Hello October.

Hello October

I can’t believe it is October already. With the cooler weather and the turning leaves, it already happened to be my favorite month, but now – now it becomes that much more special because it is the month my son will be born. My little Greyson. My mini man, my heart, my soul.

It seems like yesterday that he was just a part of my imagination. Then, one day, he suddenly became a reality. I didn’t know he was a HE at the time, just a tiny bean growing in my belly. But eventually, that little bean did become a boy, and he just kept on growing. And now, with only ONE week to go (hopefully…), it’s amazing to think that this reality will become even more real. And tangible. And squishy! I will finally have this wonderful baby boy in my arms. It’s mind-blowing, actually.

I can’t wait to revel in the joys of motherhood. And I know that it’s not all joyful – there will be some hard, hard days. And even harder nights. But they will all be meaningful and full of purpose, and to me, that will make them joyful (please remind me of this after a few weeks of no sleep…!).

via Marshalls Abroad

With this small shift in perspective (motherhood, that is), I now find myself drawn to an even wider variety of blogs. Blogs that are not only about home décor, DIY, and fashion, but Life in general, and Love, and Family. It’s so exhilarating to peek into the daily existence (and struggles) of a mother…

via Fairytales Are True

IHOD-Happy Baby Wrap

via In Honor of Design

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via The Weigands

via Steve and Jess Marcum

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via Day Dreaming Mama

…and it’s encouraging to read that despite these picture perfect images, every single one of these mothers had – and continues to have – her share of doubts, insecurities, and imperfections. Despite those bad days, weeks, and even months, they survived, and they remain fabulous mothers.

Almost There

Hello October. I look forward to the many challenges and unconditional love you will bring!

Healthy(ish) Frozen Meals for a Momma-To-Be.

I’m SO close to being full term that I can almost taste it! 4 more weeks to go and I’ll be a mother in every sense of the word…it’s a bit surreal, actually. In the time that I do have remaining, I’ll be prepping: deep cleaning, organizing, purchasing last minute items (and there are many!), and cooking, cooking, cooking away!

But I do have to admit, I am a mediocre cook on a good day. So now that it’s come time to cook a freezer full of meals, I’m feeling a bit befuddled. You see, I’m determined to lose this 30 lbs of baby weight that I’ve gained, so I’m focused on freezing healthier meals…which is really not as easy as it seems people!

Most freezer meals that I’ve come across are pastas and lasagnas and casseroles all smothered in cheese and lacking much nutrition. They all look delicious, of course, and while I won’t deny myself a few fatty meals (exactly what a girl deserves after hours of labor!), I do still have that end goal in mind.

After a bit of research, however, I did manage to find a few meals that not only look delicious, but healthy as well. And I did mentioned that I was a mediocre cook, yes? So easy is also a must for me!

Here’s what I found:

SLOW COOKER WHITE CHICKEN CHILI: (courtesy of Sweet Anna’s)

https://themodagecottage.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/b1fcd-whitechickenchilibetter.jpg

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Yield: serves 6-8, depending on serving size

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts (raw or cooked), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans white beans, drained
  • 1 regular can pink beans (pinquitos)
  • 1 large can diced green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 jalapeño, minced*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

Directions:

(Remember, tastes and jalapeños are all different! If you are not sure you like much spice, feel free to remove the seeds from the jalapeño, use less, or leave it out all together if you must!)

Throw all the ingredients, except for the crushed tortilla chips and cheese into your slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

During the last 30 minutes, stir in the crushed tortilla chips and the shredded cheese and heat until the cheese is melted and the chili has thickened.

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, chips, or whatever else you think sounds good!

CHICKEN POT PIE: (courtesy of Freezerdinner.com)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes, 1.5 hours after freezing

Yields: 2 pot pies (6-8 servings each)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken (ham, shredded beef or turkey)
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • pastry for two double-crust 9-inch pies, or use biscuit/baking mix to make crust (or you can simply buy the ready made crusts!)

