The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


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Christmas has officially arrived at my house.  I am definitely not one of those “wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree” people.  When I lived across the country from my friends and family, I needed to do everything I could to make the place feel like home… so if putting my Christmas tree up as early as November 1 did that, so be it.  Here I try to wait until the weekend before Thanksgiving at least.

I did wait this year but then Christmas came with in with a loud, sparkly bang.  I’ll be sure to share pictures when it’s all done… Because I may have 2 large trees, 2 medium trees, and 2 small trees up but I’m still not really done.


I’m writing tonight because I’m in my happy place and I felt the need to share it with you, in case it might inspire others to slow down and just enjoy the season.

I’m propped up in my bed surrounded by a multitude of pillows.  (Doesn’t every single person need 4 pillows plus a body pillow all to themselves?)  I am covered with an oversize comforter, a small throw, and an afghan my sister made me for Christmas a few years ago.  The cats are of course snuggled up too, Lady Bug on my lap and Charlie under the covers with just her nose peeking out.

I’m wearing red and pink sparkly striped long underwear.  (Hot, I know…)

There’s a bowl of popcorn nestled next to me and I’m sipping a mug of steaming Rumchata hot cocoa between sentences, clutching it to warm my hands up since I just arrived at home on a very cold evening.

The house is quiet except for the occasional meow from one of the cats and my TV which is playing Love Actually, without a doubt my favorite holiday movie (not that I only watch it at Christmas).

The lights on the tree in my bedroom are glistening, a gentle reminder of the upcoming holidays full of light, peace, and promise.

Cheesy?  Sure.  Cliche?  Probably.

But this is my perfect evening after a long day and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.Signature Small

How my dad made me a feminist


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Last night while doing some late night driving, I was catching up on Fresh Air podcasts.  I’ve shared my love for podcasts in the past but it’s worth reiterating.  It’s like DVR for my TV… Discovering the joy of podcasts has been life changing for me.  I don’t enjoy listening to music while driving (mostly because it puts me to sleep and that’s a terrible idea when I’m behind the wheel) so podcasts are a perfect solution.  I feel much more informed about the world I’m living in and learn so many interesting things.

One of the episodes I listened to last night was an interview with Gloria Steinem.  I actually wasn’t looking forward to it because I heard Steinem speak while I was in college and couldn’t stand her.  I remember her coming across as self-righteous and angry.  It just rubbed me the wrong way.

Even if I don’t get behind some of the feminist leaders, I do consider myself a feminist.  I truly believe women and men should be treated equally… but, and I won’t get into it now, I hold the unpopular opinion that there shouldn’t be special treatment for either gender.

Anyway… back to the actual topic at hand.  Although that last paragraph wasn’t completely irrelevant.

As I listened to the interview, I found myself not hating her but not really feeling I could relate to her either.  The interview was about how she spent much of her childhood traveling around the country in a trailer because that’s what her father wanted to do.  She didn’t attend school most of the year until she was 10, doesn’t really remember how she learned how to read, and never learned basic math skills.

I felt sorry for her because it was clear her father didn’t support success, at least for her.

Whether that was because she was a girl or because he just kinda sucked, I don’t know.  She clearly thinks it’s because she was a girl.  I just didn’t get it.  I mean, I recognize that’s how she feels.  But – lucky for me – I simply couldn’t imagine a childhood like that.

I found myself being so incredibly thankful for my dad as I listened to Steinem talk.

Some of my fondest memories of him and I are of us laying on the floor as he used homemade flashcards to teach me to read.  I was 3.  And I vividly remember the cardboard squares where he had written word parts.  We’d lay there and rearrange them.  He allowed me to ask endless questions and learn how to find the answers.  We tried putting word parts together that just didn’t work and giggled as we came up with the “correct” answers.  There is no doubt in my mind that those hours we spent together were the single most influential part of my childhood.  I have grown into someone who questions everything, always looking for a better answer.  I know there aren’t always right or wrong answers and that it’s ok to experiment until you find something that fits.  Nevermind that I’ve been reading almost a book a day as long as I could remember.

Steinem also feels that her mom’s mental health issues were just a case of “patriarchy” – being held down by a husband (and society) who didn’t support her goals and dreams and only thought of himself.  Again, I am so lucky to not understand that at all.

My dad never once told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.  He never held me back because I wasn’t going to be good enough.  Never.  Not once.  In fact, the only thing I can really remember him putting his foot down and telling me I couldn’t ever do was get my belly button pierced when I was 16.

If anything, I’ve struggled to live up to him for most of my life… not because he expected too much and pushed me too hard.  Not in the least.  He has 100% supported me to make the right decisions for myself.  I always knew he’d support those decisions, whether it was to quit a great paying job to go back to school because I was miserable or it was to move halfway across the country to a new town where I knew no one (twice) or it was to buy a house all by myself.

Because I knew he knew I could do anything I put my mind to, I’ve never wanted to let him down.  He taught me so many things that many of my girl friends “can’t” do and never let me use being a girl as an excuse.

