In Real Life: Week 43

Happy Sunday, friends! Here’s what our week 43 looked like…

It’s like the opposite of Murphy’s law. I dig it.

I checked out another Verve location this week.

This one serves hot food! And holy hell this poached egg sandwich with prosciutto was amazing.

I might be there right now, eating another one, actually.

I also went to yoga for the first time since Jack was born. It felt so good.

Being fully mobile means he follows me everywhere. Even when I try to block the door to try to take a nap. (It’s so cute, I don’t mind.)

That is one fabulous pig.

It guards the door to this amazing butcher shop that smokes and ages all their own meats and sells the most amazing ragu.

If you like poetry, I highly recommend bone. Every piece is heartbreakingly gorgeous.

My, what big eyes you have!

Robbie is taking the rest of his baby leave right now, so we had a weekday off together this week.

We went on a little day date, and it was very nice.

Jack ate a surprising amount of my pasta and shrimp.

Enjoying these autumn mornings while they last.

Inside a giant wine barrel.

These flowers just exude happiness.

It was national Respiratory Care Week this week!

There was so much food…

And so much fun!

Hangin’ with the leads before dinner.

I think I deserve a sticker for successfully taking this picture of Rosie McCann’s ceiling after 3 drinks.

Man, I love Halloween decor.

I think whiskey sour might be my new favorite drink.

Never a dull moment with these guys.

The department bought us dinner at Maggiano’s, and it was soooo good.

Seriously, if I end up with terminal cancer or something, just wheel me in there and set me up with a never-ending plate of mushroom ravioli and tiramisu and I will die happy.

We have such a great team. (And this is only a fraction of us.)

Aaaaah.

We capped off RT week with RT Olympics Friday night.

There were crazy challenges, like becoming siamese isolation twins…

…whoopie cushion face farts…

…dress-up-the-Vapotherm costume contests…

…(these guys won that round, of course)…

…and identify-the-aspirated-foreign-object with the bronchoscope.

Tony and I teamed up two years ago and took the silver nebulizer that year. We had high hopes of gold this time, but we ultimately ended up with silver again. Maybe next year, if I can convince Tony to do it again.

Maybe someday I’ll develop a taste for MacCallan.

I did a major clothing purge this weekend. I figure after a year postpartum, it’s probably time to just go ahead and part with those pre-baby clothes that still don’t fit. Plus, if I do happen to get back down to that size, I’ll reward myself with new clothes.

How was your week 43?

Have a great week 44!

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In Real Life: Week 42

Here’s a peek at our week 42…

Snuggle kitty.

And I thought my wait at the pharmacy was long…

SLAYER

Happy boy!

We’ve had some very pretty sunrises this week.

And some very pretty sunsets, too.

Smile!

Popeye the sailor baby!

I’m so glad that I live in a culturally diverse place.

Hey there.

What’s your super power?

I’m so grateful for our fire fighters, especially this week.

This isn’t my photo, but I had to share because it is so haunting. The fires in northern California have been so devastating, and my heart goes out to those who have lost so much.

Walking around downtown San Jose.

I want to have my dinner served by a fancy-looking fox.

Pub baby is bad at sharing.

OG is pretty OG.

If you get the chance to go, order the namesake.

I wish I had caught what Logan said that was so funny.

I’d like to see the bottle that opener was intended for.

Give me enough beer and I’ll hop up on the table too.

I’m sure this seal was designed before San Jose became the hub of Silicon Valley.

Holy.

If there’s an ice cream shop across the street from dinner, you are required to get dessert before going home. It is known.

Go big or go home, baby.

This is not a selfie.

Fallen.

Creeper.

Enjoy!

If I have it, he wants it.

Autumn is a new spring, where every leaf is a flower.

Another Starbucks Friday with my handsome boys.

Rocking my white girl uniform for our trip to the pumpkin patch.

Jack fell asleep on the way there, so I just kept driving for a while.

I stopped beside the ocean for a little while he snoozed….

…and just enjoyed the waves.

Welcome to Santa Cruz, where you can pick a pumpkin with a view of the ocean.

Jack wasn’t too sure about the whole thing.

He did eventually warm up to it a little.

Even tried to eat the straw.

See? Pumpkins can be fun!

What a cute little pumpkin.

“Im gonna eatchu…”

Which one should I take home? I was thinking the one wearing white.

