In November 2012, I went to Scotland to visit my sister and her wife. They were celebrating their marriage with a wedding (and today they got married in the US!). As a wedding present, I painted a large oak and with Distlefink love birds on a canvas to use as their guest book. I’ve been waiting for them to finish arranging the leaves before blogging about it. So I’ll just reblog her post. Make sure you click on the link to her post to see the finished pictures!
My sister made our guest book for our wedding. After she consulted with us, she painted this beautiful canvas with a large oak and Distlefink love birds for a Pennsylvanian element. When she transported it over for our wedding, she cut the wooden frame and rolled the canvas. We pinned it back onto the frame roughly to display at the wedding.
Prior to the wedding, Honey and I couldn’t source oak leaf hole punchers, so we went with maple. The wedding tables were decorated with paper leaves in various colours and we asked guests to write something that we should always remember to be thankful for (and their name) on at least one leaf.
Guests wrote thoughtful, touching, simple, and funny things on these beautiful little records of a joyful day. After the wedding, we had these leaves sitting in a container in the spare room while the painting…
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A few weeks later than usual, it’s finally Spring here in central Pennsylvania!
Five years (and four days) later, I’m channeling my first post (Hello World) as I transplant grape hyacinths. Up on our back hill and in the middle of the front yard, we have tons of grape hyacinths blooming. I love that once upon a time someone planted these, and then they began to naturalize. However, I know that Hubster will mow over the delicate blooms if I don’t rescue them and relocate them to a protected landscaped area. Knowing I wanted them spared, Pumpkin surprised me by digging them up while I was making breakfast inside. ❤ And the bluebirds are still watching…
The next guest post is written by a friend of mine and former co-worker, Katie Makatche. She is a charming, witty, and beautiful young woman. Within the first year (first week) of marriage, she had several major transitions in her life. I apologize to her for the delay in getting her post scheduled! Here is her story…
When Young Wifey asked me to write this post about the start of a new phase of my life, I had to pause for a moment before agreeing to do it. I didn’t know what I really had to share; the story of the last year of my life is not full of tips or ideas or wisdom… it is simply a story; a story that took me three months longer to write than I told Young Wifey it would.
Everyone has events and decisions that serve as a hinge, opening the door to a new stage of life. Some of the more common turning points would be getting married, moving to a new location, starting a new job, having a child, or a death of a loved one. Last July, life decided that I was going to knock out three in the matter of a few weeks: I got married, moved to a new city, and began a new job within a two-week time span. Here is my whirlwind story.
I moved to Selinsgrove, PA in August of 2005 thinking I would not be staying for more than two or three years. Seven years later I was still there, having fallen in love with the town.
When I met my now husband, Tim, in October of 2010, I knew that if he happened to be “the one”, my ideal small-town life may need to come to an end. Tim was living in Brooklyn and worked as a homeless outreach specialist in lower Manhattan, but ultimately planned to attend law school. Central PA couldn’t offer the same plethora of law schools to choose from or the availability of internships and jobs aplenty, so I knew that is where we would ultimately need to be.
Married life has been the easiest transition of the three for me. It is hard for me to believe that Tim and I have only been married one year as of July 28th. There are, of course, lessons I have learned as a new wife:
Where’s the meat? I now ask myself that question when meal-planning
My definition of “neat and clean” is definitely not the same as is his
I don’t miss taking out the trash or washing the dishes every night
The only decision that had been planned months in advance was getting married. We couldn’t nail down New York as our location until we knew whether or not I would be able to get a job in NYC. I started the job hunt in April and found out quickly that school librarian jobs were just not to be found.
Finally, around the beginning of July I got an interview at an Dreyfus Investments for a senior administrative assistant position and was also interviewing for a technology integrator position. The job offer for the administrative assistant position came first and I took it – a textbook “bird in hand” decision 16 days before I was getting married. So, on a moments notice we packed up both of our apartments, found a new place, moved, and I began a new job.
The best way for me to explain my experience at this new job is to contrast it to my years teaching.
Money is not an issue.
The moment that I knew I wasn’t in education anymore was when I walked into a large room designated as the “supply closet” – an endless supply of post-its, notebooks, pens, folders, white-out, etc. It was such an entirely foreign experience from my years in education where I had to decide a year in advance how many supplies I might use and then meticulously filling out the order form for 12 pens, 3 folders, and 1 bottle of white-out.
Change is embraced quickly.
