This Grand Adventure: Chelsa-Bea

September 1, 2014

On Feeling Lonely and Venerable


Remember when I said I was back to blogging. Yep, me too. So, here’s the deal friends, I’ve been going through some stuff lately. Perhaps it’s these crazy pregnancy emotions. Perhaps it’s the fact that summer just decided to arrive in Milwaukee and the humidity and heat is making me feel like an overheated sweaty mess. Perhaps it’s the fact that this summer has been an insane roller coaster. Or, maybe it's that it was all finally too much because last week I hit my wall.

August was supposed to be my refresh month. After a crazy July filled with moving, ridiculous work schedules and travel, August was supposed to be my time to refresh and rewind. But it wasn’t. August felt more chaotic than July. Just when I thought we were in for a few low-key weeks where we could spend time together catching up on living a normal life and putting our new home together, life happened. And, although I did get to spend some amazing time away in Idaho and Iowa with my family and friends in August, I came back to Wisconsin last week, and just felt very alone.

The last year I’ve gotten much better at this solo business and spending time by myself. And, surprisingly, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve gotten good at taking myself on “me dates” and exploring my new home sans my husband or a friend. I’m not scared to go to events by myself or even sit at a restaurant. Plus,I’m use to being the strong one. The one who lives away from home and forges her own way…but last week, I didn’t want to do it anymore. I felt overwhelmed, alone and defeated.

Chase’s work schedule is something he has very little control over and we try to make our time together as meaningful as possible. But it’s often that we can go weeks without having a full day off together. I know he’ll have to work 28-hour shifts and that he’ll miss holidays and appointments even if he desperately doesn’t want to do. It’s all part of the game. I’ve signed up for this lifestyle and I’m willing to live it but what I’ve realized is that it still doesn’t always make it easy.

This being strong thing, sometimes it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And, admitting all this shit is terrifying. I’m much better at putting up a front and shaking off the feeling then making myself venerable and acknowledging that yes, yes in fact I am and have been lonely, that I might not always be in control or have it together in the way that I like. What’s worse is that although being honest about it is very freeing, it does make me feel like a bit of failure, as if somehow I'm not living up to the woman I’m supposed to be.

The good news is that every day since I’ve come to this realization, I've felt a little bit better. I’ve been talking to those I’m closest with about how I’m feeling. I’m admitting when I'm not 100% and learning, slowly, to be okay with that. I’ve been taking walks, practicing yoga, meditation and positive self-affirmation. I’m sharing with you too, in hopes that it will hold me accountable and help me be honest with myself.

It’s a process but I'm finding myself a little bit less scared, a little bit less lonely, a little bit less venerable and little bit more okay with myself and where I’m at.

Tell me, how do you deal with loneliness and feeling venerable?

p.s. thanks for listening, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you being here. 


August 19, 2014

Idaho Adventure - Part 1


And just like that, I’m back to blogging. While I had every intention of posting last week, after getting back from our 10 day vacation it seemed I needed a week, plus a little more, to just recover and find my normal.

A few weeks ago, we headed back to Idaho to spend the week at my family’s lake house (which we fondly call “the cabin”) in the wonderful and quaint town of McCall, Idaho. McCall is my favorite place on earth. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that. I’ve been coming here since I was born and it holds some of my dearest and important memories. Most importantly, it’s the place my parents got married and then, four years ago, my husband and also said “I do”.

The house is only equipped for summer living and we share it with all of my second and third cousins. We each get a block of weeks that shift every year, so we all get to enjoy the best weeks. Our days in McCall are filled to the brim. Whether we're swimming, biking, hiking, fishing, cooking or just lounging around, there's not a day in McCall, from sun up to sun down, that isn't fully taken advantage of.


