Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Song of the Week

Adele is simply.freaking.incredible.
Her voice is amazing and I could listen to this song all day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

30DBC: Day 30

Day 30: A picture

I've made it to the end of my 30 Day Blog Challenge. If you've made it this long, God bless you.

The last 30 days have been a roller coaster of emotions. I've faced my most difficult struggle this year: getting through Jack's due date. It was a hurdle that I wasn't sure I could overcome, but I did.

I would be lying if I said that I am finally "okay." I'm fine. I am  happy with almost every aspect of my life, and I know I am a very lucky girl. But I am still sad about what happened to Jack, and you know what?? I have finally accepted that it's okay to be sad. I'm allowed to cry when I need to cry.

But I have not let my grief consume me. The joy that I find in everyday life is what dries my tears and reminds me that the universe really isn't out to get me. A really, really sucky thing happened to our family, but there are many, many other good things that happen to us that do not happen to others.

That said, my picture today is a nod at what started this blog in the first place... rain.
I'm happy. The sun is still shining in my life. But the rain and the memories of Jack will always be there. I think the best way to sum me up right now can be best described by Mr. John Mayer:

"I'm in repair..... I'm not together but I'm getting there...."

Monday, February 21, 2011

30DBC: Day 29

Day 29: 3 Wishes

1. __________________________________
2. __________________________________
3. __________________________________

What?? If I tell you what they are, they won't come true!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

30DBC: Day 28

Day 28: Something that stresses you out

This list isn't too long... I hate being stressed, so I try to keep it out of my life whenever possible.
  1. Crowds
  2. Money
  3. When people make stupid decisions (myself included)
  4. Not knowing the future
  5. Deadlines

Saturday, February 19, 2011

30 DBC: Day 27

Day 27: Pets

This one is a waste of a post - I have never in my life had a pet :( What is wrong with me? I think we are the only couple I know without one. If I do get one in the near future, I would probably want one of these guys:
How cute!!! And they even ride skateboards! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

30DBC: Day 26

Day 26: A picture of your family.

Thank goodness I got married, otherwise I'd have no pictures of anyone, ever!! As I mentioned in a previous post, I have always hated getting my picture taken, so naturally I don't go out of my way to pose for unnecessary photos...

But I did want to show off both of my families!
Haha, Dad's seersucker suit looks hypnotic in this picture!

Why does everyone look so happy? Two reasons. One: We only made them pose for these two photos (because we hate awkward family photos too) and Two: We were in Florida! Who doesn't smile there???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

30DBC: Day 25

Day 25: Favorite city

Going out of order since I cheated on Monday's post...

Tough one! What criteria should I use? Favorite city to visit? City I would most like to live in? City I've been to? City I haven't been to?

I can't pick just one! I like different cities for different reasons. So, let's break them into categories. I love categories. (I also love Scattergories- Random)

I could live here
Raleigh, NC
Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA

Big cities that are awesome to visit but could never live there
Paris, France
Denver, CO

If I had no responsibilities and infinite amounts of cash, I would live here
Rome, Italy (actually, anywhere in Italy)
Jupiter, FL
Anywhere in Hawaii

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30DBC: Day 24

Day 24 - Something you've learned

Well, I would hope I've learned a thing or two in my lifetime, otherwise I have two degrees and a mountain of student loans with nothing to show for it.

Years and years ago, I came across this poster called "All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. It sounds stupid, but when you read through them, they are so true! 
  • Share everything. 
  • Play fair. 
  • Don't hit people. 
  • Put things back where you found them. 
  • Clean up your own mess. 
  • Don't take things that aren't yours. 
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. 
  • Wash your hands before you eat.Flush. 
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. 
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. 
  • Take a nap every afternoon. 
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. 
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.  
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK. 

I've also learned that life is unexpected, and your reaction to the unexpected can say so much about who you are and who you're going to be.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

30DBC: Day 23

Day 23: Favorite Vacation

This is impossible - I LOVE LOVE LOVE vacation! Wherever I go, I always have a good time. Going somewhere new, eating different foods, and hanging out in a relaxed atmosphere with friends and family = heaven. If you absolutely force me to answer, here are some notable favorites.

In chronological order we have...

1. Myrtle Beach, circa 2002 with Nikki and JMP. It was legendary. Our first trip on our own, no parents, rules, or bedtimes. We had a blast, even after my car got broken into and all of our CDs were stolen. Sweet.

