Looking for that Christmas Spirit

Full of delicious food from my first holiday dinner of the week, I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write a blog post.

Typically I’m one of those super dorky “I LOVE CHRISTMAS” kinda girls who loves nothing more than holiday shopping, cookie baking, Christmas music and driving through neighborhoods to look at all the lit houses.

This year though, I feel like Christmas has snuck up on me. We finally bought a tree last weekend and decorated it Sunday morning. I love having a Christmas tree in the living room so that I can admire the lights while watching TV on the couch after a long day.

I bought a couple Christmas gifts last weekend when it hit me that I should probably get on the ball and start buying things. I even made it a point to order some gifts online last week so that they can arrive at our house in time to wrap them before the holiday.

We like to do an assortment of baked goods for each family, so the plan was to knock out a bunch of different treats this weekend. Of course, since I had a full day of baking ahead of me, our oven decided to break on my first batch. Luckily, I have a grandfather who lives a block away so I used his oven to finish up the ½ cooked pan of carrot walnut bread. I took the rest of my mixed ingredients to my parent’s house to bake while we worked on our family tradition of rum log cookies.

The problem is that I haven’t really felt very Christmassy this year.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve been so busy concentrating on my new job and starting back to work this past week. Or it could be that neither my husband nor I have any idea what to get each other and I’m afraid we might both end up with nothing under the tree. Or maybe it’s just pregnancy tiredness that has finally hit me. Either way, I feel like the season is racing past me and I don’t even care that much.

So, in an effort to kick my butt back into the Christmas mood for the next week, here are some of my favorite things about the season (in no particular order):

  • Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks
  • Elf
  • Christmas lights
  • Gifts
  • Spending time with my family
  • Rum logs (especially with coffee in the morning)
  • 24/7 Christmas music
  • Love, Actually
  • The Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton Christmas Album
  • My families annual Christmas morning in pajamas photo
  • Getting Christmas cards in the mail instead of just bills

For the next week, my goal is to really slow down and enjoy the Christmas season before it passes by. This is the last year that Travis and I will celebrate the holiday with just the two of us (and Potter). Next year, we’ll have an 8 month old son and will able to experience Christmas through his eyes!


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So Thankful for New Directions*

Tomorrow is my first day at my new job.

I feel like a kid the day before school starts – I have some of those nervous butterflies in my stomach about finding my way to my new building; anxiety keeps pushing into my head about whether the other kids will like me; and I’ve gone through my closet to pick out my perfect “first day” outfit.

I’m a combination of nervous, excited and extremely thankful that I will be starting a new job at all.

When I found out that I would be losing my job, I was already pregnant. Being a huge planner, I had a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C ready to go into effect the moment that I walked out the door of my old office.

Plan A: If I couldn’t find a job until after the baby was born, we would survive on a combination of cutting back, my husband’s salary and my unemployment benefits.

Plan B: An even better option would be if I could pick up enough freelance work (which would unfortunately take away from my unemployment benefits) to bring in a salary and show that I was still employed through my consulting company.

Plan C: Aka, the “long shot” – get a job, any job. Preferably something full-time and marketing-related

I’d started applying for jobs at the beginning of August, but hadn’t had any luck at all until the end of October. Then, with only a week or two until I was officially unemployed I interviewed with two different companies.

The first was an opportunity I heard about from a professional contact. The job seemed right up my ally and the location of the position was great. Especially considering that we were planning to move right up the street. However, although the job was do-able it didn’t light my fire.

A couple days later, which was ironically the first day of my actual unemployment, I found out that someone else got that job. This stung a little bit, especially because I was gearing up to launch Plan A of job survival mode. However, since I didn’t really want the position in the first place I wasn’t totally crushed.

The second position I interviewed for was one of my absolute dream jobs. I had wanted to break into the college/university arena for the past few years. However, having no higher education experience meant that nobody wanted me. For this position, I did a phone interview, marketing presentation, interviewed with their search committee and then interviewed with the director of the department. It was quite intense – in fact, this is the position I was talking about in my Feeling Good post.

Imagine my surprise/gratitude/dorky dance when I got an offer for that position. Not only did I luck out on getting a job after being laid off… I got my DREAM JOB!

After hearing the horror stories of pregnant ladies who can’t find a job, marketing professionals who were out of work for over a year, and everyone else out there struggling to find a position – I feel like the luckiest girl in all the land to be able to start a new job only 5 weeks after I lost my last one!

Thankful seems like too small of a word to encompass the all-around relief and enthusiasm I have about this awesome opportunity.

The cherry and sprinkles on my deliriously happy sundae, is the fact that when I disclosed my pregnancy to my new boss he responded with a heartfelt “congratulations!” No moment of irritation crossed his face; he was actually happy and supportive. This proves to me more than anything that I have made the right choice in accepting the position.

