Oh hey! So much has happened in the past few months… we had a baby, moved back to the Northeast (Bye, Puerto Rico! We will miss you!) and Casey changed jobs… twice.
But! We are finally feeling settled amongst all this madness and really looking forward to having a front row seat to the changing seasons and raising Skip closer to our families and friends.
2014 was wild and adventurous and amazing. It was a capital Y year, one full of crazy changes and expanding comfort zones and skyrocketing airline miles. Some years seem bigger than others, and 2014 was a giant.
It sort of makes me long for a quieter trip around the sun – some of my most favorite and treasured memories are from years when nothing huge or remarkable happened, like when Casey and I were recently married and settled into our jobs and our cozy townhouse or the middle years of college when (apart from studying abroad) there was a predictable routine and ebb and flow to the days and seasons and it was easy for me to just soak it all in.
But as I’m staring down the next 300+ days, I know that is not going to be the case. I actually find myself feeling a bit… apprehensive about this year. It’s another BIG ONE for sure – we’re expecting our first baby, and we will likely decide what/where is next for us. These are good and exciting and wonderful things, yes, but they are also big fat question marks and because I don’t know what to expect or how it will all shake out, I’m feeling quite a bit nervous.
I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, preferring to instead use my birthday list for the year’s goals and plans – there’s something about turning another year older that feels much more like a clean slate to me than the somewhat arbitrary day of January 1st. However, this year, I felt like I need a little extra oomph – something to coordinate with my birthday list and keep me focused on the all of the good (because truly, our life is SO GOOD).
So I’ve chosen one little word – a tiny mantra to see me through the madness and goodness that 2015 will surely bring.
- To increase gradually in size, amount, etc.; become greater or larger; expand: His influence has grown.
- Grow into, to become mature or experienced enough for: She grew into the job, although she
wasn’t qualified for it at first.
- To be capable of growth; thrive.
These three definitions are guiding me this year. I want to grow my business. My body needs to expand and nurture the little one within. Casey and I will need to grow into parenthood. We want to work on our language skills and grow into our community. And above all, I hope for us to thrive. To take on the amazing and difficult, the wonderful and challenging, the happiness and anxiety – head on.
PS more about One Little Word can be found here: Ali Edwards | Elise Joy | One Word 365
I know what you’re thinking. What could possibly be bigger than packing up and moving to the Caribbean? What could trump an epic two week vacation to Italy that included a whole week of sailing on the Mediterranean? How could we possibly top all of the magical little adventures we’ve had to date and definitively say, “THIS is the BIG one?”
In April, we’ll be adding a little buddy to our crew. “Skip” – a tiny captain taking the reins of this operation (we’re under no illusions of who will really be in charge once he or she arrives!).
We’re thrilled and terrified and excited and anxious and can’t believe that our little one’s story will start here in Puerto Rico (Casey is really hoping the birth certificate will be in Spanish, because that will be “way cooler”).
I’m still struggling with how much or how little of Skip’s existence to share here (or anywhere online, for that matter). As much as I enjoy reading about other people’s kids and parenting on the internet, I’m just not sure that that path is for us. Not only because of privacy and potential future embarrassment for Skip, but also because I’m not really sure that this is the proper space to be talking about all of that. For me, this blog is about projects and adventures and traveling and fitness and making stuff and is, above all, a record for me, and what I am working on. So while yes, I’m currently working on growing a human, and will definitely share some projects I’ve started in preparation for his/her arrival, I don’t think I’ll be sharing the minutiae of day to day life with a little one.
We’re looking forward to welcoming Skip to the party. See ya in April, little one!
PS There has been a tiny bit of confusion about the name “Skip.” It’s just a silly nickname that we use so that we don’t have to refer to the baby as “it.” We’re not finding out the gender so saying, “Skip” is way easier than trying to figure out a gender-neutral pronoun
Feeling extremely thankful and blessed this year. We’re away from family this year and missing everyone so much. Hug your loved ones tight today! Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great start to your holiday season.
Playa Sucia (or La Playuela) in Cabo Rojo is easily one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Rico. Many, many locals have recommended it and touted it as their favorite. The last time our friend Brian came to visit, he and Casey attempted to check it out, but weren’t able to make through the massive crowds to actually get there! The beach is located down a long, narrow, dirt road, and in summer, when Puerto Ricans flock to the beaches, it becomes nearly impossible to get to it. We vowed to try again when he returned.
Well, Brian came back a couple weeks ago, and we trekked out to Cabo Rojo, crossing our fingers that a late start combined with a questionable forecast (there was some rain predicted) would keep the crowds to a minimum.
Once we arrived, it was easy to see why this particular beach is so popular. It’s located in a beautiful protected cove, ringed by limestone cliffs and salt flats. Casey was psyched that there were some waves breaking out on a sandbar, and got in some long rides on the paddleboard.
Up on one side of the cliffs is a pretty lighthouse. It’s a quick hike to the top and you’re rewarded by some incredible views.
After a handful of visits, this spot in Cabo Rojo is definitely up there on our list of favorite beaches. We’re going to be sure to take advantage of this spot this winter!
Installing screens in our windows to keep out the swarms of mosquitos that have been attacking
Making some changes to the guest room!
Dusting off my sneakers and getting ready for this year’s exerstreak
Reading tons of non-fiction books
Drinking gallons of orange juice
Organizing years of photos (and getting them into real, tangible albums!)
Getting out on the water via our new stand up paddleboard (we are obsessed!)
Baking lots of cookies and muffins (even though it’s 80+, it’s that time of year!)
Listening obsessively to the podcast Serial (we’re late to the game but it is so, so good!)
