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appreciated support

I’ve been a bit MIA on our site recently.  Have you ever had a time where you have SO much to say but just don’t have the right words?  So, it’s not for lack of things to say for my absence – it’s due to too much to say.  I still haven’t found the right direction to approach all that is going on in the world of the Weinstocks recently but with certain relationships, words or approaches aren’t necessary.  What matters is that support is needed- and I have to say, the support we’ve received is overwhelming.

The value of a true friend is priceless.  Truly.  My husband and I are feeling the love all over the place and it’s genuine, it’s heartfelt, it’s powerful, it’s healing.

I keep trying to find the words.  I don’t have any.  Mostly because I haven’t organized or processed emotions to properly detail what’s been going on in depth  (because I don’t understand it fully, yet) and I don’t have the ability to communicate what’s going to be going on (because I can’t predict the future or how certain things will play out).  I just wanted to communicate in some form and that’s to say thank you to our friends & family.

Sam and I are heading to Portland later today to bring his Father back to live in Baltimore.  He needs to be near us and we need to be near him.  All I can say, is that there is need for prayers, understanding and patience.  This trip is going to be overwhelming for many reasons.  Not only are we organizing this huge transition for his father, but we are also entering a world of decisions that are completely foreign.  On top of that, we are reconnecting with friends who mean the world to us in the city and region of the world that we love.  There will be emotions to say the least.

Sometimes in life, it’s important to throw logic and reason out the window and follow your gut and heart.  You do what you know is right; although not easy.  You do what you know will make a difference, although it might not be convenient.  You step up when it counts.  Our friends and family demonstrate this to us consistently.  You’re great role models, folks and we love you. 

I’m not entirely sure how much detail I’ll end up getting into on our cozy little space here, but send positive vibes our way during periodic absences.  The support is priceless.

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holiday shuffle

If you’re like us and live away from family (one side or both) you know that time to decide and plan for where to spend your holidays is rapidly approaching. Air fare will only start to sky rocket from here which warrants the conversation, whose family are we spending Christmas with this year?

Sam and I have spent four holidays together, coming up on our fifth. The first year, I flew out to visit him and his family the day after Christmas, the second year, we both went separate directions and the third year, we agreed on an alternating schedule with my family one year and his next. The third year was spent in Wisconsin with my family. The fourth year was spent in Portland welcoming and adjusting to life with our little three week old, miss e. Due to her young age, we didn’t want to expose her to chaotic airports, flu infested recycled air on the plane (and truthfully the passing her around to all of the new baby hungry family members as she was so new to us and we wanted to study her every move and didn’t want to share quite yet) we decided stayed at our home and invited family to us. His mom and my parents both came out at separate times. Our fifth Christmas, in keeping with the promised schedule, will technically have us with his family for the holidays.

Evy's first ugly sweater party - in a stocking

Evy’s first ugly sweater party – in a stocking

Here’s the debate – we made this agreement when we lived away from both sides of the family and were in Portland, OR. Now that we’ve moved within 5 minutes from his mom, his cousin, his aunt, his grandma and within 30 minutes from his other two uncles – we get to see them and celebrate with them for every other holiday (including Easter, memorial day, labor day, all birthdays, presidents day (if we wanted to), etc.). Is it fair to request that we start a tradition with the weekend before Christmas celebration with his family in Baltimore and make the trip to Wisconsin for Christmas Eve and Christmas day as an annual occurrence (if we can afford it)? We’d spend every thanksgiving and every one of Evelyn’s birthdays in Baltimore with his family but we could give Christmas to my side of the family as a semi-even trade. Is it really a fair trade though? At some point, we will most likely start our own non-traveling holiday plans but for now, traveling is in our plans. With this debate, it should be noted that I absolutely love celebrating every large and small event with his family but yes, I am a little biased as I miss my family and my nieces every single day.

Sam so generously agreed for us to celebrate the holidays in Wisconsin this year, but the debate of future rotations is still up in the air. How do you and your family decide how to spend your holidays or personal celebrations between two families?