This also proves that as trite as it may sound, things really do happen for a reason. Losing my job felt like the worst thing in the world just a couple months ago. But now, on the eve of my new employment opportunity, it truly feels like one of the best things that has ever happened to me.


*And no, I don’t mean the Glee group New Directions. Even though I am hopelessly addicted to Glee and have 82 Glee songs on my iPod right now. Yes, I counted. And no, that doesn’t make me feel dorky at all.**

**Ok, well maybe a little dorky.

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The Yea & Nay of Our Caribbean Cruise

As I previously mentioned, my husband and I went away for a last minute vacation cruise right after Thanksgiving.

After a super stressful Fall, we were looking forward to the chance to get away before the beginning of the crazy holiday season. The fact that we were limited on when we could travel due to my pregnancy (they will not allow you to cruise after 24 weeks), meant we had to jump on the cruise train – um, boat – as quickly as we could.

So, although we were self proclaimed Royal Caribbean snobs, we decided to take a chance on a 7 day Carnival cruise to the Western Caribbean. The price was right, the timing was right, so we went for it.

All in all, our vacation was awesome! We had plenty of time to relax, hang out with each other and eat a ton of food. The food was especially great because I could totally blame any weight gain on the baby having a growth spurt!

The Yea

The customer service was excellent! Everyone from the room stewards to the servers at dinner really made you feel welcome and as if they really did love their jobs. As a customer, it is so nice to have positive people around you who are actually disappointed when you don’t order more than one dessert.

Two of our stops were absolutely gorgeous – Belize and Isla Roatan in the Honduras islands. We went on a jungle hike in Belize and then floated down the river for our cave tubing excursion.

In Honduras, we took a chair lift (just like the kind you use to go skiing) to the beach and enjoyed the clear water and warm sand. There was nothing I would have changed about either of those days, they were perfect!

The view from my lounge chair in Honduras


My husband is awesome. Not to brag (okay, just a little), but I really chose wisely when I married Travis. By the end of each day my mouth hurt from smiling and laughing so much. The chance to spend 7 uninterrupted days with him was priceless.

Travis & Me before our cave tubing adventure in Belize


Did I mention the food? The last time I cruised on Carnival I remember thinking that Royal Caribbean’s food was so much better. Not this time, there were tons of buffet options, delicious FREE room service and amazing dinners each night. The fact that it was all included in our original price was even better, because you could order what you want and not what you felt like you could afford.

The Nay

The weather. As much as you’d like the weather to be perfect and sunny for your entire vacation, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. On this trip, we had a couple rainy days. On our stop to Cozumel, Mexico it was so overcast that we abandoned our plan of going to the beach and just did some exploring and guacamole-eating in a fun bar. Of course, the positive side of this is I’m pretty sure that this is the first vacation in my entire life where I didn’t end up with random sunburn.

The rocking ship was not awesome. I don’t know if it was due to the time of year we cruised, our itinerary, or the weather, but our ship was rocking like a teenager’s car at Makeout Point.  I pride myself on my stomach of steel and have never, ever gotten seasick. Unfortunately that streak is now broken due to a ship that rocked so hard that the pool was sloshing onto the deck and our room was creaking. Travis was feeling a bit green too, but it was pretty much under control with some seasickness pills. I’m going to blame my seasickness on the baby, perhaps he’s seasick, not me…

The flight home was AWFUL! My husband is 6’4” and flying is typically pretty uncomfortable for him, so I usually take the middle seat to give him a little more room to stretch out in the window or aisle seat. The flight to Miami was so cramped that we decided to upgrade to first class on the way back, but it was full so we resigned ourselves to a slightly cramped ride back.

This would have been totally fine, if the person who sat down on the other side of me wasn’t a 350ish pound man. He literally overflowed from his seat, over my arm rest into my area. Once he sat down, my left arm was pinned and I couldn’t move it to lift a drink to my mouth or turn the page of my Sky Mall magazine.  He was so large that he couldn’t put down the little tray in front of him, so he balanced his family-sized boxes of Pizza Hut wings and cheese breadsticks on his stomach and then proceeded to eat every one of them within about 6 inches of my face.

Now I’ve been pretty lucky with my lack of morning sickness until this point, but I truly thought that I was going to hurl. I can not believe that the airline did not require him to purchase two seats. The moral of this story is that we are definitely splurging on business class tickets next time we fly!

So the trip was totally worthwhile and we would definitely do it again with the one change of upgrading our flight. Oh yeah, and a little extra for the “Yay” column:

While in my post-vacation haste to do laundry, I accidentally threw a few pairs of clean, coupled socks into the washer and then dryer. So when I was folding the load of laundry later that evening it was as if happy little laundry ninjas* had started folding for me. While appreciated, I’d really like them to finish what they started and do the whole load…

*These are apparently the opposite of those douchy sock stealers who live in the dryer.

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