desperate housewife

i am approximately 140 days into my role of housewife and i want out. i am officially giving my two weeks notice. then B and i can spend a lovely Christmas together and come January, i am back to work. though housewife-ing is serious work too, i can assure you. it has certainly been eye opening. i have learned a lot about myself, starting with the fact that i *might* not be a very good housewife after all. allow me to elaborate…

i have become an even crazIER cat lady.

i now spend my mornings making pillow forts…for my cat. the proof is in the picture…

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and the tweet…

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this doesn’t make me a bad housewife per say, but it does make me a desperate housewife. desperate to get back to the workforce, that is. but i get the feeling that i might take the time every now and then to make a pillow fort even when i go back to work. i mean, come on! look at that face…she’s so happy!

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now i feel totally embarrassed about confessing this and also fairly certain that i will lose all my readers because you can’t be the person who reads the blog of a girl who is known to build pillow forts for her cat. amiright?

 i take 2 day projects and turn them into 10 day projects.

exhibit 1: i decided to re-color and re-seal the grout in the bathroom. it wasn’t a quick process by any means, but it should have taken 2 days tops. but it was hard. and tedious. and i felt like a contortionist wriggling around every corner and angle of our tiny bathroom. and i soon became very, very bored with it. so each day, i worked on it for a couple of hours or until either a) my knees hurt or b) i got bored. then i came back to it the next day. or not. maybe the day after. just whenever i felt like it. aaaaaaand in the meantime, i managed to render our bathroom unusable for 10+ days. the + because i actually kinda lost count. but doesn’t it look pretty?! here’s a mid-project pic so you can fully appreciate the transformation…

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exhibit 2: the master bath looked so great that i decided to do the guest bath too. why not?! i already had the materials and i definitely had the time. besides, that bathroom is soooo much smaller that it couldn’t possibly take more than a couple of days! so yeah, started it sometime last week, just finished it this morning. oooops.

exhibit 3: at this point, 3 examples seems excessive so i will make this one quick. it started with me re-caulking the bathtubs. it ended with me running out of the house squealing and panting for fresh air because the caulk smelled so horrid that i swore i was going to pass out. B stepped in and saved the day…and my project.

and now for the icing on the cake…

i am too ADD to finish the laundry.

a few days ago, i stripped the sheets off the bed first thing in the morning. i tossed them onto the bedroom floor along with some other sorted piles of clothes that needed to be washed. throughout the day, i lackadaisically worked on said laundry, moving clothes from the washer to the dryer between other tasks…basically just whenever i happened to remember. (never fails- i get preoccupied and eventually think “ah, yes! i was doing the laundry. i better check on it! hope it didn’t mildew in the wash. *sniff test* eh, smells good. into the dryer.”) you go through that whole laundry routine too, right? riiiight? anyways, day turned into night…a late night. (remember all that “we’re on a schedule! our life has structure!” stuff i told you about? yeah, that pretty much goes out the window during finals.) midnight rolls around and we finally decide to go to bed. B walks into the bedroom and says, “what happened to the sheets?” you know what happened to the sheets, don’t you? yep, still on the floor. the dirty floor, mind you! ugh. housewife fail. by then it would have taken another hour and a half to wash and dry so we did what any other exhausted med student and exasperated med student wife would do…we put them back on the bed. (please don’t judge me. my own personal sense of shame is judgment enough.)

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as we laid in bed that night in the already dirty sheets that were now even dirtier from laying on the floor all day, i dejectedly told B that i didn’t think i was housewife material. i moaned and groaned about everything that i either couldn’t get done at all, or things that i just couldn’t do to my standards. it was a midnight pity party and he was invited. B, of course, refused to participate and argued that i was a great housewife! he told me that he’s been so grateful to have me around…he went on and on about my cooking (i will admit, we have eaten pretty well)…i do so many things that make his life easier, etc. nice stuff, y’all. but when he finally realized he wan’t getting anywhere, he pulled out the big guns…

“look at it this way, Nat, your inner feminist should revel in the fact that you aren’t a good housewife.”

hmmmm, my ‘inner feminist should revel?’… i loved that statement so much that i just kept mulling it over. i repeated it in my head at least 20 times so that i would remember his exact phrasing in the morning. and i was too lazy at the time to crawl outta bed in search of my journal. but as i continued to think about B’s words, it led me to consider a couple of things. first off, maybe B should pursue psychiatry. ha! with one simple phrase he was able to not only connect in a way that made sense to me, but also help me feel empowered by something that i had already deemed a shortcoming. kudos, B! second, why am i so hard on myself? i don’t know. we all are, i suppose. and chasing perfection is like chasing after the wind. (aside: our church has been doing an awesome sermon series on Ecclesiastes and that has been my favorite line…i am paraphrasing like 12 chapters here, but basically chasing after the things of this world is like ‘chasing after the wind…’) and i don’t want to chase something i will never catch. sounds exhausting.

