It's on our side, we're just in the nick of it, and it's sure flying...

Image I was robbed this weekend, friends. It was quick - literally a thief in the night. When I woke up, it took a bit to realize that it had happened. Was I scared? No. Was I surprised? No. Had I seen it coming? Yes. It happens once a year, but it still throws me off.

I'm obviously talking about time, people. The hour that we "lost" in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I have always loved to watch my phone at 2:00am on that Sunday morning. It's fascinating to see it either switch an hour ahead of what it should be, or just watch that hour erase itself completely. I wasn't able to do that this weekend, because I was just so darn exhausted and had already given up at that point. But it's such a literal way to see time fly -- in one direction or another.

There is so much complaint (from me as well!) when the world takes away our sweet hour. Curses are thrown into the wind about the robbery of time, and we just swear we feel ourselves drag a lot slower. I know that lots of people really are physically affected by the time change, in various ways. But I can't help but think to myself all of the ridiculous things that I have traded for an hour of my time. Seriously. Lots of those things were completely equivalent to the idea of the clocks just being moved forward an hour. I have seriously wasted at least an hour of my time on the following things that fall into the afore-mentioned category:

*Buying toys for my dog

*Posting pictures of my dog online

*Putting things into shopping carts on various websites that I don't actually end up buying

*Talking in a weird voice for no reason

*Watching someone else do something while being completely unhelpful

*Spinning in a chair

*Talking myself out of going to the gym

*Eating candy and playing on my iPad

*Having a ketchup and mustard fight with my brother

*Literally staring at the wall

*Trying on clothes I have no intent to buy


*Waiting for someone

See how productive I am? And how many hours I have spent doing completely nothing at various points in my life? What I'm trying to say is this -- I do worse to myself on a daily basis than the world does to me once a year when it robs me of an hour. So why does this one hour get me grumbling so much? I'm sure it has to do with sleep or something like that -- if you know me, you know that I love my sleep. But in the grand scheme of things, I could gain that hour back easily by trading in any number of the pointless things I waste my time on regularly. And what could I gain? So much can be accomplished in an hour. I could do any of the following:

*Laundry (sorting, folding)

*Making long overdue phone calls to friends

*Addressing and mailing out thank you notes from the wedding

*Going to the gym

*Taking Chloe and Mira for a walk

You get the picture. :) So I guess the moral of my story is this -- use your time wisely. If we use all of our available time to the fullest, or at least fullER, I'm sure we can get a lot accomplished and feel a lot less grumpy about our time being taken away. I know, I know - it's easier when you are wasting your own time rather than someone else taking it in some way. But that's just life, right? It's a necessary evil that we will never get around, so we should just learn how to suck it up and move on. (Note: This isn't me saying that I take my time being wasted worth a grain of salt. Or maybe it is, if by "grain of salt" you mean salt-flat. I'm just saying I would like to someday learn how to maybe become the kind of person that could conceivably begin to be like that.) It's my theory (wait -- isn't the thesis supposed to go at the BEGINNING of the boring essay, Mandy??) that if we used our daily given time a little bit better, that we wouldn't feel so cheated when one baby hour was taken away from us.

So that is my new goal. Use time more wisely. I mean, if you were given an hour, which we are in the fall, what would you do with it? I usually just sleep it away... Maybe we should just look at spring daylight savings time like we are paying nature back for the hour they lent us in the fall! But then paying people for things is a whooooooole other ball of wax that we don't have the time to get into right now. It always come down to quality over quantity, if you ask me. Especially when it comes to time, and things like treats, and hugs, or really good mac and cheese. Ok, maybe I like a high level of both in that last one. :)

Go get your hour back, people! There is so much to do! <3

Truth be told, I'm eating a Kit-Kat.

Nothing special about that title except for the fact that it's the god-honest truth. And I couldn't come up with anything better, really. That's where I'm at right now. I'm incredibly tired, but I cannot complain at all -- I am not tired because I'm dealing with a sickness, or because I have insomnia, or because I am working two jobs to support my family. I am tired because I have been enjoying my life. :) Yes, you heard me right. I've been filling it with lots of love, and happiness, and adventures, and yummy food. I made it a silent (not so silent anymore, blabbermouthfingers) New Year's awareness, of sorts, to be a little bit more exciting. I was feeling myself settling into the same routines, doing the same things, being a super homebody, and frankly - being a little boring. Don't get me wrong, I love my home, and being there, and relaxing - but I found myself saying no to fun things in favor of doing, well, things that were not as much fun. So I am trying hard to say yes to experiences, and carve out time for adventure (even if it's a small adventure!) 

