly vacillate between these awestruck feelings that can only be expressed in Pinterest style platitudes, or just your run of the mill debbie-downer complaints. Both are accurate, but both don’t seem to be blog-worthy you know? In an effort to document at least SOMETHING from this pregnancy, here is what’s on my mind 25 weeks in.
*The truth is, it’s been amazing. Nothing hyperbolic about it. It is literally unbelievable at times. He is moving around all the time and I am constantly aware that there is a human growing inside me. It feels less alien-like than I anticipated. I was sure pregnancy would feel like hosting a parasite, and let’s be honest: there are days when it does. But more often, he feels like a person and a constant companion. It’s weird to feel comforted by and in the company of someone when you don’t even know what they look like. It’s less like there is a freeloader hanging on and more like…a friendly ghost? You see…this is why I don’t write about this. 🙂
*I’ve also really been struck by the fact that while this feels like a monumentally unique experience in my life that is completely full of firsts, it is something that people have been doing since the dawn of time. And it happens so frequently that the regularity and urgency of certain symptoms can be aggregated into generic weekly emails that ALL PEOPLE going through this experience can read and relate to. I’m going to use the word relate loosely here though, because while I do find that my What To Expect emails are pretty on point symptom wise, they are also full of clickable links that are titled things like “How To Enjoy Sex After You Lose Your Mucus Plug” and I MEAN REALLY, BRO?????????
*On the more complainy side: Can I tell you that one of my pet peeves in life used to be people who would be knocked up and forgetful and then use “pregnancy brain” as an excuse. UGH all of the eye roll emojis! (And yes, I realize this makes me sound like a completely intolerant asshole, but hey — we all have our things and pregnancy brain was mine.) And now I’m sure you know exactly where this is going, and yes I am eating so much crow that it’s not even funny. Now in addition to being an intolerant asshole, I have realized that I am also a complete idiot lunatic who puts things like milk and raspberry jam back IN A CUPBOARD instead of in the refrigerator. The saddest part is that I won’t even notice for days. Or, maybe I won’t even notice at all and Garrett will find them. Old milk scavenger hunt! Awesome!
*Also, last Wednesday we got in the car after we both got off work and hopped right back into rush hour traffic to go out to the house of some our friends who were hosting our dinner/bookclub. They live about 30 minutes away but 5:30 traffic it took just about an hour and when we were about 3 blocks from their house when I looked over at Garrett and remembered that book club was actually the following night. WHOOPS.
*I think this sort of goes without saying, but I’m going to say it: The Plus Sized Maternity Clothes Market is EGREGIOUSLY UNDERSERVED. I haven’t had too much trouble shopping for clothes since my sizing is on the cusp, and I’ve only recently begun to wear exclusively maternity clothing, but HOLY SHIT, WHAT DO PEOPLE DO? Please take this million dollar idea and run with it, somebody — because I (and many other women, I’m sure) would give you all our money!
*Also, we have settled on a name which feels GREAT. We had a long list of names going for the first couple of months and they were all lovely names, they just weren’t THIS baby’s name. I’m not sure how to tell you that I knew that, but I just knew that this was a great name list if I was writing a novel, but my baby’s name wasn’t on it. And then one day Garrett threw out a name idea that we both kind of laughed at initially. But then all of a sudden it was like “Wait this could possibly be perfect.”
*For weeks we just let it simmer, and then one day we both just started using it, and it is totally his name and it is perfect and I am so happy with it that even the few dissenting opinions we’ve gotten over it are just rolling right off my back because DUH, IT’S HIS NAME — it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. We’ve told all our family and some friends here and there and we aren’t actively keeping it a secret or anything, but I haven’t really discussed with Garrett whether I was going to put it on the blog before he was born (I should add that to the list) so I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that one. If you are dying to know (no one is DYING to know, Holly) I’ll give you a hint: It’s a foreign car manufacturer, which coincidentally will go nicely with his race car themed nursery. (Can you tell my husband is a motorsport enthusiast? LOL)
*And when I say race car themed nursery, I hope you know I mean that room in our house that is filled with crap, though this is where I note that I have favorited one set of race car prints on etsy. Yep, “race car themed nursery” right there. Someone alert Pinterest. 🙂
1. I’ve been struggling to find time to write although my brain is full of random things to discuss. Nothing that is life changing, of course. Well that’s not entirely true — I’m in my 23rd week of pregnancy and that, of course is changing my life. DUH. But you know what I mean, just crippety crap that I’ve been meaning to share. Here goes…
2. Garrett’s mom was in town last week over Garrett’s birthday and over Mother’s Day and we did a bunch of traveling, visiting, cooking, shopping, and then I worked the entire week as well and MAN I AM TIRED. I sure can’t party like I used to, I tell ya. She flew home Saturday morning and I seriously slept the entire afternoon away and then woke up to eat dinner and basically go to bed. Hosting a guest internally and externally at the same time is exhausting, yo! She brought out a bunch of Garrett’s old baby clothes though, which was a riot to see. Like this little fringed vest…OMG!
