Pass the Gratitude

I normally anticipate Thanksgiving with a bit of caution. These last few years it has come with a sudden tsunami size wave of homesickness for Austin. Every year our friends hosted a huge annual Friendsgiving and while many people would drop by before or after (or both) their family celebrations this was always my main event. I haven’t celebrated the holiday with family in so long I only really associate it with friends. It modern times it has become simply a celebration of gratitude…and gluttony. I am so grateful to have found good friends I would venture to call family. Imagine, people who treat you well even though they’re not related to you!

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This year November did not bring homesickness (well, just a twinge maybe). The negative in me attributes this to having been sick all week when I was due to feel the biggest surge of Austin love but it’s obviously little bubba.

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I’m worried about a thousand things…

  • Is Haines choking on a leaf from our floor?
  • How will we have light if he keeps trying to unplug all our appliances?
  • How much longer can I keep him out of the bathroom trash?

…but Thanksgiving hasn’t occurred to me yet. We’re going to a friend’s house where I don’t care what they’re cooking. I’m sure it’s tasty and warm and feels like the holidays. Normally I would spend all day cooking my favorite foods but today I made a dish that I could live without. I feel well for the first time in four days and I spent the day playing with Haines.

Now I’m surrounded by napping boys and a sweet pup. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Also, pretty dang thankful for this guy. 

June: A Time for Balance and Reflection

This month has been a total whirlwind. It’s been pretty stressful and incredibly wonderful.

June has brought:

The realization that I can’t do everything.

I ended up having a wee little breakdown at work somewhere around the time my managers realized they’d given me too much to be responsible for. I’m working on delegating things more proactively and prioritizing more appropriately. Some things will just have to wait.

Similarly at home, I’m attempting to be a bit more relaxed about things. Contrary to my family’s beliefs our messy, often dirty home does bother me but by the time the baby goes to sleep it is hard for me to care. To be honest, it’s hard for me to remember. In the evenings I often think, what is it I said I was going to take care of tonight? I can’t remember it until way later. (Dear sleep, please come back.) I’m at the point now where I’m behind on birthday gifts, thank you’s, letters, cleaning, yard work, meal prep. The list goes on. In fact, I don’t think it’ll ever stop so I’m trying not to stress about it.

Adventures with baby

HEB turned 6 months on June 14th and every day it seems he has learned something new. This month he has found his voice and babbles or makes noises nonstop. He’s also found his tongue which is always sticking out now. We’ve started to introduce food and he’s on the verge of crawling. Our house is desperately in need of baby proofing!

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Nectarines should be worn as well as eaten.

Haines also took his first flights this month. We traveled two weekends in a row by plane which was totally stressful and honestly not that bad. He slept at least 50% of the time as it’s hard for him to resist a snooze in any mode of transportation. We were prepared the rest of the time with toys and our best funny voices. I don’t think any passengers hated us.

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We survived the Atlanta airport!

Quality family time

We don’t see any of our family nearly enough. Our closest family member lives only 4 hours away but we haven’t visited in over a year. Our other parents and siblings all reside in other states or countries so our visits definitely aren’t frequent. This month we got in two visits though which made June a pretty awesome month.

Father’s Day weekend Haines and I traveled with my mom, sister and her girls to Oklahoma for a long weekend. The newest member of our family got to meet my aunt and uncle on my mom’s side as well as several of our cousins. We were celebrating the life of my grandfather who passed away in October. It would have been his 99th birthday that weekend! While a sad occasion, I loved hearing the stories about PopPop- some familiar, some new to me. Our family is hardly ever all in one place so it was hard not to feel overjoyed at the chance to be with everyone.

Last weekend all three of us flew to Florida to be with Mum-Mum (Tyler’s mom). Unfortunately our reason for gathering was another sad one as Mum-Mum’s husband passed away a few weeks ago. He was truly a unique soul and I got to learn so much more about him during his celebration of life. We chatted with friends and family and saw so many great photos of Eric through the years! Just as the weekend before, the feeling of being together dominated. We hadn’t seen Tyler’s mom or his brother and girlfriend (BFF extraordinaire Natalie)  in several months and the reunion was much needed!

