How to Survive a Shitty Year

One of my favorite things I’ve posted on Pinterest is a saying that goes, “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.” I won’t explain myself or apologize for the title of this post. Sometimes an almost-cuss word just won’t do the trick.

This calendar year has been a tough one on my little family. We started out New Year strong with close friends at our house having a night of fun and laughter. It seems like things have been challenging ever since.

I started my new job in November of last year but didn’t really start traveling until January 2016. These kinds of careers, like all, have challenges on any family situation. We are adjusting to it in our own way and in our own time. I finally feel like we’re starting to hit a cadence with the travel schedule 3 months later.

My health has been concerning as well. With the extra travel and time on my feet and in unusual atmospheres I have been noticing more swelling, soreness and overall fatigue. After speaking with my amazing Rheumy we are pretty sure the increase in travel is what is taking the toll on my tired joints. More decisions to follow regarding this 2016 challenge.

Probably the biggest and hardest part of our year thus far has been losing our majestic boy, Denali. He was 185 lbs. of pure awesome and we miss the hell out of that big guy. Sometimes I have to stop myself from thinking of him to avoid bursting into uncontrollable sobbing in public places. I prefer to cry alone and in private, thank you very much. When my heart can type more I will have an entry on this specific topic and the grieving process of it all.

Our girl, Violet has had a tough time coping with her brother’s passing as well, which has added stress onto this year. She is the sweetest, most gentle soul you’ll ever meet in your life. I’m not sure what if feels like to lose a twin but she must be very lost. We are trying to do everything we can to help her heal.

We have lost human friends as well this year. You know the kind …the ones that make us question if we are good friends to those we let into our lives. Do we give enough time to the people who matter to us? The challenge here is that once we let someone in, we love him or her completely. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day to spread the amount of love, laughter and friendship around that we want to. In the end we’re left wondering if we loved enough.

Our other big stressor this year has been trying to figure out why we haven’t been able to start a family. We’re fairly private when it comes to things we’re currently dealing with. I’m not sure why. I think part of it is that we want to figure out how we really feel about our situation before opening ourselves up to suggestive advice or emotions of others. We realize there are many who want to be there for us but in the early phases and stages of things unfortunately that kind of “love” hurts us and doesn’t help us.

Probably the biggest stressor is helping to care for one of my family members in their time of need. There is no avoiding the situation and no ignoring it. Someone has to take the reins and help share the load. Even though it is out of love it does add stress to take care of others.

A laundry list of stressors… Even with the long list and short explanations I gave it still pails in comparison to what others are going through this year. Someone very close to me asked my husband recently what I meant when I said, “It’s been a tough year.”   Although this person had full knowledge of all of the struggles we were going through their personal challenges were, to them, more center stage than what we were going through. Although it hurt my feelings a bit I came to realize that I couldn’t expect people to put our issues before their own.

So, you might ask, “How do I get through a shitty year, Christi?” Well, I’ll tell you what I know to be helping me cope so far. If I think of any more I’ll keep adding to this post.

  1. Rely on your support system. They said they wanted to be there for you. Pick something they can listen to you talk about or something they can do for you.
  2. Find an escape…or two…or three. Make sure you have mechanisms in place to help you take your mind off of all the things that are happening around you. It might be music, movies, reading, yoga, mediation or gaming. Whatever it is do it in healthy amounts not to avoid dealing with your situations but to give your mind a mental break from them every now and then.
  3. Eat Right. If you succumb to the emotional eating habits of your 13-year-old self for all of the months that your stressor is in your life you’ve just added another stressor. Congratulations if you wanted to feel worse. Shame on you if you didn’t. Allow yourself indulgences. They’re important. Don’t down a carton of ice cream every other night and expect to have your mind, body or self-esteem feel good in the morning.
  4. Don’t Self-Medicate. It is important to go through all of the emotional stages of whatever you’re going through. They’re not fun. They don’t feel good all of the time. If you don’t feel it now day by day you will feel it all at once some day.
  5. Find a way to laugh. Laughing is healing. That’s all I have to say about that.
  6. Remove the negative. Hard times have a way of exposing relationships for what they truly are. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship (intimate, friend or otherwise) it might be time to examine what should be done. Although it might add a stressor to your life it is better to deal with it and be free than to put up with something that isn’t going to help you heal.
  7. Learn to say no. There are times you need to be more selfish with your time and your energy. When you have a personal situation going on, learn how to say no to others who need your time and attention. You’re of no use to anyone if you aren’t in good shape yourself.