3. We had our Level 2 Ultrasound while she was here. It was SO FUN to take her with us and let her experience this tiny squirming little baby living inside of me. Well, apparently tiny but with GARGANTUAN legs, according to the ultrasound tech. I guess it’s not that surprising — I’m almost 6 feet and one of the shortest people in my family so I didn’t expect a little guy, but it was still crazy to see long ass baby legs. Crazy and fun. it’s still blowing my mind every time we confirm that there is a human growing inside my body. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH.
4. It’s funny to think that neither of our sets of parents had any ultrasounds or even knew our genders before we were born. They are both blown away (for better and worse) about all the monitoring, testing and information that is available to us every step of the way during this pregnancy. It is a little overwhelming at times, but it’s also incredibly calming to go in and see our baby growing and developing just like he should and moving around like crazy. People keep saying to me “Just you wait…all that moving will get annoying.” And maybe that is true. But right now, 23 weeks in, I’m savoring how fun it all feels and really enjoying the process. So far this pregnancy has been very (knock on wood) mellow.
5. I did a free one-month trial of Showtime through Amazon Prime and was hoping to find some life changing fun television to watch and so far it’s just been…okay? I’m definitely not feeling like it will be worth keeping up after the free trial for $8.99/mo. I started watching The Affair because it has gotten so much hype and it was fine, but not like BINGE WATCH WORTHY, ya know? I got about 4 episodes in and took a break and I haven’t really felt compelled to go back and see what happens next. So am I missing out? Is there anything else on Showtime that is a must watch before I cancel it on the 27th?
6. We are in the middle of car shopping, which sounds like a very fun and finite task in theory, but we’ve been doing it for months. We BOTH need new cars, so obviously the singular sum of money we are investing alone is requiring lots of thoughts and discussion. Then add in whether these cars are short term commitments or long term commitments based on what will work now versus what will work a few years from now (what if we have another baby? OMG I KNOW, I JUST WANT TO HAVE THIS BABY FIRST — but also: MULTIPLE CAR SEATS. And man, I don’t want to be buying another car in 2 or 3 years because I’m more of a “drive it ’til it dies” kind of person) and UGH. It’s just not the most fun chore ever, and I feel like for the amount of money I’m going to be spending I want to be a wee bit more excited. Tell me about your kids/car situation (especially if you have two close in age. This potential variable seems to be the most challenging to deal with. Especially if you want to drive other people around aside from your actual children. BOO.)
7. Also, we are going to be buying a house soon so I’m very conscious of how much we finance on these vehicles/monthly payments/etc and how that will affect our lending experience in the future. I mean cars are great, but I’m more interested in moving. So many fixed commitments based on a lot of future variable scenarios and I’m finding that it’s sucking all the fun out of things. Adulting seemed like way more fun when I was a kid. OMG, and then there’s the fact that Garrett suggested in a 100% serious tone last night that we should consider buying a mini-van, which: HELL NO! NO SIR. I AM NOT READY FOR THAT. ABSOLUTELY NOT. NO NEVER.
8. We spent a few hours at CarMax yesterday sitting in a bunch of cars with the express purpose of eliminating them from the list. And while we were successful, I almost about died of heat stroke walking around on the lot and sitting in cars that had been sitting out in the sun. It was only 86 degrees out you guys, and I know as a pregnant person I’m “running hotter than usual” but OHMYGOD I am now panic-stricken about being knocked up during June, July and August in Sacramento. It’s going to be a long, hot summer and well — I may just hole up in my air conditioned house without apology and never leave.
9. You guys, I really miss my dog. I know it will get easier, but man it is still hard.
Saturday night we made the gut wrenching decision to say goodbye to Buster. To say that we are heartbroken doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
While the decision was, thankfully, very clear in the end it does not take away from the absolute devastation that we are currently experiencing. I am speechless to describe how low we are feeling, and every sentence I type sounds so melodramatic. But the truth is this: it is the largest loss I have felt since my dad passed away, and I had forgotten how physical the pain of loss can be.