Directions:

Boil potatoes and carrots in a large stockpot. In another pot, boil cubed chicken for 8 minutes. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer vegetables for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain vegetables and chicken and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme, and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes, and carrots. Remove from heat.

Crust option 1: Line two 9-inch pie plates with bottom pastry; trim even with edge of plate. Fill pastry shells with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry. Place over filling; trim, seal and style the edges. Bake one pot pie at 425ºF for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Crust option 2: Mix together 2 cups biscuit/baking mix, 1¼ cups milk, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, ½ teaspoons celery seed. (Mixture will be thin.) Sprinkle over top of chicken pot pie. Bake at 350ºF for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cover and freeze remaining pot pie for up to 4 months.

To serve frozen pie: Cover edges of frozen piecrust with foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425ºF for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for 70 to 80 minutes longer, or until crust is golden brown.

SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN SOUP: (courtesy of The Fitness Dish)

sweetpotatosoup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1-16 ounce can of Eden Food Brand black beans (or 16 ounces dry soaked)
  • 1 cup finely chopped Brussels sprouts (secret ingredient!)
  • 36 ounces of organic low sodium vegetable broth
  • 7 ounces of coconut cream or full fat plain Greek yogurt (Fage)
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Dice onions. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Dice Brussels sprouts into fine slices, discarding outer leaves. Rinse black beans and mince the garlic. Place all of the ingredients into a large Dutch oven (or soup pot). Bring the soup to a boil, uncovered. Then place a lid on the top, turn it down to medium-low and cook for 3-4 hours, stirring frequently.

Then take half of the soup mixture, I left a lot of the sweet potato chunks and beans and took most of the onions and sprouts and placed them with most of the broth in my Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Place the pureed soup back in with the potatoes and beans and mix. Season as desired. Sprinkle hemp seeds on top and serve!

You could also make this in a crock pot. Just throw everything in and cook on high for 8 hours or so.

Amazingly, I’m actually excited to try out these recipes for myself!

Do you have any healthy and easy recipes to share with a momma-to-be? I’d love to hear from you!

What’s On My Registry…

With just a little over two months to go and a baby shower coming up next weekend (woo hoo!) I wanted to share with you a few things from my registry.

Now, if you’re expecting and anything like me, you were – or are – absolutely clueless as to where to start. I actually began creating my registry at about month 3, researching some of the big ticket, gender-neutral items. And of course, in perfect Kristen fashion, I began stressing. I finally calmed down once I discovered the gender of my little bean (around week 22) and realized Aha!This should actually be a FUN process, not a stressful one! So, keeping my registry private, I then went a little crazy and began adding whatever struck my fancy.

Baby Giraffe No. 4 : horizontalBaby Elephant

Baby White Tiger No. 2Baby Monkey No. 1

Like these guys from the Animal Prints Shop. How can I possibly resist baby animal prints for the nursery?!

Over the last month, I finally began weeding through the crazy and finalizing the registry to go public prior to the shower. And believe me, it is hard to weed through the millions of baby products out there because, well, it’s baby stuff – it’s all pretty darn cute! It’s easy to get lost in the cuteness of it all and fall into the opinions of everyone else. But what kept me sane was the thought that the registry was for me, not for everyone else. It was – is – a way for me to stay organized and keep track of what I think is best for my baby, my lifestyle, and my home.

So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things from my registry:

newborn bundlegood morning sunshine gPants

gDiapers.

In my attempt to go a bit more organic/natural with baby products, I’ve been contemplating cloth diapers but figured that it would be way too messy and time-consuming to keep up with the laundering and sterilization of it all. And then I came across these beauties! gDiapers give you the best of both worlds: a reusable diaper cover made of 92% cotton, 8% spandex with a snap-in pouch of breathable nylon, and disposable, biodegradable inserts that are composed of cellulose rayon, fluffed wood pulp, and super absorber (all chlorine free, latex free, perfume free, and dye free). They come in sizes from newborn to large and a variety of colors and patterns. The bottom line is – they are safe, environmentally friendly, and most importantly, pretty darn cute!