That’s all for now.  Good luck to you.  I’ll see you out there…

xoxo,

Christi

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Taking the Scenic Route

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Over the past few years as I’ve been getting to know my husband I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned about myself and how I want to be. I was thinking about all of the things he’s taught me while we headed out and about the other evening.

You see, I am a control freak who loves to pack as much into one trip as humanly possible. I am the person you’ll find with arms full of crap hauling more than I should to make less trips. I love to find the most efficient way of doing things and in the quickest amount of time. Some call it a sickness, I call it a gift.

This particular evening his idea was to sweeten our time together with a trip to our amazing local ice cream shop. True to form, I threw in an added step of taking our dogs to the newly opened dog park. As he often does with my scheming, he agreed with effortless calm. And, off we went.

While we were driving away from the ice cream shop (he had an Oreo or cookie dough shake – I can’t remember which and I had huckleberry ice cream) I started wondering, as I often do, why he wasn’t taking the most direct and quickest route to the new dog park. It wasn’t just indirect; we were headed in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to go.

He must be developing a spidey sense of what I’m thinking because he’s getting better and better at anticipating my comments, questions or remarks. Within an instant of me swallowing my bite of ice cream in preparation to ask “Where are we going?” he turned to me and said “I’m taking the scenic route.” It impressed me that he headed me off on the topic at my thought process and knew exactly what I wanted to hear. I mean, who does that?

I spent the next several minutes becoming annoyed with the inefficiency of our route and the amount of time we would waste taking it. Then, it hit me. Who freaking cares? Why was I in such a hurry to spend quality time with my family in a different way than I had previously planned in my head? Did it matter that we spent more time together in the car taking a scenic drive? Does it matter where and how you get your quality time in? The answer, in case you haven’t figured it out yet is: No. It does not.

I shamed myself a bit over my initial reaction. I have always reacted this way when someone isn’t doing exactly what I thought the “best” way. It’s stupid and selfish, I know. Then I decided that there’s a reason why we surround ourselves with others. It isn’t to have people that think and act exactly as we do, it’s to have influences to help us continue growing and learning. Enter my husband stage right.

He teaches me patience, calmness, forgiveness, kindness and most importantly on this night, he taught me to enjoy the scenic route. After I accepted his proposal to wander off my almighty course I relaxed and settled in. As he drove, I watched the sun kiss and hug its way through the buildings and the trees. I watched the people we passed. I noticed the homes we drove by and beheld their exterior design. I enjoyed my aimless meandering in my own mind. In the end, I enjoyed every single second of my renewed perspective on our current path.

I’ve thought about that night for several days now. It makes me wonder what other paths I put myself on that should have been scenic routes instead. It’s something I will try to keep in mind as I move forward with all decisions in life. Since it is against my nature I know I will struggle. Luckily, I have a wonderful partner who compliments my personality with his. Lead on my handsome wanderer…lead on.

xoxo,

Christi

  • I had THE best southwest chicken salad for lunch. Yum!
  • I’m throwing a friend an 80’s bachelorette party on Saturday. I’m dreaming of all the makeup looks I can put together. 🙂
  • For Labor Day we’re going out to the lake with my mom’s side of the family. I’m so excited to spend the day with them. I’m very ready for a long weekend!
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Back in the Groove

Hola!  Let’s start with an easy question such as “Where have I been?”  The answer is EVERYWHERE!!

