The Value of an RSVP

This weekend my husband and I hosted a party. Every year for awhile now, he’s hosted a shin dig to celebrate the end of school. This year we got out ahead of things, sent out a Save the Date, and then checked in later. All told, Facebook announced that we’d have 28 guests, and 16 tentative guests. When you add in spouses and kids, I expected a full house of 45 people this weekend.

Imagine the shock and awe when 9 adults and 3 children showed the entire Open house time from noon to 8:30. (We were “open til midnight” but closed the doors after enough absence.)

Now that we’re expecting, I find myself sounding like a parent (or better, my parents) more and more. Namely, after this, I’ve been hearing “Respect others.”, “Spend your time where it’s valued” and “A penny saved is a penny earned” are ringing in my ears. Or as I type this, my dad’s saying “Lesley, I’m not made of money.” also rings true.

I spent about $300 on food alone for this party. I won’t mention the mountain of alcohol. or the AC that was running crazy cool, or the lights and other stuff you should be doing if you’re hosting a party with keeping your guests comfortable in mind.  Fine. It’s money. It’s a gamble.

What’s not a gamble though, being the number geek, is watching 28 people dwinded to 6. Or the after effects, which were me wondering what we did wrong, or if I’d ticked off someone. It specially stung as I watched other friend’s (in real time during the down time of our own shin dig) wall’s fill up posting their pictures of their night out on facebook – which was going on in-tandem less than 2 miles from our house, those who had RSVP’d in fact.

What I’ve come to realize now, Facebook may not matter in terms of RSVP. In fact, hitting “going” may really only mean, “I care to know about this, but I still have every right to not go, since the internet cloak keeps me safe” – i.e. like most correspondence, it means much more when you do it face to face rather than via the interwebs.

All I can say now is that I’m hurt. I’m even sorry to the guests who came thinking it was going to be a jovial night out. We made the best of it, but it’s sad to me that we care so little about each other’s time and resources that we could care less what we tell them. 

Moral of the story: for now, parties will be few and far between. I’ll invite friends to dinner over the phone or in person. I’ll start realizing who my friends are, I have a little one coming anyway, and it’s time to be strict about who I want my kid to model themselves after.

Sorry for the downer post. Just tired of the realization. Makes you wanna start all over elsewhere.

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It takes a Village to be more than a Mom

I consider myself a realist, if not even veering off into pessimist at times. I don’t like “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best” as it’s an emotionally exhausting way to be, but I naturally do it because I’m an anxious person.

I recently posted that I wasn’t sleeping well to facebook and had immediate responses from several moms telling me that I should “just get used to it.” Implying that lack of sleep would be “all I get” when the baby is here.

Ever the person who remembers that people are icebergs – wherein 90% of their mass (emotions) lie below the surface. It annoys me to no end that my sleep deprivation had to do with anxiety attacks and nothing to do about being a mom. In fact, I’m a mom right now, but I’m not only a mom.

Lately though, it’s everything I can do to keep chanting what Amy Poehler writes so poignantly about other mothers in her book Yes Please!. “Good for her. Not for me.”

I’m trying to pick myself up, and it feels like I’m alone sometimes. I can’t help but deal with the weight gain and the fact that I’m giving up my “status” at work as able to stay late or come in early or to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sure, I’m giving up plenty of things that I used to have, and may never or won’t have for some time coming. Disposable income. Size 6 dresses. Late nights out of dancing.

I want to be a mom more than anything, and I’m happy to give up those things, but I’m not thrilled about people reminding me what a hopeless, lifeless, lifelong, death march motherhood apparently is. I have a hard enough time with my current state dealing with day to day. I realize when a child gets here I will have no sleep, no sex drive, no social life, nothing – but perhaps it’s more I won’t have that in the “same way” that I used to.

I will have a whole new normal to adjust to – and I’m excited about that.

I’m excited that I will get a fresh start on parents who become friends who go to day care and understand the woes of first time mommy hood. I am excited that my husband and I have to change our schedule of everything up partially because we are so comfortably in a rut now that I love it, but I could see any routine getting stale after a year or two. I’m excited that I will be up for hours with my son, because I realize in ten years, or even five, that moment will be gone, and something else will replace it.