My wild Friday night.

Tactical training starts early in the Starks household.

How was your week?

Have a great Sunday!

In Real Life: Week 41

Here’s a peek at our week 41!

It was really nice to wake-and-bake Sunday morning. (It was also really nice to have hearty oatmeal-banana bread to eat on all week.)

James finally figured out how to ride his bike with no training wheels.

Yes, he’s 10. And yes, I know most kids learn to ride much sooner than this.

But if motherhood has taught me one thing, it’s that each child does things at his own pace…

…and there’s nothing wrong with doing things a little later than everyone else.

Like this guy, who took forever to crawl. But now that he does, no cupboard is safe.

All-American.

Take a walk.

Our new couch is just a little bit bigger than I think we realized when we bought it. But it is soooooo comfy.

This little guy was sick for a few days this week. He was so miserable, but also so snuggly.

California weather refuses to acknowledge that it’s fall, but that will not stop me from making soup.

The wildfire smoke has been giving everything a strange pink glow.

Calm before the storm.

Tread,

Industrial.

New (Buddy Holly) glasses!

So sweet.

It’s awfully nice to have a nanny with a floral business.

Good morning…

This giraffe has better eyelashes than I do.

Have you heard of Tea Runners? It’s a pretty awesome subscription service for tea. I just got my first box!

Three guesses which one I had to try first. (PS: It was wonderful, especially with a spoonful of wild honey.)

That light.

Can you believe we’re already halfway through October? This year has just flown…

And that’s a wrap for us!

How was your week?

An open letter to you courageous adventurers:

Dear friends,

I’m so excited for you! You, who are about to embark on a huge, life-changing journey.

I remember so well what it was like for me to be where you are now, about to pack up my entire life and leave everything I’d ever known. I remember such a mix of multiple complex emotions all at the same time… it wasn’t until much later, with much hindsight, that I was able to effectively process many of them. At the time I don’t think I fully grasped the enormity of what I was experiencing. Sure, I knew that it was a big deal to be moving to a new state for the first time. But I didn’t really understand how big of change it actually was, and I didn’t know how much it would also change me. Having now experienced new motherhood, I understand how the two events are similar in that regard… there’s no real way to intellectually and emotionally prepare for it, no matter how hard you to try.

There was the excitement of preparing to experience something new. And hope, about what it might bring. These were what I tried to stay focused on.

But there was also fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not having a safety net. Fear of isolation. Fear of failure. Fear of regret.

And guilt. Honestly, there was more guilt than I cared to admit at the time. I felt guilty for abandoning my family, for being selfish enough to leave them behind. I was afraid that my choice would be seen as a rejection of them, that somehow they weren’t good enough or important enough to make me stay. I felt guilt about missing all of the birthdays and BBQs and camping trips. And when my grandmother became ill and passed away while I was living 800 miles away, I felt ashamed that I could not be there when it happened. Guilt still gnaws at me when I admit that there is a very real chance that something similar could happen to someone else in my family at any time, and I’ll still be here.

Guilt is one thing that I think I will always grapple with while I’m away from home. I still feel sad when I can’t be with my sister on her birthday. I really do lament that Jack will not have as many experiences with my family as he might if we lived there. I mean it when I tell my dad I wish I could go fishing with him. And like grief, it never goes away. But it does get easier to live with.

So, as someone who’s been there, here are a few things I want you to know as you set out.

It’s ok if it feels like it sucks for the first little while. Or the first long while. Moving far away is a BIG change. And allow me to be honest: a HARD change. The sheer logistics of moving and settling in can be extremely stressful by themselves. Then add to it all the emotional turmoil of leaving everyone and everything you know, and the emotional journey of the people you live with who are also processing this change in their own unique ways… it can be hard, no matter how prepared you think you are. And that’s ok.

You may wonder at times if you’ve just made a huge mistake. You may doubt yourself when things don’t go according to plan (which, let’s be honest, sometimes – maybe a lot of times – they won’t). You may begin to wonder if you’re strong enough to do this. Or begin to second-guess whether this place is really the best fit for you. Or begin to romanticize what home was like. At every turn, your friends and family may urge you to just move back. It could be so much easier if you’d just move back. But give yourself some time. Cut yourself some slack. You haven’t failed – you’re just adjusting and processing.