Honest opinions and suggestions welcomed.

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things my daughter is most likely trying to tell us

evelyn six months

“ahhhh, yah, yah, ahh bweeough”

Those are the sweet, sweet sounds of my little ladies “first words.” Evelyn is developing quite the personality. Every day with her is a blast. Each morning when we peak over her crib, she’s changed a little from when we put her to bed the night before. Whether it be her hair, her smile, a new “ability”, etc. It’s hard to believe our little girl is  8 months already. We’re loving every single moment with her.

She’s extremely chatty. When she communicates, she yammers on and on.  Based on her really mom? smirks, her overly dramatic sighs (at all of the appropriate moments) and her perfected pre-eye rolls (body language), here’s our interpretation of her sweet chit chats:

To Wyatt:  Come over here you obnoxiously loud furry creature; let me chew on your tale!

To Netflix: Really, this episode again?  I already know that George is going to mess up the trains and the conductor is going to save the line up at the very last minute possible, dad.  Either change the episode or put Big Bird on already. 

To meal time:  Why do you keep cleaning the avocado off my face? Don’t you know I’m trying out a new mask for smoother skin – let me be already!

To why she only talks back to our baby-talk:  Yes, I understand what you’re saying in English but hearing you talk baby is just too much fun.  {When we speak in English, nothing. When we speak in Evy-language, we’re in business.}

To teething: Stop shoving your fingers in my mouth already.  I’ll let you know when a tooth comes in with constant screaming paired with the inability to sooth me and repeated temper tantrums when you don’t let me gnaw on whatever I want to, deal?

To bath time:  You really need to learn a new song if you’re not in fact going to let me splish and splash to my liking.  Who cares if you’re worried about flooding the bathroom floor?  Also, rubber duckies and wash clothes are meant for eating.

To paparazzi (aka mom & dad): Another photo?  Didn’t you just take 52 photos of me trying to enjoy my sweet potatoes yesterday?  Did you want me to turn my head left (just slightly) and look longingly into the distance?  Were you hoping for a smile while I’m trying to conquer the light game on this remote?  Sorry mom, I’m a little bit busy. 

I'm moisturizing mom, leave it there!

I’m moisturizing mom, leave it there!

We love hearing her yammers, but we will appreciate the moments of interpreting her infamous facial expressions, her dramatic sighs, and her pointed body language until she is able to communicate in full sentences because we all know, she will most likely have the wonderful speaking abilities of the D’Angelo’s paired with the stubbornness/sass of (whatever my side of the family wants to take credit for that, Campbell’s, Hoffman’s, Lenser’s). I have no doubt that this girl will always be right. 

are you questioning me?

are you questioning me?

From her first actual word, have sympathy for Sam.  He’ll really have his hands full then ;).

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4 is the magic number

Swimming with Dolphins in Kaikura, NZ

Private dolphin swim in NZ

…. Four years together and magic is just one of many words to describe all that encompassed them.  I know it’s typically faux pa to acknowledge years together outside of marriage but we’ve earned it and I’m going to celebrate it (*gosh darn it*)!  So my tribute to my loving hubby – happy four years of learning, loving, growing, cheering, cheers-ing, parenting, traveling, adventuring, exploring, trusting and honoring one another.

Four years ago, my best friend Emily and I debated over a beach trip or to visit our friend from high school in Seattle.  It was a toss up, and I’m so happy we decided on Seattle.  Who would’ve ever thought my first words to my husband would be, “nice garden”… Everything from those first moments of meeting you are so fitting to who we are together as a couple; from our first fight over who wore the flower behind their ear first, to me jumping into your jacket with you after the sun escaped, to stubbornly waiting on you to text – four years later and nothing’s changed,…. except everything – and all for the better.

Visited 26 states, 3 countries (soon to be 4), 2 cross country road trips, 6 moves, 8 jobs, 1 dog & 1 baby.

We’ve been through so much during each one of those four years that it’s safe to say, we can roll with just about any scenario life throws at us and there’s no one on God’s green earth that I’d rather tackle the challenges and enjoy the sweet triumphs with.  You’re my best friend and I love you to the moon and back.

