Monday, December 31, 2012

Two Thousand Twelve

2012.

It has been quite a year. I remember this time last year, I was thinking of the heartbreak 2011 left me with, praying for 2012 to be a better year and a new start.

Little did I know, my mother would be taken from me not even two months later; shaking my world and breaking it in half. Just like that, it became the worst year of my life. 2012 will always be the year my mom died. But I had to learn from it. I had to let it grow me... somehow.

Here I am, looking back on the months and days of this past year and I see how much I've learned.

About life.
About love.
About moving on.


Last year, I also focused my energy on one word instead of a resolution. My word was become. All the things I wanted to do. All the things I wanted to be.

Now, here I am. About to ring in the new year in my new city - San Diego. San Di-friggin-ego. MY DREAM. I did it. And, yes, I just have to say it... I am pretty darn proud of myself. I didn't let anything get in the way. In fact, because of the hurdles that were placed in my way, I fought harder than I would have to get where I am today.

In 2012 I:

+Spent NYE in Boston
+Tried repairing broken love in Sin City... twice
+Lost my sweet Mom
+Lost my sweet Missy
+Took a new job
+Left that job
+Had too much drama at the dentist
+Conquered my fear of flying
+Visited San Diego
+Moved to San Diego
+Learned to love again

2013 really does look so fresh and new and bright. There are so many possibilities. My calendar is mainly blank with a few plans already penciled in. I'm excited to talk about what's to come in little Chelsea's life and it'll be exciting to see what happens in the new year!

As the last day of 2012 rolls on by, I wish my family and friends a very Happy New Year. May it be the best one yet :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas Angel


Merry Christmas to my angel.
This year just won't be the same without your light.
Your energy. Your laugh. Your hugs.

There will be an empty chair at the table.
An empty stocking.
An empty space under the tree.

You started so many of our Christmas traditions.
You gave the most thoughtful gifts and always managed to give me something totally random to throw me off.
We'll all remember the tradition you started of putting hints on the gift tag.
"Who's that one from, Chels?"

I'll miss watching you open your presents but always being the last one to finish because you wanted everyone to open their gifts first.
I'll miss the excitement in your eyes.
I'll miss your messy morning hair and your little slippers.

As we open our presents this year, as we say grace, and as we say goodnight... the moments will be a little more silent.

Christmas will never, ever be the same.
I'll have my angel watching over me.
But I'll always miss my Mom's Christmas hug.

Merry Christmas, Mommy.
We miss you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

I know, I know... some of you just aren't into recaps but these pictures are too good not to share. Day Three and Final Day were my absolute favorites. I have fallen in love with the Southwest - the views, the architecture, the history. It is all so rich. Read along and find out which state was my favorite [California doesn't count.]

Texas







Texas began the day-long stretch of having zero Internet reception on my phone. I'm sure it's hard to believe but this was my first time ever setting foot in Texas. The Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo was my favorite thing about the Lone Star State. I was disappointed that after the thousands and possibly millions of poor cows I saw, I only saw one LONE longhorn. C'mon, Texas!

New Mexico

By far, the coolest part of the drive cross country was Historic Route 66. Typical Chelsea, of course, did research on the road about how it was one of the original U.S. Highways and how the implementation of the Interstate Highway System in the 60s wiped out many of the little towns Route 66 used to go through, leaving ghost towns. 

On the side of the freeway, you'd see deserted gas stations, car repair shops, etc. Old cars, tractors, trucks. Below you will see certain stretches of Route 66 we were able to drive through. It was truly fascinating. I also picked up an authentic dream catcher in New Mexico - something I had been wanting :)





We decided to drive through the city of Albuquerque [do you realize how difficult it is to spell that?] and again, drive on the strip of Historic Route 66. It's also pretty cool to have driven through now that I just started watching Breaking Bad which is filmed there. ABQ had a different feel to it. Something I hadn't experienced in any of the other U.S. towns. It was distinct. Unique. Additionally, the sunsets in New Mexico are out of this world...







As the sun sank into the horizon, we eventually drove into Arizona and stayed in Holbrook for the night. Holbrook definitely felt like taking a step back into time into the 60s. The final leg of the cross country journey was just around the corner and I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that by the end of the next day, I'd be home sweet San Diego :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day Two Delirium

Day Two of the cross country trek was probably the worst. Not only was it the first day waking up in a hotel with only one quarter of the drive complete, but I just wasn't thrilled about the road ahead of us that day: The rest of Tennessee, Arkansas, and half of Oklahoma.

For some reason, the drive into Memphis, reminded me of the drive into St. Louis from the West. Total deja vu. Maybe it has something to do with the Mississippi...





And then there was Arkansas. Ohhhhh, Arkansas. There really just wasn't much to look at along the I-40 stretch until Little Rock finally came along. You know it's bad when the only pictures on your iPhone for a large stretch of the way are taken inside the car... of Stella.

I originally had Stella in her carrier, secured in the backseat while I was driving but decided when I wasn't driving to hold her in my lap while still in the carrier. She enjoyed the security of having the carrier around her. I unzipped each end and occasionally placed my hand inside to say "hi" and give her some comfort. She loved snuggling up to me :)

We stopped in Little Rock for a quick lunch right in the middle of the city. It was fun to finally see a town in the state and get a somewhat better feel for Arkansas. There wasn't much after that until the Oklahoma border. Oh, except for a stuffed bear dressed in Razorback gear...




