Tuesday, December 31, 2013

dear 2013


Dear 2013,

Man, you were tough. You really were. Not cool.

But we handled it like champions. I was an exhausted champion, but a champion nonetheless. There were days where I hung up my boxing glove at the end of the night and wasn't sure if I could wake up and do it again the next day. But I did. I am stronger because of you, 2013, and I owe you for that. I am kinder. I am more empathetic. I am a better parent.

I understand that life can't be rushed. I am more patient now. I understand that I don't get to control everything. Frankly, I control next to nothing. But I can have faith. And faith and hope are two of the most empowering things in this world. I believed that before. I know that now.

I learned that good friends are few and far between. Kind friends. Friends who will listen and not judge. Friends who are there when you need them. Friends who simply say, "you're doing a good job" and mean it. I am lucky to have good friends. I am blessed.

I'm excited for 2014. I'm excited to embark on new adventures, meet new people, visit family. Family is everything. My family is the bees-knees. End of story.

You taught me a lot, 2013, but I'm afraid it's time for you to go. You've outstayed your welcome and If you don't go now I'm afraid we won't be able to stay friends.

So git, ya rascal. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Alyssa

Monday, December 30, 2013

christmas morning




Our Christmas morning looked like a thick fog. Frozen air hanging over our heads as a reminder that winter is here. Watching us and freezing our toes and our noses and our lungs.

Christmas morning looked like an excited baby, confused as to why we were getting into the car still in pajamas; knowing there is something new on the other end of the car ride. Excitement in his eyes. Giggles floating through the air, mingling with the fog, mixing and dancing together over our heads.

Christmas morning looked like a new Radio Flyer tricycle and legs that are just short of reaching the pedals. This however did not stop him from hopping back up onto that seat every 15 minutes to see if he had grown just enough. Knees locked. Toes stretched. Not quite. I'll eat a snack and try again.

Christmas morning looked like an aviator hat for the lover of the movie UP and trucks and wooden train sets. It looked like an over-stimulated one-year-old who lost interest in opening presents and just wanted to play with what was already opened while taking breaks to keeeeeeep stretching his legs to the pedals. And ringing the bell. Because even if the legs can't reach the bell still works every single time.




Christmas morning looked like family, love, happiness. And gratitude. So much gratitude. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. xo

Sunday, December 22, 2013

december senses

 
our December looks like 
          frozen breath floating in front of our faces on cold days
          two red noses
          a Christmas tree that tilts slightly to one side
          but we love her..because she is ours
          snowflakes stuck in long eyelashes
          snow that hasn't melted and sun that has been scarce
          knit hats and gloves that never stay on long enough
          snowboots that clunk on kitchen floors 
          m&ms left in pockets
          and keys found in toyboxes and behind the tv
          terrible twos that have hit early
          making this mom so tired
          but he has discovered his mom's lap is his favorite seat in the house
          and the baby who thinks he is a toddler remembers to be a baby again
          even just for a second
it sounds like 
          Bob Dylan records
          a kitchen floor that crunches under your feet like autumn leaves
          because the dust pan has gone missing
          and I keep forgetting to buy a new one
it tastes like
         hot chocolate
         with peppermint
         and soup for every meal
         warming us up from the insides when our outsides feel like they may never be warm again
it feels like
          a small apartment 
          a tiny unconventional family
          filled to the brim 
          with love

a post on insecurity and that terrible comparison thing


I'm starting this post on insecurity off with a mirror self picture for juxtaposition purposes 
(and because I think every post should include a picture).

This post is giving me every level of grief. I've started it and erased it then started it again in an attempt to get it right. I walk away from it and then come back to it, waiting for the right words to come to me. The words aren't something that's coming naturally to me right now. I won't give up, though because I feel strongly that these words need to be said. This post is also about being honest.

And honestly, I've been battling some serious insecurity as of late.

I have this terrible habit of comparing myself to others. It's a problem. And it's causing me a lot of unhappiness if I let it take over me. Like a disease it creeps into my mind and into my life and takes over. Sometimes as a slow dripdripdrip and sometimes crashing over me like a tsunami.

I don't cook. I just don't. If something has more than about 3 ingredients I throw in the towel before I even start and choose from my vast assortment of frozen dinners. My son eats a lot of PB&J. My kitchen is the apartment equivalent for some people's formal dining rooms. It doesn't get a lot of use. It doesn't get almost any use. I am the queen of take-out and eating my parents' leftovers. If I'm really being honest with myself it's because I won't cook. It's expensive to buy ingredients. I'm afraid to fail. I don't want to cook for one.  This doesn't make me a bad person.

I repeat: this does not make me a bad person.

