Our January Adventure

A couple months ago we traveled up to the Reno / Lake Tahoe area to visit family. The trip was definitely a whirlwind – two nights and basically half a day of travel on each end. We couldn’t find any flights that worked to take us straight to Reno. Instead, we flew from LAX to Sacramento, and then rented a vehicle to drive through Donner Pass to get to Reno. Continue reading “Our January Adventure”

Love, Actually

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As we celebrated Valentine’s Day last weekend, it made me think about the cliche many married couples profess – that they love their spouse more today than on the day they married them.  Now I totally see why.  When you enter into a marriage, you’ve likely experienced mostly bliss.  Once you get going and add a kid or two to the mix is when things are really tested.  Along the way, your path somehow turned into peaks and valleys and as you look back to see all  you’ve weathered, you realize it’s the lows and how you came out of them that make you love the other person even more.  How they carried you through the rough times and came out stronger on the other end is what matters the most.

Continue reading “Love, Actually”

It’s Christmastime…

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(Nest of Posies printable available here)

Christmastime is more than upon us.  My absolute favorite time of year and I hate that it’s already going so fast…even though the season really just began!  We have now been three times to the carousel and train at the mall…let me clarify – three times in five days.  I just can’t get enough of the kids and their excitement over holiday fun.  This is something I always looked forward to – seeing Christmas through the eyes of my children.  It really is a priceless experience.  As I saw those smiles light up their faces on the carousel, thoughts of the entire year flashed by in an instant.  Thoughts of three months ago spending time in the hospital with them both – I’m just so thankful for health.  So, so thankful.

I have been enjoying seeing my son soak in the moments as his first “real” Christmas where he knows what is going on.  His curiosity in why we are decorating a tree in our living room.   And his excitement at the polar express choo choo we have by our tree.  He enjoys pointing out “Sana” and “No-Men” and relishes in the reindeer feet of his Christmas PJs.  As I said, I love their excitement.  I also enjoy the holiday parties, the lights everywhere, the peppermint mochas.  The Michael Buble Christmas music, the cards in the mail each day, candy canes and other holiday treats.

And then I let my mind think about early January and the letdown I will inevitably feel as the holiday season comes to an end.  I hate that my mind goes there!  Live in the moment and stop thinking about what is ahead.

I guess as they say, all good things must come to an end.  We wouldn’t know the downs without the ups, right?  Coming off of a hard season of sickness and challenges that felt never-ending, I am feeling a sense of newness and anticipation of what’s around the corner.  The New Year always brings a clean slate and with it, loads of optimism.  The kids are getting older, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  With that comes a little more freedom and maybe, just maybe, less exhaustion?  I can dream, right!?

As the year comes to a close, I am in awe of the wonderful friends and support system I have in my community and the closeness and love of my husband and other family members.  I’m grateful to God for not only this season, but for this life.

I pray that your holiday season is merry and bright, filled with joy and hope.  I’ll leave you with this beautiful Christmas version of Hallelujah – I have been listening to it nonstop.

Merry, merry Christmastime.

Golden state of mind

Last year, we moved to a different house.  As we looked for a new place for what seemed like forever, I remember telling myself that it didn’t matter where we lived as long as I was surrounded by these 4 people I love with all my heart.  And I really meant it.  I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and I have learned to adapt to new houses and to be honest, not get too attached.  Eventually we did find the perfect place for our family and I’m so glad we won’t have to move for awhile.  There was so much to get acclimated to even though it was just a small move across town.

By far, the biggest move for me was the life-changing one across the country from the Midwest to Southern California almost a decade ago.

I had been looking for a change, but it was intimidating to think of starting over in a new place where I had to relearn everything from directions to a new job and making new friends.  I received some backlash for wanting to move – people had all kinds of things to say about it.  That I was going to the land of evil and narcissism.  That I was crazy for leaving a secure place where so many loved me.  That I would never make it in California and it’s too expensive to live.  Many people were supportive too, thank goodness!

So off I went in my jam-packed car with my dad along for the ride.  As we drove across the country, I kept thinking to myself, what am I doing?  Should we turn around?!  Maybe everyone was right.

But I would never know unless I tried and not going could end up being the biggest regret of my life.

Plus, the signs pointing to go were pretty apparent.  Soon after my initial visit to Los Angeles to check it out, I was laid off at my job of 8 years and received a ten-week severance package.  When do you ever get paid to look for a job when making a big move like this?  There would never be a more perfect time to leave.

I tried pushing doubt aside and not letting fear get the best of me – I was pretty scared of the unknown.

Once I arrived, things fell into place quickly – a new, fun job in the entertainment industry, I made great friends at both work and church, and I found my way around the area through trial and error.  I definitely experienced some culture shock – people wearing wool coats and scarves in September – what??  It gets cold at night here, but not that cold – temps in the 60s just do not equate with wool!

Of course, the traffic was overwhelming and the freeways were hard to navigate at first, but soon I became a pro.  People were friendlier than I had expected, and the vibe was super chill and casual all around.

It took a little bit of time to get used to the changes, but I’ve loved every second of it.  Here I am nine years later and California definitely has my heart.  I’ve gained an amazing husband and three wonderful children.  I’ve made beautiful friends who have changed my life.  Moving here was nothing close to a mistake.

Despite living in three cities in two counties out here, I’ve made this place my home.  Houses will always change, but people are what make it ‘home’ for me.  Home has very little to do with the walls surrounding me and everything to do with the people inside.  Home is where I can fully be ‘me.’  Here, I can be in my PJ’s all day long in complete acceptance of bills and mail and art projects sprawled across my dining table.  Home is wrapping up in a big blanket to watch movies with my family.  It’s being near the beach where I can inhale the crisp ocean air.  Home is an extension of me and of every person living here – each person’s tastes and interests are reflected somewhere.

Sometimes it takes moving to make you realize who or what your home is.  Life is full of choices, and you just might have to take a risk – you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side.

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