Tis the season!

Wrapping up one year and looking forward to the next. What an interesting process. I remember many years where I couldn’t wait for the fresh start that a new year would bring. Funny how optimistic I always am at this time of year considering I live in Wisconsin and the new year just means 4 more months of cold weather. 

This year however I am just truly thankful and blessed to have experienced all the days in this year so far. I’ve experienced so much growth in so many areas. 

This year marked 5 years of togetherness with my husband and 2 years of marriage. It has seriously flown by.  I’m so thankful for us and hope we continue to share many more trips around the sun together. 

I attended a life and business coaching group for 9 months out of the year that totally changed my perspective on many areas of my life. It’s helped me declutter, repriorotize, rediscover and challenge my thoughts and beliefs. 

I enjoyed my 2nd full year of consulting on my own. It’s been such a rewarding experience and opportunity to work on different projects with different people. Definitely a different kind of education. I’ve really started to appreciate and acknowledge what I can add to a team and project. Being my own cheerleader has been such a blessing. 

My step-son turned 14 and watching him grow and discover himself is something I’m thankful to be a part of every day. He’s such a blessing and gives me perspective and many learning experiences. 

We spent the year focusing on our finances and now find ourselves debt free (except for our home). This is such a freeing accomplishment and it takes so much pressure of our career choices and really allows us to enjoy our 9-5’s more since we don’t feel trapped by them. 

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in August. An inner ear disorder that causes ear ringing, vertigo and nausea. By cutting out caffeine and sodium I’ve managed to control the symptoms (and my anxiety around the sparadic nature of the episodes). So, yay. 

I traveled to Napa (CA), Orlando (FL), Mexico, Lake Placid (NY), Door County (WI), Rockville (MD) and of course Cleveland and Cincinnati for work. I enjoyed every trip and was lucky enough to spend time with great people and make wonderful memories at each location. Not to mention some good food too. 

We took down a wall (thanks HGTV for the words “open concept”, repainted most of the main level, filled a dumpster of crap to declutter the house, and put in new vinyl wood planks instead of the old carpet. 

I started and cancelled a wine club. I started and cancelled a fitness subscription. I gave up giving up Nutella. 

And so many other wonderful things… with wonderful people. 

With only two weeks left in this year, I have nothing but gratitude and love for 2016 and can only imagine what 2017 will bring… and I look forward to finding out. 

Happy 2014!

This coming year is going to be full of such love, laughter and family!  … and stress, panic and financial deprivation.  Sounds fun!  I got to spend New Years day with my sister and the nieces while Jason worked tirelessly.  Spending the first day of a new year with some of the most precious people in my life truly warmed my heart!  It makes me smile every time I think of it.  Those girls can love you to death one minute and poop on you the next… literally and figuratively.  Makes you really appreciate the times when they are smiling or sleep, and especially if they are doing both at the same time!

Throughout my years of adult hood I have known that I leaned more towards not having children.  I find my nieces to be a good litmus test.  It is truly a mystery to me how I can love my nieces unconditionally and with a great awe… and yet still have no desire to make my own.  Kinda like enjoying fine wine.  I truly enjoy it in the moment, but have very little ambition to go out, plant grapes… and wait for a few years to see the literal fruits of my labor.  I also think that it helps me to be able to focus on Vince and our semi-functional family with all my heart.

On a totally unrelated side note, I’ve been watching about 87 hours of the series “Bones” a week.  I feel like I have only dabbled with this show before, and now I may be on the edge of slight obsession.  I find that I spend every episode waiting for Bones and Booth just get together already.  I’m almost to the end of season 4 out of 8.  Jason is a little worried I might be melting my brain.  I feel like that is an astute observation.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m watching it now :)

On the wedding front, I just ordered some fun colored plastic utensils for the wedding.  I don’t know why, but that accomplishment makes me very excited.  I’m just waiting for the mail man to come out and deliver my fancy disposable dinner-ware.  I am hoping that I can somehow serve a buffet as non-buffet-esque as possible.  I find my greatest weakness in wedding planning is that I find it a constant struggle to reign myself in financially.  I want the day to be so thoughtful for everyone that attends. I know it is in the country and not that close to people’s homes. I don’t want anyone to feel like the day was less than the perfect use of their precious time that day.  Silly, I know. They say you should focus on what you want, but what do you do when what you want is for everyone else to have a fantastic day?  Probably accept the fact that I can’t control what other people feel about our big day… blah blah blah.  ;)  Easier said than done, my friends.

Craft-tacular find… Paint pens.  I am quite sure that I am late to this trend, however it was literally like an episode of glee when I opened up the pack of paint pens and first brushed them across a paint glass.  Your welcome and/or I’m sorry for what will surely be an influx of christmas/birthday and wedding presents that are painted.  With love.  Maybe with some wine too.  Mostly love.

Braces/Invisalign.  I just put aligner 40 out of 47 into my mouth yesterday.  That sounds damn close to the end to me!  For the most part, I am totally adapt to having them in.  I can take them out and put them in during a meeting and people don’t even notice.  Being 80 weeks into braces, most people still don’t notice that I have them in when we are talking.  It feels good to not be ashamed or embarrassed of my smile at the moment, especially when I have so much to smile for!  Totally worth the investment.

In short, pretty much an awesome start to the year 2014!

A few days shy of a new year!

And oh what a year it has been!

On Love ~

On January 9th of this year, Jason and I got engaged.  He asked if I would be his (forever) and I happily agreed!  Two weeks later I found my wedding dress.  Shortly there-after we set a date and snagged our wedding venue.  My Aunt graciously agreed to take our wedding photos.  We found a great local DJ and a local Caterer.

