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Monday
Apr202015

blessings

Last week, M and I took the plunge and announced via Facebook that we are expecting. This decision wasn't made lightly. As I've gotten older, my need to share on social media has conversely lessened. (This is actually something I've been thinking a lot about lately; those ruminations will have to be saved for a later post.) At the same time, with us living so far away from people we hold near and dear, it seemed like the best way to share the news. The well-wishes and, yes, the likes, felt wonderful, as did the amazement and many question marks after the word "twins."

Twins are the other reason we have been hesitant to make our announcement. With beautiful identical twin boys on the way, we are absolutely thrilled but, on the other end of the spectrum, continually worried. My two little buns are thriving so far, kicking constantly to express their love for Jeni's ice cream, Las Paletas, Oreos, and cherry soda (I know, I know, not the healthiest of lists), but the nature of my pregnancy is categorized at high-risk. While other moms can breathe a sigh of relief at certain milestones, I feel like all of our celebrations are also tempered with caution. Our doctors greet every light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel with a new concern to watch out for. I'm undecided on whether it is because of this or in spite of this that Michael and I have made a conscious effort to really enjoy every bit of this pregnancy, to celebrate this wondrous blessing. Two little ones! It has been much less of a challenge to turn away from the worries than I thought it would be, given my nature, but there is already so much joy and gratitude and love here. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday
Mar262015

knock it off

After months of deliberation, we recently took the plunge and knocked out our first floor bedroom wall. We'd been using it as a dining room/office since we moved in and despite trepidation of how this would affect resale value, etc, we eventually decided that our home has to work for us, not for future buyers or for that hypothetical sale price. (It didn't hurt that I researched comps, and the two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms in our development sold for vitually the same price.) Determining exactly how to make that happen was another story, and then finding the right people to do it took some time, but et voila, it has been done.

It was a hard decision to make because here we were, tearing down a portion of a brand-new build (I think my husband found this particularly painful). For someone like me, who can hem and haw for over a year on a rug, who has no visualization skills whatsoever, it was nail-biting (if I were a nail biter). For days leading up to the demolition, I continually asked myself if this was the right thing to do, how would I feel if it wasn't, but then what would it be like if I chickened out and didn't go through with it... A person who leads with her gut, I most certainly am not. (My gut suffers from anxiety and probably needs a Xanax. And it hates all the pressure put on it to magically be right. It gave me its two-week notice when I was eleven.)

Now I'm thrilled with it. The amount of light in the house has increased significantly--and isn't there just something wonderful about an abundance of sunlight and hardwood floors? Everything feels airier and roomier, lighter. The room feels like it was meant to be this way from the very beginning. I love it.

In the three-day stretch of beautiful weather we've had in Nashville, I've been bit once more by the decorating bug. With the wall gone, it's become clear that some things have to move or be rid of entirely; I have so many ideas swirling around and whip out my tape measure constantly.

The beautiful thing is that, with each project I complete in the house, no matter how small or big, my confidence in making decisions and in my own style has boosted. Yes, I've made some mistakes, and there are things I know now that I wouldn't have done a year ago, but overall, this home ownership thing and the decorating that comes with it, has been a really positive learning experience. I still believe that a large part of "home" is that intangible thing shared with a partner that has nothing to do with a house, but that doesn't mean I derive any less joy from putting together the physical foundation that comforts, sustains, delights, and supports us. It's a wonderful feeling to have this trust in myself develop, to become increasingly less frazzled about committing to something, to knowing that I'm capable of making a space that is reflective of, and meant just for, my family.

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Monday
Mar232015

on the right foot

Sometimes, I get my weekend formula just right. I kicked off Saturday with a visit to Anthropologie to make sure I had a present for a friend's birthday brunch. How could anyone go wrong with Saturday morning in that store? Note to self: do this more often. And then the brunch was just lovely--and with all my favorites too, old-fashioned donuts and biscuits and gravy. The afternoon was spent reading and napping (I've been under the weather), and just when I thought too many hours were wasted, M made a delicious soup, extra impressive because there was no recipe involved, and we took a nice long walk together...and then I convinced him to wait in line with me at Jeni's and it kind of felt like a mini-date.

I always start my Sundays in the best way: going to Pure Barre with a friend and then whiling away the morning at Starbucks. I think it's a win-win: M gets his quiet time at home, lazing away on his PC, and I get girl time. By the time I arrive home, we're both energized and ready to tacke the day with whatever outings and chores we have planned. The cherry on top was a yummy dinner at Martin's BBQ (how Southern of us) with some good friends, early enouhg that we had time to unwind before heading to bed.

Not all weekends strike the right balance, but it is so nice when it happens because it is that much easier to roll out of bed on Monday with a smile on your face, ready to tacke the week. Good morning, everyone!

