things dad says

The following are some real things my dad has said since coming to Des Moines:

“It’s so tiny!” (regarding my apartment)

“I’m going to put her in my suitcase and take her home.” (regarding Lily the cat)

“I can see why you love it here.” (regarding DSM)

“So on Paleo you can’t have cereal?” (same question twice regarding the Paleo diet)

“Everybody is good looking.” (overheard during a phone conversation regarding people in DSM)

“So apparently tall boots are in?” (that one’s pretty clear)

newsy news

Hey guys!  I’m back, as promised, to let you all in on a little news.  First, an “I’m sorry” to those friends and family who already know about this cause it’s not really news then in which case you’re bound to be disappointed.

For the rest of you, without further ado… guess who’s having a baby (!!!!)

photo 1

This girl.

Yes, that’s right, I’m going to be an auntie!  My little sister (Rachel) is just over 14 weeks, expecting a healthy baby—which I fully anticipate to be a girl.  I’ve known about the bun for quite some time.  In fact, about two weeks after she found out, I found out.  It’s tough being so far away from my only sister with such exciting news, so I did what one does in this situation: I hopped into a car and went home (cause I needed to touch the barely there bump).

photo 2

Since I have been baby-crazy for the last five years (okay, my whole life) I am so excited for this news and so excited to share it with you all.  I already love Baby R so much and I know it will only grow.  My sister has been a champ (I can only hope it runs in the family).  She’s had only one bout of morning sickness and has really just been fighting fatigue.  She looks great and is making this appear a tad too easy.  As you would imagine, I’m mentally planning trips home, baby showers and an extended vacation near the due date.

Oh… and a big shout out to my brother (-in-law) Adam who had a big hand in making this whole thing happen.

photo 3

 

(Hi little baby)

DSM to CLE and back

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This would be a great time for a catch-up post. It’s been almost two weeks (goodness!) since I took some time off work, jumped in a rental and drove the ten hours home to visit my family. (Shout out to books on CD for keeping me awake!) It was a bit of a whirlwind trip. Despite it usually feeling rushed, I like to keep some degree of regularity when it comes to seeing my family; time with them is always a bit of a recharge for me. This time was especially important (but more on that soon!!!).

It felt so good to jump back into the life I left as though I never did. As it always has been, staying with my mom, time is filled with laughter, home-cooked meals, coffee talk and I usually sleep like a baby. When I stay with my sister, there is always laughter (a common theme for our family: we love to laugh), deep talks about things that really matter and we’ll usually follow one another around the house just because. So this trip home, I stayed a bit with my mom, a bit with my sister, had breakfast and catch-up time with my lovely step-mother; had meals, shopping and time with some of my favorite friends; I packed as much as I could into the little time I had. I hit my bff’s sister’s wedding reception on Saturday as soon as I got in. On Sunday, after the usual Kate/Ryan ritual of Mexican food, I hit the road to go to my mom’s. She took the time I was home off work so we got to spend a good 2.5 days together. Saying goodbye (albeit temporarily) to my mom is never something that gets easier. I got the expected “the house is so quiet” phone call and it tugged at my heart.

I ended my CLE trip by staying two nights with my sister and her husband, then I packed up shop and headed to Chicago where I’d meet some Iowa friends for one day of Lollapalooza! I’ve never experienced anything quite like Lollapalooza. It was organized very well and I was only really disappointed with one show – everyone else brought it down. We started the day with The Neighbourhood, meandered over to Smith-Westerns from there, checked out Houndmouth (huge surprise! They’re amazing live!), cut that a little short to make it to Band of Horses (I desperately wanted to see them and they didn’t disappoint.), caught a private show by Frightened Rabbit, skipped Imagine Dragons because the crowd was so intense, saw the official show for Frightened Rabbit and then had it in mind to see some Lana Del Rey. Saying the Lana fans were out of control would be an under-statement. I was tired at that point, my feet hurt and I was getting pushed around by teenage girls clamoring to get up close to Lana. So I took it to the back and what I heard of Lana was really impressive. She sounded even better live.

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(Chicago)

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(Band of Horses!)

