Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014- Year in Review

I went into January sad to see 2013 go. I mean, a lot of major life events happened that year. It even ended on a high note, with a second pregnancy. But a few days into January I miscarried again and began the process of figuring out the 'why'. Bloodwork and appointments, plus, we went through the Polar Vortex. Which sounds much more horrible than it was (for me). I worked from home and drank hot chocolate.

The Cross and Miscarriage
A New York City Polar Vortex

I decided I wanted to have a garden this summer, so I planted a bunch of vegetable seeds and put them in window boxes to start growing. I took Tom's entire family snow-tubing for the first time, and they had a great time. We got our blood results back, which confirmed that the recurrent miscarriages were auto-immune related. Finally knowing what was going on with me was good, but the hospital insisting we wait 3 months to retest and 'confirm' it all ended up being a big waste of time and source of frustration.
Cabin fever started to sink in, and with a doctor-mandated break from baby mode, we decided to plan a trip to the Pacific Coast. We had a low-key Valentine's Day, and the plants I started from seed in my window started to sprout. Tried out my hand at Intermittent Fasting, and it helped me remember what hungry felt like, and how to stop overeating/eating poorly. 

Why Did I Miscarry? Blood Results 
Snowtubing with the Family

Dealt with some lingering effects from the miscarriage, mainly hormonal acne and becoming very emotional at the drop of a hat. After being asked 'what are you giving up for Lent?" too many times, I wrote about why I don't 'do' Lent. And I continued dreaming about our upcoming vacation.

Participated in (and completed!) the A-Z Challenge this month. Created some fun posts like April Fools and Farina. I bragged about my husband's renewed love of biking in Tour de Tom, and reminisced about when I moved to NYC for a boy I barely knew. Posted all my Candid Camera- NYC Subway photos in a post and I wrote about some serious topics as well, including National Infertility Awareness Week and Easter. I loved writing for this challenge, and it really helped me fall in love with blogging and discover why I do love to write online like this.

The first week of May, we were gone! Flew to Los Angeles, where we enjoyed the great weather, good food and beautiful areas of the city. We hiked to the Hollywood sign, drove to the Santa Monica pier went to a Angels baseball game. We then boarded our cruise ship, which made stops in San Francisco (Muir Woods, Cablecars and the sourdough factory), Victoria (beautiful weather and scenery) and dropped us off in Vancouver. Tom and I rented bikes and we rode around Stanley Park. The next day we took Amtrak to Seattle, where 3 days turned into 5 because all of the flights into the northeast were cancelled. We spent those days using up our City Pass, drinking coffee and visiting the cool neighborhoods in Seattle.
After nearly 2 weeks, returning to our little apartment felt amazing (and like we lived in a mansion). We were home for about 2 weeks before we packed up Tom's entire family and took them to Niagara Falls and then to visit my parents in Pennsylvania. Since it was officially our first anniversary, and we were at the place where we got married, we took some "one year later" photos. I recapped our wedding (since I wasn't blogging back then) and finished up the series with a bunch of things Took and I have learned in our first year married.

This month, as I sat in a room with my fellow jurors for a week (without internet access- what a welcome home party that was) I got a little 'vacation-sick'. This was the month I delved further into some of the things we did, and I brag about my husband some more in the San Francisco post. I married a shoulda-been tour guide, lucky me :)

I planted my garden. I was a complete flop, and I never mentioned it on here after some initial photos, but my dreams were dashed. (dashed?) But I finally (after years of obsessing) made homemade bread! And, in what I will call my 'jury duty' series, I got introspective and wrote the selfie paradox, about my need to relinquish control and learning how to be more outgoing.

Visiting the Redwoods at Muir Woods, California
San Francisco- Fisherman's Wharf and Cablecar Tour
Oh Canada! Bicycling in Vancouver
Seattle & Seattle CityPass Review… Was It Worth It?

