Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ebb and Flow.

The holidays, the wonderful calm of January, my birthday and the fun of Valentine's have all come and gone.  We sit smack in the middle of winter, with spring still months away.  This is it.  The time of year where I feel myself settle into a funk.  Longing for the warmth of the summer months.  I know this year of all years, I shouldn't be feeling this.  It has been so nice here.  There isn't a drop of snow to be found, the sun has been shining and the temperatures unseasonably warm.  I didn't think the sadness of winter would hit me this year because of the crazy nice weather we've been having.  But, it has.  It hit early this week and despite the sunshine I can't seem to shake it completely.  I think what I'm missing is the color.  Everything is in full hibernation making the trees, grass and ground an ugly brownish grey.  The birds may be chirping, but the lack of greens and blues makes it harder to appreciate.  I am used to this funk I get in.  I know it will ebb and flow as we inch towards spring.  Some days I'll be cool with it and some will make me want to pack our bags and head towards the nearest ocean.  I went for a hike this morning to clear my head of all of this.  The fresh air, the push up the trail, the taking in the valley below when I reach the top takes away all trace of feeling low.  I choose to find the beauty that surrounds me rather than wishing I was anywhere but here.  As my breath settles after the hard hike up, I find peace.
I focus on the fact that spring is literally a hop, skip and a jump away.  I choose not to wish this time away, because by doing that I'm wishing away precious time with my little loves who are quickly approaching birthdays and someone will be turning double digits, which freaks me out like crazy.  

In all the grey, we will find the colors...
That means during a walk on a muddy trail through leafless trees you pause when you find a pink tunnel painted with rainbows, sunshine's and happy quotes.  It means you find the brightness in the grey...
You feel grateful for the bright blue sky that is almost always ever present despite the season.  

Gratitude.  Yes, this.  It is what always shifts my perspective.  I can sit around all day wishing maybe we had chosen a different place to settle down.  A place far away from my hometown.  A place where palm trees are as present as the pine trees are around here.  I can let those small feelings of regret creep in and turn into a bigger feeling of negativity. But, I always turn to gratitude.  How lucky we are to call this beautiful town our home.  How lucky we are to have a home, healthy children, good jobs and each other.  Just saying the word and taking a minute to think of all I'm grateful for and my entire mood shifts.  Regret melts into appreciation.  Longing turns into happiness for what is right in front of me.  Gratitude turns it all into enough.  

I know the ebb and flow is part of this life.  We simply cannot have the highs without the lows.  We wouldn't recognize the good without the bad.  Some days you're in a funk and this is perfectly fine.  I try to observe these moments without judgement.  I try to feel it, let it settle in for a bit because I know it will only be a brief stay.  A day of feeling funky will quickly be replaced with a happy day.  And truly, even on the lowest of days, happiness can be found everywhere...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hello 37.

I have wrapped up my birthday week.  Yes, I think everyone should get a whole week, not just a day.  Birthdays are meant to be celebrated and it can't be contained to only a day.  When Matt and I first met, birthdays weren't a big deal to him.  He's been with me a long time now and my holiday craziness has worn off on him over the years.  I felt very much spoiled by him this year...from the midnight wake up so he could be the first to wish me Happy Birthday, to the homemade chocolate cheesecake he made, to the surprise party he put together with all my dearest friends.  It was a very good week of celebration indeed.  

How I welcomed my 37th year...

The girls were so sweet...sleepily wishing me a happy birthday as soon as they woke up (pretty sure someone made it clear this needed to be said first thing).  Once I took the girls to school I knew I would have the morning all to myself.  It's funny...I often fantasize about the things I would like to do if I had more free time but rarely take advantage of it when it happens.  A birthday seems like the type of day you truly do these things.  Errands, house cleaning, working...those things can wait until another day.  For me taking advantage meant a yoga class and trip to the spa.  If felt oh-so indulgent.  After was lunch with my parents, sisters and aunt...family.  Such a rare treat for us to all be together without the noise and distraction of all the kids.  Final festivities were dinner and gifts with Matt and my girls.  My loves.  All the gifts handmade with so much thought.  The final gift wasn't just given to me by them, I had to go on a scavenger hunt that the girls made up to get it.  This was adorable.  I often do scavenger hunts for the girls, obviously something they are picking up.  Their's was filled with clues such as "go to the horsey-ist place in the house" or "go to the room with most pigs".  Love it.  Finally the lights went down, candles were lit and wishes were made.  I know you aren't supposed to tell your wishes, but mine for sure had something to do with the three people singing to me that night.  

I knew more would be coming up later in the week.  Matt wouldn't tell me what was going on, but I knew he had something planned, confirmed by the fact that he had a sleepover arranged for the girls at my sisters house.  I am not good at not knowing what is going on so I had a bit of anxiety.  The last few years his birthday surprises to me have been out of town.  I got the feeling quickly that we weren't leaving so that made me even more nervous for some reason.  I kept telling myself to relax and enjoy whatever was to happen.  We hopped on the bus, headed downtown and by the time we were sipping a beer at the good ole Molly Brown my nerves began to settle down.  After that we headed to dinner at my favorite restaurant and this is where the nervousness came back.  We go to Over the Tapas for many special occasions so when we walked in and were told they accidentally gave our table away and we were being seated in the side area I got suspicious.  But, nothing could have prepared me for the surprise in the side room.  I walk in and see the room full of happy, familiar faces all with champagne in hand yelling surprise.  I have never had a surprise party but have always thought it would be fun.  I was overwhelmed with emotion seeing so many friends...from so many parts of my life...all there to celebrate with me.  The look on Matt's face was fantastic...I could see how happy he was to have pulled this off and when he took a glass of champagne to make a toast, it was all I could do to not start crying from love for this guy.  To know he did all this for me.  I am such a lucky girl to be loved by him.

The night was simply wonderful.  An evening of my favorite foods, good wine and plenty of love and laughter with people I care about so very much...

Some of them friends I have had for over two decades...

Girls I met in high school, bonded with over cheerleading adventures, school dances, sleepovers and road trips.  Young ladies who all ventured to different places during college and our twenties with brief reunions at weddings and the occasional holiday.  Now all married with children and back living in the same town.  Friendships that have history that time apart doesn't change.  We slip right back into that comfortable place of love for each other.  We don't have to see each other all the time or feel guilty that we don't, we will always be friends. (Except my Amy...I need to see her all the time, or at least once a week)

Maybe it was the wine or the emotion of the evening, but I was so touched having everyone there.  It meant so much to me.  

And, when it's your birthday celebration you can talk everyone into coming to your house to play Cards Against Humanity until 2 am.  Good times. 

The next morning, not quite ready to pick up the girls I convinced Matt the best cure for not enough sleep and too much wine would be a hike to take advantage of the nice weather.  I don't think he was convinced, especially when the trail I picked turned out to be a strange combination of totally icy in spots to a muddy mess in another.  However, by the end of it the fresh air and mountain trail worked its magic and all felt right. 
Plus, it was nice to have some time alone after such a social evening. 

Now my birthday is officially over and it's just February.  Although, as Matt pointed out I certainly can't complain about the winter, or lack of winter, we are having here in Bozeman.  The last few days have been warm with blue skies and temperatures creeping up.  Today we strolled around, the girls played at the park and we noticed spring like behavior all around us...people in shorts and flip flops, store doors wide open, kids playing basketball and tennis.  So crazy but I'll take it.  Like I always say...the fresh air makes everything right...