so for now, my inner feminist and i are going to revel in the fact that although my home will never be perfect, it is always happy. the people (and kitty) in it are so loved. and in January i will be back at work, kicking butt and taking names. then my housework will really suffer. ;) but i also feel to the need to add…you do NOT have to work to be a feminist. maybe your inner feminist revels in the fact that you are an incredible housewife, stay at home mom, working mom, friend, student, confidant. i think that as women, the most important thing is not what we do, but how we do it. we must learn to revel.

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happiness is…revelling.
Natalie

schtuff TO DO…

i have been spending an inordinate amount of time making lists as of late. i guess part of it could be attributed to this time of year…Christmas lists/shopping lists/naughty and nice lists, etc. speaking of, my shopping list is rather long this year because everyone seems to have made the nice list…so far. boom! but that cute B of mine is walking on thin ice. kidding! (kind of.) i guess the other part of my incessant list-making behavior could be due to the lovely Erin Condren planner that my mom bought me several months ago.

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ain’t she a beaut? i used to be an iPhone calendar girl, but i still kept handwritten lists for other things…groceries, To Do’s, etc. now it is all in one place. i no longer receive annoying dinging alerts (my phone became waaaaay too bossy for my liking) and besides, i have determined it to be much more psychologically gratifying to put pen to paper and mark something out when it’s done. amiright? that just does it for me.

anyways- back to my lists. as of right now, i’m working on 2 of them…

TO DO: before i start my new job.

**(if you missed that news, read this.) i don’t start until January. at first i was like, “NOOOOOOOOO, i’m so flipping bored i will pay YOU to let me start earlier than that!” but really, it’s great timing. it will be nice to spend the entire Christmas break with B after a crazy first semester of medical school and we will have ample time to travel to see family without having to worry about a pesky work schedule. ;) what i found really funny is that the things i want to do and the things B suggested i do with my remaining days of unemployment (or pending employment…that sounds better) are wildly different. i’ll throw a few of his suggestions in at the end just for kicks.

#1. go to IKEA. because once i go back to work, i will never venture there on a weekend. weekend traffic on 610 + weekend shoppers = cruisin’ for a bruisin.’

#2. make spaghetti sauce. i can hear you now…”but Nat, how hard can it be?” real hard, i say. we use B’s grandmother’s recipe and it takes all. d*mn. day. actually it might take even longer this time because B won’t be here to help me. he usually runs all the vegetables through the food processor while  i hand roll approximately one thousand meatballs. BUT it makes a ton, i freeze a majority of it, and i will be super glad to have it for quick, delicious meals when life is busy again.

#3. learn how to make the perfect iced sugar cookie. because what’s Christmas without sugar cookies?! do you have a recipe you would like to share?

#4. get to the gym more regularly. because of #3. ↑

B suggestion #1: learn how to singlestick. (it’s like sword fighting, but with a stick instead of a sword.) one television scene featuring Lucy Liu demonstrating some impressive singlestick skills was all it took…”you should learn how to singlestick, Nat.” i can’t make this stuff up, y’all. nice try B, but that one is out.

B suggestion #2: finish at least a couple of books starting with The Lions of Lucerne, by Brad Thor. i’m actually going to take this suggestion! the boy has gotten me full-on obsessed with everything espionage. it all started innocently enough…a James Bond movie here and there, but now we watch every single espionage show on television. then when the most recent season of Homeland ended, i started having severe withdrawals (i’m still worried about Saul! WTH?) and so B recommended his favorite book series. and here i am. romance novels? pffffft! whatever. i need Navy SEALS, undercover agents, Black Hawk helicopters, and assassination plots. who am i? such a boy…

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TO DO: when B finishes evil finals (in 12 days…not that i’m counting.)

#1. go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. purchased tickets this week. yippee! now- where should we eat? Downtown restaurant recommendations anyone?