Over the July 4th weekend, we took a roadtrip to the Creation Museum (crossing 5 states and back) in just 3 days. Let me just say that Google's 10 hour driving estimate was really 15 hours when you factor in holiday traffic and the needs of 7 different bladders. I told Tom we are never to do that again. But, it was a great trip :)
Also, 1 year after finding out that we were pregnant, 2 miscarriages and jumping through lots of medical hoops.... we find out we can get pregnant at any time! New doctor, less messing around. We booked a beach vacation for November, and I hit my 1 Year Anniversary blogging :)

Roadtrip to Creation Museum

I worked on my domesticity a bit this month, and improved upon my homemade bread recipe. I thought back 4 years to the time Tom and I thought a good date would be to visit a 'ghost' town. I talked about how much we spent on medical expenses this year, just trying to maintain a baby (and we keep in mind that we got off so easy, compared to others). And, since I have complained about the NYC subway enough times this past year, I made a nice post highlighting some things I would love to encounter when commuting.

Easy Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Pillsbury Ham and Cheese Breakfast Rolls

Finally, our first "2nd Annual" arrived, and we returned to Fishkill farms with the entire NYC family for some apple picking and fall festivities. Tom grew up going to Puerto Rico every year, so this isn't that 'new' of an idea to him. But I never grew up having family vacations, so I love the idea of having some family trips that become an annual thing (we are planning on February being our 2nd annual snow-tubing trip for that same reason).

Tom participated in the NYC Century bike tour, which is a 100 mile bike ride that led him all around the 5 boroughs. And, I brag. You know I can't get past how awesome his biking story has been this year. I go a little crazy with welcoming autumn into our house, and not only vow to make all sorts of fall dishes, but I decorate with leaves and candles the first chance I get. Making a home feel like home, not much else tops that for me.

I wrote the required (right?) Where Were You post, about September 11th. And, I write about what Tom's family saw that day, being that they lived here for it.Oh and I aged another year, and decided I should quit counting birthdays at 28.

2nd Annual Apple-Picking Weekend

This month I attempted to participate in 'Blogtober', where you write on set prompts, every day. I failed on the first weekend, because I simply do not write on the weekends. I spend all my time relaxing, and avoiding the computer if possible. But, the posts that I did get out were interesting, and like the A-Z Challenge in April, I am glad I did it. It allowed me to write some of my favorite posts, including...

Release the Kraken!
When I grow up, I want to be a...
The Most Dysfunctional Vacation. Ever.
Baby Loss Awareness Week
Why We Don't Share Chores

Started 'trying' to conceive this month, after a self-appointed hiatus to let my body return to normal after a tumultuous beginning of 2014. Finally, our trip to Treasure Island/ St. Petersburg arrived, but it came during a cold spell so 2014 will be our first beach-less year (although we did try, but only could manage up to our knees. Cold!). The temperature was about 15 degrees cooler than we would've liked but we filled the days with alligators, manatees and a freezing trip to a Disney water park (which was great because there weren't any lines). Evenings we spent going on dates and not asking ' how was work', visiting different restaurants and the movies. The last day was beautiful, but the water was still freezing. We hung out by the pool, fell asleep in the warm sun and managed to get a tan. Good vacation.
This month I also wrote about how life takes you places you never expected to go, and revealed that I have yet to change my last name, and that this blog is a fraud (Gasp!). I had a suspicion that I was pregnant towards the end of the month, and when we were visiting my mother for Thanksgiving, I had a rough period that made me cry 'early miscarriage'....

Escape to Treasure Island
More Clearly Myself
I'm a fraud. This blog is a fraud.

... so I went to the doctor to determine if I did miscarry, or if I overreacted. Bloodwork confirmed that I overreacted. I was embarrassed, but relieved that we didn't have to wait another few months to try again. Picked up our first Christmas tree, named it George, and spent many nights telling Dora to leave him alone. She's going to be heartbroken when he's gone, I think it brings out her primal inner cat, living in the wilds of our living room. 

In typical Hispanic style, Christmas Eve was the big dinner with family and gifts, and reflecting on why Christ came that day (and why we celebrate). Christmas Day wasn't much more than leftovers and maybe a movie. New Years Eve will be with family as well, ringing in 2015 with the people who've been with us through the past year's trails and triumphs. 

Prepare Yourself for Christmas 
What do you adore? 
Christmas- The Who, What, Where and Why

And tomorrow, on New Years Eve, we are going to do exactly what we did last year (play more dominoes, watch the ball drop and enjoy time with family).