I was talking to my sister the other night and we were talking about how hard it is to find love.  Not that love hides in murky corners in the Bronx, it is the searching for it that can feel like an epic odyssey at times.  It boiled down to “it (looking for love) sucks until it doesn’t (when you find love)”.  It took me a long time (30 years as a point in fact) to find the man for me.  Okay, so I wasn’t actually looking when I was in diapers, but you get what I mean.

I remember phone conversations with my Mom where I asked if I had an ugly wart on the back of my head because I just could not find someone (anyone) to be with.  The saying goes something like, “love will come when you aren’t looking for it”.  I tried like I wasn’t looking, really… really… really hard.  Which, of course meant I was in fact looking.

Finding Jason was awesome, just thinking of all the stars that had to align in order for us to meet makes me happy.  It hasn’t always been easy, it hasn’t always been pretty, but it has always been worth it.  Never a single regret.  Never a doubt about a future.  And that is a pretty awesome :)

On Career ~

I got a promotion.  I became a salaried employee for the first time in my life.  I worked upwards of 80 hours some weeks.  As a company, we upgraded to a new software and implemented it faster than any other customer had.  I found myself in a new department, new boss and new cubicle.  I feel like I’m at a pivotal point in my career.  I’ve found a niche, I can honestly call myself an expert at what I do.  I’ve never felt so competent and valuable.  It’s a great feeling.  I’m excited to see where these skills take me in my career.

My challenge is to learn how to keep perspective on what is important.  How to communicate professionally (instead of personally) and how to be taken seriously as a professional/expert in my area.  As my Dad likes to remind me (and other coworkers), I like to talk people to death.  I feel like if I just assault them with words, they will eventually bend to my will and agree with me. Apparently I can be a bit of a word bully when it comes to email.  I want to be someone that people want to work with, want to strategize with and trust.  In order to do those things, I have to mature a bit in my communications styles at work.  Which is admittedly hard… but I’ll get there!

On Family ~

We lost an Aunt.  The first of my Dad’s siblings to leave this physical world.  It was a tough time for everyone.  It is never (never ever) easy to see your Dad cry.  I believe it really gave everyone a sharp reminder of how valuable and short, precious and beautiful life is.  My nieces are as beautiful as ever. My sister is raising them to be quite the little (chocolate-loving) ladies!  I love them.

I’m thankful for the family in my life.  We are all such beautiful souls.  I don’t question being loved, whole-heartedly and without judgment.  Becoming and Aunt myself really opened my eyes to the love my Aunts have for me.  It gave me a brief glimpse into motherhood and the knowledge that even though I love my aunts, the love OF an Aunt (much like that of a mother) is so permanent, real and sweet.

Our little family is growing, learning and loving every day.  Jason’s son is 11 years old now.  He is damn smart, funny and full of energy.  Reminds me of the notes my parents used to get: “Ingrid (Vincent) is very nice and smart, if only she/he would sit in their seat and be quiet” :) Jason will turn the big 4-0 in March!  I’ll turn 33 in April and have found my 30’s to be some of the great years of my life so far (and I’ve got more to go!).

On happiness ~

As the days, moments and memories pass, I find it more and more apparent that happiness doesn’t just happen in peoples lives.  It is a result of someone who makes conscious efforts in their lives to set themselves up for random showers of happiness.  If you practice positivity, kindness, faith, sincerity and do so proactively… happiness will be easier to find, quantify and hold on to.  I think striving to be a better person is a good thing, and something I pride myself on… however I am also finding that somewhere in there I need to stop and be okay with who I am in that moment.  Otherwise I feel like I’m constantly getting there… and not enjoying being there.

On 2014 ~

I’m excited for a new year.  I’m not as excited about the next few months of winter, layers and layers of clothes and snow.  I’m excited for the planning of the wedding to ramp up.  I’m excited to reach a moment of calm at work (maybe March?).  I’m excited for a honeymoon/trip of a lifetime.  I’m excited for a couple of good friend’s weddings this year also.  I’m hoping to eat slightly less chocolate.  I’m excited for spring, flowers, birthdays, laughter, life… just everything.

So, cheers to everything and finding our happiness!

I obviously cannot be trusted…

It has come to my attention that I obviously cannot be trusted with:

– Cheese

– Glitter

– Chocolate

– Anything requiring patience

– Any task that has to do with being near, capturing or killing an insect (ga-ross)

– Your children if left unattended with me for an inordinate amount of time.

– Stay stagnant for long… hello purple hair, new workouts, new nail colors, new crafting.

 

I can however be trusted with:

– Other people’s hearts

… with the caveat that I don’t mean their bleeding heart out of their chest all indiana jones style… i can’t do anything with that.  if you give it to me, i will drop it and be completely repulsed… which might be the opposite affect you were going for.  I also only can be trusted with the heart that is given AND accepted by me.  Don’t just go throwing your feeling heart at me.  Unless I’ve got my heart-catchin’ glove on and all willing and ready… don’t throw it…. it will end similar to the indiana jones example.

– Deadlines

– To be on time

– To be honest, sometimes too honest… a time or two maybe referred to as brutally honest.  But honest none-the-less.

– To speak my mind. Over and over… until I really think you get it.

– To dance.  I’m totally going to be one of those old ladies that dances to inappropriate songs for her age… and loving every second.

– To be looking for ways to constantly grow and learn and love and live and believe and cherish and hope… and. and. and.

– To likely get to a place where I have enough wedding decorations to outfit a few of my friends houses with new decorations when I’m done :)  And I’m only slightly ashamed of it because I have made so much of it on my own, with donations from friends and with excitement.

– To get goosebumps at tear up at happy endings, beginnings and middles.

– To love my fiance, Jason.  For now, tomorrow and every other day we are blessed to share!  Till death or zombie apocalypse do we part. (fingers crossed — for being together forever, not zombie apocalypse).

Snapshots of Summer 2013