This past year Dreyfus has rebranded, restructured itself, and implemented 3 intense campaigns with different focuses. People at Dreyfus expect change and run with it. I was thinking about this in light of education and wondering why educators as a group (myself included) are much more resistant to change and I think I have stumbled upon part of the answer. At Dreyfus, whenever a major change occurs or a campaign is started it is always accompanied by a compensation plan. If teachers were paid major bonuses for re-writing their lesson plans in a new format or for creating new curriculum you might have teachers feel like their time and efforts were being adequately rewarded instead of feeling like they are being asked to do something that they feel is a waste of their very precious time.
People really do get fired.
In my seven years as a teacher; nobody I worked with was fired. Within one year of working at Dreyfus, six people have been fired.
When people ask me how I like my new job the best way I have found to answer that question is, “It is a very good job in many ways. I don’t dread going into work and it has been perfect for this year, but … to me, it is a job, not a profession.” One thing I do have to say, though, is the location is great – it is in the building attached to Grand Central Station so I get to walk under its painted constellations everyday!
Happily, I will actually be starting a new job in a few days. I was offered a job as a technology integrator/teacher at an private school on the Upper West Side. So excited!!!
The transition to NYC cannot be compared to moving to a new suburb or small town; it is like moving to a new country; life is completely different. Of the three changes, this was my biggest adjustment … and these three examples jump to mind:
I thought I was going to hate the laundry situation in the city – apartments don’t have washers/dryers unless you can pay megabucks. I was dreading the weekly trek to the laundromat, a chore that I have thankfully never had to do since I’ve always had a washer and dryer in my apartments. As it turns out, I love the laundry situation in the city. Tim lugs our laundry in a big, blue Ikea bag to the laundromat, the ladies there wash and fold everything, Tim lugs the folded laundry up to our apartment, and I put it all away. I am telling you, this laundry looks like it was folded by a machine – it is perfect – I could spend hours folding one towel and it would never be so nice and neat, and it only costs a fraction more than doing it all myself.
How could I survive without a car?! In the end I have mixed feelings on this one. I love not driving to work. Spending my 45 minute commute reading a book, napping, or people watching makes for a much more relaxing, not to mention interesting, commute. Running errands here is a much bigger chore because I need to walk everywhere regardless of cold, heat, rain, etc and I need to carry everything that I buy. I definitely miss the days of running errands in the car – driving to Target, popping into the mall, and ending with an epic grocery trip.
Teensy-Tinsy Living Space
I got rid of all my furniture, except my bed, well over half of my clothing, and a dumpster worth of other things. It took me seven years to accumulate everything that fit in my large two-bedroom place; and fill it I did … which I definitely regretted when it came time to purge everything in the move. I do miss having a closet and an attic/basement that I could just keep things in that I barely used. I also miss having room for two couches. Our single loveseat (not even enough room for a couch) is now priceless real estate when Tim and I both want to nap. I do love our little apartment though, and I honestly don’t miss anything I got rid of. I’m enjoying living light 🙂
I will leave you with a few suggestions (not on the typical tourist to-do list) when visiting:
Visit the Cloisters and have lunch on location, at New Leaf, or at Cachapas y Mas
Enjoy a picnic in Central Park, go row-boating, and finish with a Mr. Softee ice cream cone
During the summer, take a night and experience SummerStage at Central Park
Spend some time at The Strand bookstore then find a seat in Union Square Park and people watch
Experience the famous Brooklyn Flea Market
Venture to Jackson Heights in Queens (most diverse neighborhood in the nation) and have an eating extravaganza
Today’s youth has adopted the “you only live once” mentality. Too often, I hear young women respond to the thought of breast cancer with “Oh well, I’ll just chop off my boobs and get implants.” That thought process scares and saddens me. I know it’s something that no one wishes to experience, but downplaying it is invalidating someone else’s journey.
This guest post is from a compassionate woman. Amy Robinson is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She went through a very difficult and emotional ordeal and proved to herself and others that she’s stronger than ever believed. I hope everyone learns something from her experience.
Pregnant with Breast Cancer
by: Amy Robinson
I was officially diagnosed with Stage III IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) on April 17, 2012. IBC is a rare and very aggressive cancer. At the time of my diagnose, I was 37 years old and 19 weeks pregnant. I went to my doctor thinking that I had a breast infection because my breast was red, swollen, sore, itchy, and looked like I had welts. Turns out these are the classic symptoms for IBC.
