#IRL

Well. I figure I should catch you up on my life and unexplained absence. This year has been full of ups and downs and will go down as both one of the greatest and also the worst year of my life. I don’t even know where to begin.

First, we finished our kitchen renovation just before the new year and have spent this year rearranging and beautifying the space. We are really loving the makeover and spend a lot of time in that space.

Also, we adopted the most precious pup, Jethro, in April. He was born January 31 and he’s an apricot standard poodle. He has the best personality. He loves us fiercely. He’s definitely daddy’s boy. He’s a protector and a love bug. He will bark loudly when he wants to warn us of “danger” but then will spend all afternoon spooning on the couch. We couldn’t ask for a better addition to our family.

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We built a shed for our backyard in the heat (and rain) of the summer. From scratch. I’m not kidding. Craig and I set the foundation, framed the walls, etc. It was a true labor of love. One day I hope to have a post on the process.

We went to Michigan to visit some good friends and went wine tasting around several wineries around Traverse City. Our favorite was Brys Estate. We highly recommend their Pinot Noir and my favorite was the Cab Franc. Then, in September, for Craig’s birthday, we went out to hike around the Olympic Peninsula. We did the Hoh River Trail and I lost 5 toenails from having terrible boots (didn’t know they were bad until about 10 miles in).

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Finally, we had some tragedy hit our family. My biological father passed away suddenly at the beginning of September. In the span of dinner with friends he had stopped breathing, entered the hospital, and then passed away. The doctors tell us it was a pulmonary embolism. It was very sudden and although he was not in good health none of us expected him to be gone so soon. It is especially hard on his parents, my loving grandparents, who in their early 80s have lost a child.

In addition, my step-father (and the man who raised me with my mother since I was 5 years of age) passed away suddenly on Halloween night. Again, a sudden and tragic and unexpected loss. Norman was in the backyard with friends when he just collapsed and was alive no longer. We did not have a chance to say goodbye. My sisters and I are finding the adjustment to life without him rather difficult. My mother is having the most difficult time of all, as one can imagine.

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Life is both wonderful and terrible right now. Every day I feel conflicting emotions. It still doesn’t seem real and yet it is. How can this be real life? How are we to manage it all? This holiday season is both a blessing and a yet reminder of our loss. I pray everyday for my mommy and for my sisters that we are somehow able to continue moving forward while keeping his memory alive. It is very hard.

So, that’s where I am right now. That’s what’s been happening with me and mine. I have more to say. More stories to share. But for now, I will wish you seasons greetings of love and happiness and great blessing upon your life. Hold your loved ones close tonight. I pray that you remember to cherish every moment you are given on this earth.

I’m hoping to really dive back into posting here on this blog. I like the journal aspect and since Craig and I are looking to try and get pregnant in 2015 I feel like this will be a good way to document the journey. I’d love for y’all to continue to follow along. Thanks for your support.

XO – Caron

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Ugly Holiday Sweaters

White Stag Women's Santa Christmas Sweater

This week we celebrated the holidays here at the office by having an ugly sweater party. Of course I went to Walmart to purchase mine. I mean, if Walmart can be counted on for anything it’s ugly crap. Don’t yell at me. You know it’s the truth. Here’s the deal… I really wrestled with my purchase because I felt like I was being ripped off. I mean, I don’t plan on wearing this outfit again and $15 seemed a bit much for one day. Plus, none of the stuff they had was really tacky enough and was just ugly. Which, yeah yeah, is the name of the party, I get it. However, I wanted something truly hideous and not just sad. I checked out several different websites and people had jacked up prices. The stuff selling on eBay was ridiculous. People were charging upwards of $30 not including shipping. I mean, the stuff on eBay was pretty spectacular, but I didn’t want to pay that much. I thought about making my own but that just wasn’t happening. I’m not super creative. SO, I went with the Walmart shirt. Decided against the traditional sweater route and instead bought a gingham shirt with penguins skiing. It’s pretty spectacular. I kind of look like I stepped out of a Country Christmas Song. Also, someone probably wears this outfit for real and not for fun.

White Stag Women's Reindeer Christmas SweaterThe Walmart trip itself took years off my life. It does that each visit. I seriously can’t handle it. All I could do was thank God over and over that I don’t have to shop there on a regular basis. I know! I sound like such a bitch. So sad. I’m obviously not a good person for thinking that, right? I mean, I seriously loathe going to Walmart. Like, I’ll do anything to avoid it. There’s always some dirty kid running around without shoes on and some mom taking up the whole aisle while yelling and beating her kid. Not to mention there’s little to no selection. I mean, sure they have salsa, but they have one kind. If you don’t like that kind that takes up two whole shelves than you’re out of luck. I may be a food snob but the few times I’ve tried to grocery shop at Walmart (my friends tell me they have better prices than anywhere else) I leave with only half my list covered. They never have the specific stuff I’m looking for and that frustrates me.

White Stag Women's Snowman Christmas Sweater VestSide note: my shirt is a size “small” which in Walmart world means size 4-6. Um, good try Walmart but this shirt I have on is way too big. It’s definitely an 8 or larger. I wear a size 4 petite top in real life and this shirt is at least two sizes too big. Sad. Just sad. I mean, they’re obviously catering to their clientele. I bet the folks that shop there are like, sweet, I’m a size small. Well, not sweet because that means I can’t fit into anything. I mean, what if I actually had to shop there because that’s all I could afford? I’d be wearing giant sacks each day. Not cool. I feel like all the people who are “normal sized” will give me crap for bitching about being tiny but it’s frustrating nonetheless. Don’t get me wrong. I get the whole Walmart thing. I get that some people love it and some people look past the crap and just see the deals and if I need a giant bottle of body wash for $2 I know where to go. However, it’s just not for me.

Women's Short Sleeve Penguins Christmas TeeSo what’s the point of this rant? Well, at the party I was thinking about all the folks who might have been offended. I mean, some of those folks probably had “ugly” holiday sweaters that they thought were awesome and wore outside of work and here we were making them feel bad about themselves. I don’t want to hurt peoples feelings. That wasn’t the point. Then again, at Halloween, people dress like rednecks and wear mullet wigs and stuff and no one thinks twice. I know some people personally who still sport a mullet hairdo so I wonder if they look at the people dressed up on Halloween and feel bad or if they don’t even think they look alike? You know? Like, “my hair is totally different and not at all mullet-like” when in actuality it’s exactly the same hideous hairstyle. I feel like people think I’m a horrible person when this was all supposed to just be fun times and not sad times. I’m sure there’s stuff that I wear that others think is horrendous so we’re even.

White Stag Women's Reindeer Christmas Sweater VestHopefully the folks out there wearing the applique holiday shirts and sweater-vests aren’t too offended. It’s all in good fun. Any of y’all that shop at Walmart, please don’t think I’m too much of a snob for my comments but, that place seriously skeeves me out. It’s really hard for me to make a trip there unless I absolutely have to. Plus, I had to go during the holiday season when all the crazies come out from hibernation and take over. I went at 6 pm on a Thursday night and it was PACKED. Hard to believe there’s a recession, amIright? Good news is that I’m actually thinking about wearing this ugly holiday shirt to a Christmas party Friday night just to get some more use out of it before I donate it to Goodwill. Happy holidays y’all!