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Wednesday
Mar112015

springing forward

 

It's no coincidence that I've begun writing again just when the weather turned. The cold just got me down, just how down, I couldn't quite believe myself. I was a grump even on my way to the weekly friend dinners I enjoy so much. But this Sunday... This Sunday I was able to take a long walk around the neighborhood, something I haven't done since 2014! I enjoyed it so much that losing an hour didn't bother me; I was too busy basking in the sun.

Sunshine has been in hiding again, but I can't complain when it's in the 60s and the windows are open. I never minded gray and dreary days as long as I could feel a breeze. It feels fresh outside, damp, like flowers are meant to bloom and jaunts in the park are meant to be had. It feels like the promise of a great year.

I've been checking--and reacting to--the Weather app on my iPhone like it's the best telenovela ever. Hello, Spring.

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Sunday
Feb012015

short and sweet

Don't get me wrong, I loved January. How could I not? It was an adventure-filled, three-countries-visited-in-two-continents birthday month. I had wonderful birthday dinners celebrated in the company of great friends. Lots of highlights that month.

Yesterday, I found myself really looking forward to February. It's only twenty-eight days of cold (and, if the Nashville forecast is correct, some--thankfully--not so cold days), a perfect four weeks meant to be spent indoors. After all the shenanigans, I'm ready to spruce up the home base. We've been in this house for a year and a half now; it's time to put on the responsible homeowner hat.

I never got around to making New Year's resolutions and decided that I would take it month by month. February is going to be about regrouping, evaluating, and taking care of the relationships and possessions I am lucky enough to have. It won't be all fun and adventure but, I'm thinking, it might just be very satisfying.

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Wednesday
Jan282015

birthday in berlin

As much as I've fantasized about traveling and enjoy celebrating my birthday, it never crossed my mind to mark the occasion by being in another country. When M found out he would be going to Germany for a work trip, I put two and two together right away--if we left a couple of days early I could be in Berlin. For my birthday.

(It's cheating to add something to your life list and then cross it off straightaway...right?)

Because we just got back from a trip to Manila for the holidays, I was burned out. I'm the type who needs a loooot of recuperating time after travel. But I did my due diligence, testing out thermals underneath my jeans to make sure I could still zip everything up (I could, but I felt remarkably sausage-like). I decided that we should each only bring a carry-on to make train travel easier. Even with my planning, the day we left felt surreal. It was the middle of the week, less than two weeks earlier I'd been in Asia, and now we would be in Germany.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful trip. It was different--sobering in a way. While Berlin has a major landmark (Brandenburg Gate) and a German palace (Charlottenburg, and of course Potsdam is an hour away) and Museum Island, it's WWII I was reminded of everywhere I turned. Berlin is a city that doesn't shy away from this part of their history, from the small brass squares embedded in the sidewalks to commemorate individual Jews all over the city to the block-wide Holocaust Memorial. It's a city that made me think in a way that other places have not. Our dinner discussions were very serious at times.

Some take-aways from Berlin? The international food scene is great. Yes, we had curry wurst (M liked it more than I did), and I am totally sold on the German breakfast buffet, but we also enjoyed some really tasty tapas, Saigon street food (not legit but sooo amazing), and Italian. I've never been to Italy, but if the pasta there is better than what the Italians were serving us in Berlin, I expect to leave twice my size. I also wanted to toss out a hypothesis that Berliners love their organic and vegan everything (we even had vegan bath products in our hotel), but M shot this down, insisting that we were just staying at very trendy, hipster places. I'll reluctantly concede on that one. But we both agree: the city is a must-go.

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Tuesday
Jan272015

jetlag

I woke up at 4:30 in the morning today. It's to be expected really. I've never been one to handle jetlag very well. The house emitted that kind of peaceful quiet that only happens in the very early hours. It felt nice to pad down the stairs, make myself a bowl of cereal in the dark, and then head back up to curl under crisp white sheets and finish my nth re-read of "My Beautiful Enemy." (Sherry Thomas, you're a genius.)

Every inch of this house feels like its mine. It's a wonderful feeling. Sure, it's messy right now with unfolded clothes and a pile of dirty ones heaped over luggage. And yes, it may stay that way for a few days, but the living/dining area is just as I like it. All the lights in the house are off, and the only source of illumination is an old Tocca candle--and the sun, rising, peeking through our blinds. The Head and the Heart is playing on my iPad, there's a steaming cup of tea next to me, and a generously jammy piece of toast.

Adventure is fun, eye-opening, and necessary--an inevitable means to growth--but oh how there is something to be said about home as well. I have a to-do list a mile long, all of these changes and DIY projects in my head, but it is already everything I need. A great thing to wake up to in the morning, regardless of the hour.

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