Tuesday, December 31, 2013

family ties.

In preparation for Thanksgiving I was thinking about what I might say I'm thankful for, should we go around the dinner table one-by-one. (Not that it would be so hard to come up with something, I'm grateful for a lot of things, I just really hate to be put on the spot and even the simplest of questions can make me draw a blank when I'm caught unprepared.) In reflecting upon the things I'm grateful for, of course family came to mind, and I realized that I had spent time with each of my family members (and their families) individually this year. I don't know if that's ever happened before, but as I thought more about it, it rose to the top of the things I'm grateful for.

Ella Jean was born on March 14 - a miracle to our family as B&A had been wanting a baby for so long and actively trying to adopt for nearly a year. Obviously I needed to meet her ASAP. With Pikeville being three hours from any airport, we hatched a plan for me to fly into Cincinnati and have my parents time their arrival from Detroit to swing by and grab me from the airport. It all worked out perfectly.

Ella was (and still is) an adorable baby. We spent several days close to home but did get to join Ella on her first walk and her first Easter Sunday. It was fun getting to love on her and just be with her (and Brian, Amanda and my parents, of course).

In April I randomly got a text from Geoff that simply said, "Ever feel like going to Disneyland?" Having never been it seemed like a great idea, especially to experience it for the first time with kids. I knew it would be equal parts work and play (I mean, they didn't invite me just because I'm awesome - the kids couldn't outnumber the adults) but it seemed like an ideal plan.

We spent several days at the parks and wore ourselves right out. Temperatures hit 100 degrees which, for this Pacific Northwesterner where temps max in the low 90's for maybe one week a year, were nearly too much to handle. It was fun to spend a significant amount of time with the kids, since I see them maybe once a year.

J and I had a standoff when he decided to test my patience (while I was outnumbered) and run away into the crowd while I chased after him with a double-stroller carrying his brother and sister. But he was also so brave and went on a lot of rides even though they scared him a little. Watching him walk through the park with the map wide open, like he was on a grand adventure, was the cutest.

C and I bonded over his love of rockets and came up with a game where he would make a rocket ship with his hands and I'd countdown "3...2...1...BLASTOFF!" and then his "rocket ship" would takeoff, his hands shooting in the air. Somewhere along the way he started "breaking" the rocket right before I'd get to the blastoff part and thought that was the funniest. He also made me laugh the hardest when we stepped off It's a Small World and he just laid down on the ground (wearing his backpack leash, which was a true necessity) and wouldn't get up.

A was a doll and I taught her to say "CHEEEESE" (or at least a prolonged noise that sounded like it) for the camera. Those big blue eyes and toothy grin are to die for.

Annie made her way to Seattle in June and, with her having visited before and done a lot of the typical touristy things, we made it a trip of mini-adventures. We took a hike to Franklin Falls, took the ferry over to Whidby Island and stopped at various landmarks from the bottom of the island all the way to the top, hit Deception Pass, Carkeek Park and more. The weather was perfect (rare for that early in June) and we soaked it all in.

After two failed plans of getting down to Phoenix, I was finally able to make it work to visit Julie and her family while she was on fall break. William and Elizabeth are fun little buddies.

William doesn't stop talking and loves having his picture taken ("Take a picture of me!"). A couple of nights I was able to join in the bedtime routine and as I rocked him in the rocking chair I just listened to him talk and talk and talk about the whatever thought came into his head. Those moments with him were some of the most enjoyable I'd had in a long time. There were a couple times where he'd lay next to me on the couch, throw his leg on my lap and point to it or put my hand on it, wordlessly requesting a tickle. I could only think about the many, MANY times I had done the same things as a child to his mother and it made me smile.

Elizabeth is a smartie. She was sick (they both were) for a lot of my visit, so she spent a lot of time resting with the iPad playing some educational games. She was recognizing letters, rhyming words and tracing letters like a pro. One of my favorite moments was when she wasn't feeling well she asked if we could lay on my bed and I scratched her back as she fell asleep. I recorded a video of her singing a song about a bumble bee and here scratchy, little sick voice is too cute (and sad).

I spent Christmas with my parents this year. We saw B&A and Ella a couple times before they headed down to Kentucky and the rest of the time was just Mom & Dad and I. With the weather being a bit of a wreck, we stayed pretty close to home - watching the first season of The Blacklist, a couple seasons of Sherlock and eating dinner with the 3pm crowd on the regular. We turned our Christmas traditions upside down and had Christmas breakfast for Christmas Eve dinner and opened presents on Christmas Eve night to ease the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning. It's always good to go home.

In the end, we didn't go around the table one-by-one on Thanksgiving, but I thought what better time than on New Year's Eve to look back at the last year and reflect once again on what we're thankful for?

It's been a good one.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

the latest obsession.

You guys, I know that I'm ten years late to the party (literally, 10 years) but can we talk about The OC for a minute? For a girl who owns every season of Dawson's Creek on DVD (true story) and has watched the entire series of Felicity more than once, you'd think I would have been all over this show when it aired. My only excuse is that I was in college and watching TV was not at the top of my priorities. But I missed out.

Until now.

I'm on season three and still loving it.

Sidenote: Binge watching TV is a dream. Not having to wait a week (or a summer) between episodes and having it suck my life away - super awesome. Seriously.

And Seth Cohen. Could not love him more. WHY isn't he on TV in 2013?