#2. eat dinner at The Hobbit Cafe (yes, such a thing exists! amazing, right?) and then go see The Hobbit movie and then work on perfecting my Hobbit accent…i still lean a little too English. i think there’s more Irish in there. the eating schedule, on the other hand, i got that down. breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper…

#3. watch a whole bunch of Christmas movies, including but not limited to: White Christmas, The Christmas Story, Love Actually, Four Christmases, The Holiday…

#4. rest! i have a feeling that B will especially need some quality rest. #medschoolproblems

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whew, this list is getting longer and more ridiculous by the minute so i’ll stop there. this is by far my favorite time of year and i hope to take advantage of this rare gift of time i have been given. oh, and since this is our first Christmas in Houston, is there anything you locals think we should add to our list? and humor me dear friends, what is on your TO DO list this December? i hope it’s full of fun activities with the ones you love.

happiness is…fun on the agenda.
Natalie

nat’s wishlist, 2014

pleeeeeease tell me you went shopping on this glorious day we like to call Black Friday! i desperately need to live vicariously through you! i can see you now…Starbucks in hand, sneakers on your feet, and a look of mighty determination on your face. i, on the other hand, i am at home. after rolling out of bed around 8:30 and eating pumpkin pie (with extra whipped cream) for breakfast, here i sit…coffee in hand, yoga pants on, and shopping online. Houston traffic scares me on a normal day so i thought it best to stay home where i can remain safe and sound…and sane. but answer me this- are the online deals better on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? one would assume Cyber Monday, BUT i’ve seen lots of great sales today. will i be totally ticked if i order something today for 30% off and it’s 40% off on Monday? hmmmmm, what to do, what to do? as i ponder this impossible situation that the evil retailers have cornered me into, i thought i might entertain you with my second annual Christmas wishlist!

nat’s wishlist, 2014


 

1. & 2.

Fossil Sydney Top Zip Crossbody & Bi-Fold Wallet

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the perfect bag for a day of shopping or an evening out! and yes, even though my husband is a med student and buried under a pile of books 90% of the time, we do get the chance to go out occasionally. i have been needing smaller bag, one just big enough for my id, debit card, iPhone, and a tube of lipstick. this one fits the bill. and i love the crossbody style because i need both hands for shopping! my sister and i decided (we both have this on our list. do you ever do that? ask for the same thing as your sister?) that the color (called mushroom) is the perfect neutral. looks great with black, brown, gray, etc.

3.

Kendra Scott Cathy Earrings in Platinum Drusy

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these earrings say ‘classy rockstar’ to me, dontcha think? and somehow Kendra Scott makes my Christmas list every. single. year. i think i have a problem.

4.

Alex and Ani Quill Feather Wrap Bracelet

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i already have 3 Alex and Ani bangles. but if 3 is good, 4 is better. once again, i have problems. and they have to be worn all at once. it’s a rule or something. i just love em. they have so many different styles and charms and each one holds a special meaning. the quill symbolizes truth, light, and virtue.

5.

Ina Garten, Make it Ahead Cookbook

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oh, Ina. can we be friends? B and i want to have dinner with you and Jeffrey at your fabulous home in the Hamptons. and i must get a close up of that kitchen. i neeeeeed that kitchen someday. Ina Garten is by far my favorite chef on the food network and if i can learn to cook like her, B would be the happiest man on the planet.

6.

OPI Gwen Stefani Nail Polish
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you must know by now that if Gwen wears it, i want to wear it too. call me a follower if you must, but i’m happy being a Gwenabe. get it? wannabe? Gwenabe? hahaha. *ahem* but anyways, these colors are rad.

7.

Nike Legend 2.0 Tights

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because if i had it my way, i would live in NIKE. guess what i’m wearing right now? NIKE yoga pants and a NIKE running top. gym rats always need more NIKE. just do it, mmmmkay?

8.

NIKE Lunaracer +3

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see above. ↑ need. more. NIKE.

that’s it folks. basically my list revolves around looking good and eating good. ha! priorities people, priorities. what’s on your wishlist this year? spill it! i have some really awesome people to buy for and i need your H-E-L-P!

P.S. annnnnnd, i have suddenly realized that my timing is totally flawed…i went to all this trouble to make my list and it’s too late. you probably finished your shopping today. oh well, i only have myself to blame. i’ll just have to hope that B is paying attention. i *think* he reads my blog…

happiness is…Christmas shopping.
Natalie

love for breakfast

ahhhhh, i am fresh off a 5 day (very much-needed) visit with my family. it was wonderful! can you feel my peaceful demeanor emanating from behind your tiny glowing screen? i hadn’t seen them since summer! that should be illegal in all 50 states and at least 10 countries. mind you, i am the kid who used to cry at week-long basketball camps growing up. i mean bawl. because after 3 or so days, i just knew that i was starting to forget what my Dad looked like. melodramatic much, Nat? who, me?! admittedly, this time around i did cry once. but one time in several months? not bad. not bad at all, i say. anyways, now i’m back home in Houston with my B, planning our Thanksgiving menu, and feeling all sorts of loved.