Grief is so non-linear, and it feels strange to be managing it amongst the minutiae of daily life. To be experiencing it side by side with the joys we are going through as parents to be.
Four years ago when Buster walked into our lives, I was not confident that I could take care of something that was so dependent. As his health problems escalated over the years, I not only developed confidence but I became almost dogged in my desire to give this dog the best life possible despite the poor genetic hand that he had been dealt. We were constantly searching for answers to his health problems, and while I knew we would find them someday, I didn’t think that it would be the same day that we had to say goodbye.
I am angry because we were hitting our stride as a family. While things were never “normal” with Buster, we had gotten to a place of effective management with all of his challenges. Food allergies. Environmental allergies. An autoimmune disorder. Chronic Ear Infections. Eye Lesions. Mouth Lesions. Nose Lesions. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. A mis-shapen stomach. All things we knew how to deal with. Make no mistake, we knew he was not going to be one of those dogs who lived to be 20 years old. It was inevitable that one day we would part ways, but I am angry that he was barely 8 years old, and this was the end of the road.
There was a point, about a year ago, where it began to feel like Buster was brought into our lives specifically to help demonstrate that we could, in fact, take care of something. We had both been cautiously considering trying to have a baby, and after surviving years of the team work required to address a dog with a number of special needs, we began to feel like “Ok, maybe we actually can take care of a human.” It feels bittersweet to know that Buster won’t be here to help usher in the baby that he helped us prepare for.
Over the years, unknowingly, we rearranged our lives for Buster. Never leaving him for too long. Learning to recognize his barks. Understanding the sounds and needs of his tiny little overworked body in an effort to anticipate the intervention it would need before a problem could escalate. I even joked with a friend recently how I ashamed I was that I would drive him to another neighborhood for walks (TWO BLOCKS AWAY) because it was quieter than ours and Buster could be skittish around cars, and no longer enjoyed walking down the one busy street it took to get there.
But it wasn’t really shame, actually. There was joy in that accommodation. Finding small things I could do to make his life more enjoyable or more surprising was such a simple form of happiness for me. For both of us. And it’s happiness that I am reminded of during so many parts of my day now, but then it is quickly replaced with a feeling of loss, like a punch in the gut. No longer needing to leave the lights or the tv on while running out to do an errand. No longer joking with him “Ok, buddy — Don’t buy anything on QVC while I’m gone” before heading off to work in the morning. No longer needing to look down before I put my feet on the floor first in the morning to make sure I’m not interrupting a snoring puppy. They were silent gifts that no longer have a recipient.
Where there was joy and love, it is now just quiet and empty. My house that was full of lightness and brightness a week ago all of a sudden feels dark and hollow all at once. It’s amazing how these habits came about so seamlessly that I honestly didn’t even realize we were going out of our way. It just felt like part of loving him. A love that he returned so unconditionally, every single day.
Our hearts have a permanent hole without him, and while I know from experience that we will get through this one day at a time, and that we will think more about the gift he was instead of about the loss we feel, right now it seems like we are at the bottom of a very steep mountain.
The objective this weekend was to relax and to decide on nursery furniture.
After two trips to IKEA, a trip to Buy Buy Baby, and helping a fellow dog walker save their dog from a rattlesnake bite while out on our leisurely Sunday stroll, I can tell you we only accomplished one of those things. Hey, at least we were productive? I guess I’ll relax when the baby gets here BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.
With a baby coming, we are very much in the process of purging crap from our house: clothes, books, random things, furniture. It’s fun, but purging leads to re-evaluating, re-evaluating sometimes leads to reorganizing, and then reorganizing leads to buying more stuff. I’m sure Marie Kondo is shaking her head.
But we have actually been quite happy with our progress. We’re getting rid of furniture that’s never really worked for us, addressing house issues that have been “on the to do list” for years because we all of a sudden have a fire under us to fix them, and doing some major re-structuring of space. All of this is normal, I think, when you are inviting a new person (and the necessary amount of baby-related crapola) into your house.
People keep telling us, “Oh you don’t need that much stuff” which I believe in theory, but the truth is — baby’s need some stuff. So we started with the major stuff this weekend. We plan to go pretty low key with the nursery mostly because we have to – the room is SUPER TINY. I wish I had a picture to show you. Wow, ok so I just spent an hour scrolling through tons of old photos and apparently I have never photographed that room in our house?
Other thoughts I had while scrolling: I would kill for my 2012 body composition right now. Seattle is beautiful. Time flies and kids grow so quick. Dang, I’m sad we aren’t going to Maui this year.
Hmmm…Ok, I will take a pic of that room soon even though it is currently filled with crap. I’ll make that happen.
