Hello? Hello? Is This Thing On???

Yup, still alive over here. Barely. Oh, barely. 2016, my how you’ve failed us.

BUT! Still kickin’. ?

I’m not gonna lie, this year has kicked my butt. And then, just when I thought it was over and I was just starting to pick myself back up again, it kicked my butt again. And my face, just for good measure. I won’t get into all the details, but as a super basic update, the job we moved to Shanghai for over the summer ended up letting us down and we decided to head back to California to stay with Terry’s parents while we found a new job. We’ve been here looking for work ever since. For a good chunk of that time, we thought we were going to get this dream job we’d been looking at. Terry interviewed with them several times, flew out to meet them in person, and impressed them all. We talked about a start date with them and thought we pretty much had the thing in the bag. And then they had some problem with the lease for the space they were going to expand into, and they decided not to hire anyone at all, for the time being.

We were, in a word, heartbroken. Still are, a lot of days.

So, we’re back at square one. It’s a tough place to be. But we’ve had a lot of incredible support from family and friends, and we truly have so much to be grateful for. So, in the spirit of positivity, here’s a few of the highlights from the last few months I’ve been blog-silent:

  • We scored a free dining set one of the neighbors stuck out on their curb. We carried it home and decided to show it some love. We’ve been working on reupholstering the chairs and painting both the table and chairs – I can’t wait to show you the finished product!! (Although, things have really slowed down since it’s gotten cooler. It’s cold painting in the garage now.) It’s starting to come together though and someday, when I have my own home again, I’ll have a pretty table for my cute family to eat yummy food on.
  • We had Halloween!!! Oh, how I’ve missed this holiday! It’s just not the same overseas. We skipped our annual murder-mystery party this year because I don’t really know anyone in town here, but we did get to take Sander trick-or-treating. He has no idea what candy is though so he was pretty uninterested in going door-to-door. Instead, he just liked running around the neighborhood in the dark in his cute little newsies costume, while we held his little bucket. ?
  • And we had Thanksgiving!!! The turkey didn’t even cost $150!!! In fact, we had 3 thanksgivings! I really felt for my friends still living abroad as I walked through the aisles of the grocery store, with every possible ingredient needed for a traditional feast readily available and often on sale. I had so much fun making the food and taking whatever shortcuts I wanted (bless you, America). And for the first time in six years, I got to have this holiday with my parents and siblings and their families. So. Much. Goodness.
  • Amazon. You guys. I love amazon. It just makes life so easy. I mean, Christmas shopping was done in my pajamas, while watching TV. And then presents just magically appear on our doorstep every day. It is truly spectacular, and I realize now just how deprived we really were in China. #firstworldproblems
  • All the ice cream, every day. I’ve tried really hard to slow down on this the last couple weeks because #healthylifestylegoals. I have to keep reminding myself that the ice cream will still be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and that I can have it anytime, which means I don’t need to eat it every single second in order to prepare for the long dark winter that is China.
  • Nanowrimo!! Or, for those of you confused by that word, it’s National Novel Writing Month, where you sprint through 50,000 words of writing a novel all in the month of November. I started off strong and then lagged towards the end due to our trip to Utah. I anticipated that and knew I’d have to really hit it hard the last few days. On the very last day of November, I had about 7,000 words left to write, which is a pretty good-sized chunk for a day. But I was determined. So determined in fact that I left the house and sat at Starbucks with my peppermint hot chocolate for hours, writing as much as I could. I finally stopped for lunch and went home to finish the last 2,000 words (which is about what I write on a normal day). Aaaaaand that’s when I got the news that we didn’t get that dream job. I sat and stared at my computer, totally numb, for a while, then took an angry walk, then shoved everything I thought and felt about it to the side and sat down to freaking write those last 2,000 words before the day was done. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it. ? And with that, I won nanowrimo once again!! (which, really just means I finished – everyone can be a winner!)
  • Playing outside with Sander. Or, usually more like sitting outside reading a book while Sander plays outside. ? This never gets old. He loves having a backyard, and so do I.
  • Visiting my family! For all of you reading this wondering why I didn’t come visit you while I was so clearly in your neck of the woods, I really am sorry. It was a short trip and it was high time my vacation to Utah was focused on just my family, instead of trying to see dozens of people and run dozens of errands. We had so much fun playing the snow (first time in six years!). Sander especially loved it. We took a walk one night on a snowy path and thought he’d wanna come back in really quick since none of us had actual snow gear. But that didn’t stop him – he just grabbed both our hands and trundled through the snow, sneakers and all, refusing to head back home. We sure love that little guy. And then, when we got back to California, Sander freaked out with happiness. He ran around and around his crib, giggling and screaming in joy. It’s probably the first time in his recollection he’s ever left his home for a few days and then returned to it! Poor kid’s moved so often already. I feel your pain, buddy. And your joy!

All in all, it’s been an intense few months. An intense year, really. I think it’s going to take a long time to heal from all the stress of this year, but right now I’m just trying to take it easy, practice good self care, and enjoy the time I have with Terry and Sander. I’ve had a whole bunch of blog posts mostly-written that I just couldn’t find the heart to finish off and publish. It’s been nice to take a step back from this space for a bit while I focused on getting my feet under me again. I can’t say I’ll be back to regular posting just yet, but know I’m not anywhere near done here. I’ve got a lot of ideas of things I want to do with this space in the coming months, and I hope you’ll be around for it.

Stay tuned!