have any of you marrieds ever taken the ‘love language’ assessment? i know some do it as a part of their pre-marital classes. B and i did it several years ago. it analyzes…well, your love language, i suppose. ha! this is going great so far. it basically analyzes how we prefer to be loved and how we show love to others. truthfully, it is a pretty important thing to know about your spouse or significant other. i just wish i could remember what our results were. sheesh. but since we’ve been happily married for 9 years, i guess that means we speak each other’s love languages proficiently.

i have decided that breakfast is my love language (i’m pretty sure breakfast is NOT one of the official love languages). i don’t even think it has that much to do with the food (though i loooooove breakfast food), but rather the act of service (i’m pretty sure service IS one of the official love languages). so maybe my language is: breakfast service. the idea that someone would get out of bed in the morning and make something especially for little ole ME?! so nice! and since i am not at all a morning person, i appreciate the sacrifice even more. growing up with 2 sisters, my Mom always had 3 heads of hair (well, 4 including hers) to brush/curl/style in the morning (i should take this opportunity to apologize for not learning to do my own hair until i was like 13…sorry Mom!) so breakfast was always Dad’s thing. the three of us would to shuffle into the kitchen immediately upon waking- pajamas on, eyelids heavy, bedhead to the max- and sit at the bar to eat breakfast with Dad. he set out the plates, filled cups with juice, and cooked hot food to devour. eggs, pancakes, muffins, and donuts on Friday. all we had to do was sit down and eat. to this day, i wake up starving. like a preconditioned robot, i stumble into the kitchen and immediately rummage about for food. so one morning while i was visiting, Dad made me blueberry muffins. it made me smile all day. Mom also made protein smoothies and then over the weekend when i stayed at my sister’s house, my BIL made pancakes. i’m generally the breakfast maker around here, so when i told B that everyone had cooked breakfast for me, he asked what they made. when i told him, he kind of winced. it was totally cute as i think he was hoping to hear dry toast and a banana. now there’s all this pressure to step up his breakfast game. aside: food is definitely B’s love language. he swears his packed lunch tastes better when i make it. it’s all that extra love i put in his PB&J.

you know what else is my love language? morning snuggles. in B’s absence, this little squeaker filled in and did pretty good. i might even suggest that she is a snuggling expert.

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once again, i am not a morning person. but it turns out that waking up isn’t so bad when she is the one doing the waking. i’m sure it’s not always as fun for my Sis at 3am (hehe) but she slept until 7 that day so it was a total win. and yes, i totally put a black and white filter on that pic so you might notice my lack of makeup just a teensy bit less. did it work? this is the first and last time you will see this happy redhead without a stitch of makeup on. eeeeek.

and i can’t let this post end without telling you about the 2 days i spent as a pseudo-librarian. Mom and i staged our own ‘take your daughter to work day’ and i helped her with the book fair going on in her adorable elementary library. (you know books are a part of my love language too.)

evidence…

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can i just say that educators rock? i have known this all my life as both of my parents are educators and my extended family is full of them too…but i have a whole new appreciation after living it for 2 days. whew! i was tired, y’all! in 2 days i watched my Mom: show up an hour and a half before school even started (i don’t know about you, but i usually don’t get to work 1.5 hours early), pay for activities out of her own pocket, and love on kids with more enthusiasm than you can even imagine. and the kids…oh the kids…they were funny. i’m not around kids very often as i work in corporate America and i giggled to myself all day. kids are delightfully weird, aren’t they? and they were so excited about books! i loved it.

i am THANKFUL for so many things this year. i’m thankful for the unique opportunity B and i have been given…our lives have changed so drastically and so wonderfully. i’m thankful for forced rest. i needed it more than i knew. i’m thankful for the people who have had my back this year. there are too many to name. i’m thankful to feel loved by so many and to love them fiercely in return. those special people who speak my love language and demonstrate it in both the big and little things. at the end of the day, this life is all about people. fantastic people grace my life daily, including you. thank you for that.

be blessed this week, my friends!

happiness is…speaking in love.
Natalie

the feeble feminist

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i am not a huge fan of gender roles. as a matter of fact, i think the world would greatly benefit from more stay at home dads and female CEO’s. that being said, i have a newfound respect for those who serve as the primary and/or sole breadwinner of the family. it just so happens that where i live, more often than not, the primary breadwinners are men. please don’t take that as a sexist statement, it’s just statistics. but according to a Pew Study, female breadwinners are on the rise- 40% and climbing. you go girls!

