This year I won't be rushing around the big department stores, waiting in ridiculous lines, paying high prices for thoughtless gifts.
This holiday season I plan on supporting local, independent and small businesses while I complete my Christmas shopping.
Here are some of my favorite 'shops' from Etsy.com
From the very first chilly fall breeze in September, that's when I start to come alive. The second half of the year has always been my favorite. Sure, I enjoy a hot summer day, lying in the sun, like anyone else. But nothing truly beats a hot mug of apple cider, on a cold day, while watching the leaves fall.
And for me, every passing week it gets better and better.
I think it's because some of my best memories are from events that happened during this time of year. The first that comes to mind is the first Thanksgiving I spent in New York, watching the parade. My family woke up extra early to start the turkey and most of the trimmings, then we bundled up and took the train into NY for the day. It was gorgeous that day! Perfect blue sky, warm sun on your face, but that slight sting was in the air and you could see your breath when you spoke. Walking in the crowds was dizzying and fun, shopping in the boutiques and snacking on street vendor food was absolutely my 'new york minute'. We enjoyed the parade and then came home to a hot meal and a long nap.
Another memory that springs to mind is simplicity of just waiting for the bus.
Waking up on a cold Massachusetts morning, half motivated to go to school, feeling barely alive, until the front door opened and you were pushed out into the blast of cold air. That'll wake you up anytime. Making that walk to the bus stop, backpack slung over one shoulder, the concrete sidewalks littered with wet fallen leaves and that clean, cool smell that filled your lungs with every breath. The sky an ominous grey, made even darker by the unrisen sun. Hands shivering, face exposed to the elements, because once again I forgot gloves and a scarf. I think that's really why I took up smoking in my teens, I needed something to occupy my cold hands at the bus stop.
It's funny to me now to enjoy a similar morning from a different perspective. Instead of the child heading off to school, I'm the adult making the coffee, checking the news and weather report, starting on the days chores. The perspective has definitely changed, but that 'get up and start the day' attitude hasn't.
October is always fun for me. Watching my neighbors drag out their fall decorations, seeing the lumpy piles of pumpkins heaped in the storefronts, noticing the ever eye-catching orange and black decorations in windows and front yards. Who doesn't enjoy walking down the seasonal aisle of the grocery store this time of year, every shelf packed with giant, trick or treat sized bags of Almond Joys, Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups, M&M's, Candy Corn...the list goes on.
Then there's November...
The feeling of 'almost' is carried around with me those few short weeks. It's almost time to pick out a tree, almost time to start playing my christmas music, almost time to write out the holiday cards and make sugar cookies. Even now as an adult, this time of year has not lost its magic for me. In fact, I think it means more to me now than ever before, because now I have the honor and privledge of passing on that magic to someone else.
It starts for me on the night of Thanksgiving. Once the leftovers are packed into the fridge and the dishes are done, it's time for my pre-holiday-season tradtion of watching It's a Wonderful Life. Every year without fail I watch this movie and cry at the end when Harry proposes the toast: "To my big brother George, the richest man in town." And even though I have the DVD version of the movie which does allow me to watch it in color, I prefer to watch it in black and white. It's better that way.
Of course, if that didn't do it for me then the following day, Black Friday, would definitely remind me that the holiday season is here. I partook in the lunacy that is Black Friday for the first time last year. Let's just say I never feel the need to do that again...ever.
From here on out it's the holiday season for me! I play my James Taylor Christmas Album, watch A Christmas Carol, write out the christmas cards, enjoy finding and hiding presents for my husband and anticipate any falling snow we may get. That's the bummer of not living in Massachusetts this time of year, you're not guaranteed snow on Christmas.
What's more exciting about this coming holiday season is that not only do I get to share it with my husband, but we'll both be introducing it and our traditions to our little boy, Noah.
I'm so excited to instill the love of magic and imagination in him.
Having a blog is beneficial in so many ways. You can share your thoughts with others, meet other writers, discover different styles of writing, vent your frustrations, share your opinions and all done in the pretty font you like with the background of your choice.