Engagement Fun

engagement party fun

the photo that follows us everywhere

the photo that follows us everywhere #hoeppnerwedding

Evelyn's Baby Shower

baby showerin’

Pirate Party in Sydney

arrrrg in OZ

Maternity love

created & packaged with love

xo,

Cortney

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babies on planes

I’m sure Sam and I are not the only parents who feared their child’s first flight. We read up on ways to sooth Evelyn during take-off and landing. We found a cute idea of passing out ear plugs, candy, gum and a little note to passengers around us. We did everything we could to make the flight enjoyable for everyone. I don’t expect that all parents do the same thing, but I’m sure there’s at least a little anxiety and at least a little forethought on the possibility of a completely melt down. With that, I have compassion and patience with parents of crying babies on flights.

On my most recent trip to Texas, there were a few babies on the flight. Two of which were with just their mothers, alone. Both of these babies had little spouts of whining and crying, which to me was completely normal and expected. Apparently, the woman in front of me disagreed. During landing, one of the babies was crying for about five minutes when she literally shouted in a very demanding tone, “PUT YOUR THUMB IN YOUR CHILDS MOUTH ALREADY!” I was furious for the poor mother.

1. Don’t you think she knows that her child’s ears are hurting him?
2. Do you honestly think she enjoys hearing her own child crying?
3. If you have helpful advice, offer it in a helpful manner.
4. Don’t you see that she’s frantically trying to calm him down in every single way a mother can think of – if he doesn’t want to suck on something, you can’t make him.
5. Who are you to speak to anyone in that tone, let alone demand parenting techniques to strangers?

The whole thing baffled my mind and if she were to say that to me, I’d politely apologize for my child’s pain and thank her for her patience (let’s be honest, this would accompany a stern look and a less than pleasant tone). Instead, the frantic mother kept trying to calm her child while covering his mouth in hopes of muffling the cries. If she didn’t rush off the plane so quickly, I wanted to reassure her, she’s a good mom. No one deserves public humiliation when you’re main focus should be centered on taking care of your child.

As a traveling parent, I have sympathy to distraught children on planes. Not only are their schedules messed up, the different sensations of a plane ride can do a number to their little tummies, their ears may not pop on their own at different elevations and the idea of being up in the air could be extremely terrifying. Sticking your thumb in your child’s mouth (in most cases) is not going to be the answer to soothing a terrified child.

Come on folks let’s show a little bit of compassion, or if you really can’t handle a child’s cries, come prepared with ear plugs, headphones or better yet, a sedative. Thumper could help us all out in situations like these, “if you can’t say something nice .. don’t say nothing at all.”

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married with kid(s)

2 young professionals, married with 7.5 month old baby, loves the outdoors, wine, day trips and adventure seeking other young married professionals with baby and/or young children who also like outdoors, wine, day trips and adventure.

THIS IS WHAT LIFE HAS BECOME. Finding friends after having kids is like joining a dating website or creating a craigslist add. I’m going to start a new section of missed connections: “My husband and I were at the tot lot today, he was wearing a green shirt and I had on a purple dress. You had a little boy about one year old. We talked for 2 minutes about public schools verse private schools and then you had to run to change a diaper. Please call us to finish our ADULT CONVERSATION. PLEASE!”

In all honesty, we are just now feeling settled enough to start socializing beyond family and our friends from college, but putting ourselves out there is proving awkward. Having a social group is so important to our sanity and well-being, but finding friends who share similar parenting styles, and are able to coordinate schedules around nap times, etc is a challenge. My joke of starting a miss connections isn’t all that far off from the excitement of having a random conversation with another young couple at the zoo, having an awkward goodbye and then walking to the car debating why or how we should’ve exchanged numbers – IT’S PLAY-DATE DATING FOR PARENTS. It’s weird, its awkward and it’s painful.

Any suggestions as we venture out into the social abyss that is creating a new social network of parent-friends?!