Chris and I have survived some of life’s most challenging and stressful events over the last few months.  We moved into the new house one at a time.  I started a new full-time job.  Our boy doggie, Denali, had ACL repair surgery on his knee and has been recovering.  We finalized our wedding plans and got hitched at the most amazing and love-filled ceremony ever.  We just returned from our honeymoon to Cancun late Monday night.  We’ve been blessed with so many exciting things in a short amount of time and now we’re trying to process it all.

If you’re still reading, I thank you for your loyal following.

Over the next few weeks we’ll find our new rhythm here at our house and I hope to get back on a constant posting and filming schedule. One thing I learned for absolute certain is that it is OKAY not to do everything all of the time.  I set goals for blogging that I was truly unable to fulfill during the last few months.  And you know what?!  It’s OKAY.  I give myself the permission to not dwell on over dreaming.  Be sure to give yourself a break as often as you give others theirs.

Stay tuned!!

xoxo,

Christi

  • Chris and I are working through “House of Cards” on Netflix.
  • Denali went upstairs for the first time in 7 weeks today.  It was a special field trip for him. You could almost see him smiling.
  • I have married the most amazing man.  I can’t stop looking at him thinking it’s a dream.  <3
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Animal Therapy

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Every season after the holidays are over I experience a bit of the January blues.  Its similar to a sugar or caffeine crash after a noon binge.  There are far less things to do, people to please, presents to shop for and overall happiness in everyone you greet.  I know the holidays are a stressful time but I often miss the rush and over scheduling part of the season.  I know…I’m crazy.

Most of the time when I’m feeling blue or sad I end up snuggling with my fury kids.  These dogs; these massive and beautiful creatures have a way of lifting my spirits regardless of the mood I’m in.  I know I’m closer to my animals than a lot of people are.  I realize some people are allergic.  I really feel bad for those folks.  I’m a total animal lover and rely on them heavily when I need a pick-me-up.

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Regardless of what you’re going through this January or at any stage of your life its important to lean on those that help you refocus and regain the love for life you usually have.  One hug on the neck of these gentle giants and I instantly feel better.  There have been many times where I’ve kept pushing through for them because they need me.  Being needed is such a driver for getting through the hard days.

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Besides…who couldn’t love these majestic faces?  I’m honored to be their mom and I truly believe they became my fury kids because someone knew I would need them by my side through my RA and life journey.  So hug a dog, a kitty, a bunny or a friend.  Then get out there and enjoy the day…

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Christi

  • I have a chill running through me today.  It’s a sweater and hot tea kind of day.
  • I found a lady’s wallet in an empty shopping cart in the parking lot today.  I called her, met her and got her wallet back to her.  I’m thankful it was me and not someone with bad intentions!
  • I can’t wait until Chris moves in!  I just love all of the time we get to spend together.  <3

 

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Land of the LIVING: 2014 Year In Review

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Thanks for joining me for my year in review.  A lot has happened this year and I think it’s important to remember all of the good AND bad things from the past year and reflect on all of them.  

Challenges

  1. Losing loved family and friends. 
  2. Being laid off
  3. Losing health insurance (see #2)
  4. Denali’s torn ACL

Blessings

  1. Moved back to my hometown
  2. Being laid off
  3. Traveling to London, Ireland, Stonehendge, Alaska, Montana and Nashville
  4. Getting engaged <3
  5. Moving into the new house
  6. Holidays with my families
  7. New contract job opportunities
  8. Actively used my gym membership (and LOVED it!)
  9. Lived as fully as possible

The majority of my year can be summed up by referencing the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The main character, Walter, redefines himself through a series of events.  In the end, being forced to examine himself and his life outside of what he’s known for 16 plus years was the best possible thing for Walter to finally start living the life he was destined for.  Part of me loves this movie for its amazing representation of true Wanderlust.  Most of me loves this movie for helping me make the choice to take a lay-off in the early summer and return my life, actions and decisions to not only myself, but my love, my family and my friends.  Its all too easy to get busy with life that we forget how to LIVE.  I am not perfect at it yet but I know I’ve never been happier (and more poor) than I am at the end of this year.