Most of you know that my lack of posts lately has to do with my upcoming due date. I'm cleaning house, setting up the nursery, packing and re-packing my hospital bag, making weekly trips to my OB, dealing with last trimester queasiness, stocking my pantry and freezer and trying to squeeze in some last minute 'childless' activities with my husband and friends.
Of course, throughout all the hubbub and excitement there are also some very annoying and/or frustrating elements that have corrupted my day-to-day life, leaving me somewhat discouraged and helpless at the end of the day.
But today I remember that THIS is why I started blogging again. So I would have a place, all my own, to vent about these building frustrations.
The first and biggest problem weighing on my mind heavily is my house.
James and I are renting a country home on five acres, just outside of Clarksville. It's peaceful, quiet and far away from Fort Campbell and all its predictable military drama.
Four months ago, when we were first visiting the property, I fell in love. I loved the quaint little country house. I loved the space, the beautiful backyard, the element of true privacy, the sunny kitchen and the 'lived-in' appeal of an older home.
Four months later I have come to despise this house and all the qualities I once thought were charming.
The space and privacy have turned into isolation. The backyard has become more matinence then I realized it would. And the lived-in, older home appeal is gone. Leaving in its wake the presence of any and every living creepy crawly imaginable, finding its way into my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom etc.
There are wood roaches that never seem to die living in my kitchen. There are mice pooping in every drawer and carrying fleas. And there are wasps finding their way inside through the nooks and crannies in the windows.
We have used sprays, traps, bombs, foggers and called in terminators. The fuckers keep getting in!
I don't even like being home anymore. Even at the slightest hint of having to run an errand, I get excited and grab my purse. I would gladly run OTHER people's errands if they asked me to.
I feel itchy all the time, psychologically or for real, and I HATE going into my kitchen. It seems everytime I do I end up having to kill something with my shoe.
The real problem weighing on me is WHEN to move. It's almost November, the holiday season is upon us. Should we risk moving someplace cleaner during this time of year or wait until January or February?
Then again, do I really want to bring little Noah into a house full of unsanitary mice and fleas?
It's not like there aren't places we could move to. Our town is full of great rentals in nice neighborhoods, at affordable rental rates. It really just comes down to the question of WHEN?
The holidays mean a lot to me, especially since I'll have a little family of my own in just a matter of weeks. I want it to be a time that's special and memorable. Of course I want the Kodak picture! Pictures of new-Daddy & Mommy holding Noah in front of the Christmas tree, snuggling in at night to read The Story of Santa Claus, playing holiday music and enjoying Walker's Shortbread.
But would it be better to make those memories in a home that didn't strike a chord of disgust in my heart?
James and I have moved so much in the three years we've been married, that we consider ourselves professionals. We know how to pack, how to organize, how to get the best deals on moving trucks, where to find the sturdiest packing boxes for next to nothing and how to do it all in one week if necessary.
But here I am, 38 weeks pregnant, already dilating, excited for the birth of my son, nervous about the inevitable contractions, labor and pushing. I don't need another stressor right now.
Here comes another, 'But..'
I'm already stressed about bringing Noah home to this house! It freaks me out to think of fleas or any other kind of creepy crawly finding its way onto my precious newborn baby. I actually shiver at the thought.
And honestly, whenever I start to become anxious about his arrival and I just 'want him to be born already' I deliberately remind myself of this problem. It brings me back to reality and I find myself thinking, "What's a few more weeks, really?"
It might sound spoiled or pathetic or the worries of a first-time mother, but I can honestly say that even if I wasn't about to give birth, I would feel grossed out by living in this house and would want out just as badly.
I just don't know what I should do. Ideas, suggestions, advice...all are very welcome at this point.
"For the way you changed my plans
For being the perfect distraction
For the way you took the idea I have
of everything I wanted to have
Made me see there was something missing...
You're the best thing I never knew I needed
so when you were here, I had no idea
You're the best thing I never knew I needed
So now it's so clear, I need you here always...