I knew this is what I’ve wanted since I knew what motherhood was, and spent many years crying tears watching my exhusband go through his medical struggles, accepting we would never have kids. Then I went through four years of what was the most ignorant relationship and self esteem murder I could have put myself through. But I did that all with good reason – because those experiences placed me where I am now. The fact that I’m even here, let alone over the moon with my husband who made this child with me, I can’t even imagine that I’m here. I just can’t. I often  ask Ray if the baby is still in there. Because it’s just amazing to me. Shocking even.

I got everything I ever wanted and never thought I could have. You can’t BUY this. You can’t even EARN it. Ray said that the other day – we were just meant to be – there’s nothing I could have done to get me here. There’s no way I’m going to spit in the face of God’s plan and be made to feel shitty about it.

It’s heartbreaking to me to have mom’s tell me how little sleep, and how horrible their lives have become. It hurts me for their own children’s sake. I know I’m probably sounding like the biggest and naive-st freshman out there when it comes to all the knowledge that these moms have and that I haven’t experienced it yet. I know that I will have puke on my dress, or that my child will get sick, or that I will forget the concept of sleeping in or what being “put together” even means.

I knew the whole time what I was getting into. I know it’s going to be hard. I’m tired of being told by others that the only thing I am is a Mom. Nope. I’m not. I’m a wife. I’m an analyst. I’m a band booster. I’m a oil and gas group member. I am a swing dancer. I’m a crafter. I’m a friend. I’m a daughter. I’m a photographer. I’m many things. I know Mom will be the title that requires the most work, but I’m tired of that being the only thing that I am, as it’s not the only thing that defines me.

If I want my child to be “all the things”, I need to maintain being “all the things” with my child. We forget that we’re still other things other than moms. We have husbands. We have fashion wants. We have body issues. We have interests. We have jobs. We have aspirations. Those things didn’t die just because we added something amazingly massively life changing to the mix, they just got reallocated. They aren’t gone. and guess what,there are ways to join kids in! I swear to God I know there’s a way to have it all. I’m hell bent on making sure I get it. Life is too short, too big, and too amazing to go around wearing one label for the rest of my life.

Why can’t we all work together and do that? Why do we spend our time doling out the pessimistic advice and tearing down those who we could be using to lift us up?

I guess in the end, if I have to be the lifter of the doom cloud, is that why don’t moms lift each other up? I mean, I have so many mom friends. but very few of them seem to want to actually gather together as a force to be reckoned with. I don’t want someone to be naive and in denial about what I’m about to journey in on, but whatever happened to “Yes! Those hours of missed sleep suck! What can I do to help!” …..or “Let’s meet for a playdate so you don’t feel alone and we can vent and destress while our kids get exercise!”….or “Hey! Nice new stroller, let’s go do squats and grab a smoothie while pushing them because lord knows I want to get postbaby body a little more managed!”….instead it feels like we retreat to our corners and lose sight of the idea that it “takes a village”. I don’t care how tired I am. I don’t. I can’t have a plan, because planning is a futile exercise – but I do have a goal. and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my child watch me not achieve what I want to. Not at their expense, but finding our own way to do it all. One of the few things I want to make sure they do is learn how to get the things they want by using what they have and that what they want, no matter how massive or outside the lines it seems, is achievable.

Instead of treating me like the new kid to a school and banishing me to eating by myself at lunch, what if we took just a bit of time to remember the positive, to lift each other up in such a time of uncertainty. Remind each other what an amazing gift life is – whether your a Mom or not. Every day we get to live on this Earth is a gift. Share that. Remember that. OWN IT. Quit telling me I need a lack of sleep to earn my stripes – remember that this stripe can’t be earned. This is fate where I am. Deal with it.

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To my Son, Love your Mother.

I’m writing this even though I’m not even late yet. But for those of you who know me, you know that I just couldn’t wait to write, but I had to wait to post. So, walk back with me about 3 months will ya?

Actually just me, your Mom, found out about you on January 19, 2015.

I remember peeing on the stick on a fluke.  I was already doing ovulation predictor kits and let’s just say the month was a bust. They were these “fancy” kind of tests that were supposed to tell you when your “sort of fertile” days as well as your “very fertile” days were.