Years Past: 

2013 held a lot of life changes, and 2014 felt like it was all about growth. I can't wait to see you next year and continue figuring out life, marriage, NYC and (hopefully) motherhood brings in 2015! Happy New Years! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas- The Who, What, Where and Why

This past Saturday I was able to go see our church's annual Christmas Program. The program changes every year, but it always shows our need for Jesus to be born, and die for us. It really got to me, how it explained the entirety of the Who, What, When and Why of Christmas. For those of us who know the story, I'd encourage you to summarize it (as I have below). It makes you realize how big this plan was, and how dramatic these times were for those living them. And, if you know someone who might not be saved or read their Bible, this is a 'easy' and possibly less intimidating summary of Christmas, and why his birth is so celebrated and important.

     Who was Jesus? Jesus was God, born as the "other Adam", "the Word became flesh". God came to this Earth and he dwelt among us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14. And now, Father,  glorify me in your own presence with the glory  that I had with you  before the world existed. John 17:5.
     What happened on Christmas Eve is found mainly in Luke and Matthew. God sends an angel to tell a young girl (Mary) that she will give birth to the Savior. She was (not surprisingly) terrified, until the angel told her that she's been chosen because she has found favor with God. Joseph, her betrothed, was perplexed when she told him she was pregnant, and felt like a town joke. Being engaged to be married was like a new marriage in that culture at the time, and it was as if his new wife cheated, got pregnant and all before he had a chance to even lie with her (since being engaged they still have a time of separation from each other). He considers divorcing her, that is until an angel comes to tell him what Mary said was true. She was carrying the son of God, and that he should still keep the marriage contract.

In the sixth month [of Elizabeth, her cousin's pregnancy- see verses 1-25], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”    And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”    And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.  And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-35

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:     “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 18:23

     When it came time for Mary to give birth, a census was ordered from Caesar Augustus for all in his lands to visit their place of birth to be registered. Despite living in Nazareth, Joseph had been born in Bethlehem so a long trip was ordered. They eventually reach the city of Bethlehem to find all the rooms and places to give birth were occupied (as all the towns were filled with visitors, coming for the census). One innkeeper offers his stable, which was at least a form of shelter.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 1:1-7

Shepherds in the fields were visited by an angel, telling them that their Savior had been born, and where to find him.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 8-12

They left their fields and traveled to find him as they were told. Leaving, they told everyone what had happened, praising and glorifying God, and people listened to their words.

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 1:17-18, 20

     Why is this so important? Jesus was a gift to us, sent to not only teach us about God but to die for our sins. Jesus being born on Christmas essentially pre-paid the fines of everyone in whole. God won't let sinners into Heaven. Being a just judge, he requires payment for our sins. We could never pay this fine so Jesus was a gift given to us, by God, to live among us and die by our hands. Everytime that we take His name in vain or lie or get angry at the driver ahead of us, we condemn ourselves further.

In the Old Testament, we were commanded to shed the blood of a lamb (or other animals). However. that was a tedious, never-ending sacrifice. One minute, you'd be sacrificing a lamb on an alter to God for you sins. Then, walking home, you'd stub your toe, swear, and have to find another lamb to sacrifice.  They only thing we need to do is redeem that payment by asking forgiveness and repenting (turning away from that sinful life). And, because of this gift, you desire nothing more than to live a life that would glorify God.

If you're like us, and are having people over tonight- watch The Nativity Story here. My favorite version since it isn't a hollywood movie that glosses over and changes the facts (but is still captivating).

Interested in reading more?
Holy Week- the chain of events, arriving on a bed of palm branches to walking his cross to Calvary.
The Most Important News- The "Why" in this article, but explained with more detail
What do you adore, this Christmas season?
Preparing yourself for Christmas

So tell me...
Have you ever wanted Bible 'cliff notes' for yourself or for others?
What are the ways you remember the Christmas story?
Have you seen The Nativity Story?

Friday, December 19, 2014

What do you adore?

Inuit people (aka 'Eskimos') have an extensive vocabulary dedicated to describe snow. English is a bit more rigid. "Love" for example, can mean so many things. And we use it so frequently that it's meaning is now diluted. 
"I love you." (without a glance at your loved one, while texting).
"I love when the bus gets to the bus stop at the same time I do."
"I love that perfume."
"I love snow."
"Love that."
"Lovely." (said sarcastically)
But what do you adore?
1. love and respect (someone) deeply.
   synonyms: love dearly, love, be devoted to, dote on, hold dear, cherish, treasure, prize, think the world of
2. worship; venerate.
   synonyms: worship, glorify, praise, revere, reverence, exalt, extol, venerate, pay homage to

"I adore that sweater."
No, you don't! And if you do spend your spare hours thinking about what your sweater is doing at that moment, if it's safe and when you get to see it again- something is wrong with you. We've been designed to adore people. Family, close friend, new loves and spouses. Our children. God.