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 Time for reflection

We spent a significant portion of the month with family celebrating loved ones we can no longer be with. There is an obvious silver lining to this. We were reminded how important those individuals were and are to our lives as well as how grateful we are to have wonderful people in our lives. I have a healthy, growing son, a supportive husband, incredible friends all across the world, and a loving family from my parents to my siblings to the cousins, aunts and uncles I don’t often get to see. We’re a lucky bunch!

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One of Those Days

Yesterday was one of those days that forces you to be grateful. I think we all forget to be grateful usually up until something bad happens. Yesterday afternoon we were driving and pulled up next to a woman asking for money. Her sign read “Pregnant, Need Medicine”. The woman was young. I doubt we’re more than a couple years apart in age. She was smiling, polite and thankful when we handed her $3 through the window. She didn’t seem messed up on drugs or mentally ill. She was exactly the kind of person you want to give money to, someone down on their luck. But what was she doing there? How did she get there and is she going to be okay? What will happen to that child?

Later I talked to my dad on the phone. He’s someone who almost always makes me feel immediately sad and grateful. Grateful not to be in debt, grateful to have a job and glad to learn these lessons from him and not by myself. 

I talked to one of my other favorite people on the phone and learned of his relationship trouble. He put it to me like this, “It’s like we were on a road trip. I was driving for a while and everything seemed fine. We pulled over and changed seats so I could take a nap. When I woke up, I didn’t know where we were anymore. The driver pulled over and told me to get out of the car. I didn’t understand why and where I was or how to get back but it didn’t matter because the car left me and now I’m on the side of the road by myself.” 

I’ve been in a relationship for over three years. There was a point where I could have been left on the side of the road and found my way home. Now, there’s nothing more terrifying to me than having my partner in all things tell me to get out of the car. And so I am grateful. Grateful for my family and good friends and a good man by my side. 

You might not feel grateful today. Maybe you feel terrible because you have something terrible going on. Please let me know if I can help you. 

Y’all, Next Year is Tomorrow

No really, next year is tomorrow. 2014! It was 14 years ago that I was having dinner at Pheobe’s house getting ready for a James Bond marathon. We were so hoping that Y2K was really going to happen because that would be like the most exciting thing that had like ever happened. I don’t know if it’s because of Y2K but that is the first New Year’s Eve I actually remember. Her family and I were sprawled all over her basement watching movies. Pheobe and I were eating a ridiculous amount of Chips Ahoy cookies and doing crunches while we ate them. It was our idea of being health conscious. When midnight came and went I was very disappointed. So anti-climatic. Got to love 14 year old logic!  

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Word to the wise, if you are an abnormally small person do not become best friends with someone who is ridiculously tall. This will only make people think you are even younger than they already do.

I used to dread NYE. Let’s be honest, people put way too much importance on the evening. Everyone acts like 12/31 needs to be the best night ever. “It sets the whole tone of the year!” And then everyone drinks too much, acts like an ass and has to wait 3 hours for a cab. Three years ago, I had just moved to Austin and had no plans for the big night. Luckily my roommate at the time invited me to come along with whatever his plans were. Three pretty fantastic things happened that night. 

1. I started making friends. I didn’t really know the group of folks I went to the party with but there was a bunch of other people that were in the same boat as me there. I realized then what a friendly place Austin is as I wandered around meeting people. In addition, that was the first night I started clicking with the my roommate’s friends. I started to feel like I was going to be okay. I had (literally) made a good move. 

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These are just a few of the fine people I’ve been introduced to since that evening!

2. Natalie asked me to go out the next week and split a sandwich with her. A girl date. Natalie introduced me to most of the people I know in Austin so meeting her pretty much changed my whole Austin experience! Also, she’s pretty cool. 

3. This really cute boy who lives part time in Alaska kissed me. Not at midnight, when I toasted the new year with total strangers, clinking our solo cups full of champagne. Later, when we were dancing. I didn’t know it then but that night changed my life dramatically. After all, I still like him. 

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This is why New Year’s Eve automatically puts me in a good mood now. Besides all that, I also feel lucky to be seeing a new year. I’m sure we all know someone who we won’t be seeing in 2014 and that makes me grateful and lucky to keep going. 2014 is going to be a good one! Pheobe’s getting married, Natalie comes home from Australia, I’ll be taking a class that will be helpful to my career goals and hopefully my dad will be making a big move to Thailand (now that’s how you retire!). 

Come on 2014! I’m ready! Happy New Year everyone!