The weeks leading up to my start date of treatment were very stressful. I was scared of the unknown. I kept asking my doctors if I was going to live and the response I would receive is, “we are going to do the best we can for you.” I needed reassurance that I was going to live and this type of reassurance cannot be guaranteed.
One week prior to my chemotherapy beginning, I asked God for a sign that I was going to make it through this journey. I was with my mom and sister at Cracker Barrel browsing around in the gift shop when I came upon this mug that said “Good things are going happen.” On the back, was a bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11, “He has great plans for you.” I thought this is my sign but put the mug back thinking this was just luck that I stumbled across the mug. I continued to browse around the gift shop when I received an email from my Aunt in Florida saying here is your verse for today and lo and behold, it was Jeremiah 29:11. I knew this was my sign from God that I was going to be okay to just put my trust and faith in him and he would see me through this terrible storm.
May 4, 2012, my treatment began. I went through 5 rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant and continued to work. They say you will lose your hair 14-21 day after your first round of chemo which I was dreading. I did not want to lose my hair (as I had a few events coming up), and I also did not want to be in delivery wearing an uncomfortable wig. Day 14 came and went, day 21 came and went. I did not lose my hair until I delivered Elijah. Another prayer answered. At 36 weeks, my doctors decided that I should be induced to deliver Elijah because my cancer was not shrinking anymore. I was not responding as well to the chemo and Elijah had reached a point that it was safe to deliver him so that I could get back into harder chemotherapy.
Three weeks after delivery, I was back into my second round of chemotherapy. I had 4 more rounds of chemotherapy. This round was not as friendly to me as the first round, but I got through it. I was so happy when this round was over. On December 10, 2013, I had a double mastectomy, and they began my reconstruction process at the same time. On December 17, 2012, I received a call from my surgeon and said the four magic words, “You Are Cancer Free.” I had been waiting to hear that for 8 months. I went through 33 rounds of radiation and will be on tamoxifen for 10 years.
Elijah is about to turn 1 and is an amazing little boy. You would never know that he was on the roller coaster ride with me.
American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Index
Mayo Clinic article on Breast Cancer
MedicineNet onhealth.com article on Breast Cancer
National Cancer Institute (at the National Institutes of Health) on Breast Cancer
Hey Young Wifey Readers,
Today’s guest post author is a creative and hilarious woman. I hope you enjoy! And remember to leave her comments!
10 Ways Becoming a Mom has Made me a Better Runner
Hello everyone! My name is Kristin Gibson. I lived next door to the wonderful author of this blog as a small child, stayed in touch via Facebook, and was honored when she asked me to be a guest blogger on a topic I have been wanting to share about for a while now.
I have been married to my awesome husband, Kevin, for five years and we welcomed our first child into this world a year and a half ago, an energetic orange-haired sweet boy named Brady. I work full-time promoting recreation and wellness to college students and absolutely love my job. I luckily stumbled into the field of recreation, but everyday, I am inspired by the positive impact that exercise has on the human body, mind and spirit. I choose to run most of the time I exercise and my relationship with running has changed greatly since becoming a mother. In a really, really good way. I hope that if you are looking for some motivation to get back out there or to get started on a new exercise routine, this list might push you in that direction.
10. No One Expects My Hair to Look Nice Anymore
Or, maybe, I care less about those around me might think about my hair. It is much harder to get fancy when you have a child weaving in and out of your legs or you have to stop your son from chasing your Chihuahua with a toy golf club. So, I have embraced the partial-shower and stopped planning the majority of my workouts to include time afterwards to take a full shower. Because there is no time to blow dry and style this head of hair if I get it all wet again. Dry shampoo (or hairspray) and a blow dryer work wonders. I don’t think a ponytail has ever gone out of style (not that I have any idea what is in style right now). And no one yet has told me I have stinky hair. Even my husband who is really honest.
9. I’m Already in Stretchy Clothes 90% of the Time
Maternity clothes did a number on my willingness to wear tight, restrictive clothing. My body rejects anything that makes me uncomfortable for the sake of fashion at this point. Thus, I have started investing in workout gear that looks acceptable to be worn in public. All day long. Every day. And night.
8. Jogging is Nothing Compared to Growing a Human
I have a new appreciation of what my body is capable of. I didn’t think it was possible for me to GROW A HUMAN inside of me. A part of me was doubting it was really happening until I heard our son’s first cry. So many times, exercise is more of a mental fight than a physical fight. I try to overcome my mind and tell myself, “Seriously, Kristin, you grew a baby, you can run for five more minutes.”