I wish I could bottle up the feeling of being home with my family; I know my words don’t paint near enough of a picture. The experience in the bottle would consist of waking up to the sound of country music and the smell of coffee that’s been on since 4 am when my mom wakes; seeing the sun come up and hearing the birds sing in the trees from the enclosed porch; walking in the grass with no shoes on, eating blueberries right from the bush; having heartfelt conversations with the ones I love fiercely and cooking recipes that my mom’s mom used to cook from (some of them literally taped to the inside of the kitchen cabinet doors). It was always a concern for me that my family lacks tradition. I went through a phase a few years ago where I felt like it was the most important thing. However, I realized being home that tradition is all around me. It may not be something as obvious as a family reunion every year but my family is warm, welcoming, refreshingly transparent and the things we do and the things we make are all in celebration of the time we get to spend together.

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(Homecooked meal = worth the 10 hour drive)

what’s going on?

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I have to tell you, time has completely escaped me lately!  I had to make an unexpected trip back to Ohio last week on the heels of my extensive vacation while Rach was in town.  My grandpa passed away so my mom flew me home so I was able to be with my family.  While it’s never easy in those situations of loss and mourning, it sure was good to see my family.  I just wanted to give you all a quick little update to keep the blog momentum going!

The National : I am supremely obsessed with them lately.  As the self-proclaimed queen of melancholy music I don’t know how I wasn’t a groupie before now.  I say that because I have ‘High Violet’ on repeat and I’m pretty sure it’s very two-years-ago.  Bloodbuzz Ohio was my theme song on the trip home.

Orange Leaf : I am thisclose to needing an intervention.  It’s right around the corner from my apartment and that spells danger.

Family : So I was home for my grandpa’s funeral recently and my sister and I stumbled on a treasure trove of family goodies.  There were some old pictures of my grandma from when she was a girl and I found myself getting lost in them.  They were just black and whites but she was such a lovely girl.  I got lost in the idea of the picture-taking itself.  Those photos were simply a moment in time, captured on film back in the 30’s and 40’s.  They are surprisingly special to me.  We also found our great-grandma’s journals from the 80’s and 90’s.  I was able to see another side of her that I was too young to know.  She was as pure as the driven snow.  I think about my own journals/diaries and how they’re loaded up with feelings and desperate attempts to sort myself out.  Hers were so much more of the day-to-day activities and had such little family gossip and really focused on her hopes for her loved ones.  Seems I get my optimism affliction honestly.

Shoes : Okay, this one is less of a proper “update” but I got myself some new running shoes today.  The last time I went running I had foot pain (what’s that about?!  Certainly not that I’m the 3-0).  We’ll give those little babies a try when we stop getting this monsoon that’s forecasted for the next two days.

Remy : I’m starting to get the distinct feeling that she’s lonely.  For the first time last night, since we moved in to our place, I caught her playing.  The rest of the time she’s hiding in the closet, looking out the window by the bed or following me around.  I’m considering getting another cat.  Be warned: I’m dangerously close to being a cat-lady based on my ‘cat to square footage’ ratio.

Reading : I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire on this one.  I just finished an amazing book called “One Last Thing Before I Go” by Jonathan Tropper.  Amazing.  I’m also reading the new Gwyneth Paltrow Cookbook, Unbroken (still), Love 2.0, A New Earth, and another Jonathan Tropper book.

Looking forward to : warmer weather that motivates me to get out of bed early, organizing my kitchen, the new National album, learning how to use my new digital-I’m-a-real-photographer-camera (!!!), and maybe trying out Cross-Fit.  I’ve been getting that summertime feeling of wanting to learn something new.  Last week it was playing the drums, this week it’s knitting.  I can assure you, I have enough to learn on my plate (um, WordPress, still) but I’m hoping to channel my creativity into something.

Lastly, I am loving my Olive Button earrings.  I have mustard and chambray and am eyeing the gray chevron to add to my burgeoning collection.