O Come Let Us Adore Him. Christ the Lord.

Those singing those words, speaking one to another were devoted, praising and en route to pay homage. They couldn't help it, their Lord was born that day. Impossible to stay away, impossible to ignore the truth. Much in the way you can't imagine being away from your new love or your newborn child- you can't stay away from God. If you adore them, you desire to be with them constantly.

So tell me...
Have you found yourself adoring him?
Are you as frustrated as I am, with people 'adoring' inanimate objects?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our tree, my 'dowry', and why I'm not a farmer

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen? 
I would say that's a noble choice, but "The Ebola Fighters" sounds to much like a grunge band name for my liking. Also, I really would hate the job of choosing the person of the year. Adolf Hitler was named TIME's Man of the Year in 1938, Stalin in 1939 and 1942, and Nixon in 1971 and 1972 . Even non-people, like The Protester in 2011 or The Computer in 1982. Can you imagine the family dinner discussions held, belligerent uncle Joe asking how we could make The Computer the 'Machine of the Year' in 1982, when computers made no sense to the general public at the time.

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today!
Something old would be my 'hope' chest, which Tom loves to call my dowry chest. Needless to say, he got a real kick out of my explanation of why it was called a hope chest. Something new in our home might be the amazing pillows we found at Kmart. I don't think we have any borrowed items in our house. "Something blue' would be George. Have you met George yet?
3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?  
I have to say nay (GASP!) I love baked goods way too much, but am more of a cookie person. Fudge is so dense. So, nay.

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 
My first flight was when I was 13, with my sister, to Arizona. It kicked off the Most Dysfunctional Vacation. Ever. Click on that link if you want to feel better about your recent botched getaway.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?
Definitely not. And again, I wrote all about why I could never follow in their footsteps and be a farmer.
6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?
Waking up for my 6am work-from-home shift, which I always accomplish, but will forever feel like the biggest accomplishment ever. I love early mornings, but they hate me.

7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.
That I get my Christmas 'cliff-notes' post up and running. I had done an Easter "cliff-notes" post, explaining what happened during Holy Week, how Christ came in on a donkey hearing praises on Palm Sunday and was crucified 5 days later on Black Friday. I've been sick/busy/exhausted and distracted lately, so this upcoming post has been coming along slowly.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Tom, his mother, father and sister all had the stomach bug last week/weekend. I was only one unaffected, and since I am the person who always feels under the weather, I'm lead to believe that I somehow have found one sickness I am immune to. That has to be it, right? I wish my immunity was something more interesting, rather than just keeping me from catching the stomach bug.

So tell me...
Have you been through the flu or winter bug yet?
Do you know what a 'hope chest' is?
Between farming and my hope chest, does this post make me sound like I'm straight from the prairie or what?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Prepare Yourself

Last night, instead of preparing breakfast the evening before (Tom had requested hard-boiled eggs), I put it off. When I woke this morning, I had a congested head, an inbox full of emails and my phone ringing off the hook. I didn't want to make the dumb eggs. I would've much preferred to throw some cereal on the table and call it breakfast.

It's pretty obvious that preparing for things we know are coming is the best way to avoid last-minute stress. The Christmas season is here, and I'm seeing a lot of "I'm so sick of wrapping gifts" or "I have no time to bake cookies and attend church programs and clean the house for our upcoming Christmas party". By the time that you hand out the gifts and cookies, go to the church program or hold that holiday party, you almost resent it. Because it snuck up on you, you were rushed and you feel guilty for being behind schedule.

If only you had prepared, right?

This Christmas, take time to prepare for the birthday of Christ. It's much easier to set a baking schedule to be 'done on time', but do you really want this important holiday to approach, with more time spent on baking than getting yourself into a reflective state of mind?

If you call yourself Christian, attempt to prepare you heart for this holiday. Christmas might have connotations of cookies, dinner parties and gifts- but it really is about the greatest gift of all- payment for our sins.

