Saturday, December 31, 2011

An Eve of Excitement

   It seems that the hardest events to write about are the best ones. The ones for which no words can do justice. And so I put it off waiting for just the right moment. The right mood. That strong desire to do nothing but write for hours and hours because that is how long it would take. But those moments are as rare as the perfect days themselves. And so....

   This Christmas really restored the magic of the holiday for me. It gave me faith that it can be as wonderful as an adult as it was as a child, if not more so. This year the shift that I was expecting last year finally took place. Christmas as parents. New traditions. New family dynamics. A new level of autonomy as individuals and as a singular family unit just Jason, Bastian and myself.

   Some traditions stayed the same. We spent Christmas Eve with my extended family (mom's side) whom I do not get to see as often as I'd like through the rest of the year. We all gather for an afternoon service at my Aunt and Uncle's church where I am surrounded by their familiar voices singing along to the Christmas hymns in perfect harmony. Bastian was visibly as in awe of this as I have always been in my heart. Wide eyes looking around at all the mouths moving in unison, all the voices intertwined together forming the same words in complementary tones. This trend continued on throughout the evening once we gathered around for food and gifts back at their home down the road from the church.

   It has become a standard now that my cousins and I are all older that we exchange "family gifts" instead of drawing names or giving gifts individually (since there are a ridiculous number of us), and so I have taken to using it as an opportunity to gain leverage on myself in terms of my crafting aspirations. Oh, self imposed deadlines... how I both love and hate you!

I made these guys, one for each family (tutorial in near future for those as crazy as me):

   We celebrated in the way that we always do with laughter, conversation, hugs, singing and food. Lots and lots of really good food. Things that sound redundant when written in plain text, but in actuality never cease in their healing and nurturing powers. It was a year of much sentiment. Meaningful items of heritage exchanged as gifts. Passed from one generation to the next. Ornaments collected by my deceased Grandfather given to each of his grandchildren now that we are all grown and are either already decorating our very own trees or will be in the near future. Handmade gifts created with love for the recipient. Treasures found and passed along to the ones whom the finder thought of in loving generosity upon discovering the perfect present. Dishes of nourishing food prepared with patience and skill by one another as an offering of our hearts. The connection between generations, parents and children, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews growing deeper each year. Equals in a new way. More alike now than different. Humor understood and appreciated by all in the room rather than a select few.

   Of course the sweetness of the event was only multiplied, exponentially, by the excitement and joy of our little guy. No way to not be mushy about it. Plain and simple sweetness right there. 

Photo by Beth Iverson
Have you ever seen a happier baby? 

I didn't think so.

...Next up Christmas Day. Stay tuned. And, in the mean time if you would like to browse more pictures of The Eve of Excitement click here to view the whole album on my Flickr page.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Schizophrenic Style: Mini Hoops and Mad as a Hatter

   This Christmas was not only the best I've ever had in terms of experiences, atmosphere, company and spirit... it was pretty darn amazing when it came to gifts too. A lot of things with high sentimental value and some just plain fun stuff. All in all I'd have to say that I'm spoiled.

   More Christmas recap posts will be coming soon but since I just can't put these new mini hoops down I thought I'd show them off before I got to the more serious stuff like craft tutorials and a novel on what an amazing thing it was to not only host Christmas at our house this year but to have a special Christmas morning celebration just the three of us for the first time ever. To see the excitement and recognition in the eyes of our son... I'm doing it already....

   Before I get too carried away, here are a few pictures Jason caught of me testing out my new hoops (c/o my awesome in-laws) in some new clothes I got as a gift from my sister. She knows that I love corduroy, baseball tees, Alice in Wonderland and mustard yellow... so if you're reading this LindsaBEAR thank you again. Seriously. LOVE them!

So there you have it! Me making a total fool out of myself, not having a clue what I'm doing, but loving every minute of it.
Cords - Thrifted
Baseball Tee- Thrifted
Tank and Shoes - Target
Hoops - HipEHoops (I believe)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Too Much Love for Just One Hug

   Motherhood, in just the last few days has reached a whole new layer of sweetness that I was not expecting. It caught me off guard in the best way possible. Like falling in love. A different kind of love than you see in romantic comedies... but still an overwhelming, heart expanding, walking on air kind of feeling.

   Then he pulls another ornament off the tree and we're back to normal... But still, that new dimension is there even though in that moment it's not flooding over me in a wave as it had before.

