holidaze

It’s just the first week of December and we’ve already experienced a massive ice storm (everything covered in inches of ice, branches everywhere, and even trees broken in half!), some snow, a sunny 60 degree day, and more snow! Seriously, we never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at us here in the Midwest.

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All the snow and chilly weather has me really in the mood to snuggle under a fluffy blanket, watch some Christmas movies, and drink a big mug of hot chocolate! Thank God for the weekend, right??

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The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to adjust to the idea that the holidays are going to be very different this year. Living out of state makes it quite difficult to plan around everyone’s schedules and nearly impossible to make it to every little holiday event like we did in previous years. Josh and I have been trying to figure out when to head home so that we have enough time with both of our families. I’m excited to see everyone, to eat lots of delicious fattening food, and spend time with our nephews. But I’ve got to be honest- it’s really hard being the “guests” in town. The few times we’ve gone home, we’ve stayed with my parents. Who are seriously the best. They always have food and drinks and fresh sheets on the guest bed and they don’t mind helping us with Rocko. But it’s just not our home. There’s a level of comfort that just isn’t there when it’s not your own home- we have to tiptoe down the hallway so as not to wake anyone up, we have to make sure Rocko doesn’t get on the couch in the living room, we have to pack multiple days worth of clothes and shoes and toiletries and live out of a suitcase for days. And if my siblings bring their dogs, say goodbye to any peace and quiet- it’s just hours of running and wrestling and barking between the dogs. I had really taken for granted how easy we had it when we lived in the same town as both of our parents and could just drive five minutes to get home!

Another thing that’s different this year is that living in an apartment, there isn’t enough room for a full size Christmas tree. Decorating our tree is my most favorite part of alllll of the Christmas holiday. Since we were babies, my parents have given me and my siblings a super fun, personalized ornament for the tree. And even though I’m 30 and married and “all grown up”, I look forward to this every year. I’ve even started buying Josh a fun ornament so he can be a part of my favorite Christmas tradition too. So, when I realized we wouldn’t be spending an afternoon assembling the tree and hanging each special ornament on it, I was really bummed out. I maybe even cried. Ok, I did cry. I felt silly because it’s just a tree but it holds so many memories for me. It’s not the same, but we did get a tiny tree (about a foot tall) to sit on the table next to the TV. We don’t have any miniature ornaments for it (yet), but we did buy some battery-operated Christmas lights for a little extra sparkle. It may not seem like much, but a little Christmas magic goes a long way. And even though I may not love our tiny apartment that doesn’t have room for a big tree, it’s our home and I’m so thankful to be living there with Josh instead of a state apart!

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the little things, to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. I know it happens to me! I’m doing my best to remember the true reason for celebrating at Christmas has nothing to do with the comforts of my own place or a big decorated tree or getting awesome presents. Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones, being thankful and counting all your blessings, and celebrating the birth of our Savior and through this the gift of being saved from death! 

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opportunities

For the past couple of months, I have been slowly getting into a routine and finding a new normal since starting my new job. I’m still trying to adjust to not working with Josh every day. I’m still trying to adjust to working out at a new gym at 7 am instead of 5 pm, for only one hour a few days a week instead of 2-3 hours six days a week. I’m still trying to adjust to working later hours than I have for the past five years (aka less quality time at home). Some days I feel completely content and happy about the changes. Some days I just plain struggle and want to give up. I know that these “issues” don’t really seem that big in the grand scheme of things, but they were all things that had become a comfort to me, things that were just a part of my life in such an easy way. Through it all, I keep reminding myself that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. All these changes are changing me and making me better. This job is going to be a huge opportunity for me to grow not only career-wise, but also as a person. I was given this opportunity to learn new equipment, techniques, and software. To actually make a difference in someone’s life. To learn patience when waiting in the terrible after-work traffic. To get to work with a group of people that are hard workers and genuinely care about making our world a healthier, better place. In the end, this is going to be a great stepping stone for whatever is next on my journey and a major blessing for my personal growth. Life sure happens, right?

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Enough with all the serious stuff, check out this awesome bibimbap we made this past weekend!

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If you like Korean food at all, I highly recommend purchasing the Half Baked Harvest cookbook and giving her recipes a try asap! Besides marinating the beef for a few hours and chopping all the veggies, all the elements came together rather quickly and easily. And the end result was so worth it. Every bite was different and delicious. I mean who doesn’t love bites made up of marinated steak, sweet potato, kimchi, quinoa, fried egg, avocado, and fresh herbs??

And of course I have to share a picture of our rotten pup…Rocko has started this new thing at Josh’s grandparents where he carries his water bowl into the living room when he thinks he needs more (side note: he was given water probably not more than 15 minutes prior)! It’s a good thing he’s cute!

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