The Stroller Diaries // 27

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Yesterday, I celebrated my one year anniversary with Chicken and Chickadee as their nanny. This week is full of anniversaries! I’ve been trying to write up a poetic tribute to the babes, how much I love them, what this job has meant to me, etc — but I’m tired this week. Moving + humidity + not exercising like I should + lots of travel has me worn slap out. Some days I get frustrated with all the baby grunting and demands, so much so that I can’t even form sentences, let alone a piece of prose about a year spent covered in baby fluids and cracker crumbs. But then, Chicken falls asleep on my chest or Chickadee sneaks up from behind me and wraps me up in a hug and I get a flood of emotions and words and thoughts about how much I love these babies and how much they have taught me. Whether it is about myself, about them, about how to love and take care of someone else, or just about how to survive what seems like the impossible. This may sound dramatic, but there have been some days when I thought getting them to nap was literally going to be the most difficult challenge of my life, luckily for me, I haven’t faced anything harder, yet. But I know that I will and the patience and perseverance these little chicks have taught me crosses out of nanny life and right into the rest of my life.

All this to say, I love those babes, I love this job–even when I hate it.

Happy one year together, babies, I cannot wait to watch you grow over this next one!

Happy Anniversary, DMV

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My favorite picture of DC to date.

Saturday was a very special day. You see, it was the one year anniversary of my move out of North Carolina and into the DMV (not the Division of Motor Vehicles, the District/VA/MD area). I would say my move to DC but people up here get a little technical and I was really in Arlington, VA all along. However! As of this weekend I’m a legit DC resident, so next year this will be an ode to my first real year in DC proper.

What a year it has been! Remember when I wrote a post about my first month here?! That feels like forever ago. It’s so funny to me that I moved here on July 19th of last year and moved to my new place on July 19th of this year. And July 19th of two years ago was the day I got dumped, which is also kinda funny–and totally not a coincidence, I see what you’re doing here, God. I spent a year in NC working through things, packed my bags and said it’s time to blow this popsicle stand, and then spent a year here figuring things out. And you know what? I feel good. I feel really, really good. DC feels like home. It’s so weird having a childhood home and now an adult home that are completely different. Every time I go back to NC I’m reminded of how much I love it and appreciate the first 21 years of my life spent there. But at the same time, I’m reminded of how much I love my new home and how happy I am I made this leap.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a very big deal to me, this move. I’m only 5 hours from home (NYC was much further), I lived with my best friend (instead of strangers or alone), and I worked in a field I know and love (childcare). But really, 5 hours is a long way, especially with traffic–and DC and GSO are worlds apart in almost every way. I may have lived with my best friend but we were both new to the area and had to learn our way around together. And while I have worked in childcare before, I’ve never helped to raise two babies from the age of four months old. It’s been a lot of new stuff.

But I found my groove. I learned how to drive here, one of my biggest accomplishments in the last year (not kidding, I brag about this all the time). I already knew how much I loved and could handle public transportation but that love just grew even more–although I still haven’t taken a bus, gotta get on that one. I learned how to tell the difference between a hungry cry, a grumpy cry, and a sleepy cry. I learned how to keep two babies alive and to help them thrive. I learned how very hard it is to make friends and meet people once college ends. But I also learned that I do really well on my own. Some of my favorite days over the past year were spent exploring the city on my own. This day and this day being some of the best. I learned how to be a good host and to show my (amazing) friends and family a good time in my new city. I finally figured out what I really want to do with my life and started running towards it.

And I learned a lot about myself.

It’s been a damn good year. A few days ago, I realized we were halfway through 2014 and I took a second to think about how my year was going. 2013 sucked. It just did. There were highlights, but it was a hard year for me and I was happy to bid it farewell. But 2014? 2014 and I are getting along really well. I’ve made friends, cried WAY less (just keepin’ it real), taken trips, started graduate school, gone on adventures, laughed until I cried, and loved hard. Whether I was loving on this city, people, a certain puppy dog, a book, a baby, or a monument–I have found things I love and latched onto them to create a remarkable life up here. I’m very proud of this year.