several years ago, this became a major part of the discussion when we made the decision for B to pursue medicine. and i use the term ‘we’ for several reasons. yes, B is the one that wanted to be a doctor, but uprooting our entire lives in order to do so was a decision of such magnitude that it not only impacted B, but WE. you see, B is what the medical school likes to call a ‘non-traditional’ student (which sounds a lot nicer than an ‘older’ student…hehe) due to the fact that he started a career post college before deciding to pursue medicine. so in order to even make this thing a reality, we had to ask ourselves a couple of tough questions: #1. could we live on one income? we had been a two income family our entire marriage. #2. was i willing to be the sole source of income for the next six years? B had to go back to school for one year, the application/interview process took one year, and medical school is four years. losing B’s income would be significant. fortunately, we learned that we could indeed live on one income. after a couple of years of planning and hustling, we paid off all of our debt, sold our home, and moved into a tiny apartment. question #1- check. it also turns out that i was more than willing to be the sole source of income. i have always enjoyed my work and once our finances were in order, it wasn’t quite as intimidating. having a female breadwinner goes against the norm in conservative West Texas and some seemed uncomfortable with the idea, but we’ve always marched to the beat of our own drum anyways. besides, i’m kind of a feminist…but not in the “man-hater” kind of way (why have the feminists decided that we should hate men?), but more of in the “anything you (boys) can do, we (girls) can do better” kind of way. (and yep, i totally sang the song when i typed that.) question #2- check.

the first two years went by without a hitch. i took care of my working business while B took care of his schooling business. but then…we moved. quickly. after a major change of plans over the summer (if you’re new to the blog, read this and this), we were left with only a few weeks to find a place to live and make the move to Houston. there was no time to transfer, no time to look for a new job, and you know where this is going…i found myself jobless. unemployed. devoid of income. our only income. *gasp*

suddenly my “i am woman hear me roar” feminist battle cry sounded less like a roar and more like a squeaky meow. i started to feel the pressure of what it meant to be the sole breadwinner of the family. and it was heavy. i found myself in the 4th largest city in the country, knowing not single soul, and looking for employment. talk about a stomach churner. now, i say all of this with a couple of caveats…we had totally planned for this. we had an emergency fund set aside (thankyouverymuch Dave Ramsey) and there was no sense of urgency to settle for just any job. i had the ability to say no. also, B put absolutely no pressure on me whatsoever. that dude…he never even broke a sweat. he wanted me to hang at the pool, read, go shopping, actually enjoy myself. whaaaaat? but i was consumed. i couldn’t help it. i tried to keep the drama to a minimum (which was hard, y’all!), but being without a job threw me into some sort of existential crisis. i am a person of faith and tried to completely trust in God’s timing and provision, but moving to Houston without a job was a scary leap of faith. second only to B leaving his full-time job before we ever really knew if any of this would work out. the last several years have consisted of one leap of faith after the other so you’d think i would be a pro by now, but it’s called a leap for a reason. and this one had looooots of air time.

anyways, ALL of this blah-blah-blah was setting me up to share some wonderful news…

I GOT A JOB!

yeehaw! woohoo! yippee-ki-yay!

the wonderful company that i previously worked for had a position open up in Houston and decided they would have me back. i am beyond thrilled!

and TA-DAH! just like that, being the sole breadwinner went from feeling heavy to empowering. i don’t care who you are, male or female, there is such a sense of pride in being able to provide for your family. i’m back. i’m roaring. i can do it. i can get us through this. but not alone.

B often says to me, “God is never late, but He misses all kinds of opportunities to show up early.” i just love that quote. so appropriate. had God shown up earlier i might have missed this fabulous job opportunity. had He shown up earlier, i wouldn’t have gotten to support my man through undoubtedly the biggest transition of our lives. any earlier and i wouldn’t have learned some really important things about myself. He kept me mid-leap for a reason. the last several months of unemployment have been a time of real personal growth. the details of which are totally going require their own blog post. of course.

so needless to say, i’m feeling pretty good about life right now. the pieces of our new life in Houston have come together quite perfectly. marriage is a team sport and for the next 4 years it looks like i will be able to carry the team. that makes me very proud.

happiness is…landing the leap.
Natalie

confessions & obsessions: fall edition

confession:

i am not really a fan of Halloween. like, at all. Halloween does NOT make me happy. well…except for maybe the candy, the cute kiddos in (unscary) costumes, and the movie Hocus Pocus. so it’s not all bad. but other than that, a big nope on Halloween. you have heard me refer to myself as ‘scaredy cat Nat’ before right? turns out, holidays that revolve around scary things and scary people are generally un-fun for scaredy cats.

obsessions:

though Halloween might not be high on my list, i find myself totally in love with fall. here are a few things i am obsessing over as of late…

this weather…

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everyone keeps saying that this is the best time of year to live in Houston and i believe them. it’s glorious! i have been reading by the pool almost every day. and yes, even looking at Christmas catalogs. it feels all kinds of wrong.