The problem is when I start resenting people who have things that I do not have. I'm not the smallest, the most fit, the prettiest, the funniest, the smartest, the most organized (or even the second or third most organized). I'm not showered with attention. I don't have ten pairs of  Jimmy Choos or one pair of Jimmy Choos. It is okay that I don't have these things. But it's also okay that other people do have these things.

I find myself comparing my weaknesses to other people's strengths. I compare my everything anti-domestic lifestyle to the mom who makes three meals a day from scratch and grows all her own food and makes up her own recipes then takes beautiful photographs of them to post on her blog that has tens of thousands of followers. I compare my body with an overly photoshopped body in a magazine. And guess what? When I start doing this I come up  short. Every. Single. Time.

Imagine that. 


So I'm making a deal with myself (an early resolution perhaps) to stop comparing. Stop setting myself up to feel insecure. Stop making comparisons that I've lost before I've started. I hope you do the same. Because when I turn things around and stop focusing on my shortcomings and start focusing on my strengths...I'm a pretty worthwhile  human  being. You're a pretty worthwhile human being.

We are good enough.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

santa train


We are now veterans of the Santa train. And guys, it was awesome. 

Sage had another run-in with Santa, which went much better than the last run-in with Santa. I'm convinced it's because Santa didn't touch him, and that is clearly how Sage would like to keep his Santa interactions (and now that I think about it I can't really blame him). 

The train ride was also just the right length for a one-year-old attention span, which was definitely worth the $3 ticket. Santa train, we love how you combine trains and Christmas. Two of our favorite things. Nicely done.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

santa


Isn't that just the best looking Kris Kringle in all the land?!

Today was the day. The day when Sage meets Santa for the first time. We woke up in the morning and opened the windows to take in the view of fresh fallen snow; the world outside of our little apartment covered in frozen powder. I put a Christmas record on and made some peppermint tea.

Then it was time. We trudged through the snow on our festive pilgrimage.
I knew this could go one of two ways: happy baby or total meltdown.

Sage was excited when he first saw Santa (hands in the air and clapping), he was excited to stand in line to see Santa, and he was excited to.....oh wait. That moment I set him down on Santa's lap and took a step away that 18-month-old separation anxiety kicked in something fierce.  So the the picture above is what we got. Not a full blown meltdown, but not totally sold either. Santa is more fun to enjoy from afar while your mom is holding you, I guess.

But we'll take what we can get, right?!

Merry merry!

Friday, December 6, 2013

this one's for you, jogging santa, for kickstarting the season



^^at the town Christmas Tree Lighting. There were rumors that Santa would be there but for two years in a row we've missed crossing paths with that jolly old elf, so I guess we'll have to track Santa down in his natural habitat instead (the mall)^^

...and thus begins the tale of the year I almost had a serious lack of Christmas cheer.

Christmas spirit should be one of those "naturally occurring in nature" kinds of things... after Thanksgiving Christmas starts seeping into the stores and down the streets (some places can't even contain their cheer that long and it starts showing its face as early as Halloween). Spindly Santas start appearing on street corners and eggnog starts appearing next to the milk at the grocery store; making you ask yourself, "what is even there when there isn't eggnog? Half and half?" I can never remember, and after Christmas I always forget to look until the eggnog appears again, right where it belongs.

Well this year winter weather hit fast and hard. And winters are hard for me, guys. I have a hard time breathing in the winter. I get so cold that I cant warm up and I spend a good deal of my evenings in the bathtub trying to defrost my cold limbs. I get goosebumps on my face...on my face! a person isn't supposed to be having goosebumps on their face, it's just weird. 

So between the inability to stay warm and the nasty ear infection Sage had over Thanksgiving, we were feeling a little bit (a lot) tired around here. And after Thanksgiving the Christmas cheer just didn't naturally occur as it should. 

Heavens to Betsy this is a problem. A big problem.

Until yesterday morning. I was walking (well leaping.. on tiptoes.. to avoid any more foot contact with the snow than absolutely necessary) to my car just as the sun was coming up and I saw the most wonderful thing a person could see in these circumstances. 

It was a man. In a red sweatshirt. An old man with the most glorious of white hair, and an even more glorious white beard. Jogging down our street, his cheeks red from the cold. I leaned down to Sage and quietly pointed at the man jogging past us and whispered, 

"it's SANTA, bird!"

And just like that Christmas cheer knocked me clean over the head like a ton of bricks. Bricks made of marshmallows and tasting of peppermint. 

Thank you jogging Santa, for snapping the Grinch out of me. I'm pretty sure my heart grew three sizes that morning. Now I have a neverending craving for hot cocoa and sugar cookies. 

May you all be blessed with a jogging Santa on your street. 

currently



((our Thanksgiving picture. It just makes me so happy, I can't even stand it.)) 