So tell me...
Have you found yourself playing 'catch up' with the season yet?
Do you have a way you prepare yourself for what this holiday is really about?

Share in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cookies, mistletoe, and why New Yorkers clam up in the elevator

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?
No traditions to speak of yet. We got our first Christmas tree this year, so we put on "Fireplace For Your Home", which is on Netflix. Tom laughed when we put it on, but agreed a few minutes into decorating that it was much better than the evening news playing in the background.

And, the they put the trailer on Youtube. For those who don't take their fireplaces too seriously.

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?
I'm partway through my Advent reading plan, and finally setting into the comforts of the season. Tonight we're having a movie night and hot chocolate will be had. Candles will be lit, and a corny Christmas movie just might be on. But... I don't even know where I could find mistletoe, does anyone really do that?
3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.
An adult! When I was a child I just loved the lights and presents, and that was it. No understanding of why it was such an unimaginable act of love. I will gladly accept the Christmas gift given that night :)

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?
Agree. We don't know what we want, and oftentimes when looking back you realize how silly that thing was. And you're grateful for how things worked out in the end.

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?
Oh, many many Christmas cookies have been baked, eaten and given away.
6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"
I work above a bank, so when I get into the elevator I most times will say something like 'going to the bank?" Not because I care, but because I want them to get to the right place (the 2nd, not the 3rd floor). In NYC, we avoid unnecessary conversations. Not because we are mean, but because if you've lived here a decent period of time, you know better. Moving here from rural PA, I wanted to talk to everyone, but after several times of accidentally saying something benign to a crazy or psychopathic person, you decide to keep quiet.

7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?
I don't believe in Santa, so his list doesn't really apply to me.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I found out that I did NOT miscarry! It was probably a combination of a (very) painful visit from my aunt and wondering why I hadn't gotten a positive yet (after I had perceived many indicators that I was pregnant). So, thanks everyone for prayers and keep them coming. This time though, for my sanity and a clear head in this process. Just because the first two pregnancies happened immediately, doesn't mean the next will. Have to keep reminding myself of that.

So tell me...
Do you have (and where did you find) mistletoe?
Have you watched "Fireplace for your home" yet on Netflix?

Monday, December 8, 2014

DIY Bible Advent Calendar

For this year's Advent calendar, I had 3 goals: Something simple, centered on the Bible instead of candy, that would cost Zero dollars. Plus, as you know, I love taping things to our massive blank wall.

I started by making small, medium and large envelopes out of wrapping paper. I placed them on the wall in the shape of a tree, and decided to print some bible verses to place inside to be brought out each night.
I found an advent calendar on Pinterest from A Girl and Her Blog, that I will likely model next year (I was too stubborn to throw out the envelopes I already made). I did use her free printable verses, but found they didn't work well on my printer. I just retyped them on my own and used the holly image.
Also, I decided to swap out some of our postcards for Christmas cards, since we had started receiving them in the mail. When do you mail your Christmas cards? I think we've officially given up on ordering some custom ones, as they would need to be mailed this week. Right? Any (last minute) suggestions out there?
 I'm all about making a holiday tradition, and this is one that could easily be carried over every year. Maybe next year I'll concoct some 'sturdier' version, since this might not last long without tearing or getting wrinkled in my closet.

So tell me...
What is your home holiday tradition?
Have you ever made a Advent wreath (or other holiday craft)? If so, link it up in the comments!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

Guess what? I was nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award! Angie, who is a "self-improvement junkie and Seattle lover" has nominated me. She writes over at Chasing My Halo, and you need to pop on over and see why we all need to live in Seattle, root on your favorite football team, and throw awesome themed parties. Now it’s my turn to share the love. Thanks Angie for making the internet a nicer place :)


– You must display the award logo at the top of your post
– You must thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog in your post
– You must add these set of rules to your post so that your nominees will know what to do
– You must add 7 facts about yourself into the post
– You must nominate 7 other blogs and leave links to each of them in your post
– You must let the people you have nominated know that they have been nominated
– You must follow the person back who nominated you on Bloglovin’ and GFC (if you have one)


Moving far away has never been a hard decision, but I always say goodbye to the apartment/house when locking up.

I always put on my left sock or shoe first.