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Boppy Bare Naked Pillow with Pillow Protector and Organic Slipcover

Again, this is my attempt to go organic. You don’t have to go with an organic slipcover and there are many other options available. However, this is a time where I have taken the opinions and advice of others into account – Boppy pillows are supposedly an essential! These suckers not only provide the perfect ergonomic support when feeding, but they also transition into props for tummy time, play time, and learning to sit up. Meaning it is money well spent!

Bestever Lamb Plush Play Mat Set

Ok, this is neither organic nor essential but it’s super cute and I couldn’t help myself. And it looks insanely comfortable! Sometimes, you just gotta give in to the crazy, ok?!

Britax B-Agile & B-Safe Travel System

I did A LOT of research on strollers and read WAY too many reviews, but this is the stroller that I determined best fit our needs. Is it perfect? No. I’ve come to the conclusion that there really isn’t one perfect stroller out there! I would love for it to have more urban wheels and for the car seat attachment to be a bit smaller and lighter, but after testing it out at Buy Buy Baby and comparing it to others, it does seem to ride exceptionally smooth, folds and compacts easily (with the push of a button), and has multiple adjustments to keep baby comfortable. And per the reviews, it’s extremely durable and should last for years to come!

Bundleme Hat, Mittens & Booties – JJ Cole Collections

Again, just because it’s so darn cute! And with an end of October due date and Winter on its way, I think it is pretty essential…

For all you mommas out there, what are some of your favorite, can’t-do-without products? Do you have any must-have advice for us mommas-to-be?

26 WEEKS & A LOVE LETTER

It’s hard to believe that I’m already so close to my third trimester! Yep, today is the 26th week and I’m beginning to feel it – the ever-growing belly is getting in the way, the outie is making an appearance, and my feet are actually starting to ache from the extra poundage I’m now carrying around.

26 Weeks Funny 1

I love the excitement and anticipation this pregnancy brings, 100%, but I must admit, there are some days when I simply freak out. There’s so much to do! So much to buy! So much to read up on and understand! And heck, it’s not always easy facing (or dressing) that bulging belly in the mirror.

26 weeks Funny 2

But after about 30 minutes of panic, I calm down and remind myself that this is a magical process. There is a little person inside of me! A little person that is wholly mine and completely dependent on me. A little person that will become my whole world. Sure, it’s scary, but the joy and wonder he will bring is insurmountable.

26 Weeks

So, while I’m on a bit of a lovey-dovey role, I thought I’d write my first love letter to our little man…Greyson (that name seems to have stuck!).

Dear Little Greyson,

I can feel the movement of your tiny hands and feet now – my, you are an enthusiastic one! Every kick and flutter brings me a joy that I cannot even put into words. They are a constant reminder of this magical little being growing inside me. I often wonder about you, what you will be like. What kind of man you will grow into. What your personality will be like. What kind of life you will lead and where your heart will take you.

I also worry, as all moms do. I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of mother I’ll be. I do know that I will do my very best to be there for you, to guide you, and to understand you. I know sometimes I will fail, but my heart will always be in the right place – with you. It already is and always will be.

I can’t wait to meet you and to watch you grow – but not too fast! The world is at your fingertips, as you will soon discover, and I look forward to seeing that sparkle in your eye and that sense of wonder on your face. You can do anything and be anything you want in this world, that is something I hope to instill in you. But in the meantime, I’ll be content with you as my little man for as long as you will allow it.

3 more months and I will be giving you the first of many hugs and kisses to come!

Love always, Mom

GENDER REVEAL!

For 22 weeks I waited with baited breathe to find out the gender of this little bean growing inside of me. I tried not to think about it. I tried not to guess. I tried to content myself with calling it “It.” But it didn’t help. I was drawn to the baby section of every store and longed to by something for…him? Her? I kept mulling over names…Ryder? Jax? Lily? I even took a few online gender predictor tests (which revealed the wrong gender, by the way!). Yes, for 22 weeks I had a whiney, pleading voice in the back of my head screaming tell me, tell me! Pleeeease!