Anyway, a little refresher on our living situation: we currently live in a 3 bedroom house (master, guest bedroom and office) and we’re going to leave it that way because it works for us. But we also have an annex (with a door) off our master bedroom that used to be Garrett’s “man cave/game room” that is now going to be the nursery. (RIP Man Cave. Well, I guess it will still be a man cave, but just for a squishy little baby man.)
We plan to move in the next year, so we think this little space will work perfectly, for now, so we want to outfit that room, but also buy some long term things. To say the least, it has posed some challenges: There is no closet, few walls (one wall has a door on it, one wall has a sliding door on it, one wall has oddly placed light switches) so this weekend we busted out our measuring tape and found a solution with some furniture that we hope will work.
I was set on a double wide dresser/changing table with a hutch for storage, since there will be very little storage in the room, and a crib at a minimum. We have a pretty massive walk in closet in our bedroom so I don’t mind sharing that with baby, and the doorway to it is right across from the future nursery so I think we’ll just hang whatever baby stuff we need to in the entry there for easy access. But you still want other fold-able baby clothes and supplies accessible by the changing table, hence: double wide dresser and hutch.
Just the crib and dresser/hutch. We still have a glider to buy, and I may end up picking up that little nightstand-ish piece as well to keep by the glider just to store breast feeding “supplies” — I don’t know. This is all new to me. It’s the blind leading the blind here AND BUYING FURNITURE. Danger, Will Robinison!
Anyway, we ordered everything from the appropriately named Buy Buy Baby and now we just wait 4 months for it arrive. (WHO KNEW this stuff takes so long? :))
In other news this weekend I also had a small breakdown over unpasteurized cheese. I don’t miss alcohol really at all. But what I miss dearly are HOT TUB HOT scalding baths, and unpasteurized cheese. I may have shed a tear or two about it this weekend. Alone. While grocery shopping. Awesome.
I’ve found I am getting super good and shedding lots of tears about random things lately. We watched Draft Day recently and I cried during the first five minutes. For no reason, and couldn’t stop. (The NFL Draft — SO EMOTIONAL?) And a couple weekends ago I was so frustrated at how frustrated I was, I just cried about it. Seemed reasonable. Although when Garrett asked what initially frustrated me, I couldn’t actually pin point it. These pregnancy hormones are really no joke. 🙂
I spent most of Sunday crying though, because I had a sort of traumatic experience. We took Buster for a walk because it was a gorgeous day and as we were heading back to our car I noticed an elderly guy coming up behind us and carrying his dog. My spidey-sense sort of went off, seeing as people are usually walking their dogs, and right as I started to think that something might be up — he yelled to us asking if we had a car because his dog had been bit by a rattlesnake.
Everything happened so fast, but we ran to my car (score — pregnant and out of shape, I can still hustle!), I left Garrett and Buster to fend for themselves a bit, and we got this guy and his dog into my car and took off for the closest emergency vet clinic. The dog was howling and in so much pain, and the guy was just hysterical in the back seat consoling his dog and saying “Please Esther, don’t die” and the entire time I felt absolutely calm. But the second we got them to the vet clinic (Thank GOD it was open!) and the dog was in being treated, I just started sobbing and couldn’t get it together most of the day. Adrenaline + pregnancy hormones are a real combo.
We took a trip to IKEA later that afternoon to pick up MORE FURNITURE (omg) and I couldn’t keep it together there — every time I thought about sweet little Esther, and her scared owner it I just got so sad. It just went on all day, reliving it. I was just out! in the world! crying at the drop of a hat. JEEZ LOUISE.
GOOD NEWS THOUGH: Garrett and I did stop by the vet clinic later on in the afternoon just to inquire about the dog (she was a fluffy little Australian Shepherd type mix just about Buster’s size, so I was very worried) but they said that she was alive and recovering, and only paralyzed in her leg where she got the bite and that even that may be temporary. That made me feel a little bit better, but honestly I just teared up writing about this, so I’m still shaken. Again: Pregnancy Hormones, NO JOKE.
On a happier note, we assembled our new media stand from IKEA the same afternoon (and by “we” I mean Garrett). My own personal version of hell is a 40 page long instruction booklet from IKEA, no unpasteurized cheese, and no booze in a piping hot bubble bath afterward, so I just couldn’t really be of help. 😛
But in the meantime, I was able to perfectly captured Buster’s GIVE ME THAT TREAT IN YOUR HAND face while this was all going on. So that was a win. 🙂
So tell me a good story: What did you get up to?