A Snow Day

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All week long the people of southeastern Michigan had been talking about the impending snow storm. It seemed as though it was anything anyone could talk about. Chatter of weekly plans turned into grumblings about snow. Not really the uplifting and anticipatory conversation we’re all used to.

As someone who is usually not a fan of snow, I was dreading the change in weather, that is until Sunday when it actually started snowing. We had no plans, the grocery shopping had been done, errands were checked off the to-do list on Saturday, and our plan was to enjoy a day on the couch. With six inches of snow accumulating outside there’s not much you can do but sit back, relax, and watch the world turn to white.

My entire Sunday was spent on the couch watching movies with Justin while some chicken enchilada soup simmered in the crockpot. It was relaxing and exactly what I needed. As the evening rolled in I let my hopes of a Monday snow day grow and started thinking of all the things I’d do if I was given a second day within the four walls of our house. It wasn’t long after that I got the text message from my boss, a snow day was granted. A day with no expectation and no where to go.

I let my alarm ring as usual, around 5:40 – I might have let it snooze a few extra times, but I was up early, like usual, drinking my coffee and watching Morning Joe. Justin and I spent some time outside finishing off the driveway and sidewalk from the last of the snow we got overnight – him with the snowblower, me with the shovel and salt. After spending time in the backyard with Bruno in the snow, thoroughly frozen, we came inside to thaw and to start the rest of our day. I got to work on some projects for the blog, watched some television, made some food, and again, relaxed while I could.

While I haven’t accomplished much and I’m still not, quite what you would call, a fan of snow, I was grateful for the last two days isolated from the rest of the world. It was refreshing to have two days with no expectations or agenda. I highly suggest that to anyone needing a recharge, and I won’t lie – the snow storm helps.

I hope, snow or not, that everyone had a productive (in whatever that means for you) Monday! My biggest accomplishment, other than the delicious chicken enchilada soup, was FINALLY finishing my About Me page for the blog. Head to the blog and you can check out the new format too! Have a great week!

The Making of a Morning Person

TheNever would I categorize myself as someone who enjoys waking up early and starting my day bright eyed and bushy tailed. For my thirty-one years on this planet, I have been non-bushy tailed before 9am, which is probably a liberal estimate, 9am doesn’t even look all that great to me.

I relied on coffee, a routine that I could do with my eyes closed, and not speaking to anyone to get me back to the human race each morning. It didn’t always work, there were mornings that I would give anything to go back to sleep, and heaven forbid anyone interrupt my morning structure. When Justin started to not feel well in December, his morning routine completely flipped on him and we were fighting for time in the morning, pushing each other out of the bathroom. It started to become part of our new morning routine, I had to adjust to having him up and moving in the morning. I genuinely appreciated the extra time I had in the morning to talk to him, but keep in mind AM Emily isn’t the interested in chatting. Justin understands that, he always has, and he gave me as much room to slug through my morning routine as he could.

As our life calmed down after moving into our new house, I found that my morning routine was again in need of an adjustment. The muscle memory that is associated with going through a repetitious routine is highly underrated. The first day I went back to work I found myself so frustrated because things weren’t in the same spot they always had been. I was reaching for cabinets that no longer exist, had to backtrack to remember where I stored certain things, and had to adjust to getting ready in the bathroom right across the hall from where Justin and Bruno are sleeping. I made it to work on time but I felt so uneasy all morning because I had no structure to my morning, there was nothing that reminded me that I was on the right track, keeping the right pace, and would make it to work in the morning on time. I’m surprised I made it there on time at all.

Our lives are becoming a little less hectic as Justin continues his treatment plan and awaits remission for a bone marrow transplant. This calm before the storm seemed like the perfect opportunity for me build some new morning routines. We’ve been living in our house for a month, I have a better understanding of what kind of time I need in the morning, and I’ve even – against all odds – started waking up around 6am on a regular basis. And to be honest, I don’t hate it. sunroom

I have a sunroom that overlooks our entire backyard where I can sip my coffee, watch Morning Joe, and start my day. This setting has been an inspiration for my desire to build a new morning routine, one that includes time for myself. Time to sit, relax, read, write, work, and just wake up so that I can interact with the human race. I’m giving myself one hour each morning. An early morning hour where I can spend some time doing whatever I feel is needed before I go out into the world. Today it was coffee, writing, and Morning Joe.

This new routine will be a work in progress, as excited as I am to have some time to myself each morning and to feel like I am gaining ground on breaking my anti-morning personality – it’s not easy. It took me twenty minutes of convincing myself to get in the shower at 6am this morning so that I had an hour to spare. I really wanted to just sleep for an extra hour on the couch before getting up and hustling to get ready for work. On the flip side, once I sit down and start working on things for myself, it’s hard to get up and start getting ready to go. I mean, sitting on my couch writing for this blog is the dream, right? Maybe someday. In the meantime, I’ll be working on just getting up when I hear my “Canned Heat” alarm go off in the morning without falling back asleep on the couch afterward.