2. Viva La Europe, 2003. See previous post on a place I've traveled to. I miss gelato.

3. Disney World, Summer 2005. 4 of us girls piled into a car, driving overnight to the Happiest Place on Earth. Many, many inside jokes from that week. And a free dinner from a creepy guy named Uncle Fred.

4. Bahamas, Spring Break 2006. Every single thing about this trip was incredible. Including the awesomeness of the King of the Bahamas... this guy:

Sorry B, I had to do it!
5. Jupiter, FL 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. A yearly tradition within our family. These vacations allowed me to become so close to my husband's family, and we always have an incredible time together. We loved the area so much that it played a huge factor in our decision to get married in Florida. Just picturing that beach makes me happy :)

6. Key West, FL 2009, otherwise known as "The Honeymoon." Even though we weren't there for very long, I would probably have to say this vacation spot was my favorite, because come on, when you're in love, what place could be better than your honeymoon spot? We could have gone to Chuck 'e' Cheese and I would swear it was incredible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: I Cheated

Day 22: Put your iPod on shuffle, first 15 songs

Well, since it's been a solid 4 weeks since I've known the location of my iPod, I thought I'd cheat a little on my 30DBC. I'm also skipping ahead a few days (bad blogger, bad!). Day 25 was supposed to be me listing the first 15 songs on my iPod, but, in honor of Valentine's Day, I've decided to list my top 15 "non-traditional" love songs.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Is this Love? Bob Marley
  2. Crazy Love: Van Morrison 
  3. Such Great Heights:  The Postal Service
  4. Better Together: Jack Johnson
  5. In Your Eyes: Peter Gabriel
  6. Forever: Ben Harper
  7. You Make it Real: James Morrison 
  8. Til Kingdom Comes: Coldplay
  9. Arms of a Woman: Amos Lee
  10. Chasing Cars: Snow Patrol
  11. By Your Side: Sade
  12. Come Away With Me: Norah Jones
  13. Falling Slowly: Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
  14. Ever the Same: Rob Thomas
  15. Look After You: The Fray (Our wedding song so naturally my personal favorite)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 21

Day 21: A picture of yourself

Little Audra, circa 1986. My eyes are puffy in this and most other pictures from my youth because I hated getting my picture taken.... It's funny how things seem to stay the same. 15 years later, getting my picture taken is still one of my least favorite things to do. Mini-me was onto something!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 20

Day 20: Nicknames

When I was younger, I was so jealous of my friends who could shorten their names. Jonathan = Jonny or Jon. Jessica= Jess. Lindsay = Lin. And so on. But you can't really shorten a 5-letter name all that well. So I was stuck with people calling me plain old "Audra."

After awhile, I realized how cool it was to have such a unique name. In my 26 years, I have met approximately 5 Audra's total. That's saying something, I think. Shoot, there's even a State Park in WV named after me!
When's the last time you had a grist mill named after you? I'm honored.
So, I don't have any nicknames, per se, but I do have names that my friends and family call me individually, that are unique to them. For example, I think it's been about 5 years since my friend JM has called me anything other than "Friend" i.e,. "Hi, friend!" or "Friend, we never talk anymore!" I think if she called me Audra that would actually sound weird.

I'm also called Sis, Sweetness, Pookie, Sprinkles, Darlin, and Hey You. But, if you know what's good for you, you will never EVER EVER called me Audrey.

Friday, February 11, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 19

Day 17: Something you miss.

I think that one is obvious. I will never miss anything or anyone more than I miss Jack.

I guess I also miss the naivete of my youth. When you're little, life is so carefree. You don't have bills, career worries, or personal troubles. Your concerns are eating, sleeping, and trying to decide if you should play inside or outside today. I miss not knowing about all of the bad stuff that happens in the world. I miss not knowing that there are bad people who make bad decisions and who make other people sad. I miss not knowing what it's like to lose someone who means the world to you. And I miss the days when I could eat ice cream three times a day and it didn't matter.

 But although I miss these things, I wouldn't change what I've lived and learned because they are a part of who I am. Since I can't change the past, and I can't change other people, I have to embrace and accept change.

However, I still act like a kid sometimes, so that counts, right??

Thursday, February 10, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 18

Day 18: Something you regret.

When I hear the word "regret," my mind immediately launches into song. Have you ever seen the musical/movie RENT?? Me and a few friends (who shall remain nameless for fear of embarrassment) happen to love it.

So one of the main mantras from RENT goes something like this: "Forget regret, or life is yours to miss." I was so taken with this lyric, because when I was a little younger, I would agonize over decisions I made. Good or bad, I would overthink and overanalyze to the point that I would drive myself crazy.