I've surprised myself this year. I've realize that the longer I'm away from Idaho and my family the more I've begun to miss them. When we left, I knew it was time to get away and explore what the world had to offer. But five years out, I'm finding myself missing home more than ever. I'm missing the mountains, the terrain, the dry summer heat and long summer days. But most of all I miss my family and the simplicity and ease that comes from being with them. Even after all this time away, when I'm with them it all just feels so familiar, like nothing has changed. It's hard living so far away and while I love the Midwest and everything it's brought me, each time I leave Idaho it seems to get harder and harder. I don't think I realized how much I needed this trip. I'm not sure if Idaho is where we'll end up down the road and, if it is, when we'll get to be there again but this trip was just what I needed to refuel mind and my soul.


^^^Mornings at the cabin begin in PJ’s gathered around the large wooden table in the kitchen. Coffee, tea and the day’s breakfast special are shared with all the cabin’s inhabitants. After filling ourselves with huckleberry pancakes, Dutch Babies or biscuits and gravy and discussing today’s plans, we graduate to our bathing suits and move outside to begin the days adventures.^^^


^^^My Dad and I made a quick jaunt to the Farmer's Market one Saturday morning to pick up some treats. I loved seeing this Market bustling with tourists and locals filling their baskets with local goods. Vendors come from as far away as 100 miles (remember, Idaho is rural) to sell items like wild salmon, bison meat and delicious homemade huckleberry jam.^^^


^^^A favorite store front at a great local boutique.^^^


^^^Dinner preparations begin early evening in the large kitchen with various parties pitching in their skills to chop, marinade or bake whatever tonight’s meal will be. Dinners are served late here with everyone chipping in something. We set the table (either inside or out), choose the wine, fill the water glasses and make sure we’ve counted the right number of plates for the night’s meal.^^^


^^^Apricot and huckleberry galette, courtesy of my Mama Smith. She rolled the entire dough by hand since we are short on fancy kitchen appliances at the cabin. If you haven't rolled pastry dough by hand in awhile, let me tell you, it's no easy feat.^^^



^^^The best days in McCall end with a bonfire on the beach, too much good beer (but not for me) and lots and lots of laughs.^^^


Stay tuned for more Part 2 of our Idaho Adventure later this week!

July 30, 2014

A Little Bump-Date


Oh man, how is it already July 30th? I feel like I blinked and this month was over. It’s been one very busy but exciting time around here. Since I haven’t talked at all about this baby except for mentioning that I was expecting, I figured I would give you a little insight into my pregnancy thus far.

My first trimester felt like the longest couple months of my life. Outside of a few early pregnancy symptoms, I never felt “pregnant” until about week six when I experienced my first bout of morning sickness. Fortunately, mine wasn’t completely debilitating like it has been for some of my friends. I just felt sort of icky all the time and while I didn’t really feel like eating much, not eating made me feel a whole lot worse. So, I ate a lot of whole-wheat saltines, cottage cheese and Rice Krispy’s. About once a week I would crave something super specific like turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes or marinara sauce. I would eat it every day for a few days and then, all of a sudden, it would be the most vile thing on earth. I couldn’t see, smell or think about. Fortunately, most of those food aversions are gone now and I’m back to eating a regular diet. Except for Indian Food, which I was an avid fan and a regular consumer of until this baby. I can’t be near it, let alone talk about it, without feeling like I might loose my lunch. Ugh. I may not proof read that sentence before I publish it for fear of making myself sick.

Outside of food aversions the first trimester, I can’t begin to tell you how exhausted I was. I may or may not have found myself napping in my car a time or two on my lunch breaks just to get through the day. Fortunately, once I hit about week 11 the fog I felt I was walking through lifted. While I’m still slightly more tired than I used to be, getting a regular eight hours of sleep and slipping in the occasional nap has really helped me to stay functional.

The second trimester has been good to me. I’ve regained most of my energy and overall I’m feeling pretty awesome. After taking off a few weeks from barre and running in May and June, due to serious fatigue and just feeling overall awful, I’ve been back, with a few modifications, to a pretty regular work out routine. I haven’t had any crazy cravings but I definitely prefer some foods to others. Tomato based foods like bolognese, salsa and tomato sandwiches have been some of my favorites. I’m also a big fan of fresh fruit, French fries, all Mexican food, pretty much anything French or Italian and doughnuts. So, basically nothing has changed in my diet. Ha!