Finishing up our Christmas cards (I can’t wait to get them in the mail!)
Feeling sad we won’t make it home for Thanksgiving this year but..
Looking forward to a snowy CNY Christmas!
Last month, Casey and I traveled to Florida to attend a friend’s wedding. The wedding was the weekend before our anniversary, so we decided to extend our trip and spend some time in the Florida Keys.
Casey has always dreamed of driving Highway 1 over the ocean to Key West, so we made it happen! We rented a convertible, which seemed like a bit of a silly splurge, but ended up being
so. much. fun. It definitely made the loooong drive feel less tedious!
Since it was just a quick trip, we didn’t have too many plans or expectations. We mostly wanted to relax, catch up with one another, and explore a new city. We spent a lot of time wandering around, people watching, and browsing in fun little shops.
One day we rented a tandem bike and pedaled all around town. We were surprisingly good at it (I give all credit to Casey, who did the majority of the steering/balancing) and a bike is totally the best way to explore the island. It was a blast!
Another day we skipped lunch and tried a slice of Key Lime pie at the three most famous places (according to a couple locals we polled). All of them were delicious, but the hands down winner was at Blue Heaven – a mile high and covered with fluffy meringue.
Finally, we enjoyed a Sunset sail on the Jolly Rover – an old and immaculate tall ship. It had been SO LONG (too long!) since we sailed, and it was so nice to get out on the water again. Casey helped hoist the sails, we saw a double rainbow, and witnessed an incredible sunset (they’re famous for a reason!).
All in all, it was a great trip – we found a long weekend to be the perfect amount of time to enjoy Key West.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? In high school and college, I would have laughed if you called me an introvert, but as I get older, I feel more and more comfortable being by myself. Part of this shift was reading several articles that described into/extroversion as less of a personality trait and more of our personal source of energy. According to this line of thinking:
Introverts gain energy by spending time alone. They find being around people, especially large groups, draining.
Extroverts energy comes from other people. They usually find that their energy levels drop if they spend too much time alone.
My switch from feeling more like an extrovert to a definite introvert has been a bit humbling. In fact, I used to tease my husband for having what I dubbed “loner tendencies.” Although Casey is outgoing and friendly, he gets an insane amount of pleasure out of sailing alone, or a solitary run, or a weekend completely to himself. He needs time after work to sit on the couch and watch a TV show – alone. He is totally energized by puttering around, working on his own projects, doing his own thing.
Recently though, my solitary habits have totally eclipsed his. Part of this likely has to do with the fact that I am no longer working outside of the home, but even more than that, I feel like my interest in being social has totally dropped. Sure, I love to chat with family and friends over the phone, and I love email trains and group text messages. But if I had to choose between going out with Casey’s coworkers or curling up with a book, nine times out of ten I choose the book.
I guess that means we are a good match – both of us need space and time alone. But it could also mean that we unintentionally isolate ourselves. It’s important for us to recognize the difference between being anti-social and simply needing to recharge.
So where do you stand on the spectrum? Anyone feel like they’ve shifted more in one way or another over the years or are you solidly exactly the same?
A couple months ago, I saw a blog post with several “First Dance” playlists for weddings. I eagerly skimmed though it, looking for the song that Casey and I danced to at our wedding, but it wasn’t there. I found myself feeling partially glad – that must mean we are unique! – and partially sad, because I really liked our song, and thought it was an excellent start to our life together.
But then I got thinking that maybe a wedding song is an “in the moment” kind of thing. You know, I seriously doubt that anyone regrets their first dance song, I mean, I honestly haven’t even thought about it since our wedding. To be perfectly honest, we didn’t really think that hard about it in the first place! Choosing a first dance song was a low priority for us. In fact, it was kind of a random pick – we liked the chorus, it wasn’t horribly difficult to dance to, and it wasn’t particularly old (read: a classic and kind of overplayed) or new (read: super trendy and THE SONG of 2011 weddings). With that said though, I’ve been a guest at weddings where I found myself exchanging surprised “that’s the song they picked?!!” glances with my tablemates. So was our song one of those? A decision that seemed so right at the time, but looking back, is another hilarious wedding-ism – like puffy sleeved dresses or mason jars (spoiler alert – we totally had mason jars) or the “jumping” photo?
So I listened to it again.
While I was listening, I googled the lyrics. And man, they feel super prophetic! Reading them now, I see our journey.
“Wanna pack your bags, something small Take what you need and we disappear Without a trace we’ll be gone, gone The moon and the stars can follow the car and then when we get to the ocean We gonna take a boat to the end of the world All the way to the end of the world.”
Although we’re not quite sailing to the end of the world (yet), this song seems like a perfect reflection of our marriage, and our adopted motto of, “Let’s go anywhere”. Our instincts were spot on. I think I love it even more now than I did three years ago.
Happy Third Anniversary, Munch. You and me – we can do anything. Love you the most.
Can you believe that it’s September already?!! I am definitely more out of whack than normal since the weather here… doesn’t change. It’s still over 90 degrees here and isn’t showing any signs of cooling off.
Nevertheless, I was itching for a good seasonal list. One of my goals this year is to invent new traditions, so although apple picking and pumpkin carving and hayrides are probably out, we can still embrace fall however it ends up being down here and who knows? Maybe we’ll always go away for Thanksgiving in the future, or perhaps I’ll always spend some fall weekends with my sewing machine. And! You know that next time I’m in San Juan, a stop at Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte is a must!
What do you have going on this fall? Autumn has always been my favorite season… it’s really hard to be missing out on changing leaves and crisp evening air and cider donuts!