One of my callings in life is to make people happy. I don't like making fun of people, I don't like hurting people's feelings, and I don't like being mean. It's just not my style. But I'm not perfect, so it's happened on occasion.

There are plenty of things that I've done in my life that I wish hadn't. I regret any time I've hurt another person, whether unknowingly, unconsciously, or purposefully. There are a handful of things that I can think of that make me cringe when I'm reminded of my stupidity. Hey, I haven't always been as damn smart as I am today! (I kid, I kid)

But what's done is done. I can only learn from my mistakes, since I can't take them back. I do try to rectify situations whenever possible, but at some point you just have to move on. Focus on what you can do today, not what you didn't do yesterday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 17

Day 17: Something you're looking forward to

I am always counting down to something (hey wait, haven't I posted something about this before?? oh yeah, I did.... see Countdowns post).

What I mean is, I look forward to many things in life, big or small. Today I am looking forward to sushi day tomorrow. Tomorrow I will look forward to the weekend. Saturday I will look forward to Valentine's day.... and so on. In other words, at any given moment, I am always looking forward to something.

However, if I search deep down, there is one thing that I am looking forward to, but I have no idea when it will happen. I hope that some day I can hear the name "Jack" or think about my baby boy and not feel like I've been punched in the gut. It has gotten easier and easier over the last few months, and easier still after last week, but there are still parts of my soul that have not healed. They may never will, but I look forward to the day when I think about Jack and all I do is smile.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: Your dream house

When your husband has two degrees in architecture, it's hard to feel like you know anything about design, layout, and structure. However, as a homeowner now for over two years, I have started to learn a few things that I want and don't want in our next home. But if I won the lottery tomorrow and could choose my "dream" house, it would probably look something like this:

An infinity pool is my #1 dream house must-have
How relaxing do this look?!?! I would love an unobstructed view of the ocean
Palm trees make me happy :)
No annoying neighbors in sight!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 14

Day 14: A picture you love.

I LOVED our wedding photographer (if you ever want to get married in the South Florida area, you have to look her up-Emily Harris Photography) and I LOVE that she captured this image of Jon and I at our wedding. She must have crawled on the landing to get this shot, and we obviously had no idea she was there. But I love that we are off in our own little world and so happy. It just reminds me of the joy that I felt not just on that day, but every day since we became a couple. Whether we're on vacation, at a nice restaurant, or lounging in PJ's at home, I am happy whenever we're together. Jon is like a best buddy that never has to go home. I hope someday our kids can see the love their parents have for each other, and can hold out for that type of love in their lives.

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 13

Day 13: Your goals

I try not to set too many "goals" because it seems like I always fail at them. Haha. It's like New Year's resolutions... the intent is there, but if you lack motivation you will usually give up by February.

Instead, I make plans. I decide where I want to be, and figure out a way to get there, while also planning some acceptable alternatives.

My plans for the next 5 years are:

Go to Turks & Caicos with my husband
Run at least 1 half marathon a year (maybe even a full!!)
Pay off all debts
Be happy with my life and the direction that it takes me.

Simple enough right?

Added: I like this daily "to-do" list too

Friday, February 4, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 12

Day 12: What you believe

I believe.... I can fly??? In a thing called love??? In life after love?? Sorry, the first things that popped into my head were lyrics to songs about believing. Don't stop believin'?? I saw her face now I'm a believer???

Ok, I'm done.

There are many sentiments that I try to live my life around. I am inspired every day by people, places, and ideas. But if I search my soul, two beliefs stand out that I feel are the core of who I really am.

1. Life is too short to be anything less than 100% happy.

In my job and in my life, I often find myself connecting with people who are looking for a change. Something in their lives doesn't quite fit, but they can't always pinpoint what that might be. Sadly,  I find that too many people accept the status quo just "because." They settle on a job, a location, or a life partner simply because the timing worked out. But why?? If you're not happy with your situation now, you certainly won't be happy with it 5 years from now. It's an easy scale to measure. If there is something in your life that is making you less happy than more happy, for Pete's sake CHANGE IT!

The one thing that binds us all together as humans is that we all have ONE life to live. Just one. That's it, that's all. Don't settle for anything less than being happy in this one short life. And happiness certainly doesn't need to come from professional or financial success. I am certainly no millionaire, but I happen to love what I do for a living. I would rather get paid very little to do something I love than dread getting up and going to work in the morning just so I could buy nice things. But that's just me :)

As I know too well, things happen that make us less than happy, caused by factors that are out of our control. And that's okay. But you can choose to move forward and work toward helping yourself get back on the plus side, or you can choose to accept that you'll never be as happy again. But really, is that any way to life this one life you are given?