I had the chance to take stock of what truly matters to me in this life.  I had a glimpse that few get and an opportunity to make the changes I needed to save my life for LIVING.  My goal for 2015 is to continue to take a look at the most important parts of my life and spend my energy there.

A few years ago I finally realized and understood that not everyone is granted the same amount of time on this earth.  Far too many are taken away from us too young.  I vowed then and there to not speak in vain of any birthday, revolution or milestone that I may reach or surpass.  It’s an amazing thing to feel what these words mean:  Every day is a gift.  And it truly, truly is.

May you chose to LIVE in 2015.

xo,

Christi

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland

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I took the dogs for a walk the other day at a local park.  It had been foggy the night before so the overnight freezing temperatures coated everything in a beautiful frost.  I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures.

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While we walked I saw Violet itching to break out into a full sprint and play until she dropped.  She’s always been the more active pup of the two.  This year, however its been a bit different.  Denali has a confirmed tear in his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in his back left knee.  He’s been hobbling around for a while but the vet confirmed the tear last week.  He will need surgery and 12 weeks of recovery to get back to a working knee.

As we walked at the park that day I saw him happy but working hard for each stride and step.  I could see Violet’s excitement to play with her brother and run and eat snow…but Denali couldn’t keep up.  He knew he was limited and needed to take it easy.

It made me think about how many times I’ve been with others who wanted to run ahead and put in a full force effort and I just wasn’t able to.  I flashed back to being with Chris in Alaska and trying to climb a trail and having a very hard time.  You know what though?  He waited.  Every.  Time.  He took care of me.  He asked if I needed breaks.  Although I encouraged him to go ahead without me he said no.  He told me he’d rather wait with me than be hiking up without me.

For some reason that day Violet seemed to finally understand that Denali couldn’t run and play with her.  So, she walked with him.  Sure she’d run ahead just a bit but she always came back to check on him.

In this season of holidays I find myself ever more thankful for all of those who stand by my side and support me when I can’t keep up or when I’m down on my luck.  Without them stopping to take breaks and take care of me I’d be a lot worse off.  I know I’m lucky and blessed.  I want you to know I’m also so incredibly thankful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

xo,

Christi

  • There’s a killer storm trying to roll in.  The wind is just blowing like crazy out there.
  • I’m preparing to host for Christmas.  My favorite part is preparing to host for my furry guests too.  🙂
  • I think it’s time for something warm to drink.  That wind is making me feel cold even though I’m inside!
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Home Sweet Home

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Hello again!  My apologies for being gone for several weeks.  I am finally settled into our new home, decorated for Christmas and ready to get back to full-time work.  In the meantime I thought I’d share with you some quick snapshots of the house decor at this point.  I’ll get more posts up now through the end of the year and continue to show more and more of the house.

The picture above is of the decorations on my dinning room table.  For some reason every single berry ornament/decor I have for Christmas has been sheered off during their storage this past year.  I suspect its due to a severely disgusting infestation of mice at my last rental house.  All I’ll say is I’m so incredibly thankful I moved!
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I like to recycle my 3-wick Bath & Body Works candle containers and use them for cactus or succulent planters.  It’s a quick and easy way to up-cycle while adding some greenery to your space.  This view is looking out onto the creek from our kitchen window.

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This adorable tree is still holding its berries which provides a beautiful contrast during the snow.  This view is looking down on the tree from our upper balcony.
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I love how this palm plant that we graciously accepted from Chris’ grandma’s funeral plays into the wood blinds and Christmas greenery that we used on top of the curtain rods.  We haven’t decided on decor for each room as of this post so we chose to not put up many curtains or wall decor until after the holidays.