This pregnancy has been a pretty remarkable experience so far. I will admit that the first trimester was a bit terrifying. While I was overjoyed to be pregnant, I never anticipated the overwhelming fear that I felt once I found out. I just kept looking at my belly and thinking, “Stay in there! Stay in there!” It took me a solid two weeks after the pregnancy was confirmed to talk myself off the fear ledge and realize I just had to enjoy this experience and let what was going to happen, happen. But I still never felt quite comfortable. My husband, mom and doctor are extraordinary human beings. When I had questions, just needed to talk it out or felt like the fear was consuming me, they were all incredibly supportive and kept me sane during those first couple months.

I’m not sure it’s really hit me that there’s a tiny person growing in my belly yet. But every time I hear the heart beat or think about seeing the baby move during the ultrasound I get a big smile on my face and it feels a little more real. My bump is still tiny but growing daily and I think once it finally “pops” and I feel those first few kicks, it’ll truly feel like I’m brining my own little one into this world.

July 17, 2014

Guest Post: Creating A Functional Storage Space


It's moving week at our house, so I'm literally surrounded by boxes and bins and crates stacked four feet high. The movers come bright and early tomorrow morning and before the weekend's over we'll be completely moved in to our new home. I'm excited and completely overwhelmed currently and trying to keep up with the pace of moving while also taking care of myself (ie. I just woke up from a three hour nap that I decided to take on the floor of current apartment). 

I know I owe you a million updates on life, travel, this growing baby bump and on entering the last 3 months of my 30 before 30 but those things will have to wait for another day. In the mean time, my friend Stephanie over at Monkey Bar Storage Solutions has written this helpful little guest blog post in honor of our move on creating function storage space. I hope you enjoy and I'll see you soon!



The phrase, “a functional storage space,” sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Most of us who have a storage space in our homes jam the area so full of stuff until that finding those holiday decorations is so hard that you’d rather just go buy new ones. And if you have a functional space in your home, why would you use it as a storage space? If you did, it would quickly become unusable. Right? Wrong! Use these tips to help create a functional storage space in your home that will actually end up saving you money. (Yes, it’s actually possible.)

Start by weeding out the junk. I know, I know, “But Stephanie, this is supposed to make my life easier.” It will! If you want a functional storage space, then you need to weed out the “junk” that is holding you back from that. Try making a piles. Categorize items into piles of junk to throw away, stuff to keep, and things to donate. If this process is too painful to do by yourself, consider hiring a professional organizer to speed things up. If you’d like to make a few bucks off this storage room transformation, sell unused items in a garage or yard sale.

Now is the time to determine your needs. Are you wanting a storage area that will let you access items quickly? Do you have a lot of long-term storage items? Author of this blog, Chelsea, told me that she has a lot of decorations and bikes that need to be stored. Once you determine your needs, look for storage systems that are customized to your needs. For Chelsea, a bike rack would help her store her bikes up and off the floor, but in a centralized area where they could be easily accessed. For holiday decorations that aren’t used frequently, overhead storage is a must. This allows you to free up floor space, will still having a storage area above your head.

Remember how I said that getting your storage space under control can actually save you money? I didn’t forget about that either. By organizing your storage area, you’ll end up saving money on replacing items that you can’t find. If you invest in a sturdy organization system for your home that comes with a warranty, you won’t have to worry about the cost of replacing the system over time if it breaks or bends. In addition, homes with a customizable storage system receive higher bids when selling.

While getting your items organized won’t be easy, it will be worth it! And remember, if you’re moving into a new home, just like Chelsea did, the best time to start getting your things organized is now.

Monkey Bar Storage Solutions is the expert in clutter control for the Milwaukee area. They provide epoxy floor coatings, garage cabinets, shelving, and overhead racks to homeowners who are serious about organizing their homes. For more writing by Stephanie Hanson, feel free to visit her personal blog, DIY Made Simple.

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