Cheers to many, many more years together, DC!

My Dearest Kate!

IMG_0463Today my friends, is a very sad day. This morning was the last morning Kate and I woke up as roommates. To say I’m depressed about this would be an understatement. Kate and I have always been close but this last year together has made her one of my very best friends in the entire world and I hate thinking about being two hours away from one another.IMG_0460I’m so proud of her for getting into VCU and finishing school and I cannot wait to see the life she builds for herself in Richmond. I’m also pretty pumped to have another friend in a fun city that I can go visit. And VCU is just a hop, skip, and a jump down 95 from DC. Well, without traffic at least…..IMG_0461Kate is one of the sweetest, kindest, most loving people I know. She cares deeply about her friends and really feels what they are going through. She also gives the best advice (although she’s not good at taking her own advice…wink wink). I cannot have imagined someone better to have spent this first year in DC with. IMG_0465Kate, I love you forever. I know we will always be best friends (especially since I plan to graft my phone to my hand so we can be in constant contact) but I will miss having you right beside me on the couch every day after work.

Thanks for being the best, don’t ever get out of my brain!

 

A Love Letter to: The Sky

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Dear Sky,

I’ve been feeling pretty stressed lately (see this post) and my mind is moving a million miles a minute. A MILLION, I TELL YOU. But you know what has really been helping me?

Looking at you. Whether you’re clear blue, stormy, or full of a sunset — I just can’t get enough.IMG_0207

I like to gaze up at you (into your eyes, really) and take a few deep breaths (snap a pic, because, duh) and then I feel much better. Sometimes, I wake up in the mornings and look  out my window first thing because seeing that beautiful sunrise really calms me down.IMG_0394So, thank you, for being you. It’s nice to have such a constant.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid (literally).

Love, your stalker,

Emily

 

Happy Birthday, Alex! (#prettyboyis18)

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Y’all. My little brother is 18. WHAT WHAT WHAT HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE WHAT. Today, Alex Ralph Harden is an adult. WHAT WHAT WHAT HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE WHAT. I will never stop saying that. How my little brother could possibly be a 6’2″ (ish) tall man who is going to be a senior in high school is unbelievable to me. First of all, lets talk about how awesome our shoes are in the above picture. No, how awesome our entire outfits are.

Other than his excellent taste in shoes (or really, Cam Newton’s excellent taste in shoes) Alex has lots of awesome qualities. He is incredibly sweet, kind, funny, and loyal. I am so grateful for such a wonderful sibling and it makes me feel great to know we have each other to grow up with. Even when you get on my last nerve (on purpose) I still love you and wouldn’t ever trade you for anyone else. You are one of my very best friends and I love your forever and ever, bud.

I hope today is a great day!

#kateandemtakegreensboro and #prettyboyis18

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My friends and I have had a very strong hashtag game lately. For the last weekend alone we had two (sometimes three, sometimes four) hashtags going at once and I LOVE IT. There is nothing I love more than being able to click on a hashtag and see all the images from everyone gathered in one stop. Thumbs up, high five, and fist bump to you Instagram for making this possible.

I traveled home to Greensboro to celebrate Alex’s 18th birthday a little early this past weekend, and I brought Kate along with me! We only have 4 days left living together (WHAT HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE) and we decided we couldn’t be separated for the weekend.

IMG_0496(Mom and Dad now have their own hashtag on Instagram too, because their pictures are just so damn cute. Check out #davidlovesvickie for more!)

We had such a good time! Friday there was a doughnut date with the birthday boy, then a trip to visit our friends and past co-workers at Maxie Bs, then dinner at Natty Greene’s (nom nom)! Saturday we woke up early to go yard sale-ing with Mom and Alex, took Kate on a tour of all the important places in Greensboro (i.e. my elementary school and our old houses), took a nap (always important), had cake and ice cream with the extended family, and then went out to some bars with our friends! It was jam packed and the ride home Sunday suuuuuuuucked (NoVA, I love you, I do not love your traffic) but I’m so glad we went. Kate lived in Greensboro for three years but we weren’t as close then as we are now and so it was really fun to show her around town. Plus, we danced up a storm in downtown Greensboro on Saturday night, and that’s always the best.