My accidental happily ever after
The way you smile and how you comfort me
with your laughter
I must admit you were not a part of my book
but now if you open it up and take a look
you're the beginning and end of every chapter..." ~Never Knew I Needed by Ne-Yo
I constantly had to walk on eggshells with you. I felt awkward sharing my opinions and innermost thoughts or ideas, afraid of your judgments or laughter.
If I wanted any kind of peace between us, I had to be the one to apologize on hands and knees, whether I was in the wrong or not.
I always had to agree with your opinions, it was easier than enduring another long winded argument. When we did argue, I never got to say my piece. You would go for minutes on end explaining your hurt or your reasons, but when I tried to get in one word you'd cut me off again.
My feelings were a joke to you. You were allowed to be hurt and upset, but if I even dared to feel that way you'd scoff and call me dramatic.
I felt weak if I cried around you. You always assumed I was 'using my tears on you' and had no problem telling me so.
You were allowed to feel, where instead I always had to suck it up and get over it.
You played games I could never 'win'. I was always wrong, no matter how logically I acted or thought.
I let you cut me off to finish your own thoughts. I never argued about that because I didn't want another pointless argument.
On the outside, others looking in were confused. Calling me foolish, demanding I speak my mind, trying not to laugh at how stupid I was being for letting you treat me like I was beneath you. And you, you trained me so well, even when I wasn't in your prescence, I defended you. I stood up for you.
How pathetic is that?
Even when I left, you tried to keep your hold on me. Always trying to prove that you were the strong one and I was the weak one. Always trying to convince me that my choices were wrong.
Even when I was more than a thousand miles away I was still afraid of you. Afraid of your judgments, afraid of your ridicule, anxious that anything I did share with you would be met with the same lack of interest.
I stopped letting you have that control. It doesn't matter what you think of my choices, because I don't regret a single thing. Every choice I've made has led me to where I am, and I'm happy.
I stopped sharing with you, because I didn't want you smearing my happiness with your opinions. Your opinions aren't necessary.
I stopped being the eternal listener and let you hear what I had to say.
I stopped defending and protecting you. What's the point? You've alienated everyone we know and you're constantly telling whoever will listen how much you don't need them anyway.
I stopped thinking I was beneath you. Because I'm not.
So when you tell me: "I miss you. Or at least the person you used to be."
I'm not surprised.
But I feel really sad for you.
Sad that the only person you want me to be is your pathetic little minion.
Lose track of time.
Time goes on.
Time stood still.
Changing with the Times.
Waste of Time.
Time running out.
All things heal with Time.
New York Times.
Daylight Savings Time.
Out of Time.
Nick of Time.
Time of your life.
Feels like the first Time.
Matter of Time.
Ahead of one’s Time.
Pressed for Time.
From Time to Time.
Stitch in Time.
Pass the Time.
I have been The Child.
I woke up early to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. I would argue that I could pour my own bowl of cereal without spilling. I played pretend with my Barbie dolls and would tuck my stuffed animals in before I fell asleep.
I've been The Teenager.
My friends were more important to me than anything else. My hair color changed with my mood. Every song that came out that year was 'my song'. I both loved and hated high school. I was both insecure and invincible.
I have been The Lover.
He could do no wrong. Every goodbye was painful. Every letter was kept in a pink shoebox under my bed. I circled our initials in red hearts in my journal. Every conversation was new and exciting.
I have been The Newlywed.
That first year was a learning experience beyond any other. Everything changed. That was the year I grew up the most, learned the most, fought the most. Without that year there wouldn't have been a second, or third...
Now I'm embarking on a new journey. Motherhood.
Am I scared?
But I'm also excited.
And I can't wait to meet that beautiful little boy.
I'm positively tickled! Word Nerd has nominated me for a Liebster award!