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My moment of panic during the unpacking process came when I could not find my beloved Crosley Record Player that Chris gave me for my birthday this year.  I finally remembered our decision I discussed above to not put up regular decor in the living room until after Christmas was taken down.  This gem was at the bottom of the living room decor box I stored away.  I was so incredibly relieved to find it and get it set up.  Having several Christmas albums has made this season even more special.  (Please excuse my Wii cords in the background.)

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And finally for today I’ll share with you the first glance out my office/craft room window upstairs.  It snowed a little last night and re-froze the creek behind the house.  Our property looks over the creek and the empty un-developed land between our Recreation Center and the college in our town.  With the two complexes owning the land behind us the chance of anyone developing immediately behind our house is very remote.  For now we are enjoying the different view on town and watching the deer and antelope walk along the creekside.

Stay tuned for more posts coming soon.  Thank you for your patience during the move!

xoxo,

Christi

  • If you haven’t heard of it already be sure to check out Darling Magazine.  It is my new obsession and is completely ad-free.
  • My mom gave me the Starbucks advent calendar this year for our annual Thanksgiving/Trim The Tree present.  I love this magnetic set.  I can refill it each year!
  • The puppies are LOVING the new house.  They had the usual amount of anxiety about the move but they are enjoying the larger space and view from the back yard.
  • 9 more days until Christmas!  I love this season so much but I’m always sad to see the countdown get smaller.
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Vinyl Obsessed

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My vinyl obsession continues.  Yes those are Christmas albums you see here.  What?!  I am preparing for the holidays.  🙂

Truly, though…my grandparents called me one summer evening this year and asked if I would like a box of older vinyl records from my great aunt’s house.  I immediately said yes without knowing what was included in the inventory.  My parents then brought them back  after a trip to see Grandma & Grandpa.  When I picked them up I was so excited to go through and see what treasures had just been gifted to me.  Among the many I found around 8-9 Christmas albums and a Soundtrack of Oklahoma!

So, you see, I’ve been waiting all summer and fall to play these Christmas records to see if they’re any good or if I need to get rid of them or turn them into crafts.  So far they have all been amazing!  It’s like listening to your favorite Christmas song on an old victrola.  Somehow I’m transported back to being 10 years old and listening to Christmas music in my pi’s and socks.

I had purchased a few inexpensive Christmas albums also from my local Hasting’s store.  They carry drawers and drawers of used vinyl records.  You have to spend some time but you’ll find some treasures buried among the crud.

I don’t yet know which one my favorite is but I’m hoping by the end of the Christmas season to know for certain.  I guess I’ll have to keep playing them until I have a definitive winner.

Here are a few of my favorite album covers:

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I love this one that looks like a cross stitch piece.  How telling of the time to make it look like a popular crafting technique.

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I also really like this one with the reindeer.  Anyone who knows me well might guess that I like it because of the stars that are incorporated into the design.  They may be right.  I think I also just like reindeer at Christmastime.

In addition to the holiday music I’ve been listening to I finally got a chance to listen to two very special records that I found a few months ago at an antique store close to my hometown.  My mom, sis and I went for the day to a neighboring town to visit a few of our favorite shops.  When I came across these fun albums my mind immediately entered a daydream of sitting in front of the record player with my future kids while they listened intently to the story being told.  (Have I mentioned I’m a bit of a daydreamer?)

Drumroll please….I bought The Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan albums that day.  They both had the vinyl included.  Each of them have a story book within them, however both are missing pages.  I was hopeful the record would make up the deficit and I wasn’t disappointed!

