Those Little Moments of Joy

Lately motherhood has been messy and overwhelming. 

It has been hard transitioning into a new job and learning how to balance working at home while also looking after a crawling 8 month old while also stressing every day over Ryan finding a job. 

Once again, I feel like we are in this in between stage – waiting for our lives to begin. And it makes me feel so guilty and anxious.

I feel anxious that Ryan won’t find a job that he loves and will take a job to make ends meet. I worry that we won’t be able to provide Wyatt with everything we want to give him. 

I feel guilty because lately I’ve found myself counting down the minutes to Wyatt’s next naptime so I can get some work done. I feel like I’m ignoring him while he plays on the floor by himself and I’m focused on my computer. I feel guilty that I can’t give him 100% of my attention.

But then all it takes is one little moment of joy. One little smile from Wyatt that reminds me that everything is okay. He reminds me to live in the present. That right now all he needs is our love and our smiles. 

Motherhood will always be overwhelming. Life will always be messy. There are no “in between” stages of life. This is our life, right now, we are living it. His sweet smiles remind me to reach out and to capture these little moments before they are gone. 

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Think Positive Mondays: Celebrate the Small Things

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love having an excuse to celebrate. A reason to break open a bottle of champagne, dig into some cake, gather around with friends, or take a night off from the regular routine. 

In our home, we make it a priority to celebrate the small moments and wins. Those small milestones need their own time to shine just as much as the big life accomplishments. When you think about it, those big accomplishments most likely wouldn’t have happened without the smaller ones. 

Finish a project at work? Receive an A+ from your dentist? Manage to de clutter your home office? Follow your workout regimen to a T? Pass a hard text at school? Go on an awesome date with a potential new partner? Make it to a Friday on a particularly bad week? Let’s celebrate!

By celebrating the small milestones in life we are acknowledging the journey, not just the destination. We all can benefit from celebrating the unique path that our lives are taking us and not just focusing on the end game. 

Also, when we acknowledge these small moments it allows us to recognize the gifts the journey is presenting us. We are forced to pay attention to the little positive aspects of our life, making us aware that good things DO happen to us. In turn, those positive memories stay with us for a lifetime. Reinforcing the idea when we truly need it, when the road gets tough. 

So take a moment. Celebrate the small moments, the small changes, and the small accomplishments before they slip away. Savor the champagne and enjoy every bite of that cake. Cheers to you! 

 

2014 A Year in Review

Another year come and gone. I feel it’s important to reflect back on what the past year has given us, before we start anticipating what we may receive in the new year. I had fun looking back at 2014 via my blog.

 I wanted to thank each and every one of my readers. You don’t know how much I appreciate your comments, thoughts, and support. Thank you for following along on this adventure with me!

2014 was busy. Sometimes it felt like we were never home. We took multiple weekends away to Philly, DC, Annapolis. And a few more trips to Avalon, Scranton, Gettysburg, the Finger Lakes, and a big trip to Jamaica. I celebrated the shower, bachelorette party, and beautiful wedding of my best friend. 

I watched less movies but read 29 books. I tried countless new recipes and finally mastered my half broken oven and didn’t burn every cookie I baked. We powered through another school year for Ryan and I grew to appreciate my job more. We experienced disappointment and loss and debated what our future would hold. Ryan accepted a new job for after graduation. 

We made family time (both our little family and our extended family) a priority. We learned to love with bigger hearts through our mistakes. And through it all, we kept our hearts full of hope. Although this year did not hold any huge milestones, I feel the little ones, the ones full of simple moments of joy and hope, are the paving stones to our future. 

So here’s a look back at our 2014:

January

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In January we celebrated a simple New Years Eve where I decided to make my word of the year be “Respect”. I vowed to value my personal choices and opinions and to schedule me time throughout the year. 

While we were surviving one of the snowiest and coldest winters in PA record, I learned that I really need to Stop Apologizing so much and was also very brave and did my very first vlog

February

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In February we survived more snow and cold and battled some cabin fever. I survived by doing lots of baking and cooking and reflecting on everything love related. (In honor of Valentine’s Day). I shared some love lessons I’ve learned since becoming a newlywed as well as what my favorite romance movies have taught me about love. One of my most favorite posts share “Why We Work” as a couple.

I also reflected a little bit on the weirdness of blogging

March

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In March I attacked my closet and addiction to clothes and did a massive clean out. We celebrated with friends for St. Patrick’s day and I longed for warmer months.

The celebration continued as I wished Ryan a Happy Birthday in this letter (my most read post of all time) and followed that celebration with me turning 31. Ryan and I had a getaway in Annapolis, MD and I shared 31 things I’ve learned in 31 years

April 

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My mom underwent some surgery and it pushed me to take some pressure off of myself when it came to this blog. And I haven’t look back since. I discovered where my inspiration comes from and decided to only post when I felt like it, not 4-5 days a week like I used to.