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it’s the perfect time of year for outdoor activities….especially the zoo! look at the sweet new baby giraffe!

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lately, i have even taken to driving with the sunroof open and the windows down. talk about an instant mood lifter…wind in my hair, music blaring, fingers tapping on the steering wheel. ahhhhh. reminiscent of cruising the main drag in high school. back then we rolled the windows down so everyone could see as we bumped down the street to Nelly or whatever other trash we listened to, but here it’s just because i can’t NOT roll them down. and bonus- it doesn’t smell like cow poop here! sounds like a random thing to say, but i guarantee those from my little slice of West Texas know exactly what i mean.

this song…

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because this song is not at all trash. though it is a drastic departure from my typical rock vibe, i can’t get enough of it. for some reason it reminds me of a late night dinner we had at the dark and trendy LAVO in Las Vegas. weird how a song can bring an experience to mind. and if this song happens to come on while i’m in the car with the windows down, well that’s just extra happiness for free.

this candy…

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bought a bag last Sunday. it’s now Friday. they are gone. which i felt totally okay about until B kindly reminded me that i don’t have dental insurance right now. ooops! i have now convinced myself that my teeth hurt. not just one of them, but all of them. because the one time i go without dental insurance will be the one time i get one hundred cavities instead of just one…right? oh, and the only reason i bought them was to make caramel apple dip. guess where the apples are? yep, still on the counter. sheesh.

this girl…   

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she has been abnormally affectionate lately. i think she knew i needed her. B has been on a study bender for a couple of weeks now, but this weekend we have lots of time to play. and play we will!

happy Friday friends! hope your weekend is full of things that make you obsessively happy. and if that happens to be Halloween, rock on. just don’t jump out and scare me, okay? promise?

PS. hmmmm, i just got to thinking…what if i combined all of my obsessions? would it be like a happiness explosion? if i went cruising, windows down, fave song blaring, whilst eating caramels? mind. blown. but i better not take Lola. she doesn’t like the car.

happiness is…an entire bag of caramels.
Natalie

the story of the tiniest pumpkin

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it had to have been at least four or five years ago. B and i were enjoying a crisp, fall weekend at home. we had just eaten a meal and were cleaning up the kitchen when i spotted a truck pulling a trailer down the street. the trailer was loaded down with hay bales, pumpkins, and adorable boy scouts selling said pumpkins for a troop fundraiser. they stopped on our block as neighbors wandered out of their homes to peruse the merchandise. being that i was elbow deep in a sink full of dishes, i begged B to “pleeeeaaaase go outside and buy me a pumpkin!” by my recollection, he resisted but another pleading “pleeeeeaaaase” later and he was out the door.

he returned a few minutes later. i was still standing at the sink as he sauntered into the kitchen and excitedly exclaimed, “look Nat, i bought you a pumpkin!” i turned around to see B, my pumpkin hero, pumpkin fetcher extraordinaire, holding the tiniest pumpkin i had ever seen. it was so tiny that he was holding it by the stem with only two fingers. and the best part…he was grinning ear to ear. i lost it. i laughed until tears streamed down my face. B was kind of perplexed, but i found the whole thing hilarious. not to mention incredibly endearing. you see, i sent him out there hoping he would buy me a puuuuumpkin. a hefty one. a plump one. one that must be cradled with two hands from the bottom. a pumpkin so large that neighborhood kids would deem it worthy of smashing when they spotted it sitting on the porch next to my yellow mums. i received no such pumpkin. turns out, B got all the way outside before he realized that he had exactly one dollar in his wallet and the tiniest pumpkin known to mankind is all that one dollar would buy. so i accepted my prize pumpkin with a hug and a kiss and happily set it on the windowsill in the kitchen (yes, it was small enough to sit on the windowsill) and every time i saw it, i smiled, giggled to myself, and thought of my B.