What is a Liebster Award? An acknowledgment passed from blogger to blogger. It has been passed to me and now I must pass it to my 5 favorite bloggers. Who will be:
Well, this week I'm at 30 weeks and thus the countdown begins. Granted there are 10 weeks left in my pregnancy, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Baby will arrive on the expected due date. It may be late or even early. So I figure anytime after 32-34 weeks, it's all systems go. I'm getting nervous about the impending labor & delivery but I try not to think about the scary part and focus on the 'finally having the baby here' part.
James is doing well, he keeps himself busy with household projects and his new truck. (It's actually far from new but it's something he can fix up in a matter of days and have running.)
Other than that, it's been pretty tame and quiet. Our weekends usually include a trip to Mag's Coffee for sausage rolls and a Vanilla Custard latte. Sometimes we hit up the Farmers Market or Home Depot and our nights are usually made of movie marathons and snuggling.
And whenever I get that restless feeling, I remind myself that free weekends and bouts of spontanaeity are coming to a close and just to enjoy them while I can. Once Baby is here it'll be more about routines, schedules and trying to keep up. :)
It's Friday night of Labor Day weekend. All I wanted to do was visit one of my girls at her new digs, enjoy some chitchat and maybe a slice of cheesecake. Instead, my poor husband is wrist deep in our garbage disposal trying to solve the Mystery Clog.
Hopefully we can figure out the problem soon so we don't spend the rest of the weekend waterless and frustrated. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
It helps me each day to believe that you're with me.
You're on the back of a yellow monarch's wings.
Or in the petals of yellow roses.
Or in the first whispers of Fall in the air.
Does it mean that my heart no longer aches when I think of my future without you in it?
Of course not.
Does it hurt me knowing you'll never meet the man who makes me so happy?
Or that I'll never watch you hold my newborn son?
Of course it does.
Sometimes the reality of your abscence hits me like it did the very first time and I cannot breathe.
I realize that no matter how much love and happiness I have in my life, there will always be a lonliness in my heart that can never be filled.
And the little life growing wild inside me, only brings me back to that realization even more these days.
I feel your presence and abscence all at the same time and it makes my heart and soul ache with confusion.
You move and you are growing.
You sleep and you are growing.
You kick and you are growing.
With every week that passes, you are growing.
Your eyes are learning to open.
Your lungs are learning to breathe.
Your brain is learning to dream.
Your ears are learning my voice. (And Daddy's voice too.)
I sleep, and you grow.
I dream, and you grow.
I eat, and you grow.
I read, and you grow.
I watch the rain fall, and you grow.
Tonight was the first gathering of The Red Tent, it was VERY successful.
It was a potluck, like all future meetings will be and by the end of the night there were barely any leftovers.
Our group is small but I think it's better to start off that way. Maybe over time we can add more members.
I contributed with Strawberry Cheese spread & Truffle Fudge Brownies (courtesy of Tastefully Simple.) Other contributions were fruit, cheese, crackers, meat, lemonade & mocha frappes.
At first we covered the basics. Appropriate Circle ettiqute, the when & where and what The Red Tent means for us as a group.
We also discussed different activities for future gatherings and even planned a Goddess Wknd Retreat for September. (Let's just say as soon as 'chocoalte buffet' was mentioned, I was ALL in!)
It was a very fun and relaxed setting and everyone enjoyed themselves.
I'm really looking forward to our next gathering!
I used to know Midnight. She and I were close for many years. Most times she would eventually bring 1am and 2am with her and we seemed to get along just great.
However, I changed, as people do and quite unexpectedly.
A few months ago I met 9pm. Of course I knew of her and heard her name mentioned once or twice but for the first time I actually met her and we became good friends almost instantly. It was around the time I discovered I was pregnant and she couldn't have been more supportive. It seemed the more I got to know her, the better I felt and easier my days became. Once she even introduced me to the infamous 8pm. (Who is so sweet by the way!)
Of course I do miss Midnight now and again. We had some good times, hell we had some GREAT times. But I know my relationship with Midnight has changed forever now.
Not to say that it's over, just changed. I'm sure once this baby is born, she and I will meet up again. It won't be all fun and games like it was before, but we will see each other again.