This month I did a lot of bridal shower planning for my best friend and spent time with family. But I did manage to write an article in Defense of English Majors like myself, interview Ryan, and share a blast from the past, talking about growing up in the 80’s and the 90’s

May

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In May I threw my best friends “Love Birds” themed bridal shower. One of my decorations was this Tissue Paper Garland that I shared a DIY video tutorial for. I also celebrated my Mom’s on Mother’s Day and shared some of the best advice she has ever given me. 

I discussed my Fear of the Unknown as Ryan wraps up his third year of Law School and we begin to think where we will be living next year. And along the same lines, I shared how I think Marriage is always Like a Seesaw. 

June

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This summer I took a big break from blogging to enjoy the season. After such a long winter I wanted to do nothing else but sit outside and read and bask in the sun. 

We celebrated our first wedding Anniversary in the Finger Lakes region of New York and I made this video highlighting our first year of love

Next I honored my Dad on Father’s Day and praised the merits of summer. before heading off to celebrate my besties bachelorette weekend!!!

July

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On July 5 I was was Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding! So much fun!

Then I finally got around to sharing our anniversary trip recap and photos and also got deeper with a talk about the role Social Media plays in our lives.

As I prepped to go on vacation to Jamaica I dived into some body issue talk

August

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JAMAICA BABY! It’s safe to say that this family vacation, recapped here and here, was the highlight of my 2014. We spent a week at a resort in the beginning of August. 

After returning to real life, I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary. The rest of the summer was filled with fun day trips and time with friends before Ryan headed off to his last first day of school

September

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September was good to us. Maggie turned 8 and I celebrated by sharing 5 ways she makes me a better person. We had a great weekend at my best friend’s lake house in Scranton. And then we then had a beautiful weekend at the Jersey Shore I love the beach in September, followed by a weekend in Annapolis and DC with my best friend from college.

I also discussed how being a newlywed isn’t always unicorns and roses. And, I made a point of celebrating the small things and trying to take life one day a a time. 

October

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October was a big month!

In October I was excited to start a new series: Recently Read and Think Positive Mondays.

We also celebrated Pop-Pop’s 89th Birthday as well as surprised Ryan’s mom for her birthday.  I discussed books a lot with another blast from the past  and talking about my love of real books over e-books (that’s backed by  science!)

I also took a girls’ trip to NYC for a weekend and to see Beautiful.

But most importantly we celebrated Ryan accepting a job offer in Wilmington after graduation! 

November 

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 November seemed like a slow month, as we crawled into the busyness of the holiday season. We threw Ryan’s parents a surprise Anniversary party. I talked about making time to do what you love every single day. For me it’s reading and finding quiet time. I questioned my identity in relation to my hometown and where I live. I wrote Ryan a Love Letter of Gratitude and also expressed gratitude on Thanksgiving

December

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This December was one of the fastest on record for me! We selected our Christmas tree, got it all decorated, and had it crash into our piano a few days later. Which made me write this post comparing Christmas Trees to Marriage. We saw Tedeschi Trucks Band in concert and did Karaoke and dancing in Philly for a good friend’s Birthday and I discussed more books

An increase of violence in our nation and in our small town had me reflecting on community, neighbors, and trust. 

We baked and decorated hundreds of cookies, sang our hearts out, and celebrated Christmas to the fullest. Family came in town for a week and we had a lovely family Christmas. 

Once again, thanks for being a good friend and following along! I hope you’ll join us for 2015!

Happy New Year!

Think Positive Monday: Making Time for Christmas

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

The phrase, “Make Time For Christmas” sounds a little odd.

Why do I need to “make time” for Christmas when the Christmas season is banging on our door the minute after Halloween ends? I’ve been shopping, prepping, decorating, singing Christmas songs, and baking all season long. Christmas is everywhere. I don’t need to “make time” for it, I’m living it every second. 

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Yes Christmas is everywhere. And as much as I love this season I sometimes catch myself just going through the motions. Sometimes treating traditions like another thing to check of my ever-growing to do list. Before you know it, Christmas day is upon us and over in a blink of an eye. Pretty soon all the decorations are coming down and music goes back to our regular non festive favorites and we’re stuck with Winter blues. 

I think one of the most fun things about Christmas is the preparation.

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The decorating the tree, the baking, the making bows for packages,the buying of the gifts, the parties and all the treats and music. If you’re only thinking of the end game, you’ll be missing out on more than half the fun.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush and busyness and forget to actually enjoy the little things that makes this holiday so special. The little things ARE the big things and I think that can often get lost in this overwhelming time of year. 

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This week I’m promising myself to really make time for Christmas.To savor the waiting. To reflect on what this season really means to me.  To bask in the glow of the Christmas tree with a good book. To dance to Christmas music with Ryan while we’re making dinner. To spend extra time with family and friends. To allow the season to bring out the child in me. To admire beauty to act silly and sing my heart out. To take notice of every little detail and memory. I want to enjoy every little moment the best I can.