Admittedly, they just completely wreck your need to pee in the morning. Get up, open a test while hopping up and down needing to go (RIGHT NOW!) and then of course, you sit there and pray to Jesus that it flashes (sort of) or is static (very!) and then you have to figure out how to be romantic that

evening without feeling forced, or tired, or somewhat hopleess with that what-if-something’s-wrong-and-I’m-never-gonna make this happen, feeling.

They say that, on average, it takes three months to make a baby. Well, you were bang, spot-on three months. Way to not frazzle my nerves too much. I will say though, back to that fluke peeing on a stick moment….I blinked when I saw the two lines that indicated pregnant.

I took the test because I figured, my temps were up, and the box was there, and why not? I have no idea why. It was three days before I would even be late. It wasn’t even a time I should have been considering

I was pregnant, since nothing that month had come up as fertile. I didn’t have the mucus, my temps were there, but odd. I was taking vitamins to help things, and I was sure they were wrecking my cycle, so I stopped them…only to realize that stopping them probably wrecked my cycle too.

Then little things started pulling at the curiosity in the back of my mind. I was really tired. My breasts were extremely tender (usually normal for PMS for me.) Then my nose was runny constantly. Then nauseous, just the tiniest bit, but not hungry like I usually am. It was just little things. Hindsight 20/20 and all, I should have known….

You’re going to be like me I think. Unpredictable and a force to be reckoned with. This little start in our lives proves it.

So there I was, staring at two lines. Then I grabbed another unused and ran it under water to make sure the line I was looking at wasn’t just a shadow.

Then I said it very succinctly, near silent, in the mirror that morning “I’m pregnant”. But I remember not wanting to smile, smiling to me meant it was true, and there were still so many unknowns and what ifs.

I posted the picture of the test I took on a website where other members could vote on the outcomes. You were 100% a positive (with one lazy “unsure” vote) according to the throngs of women who were out there. I figured 50 women weighed in, surely that many couldn’t be wrong.

After work I scrambled to the grocery store and bought 8 more tests.  I figured, back up information is power.  So, I waited a day. The next morning, I took another test.  There were those two lines again. This time, the line that indicates pregnancy is just a little.bit.pinker. So I got to work, called my doctor and they said to have a blood test done. That afternoon at the GP Doctor getting my blood done, the assistant walked in, looked at my picture and said, “Yeahhh, that’s pretty much a positive.” My heart just fluttered a bit. I wasn’t ready to believe.

It wasn’t that we didn’t want you. I wanted you so bad that I couldn’t believe it was happening. Up until now, the only feeling I can compare it to is when I got the job of my dreams and couldn’t believe they chose me.  Until you’re there on the first day sitting at your desk, it’s just not real.

But I digress. The assistant basically went on to say that those tests are over 99% accurate, and that I’m pretty much pregnant.

I took the blood test anyway.

Day three came, I took a third test in the morning, and those double lines came back with a darker venegeance. This time, undeniably, blood test still looming, I’m pretty sure you’re on your way.

Every emotion and fear and elation is running through me right now with extreme frenzied passion. Funny enough though, there’s this big coat of calm hugging me.

We got this, we got you, we’re a family.

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Resolution Check: January

2015 Resolutions Let’s CHECK IN!

1) Lady being. My husband bought a beautiful couple of necklaces for Christmas and some amazing lotion! So that said, YEP! I’m doing it! I’ve also taken the time to reconnect with friends over a few lunches and have a few more scheduled in the coming weeks! While gym time has been a hard pull during the day, especially since work ramped up, I am rather failing on this. That said, Me Time, has ramped up. I’ve been spending alot of time at home while Ray works doing crafts and catching up on my tv, it’s been a major help on my stress levels to feel like I’m getting things done!

2) So, I’m dating my husband. In fact, we’re on one of those wine and paint nights tomorrow. I can’t wait. Last weekend we watched movies and made dinner. We’re trying to save some bucks, so it’s a little bit of a fun challenge to see what we can come up with. That said, the ability to get his attention for 30 minutes between work schedules and talk about the day has been amazing, and reconnecting things, and I will say, one fight this month – not too shabby. (Totally my fault though.)

3) Our family. Parenthood – will keep you posted. The puppies and wabbit however, omg good. Cuddly and loving. Penny is adamant now that she gets loved on before closing the hasps on her kennel every morning. She’s even doing me the justice of not playing the heavy gravity pull game when I tell her to kennel up in the morning. She just goes when I point, and then we’re all set. That made my day. We also made Alice more space in the garage, and this seems to have resulted in a very happy bunny! Ralph’s spent the month (unhappily) on a vet-ordered diet, and I’m happy to say he lost 1.2 of his recommended 1.5 lbs! YAY! (Doesn’t soundl like much, but that’s like telling a person to lose 20!)