And now, at 23 weeks 5 days, I’m happy to say (drumroll please….)

It's a Boy! (22 W 5 D)

IT’S A BOY! And I can’t wait to meet this little man of mine.

Speaking of little man, I am now in the process of picking out a baby shower theme and I think I’ve actually settled on one: mustaches! Or in better words, a summertime ‘stache bash! Because heck, everyone loves mustaches…

Mustache balloons!

Real Men Eat (fill in the blank)

Little Man First Birthday Party {Mustache Bash}

Baby Boy Shower Mustache Theme

Oh boy, it is on!

WHERE’S THE STYLISH MATERNITY WEAR??

Ok all you pregnant mamas out there – where is all the chic maternity wear? At almost 21 weeks (tomorrow!), I’ve finally grown out of my largest “normal” pants and have been living in maxi dresses. Doesn’t sound like such a bad gig, I know, but on those colder evenings or rainy days, I miss pants!

I would never call myself a fashionista, but I do try to be fashionable in a casual chic kind of way; not-too-skinny skinny jeans, patterned blouses, pops of color, form-fitting dresses, and belts – always belts. I find myself in new territory with this every-growing baby bump. Belts are definitely NOT needed!

After searching for maternity wear locally (Charlottesville is NOT known for its shopping experience…) I began feeling a bit dejected and turned to Pinterest for some much needed inspiration – and I must say, some of you gals out there are just so cute and clever!

Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

1. Belt it (they actually ARE needed) – the perfect way to give that belly a little structure!

Maternity chic | mychicbump | Page 5

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The New "Maternity" Line You'll Want To Wear Before, During, And Afterward

2. The layering effect – blazers, cardigans, and “shakets” (shirt/jacket) add a lovely dimension…

rockstar diaries: pregnancy style

Look effortlessly chic during your pregnancy with these simple styling tips at MyChicBump.com!

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3. Maxi dresses really are a must!

cute

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so beautiful    photo | Ali Landry

4. Own that belly and wear it with a smile.

Sydney

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And for all you mamas in the same boat as me, here are a few places to start looking for those stylish maternity clothes:

Now go out and dress that baby bump!

NESTING & NURSERY PROGRESS!

Well hello my friends – I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last blogged! (Time flies when you’re having fun). Yes, I’ve been in full nesting mode and have been working on a handful of projects that I’m excited to share with you.

First, I have finally made progress on the nursery! You see, I’ve had an idea in my head from the moment I realized I was expecting, but have been dreading the process of actually bringing it to reality – specifically, the painting process. Sure, I do paint for a living, but painting multiple stripes on multiple walls does not sound the slightest bit appealing to me. Add to that a 100 year old home with crooked walls and floors and it’s a recipe for disaster!

But one rainy day I decided to go for it – if it didn’t work out I could just paint over it, right? And after much measuring, taping (a roll and a half of frog tape, to be exact!), and more than a few hissy fits, things finally began to take shape…

Nursery Progress 1 copy

(ps…I love, love, LOVE this diaper bag I got from Skip Hop!)

A day and a half later, the straight-ish lines were complete and the crib put together…

Nursery in Progress

And now comes the fun part – the details! I can’t wait to start shopping for the baby blankets, artwork, and pops of color…10 more days until I find out the gender!!

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Obviously, I’ve had baby on the brain, but I have also managed to complete a few projects not at all baby related.

Like this dresser that sold in less than a day, and it’s now very lonely counterpart…

Dresser & Nightstand Set

Or this outdoor table (built by my wonderful husband) that I painted in ASCP Old White and stained using an aged vinegar and steel wool mixture…

Patio Table

Thank goodness I put on multiple layers of spar urethane before the downpour! Now to purchase new chairs….

And as usual, I have a few other projects that I’m working on simultaneously that I hope to finish after this non-stop rain!

Projects Galore

With a little help from the dogs, of course!

But back to baby….almost 21 weeks (on Wednesday)!