Then it was onward into Oklahoma! I enjoyed the sunset while watching the terrain start to change a bit [which I always find fascinating from state to state.] It's also fun to look up the state on Wikipedia and find out some interesting facts which I also did. Read up a ton on Native Americans in the land. Very cool!

I chatted with Lauren who's now living in OK and she mentioned that the buildings in OKC might be lit up with crosses since it's Christmastime. She was right! I enjoyed driving through the Oklahoma City area [although it was unfortunately dark by that point.] It was one of the more occupied areas we had seen in quite some time!



Day Two ended West of OKC in a small town right on Historic Route 66 called Weatherford. It's hard to believe Day Two started all the way back East in Nashville! Look THAT distance up on the map! And Day Three was going to be yet another long day... A day that I was so very excited for!

I won't be writing tomorrow as tomorrow many of us in the blogging community are having a blogger day of silence for the victims of Newtown, CT. Join us as we remember the heroes and those lost this past Friday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Early Moving Reflection

It has been a while since I have just written whatever is on my mind so instead of a re-cap right now, I just want to let the words flow :)

I am extremely happy right now. I am here, in my new home, in the place I dreamt for years of moving to. I just had dinner with my neighbors, Stella is snuggled up on the couch with me, and I'm texting new friends I've already made here. So much has changed in a matter of days and I feel so great about what lies ahead.

I am in awe of all that this city has to offer. All that there is to see and do. I'm about to be really cheesy but...

It's almost like that feeling you're supposed to feel when you meet your perfect match. You just know. It feels so right. That's how I feel living in San Diego. I feel so in my element. San Diego is all the things I love about a city all rolled into one. And I don't care what time of day it is, I'm amazed at the sights my own neighborhood offers me.




Moving far away from home in a city where you only know a few people really puts you out of your comfort zone. You have to re-define everything while staying true to you. You're constantly challenged whether it be by the roads and figuring out where you are and how to get un-lost or conquering the fears you never knew you had [or even the ones you knew you did - helloooo, spiders!] You find new ways to do things on your own because you don't always have a friend nearby, let alone a husband, boyfriend, or family member to come help at the snap of a finger.

I love every second of this and I've only been here a week. I have several more adventures planned this weekend that will be putting me out of my comfort zone again, but I guess that's good, right? :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Leaving Virginia

Well, here I am! Blogging has been difficult to do lately as the unpacking and organizing process is underway here in San Diego. I'm so excited to share bits and pieces of my new place with you once everything is all set! For now, I want to talk to about the cross country trip from VA to CA since I hyped it up so much.

It was amazing, to say the least.
It made me fall even more in love with this beautiful country that I call home.

First, I said goodbye to my childhood home. The one on the hill with the big, red door.


Then, we loaded up the car Sunday morning and spent most of the day driving through boring Virginia. Don't get me wrong - I love driving the Eastern route of VA down to the beach but the Western route through the "mountains" just does nothing for me. As we crossed the border into Tennessee, the sunset greeted us and boy, was it beautiful!

We made a stop in my favorite Tennessee city, Knoxville [Go Vols!]  for dinner and I was nicely surprised when I saw a McAlister's! I had McAlister's once in Alabama years ago and just had to go back!


I tried taking Stella out of her carrier to feed her and give her some water. Do you realize how difficult it is to do this in a car? I felt like the mother of an infant. I had to put some music on for her so she wouldn't hear every single sound in the parking lot and hold her while pouring water and food. It was a spectacle but she ate so I felt better.

We drove a few more hours in the dark [driving in the Winter is horrible since daylight is scarce!] and stopped for the night in good ole Nashville!

1. Downtown Nashville. Love the "Batman" building. (That's just what I refer to it as.)
2. We stayed on "Music Row" so the hotel decor was all music themed with guitars and saxophones, etc.
3. Stella enjoys exploring.
4. Early morning in Nashville, looking at a neat statue.

I must admit, as someone who's not into country music, Nashville impressed me. It was a neat, little city with lots of character! Then it was onward to Day Two where we conquered the remainder of Tennessee, Arkansas, and most of Oklahoma! So, check back soon for that.

By the end of Day One and start of Day Two, I was feeling great. Day One was a 13-hour day and while it was exhausting, it was also exciting to know the journey was finally happening and that there was still so much more of the country to see!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Made It

I am currently lying in my bed in SAN DIEGO, writing this short but necessary blog post.

A post to let you know one very important thing: I made it.

East Coast to West Coast. VA to CA. Nearly 4 days and almost 4,000 miles later. I am here.


And, clearly, I am delirious. The picture above says it all...
In case you don't get it, the "W" is for the old-school "West Siiide" term. Ya know, since I'm a part of that elite group now :)

There will be many updates and stories to follow once the remaining moving shenanigans are out of the way. For now, this girl is ready to turn on Pretty Little Liars and snuggle with Stella until I fall asleep. My moving truck arrives tomorrow and there is a lot to be done!

Goodnight, world. Goodnight, San Diego.