My 2017 Holiday Bucket List

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Yes! Christmas! A pleasant time for people to come together and focus on what really matters — No, not presents; although that is a perk. Giving is such a rewarding feeling, especially if you help those in need. I encourage everyone reading this to perform at least one random act of kindness this holiday season. It could change their life.

Now that we’ve discussed that, time to move onto the fun part! The bucket list. Every holiday I have to complete my bucket lists or else the season feels incomplete, and that’s no fun! I’ve compiled a series of activities, in no particular order, that I do every single season. Feel free to leave your family traditions in the comments!

  1. Decorating the tree!

This is perhaps my absolute favorite, so that’s why I’ve made it the first! Whether it’s a fake or real tree, nothing is more satisfying than switching the twinkling lights on once you’ve finished to marvel at it’s beauty! Personally, I like to switch on some jazzy music tunes and throw on a festive outfit while I drink hot cocoa. BLISS.

A simple and minimal Christmas Tree made with DIY clay stars! See 10 more Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas on dreambookdesign.com
source: pinterest

2. Bake Christmas cookies!

Sugar and gingerbread cookies are my holiday go-to since you can cut them into festive little shapes. Then just top them off with traditional royal icing, buttercream, or just leave them as they are!

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Source: pinterest

 

3. Decorate a gingerbread house

Ah yes, finally the miscellaneous candy I’ve collected throughout the year can be put to good use. Usually I just pick up a kit at the store, but if you’re feeling creative you could bake your own gingerbread house and make it a gingerbread mansion. Get creative!

Pepparkakshus | Recept och mallar för degen                                                                                                                                                                                 More
Source: pinterest

4. Make hot cocoa

I mentioned this earlier in the list, but I just love it so much! It warms up my soul, especially next to a warm, crackling fire. Add marshmallows and even stir it with a candy cane! A wonderful mug of nostalgia served up tree-side.

hot cocoa | #DestinationScandinavia #ClubMonaco
Source: pinterest

5.  Go look at Christmas lights

Some of my fondest memories of Christmas were spent in a car driving around the neighborhoods in my town, looking at all of the different lights. It was magical and the perfect way to really get into the holiday spirit, also — inspiration!

Google Image Result for http://www.dirjournal.com/shopping-journal/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/tackyxmasdecorations.jpg
Source: pinterest

6. Watch a Christmas movie in my Christmas pajamas

Me. A warm blanket. A mug in my hand and The Grinch, which is my favorite Christmas movie. Elf is a close second.

The Dreamer Flannel Pajama - Victoria's Secret
Source: pinterest

 

7. Wrap Presents

A task that some may dread, and others adore. Although my wrapping skills aren’t the best, I will wrap empty boxes just to wrap them.

10 VERY BEST GIFT WRAPPING TIPS
Source: pinterest

 

8. Christmas crafts

Ornaments, garland, decorations — anything!

Cute idea for wine bottles!                                                                                                                                                      More
Source: pinterest

 

9. Shamelessly blast Christmas music

Have you truly indulged in Christmas if you don’t hear at least one Michael Bublé song?

Michael Bublé – Christmas. I’m starting to purchase Christmas songs
Source: pinterest

 

10. Enjoy the holiday cheer

Relish in this season’s greetings. Welcome winter and look forward to the new year. Spend time with loved ones. But most of all, be humble.

Happy Holidays.

 

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Where Have I Been?

I started this blog over a year ago for the wrong reasons. I didn’t really care about the content that I posted — I wasn’t passionate about it. To be honest, I’ve grown to hate writing. Everything that I type leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Writing used to be my escape a majority of my life, but when my depression set in and became more prominent, I stopped. All the creativity that used to flow through my head constantly just packed it’s begs and skipped town.

My PPD comes in waves. I’ll be down and useless for a month or two, and then I’ll have an okay week. But then the tides of depression slowly creeps back up and swipes me off of the cliffs when my back is turned. I’m tired of falling victim to my mental illness. I want to fight back and it’s taken me a long time to figure out how to do that. Sometimes it made me depressed just thinking about how I was going to even begin to deal with my depression. It was a vicious, never-ending cycle and I am choosing to break it. Yes, there will still be bad days, bad weeks, but I’m no longer letting it cripple me. I’m not letting it take away from my happiness and I refuse to let it affect those that I love.

I am stronger.

Asher’s Arrival: My Labor and Delivery Story

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog, which is not what I wanted to happen. Living in the middle of nowhere with shit internet access is really taking it’s toll on all of my technological hobbies. Sad face.

I missed all of the opportunities while I was pregnant to write about this journey, but my boy is finally here and it’s time that I write about it.

When I was around 32 – 33 weeks pregnant, we were told that my baby was breech. Meaning that he was head up and nowhere near my birth canal. I had roughly 7 to 8 weeks to try to get him to flip, but I just couldn’t. Finally, my doctor recommended that we try External Cephalic Version, which is a procedure in which the doctor tries to flip the fetus/baby from outside of the womb. No luck with that. He got stuck half way and just wouldn’t flip because he didn’t have enough room. I remember crying while my baby’s father held me in the hospital room after my doctor had left after the unsuccessful procedure. This meant that my chances of getting a cesarean where higher.

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Weeks passed and my son still hadn’t flipped, lo and behold I was scheduled for a C-section. It took a long time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t bringing my son into the world the way that I had initially wanted. Honestly, knowing the exact hour that he’d be making his appearance into the world was more unnerving than calming. Knowing that I was going to be sliced open stressed me out.

January 30th was the date that was given to me, coincidentally it’s also our dog’s birthday. The night before surgery, my boyfriend surprised me with a king suite in a nearby hotel. I took a relaxing bubble bath the night before, but even the most comfortable bed that I’ve probably ever had the privilege of laying in didn’t help me get any sleep. I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 5:30 AM. Running on only 4-5 hours of sleep, we left to go get ready to welcome Asher into the word.