4) We’re still taking a sentimental jourey. I’ve set up our Christmas card for next year. We’ve definitely had more active days than lazy days – but I’m happy to report that in a few hours, Lazy Weekend-Gate is in full effect. Sunday dinner, as well as many other home cooked ones, have us eating and having fun together. We even took up Mr. Selfridge and equally enjoy the humor and plotline. It’s nice to have an “us” things.

5) Crafts have reallllly taken over. I finished three sets of ornaments for my vintage tree, plus a tree skirt and topper to match! Plus two wreaths for the school’s Christmas Concert Silent Auction. Plus, more Christmas in January!, a handmade garland for our first real tree together this year. I also made a pillow out of an old band shirt of his that now resides in our office. Upcoming is a veneer hanging lamp and his Darth Vader inspired Halloween costume. I’ve also been putting together a journal of photos to take this year, very excited!

6) Volunteerism is still on my mind. I just completed my research and submitted the marketing package for the school’s Mulch Sale. Also in a few weeks we have the Swing Dance that I’ll be teaching lessons at for the Jazz Band. It makes me excited to give back to such a wonderful group of folks. Also, in networking news, I was able to help a great friend of ours score a job as a teacher, her talent took her all the way there though – we’re so stinking proud of her, and to be a small part of that, makes me lift up!

7) Saying No – yep, I’m learning it.I said no to a gala earlier this month – I didn’t want to spend the money on an event I didn’t think would make us over the moon. I’ve also said a big HAIL NAH to our budget – giving it a massive make over. Ray has taken serious charge on making sure we put things into the bank after last year’s wedding-honeymoon-a-thon. I’m so happy to pull together on this one. I’ve also said no to a few other appointments and needs of others to insure that I get what I need, what my family needs, etc…it’s been amazing the level of stress that gets released.

8) Scribbling – I’m so proud of myself on this. I’ve written 10 poems over the last week, which has me well on my way to the poetry collection I wanted. In addition, I completed most of the photographs for the four children’s books I’m working on – numbers, letters, months/days and color primers. I’ve already finished the numbers book, the color book is nearly complete – just a few photos to redo. The letters book is needing fully written, and then month/day book is needing all the shots. That said, this popped otu much faster than I thought it would originally. Then interestingly enough, I’ve launched a magazine idea. I was researching for a few months on digital publishing and lo and behold, I now have a team of four other writers. Day at a time, but I hope to turn out something.

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Anti Pro Choice

A friend of mine asked this amazing question the other day. “Can you choose to love someone?”

So I’ll tell you my situation, which all the fine print is: it’s just mine, it’s not everyone.

On September 30th my ex left my key on my doorstep. I chose to love him for four years. No matter what he said, did, anything. I just kept pressing, pressing, telling myself, “it’s gonna work darn it”. (in retrospect, it so so so so didn’t work, why I didn’t stand up for myself and my needs earlier is beyond me.)

On October 1st, I finally threw my hands up, signed on to Match.com, after months of my mother’s nagging to do so, and that afternoon, I had an email from what would become my husband. I didn’t know it at the time, I was broken up with, over emotions, tired of dating.

Then I met Ray.

(cue the sap music, and then scratch that record, because seriously, this isn’t lovey dovey flowery bs truth, it’s the honest, gritty, truth)

It JUST happens.

I didn’t ever talk about love or marriage with Ray. In fact, I told him I loved him first. and he answered walking out the door (I told him after he was leaving for work and was being a wussy by just “throwing into the goodbye)…and his response was “mmHhhmm.”

I remember as the door shut my whole heart CAME.OUT.OF.ME.

MHHMMM!?!? What on EARTH?

all day, friends and I commiserated that it was all over, I had committed a relationship sin, and there goes everything, despite how perfect it had been.

But then he got home that evening, and against all friend’s advice to shut up if I wanted to save things and pretend nothing happened, I sat down and said, “Yeah, I said I loved you this morning, and you didn’t, so what’s up with that?”