i don’t know what it was about that particular scenario, but the events of that perfect fall day remain etched into my memory. i think it must have been the look of ornery pride on his face as his huge hands dangled that tiny pumpkin in the air. whatever it was, it delighted me. every year since, i purchase a tiny pumpkin and place it where i can see it everyday. it is a nice reminder to treasure the little things in life. and it always makes me think of my biggest treasure too….the tall dude who started my favorite fall tradition with just a dollar and a sense of humor.

last year’s pumpkin:

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this year’s pumpkin:

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happiness is…the little things.
Natalie

a near perfect weekend

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ohhhhhh Monday. i can’t decide whether i hate you more or less after a super fun weekend. i woke up this morning still thinking about what a great time i had, which made me even more bummed to realize it was over. maybe it’s like the weekend version of…’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. or something like that.

in my not-so-humble opinion, one should always take into consideration two things when crafting the perfect weekend…entertainment and food.

entertainment:

our weekend rocked- literally. on Saturday night, B took me to see one of my favorite bands, The Gaslight Anthem, play at the Warehouse Live in Downtown. well actually, i told him he was taking me. i bought the tickets, made all the arrangements, and kind of just drug him along. but he obliged. it’s one of the funny things about our relationship. B is more comfortable in a suit at the symphony and i am more comfortable in studded boots at a rock concert. i snuck a glance at him every now and then during the show just to check in. he looked a little out of his element and i could tell the music was too loud for him based on his furrowed brow, but as soon as he caught me looking at him, he broke into a huge smile as if to prove he was having the time of his life. it was very cute and made me wish i had brought him some earplugs. the show was fantastic, the venue was cool, and B just seemed grateful that i didn’t make us stand on the floor near the mosh pit. (i told him there would be one and he didn’t believe me!) the opening band was a little more rowdy and i made sure to point out where i used to stand ten years ago. you know, just so he could appreciate how far i have come. i’m like, a grown-up now or something.

also on the entertainment front…we squeezed in some much-needed couch time and caught up on a few shows. can i get a fist bump for the season premier of The Walking Dead? whaaaaaat?! it was insane! and i think Carol has now surpassed Michonne as Queen Bad A** of the Zombie Apocalypse.

food:

we also ate some killer food this weekend. before the concert, we went to Max’s Wine Dive for dinner. it’s exactly what it sounds like. kind of upscale dive bar food and an excellent wine list. delish! i also made homemade pizza because what’s couch time for if not to eat pizza? AND i made my first batch of pumpkin bread of the fall season. fall is weird here by the way. weird in that it is totally perfect. everything is green, temps in the mid eighties, and most days are glorious. i’ll take it!

so, when i told B this morning that i was going to write about my ‘near perfect weekend’ he scoffed and said, “near perfect? why near?” turns out, the only thing that i didn’t get to do that i wanted to do was go running around Rice University on Saturday morning because of rain. (why do the not-so-glorious days always fall on Saturday?!) but that’s it. so really, i have nothing to complain about. but you may be wondering…what’s with all the details and the drama? it was just a weekend, Nat! well this might surprise you, but i feel the need to really celebrate the great ones because not every weekend is a super fun weekend for first year medical students. or med student wives for that matter. ha! B is now ramping up for another round of tests in a few weeks so he will spend the next couple of weekends locked in the office as i slide plates of food under the door. kidding. kind of. but i am proud of his hard work because he’s a responsible grown-up now too, you know.

speaking of grown-ups, i laughed to myself several times over the weekend because of how much life has changed. for instance- i still enjoy a rowdy rock show, but now i choose to enjoy it from the back of the crowd in order to avoid bodily injury. BUT after four hours of standing, both of us had a backache…bodily injury without the moshing! just admitting that to you makes me feel ancient. also, we still veg out on the couch for our favorite shows but instead of crashing at 1am, our eyelids are heavy by 10pm. oh, and 8am is now considered ‘sleeping in.’ i never in all my daaaaaays… oh well, i guess it has to happen sometime. i laugh to keep from crying.

and now…pictorial documentation. because pics or it didn’t happen. amiright?

my concert look.

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date night selfies are a must. B disagrees, but i generally win.

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yes waiter, we’ll take everything fried please. fried chicken for B, fish and chips for me.

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cheers! and now i need personalized wine glasses.

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the where.

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the what.

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throw up your rock fist!

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so um…my pumpkin bread was incredibly beautiful when i pulled it out of the oven and i meant to take a pic. but then we did a little stress eating after The Walking Dead and *might* have eaten some more for breakfast. 24 hours later and this is all that remains. told ya, weekends are all about the food around here.

