Friday, April 17, 2015

The Fog is Lifting - Friday Link-Ups

I always get into a general funk for the first two weeks of April, and you may have noticed via my lack of posting (or, let's be real, probably didn't notice). The thing is, as my brain gets heavy with sad thoughts, I feel less and less inclined to write happy, frivolous posts - it just doesn't feel true to myself. Better to sit in silence than cover it up with words I don't mean or don't care about.

Ultimately, the fog starts to lift the day after the 16th, usually. It almost always feels like a literal weight has lifted. I don't know why, but the sense of foreboding and sadness begins to dissipate as soon as that awful day is gone. Maybe it's all in my head...

Things are a little different this year, because in addition to the anniversary of April 16, we are missing my grandma and grandpa, too. This was an especially hard time for my family last year, and it's incredibly hard to believe an entire year has gone by since they both passed. We were all in such a haze of emotions last spring, it's almost like that whole part of year went by without us noticing. It's been hard to catch up.

All that said, I am still so happy about the birth of our niece last Sunday - and I'm looking forward to her being a little shining, bright spot in the years to come during what is always a very sad month for me. I am trying not to dwell on it too much, but I do think it's more than a coincidence that her birth came so closely to a few dates that I associate with so much death. The circle of life and all that, right? Thank you all so much for your sweet words on my Monday post, and your kindness yesterday, as well. It means a lot!

Today is a beautiful, brilliant day in DC, and I am hoping to get outside around lunchtime to get a little Vitamin D. The sunshine certainly does me good. I'll leave you with five thoughts for this Friday...

1 // Yesterday was taco night in our house (because tacos make me happy) and I attempted to make my mom's famous Spanish rice for the first time ever. I am thrilled to report that I was successful - and it was DELICIOUS. Winner, winner, chicken taco dinner.

2 // How gorgeous is this blouse that Kristen linked to this morning? I cannot afford such things, but dang is it pretty.

3 // We have not yet had time this spring to address the jungle that is our yard, so that is on deck for tomorrow morning. It's supposed to be sunny and 80 tomorrow - I have a date with a lawnmower and some sunscreen. Here's hoping we can tame the beast!

4 // I read this article by Kristina Anderson yesterday discussing how to honor the anniversary of a tragedy, and it really resonated with me. Everyone remembers / honors / handles it differently. There is generally no wrong way. That was reassuring to me.

5 // let's make this a two-fer and throw in a little can't live without... I present to you the best travel mug ever. This baby comes with me to work every day, carrying the liquid gold coffee that I need to be a functioning human. It is not cute, it is not pretty, but it is legit. No travel mug I've ever used before is so good at keeping hot liquid hot AND it's totally spill-proof (as long as I remember to close the top!) I once forgot my coffee at home on the counter and found it 12 hours later....... still warm. Not lying. I will never own another!

Happy Friday, friends. Have a wonderful weekend.

linking up with stephaniecait, and laura

linking up with the five on friday girls:  Darci, Christina, April,and Natasha

linking up with karli and amy

Thursday, April 16, 2015

8 Years

Each year, I think that this will be the year when I am finally able to find the words to explain all my thoughts and feelings, but when I sit down to write, nothing comes. Each year, I think it will be different and maybe this day won't hurt so badly, but the pain is still fresh and the memories are still so vivid. Eight years have passed since that horrible day on my college campus, and it always amazes me how that feels both like a lifetime and like no time at all. Funny how that works.

From darkness, there always comes light. From pain, comes incredible strength.

I am proud of many things in my life, but especially proud to be a Hokie, today and every day.

Previous April 16 posts here and here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April showers bring... a surprise!

This was our last weekend out of too many in a row that was booked with some big plans - which included back-to-back showers on Saturday. Why have just one, when you can have several?

I started out by hosting a French-themed brunch baby shower for Stephanie on Saturday morning. Aileen and Molly helped put together a lovely event that came together so simply and easily - I fully recommend having brunch for any shower, because the food is easy to make in advance, allows for a great combination of sweet and savory, and... who doesn't love mimosas??

Aileen made an adorable banner, and Molly brought beautiful bunches of hydrangeas to set out around the living room and kitchen. Along with a huge spread of food and a mimosa bar with various flavors of juice, we had the doors and windows open for some fresh air, and Aileen made delicious Macaron favors. It was perfect.