7. I Like It When Strangers See Me Run with a Stroller
Maybe our house is a mess, I just ate a whole bag of goldfish, and I just “cleaned” pee off the carpet, but I managed to get myself and my son fully clothed and prepared for a jog. No one sees the other stuff, they see a chick pushing a heavy stroller up a hill. Maybe it motivates them to run. It’s a small victory, but an awesome one. And nothing warms my heart more to see a man or woman pushing a stroller during my route!
6. I Can’t Procrastinate Anymore
Gone are the days where I could put off a lunchtime workout to later that evening, where I would maybe fit in a workout between my romantic dinner with my husband and whatever the heck I did with my hours of free time every evening pre-baby. I have to realize that if I do not fit in a workout now during my lunch break while the baby is with the sitter, or before the unpredictable nap that keeps us locked in the house on weekends, it will probably not happen. A nice change-up to the romantic dinner date with your husband is a romantic jogging date. Not kidding. It’s rejuvenating to see your spouse doing something other than changing diapers and cleaning.
5. Running is a Form of Transportation
Back in the old days, people didn’t use cars to get everywhere. Shocking, I know! So I have tried to use my jog as a way to get places that are nearby. Our son officially thinks the only way to get to the park at this point is by stroller. The look of joy on his face when I awkwardly try to get him, the jogging stroller, and all of his supplies out the front door is pretty awesome. I am lucky to live close enough to a few parks we can jog to. Then I walk back. Slowly.
4. I’ve Stopped Punishing Myself for a Bad Workout
Any exercise is good exercise. Repeat after me. Any exercise is good exercise. Dude. So many factors are working against a mom and “the perfect workout.” Chances are, I just woke up 5 times in the middle of the night, I was folding laundry all morning and my hormones are out of control (there are many more to list, but you get the picture). Getting dressed to workout and moving my body at all is one battle that I have won for the day! And then some days, it just doesn’t happen. And that has to be fine with me, because life and babies are unpredictable. But tomorrow, I will at least put on exercise clothes (see above) when I wake up so that it is one less task to stop me from hitting the pavement.
3. Getting Out of the House is Cathartic
Our son had colic, that issue no parent wants to admit until it has passed because you don’t want to think you have to go through it for any longer and you feel terrible because you can’t help your baby feel better. It went on for four months. It made every single day of maternity leave a nightmare, I’ll be real. I could not “soak up every precious moment” with my infant because he was screaming in my face. Getting outside with him either by myself or with my life-saving mom-pals for a walk kept me semi-sane. Sometimes on those walk/runs, he would calm down or fall asleep. Not always, but somehow crying outside was less stressful than him crying inside our house-prison. And, I felt better because I felt more like my old athletic self (I found it incredibly helpful to do things that reminded me of life before baby). Now, when I feel like my life is teetering on the brink of disaster, I either plop him in the stroller with a graham cracker and hit the road or my husband kindly kicks me out of the house alone so that I can return a new Mom and Wife. Sweaty, happier and more patient.
2. I Embrace Any Form of Motivation
I have this weird (and extremely effective) fantasy I envision when my run is not going well. I imagine my future grandchild (I told you it’s weird) cheering me on at the end of a 5k or 10k race. They have a sign they made with finger paint. And their friend says, “Your Grandma is hot!” And they say, “I want to run like Grandma someday!” I say it’s okay to embrace whatever helps you get a better workout.
1. It’s Not Just Me Anymore
I’m going to get a little deep, just real quick. When we first found out I was pregnant, I realized that I would never be alone for one second for the next nine months. This realization was a bit intimidating, but also strangely motivational. There was a little tiny person inside my body depending on me for nourishment and now a little person depends on my body to do things like holding, hugging, feeding and playing. Exercise isn’t just about me anymore. It’s about taking care of my body so that I am able to do everything I need and want to do as a mother, a wife and a friend.
Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear if any of this rings true for you or if you have any tips or revelations about parenting exercise!
Here at Young Wifey’s Blog, I’d like to start a guest post series. In the past, I’ve written guest posts for other blogs and I figured it was my time to include the voices of women. I’d like to start the series by having talented, smart, and beautiful women share something that is dear to them. Many of these women don’t have a blog of their own and I wanted to create a chance for them to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Whether it’s a talent, skill, or personal experience, it’s amazing what we learn through and from others. It’s important for women to remember to take time to support one another.
Women of the world, this series is created to celebrate you!
There will be a link at the top of Young Wifey’s Blog that will take you directly to the guest blog series index.