Whew.  That was a lot of stuff but I’m glad we’re all caught up, you guys.

visiting

Laughing

 

Look who came to Des Moines!!!  I had an incredible visit with my amazing sister.  This is pretty much what we do when we’re together – take lots of pictures and laugh like fools.  (That’s my Scentsy car freshener in the center of Rachel’s forehead.)  I can’t wait to tell you about our time together or show you all the pictures of my week with Rach.  We went to Ikea, the Mall of America (hooray Minneapolis!) and pretty much ate our way from here to there.

changes

Breakfast2 FrenchPress

RedPepper

Charcuterie

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did it!  I made it 30 days on the Whole30.  I remember right after I started I marked 30 days out on my calendar at work and I thought to myself ‘there’s no way I can make it to the end of March – that’s so far away.’  Now here I am, done with 30 days, feeling good and ready to continue some of the better life choices I’ve been making.

A lot of things have been going on in my life and when I think about that, I consider that I started the Whole30 at just the right time.  While most everything in my personal life has been choppy waters lately, I managed to maintain total control over what I ate and how what I put in my body made me feel.  I planned, I prepared, I chopped, washed and cooked; I ate leftovers and veggies and meat in new ways; I ate less out of convenience and was happily inconvenienced to make everything homemade.

All in all, I’d recommend this to anyone.  I’ll definitely plan on doing it again and continuing to implement the Paleo way of eating (allowing room for occasional indulgences).  I’ve felt centered and energized.  It’s kind of been my anchor of sorts.  Moving to DSM, while exciting, has also been a bit different than I’d anticipated.  I’m writing this post from my brand new couch in my very first apartment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had apartments before but I’ve always had roommates.  I’d scamper about those former living spaces, trying to stay out of the way and go unnoticed so I didn’t cause annoyance; essentially for the last 10 years or so I’ve been living in a space the size of a bedroom.  That would explain my lack of adult furniture and kitchen essentials.  I’ve carefully picked out each piece I’ve acquired thus far (with some helpful consulting here and there); each piece has purpose in this new space I’m building.  It’s helping me carve out who I am.  I’m discovering what makes me happy and (yes, family) I’m learning some responsibility for myself too.

I’m sure we’ll chat more about my new space.  Let me end on some super exciting news: MY SISTER IS COMING!  Next Tuesday she’ll arrive here in Des Moines!  She’ll spend the week with me shopping and being a tourist.  I’m so excited to show her around the city.  There will absolutely be some pics to come!  The photos above (not in an organized fashion in ANY way despite my trying) are of a few of the Whole30 meals lovingly prepared in the last 30 days.

secrets

For about as long as I can remember, in my adult life, I’ve struggled with honesty and transparency.  I know I want to be an honest person and be seen for who I am and I know that I’m more than capable to do that for others.  I’ve read countless books on the subjects of vulnerability, living a whole-hearted life, honesty and its consequences and how all those topics apply to all sorts of relationships.  I’ve learned the lesson many times: honesty is important.  With my big move 10 hours away from my “safety net” of family and friends, it’s been a challenge for me to pick up the phone and have honest conversations with these people I love; even just to catch up.  And for what reason?  I honestly can’t think of one that’s important enough.  It’s become clear to me that my safety net is more important now than it ever has been (you know, since I’m blazing my own trail and all).

Beyond just picking up the phone and talking candidly about the everyday, I want to talk about secrets.  My mother, my father, my step-mother (collectively: my parents) have always encouraged openness and honesty and I’ve carried that with me throughout my life.  Somewhere along the way, it became okay for me to close off parts of myself that I was maybe less proud of.  Is it just the business of becoming an adult?  Probably.  I realize that not every single thing of one’s past is meant to see the light of day.  Despite knowing all that, I still find myself shocked when I meet a secret of someone else’s.  Especially since I go out of my way to preach honesty.  I’m pretty sure it’s a fatal flaw of mine and I have no idea why.

Honesty is dangerous, vulnerability is dangerous – it’s (in the wise words of a friend) a risk.  And I’m not strictly speaking of love here either, it’s being vulnerable in a friendship or letting your family see who you are (even the bad bits).  Why go through life cloaked in only the good stuff and leave out the messy parts?  It’s the messy stuff that makes us all real anyway.  Connection is so incredibly powerful and it’s worth all the tough stuff that makes up who we are.

Alright… I’ll stop rambling on now.  I’m trying to find the balance of personal but not too personal on this blog.  You guys get it.

And cheer up, it was either this entry or one all about my cat.  I’m not ready for you all to think I’m a crazy cat lady so that post will wait till another day.