And that is why I am a feminist.  Not because I’ve been held back and have to fight against that.  Not because I feel some sort of oppression that must be overcome.

But because I was raised in a loving environment where I knew I would be supported when I set out to accomplish my dreams.  I always knew the sky was the limit as long as the sky was what I was aiming for.

And boy, have I reached for the moon and found myself among the stars.

It sounds vain to say I’m proud of myself but I am.  I am proud of the woman I’ve become.  I have encountered successful women who get there by holding others back and climbing on top of them.  And – seriously… correct me if I’m wrong – I am proud to not be one of them.  I like to think I find my success in boosting others up and helping them realize their potential.

That’s because I have learned from the best.

My parents weren’t always perfect but they were pretty darn close.  And while I’m incredibly close to my mom (who I know is reading this so please don’t take any of this the wrong way because you did all of the same things as Dad!), I’m so grateful to have been raised by a father who always made me feel like I could do anything.

If there were more dad’s out there like mine the women’s movement wouldn’t be a thing… it wouldn’t need to be.


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Amazing Things Monday! 10.26.15


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Every Friday I have great intentions to write a Favorite Things Friday post and then reality sinks in and I’m totally spent because it’s the end of a series of very long days and weeks and then it never happens.

So as I was laying in bed this morning not feeling like looking for a Motivational Monday quote and wanting to really just do a rundown of what’s been up, I realized… This is my blog and I can do what I want.  So without further ado, I introduce you to…

Amazing Things Monday

(Because why not, right?)

Hope my musing start your week off on a high note!

1. This weather!

One of my dearest friends and her four year old just moved in with me after relocating from Arizona.  So they aren’t loving this fall weather we’re having since they are used to it being 90 degrees still.  But I just have to say they are wrong.

I mean, come on.  It was almost 60 degrees yesterday.  And it’s the end of October.  No complaints from this girl!  We spent the afternoon putting away the patio furniture, pulling the very dead plants from the garden, and hauling leaves to the dump and it was gorgeous outside.  Couldn’t have picked a better day to work outside.  My parents are coming next weekend to help with a few more things and I’m a little afraid of how angry it’s going to be outside since we’ve been so lucky.

2. Life with a 4 Year Old

So there’s been some adjusting with the new roomies in the house, especially with the little one.  My house if kid friendly but definitely not kid proof.  I had to semi-finish the basement to give them some space to stay so we aren’t on top of each other.  The cats aren’t used to having people around all the time, much less one who asks about 50 times each night “What are your cats?” or “Why aren’t the cats playing?” or “What are the cats eating for dinner?” and on and on.

BUT… we are all thoroughly enjoying it.  Looking at my house through her eyes is like seeing it in a whole new light.  The cats are putting up with her just fine – in fact, I think Charlie secretly loves the extra attention.  Lady Bug mostly just seems exhausted but she’s put on a good show playing with hairbands and the laser light so I think she’ll survive.

The last week definitely hasn’t changed my mind about wanting to have a dozen kiddos of my own, but there is something to be set about hearing her little voice holler “Bye, Love you!” as she scurries out the door for daycare.

3. Babies

See my earlier comment about not wanting a dozen kiddos.  I mean, I don’t know if I want any kiddos.  I mostly don’t think I do.  BUT… my friends are popping kids out left and right and they are adorable.  I think we’re up to 12 babies born in the last week.  And while I don’t want to touch them when they’re that small because I would definitely break them and ruin them for life, it’s still pretty great.  I have so much faith in the future of this planet if my amazing friends raise their children the way I know they will.  We’re in good hands, folks.

4. Flannel

I know, I know.  I’m a child of the 90s for sure.  But I’m super stoked that I can get away with wearing flannel all weekend long and no one can say a thing about it.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I am obsessed with owning green and gold-ish colored clothes as a homage to my Packers.  I pretty much wear those colors all weekend long whether I’m wearing actual Packer gear or not.  Although this weekend was a bye weekend, it was no different.  I bought this flannel shirt on Friday and let me tell you… with a belt, some boots, and comfy leggings I was in flannel heaven.  It’s hard to see in the photo but it’s definitely black with green and yellow plaid.  (I did however comb my hair this weekend, unlike the girl in this photo.)



I know I’m crazy for saying this because it’s not even Halloween yet…  But I am so excited that we have less than 60 days left til Christmas.  I have been known to put my tree up the first weekend in November (don’t worry… I have it scheduled for the weekend before Thanksgiving this year) because I just can’t contain myself.  This year has the added bonus of it being my first Christmas in my new house so I plan to buy some new trees (yes plural) and get to switch out all of my decor to match the new place.  I can’t freaking wait.  I may be so excited that I was up til 1am pinning things on Pinterest for new decor ideas.  I think you’ll see a trend of sparkles, mixes of silver and gold, and small pops of muted color.  My ideas should match my house perfectly!

(Want to check out my Christmas board or any others?  Follow me on Pinterest! I’m relatively new to the whole pinning thing and I don’t know that I quite “get it” yet but I still binge once in a while.)

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