   What is this new stage of development you may ask? How is it so different from the ways he has been changing so quickly all along? Well, honestly it's simple. Couldn't be any simpler actually... it's hugs. Enthusiastic, all-out "can't-express-enough-love-with-my-arms" hugs. Seriously. I have seen him marvel at some mighty interesting things. I have seen my baby boy go from crawling to climbing in what seemed like days. I have even sat in bewilderment when it finally hit me that he was not only saying "nigh-nigh" but he knew exactly what it meant. He was initiating it. On his own. No mimicry. No response to something I first said or did beforehand. Just plain and simple understanding.

   Perhaps the same things that keep me so intensely spellbound by these hugs. These hugs are intentional. These hugs are not simply his arms around me because mine were already around him.... These hugs are new. These hugs are "see-you-across-the-room-and-come-running" hugs.

All photos c/o Lindsay Iverson

...and I cannot get enough of them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Best of the Rest

   As mentioned in my last post, Christmas Letters in the Information Age, I am putting together a roundup of all the things that happened throughout our year that didn't get written up in detail here on the blog, over on either of our Facebook profiles or pages (since we now have both) or on Twitter. To make this more organized and well, chronological (because, that's just how it has to be) I am going to do the majority of it formatted under the calendar month headings.

   A decent amount of the major events that took place in our lives this past year have been well documented here and can be accessed by month in the archive section to the right of the screen. Things like our big move from a one bedroom condo to a three bedroom house in a small town. A house with a garage and a laundry room (swoon). But some important details did escape in the hustle and bustle... things like how grateful we were to Jason's parent for letting us stay with them for the few weeks in between. Things like our house warming party. Things like pictures of all the adorable decorations I worked so hard on for Bastian's first birthday party, and him enjoying his first ever bite of cake!

   Yes folks, this is going to be a mighty long post so if your interested go ahead and view the rest after the jump:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Letters in the Information Age

I read a tweet today that, while sarcastic and saddening, was quite true. When we broadcast our lives on the internet throughout the year on social media platforms and blogs what can we say when asked those inevitable "What's new?" inquiries at holiday get-togethers that isn't entirely redundant. And what's more what are we to put in those already slightly awkward Christmas letters of ours? I always feel obligated to write a little bit on our year for those who are interested to know but don't always get the readers digest version day to day throughout the year by way of tweets, Facebook statuses, blog entries and countless other cyber connective routes.... but I also feel strange writing so matter-of-factly about our lives. Like it is in some small way egotistical and presumptuous. I remind myself that I don't feel that way about other people's cards that I receive, but the notion remains in the back of my head and makes it a very tedious letter to draft.

This year instead of re-writing the things I've covered already in the archives on this here blog I am going to provide a post in the near future of the highlights that I may have just never gotten around to posting about in the mix of day to day life. A sort of "Best of the Rest" feature if you will. That solves the dilemma of repeat information, as well as removing the burden from my shoulders of trying to determine who on our card mailing list really wants the updates and who is secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) annoyed by those "tacky" letters. And yes, I worry about things like that. Too much.

Also for the record I love Christmas cards of all kinds, but have a particular fondness for those that include lengthy letters. It may be the writer in me.

This also solves the issue I discussed in my Chronically Chronological. Perfect excuse to write about all of those things I really meant to, that felt off-topic or irrelevant due to how much time had lapsed between the event and point at which I was ready to write about it!

So, for those of you on our mailing list you will be getting a card soon (hopefully) with the link to that post included. For everyone else, we truly do hope that you have a fantastic holiday and while your at it enjoy what's to come over the next few days here at Taxidermy Worms!

God Bless,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Anniversaries Before Birthdays

Tomorrow is my birthday. Tomorrow I am twenty five. A quarter century has passed by. But I am not sad... not for the passage of time anyway. No quarter life crisis for me. In fact this year I have been more excited for my birthday than in these most recent years.

Today, though is not a birthday. It is an anniversary, not of a beginning but of an end.

Today, the one that is passing as I currently type, not the calendar date as it comes every year, has been good... but it would have been naive of me to think the sting was entirely behind me. Death is always hard. A tad bit harder so when it falls so close to a day of celebration that will continue on happening for the rest of your life. Because from that point forward the two are invariably tied.

