Love You Forever, So Cal

Friday, December 08, 2017

Our (normally) perfect little Southern California bubble is quite literally burning to the ground around us. We don't have blizzards, we generally stay away from heavy rains, we don't usually fluctuate in temperature from extreme heat to freezing cold and we're used to a nice calm breeze. But every year around this time we get a visit from the Santa Ana winds. 

These are usually warm winds (although this year is a bit different) that can get up to 80mph in some areas. Mix heavy winds with the fact that we pretty much haven't had rain since last year at this time, plus we're surrounded by mountains with heavy vegetation, and it means bad news for us. 

Currently, we're surrounded on multiple sides by about 5 wildfires. These fires quite literally sparked overnight and the largest fire burning up to 95,000 acres so far is just a mountains distance away and that is scary. 

The other fires are the same, we are generally a mountains distance apart (and in reality that's a pretty good distance to be, don't get me wrong) but we're getting some of the leftover smoke and ash from the surrounding areas. 

The firefighters in our state are working tirelessly. They haven't caught a break in days, and the possibility of containment is hindered every time the winds pick back up or change direction. Each morning that we've woken up since Sunday has shown news of a new fire in a new location, and less resources to fight them, and that is scary. 

However, when watching the news I'm reminded that it could be worse. In no way (so far) has my life, or the lives of my family been directly affected by the fires. I have had the means to help donate to those who watched on the news as their homes went up in flames. People with babies, just like mine, searching for anyone to lend them the things that I've got plenty of, like diapers and formula. 
There are presents already wrapped and nestled under our Christmas tree, something that others may have had, but have now lost. 

It's scary to be so near something that you have absolutely no control over, but it is also so important to take a look at the people you've got next to you and to remember that that's what's important. A lot of people are facing tough times right now, but we will come together and we will support those in need. Natural disasters are truly a reminder of the strength of people, and the fact that despite all the bad going on in the world, we are human beings at our core and we will help one another, because if we were in their shoes we would hope that they would do the same for us. 

If you're in the surrounding areas please look for ways you may be able to help, no matter how small. If you're not, please keep us in your thoughts. Fires are completely unpredictable and all we can hope for is that the men and women fighting to keep us safe will have the means to do so. 

The Art of Staying Motivated About Blogging (Even When it Seems Like No One Else is)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

I've popped in and out of the blogging world for the past five years or so, and in that time I've seen a ton of changes taking place.

When Daniel and I first got married and I moved to another state, I started a blog as a means of getting my thoughts out there as I embarked on my new journey as a young military wife. There were TONS of people consistently blogging back then. 

I could count on all of my favorite bloggers to show up day after day with important posts, or just a post to catch up on their daily lives, and everything in between. Bloggers became friends and created lasting relationships. Blogging was fun. But I got caught up in my own life, moving from state to state with Daniel and between roaming the country and switching universities every semester or so, I eventually deleted my blog (and regret this, mostly). Eventually we became more settled and flash back to two plus years ago when I decided to regroup and get back in the blogging game. 

Imagine my surprise when I rejoined and the blog world was totally and completely different. I was lucky to see a post every other week on the blogs that I used to read every day. I saw a lot of posts about people getting burned out with the same old thing, or getting frustrated about the amount of sponsorship posts and lack of "genuine" material. There were still a few of my favorites hanging around, but as the years have passed, slowly but surely many of them have made the decision to shut down for good as well. This year in particular has been hard for a lot of people, myself included. I've found it difficult to balance the art of sharing too much about my current thoughts of the state of the world (and possibly offending someone) and not sharing enough, and coming off as less than sympathetic. It's a very fine line. 

There are still so many truly great, motivated and passionate bloggers out there today. There are people who show up everyday and make it a point to keep things the way they used to be, but they are further and far between. 

I think that in order to stay motivated about blogging (because it is really such an amazing community) we must continue to show up for ourselves first. Write because you enjoy writing, or because you've found that its been profitable for you in the past, or because you've met some really great people along the way. Write just for the love of writing and stay motivated because your words have the power to reach others and because they mean something. 

The blogging community is much different than it was, but it doesn't have to be. It's still possible to make connections and create lasting relationships. It's still possible to write about things that are important or things that are fun, or things that mean something. Stay motivated because at one point or another you were passionate about your online space, for whatever reason that was for you, and maybe you just need to find your way back. I'm thankful for the community of people who continue to show up and catch up. I'm grateful for people like you, who may be reading this post right now.

I love the blogging community and I'm hoping to make steps in the future to continue it forward, so thanks for coming along with me. 

A Christmas Link-Up

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

It has been WAY too long since I've participated in a link-up. I always forget how fun these are and such an easy way to connect with others about the same topics. What better link-up to participate in than one themed around Christmas? Seriously, this whole month is just the best ever. I hope you'll link-up here too with The Blended Blog!

1) Real tree every single year! This year we considered a fake tree because someone told me about trees that COMBUST out of NOWHERE and I got nervous but Daniel still made me get one. 

2) What are those cookies with the Hershey's kisses in the middle of them? I love those. 

3) Travel on Christmas Eve, home on Christmas morning. 

4) Colored lights outside, clear on our Christmas tree. 

5) This is the Kensington's first Christmas so we've considered sending out cards for the first time but every time I go to check out I stop myself because they just cost so much. I'm still going back and forth. 

6) I honestly don't think I have a favorite. I usually get some really great Christmas presents (9 Christmases out of 10 my mom and I buy each other at least ONE of the same exact gift, so I usually have an idea of what I'm getting). 

7) It's a gift I'm giving this year so I can't spill the beans just yet. Let's just say I have dubbed myself the queen of gift giving people I seriously know my people and what they're going to like and I found something perfect for everyone. 

8) Stockings. Usually filled with candy and the random gift that I couldn't figure out how to wrap. 

9) This year I desperately wanted the matching family jams from Hearth & Hand at Target but I didn't get to them early enough online. I didn't find any others that I love but I usually end up getting a pair of Victoria's Secret flannel pjs from someone in my life on Christmas morning. 

10) Does Maria Carey's All I Want For Christmas is You count as a Christmas carol? No? Too bad. That's my fave. 

11) Every year since I was little my dad would buy us scratch off lottery tickets and put them in our stockings. He used to tell us that anything over $50 dollars had to be split with the family (and that always seemed like SO much money) haha the same rules still apply today and it's still just as fun. 

12) Usually I buy presents all month long but I'm proud to say that this year I finished absolutely all of my shopping before December even began. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. 

13) Elf!

14) Peppermint Mocha, hands down. 

15) This will be our first year with a kid at Christmas, although she'll only be 8 months old. We will definitely be putting out milk and cookies because, yum. 

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