Ray didn’t act shocked. He just said, “Lesley, that mmhmm, means Me Too. I figured you knew I loved you a long time ago.” Despite all my esteem issues and never-wanting-too-assume attitude, he was right, basically from day one, he acted like he loved me, and treated me as such.

That lesson has stuck with me forever. Not that it has to happen from day one, but it does have to happen fairly quick. and the lesson of it all is, if you’re acting like you love them, and it’s just assumed – no matter how good or bad or critical the situation is – then it’s love.

If you have to constantly feel like you have to entertain someone, show them your talents, make sure they know your’e in the room, try to accept who they are, try and like what they like, constantly stress about whether or not it’s working —
then it’s not working. and it’s not love.

You do not choose to love someone. You love someone you have chosen to spend your life with. Ray and I have both said that we could have ended up with other people, it’s entirely possible to love other folks in a lifetime. But, the time you have, that’s finite, and you have to spend it wisely. So when you’re choosing who to spend your time with, then you need to be with people you love.

I can’t explain properly how I just knew, or how love was really, truly love when I met Ray, and that it makes me think I never knew what it was all along. So I’ll skip the romantic equation, and just say, it made sense, it never caused work, I just looked up one day and I was here and we were married.  Neither one of us ever questioned if this was it. It just was.

So, I’m Anti Pro Choice love, I’m Pro Life Happens.

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Sir LAA goes Live.

IMG_9699bSo my husband is an avid reader of my blog. Which I find to be charming, and lovely and give me the giddies. What I didn’t expect, is that the man who has tried to keep his private life private would have a conversation last night about using his name on my blog.

I forget the exact words as my heart was really going pitter pat at this point. But it was “You know, you don’t have to call me Sir LAA on your blog…you can call me…”

Ray.

So. Here I am. Telling you, that I’m married to Ray. That’s him up there, submitting to my want to take portraits over our Christmas holiday this year. Isn’t he dreamy?

It’s funny, as I type this, I’m going through the same inability for his graduated students to call him by his first name that I think would normally be so easily overcome.

Ray. Ray. Raaaay.

Doodle bug.

Thanks for all the love you give me. For the support and laughs I gain through days of panic or issues or stress. Every day I wake up with you means one more day that I get rid of the rest of the world’s concerns, and get on to living a fun, love-filled life with you. Thank you for being a reader.

Love,

Lesley Ann

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Resolution Check: How I Did and What I’m Gonna Do

Yeah, so that would be number one, that I totally threw out the original goals. I got married, I changed my life, I everything. When all of that happened, and being hit with selling a home and a new name and a life completely different than the one I started the year with, then I felt it necessary to revisit what I said, and start over.

1. I will be completing a photo journal rather than a written journal this year. I did complete this and it’s being printed. It will be fun to look at what day-to-day life was like rather than “just” the special events that we went to and enjoyed. I already had a giggle when I was proofing it online.

2. I have two books – an autobiography and a recipe book as well as a photo book that I’m trying to finish. And I finished both of them as well as the cookbook with my grandmother’s pictures. I’m having to say DONE! on this one as well as feeling like I really went above and beyond where I thought I would.

3. Gym. Oh fail. I’ve put on weight. I cannot get rid of it. Stress and anxiety at work, at conceiving, at everything. Comfort food eater, right here. and hating that. I miss the success of an hour at the gym or after a good run. For the past weeks it’s been nothing but event after event and while I’ve had plenty of fun, it’s time to redirect so the stress buildup diminishes.

4. Disneyworld. Seattle. Barcelona. A beautiful cabin in North Texas at Christmas. Next year we’re considering Austin, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and London for Christmas. Oh yeah, and one of those kid things. Paris is still in the works, we’re talking like Italy and Paris will be in 2016, but let’s be honest, Italy deserves it’s own trip and I want to be in Paris on my 40th.

5. Louboutins have been purchased. And now they’ve been worn. Check out those puppies. I wore them to the Inaugural Gala of the NOMADS in February. So it was not only a great happy-birthday-to-me gift, but it felt good to get that one down on film! These guys are a hoot to hang with, and the black tie event was a first for Ray and I. Enjoyed thoroughly – even danced …in public. Don’t tell the other guys.  DONE!!

