Oh fall is here. This is my absolute favorite season. Pumpkin everything everywhere. Months of decorations, foods, crafts, etc. to celebrate the holidays that line up by the month (you should see the list of upcoming posts I have planned). I absolutely love the crisp air, cardigans for layering (every year I seem to purchase another layering piece to make Jon question my sanity), pumpkin picking, spiced cider, cozy flannel, did I mention pumpkins? You get it, fall is my jam.
I will say I get nostalgic for New England life even more around this time of the year because it is the reason I love fall so much (the featured picture above is our last New England apple picking trip in 2013 before our move out west). I love the Bay Area, but fall out here is… different. We used to go apple picking several times a year (yes, I know California has them too, but it isn’t the same and there’s no convincing me otherwise at this point.). Even my 45-minute commute to work was happier with the fall foliage… I miss that. If you’re out in New England, please pick an extra apple for me at the orchards. Or rather, please eat a warm, freshly-baked apple cider or pumpkin doughnut while you walk around the orchard (alright, I’m booking my plane ticket for a trip out east right now).
I’m calling September my discovery month. Oh what a month it’s been. I’ve started a lot of new adventures (I did not intend on them happening all this month by the way). After you read this, you’re really going to doubt the fact when I say I’m a planner. You’ll probably ask ‘why did you decide to do all of this in the same month?’… I am asking myself this every day. It’s been a busy month. But that’s life sometimes and I’ve embraced this month as one where I have discovered a lot about myself in such a short period of time.
One of my biggest goals was taking a step forward with this blog. When I published that first post, there was a sense of relief I had after hitting ‘publish’. I did it. I jumped the hurdle. Things would be a breeze now because I could just write. Wrong. Now I feel like my list of to-dos has not just doubled, but tripled! There is so much I want to do and perfect. I want to learn how to utilize my DSLR camera to the best of its ability. I want to make sure my social media pages are all set up so I can have more means to communicate with my readers, both current (thank you!) and future. I literally keep thinking of future blog post ideas and adding them to my huge list. I’m learning all of the back end components of blogging. It’s really exciting to me, but it’s definitely a lot.
I’m also quickly realizing if I keep being the perfectionist I am and if I try to do it all at once, nothing will get done or even posted (case in point the last two weeks). I’m learning as I go, experimenting with new ideas, tactics, etc. but also already found myself putting my blog to the side a bit to take care of other things. This has made me really frustrated these past few weeks because this is something I want to do. This is something I need to do for me.
So here I am, making the commitment now to do it regularly. I’m working on scheduling a set number of hours each week to blog. Even if this means other things get set aside for the moment. Even at the writing of this post, my kitchen sink is full of dishes and it’s nap time/”quiet time” in our house, but instead of cleaning those up, I’m now taking care of my “third baby”. I’m happy with this choice.
To add to my new adventures this month, I started a workout training program that I physically go to two mornings a week. I now get up at 5am to make this happen (I would definitely describe myself as a morning person, but this has been a total game changer). There is also a nutrition component where I’m actually logging everything I eat or drink. I’ve been meal planning for the past year and half or so, but this is a very different and revealing experience for me. I am also setting realistic at-home workout goals.
I just finished my second full week and am already motivated to make this a regular part of my lifestyle. How exactly I’m going to do this in the long run? I’m still figuring that part out. But hey, I feel good. I’m already toning some muscles I had no idea existed and have lost two pounds in the process which was a big surprise to me. I definitely plan on talking about my experience with creating a healthier life style… remember that huge list? It’s on that.
We are also having a big garage sale with one of my friends this weekend, which means we are in major purge mode in our house. We have really been wanting to try and live a minimal lifestyle for a while now. Kids bring clutter and I’ll be honest, it’s driving us (okay, really me) nuts. We’ve done so much to change the atmosphere of our house these past few weeks (yes, this is also on my future post list too…). I’ve already “finished” Mila’s room and what a difference it’s made for our family. She already utilizes her room and her things so much more effectively and it’s just more calming to not see a bunch of stuff everywhere. Now our bedroom and garage are more cluttered than anything in anticipation of the sale, but I just take a deep breath each time I enter these rooms knowing it’s just temporary.
While I’ve been counting down the days this month to get to this sale so we can clear those cluttered rooms, I’m emotional because my friend that we are doing the garage sale with is moving out of the area next weekend. She quickly became one of my closest friends since we moved here. I met her two summers ago at the park. Our kids are ten days apart and we just clicked. Now our kids are best friends and it’s been incredible watching them grow through toddler-hood together and watching our own bond grow. Words cannot describe how happy I am for her new adventure, but I’m going to miss having her be just a 15-minute drive away. Thank goodness for Face Time. And Mila announced at dinner the other night that she is planning a trip to Hawaii for all of us to take so we can see each other again…sounds like the perfect reunion. Three year olds sometimes have the best ideas.
On top of all of this, I’m starting a one day a week co-op preschool with Tyler, volunteering when I can in Mila’s classroom (her school encourages it which makes the teacher in me pretty happy to step back in a classroom again), I’m staying active in our local parents club and doing whatever I can to maintain a healthy social lifestyle with my friends. I’m not letting myself feel guilty for doing some things for me, since this has been something I’ve struggled with since staying at home the past three years.
Now, I know I’m not the only person who has a lot on their plate. We are all busy, I totally know that. The only reason I mention all of this is because, for me, life looked a lot different exactly one year ago. I was officially diagnosed with postpartum anxiety this time one year ago. Let me just be honest, I was not in a very good place. This always surprises people that know me to hear because I became pretty good at hiding it on bad days, or they just caught me on better days.
The reality was I spent the majority of days with high levels of anxiety about anything and everything and therefore crying or having some type of breakdown behind closed doors. I even made the extra effort to ensure my daughter never saw my tears when I felt them coming on, which ironically created more anxiety and guilt. It was a terrible cycle. I did not know how I was going to effectively take care of two kids, especially when our parents’ time out here to help and support us with a new baby had come to an end. I didn’t have any motivation to do anything for myself. I was going through major feeding issues with Tyler (I do plan to share my experience with this down the road but it’s still an emotionally-fresh topic for me, it’s even difficult to write about at this point). I felt overly anxious every single day, so alone and so very isolated.
If you would have told me last year that I would be in this position now where I’m staying active, both physically and mentally, I wouldn’t have believed you. Just in this last year, I’ve met more people who have endured similar struggles and been able to talk to others about my experiences in order to realize I wasn’t living in isolation. Even some of my friends had similar experiences to mine and I had no idea.
My support group encouraged me to get involved in something since I had debated and eventually decided to not go back to work full time. This is how I joined our local parents club and since the beginning of the year, I have been serving as a board member. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet even more people through this experience and am excited to build on some of the new friendships I’ve made and experiences my family has had.
I just can’t believe that in this past year, by allowing myself to be a little vulnerable and just share more of what I was feeling, that it allowed me to be where I am today. I still have a long way to go, don’t get me wrong. My world is not just sunshine and rainbows…I still deal with anxiety issues but the difference is I am learning more ways to cope with them when they creep up, or even avoid them altogether. I’m definitely a work in progress.
I can’t believe a year later I’m opening up to you. Whether I personally know you or not, I feel very fortunate to live in a world and place that allows me to share my stories, parenting successes and setbacks, and of course some fun DIY projects, recipes, and other ideas with you too. Thank you for your patience as I work on becoming a little more consistent with posting. Thank you for reading wordy posts like this one. Most importantly, thank you for your support as I venture into this new change.
And I truly mean it when I say I love hearing from you…reach out anytime. I may write a lot, but I love reading too.