Reading
I just finished reading Letters to a Young Poet for the millionth time and I almost just flipped right back to the first page and started it all over again once I finished. That book, you guys. If you haven't already... you really need to. It's a very short book jam-packed with beautiful words. 

Eating: 
Since the weather has quickly turned on us, I've been all about the soups from Trader Joe's. They are cheap and amazing, and require exactly the right amount of preparation that I can offer (pour into a bowl and put in the microwave). 
Black Bean: check. 
Roasted Red Pepper: check. 
Creamy Tomato: check.
Carrot and Ginger: weird but good -- check. 
Sweet Potato Bisque: check.
Butternut Squash: check. 
Pumpkin: not check. It's still on the shelf and it was a spontaneous purchase that sounded like a really good idea as I was filling my cart with Trader Joe's pumpkin everything... but now it seems a little too weird. Weirder than carrot and ginger. It's like the neon sweater that seemed like a good idea at the store (and was on a really good sale) but it's just never the right day to wear it. Well, it's never the right day for pumpkin soup. I'm just not brave enough I guess. For those of you with more courage than me: may the odds be ever in your favor. After the pumpkin soymilk moment earlier this week I'm nervous. Pumpkin anxiety? Sure, why not. 

Oh, and if you're not eating your soup with crackers crushed into it then you might need to rethink your life. My personal favorite (of the gluten free variety) are Glutino multigrain crackers. They soak up the soup just the right amount without getting soggy. Seriously though. To be eaten while wearing fuzzy socks and watching a Nicolas Sparks movie (aka my life).

Thinking about: 
Lot's of things that aren't for putting down here. I've been all over the place with my emotions. I've been singing in the car then 30 minutes later crying in the shower. It's been a weird year. Someday I'll write about it. But not yet. Right now these emotions and trials belong to me and those closest to me, and I need to figure them out before they are shared publicly. Just a reminder that some things are just....private. As they should be. In the world of blogging it's so easy to overshare. And holy moly.. I can't tell you how crazy this makes me. I can't stand the oversharers (not a word). I would much rather blog about soup thank you very muchhhhh.

Listening to: 

This song is just...everything. This whole album is actually. It's the perfect soundtrack for cold weather. Warm music for cold weather. I like that.

And the performance poetry podcast channel on iTunes. If you're not subscribed you should seriously consider it. There's so much talent in the world, it just blows my mind right open.

Watching: 
Some times a girl just needs to laugh... and I'm a little bit obsessed with The Mindy Project. Other than that I don't really watch much TV these days. Oh wait, Vanderpump Rules is a must. It's so stupid you guys. I'm really not getting anything out of it other than whatever Laguna Beach did for me 10 years ago Vanderpump Rules does for me now. It's my reality TV fix. I just love it, and I can't explain it. Not everything needs a reason, right? Right.

Enjoying: 
Experiencing life on its own terms.
Finding the things that make me happy.
And then doing them.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

bits and pieces of this week

this park:
for giving us all the free fun we can handle (and that hat for keeping tiny ears warm). 

these flowers: 
because nothing makes you feel more awesome than having flowers delivered to work. 

this football fan:
for making it all the way to halftime... and thinking the crowd was cheering for him while we were walking out. 

this moment:
when Cosmo Cougar asked me to cheer with him. 

this tree:
for having Christmas potential. 

this shirt dress: 
because shapeless dresses that resemble potato sacks have been my jam this week. 

these wellies:
for keeping my feet dry in the snow this morning. 

this giant cup of cocoa:
because if it's not burning your tongue it's not hot enough. 

this record:
for making my favorite one-year-old shake his hips to the beat. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

day camping

Apparently in my neck of the woods November didn't even happen, it's just a huge blur of crunchy leaves and cold toes with some turkey and mashed potatoes tacked on the end. These pictures were from when we went to Utah at the end of October, which I would swear up and down was just a week or so ago, but according to my calendar that isn't right at all. My four whole posts in November can vouch for that.

While we were in Utah we had an afternoon of day camping, which is all the beauty of camping without having to actually camp which is right up my alley. These pictures are so fun and the hike that we went on was awesome and my family is the best... and I couldn't just not post these pictures. So better late than never (right?).

Plus it was right there on that mountain that I was introduced to the gluten free version of camping heaven. Roasted marshmallow and white chocolate Reese's smushed together and shoved into your mouth. Seriously though. Try it and then thank me for those 20 pounds you just gained. They're that good.

And while you're looking through all the blondness happening in these pictures you can answer for yourself the question that I always get asked when carrying my own toe-headed little person around, "so where does he get that blonde hair?!"


^^babies talking politics -- or maybe philosophy -- in their tiny camping chairs (I die.)


And here goes the brave attempt to get all the small humans to smile at the same time....
(dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn):


Maybe Utah will adopt us. We miss it so much already.