6. My blog. I know. I know. Admittedly it’s not been from lack of energy, but more from being scared to write and say what I feel. Paranoia slides in when folks shake your character and soul up. now I’m back. Treading lightly, but I need to write, it’s good for my guts. I’m getting stronger and more brave. It feels to go let out into the ether what I’m feeling and gather feedback and ideas. It feels good.

7. Make my own snow globe. Done. I’ve done it. I done that. Craft-free? Nah. I still have plenty to do. I’m doing our own custom tree topper. I still have to repair my custom school-colored support overalls. I need to finish the maxi dress I’m sewing and fix my swing dress from it’s horrible stain (let’s pray e-how is correct on how to spot treat a stain with bleach)…then I have made an apron for homecoming mum making next year. Plus I did some darning. Then I started our Christmas ornaments for the white tree I was challenged with next year. I also” needed” to paint a light-up puppy dog for Christmas. Plus for funsies, let’s add on a Mrs. Claus fascinator for the upcoming student Christmas party. I just can’t help but overload myself. Sigh. Hobby Lobby, I heart you.

8. Oh yeah. I sold my house. And I got married. And we threw a small family reception this summer.. I think next year’s resolution is finding peace and learning how to relax. I fear these things are not in my make up. How can I find zen if I feel on pins when I sit still?

So what’s up for 2015 you ask?

2015 Resolutions

1) Lady being as an art form needs to happen. Somewhere last year I just gave up – stress too much, energy too little, and somewhere in betwixt house selling, house looking, house making, marriage, reception, trips, football season and all the rest, well. I forgot about me. Sometimes literally. I can shop like a fiend but I forgot to put together an outfit or how to do (or maintain) my hair and face. I feel like I aged last year, despite it being one of the happiest. I did gain 20 lbs since the wedding, and as you’ll read later, trying for kids would merit a fit mom-to-hopefully-be. I can’t swing dance anymore, it just doesn’t fit our schedule, but I can find a hobby, and some me time. I need to reestablish a set of girlfriends and make time for what’s important. A rejigging of my priorities is in order. Mostly because last year, my husband became a priority, and he should be. Our family-ness is important, and I respect our bond so much that sometimes having to remake things again is what needs done in order to give focus to him and us.

2) Continue to strengthen my relationship with my husband. It’s a sad place where this thought came from, but you know House of Cards? (If you don’t, do, because love love.). The Underwoods, who the show centers around, are quite the snarky, malicious, freakshow couple. That said, I envy their tradition of smoking together outside of their apartment window. I also love the romantic notion of the written word. My husband has been writing me cards for a few weeks now, and it makes my day. Last year on the last day of our honeymoon, I asked each of us to write a letter to the other for the next year. I plan on keeping that same pattern this year on that day. Hopefully 25 years from now, we’ll have a book of love letters to pass on to our kids about how amazingly strong we were through all of this rollercoaster called marriage. Given that we may need something to write about, my husband continues to press on for dancing lessons, and recently suggested pottery – I definitely wanted to have a shared interest that would be ours (not his nor mine in origin) and also opens us up for meeting new people and taking on new experiences. That said, we continue to want to be social with all of our friends and family, so we’re planning several dinners and parties that we keep telling folks we’re going to try and do. That said, we’re trying, not everything will succeed…I gotta remember that.

3) Our family. Parenthood. Yep, we’re doing that. Nope, I’m not going to post the details. But we’re trying. As you’ve seen from a few posts, there’s emotional ups and downs and sideways to this process. If anything, I’m grateful to have a place to vent and discuss and hopefully gather feedback and tips and tricks (hey, hey now.) to this whole thing called becoming a Mom. This has been a dream of mine for longer than I can remember. About five minutes after I wanted to be married, I wanted to be a parent. Give or take a second. Ever the basher of my own optimism, asking myself a lot if it will “ever” happen, and this road we take will be telling of my and our strength..