There will be one, if not two, four year olds standing next to my bed earlier than I would like in the morning whispering, "Stephanie, wake up!" and yet I can't stop watching The OC. And I have taken the time to blog about it.

It's okay. I know I live life in the fast lane.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

that's my jam.

I'm embarrassed to admit that the first 10 seconds of this commercial make me laugh every time.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

late night.

I was just telling someone today that if, in the late hours of the night, you resolve to do something, you should always wait until morning. Always sleep on it. Never hit send. Don't trust a decision made while your brain continues to race when you should be sleeping.

But tonight I've been using the quiet of the late hours to reflect and make note of the thoughts as they come. While jotting some of those thoughts down in my phone, I came across a quote I must have noted while reading a book:

"...there is more heartbreak in continuous disappointment than a void..."

First of all, of course I'm jotting down sad quotes from chick lit. Of course.

Second, true or not true? Right now, it feels pretty true.

I known I just said, "Never hit send". But I also know that during those quiet moments of reflection earlier I typed in my phone, "Write it down".

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

when disaster strikes.

We had an emergency preparedness lesson on Sunday.

Here are some things I learned:
  • I'm completely unprepared for any sort of disaster. Unless a head lamp and blanket will keep me alive.
  • Seattle has the possibility of being hit by an array of natural disasters: volcanic eruption, earthquake and/or tsunami
  • A major earthquake is not an if, but a when. It will happen. (Did I mention a geologist was teaching us all about this? Legit.)
  • If there's an earthquake, my old office (and maybe my new office) will sink right into the water.
  • If the earthquake is strong enough, it could cause a tsunami and then my new office will definitely be a goner
In a nutshell, I did not leave the meeting comforted by all of the great things I can add to my 72 hour kit, but in panic about how I'm going to die in a natural disaster. (Okay, not really.) (But sort of.)

I was telling my roommate about all I had learned that day and an hour later I got a message that said, "I just had a mental image of you sitting at your desk wearing a life jacket because you're worried about a tsunami".

And totally genius.

From now on, this is going to be me.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

is this thing on?

Oh, hey there.

I've been thinking a lot about my personal history lately (basically, I need one documented) and am kicking myself for not keeping up on this corner of the internet for the last couple years. Life just keeps happening and how am I supposed to remember it all?

Here are some of the things happening in life:
  • I've been traveling/playing a lot lately. Every other weekend for the last two months has had some big adventure. It's been wonderful and I wish I had unlimited time and funds to do whatever I want.
  • I truly want to move to Alaska. Do I have to become a fisherwoman? A park ranger? Whatever it is, I'll do it. I was blown away and found myself jealous of the people who call it home.
  • Nature has been rocking my socks lately. I equal parts love nature and hate to be dirty so I feel like I've just been scratching the surface of what is to be explored, but it's still rejuvenating my soul. 
  • This summer I will learn how to swim. (Maybe.) But seriously.
  • I was released of my RS duties and am now the ward chorister. I start getting sweaty about an hour before church starts because the thought of everyone looking at me is apparently too much. But when it comes down to it, it's really the best calling.
  • I discovered the most delicious bagel at a wood-fired bagel shop near my house. Now all I do is dream about salt bagels with honey almond cream cheese. 
  • I've played tennis a couple times this year. Rest assured I am still terrible, but it's been nice to hit around a little.
  • I'm turning 31 in two months. So that's a bummer. 
  • I want to become a morning person. I tried for a minute, but it's going to take some serious effort. 
More details to come on my latest adventures.

Monday, February 04, 2013


I had forgotten about this song until my sister-in-law posted it the other day.

Obviously I'm super into it.

And while I'm posting videos, how about this Subaru commercial?

I mean, her little face? And when he says, "You look so pretty".
I die.

One more.

Do you love The Mindy Project? Because you should.
I can't even think about this episode without laughing.

Tommy Dewey needs to get back on the show asap.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

out with the old, in with the new.

So, 2013 is here. That's fun, right?

Personally, I was happy to kick 2012 to the curb. I mean, I rang in the New Year on my couch, watching Sleepless in Seattle, alone, while battling the last of the flu I had been suffering through for six days.

That night pretty much summed up all of my 2012. Looking back, I have deemed 2012 the Year of Survival.

It was a hard year. Some days it felt like just surviving was the best I could hope for or accomplish. A year filled with a lot of emotions, ruts (of many different varieties), lots of hours at work, spiritual crises and changing dynamics of dear-to-my-heart friendships.

But there were a lot of good things too. A promotion at work, travels abroad, a once in a lifetime experience at the Olympics, spiritual progression and, because of the aforementioned changed dynamics of previously important friendships, I sought out and developed new relationships that have been fulfilling in different ways.

When all is said and done I think I came out on top of 2012, but I definitely hope 2013 is a step up.

With the new year comes a lot of talk about resolutions and goals. I had a hard time pinning down how I wanted to approach resolutions this year. Or if I even wanted to approach them. It's been something I've been mulling over for most of January.

The other night, as I was reflecting on my day, I asked myself "Were you your best self today?" That question had a pretty significant impact and I decided then that it would be my theme for 2013.

Be Your Best Self.

Whatever changes are necessary for me to be able to answer affirmatively to the question "Were you your best self today?" are the things I will work on.

Cheers to a new year and a fresh start! So far 2013 is leaps and bounds above her predecessor.