2. "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~Plato

Have you ever met someone who just REALLY got under your skin? Almost as if they were put on this Earth for the sole purpose of torturing you? No, never?? Yeah, me either.... Ummmm.

Ok, I'm lying. There are some people who have given me a horrible first impression, and I have dreaded meeting them again simply based on that impression alone. But I'm here to admit that 9 times out of 10, my negative first impressions are wrong. This is why I believe you can't always judge someone based on the character they portray. I try to reserve judgment until I've delved a little deeper into who they are as a person, where they come from, and what factors may have influenced their life. And just because I may not "click" with that person does not make them any less of a human deserving of kindness and compassion. Just as most of the people who do not know me can't understand the struggles I have faced, isn't it possible that Joe Schmoe who acts like a butthead in line at Kroger may be battling through his own form of heartache at this very moment?

Point is: Be nice to people, even if you aren't positive they deserve it. If nothing else, I promise you'll sleep better at night.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: Your favorite TV shows

Wow, tough one. I have a variety of shows that I love to watch, but I'm not "addicted" to any one show. Here's a breakdown of what I try to DVR during the week.

Mondays: The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. Judge all you want, it's an addicting hot mess and I love all of the cliched awkwardness. And How I Met Your Mother. 6 seasons and we still don't know who she is!

Tuesdays: GLEE! I love to sing along and pretend like I'm as good as they are. Tosh.0. He makes me laugh so hard that I cry.

Wednesdays: Modern Family. Probably one of the greatest shows ever. Top Chef. I don't even know half of the ingredients they use, but watching it makes me feel fancy.

Thursdays: Belong to NBC. Community + 30 Rock + Parks and Recreation + The Office = one of a million reasons why Thursdays are my favorite day of the week.

***Other favorites not on syndicated television: DEXTER. I love him and I love how creepy the show is. And Pop-Up Video. Why oh WHY was that show canceled??? It was awesome and one of the reasons why I'm so good at Name-that-Tune and music trivia***

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: Something you're afraid of. 

Dear Jack,

Today is the day I've been afraid of for the last 4 months. I've known it was coming, and I've tried to push it to the back of my mind, but now it's here.

Today is the day you were supposed to be here with us. 2-2-11. Your due date. Today disbelief and denial will turn into reality and acceptance, because you're not here.

We're in the middle of blizzard today buddy. Remember how Grandma and Grandpa joked about how there would be a blizzard in town and they would drive 5mph but they would make it here to meet you? Well, they were right about the weather at least. The freezing rain even canceled all of the schools around here, and our street looks like a skating rink.

I want so badly for you to be here today in my arms, crying, screaming, sleeping, and doing all of the adorable things that little newborn sweethearts do. I still don't understand why you're not, but that's not your fault. It's no one's fault. I probably never will understand why you were taken away from us, but in that short time you have shown me so much about who I am, about who your dad is, and the beauty of life. These are lessons I know I would not have learned without you as my son.

I hope you're not disappointed that I still miss you so much. I know you are happy and in a far better place than I could ever imagine, but when I get reminders of you (and it happens alot), all I want is for things to be different. I have never wanted anything more than to be your mother.

I guess getting through today means that I can stop living in the "if only" and the "why me?" and start living more in the moment. Getting through 2-2-11 means that this limbo part of our lives has ended, and hopefully good things are to come.

As I was driving home last night, I randomly stopped to pick up Chinese food (who likes to cook during a blizzard?!?) I got this as my fortune cookie, and I'm going to take it as a sign:
Coincidence? Maybe. But I know my boy and I know you want me to be happy. I love you Jack.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 9

Day 9: A picture of your friends

"I get by with a little help from my friends..."

This one is easy!

Probably the best decision we've made so far as a couple was to have a destination wedding. Soon after getting engaged, we decided that we didn't want the typical affair. We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of our relationship, and to be a thank-you to everyone who supported us along the way.

Every single person at our wedding has made an impact on our lives, and the result was one kick-ass celebration. We got to hang out with our best friends for an entire weekend under the Florida sun... lounging in the lazy river... sipping cocktails by the pool.... and just hanging out with the people we love and care about the most.

And more importantly, these friends were also there for us when we needed them the most. I feel so fortunate to have so many great people in my life, through good times and bad.