4) Let’s make this a sentimental journey shall we? I want to install some family traditions this year. I’ve taken advantage that it’s our first year and figured if I go whole hog on a good handful of family traditions, that a few good ones will stick around for the long haul. Up above you saw the idea of a honeymoon-anniversary letter. We are also collecting glass plates from a wonderful place we found in Seattle, who just “happened” to design them for the hotel we stayed in Vegas when we got married. Also, our first Christmas card went out this year, I’ve learned my lesson on small text, but think that an infographic type will be cool to watch grow with the years, what do you think? We talked about how to make sure we have two active days (all day hikes, bikes, something moving!) and two lazy lazy couch surfing days together each month. I don’t know how to quite plan that yet, but I think just putting a date on the calendar and enforcing it as a family rule will be needed. I want rest just as much as I want to move, and sometimes the mental destressing of both inaction and action is forgotten in our day to day errand and event filled weekends. I think actively making sure we do both will insure more balance rather than the feast or famine that sometimes leads to anger. And finally, I would like to impose a Sunday Dinner. Call me 1950s all you want, but I want my family at the table on a Sunday. Sure, friends and family can join, and sometimes not, but I want my Sunday dinner on my table.

5) Crafts are back in full force this year. Sir LAA will attest to seeing many painted and stitched and glued craziness over the holiday break. Yep, and I know, I wanted to list things now so that I stick to a boundary and tell myself, and my Hobby Lobby shopping demon, “No”. So this year, I’d like to try to finish the two wreaths that I have for the silent auction. I’d also like to learn arm knitting, as I think this will be similar to looming and twice as fun during marching band season. As mentioned earlier, I’m working on that infographic for our Christmas card and need to gather my creativity. Also, my fabulous partner in crime and I will be making tree skirt skirts and ugly sweaters for Christmas. I also want to attempt a version of a nice Christmas sweater…if that makes sense? Also, at Renaissance Festival last year, the mister and I took quite kindly to steampunk fashion. I’m sorry readers, for I have sinned, I pinterested it. And then I shopped it. and dear lordy lord, there are so many good things to make. So for now, I’ll just say “Steampunk Stuff” and leave it at that. I know, I’m already out of hand. Then, if we’re really lucky, maybe Baby crafts: booties, onesies, pennants, you know…that. But for now, we’ll just pray for something soon.

6) Volunteerism. I still want to help others. I feel like what I did last year didn’t help in a lot of cases. In fact, I feel like a burden that I even stepped in sometimes. I need to learn how to not interrupt I suppose. So one, not interrupt. But two, learn how to give where I’m wanted. So this year, I’d like to start picking up a canned good or boxed toy here and there and make sure that I spread the giving through the year. I’m also working on a few things for Sir LAA that I hope are helpful, and as I help him out using my talents, I hope it pays off in a few great events that make his vision come alive. Outside of that, perhaps it’s time…to start…

7) Saying no. Yep. It’s become necessary. Saying no to shopping after I have a completely full closet – which I’m cleaning this weekend and trying to take a lot of gratefulness away from the idea that I own more than I should and can do just fine without all that even have now. I cannot find a perfect life or solution to a stressful situation on a rack or website and need to stop it. Also, I need to start saying “no” to the places that I’m not valued. That means several things to me. I can only press so much, so if I’ve pressed a few times and I’m not getting response in kind. I’m more enthusiastic, and need to let it fall off my list. Additionally, I need to start to be aware when folks are using me vs when I’m joining an enthusiastic and open group. I need to cut the places where drama do not serve me, where rough feelings and negative emotions start to hurt my own self esteem and hurt who I am. I refuse to stay where I am not wanted, but I’m also going to be aware where my skills aren’t needed because drama takes the place of true kindness and generosity of spirit. Finally, I need to prioritize and decide what is important, truly and utterly important, and what is a “nice to do”, and make sure that when I decide to spend my time somewhere, that I spend it wisely.

8) Scribbling is still my passion. I still love writing. I’ve continued the blog, despite it being spotty, it wasn’t from not wanting to write. Work really took over the fourth quarter and things had to go. That said, I still want to blog, and perhaps even take it a step farther. I’m planning on designing and executing a digital magazine. More details are left to be hashed out, but the more I think about it and the more ideas I get, the more exciting it feels. Watch this space, I hope I can follow through. It sounds so daunting right now. Other writing projects include a poetry book of about 100 poems and sketches that I do a la my idol Shel Silverstein. Finally, a kid-friendly series of Learn-Your-Shapes, Numbers and Colors books will be in my future. I’m rather excited to have the husband work a Saturday or two in order for me to set up these projects and knock out some fun things and see where they may take me. Self publishing is on the rise, perhaps 2016 will hold that endeavor to be judged and put my writing skills to the test. Here’s to being brave.

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