Then comes the guilt... when the celebration it's tied to is your own birthday... the guilt over the fact that you mourn yearly, you remember everything so much more clearly, for the grandparent who passed the day before your birthday than you do the ones that left long before him. Sure, it was more recent... I hardly knew what death was when the two that went before him departed. My Nani and my Grandpa. I also didn't know them as well... I had more time with Papa. And yet I didn't take advantage. Knowing from the early losses you think I would have learned. I would have made more time, for the man who told me stories of frogs that ate hot ham sandwiches and of the inner workings of cheeseburger factories. The man who always laughed. Who used his hands to create the most intricately detailed things from paintings and drawings of landscapes and architecture to models so lifelike of trains, planes and boats. The man who always insisted we have a twirl ice cream cone after every meal we had together at the local burger joint. It wouldn't be a treat without it.

I remember how intensely he watched performances on TV. Not sitcom acting performances... actual shows put on by performance artists that just happened to be made available on television... sometimes ballet, sometimes opera, some musicals and concerts. Of course there were plenty of old westerns too... but what stuck with me was the curiosity. The history as well as the art. Shows on war, yes, but also on the innovations that came out of it, the advancements of travel and infrastructure. He was also intensely curious about us, his grandkids. Nothing thrilled him more.

Yes, today is a good day. Sad, yes. For the world is without an amazing man... but also happy for the blessing he was, and still is to me. In loving memory...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pushing Through Plateaus

Sometimes we need to push ourselves, even though it hurts, to break free of routine. The dreaded plateau. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of physical fitness and weight loss.... but even in this arena that on the surface appears to be all about the body (what we put into it, what we do with it, muscle development, calorie deficits, rest days, etc) it still really is all about the mind. Our beliefs dictate our progress and lack thereof. And sometimes we don't realize we've even hit a plateau until we're faced with an obstacle or forced to stand face to face with someone further along than ourselves.

I have recently had quite a bit of success in my journey to losing weight, getting fit and improving my overall level of health. I eat better than I've ever eaten in my entire life, I get more exercise than I ever have, I feel better when I'm in a resting state, and most importantly I can keep up with my son. I used to overheat at the drop of a hat it seemed. A little too much physical exertion, a little too high of a temperature or a mixture of both literally sent me spinning. It didn't take much. At 18 years old (if I remember correctly) I wound up needing a wheelchair ride from one of the parks in Disney World back to the bus so we could go back to our hotel halfway through the day because walking from ride to ride in the heat had me so lightheaded I couldn't stay on my feet. It was pathetic, honestly.

Now? I run... and breathe AT THE SAME TIME!

Not very often mind you, and not for long periods of time. But I can do it. And without fainting or panting like a dog. Most weeks I work out at least an hour five times a week! And on top of all that I have lost 16 lbs in two and a half months!!!

Why then am I talking about plateaus? Well, because plateaus aren't always a complete lack of progress. Sometimes they work more like the concept of a the glass ceilings you hear about in corporate worlds. Sometimes your routine is moving you forward... and in a similar direction to where you originally decided that you wanted to go, but your internal GPS has to keep recalculating because you repeatedly miss your off ramp that gets you from the road you're on to the one that connects to your final destination.

The one you're on will get you close. It's not going in the opposite direction... but, if you keep traveling much longer you will have to backtrack in order to reach your goal.

A huge aspect of my fitness and weight loss goal has been to be able to use my body as a means of self expression. Sure being healthy, and feeling confident in my shape and level of strength is important... but when I set out on this path I determined that I wanted to dance. I wanted that outlet back in my life. I wanted to become proficient at a physical activity that doubled as an important aspect of my personality, not just a chore I performed solely to achieve a desired result.

So, not long after I began working out I bought a hula hoop and started hoopdancing. It took some practice until I felt comfortable dancing while keeping the hoop rotating around my waist but once I got it it was smooth sailing. From there I feel into the rut of using it as a check mark in the cardio box on my fitness to do list. I forgot about the fun of it, the challenge of it... and my goal to be able to learn all kinds of tricks and dance moves to round it out into a real artistic expression. I hooped on my waist and hips and left it at that... until today. Today I am bruised and tired and sore as all get out... but today I learned something that required a suspension of my disbelief. It was harder mentally than physically... and though it may seem silly, I can officially transition from waist to lasso and I am so, so excited about it!!

How have you challenged yourself lately? Did you recently break through a plateau of some kind? How did you push through? I'd love to hear your stories! It doesn't matter if they're fitness related, for example my husband beat his personal reading best and completed nearly 6 books in the month of November! Got to say I'm a little jealous of that one... no where near that level of commitment in my reading and I am SO proud of him!

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