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By the time I finished listening to both of these records I was transported back to being a kid again.  It must be something about this time of year that does that to me.  🙂

xoxo,

Christi

  • Tonight my Dad is taking me to see the comedian Paula Poundstone.  I’m very excited!  I listen to her often on my favorite radio show, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”.
  • I’m trying out a new purple lipstick.  I’m loving it worn a bit sheered out.  It is a Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless.
  • It’s been in the negative temperatures here for many days in a row.  I finally broke the pups out of this house and let them run around at the park.  They loved it!
  • Our engagement picture session is tomorrow!!  I can’t wait to start this process with my main squeeze.  So in love…
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Autumn Turns Into Winter



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This past weekend a long-time friend of mine laid her father to rest.  I use the term father in the meaning that he was her dad regardless of biology.  He was the one she looked to for strength and support growing up.  I am so deeply saddened by his loss for her.  It’s later in life when you truly start to dread the hurts of those you love and care about coming true for you as well.

I don’t consider myself a morbid person but I do think about losing my parents from time to time.  I have been blessed with 4 amazing parents who have been nothing but supportive and helpful in getting me this far in life.  I tear up thinking of the day when I have to say goodbye to any of them.

I was reminded of the transitions we go through in life today with the real first winter storm blowing through our community.  Yesterday was just another fall day but today is cold and snowy with dropping temperatures promised overnight.  There are so many times in our lives we go through changes and they’re not always for the better.  Sometimes things transition and our lives are forever changed; like the loss of our parents.

I have much to be thankful for as we move into this winter season but I did want to take a moment to think about those who have loved and lost and those who have given everything for us.  Veteran’s Day is tomorrow.  As a woman in love with a Veteran I am certain that no amount of thankful praise or love will ever explain to him how deep my gratitude goes for his sacrifice and service.  It’s a debt that can never be repaid and I will forever be thankful for him and all of the millions of others.

Allow yourself to experience the transitions in life.  They are here for all of us.  All of us have a season of love, grief, happiness and sorrow.  Allow it to develop and learn how to dress for the new season.  If you need a jacket of warm hugs make sure to surround yourself with those who can provide that comfort.  If you need rejoicing time please include people who will wholeheartedly rejoice right along side you.

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xoxo,

Christi

  • I love the change of seasons.  I love the beauty of freshly fallen snow and the mashing of two seasons together.
  • I admit it…I have Christmas music playing right now.  🙂
  • I’m so in love with my fiancé I can hardly contain my excitement to have found the partner I’ve longed for.
  • We had a date night the other night with one set of parents.  Never underestimate the fun you can have double-dating with your parents.  Love them!
  • The puppies are happy to be sleeping the days away when it gets colder.  Can’t say I blame them.  😉
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Fall Here

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The other day I took the dogs on a walk around one of our favorite city parks, we tested out some new camera equipment and enjoyed the amazing fall weather.  Here in Wyoming we aren’t often privy to such a wonderfully long fall.  Typically our summer ends on a hot note in August then we experience snow or frost the weekend of Labor Day weekend in September.  Then it’s cold and the leaves change fast and fall off right away.  There’s no time for picturesque walks, no transitional Fall outfits, a shortened season of PSLs (pumpkin spiced lattes) and a too early transition to peppermint mochas. Nnnnoooooo!!!!

Fall 2014 is different, however.  We’re well into October now and only this last week the brightest of the amber leaves have started to lose their crisp color and turn into a golden brown.  We really lucked out this year and I’m taking full advantage of it!  I get to wear shorts with tights and long-sleeved shirts and dresses with boots but no tights.  Who knew the Fall transition fashion is so versatile!

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I will continue to enjoy this amazing fall weather and let the pups run around all they can.  They’re loving the cool down and as always its so much fun to photograph them with great color contrast.

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Happy Fall y’all!

xoxo, 

Christi 

  • Wedding planning has commenced.  We have a lot to decide but at the end of the day I’ll be marrying my best friend and nothing is better than that!
  • I am currently surrounded by puppy snoring.  I have my two big snore hounds and my puppy nephew tonight as well. I am one happy dog-person.  🙂
  • You should now be able to subscribe to the blog directly and receive automatic updates.
  • Pumpkin chili is getting made tomorrow.  Eaten only by me but made tomorrow!  Lol.
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