Baby steps toward joining the human race before 9am.

High Five for Friday: Back to the Real World

My first full week of back to somewhat normal routine wasn’t quite as easy as I had anticipated but I can feel myself adjusting and gaining back some equilibrium. The nicer weather doesn’t hurt either. I’ve got a great top five to share this week, so without further adieu…

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  1. I decided to participate in my first blogging challenge. I’ve been a bystander on several other challenges but this one just seemed like a great fit at the right time. I’ll be participating in the 2016 Kindness Challenge, hosted by Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life. This seven week challenge has a different focus each week – starting with Self-Kindness. How appropriate. Without realizing it, I had already written my first post for the challenge on Monday by talking about focusing on gratitude in the middle of a stressful time. I have been trying to focus on continuing that concept throughout my week and being mindful of my mood and emotional state. Self-Awareness to promote Self-Kindness. Check out Niki’s blog for more information on the challenge!
  2. Justin and I spent some time this week putting up our pictures and making ourselves at home. It has been so comforting to see our new space take shape. The living room went through the biggest transformation this week, I’m completely loving the new rug I found at Target, along with the wreath my mom made for the front door, our Ikea picture ledges, and most especially: the view from the picture window out front. Little by little this house is feeling more like our home and less like my grandma’s house.
  3. I am having breakfast with a friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years tomorrow. We’ve had to postpone three times in the last two months and I’m pretty excited to see her and catch up with my long, lost friend.
  4. I got a fresh haircut last weekend. It’s amazing what some highlights and chopping two inches off of your hair can do for a girl!
  5. I discovered, well, really I was introduced to, black bean hummus this week! It is delicious, spicy, and relatively healthy. I was completely prepared to hate it but I found myself obsessing over getting some to snack on this week. I made my own version, which didn’t turn out as I had expected, but luckily Plum Market had some that fit the bill.

And there you have it: my first full week back to the real world. Happy Friday!

Home

I’ve had this ache in my chest for the last six years. An ache that I just assumed would always be there. An ache and desire to live back in my childhood neighborhood, the place I never stopped calling home. An ache to know the streets like the back of my hand again and to be close to my family. It’s not an overwhelming pain, just a little psychological nudge that I would get every time I drove to my parents house, took a walk through a store that I used to frequent, or most recently, every Saturday that I’ve spent sorting through eighty years worth family history.

I had a rough morning today. I am just reaching the end of my capacity to handle all of the things going on around us lately. It’s getting harder to get up and jump out of bed ready to attack the day. Our house is a mess, half of our belongings are packed in boxes that are stacked floor to ceiling in my office, my team is coming up on our biggest event of the year next week, and the thought of just curling up in bed and sleeping away the next ten days has gotten more appealing everyday. Normally, I can keep it together in the midst of the chaos, usually I thrive in it. Today my stress manifested itself in a way that I couldn’t ignore. A breakdown at home before leaving for work that left my husband telling me to just take it “one day at a time”. Emi-holic. In less than twenty minutes I bucked up, got ready and got in the car for the half an hour drive to where my morning meeting was supposed to be. I was on time, early even. I got inside, walked into the meeting space to find an empty room. Thinking I was just at the wrong room I thumbed through my e-mails from yesterday looking for my reminder that I received. The meeting was, indeed, yesterday. All in all, not a huge transgression to try and remedy, it happens but I felt lost and embarrassed. I didn’t want to be the person that was 24 hours late. I walked back to my car, avoiding eye contact with the woman that had just directed me toward my room, I leaned my head on the headrest, closed my eyes, and just sat there for a few minutes. I felt like my entire morning was just aimless and a waste of time. I needed to be productive, and driving 30 minutes back to the office wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, I listened to the ache that’s been slowly creeping back up into my life.

I drove the ten minutes to the neighborhood I grew up in, soon to be my neighborhood. I pulled into the Tim Hortons across the street from where my mom works, ordered my usual and sat down with my laptop, headphones, and “Drift” playlist. From my seat by the window I could see my mom’s car in the parking lot at work. I felt like I was at home. Finally, I felt like I wasn’t just wandering around looking for my place in the day.

I know I can’t do everything myself, but for those of you that know me well, you know that I am damn well going to try. I have two weeks left. Two weeks until we are moved into our new home and I am back in the place that I call home. This move has been more intensive and stressful than I had originally anticipated but I could never been anything but grateful for the opportunity that my grandma has given us. She surely doesn’t understand the underlying comfort that she has offered us, me especially by allowing us to live in her house while Justin goes through and recovers from treatment. There is the obvious help of being closer to our families and the hospital, the obvious financial burden being lifted, and the benefit of having more space, but she has no idea how moving back to this neighborhood is like a new start for us. It is, undoubtedly, an opportunity to rebuild our fight and to relieve the ache. I don’t have the words to describe the depth of my gratitude for her generosity and kindness.

In two weeks I get to go home and I get to share it with my husband.

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