When we arrived, the nurse gave me a gown and a ridiculous amount of sterilization pads to wipe myself down with. Once I was done, I was told to lay in the bed as they hooked me up to an IV, which took the nurse at least 4 minutes of digging to find a vein. Knowing what was coming was the worst part. My anxiety started to kick in and I couldn’t get comfy in the bed. My belly started itching because of all the alcohol that it was wiped down with. I actually ended up scratching my belly so hard that I made myself bleed. After what felt like an eternity of waiting, after the nurse came and said “it’s time,” everything moved at what seemed to be hyperspeed.

We all walked down to the OR (operating room), which was freezing cold. Micah, my boyfriend, had to wait before he was allowed into the room. As soon as they walked me in, they made me sit on the table. My L&D nurse came and comforted me as the anesthesiologist stuck me in the back with the spinal block, which was more of a weird feeling rather than pain. My toes started to go numb and I actually wasn’t even able to get onto the table myself — I had to be lifted.

Finally after they had the catheter in and everything in place, Micah was able to join me. He stayed right by my head the whole time, holding my hand and stroking my hair. It was all such a surreal feeling. The ceiling was reflective, but luckily the giant light above me blocked what was happening to me from my view. However, I was still able to see what tools they were grabbing.

After only a few minutes of cutting and rigorous tugging, we heard a small cry. My eyes immediately filled with tears as my boyfriend looked at me and said: “Do you hear that? That’s our baby — That’s our son.” I couldn’t stop crying and it’s a feeling of bliss that I will never forget. Nine months of carrying him, getting cut open, it was all worth it. I noticed that he only cried a few times. When the doctors pulled him out, he started crying before they could get him all of the way out. Meaning that he inhaled more amniotic fluid that was already in his lungs.

Thanks to the ceiling, I was able to see them take my newborn baby boy over to the warmer and attempt to get him to cry. I was able to see his full head of hair through it. They brought him over to me and put him on my chest. I wasn’t able to fully see his face, but I knew that he was the most beautiful little boy in the world. My time with him and his father was cut short as they took him to the infirmary in order to get more fluid out of his lungs and clean him up.

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After I was stitched up, I was wheeled to the recovery room where I sat for about an hour. One of the side effects of the spinal block is severe shaking, which I could not stop for the life of me. I actually had to be held down by a nurse and my boyfriend just to get an accurate blood pressure reading because I was shaking so bad.

Even though recovery has been a long road and I still have a long way to go, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My boy is happy and healthy and I honestly have forgotten all of the pain that I endured the first week of his life in order to bring him into the world. I may make a separate post about how hard recovery was, but for now, I’ll leave this as my labor and delivery story.

Asher Laine Hicks arrived at 7:49 AM on January 30th, 2017. Weighing 7lbs and 12 oz, measuring 20.5 inches of pure perfection. I love you, my son.

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Mysterious Baking Skills Appear?


Before I got pregnant, and I mean way before. Before my son was even a thought in my mind, I had a knack for ruining absolutely everything that I baked. Every Christmas while I was decorating the tree, I’d have a batch of homemade cinnamon sugar cookies in the oven. However, they were never necessarily good. It was just a way to get my pent up holiday cheer out. And it was a sad, sad way. They were the flattest and hardest cookies you would ever see, and would taste starchy.

Cake mix in the box didn’t even stand a chance against me. I would end up doing something wrong. I had officially given up Baking. I was convinced that I was incapable. The funny part is, I was actually a cake decorator in a bakery for a year and a half. I could decorate extravagant wedding cakes, but I couldn’t bake a cake!

A week or so ago, a huge storm slammed into the west coast. It brought rain all weekend, and we anticipated on losing power. We stocked up on candles, batteries, flash lights, and even canned food. And I decided to get into what the season is all about. Baking a pie with a warm fire going as it rained cats and dogs outside sounded heavenly to me.

Since I’m not skilled with Baking, I picked up some pre-made pie crusts and canned apple filling. I figured that it was going to burn or just turn out completely disastrous. But along with pregnancy, I mysteriously gained motherly Baking skills. This pie was so sweet and flaky to eat, especially curled up and reading a book. I couldn’t help but share the lattice top I did with the cute little pumpkins and ribbons. However, I can’t take all of the credit considering nothing was homemade! Thank you, Pillsbury.

With love,

Natasha. ♥

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Although Asher isn’t quite here yet, his daddy and I wanted to make sure that he still got to celebrate with us! So of course it was only fair that we picked up a pumpkin, for our little pumpkin!

We went to one of the local farms in our area, and it was a little on the expensive side! (We didn’t plan on it costing so much, but every second was worth the pennies we spent.)

We enjoyed a lonesome and romantic hayride — really! We had the entire trailer to ourselves! Just us and the farm man, which got awkward at times. But he had the cutest little mixed Yellow Lab that accompanied him on his pumpkin patch runs! We also plunged into the corn maze. Unfortunately, it wasn’t haunted. But the sounds of the children enjoying themselves and running blindly through the maze made us so much more excited to be parents.

The farm had a stand where you could purchase anything that was all grown/made right there on the farm. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. The stand had everything in season that you could ever think of. Pumpkins, big and small — even teency weency little baby size! And not to mention, every kind. Watermelons, honeydew, cantaloupe, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes… the list goes on and on! And these were all at a very low price, so of course we helped ourselves.

I can’t wait to bring Asher here next year and let him waddle through the pumpkin patch and pick out his very own pumpkin! He may get muddy and covered in dirt, but kids will be kids and that’s certainly nothing a warm bubble bath and some love can’t fix.

With love,

Natasha.