It was fun to see the girls from our book club, and also get a chance to meet some of Stephanie's older friends: she had several come from Northern Virginia that she has known since high school! So sweet. We spent the morning talking, eating, and oohing and awwing over adorable baby clothes and gifts. Tiny outfits are the best!

After the party, I had just enough time to get the house cleaned up and semi-back together and hang out with C for a few before heading up the road to Woodbridge: it was time for Brittany's bridal shower! Her mom put together a beautiful shower with friends and neighbors old and new, and we got another chance to celebrate Brittany's upcoming wedding.

Unfortunately, my phone was dead and I completely forgot that I had my real camera with me, so I didn't manage to get many pictures. Bummer! At least I was busy being "in the moment," right? Hard to believe that the next big event will be the wedding! It'll be here before we know it.

While that probably would have been enough excitement for one weekend, what's a little more? April showers bring... May flowers a big surprise! I've been saying for weeks now that I just needed to get through this weekend, and then C & I could have some down time and wait for our niece to be born. This was the last weekend with things we had to do, and then I intentionally left several weekends in a row of no plans, so that we could be available whenever the baby decided to come.

Well, she apparently took my advice to heart, because I woke up Sunday morning to some unexpected news: it was baby day! Baby Girl waited exactly as long as I wanted her to, and not one day more. She made her grand debut on Sunday night, and the whole family is just over the moon about it. She is such a precious little pumpkin! I can't wait to dress her in pink and sparkles and do every girly thing there is with her - she is already so loved! And I am thrilled to have several weekends coming up with no plans so that we can snuggle and adore her. Funny how that worked out!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Can't live without...

One of my fave bloggers, Stephanie, just started a new link-up based on a style of post that she regularly writes: normal, every-day things that you just can't live without. It's so simple! I love it.

My recommendation for today: these sweatpants.

Seriously, these are my go-to pants if I'm not in workout or work clothes. I can regularly be found wearing them around the house. They are baggy and far too long and I'm sure they're really not very cute, but they are so damn comfortable that I just don't care. Bonus: they have pockets. Get you some.

What can't you live without??

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Behind the scenes

I have been getting the dreaded "there is not enough space on your phone" message for a while now.... usually every time I try to take more pictures of one of the cats. (#crazycatlady - don't care) but more notably when I went to try to record Ashley's grand entrance at her surprise party on Saturday and couldn't! Sigh.

In the interest of being able to capture more cat pictures, and whatever else strikes my fancy, I finally moved all my pictures to my (extremely old, probably going to die soon) Macbook last night. What a fun exercise in reliving lots of random events! I managed to clear off enough pictures and unused apps to make space to keep the ol' iPhone running for a bit longer, but I thought I'd share a few pictures that never made it past my phone to the blog, or even Instagram. Time travel with me!

I had a craving for possibly the entire month of January for chicken and dumplings - but not regular chicken and dumplings, the kind my mom makes, which is more like chicken stew with biscuit "floaters" (so weird, but so good). I finally made a batch and it was the most delicious bowl of goodness I'd eaten in a while. Love those cute little biscuit pieces!

True story: when I sat at the winery with my girlfriends for a few hours in 60 degree weather in March, I acquired my first sunburn of the season. Please note exactly where the cuff of my jacket started, and exactly where my hair tie was sitting the whole time. Pale person problems.

Toby managed to pour his entire body into this shoe box that was sitting on the floor. There are several pictures of him where just his tail is hanging out of the box - every other piece of him was nicely packaged into a rectangle! Cats are weird.

I found these adorable Sperry flip flops on Zappos and had to have them. How cute is that punch of brightness from the floral fabric? Side note: yes, I also purchased Crocs. Not ashamed. In my defense, they aren't traditional Crocs, but the sandal style that they make. They are great lake shoes, because they can get wet and dry so quickly! whatever.

While wandering through HomeGoods recently, I noticed that they had a large collection of lake house-themed items, so I snapped several pictures to send to my parents. I managed not to buy anything, because you can really only have so many things that say "Welcome to Our Lake House".... I guess. 

Do you keep all your old photos? I have years' worth on my laptop and external hard drive - not even all good ones, plenty of outtakes and things that should have been trash. I can't stand to part with them! Picture hoarding... it's a thing.