20 Weeks copy 1

20 Weeks copy 2

20 Weeks copy 3

Obviously this was taken on a productive painting day!

A VERY SPECIAL DAY.

Today is just one of those days in which the world seems to have come together and everything has fallen into its perfect place…

Two years ago today, I married my best friend.

Ceremony 079

Formals 179

Reception 196

And in these two years we’ve traveled together…

T&K

Tom & KK on Boat

…laughed together, cried together, and had many a drink together…

Tom & KK Drinking

Croatia Wine

Tom & KK

…snuggled together, played together, and worked out together…

Funny Snuggles

…made a house into a home together and found a new addition to our family together…

Ollie 1 copy

…and now, at exactly 4 months today, we are expecting another addition to the family…

16 Weeks 1

16 Weeks 2

A little baby bump!

It’s amazing and thrilling and exciting to have shared in these moments together and to look forward to the many wondrous moments we have ahead.

Of course, the last two years haven’t always been easy – there’s been some heartache, a lot of screaming and yelling (at least on my part…), slamming of doors, and the occasional silent treatment, but it’s been worth every minute of it.

I love you honey – happy anniversary!

IT’S OFFICIAL!

I’ve been waiting with bated breath to share the happy news that yes, we’re expecting – 13w, 5d and counting!! I’ve been cautiously optimistic, but with sonogram now in hand, baby bean is definitely in there and thriving.

DSC00724 copyDSC00720 copy

Needless to say, I now have baby on the brain and am impatient to get started on the nursery! Unfortunately, what is now becoming the nursery was once my office so I am also in the process of reorganizing my desk into a corner of the guest room (a miniscule sacrifice for a lifetime of hugs and kisses!). It did give me an excuse to order a new desk though! More to come on that later…

…back to the nursery! Since we won’t know the gender of the baby bean for a couple more months now (which seems a bit like an eternity!), I hope to keep the room gender neutral with greys and, well, neutrals. Of course, Pinterest has been my go-to source and I’ve managed to zero in on a few favorites:

Love the grey striped wall and jute rug.

Love the grey striped wall!

Elegant and neutral nursery

Soft, Peaceful Nursery

Love, love, LOVE this changing station filled with vintage goodies!

Imogen's Glamping Themed Nursery

Glamping theme is genius!

Imogen's Glamping Themed Nursery

Makes my heart melt.

Oh, how my brain is buzzing with ideas…

If you have any ideas or advice of your own, please feel free to share!!

HELLO AND GOODBYE…

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little MIA this week, and there is a legitimate reason for this my friends. I’ve been mulling over my excuses, wondering what to write, how much to share, and only now, as I type these words, do I realize that I must simply tell the truth. This is for you, my dear readers, as much as it is for myself. I suppose it is my release, a way to say goodbye, and hopefully, mentally reset myself for the joys of the future.

It was the 8th of July when I discovered that I was pregnant. My husband and I had been casually trying, so it wasn’t a shocking discovery, but it was a startling one nevertheless. It happened so soon! For many, it takes months, sometimes years, of calculating cycles, flows, temperatures, and moods. Charts are created, tests are taken, and with these considerations often come heartache, disappointment, and fear. I had been one of the lucky ones.

I was five weeks along when I discovered that I was pregnant, and the emotional and physical shift in me was palpable. The feelings experienced when you first see that positive line is indescribable – it’s such a mixture of love, excitement, hope, and fear. Frankly, my very first words were “holy shit!” which sums it up quite perfectly.

The ensuing couple of weeks were magical and terrifying. I felt an amazing connection, knowing that this tiny little bean was solely dependent on me and my body. I felt instinctively protective, and there was a growing confidence inside of me – I knew that I was going to be a great mother.

I felt healthy, happy, and things seemed to be progressing well. I know many expectant mother’s wait until after the first trimester to share the news, but, well…I’m the first to admit that I’m the least patient person I know! I was bursting with the secret that was growing inside of me, so I chose to tell a very select few, immediate family and best friends, about the good news. My first blood test was taken on the 18th of July.