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my unsolicited new job advice

I am very fortunate to have gone to college knowing what degree I wanted to receive (Recreation & Tourism), even more fortunate to land a part-time job during my first year of college which allowed me to gain professional experience (Winona Parks & Recreation), even more fortunate to graduate with said degree and gain a full time career in desired field (Portland Parks & Recreation) all spanning a 8 year time span. I had been prepared, well groomed and trained for the recreation field as a professional. Never had I planned to leave this career so when I did, I entered culture shock.

Starting a new career (trained or not) is intimidating. Starting a new career with no background or training in the new field is horrifying. You’re probably wondering, why on earth would you put yourself in that position – here’s why: 1) job moved us closer to family 2) salary allowed for Sam to be a stay at home dad 3) it was offered to me by a good friend who believed in me and 4) I believe challenge keeps the mind young while comfort allows for complacency. While I miss my recreation career daily, I do not regret this career change. After completing my first almost six months with my new career, I’ve been able to look back and reflect on some key points that helped make this transition successful (listed in no particular order):

1. Desire challenge. Know that your mind is never at max capacity and you always have room to learn a new skill.
2. Be confident in your ability to master a new skill.
3. Be patient with yourself when the new skill does not instantly come easily.
4. Work hard. It can be frustrating, but don’t give up and don’t be afraid to go down a rabbit hole with a method you think will work, even if it turns out to not go as smoothly as you predicted.
5. Socialize. Everyone has had a first day at work, or has been the “new guy.” Make a great first impression by taking the time to get to know your co-workers. That will make it easier to go ask questions when you get stuck trying to figure out the copy machine, or refill the coffee, or how to connect a printer to your network. Share things about yourself and truly want to get to know things about them. If you’re worried about crossing professional boundaries of making friends in the office, you don’t need to invite them over for dinner – just don’t be the scrooge of the office who stays to himself.
6. Ask questions. Nobody was born knowing how to put together a car, or write a proposal – it takes time. Don’t try to re-create the wheel so ask those around you if they have any examples of projects to work off of. It helps if you know their name before you ask so make sure to conquer #5 before you go mooching off their work as a reference.
7. Have fun. Be able to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake or it takes you all day to figure out how to cut out an object and give it a transparent background in Photoshop. The small victories will make you jump out of your chair and proclaim your Photoshop super-hero powers to the office (true story). This will also make you relatable with your co-workers and give the office a sense of cohesion where everyone likes coming into work to see their friends daily.
8. Be upfront. If you miss-understand directions or are afraid to ask a question because you’re afraid it will be taken the wrong way – it is always better to come out and be upfront with your concerns. If you make it a habit of keeping things to yourself and going on with your daily work hoping that you’re doing something the way it was asked of you or hoping that what you’re doing is within company policy, you’ll create a stressful work environment for yourself and could also end up getting yourself in trouble. Your boss and co-workers will understand and sympathize with you if you give them information and share concerns upfront rather than being called out for it later on.
9. Give it a chance. If your new job isn’t all that you thought it would be – find a way to make it enjoyable by adding in a bit of your own flare. Decorate your office/cubicle to inspire more creative work. Don’t make a hasty decision to hate your new job based on office environment, development of new skills, unfriendly co-workers. If you need to learn photoshop and it intimates you – think about the iphone photos of your dog, baby, spouse that you could enhance through photoshop and make learning fun and enjoyable rather than stressing about learning the program for a huge document you have to create for work. It is less intimidating when you make it personal and for fun rather than a skill solely dependent for professional growth.
10. Reach out. Look for resources to help you understand your profession (pamphlets, websites, company catalogs) or resources to help you learn new software (youtube, Lynda.com, teamtreehouse, etc)

Whatever your reason for a career change, trust in yourself and go with it. You’ll eventually be happy that you did and who knows what you’ll learn about yourself in the process. Be sure to thank your husband/loved one often during this time to accompany your happy transition with a happy household. It’s a transition for them too!

What lessons have you learned during a career change?