We've taught our cat to play fetch. Her personal best needs some improvement, but the 7 mouse returns in a row is pretty good though, right? Follow me on Instagram because you know a video will be up when we catch her in action!

I've always had dreams where I am running (for enjoyment) and (in my dreams) I'm actually good at it. Only in my dreams, of course.

I had no clue what I wanted to major in. I chose Travel and Tourism, despite never really having gone anywhere before then. Then once I met Tom I started to travel. Interesting how that turned out, right?

Twitter is a little intimidating to me, but I vow to figure it out before we hit 2015!

Most of my 'nominees' below are from the amazing Northeast Bloggers Network, where I learned so much this past year. If you live in the Northeastern US, click over to become a member!


Kelly @ A Lovely Life, Indeed, a blog about travel and love and married life. Whenever she writes about living in Boston, I want to drop everything and travel north for the weekend. To keep up with her travels, follow her on Twitter and Bloglovin'.

Rachel @ Can't Google Everything, a blog about life, fashion, photos, recipes and more. I love her creative crafts and activities, and I'm not even a toddler. To see what fun she comes up with, follow her on Twitter and Bloglovin'.

Reesa @ Mama Lew, a blog about her recipes, product reviews and giveaways- and how to take the stress out of parenthood. To see what awesome products and places she's been trying out with her family, follow her on Twitter and Instagram'.

Suheiry @ Suheiry, a blog about fashion; home decor; recipes; DIY; and travel in and around Northeast PA. I hail from NEPA, so I love to see posts on what's going on in and around Scranton, as well as her beautifully designed posts. To keep up, follow her on Twitter and Bloglovin'.

Pinky @ P!nk Persistence, a blog about keeping things light and PINK, because life's too short to be anything but happy. To see all her hilarious posts, follow her on Twitter and Bloglovin'.

Amanda @ Serenity Now, a blog about showcasing creative projects and providing realistic inspiration...on a budget! To see all her gorgeous projects, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Okay all you bloggers, pass it on!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gearing up for cookie baking and finding a community online

1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?
Scheduling everything has been a lot more stressful this year, since we've been travelling so much these last few months. I'm glad to be back home, for the entire month of December, and most of January. Of course, Tom did book a trip for late January... (but that isn't a surprise really, is it?)

2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14
This was the proclamation to the shepherds that they were to travel to see the newborn king. The first statement- Glory to God in the highest- is oftentimes skipped over. Decorations and songs only reference the peace and goodwill, and act as though it's something humans possess, the ability to be 'better people' during the month of December. The gift of our savior being born to save us from our sins, what a blessing we don't deserve. And, it's all for his glory, not our own.

3. Which edible treat are you most looking forward to sampling this December?
My mother's monster cookies, which are a holiday tradition. I posted the recipe in October, and last time I made it I got 50 dozen from it, making it the perfect cookie to make in bulk and gift to coworkers, church friends and neighbors.
4. It's that most wonderful time of the year...do you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, when is the most wonderful time of the year?
Wonderful? I suppose you could say that, when we drove to visit my mother for Thanksgiving, I was in awe of the beauty of the snowfall. Who doesn't love the first snowfall (that is, before the snowplows come out to play)?
5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online)?
Bae. Who came up with this? And it sounds like someone forgot a syllable or two when it's spoken. Well, you can thank Pharrell for this one.
6. Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?
I made our own advent calendar this year, and a post will be up soon about it.

7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general. 
I love the Hodgepodge community. Not everyone who participates is a Christian woman, but it's nice to have an audience that appreciates hymns, verses and the 'less-popular' ideas that I find hard to write an entire post about. But, that's not to say I haven't delved into Christian holidays. Namely, these preparing for Holy Week and Easter posts. And you'll see a recap of the events leading up to Christmas, like I did with the Holy Week post.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I believe I may have miscarried? I hate saying that, but I have an appointment today and again Monday to find out. If we did miscarry, I would need to be put on Lovenox before conceiving, since I didn't make it to 4 weeks this time, when I made it to around 7 the last two. I know what a miscarriage feels like, and this was a somewhat 'easier' version of that. Pray for us, this was too early to get a positive, but it is still important. Not just because it was a baby, but because we need to know what to do in terms of the Lupus APS showing up with each pregnancy.

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