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to jump into a huge one of these experiences. And like I said to a kid at school a few weeks ago, sometimes the things that I'm both nervous AND excited for at the same time are the things that I end up having the best time doing. Kristin asked me I would want to go to a spa with her and Constance -- one they had been to before, one that they really liked, and one that scared the crap out of me -- they refer to it as the "Naked Lady Spa". And that's what it is. No swimsuits, no jewelry, nothing to protect you from the eyes and elements of the room. I was nervous, scared, intrigued, and excited. They spoke volumes about their experience there, and about how freeing and wonderful it is. And you know what? They were right! I was nervous all day, but then just decided to not let myself be nervous. I embraced the atmosphere, and literally jumped in with both feet (ok, I didn't jump. I gingerly stepped into the pools.)... It was such a relaxing time. And after awhile, I felt myself just not even thinking about it (which Kristin had told me would happen!). It was an amazing evening, and I'm so happy that I got to share it with two wonderful girls, who made me feel so wonderful!

The next day, David and I ventured to Canada for the weekend. And we had a blast! We did lots of things - went to the aquarium, saw sea otters, did a lot of walking, saw a movie, ate a yummy pizza in our hotel room, braved sashimi --- it was jam packed! I had such a great time, and felt so happy to be on that adventure with my adorable boy-toy, who ALSO makes me feel so wonderful. :)

The last few evenings have been filled with dinner with my besties in Seattle, just chatting about everything that we could, drinking yummy drinks and sharing tasty fries, car dancing to Justin TImberlake (it was INTENSE), trivia with my mom, winning a prize on the radio for the first time in my life, and just enjoying my job.

On the flipside of all of this sunshine came a rain cloud, though. A wonderful man in the life of my best friend was lost this last week, one who I have known for a long time as well. He was an institution in Poulsbo, and in her family, and he will be greatly, greatly missed. He leaves behind an amazing family, however -- one that is stronger than most I have ever come across. I've known that since the day I become an adopted part of it! For my dear bestie Jewel, and her family, my heart is saddened. But it is also encouraged by the knowledge that your strong family is getting even stronger! The Stroud/Evenson clan is a force to be reckoned with. And knowing your grandpa for all of these years, I can see where you all get it!

And so, with the awareness that our lives are simply on loan, and we need to soak up our time we have, I embraced this past week fully. And I vow to do that for more weeks this year. In fact, I'm aiming for about 52 of them. 

Sometimes it's a bit of a blur...

I have a confession to make... Sometimes I get myself worked up. Big shocker here if you know me, I'm sure. But sometimes I just get so wound up about something that I cannot just let go like a normal person. I know that lots of people struggle with this, but sometimes it just gets in the way of my life and it's so frustrating. Some of you know that I have struggled with anxiety and depression the last few years. I have taken medication, I've done counseling, and it hasn't been incredibly bad in the grand scheme of things. I have learned a lot about myself through this process. But still, little and strange things get me worked up.

This weekend was a classic example. I had planned a small get together with some friends at my house to celebrate my birthday. Other than my family and my best friends, I hadn't really had anyone over to my house. And I have found that as the years go by, my hosting anxiety gets worse and worse! I don't know how much to buy, I don't know what people will want to drink, what if this happens? What if I run out of this? It's ridiculous the scenarios I come up with. And numerous people will tell me not to panic - that it's my friends, that they love me, and they will love whatever we have and do.

But still, I found myself getting more and more panicked and nervous about it. David was amazing and did so much to make sure the party went well, and I found myself snapping at him about completely dumb things in the hours leading up to the party. I worked myself into a sweat about the smallest things. And then when my friends started to arrive, I was so happy to see them! But still I found myself asking every few seconds if everyone was okay, or if they needed anything. I wasn't sure about when to put things out for our next course, and hemmed and hawed so much about that. I felt like I looked like a trainwreck. I sure felt like one.

Lily (who is almost 3) commandeered my phone at some point and took some pictures, which I feel like totally captured what I felt like for most of the evening. See below for the first half of the party through Lily's eyes, and subsequently, Mandy's brain:



About an hour or so before everyone left, I felt my worries slip away. I was surrounded by amazing friends, people I care about so deeply, and who I cherish with all of my heart. They were all in my living room, eating ice cream happily, and laughing hysterically at the game we were playing. And I just soaked it all up and felt great.

After everyone left, and things were cleaned up, and I stopped and slowed down, my emotions hit me like an anvil in an old-timey cartoon. Out of nowhere, I got so teary-eyed and sad. And as David was reassuring me about the party and about how loved I am, I tried to explain that I realized all of that. But I was just so anxious and weird that I didn't really start to settle until right before people left. I just didn't feel fully present for most of the time.

And this is my take-away from that whole experience. I want to be present for all of the moments in my life. I want to be here, fully and whole-heartedly.  And that means making some changes in my life physically and emotionally. I think I am on the right track, and it feels good to know that the path ahead may not be easy, but it will be so, so worth it. I'm in a great place now, but with a little elbow grease and perseverance, I can be in a magnificent place. Even with all of those crazy emotions that I pack around with me. :) (I've always been a bit of an over-packer.)