And just a few pieces of advice, if you want them:

Be kind to each other. A move this big is a huge change for each of you, and you will each process it in your own way. It will be easy to be short with one another, to become frustrated and eventually resentful. But remember that you need each other right now. Try to be patient and give each other some grace.

Orient yourself, and try to create some sort of routine – if that’s how your brain works best. Some people can thrive without routine, but I am not one of them. For me, things as simple as being unfamiliar with the grocery store and having to use Google Maps to find the post office made me feel scattered and stressed out. I took for granted the comfort of knowing where to buy a cup of coffee. But once I found where my regular places would be and had an idea of what to expect when I went there, I began to feel better.

Don’t isolate yourself. This was easily my biggest mistake. I am not a terribly social person by nature, and meeting new people is especially stressful to my introverted brain. But it’s necessary to make connections. Otherwise the isolation and loneliness will only add to your feeling of failure. I learned this the hard way when I found myself actually wanting to do something social and had no one to call. It felt absolutely awful to realize how long I had lived here and still hadn’t made any real friends of my own. I wish I had realized how worth the effort it would have been to dive in early to making connections… I think it would have spared me a fair amount of anguish to have not felt so alone.

Just like welcoming a new baby, a big move can feel simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying, filled with both joy and frustration. And it’s ok to feel all of those things. I hope you choose not to be ruled by fear or guilt. I hope you make big decisions with optimism. I hope this experience brings your family closer together. I hope you learn something about yourselves along the way. I hope you feel empowered and courageous for having chosen to do this. I hope you feel proud, because I am proud of you.

I hope you find what you’re looking for.

And if you do decide to come back, we’ll welcome you with open arms. No judgement. No “I told you so.”

Go forth! Good luck, and godspeed.

Much love,

-Jess

In Real Life: Week 40

Happy week 40, everyone!

Can we take just a moment to celebrate the fact that 40 weeks means that 2017 is now at full term gestation? Hahahahahaha… sorry. I had to.

Cuddle puddle.

Morning is my favorite time of day. Quiet and calm.

Another Sunday at my favorite place.

I tried something new, called a 1-and-1. It’s basically a double shot of espresso that’s been split into a macchiato and a straight shot.

It was interesting. I’ll admit, I’d never had straight espresso before, and it was more bitter than I would really care to drink on a regular basis. But it was also very complex, with fruity notes that become totally hidden when mixed with milk. Yay for new experiences!

Nothing to see here… just a bear riding a whale. Move along now.

This is a lot harder than it sounds.

Our big little city.

Trader Joe’s is basically one giant white girl trap right now.

That’s probably why I went in just to browse and came out with half the store. Whoops.

All of the heart eyes for this.

One pan dinner for the win.

Robbie is lucky I didn’t put all the Halloween stuff out on September 1st.

Snoozin’.

Even though it still gets up to the 80’s in the afternoons here, the mornings are perfectly chilly with that darker autumn light. Yaaaaas.

The leaves are starting to do their thing, too.

My favorite.

Brothers. <3<3

Grilled chicken fajitas are awesome because a) they taste amazing and b) they require almost no kitchen clean up. A definite win.

Then I took the leftover meat and veggies to work and threw them into some cafeteria tomato soup and it was surprisingly delicious. It must have been that Bon Appetit magazine that made me do it.

Going up.

Sometimes you gotta doodle to stay awake in class.

Before-school Starbucks dates are becoming somewhat of a regular thing.

Gotta start ’em young.

#invisibleknuckletattoos

Messes can be beautiful.

I’m glad we got there before the real morning bustle began.

Jack and I went to a music class this week!

I’ve been looking for more opportunities to get him around kids his own age. He wasn’t too sure at first, but it was actually a really good experience. I think we’re going to do more of these!

I’m excited to encourage musical development as Jack gets older.

PUMPKIN EVERYTHIIIIIIIING.

Mmm, BBQ.

So dank.

Gotta come back so I can try the Nukin’ Futz.

I saved that extra crusty bit for last. So good.

“APTOSIA”

I didn’t realize that getting new tires was gonna be an ALL DAY thing. *eyeroll*

Thank God that Costco has FroYo.

Oh look at the time…

If I had a home office I would hang this above my desk.

Street level.

I’m all about that swirl.

How was your week?

Have a great Sunday!

Much love…

-Jess