So I’ll be signing off the blog for the rest of the week to truly enjoy Christmas. You can always follow along on instagram.  

My brother and his wife arrive tomorrow and we have a full week of fun and love with my family and Ryan’s family and friends. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season, however which way you celebrate!  

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Think Positive Monday: Choosing the Good Over the Bad

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears.” Richard Wilkins

So often I’m quick to jump to the negative. One bad thing can make my entire day the worst. We all know misery loves company, that’s why it is so easy to metastasize and grow into something it is not. Pretty soon all the good little things in our day are forgotten and we are left with this big black cloud of ugliness. 

To help train my brain to focus on the good and not just the bad I practice this simple exercise.

Every night before bed I schedule in 10 minutes to mentally list three good things that happened to me that day. After I’ve thought about 3 positive experiences I then expand upon them and list why those good things happened. 

For example, on Friday one of the good things that happened that day was:

  1.  Knowing I was having a rough time my boss gifted me a pretty poinsettia and a Christmas ornament. (And this happened because my boss is kind and understanding)
  2. My mom was doing better after some bad health earlier in the week (And this happened because of good doctors and knowing how to take care of herself)
  3. After weeks of research and anxiety over it I had finally selected my new health insurance plan for 2015 and it’s better than what I had this year (and this happened because of patience, research, and the second patient eyes from Ryan, my Mom, and my boss)

A little awkward at first, but your brain should soon get into the habit of seeing the cause and effect of the good things in life too. 

It’s Christmas time, so don’t just be a little kind to those all around you, be a little kinder to yourself too. Love really is all around, you just have to look for it. 

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: When All You Feel Is Negative

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Two weeks ago was a rough week for me. No matter what I did I couldn’t get myself out of a negative mood. I lost myself in a fit of ugly crying almost every day. It seemed like whenever I tried to lift myself up I would end up feeling worse. Nothing seemed to be going my way. And then we turned back the clocks and the sun setting at 4:30 p.m. only made everything worse. I just couldn’t get myself out of the dumps.

During that week I was catching up with a friend. I was venting and ranting about everything in my life. It wasn’t until I paused and stepped outside of the conversation to realize how everything I had said was 100% negative.

I said to my friend, “I’m sorry all I’ve talked about is negative stuff.”

And she replied, “Don’t be sorry! That’s what is going on right now!”

And it’s true. Sometimes life is simply negative.

I think sometimes we’re afraid to admit that life is hard or that we are failing. Especially us women. We are afraid that we will sound weak or like we are not happy with our life. When that’s not usually the case. Sometimes we just hit bumps in the road or we are just having a bad day. But things will always get better. You simply have to push forward and find the good. No matter how annoying, silly, and impractical that sounds in the moment.

I’m so grateful for this weekly series because if forces me to continue to be positive, even when I just want to have a pity party and complain about every little thing. Last week I couldn’t help but feel a bit hypocritical, writing my sunshiny post when meanwhile I could barely pull myself out of bed. But it helped. It’s a reminder that you have to try.

It’s like working out. You don’t really love going but you do it to improve your health. You have to practice the positivity exercises even when you don’t feel like it. Give yourself an hour or day to be upset and then try to move forward with practicing positivity. 

We all know the saying, “misery loves company” don’t let your thoughts duplicate to the point that they are the only thoughts habitating your mind.

Step out of the situation and give yourself a minute or to and practice a positivity exercise. Things aren’t going to get magically better, but I bet over time you will begin to learn to deal with the negative occurences in your life in a much healthier way. 

Think Positive Monday: Do What You Love Everyday

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

It’s a phrase we hear often, “Do What You Love”. We are told that if we love our work, then work won’t feel like work. But working in a profession that makes us feel happy and fulfilled every single day is not a reality for most of us. 

What I think we often forget though, is that work is not our whole life. In order to have that serene feeling we all search for we must find a way to squeeze in doing one thing that we love to do each and every day. 

What is the one activity that you do that makes you feel the most relaxed, happy, fulfilled, or simply like yourself? Perhaps you love cooking or crafting. Maybe you love volunteering or running. For me, it’s reading. I try to fit in at least 30 minutes of private distraction free reading time each day. 

By fitting in one activity you love everyday you are feeding and refreshing your spirit. That energy should spread over to other elements of your life. More importantly you’ll be reminding yourself that you and your needs are a priority. You will learn to respect yourself more and encourage you to not let others treat your poorly. 

Are you too busy or too stressed out to fit in doing something that you love? Then you need to cut out something out of your schedule to make time for that one activity. Business is generally a perspective problem. We are all “busy”. Wake up earlier. Put off cleaning for one more day. Shorten a dinner date to a coffee date. Put down your phone. Life is too short to not being filling it up your time doing things you love.

Carve out a few extra minutes each day to do something that nurtures your soul and makes you feel alive. Those few extra minutes of happiness will fill up your spirit for hours after they have passed. This is your life, live it the best way you can.