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happiness is…a rad weekend.
Natalie

full circle

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i sat down at the computer about 9am after dropping B off at school. my intentions were to check facebook and quickly send a couple of emails…basically just occupy myself long enough to drink one more cup of coffee before heading to the gym.

it’s now noon.

three cups of coffee later and i am still here…writing in full gym attire (double knotted shoelaces and everything) and sans makeup because i got distracted before i even finished getting ready. yes, i put on makeup to go to the gym. i’m *that* girl.

just call me Alice. i have fallen down the rabbit hole once again. and it’s lovely. alllllways so lovely to get a little lost in wonderland. and it all started with this darn blog. you see, i am planning a major blog overhaul. (stay tuned!) i am purchasing a hosting plan, transferring data, and have hired a web designer to make it pretty and do all the things i’m too dumb to figure out. which coincidentally, is a lot. anyways, i am so paranoid about losing all of my material that i started backing up each and every blog post (all 65 of them) in individual files as well. so instead of running on the treadmill like a good girl, i spent the entire morning walking down memory lane. which is just as exhausting, i assure you. i relived the emotional turmoil i felt over turning thirty, the joyful birth of my perfect niece, and the sadness over the sale of our home. i meticulously copied and pasted the events of my own life, chapter by chapter, until i finally arrived at October of last year. that’s when i found this…

road trip randomness

at the time, i did not tell you where we went. i did not tell you why we went there.

but i will now.

we went to Houston. we went there for B’s first medical school interview.

full circle, my friends.

now here i sit, in October of 2014, writing this post from my new home…HOUSTON. the place we excitedly chattered about the entire way home on our cross-Texas road trip almost exactly one year ago. we discussed how exciting it would be to live in the bustling medical center. what it might be like to take the metro. to live near the water and still be able to swim outside in October. something just felt so right about Houston.

i wish it didn’t take reading my own words from a year ago to be reminded of the extraordinary gift that we have been given. i should leap out of bed every morning with the realization that we hoped and prayed for something so huge and we got it. amazing, right? but as i attempt to adjust to what feels like an entirely different life, i get uncomfortable and i do forget. what a shame. B is busy doing his med school thing, and i am still floundering a bit. but that’s okay. i am much better at floundering than he is. really, i could be a professional flounder-er. (what does that pay, i wonder?) i love this city, but have yet to find my place in it. but as i spent the morning reflecting on the last 12 months, there is no doubt in my mind that B is exactly where he needs to be. which means that we are exactly where we need to be. today, i just needed the reminder.

happiness is…a trip down memory lane.
Natalie

weekly lineup

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B’s weekly lineup:


M:  Gross Anatomy Exam and Practical

T:  Histology Exam

W:  STUDY!

Th:  Biochemistry Exam

F:  Developmental Anatomy Exam

Nat’s weekly lineup:


M:  The Voice & The Blacklist

T:  to be determined…

W:  Survivor & Modern Family

Th:  The Biggest Loser

F:  Date Night! (after B’s exams anyway)

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*sigh* i know what you’re thinking…what the heck am i going to do on Tuesday?!

oh, what’s that you say? you were feeling bad for B? you are so nice. but let’s get back to me…

the funny (or sad) thing is that when we moved here, i made a strong case against getting cable. i didn’t want to pay for it and we had just moved to Houston…there’s a million things to do here! and besides, i always assumed that people who don’t have cable spend their evenings doing intelligent and sophisticated things. like, drinking red wine and playing chess. or reading War and Peace in a leather wingback by the fire. cable was holding me back, man! however, B (the fella with zero time for television) made a strong case for cable and i relented. something about soccer/football/sports-he-no-longer-has-time-to-watch. so, just because i’m a good wife and just because B’s week is kind of a doozy, i’ll go ahead and say it…

“you were right honey. i’m very glad we got cable.”

so instead of chess and Tolstoy, i’ll spend my evenings curled up on the sofa, whilst wearing yoga pants, and watching reality tv. because that’s the kind of girl i am. but there will be red wine.

PS. what are you watching this week? anything you’re super excited about?

PPS. this is my first time ever watching The Voice. gotta support my girl Gwen Stefani. i’ve been #TeamGwen since 1996 when i begged my parents for a pair of Doc Martins and danced alone in my bedroom to “I’m Just a Girl” and “Spiderwebs.” ahhhh, the nostalgia is palpable.

PPPS. because i have a special place in my heart for Batman, i’m also thinking about watching Gotham. but then i’m up to three shows on Monday. overkill? maybe. unless…i record The Blacklist and save it to watch with B on the weekend. then it’s really just two shows. problem solved! setting the DVR now…

happiness is…a new season.
Natalie
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