I received a call the very next day asking me to come back in for a 2nd blood test. This in itself is not uncommon, but the numbers that came back (HcG levels) were. Now, I’m not at all ignorant of the pregnancy process, but this being my first, I was a bit naïve. I didn’t quite understand the meaning of low HcG levels, and amazingly, not a single doctor or midwife was available to explain it to me. I went back in for my 2nd blood test on Friday, the 20th of July, was ushered straight to the lab technician, and ushered right back out in a matter of minutes, again with no explanation. I had to beg the receptionist for my initial lab results (needless to say, I will NOT be returning to this clinic again). I received a call from a nurse practitioner later that afternoon with more bad news – my already low HcG levels were not rising properly and I was to come back in on Monday morning for a third test. With lab results in hand, I turned to my dear friend Google, and proceeded to scare myself into a frenzy.

The weekend was miserable. My days were spent reading every pregnancy website out there, searching for success stories, but mostly finding disappointment. My husband made every attempt to help me remain optimistic, but I knew in my heart that things were going downhill fast. I felt it in every nerve of my body. I started bleeding on Sunday. I was 7 weeks to the day.

I drove myself to the ER on Monday morning, and went through all the necessary tests to confirm a miscarriage. Now, Google can be a blessing or a curse and in this case, I had read so many horror stories, I became certain that I had an ectopic pregnancy. I watched the poker faces of the ultrasound technicians as they analyzed my belly (per hospital policy, they are unable to communicate results directly with me and must first report them to the doctor) and I swear I saw brief moments of sympathy and concern. By the time I was wheeled back to my closet-sized, curtained room, I was in tears, convinced that I as going to lose a fallopian tube.

The doctor came in 15 very long minutes later with the news – I was having a miscarriage, yes, but my fallopian tubes would remain exactly where they were. I was flooded with relief and sadness. I suppose that is the one good thing about expecting the worst – when you hear otherwise, it is a brief moment of fresh air. For a very brief moment, I was once again one of the lucky ones. And then the sadness set in.

Now, there are varying opinions about miscarriage. I was early enough that the bean was still just a bean, and many people may say, perhaps out of discomfort or indifferent logic, that I should be thankful that it happened when it did, or that it is simply my body flushing out something that wasn’t viable to begin with, and that miscarriage is unfortunately not an uncommon experience (supposedly occurring in 20% or more pregnancies). I’m aware of all these things, but that doesn’t make it any less painful – physically, mentally, or emotionally.

The first two days were rough. I had such a rush of feelings, but I almost felt like I didn’t have the right to them. I was hurt, I was sad, and a cloud of depression was settling over me. I just wanted to bury myself in the couch and mourn. But I was one of the lucky ones, right?

I watched as my husband continued with his grueling work schedule, stopping only momentarily to recognize my loss, perhaps not fully understanding or not wanting to acknowledge his own. And the few friends and family that were aware of the situation were hours away. They called and offered condolences and comforts and shoulders to cry on, all very much appreciated, but I remained sad, alone, and wholly unsupported and invalidated by the one person that I needed to be there.

I had an appointment with my midwife yesterday afternoon and only then was I offered a sense of validation. I do have the right to mourn; this loss is not an insignificant one. When you lose something that was a part of you, that was connected to you to some way, shape, or form, no matter for how short a period, it creates an emptiness that takes time to fill. And I have the right to take the time to fill it. It was also suggested that I do something for myself; no matter my religion or spiritual leanings, to do something to say goodbye in my own, special way. So I chose to write.

And it has helped. I feel a release and a comfort in writing this, knowing that this little part of me did exist, if only for a short period of time, and that it didn’t go unnoticed. And now I can truly take the time to pick myself back up, recharge my batteries, and look toward the future with brighter eyes.

With that said, I plan on taking this remaining week to do exactly that. I will be offline tomorrow and through the weekend, and come Monday, I will be back on schedule. Thank you all for baring with me!