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Other things to note about the weekend: Dad cleaned out my car so much it SHINES and has never looked better (you da best!), Alex hit me with a broomstick when we blindfolded him during the piñata, and Kate bought a pretty new mirror for $3! Success.

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Oh, and Alex’s birthday hashtag is #prettyboyis18 because he loves to hashtag all his Instas with #prettyboy #immaberich and #selfiegametoostrong. Which is hilarious. And obviously needed to be mocked.

Love ya, bro!

Whoa.

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A surprise day off last week (woo!) resulted in a trip to my beloved Lincoln Memorial and a mini self timer photo shoot while I was there. 

Remember a few weeks back when I mentioned that I was really busy and then I dropped off of the blog for a week or so? Yeah, I had no idea what busy was back then. This summer is JAM PACKED. Don’t get me wrong, it is jam packed in the absolute best way possible, but it is still so full of stuff that my head is spinning. Here is a run down of my life starting in May (which is when summer starts for me).

1st weekend in May: All my best friends (except Claire, wahhhh) come to town to celebrate my birthday, rejoice!

3rd weekend in May: Visit Terri and Colin in West Jefferson and start summer school

4th weekend in May: Memorial Day festivities

2nd weekend in June: Go to Raleigh for Bruno Mars concert

3rd weekend in June: Go to Southern VA for a camping trip and finish summer school

1st weekend in July: Mountains of PA for 4th of July trip

2nd weekend in July: Greensboro for Alex’s birthday

3rd weekend in July: Move to my new apartment

4th weekend in July: NYC with Emk

All weekends in August: No travel plans yet, but plenty of stuff to do at home.

Labor Day Weekend: West Jefferson for camping.

And then the fall busy-ness begins. Everything I’ve done so far has been AMAZING and I’m looking forward to everything to come, but boy, I’m tired. One of those weekends in August is going to be reserved for sleeping.

But really, I can’t complain. I’m so stinking happy to have so many amazing people in so many places that I get to go visit!! I really do love this summer.

P.S. I’m doing my very best to schedule ahead on the blog so that I don’t get behind, I’m about to crank out a few posts during nap time. But no promises that I won’t go quiet for a few days here and there. Just remember that I still love you very much!

The Exodus Road

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There are a lot of bad people and bad things in this world and sometimes I’m so overwhelmed by them that I feel like I can never do anything to help. And then that becomes even more discouraging and I feel like this world is just the worst place ever. Even though I know deep down that there are still good and kind people left. So, when I find an opportunity to help, even in the smallest way, I jump on it.

A few weeks ago, one of those opportunities arose! Two of my favorite bloggers, Roo of Semi Proper and Kristin of Rage Against the Minivan, went to Southeast Asia with an organization called The Exodus Road. They work to end sex trafficking and help victims recover after they have been rescued.

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The brochure above does a much better job explaining what they do. After Roo and Kristin got back they each began writing posts (along with two other bloggers) about their experiences and asking their readers to join them in partnering with The Exodus Road. For $35/month you can help undercover teams go into brothels in SE Asia and gather information to prosecute the criminals they find.

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After I signed up to partner with The Exodus Road I received a (surprise) package in the mail! First of all, kickass stamps, love ‘em. As well as the stamps was a keychain, more information, a magnet, and a bumper sticker! Such a nice gesture that I wasn’t expecting at all.

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I know that $35/month can be a lot, but I just remind myself that between this and the child I sponsor through WorldVision, I’m basically just eliminating one trip to Target a month, and I can handle that.

I urge you to at least look further into The Exodus Road’s work and potentially partner with them as well! If nothing else, I hope this post encourages you to look for small ways for you to help in this big world.

The Stroller Diaries // 26

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Today has been full of tantrums, babies pushing each other, sweltering heat, and lots of closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. So, I bought the babies balloons, we are pretending it is their birthday when people stop us on the street, and I’m eating marshmallows while they nap.

That should fix things.