To 26 and the Bittersweetness of Change

image4 (9)Who else feels like this month has already been a year long? With the news of the corona virus, the world and everything around us seems to  have drastically changed in a short amount of time.  I think that eventually things will calm down and the virus will pass, but I believe with all of the changes in our world at the moment, we as humans will always perceive life a little differently. I hope you’re not panic shopping, and instead taking this time to realize and appreciate  all of the little things that could be taken away from you in a days time.

I think we all already appreciate toilet paper a little bit more. 😉image1 (20)Even though at this time things feels a little “off” or  “different”, March is still one of my favorite months. I enjoy all of the little things it brings, like warmer weather, longer days, and fresh flowers and it’s also my birthday month. If you know me personally or have been a reader for a while, you know that I love the day that I get to celebrate my life. For as long as I can remember, I have taken advantage of my birthday to reflect on my previous year, remember all of the good times and lessons learn, and set new intentions and goals for the year to come. Like most people, I go through a similar thought process on New Years, but since my birthday isn’t shared with everyone else around me, it always feels a little more personal. 

I do share a birth week with my sweet grandpa though. He’s my favorite birthday twin and definitely doesn’t look like he’s 81!

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I usually write a blog post about my birth week celebrations, and all of the exciting things I did, with the people I love. But since this year marked so many changes in my life, this birthday post will be a little different. Because even though I obviously still celebrated with family and friends, my current mindset is what I want to remember when I look back on this birthday.

I turned twenty six on the 4th, and while reflecting these last couple weeks, I noticed that not only does it feel like the world has drastically changed, but in the last year, my whole life has personally changed as well.

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Looking back on last year’s birthday, I feel like I was a completely different person living a completely different life. Which in ways I was… twenty five was my most rewarding year. I could probably write a novel about the changes that took place in the last year, but since I have most of it captured in previous posts, I will save us all a little time. 😉 To sum it up, I accomplished so many of my personal goals, spent time in the most beautiful places, surrounded myself with the greatest people, and had so many memorable experiences, including becoming a mom. And the best way to describe the whole year would be “life changing.”

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When I think back to all of the changes since last March, I sometimes feel nostalgic or sad. At times, I catch myself grieving my old life and last year’s chapter, but then I remind myself how much I have grown and all of the things that I’ve accomplished and done since. And overtime, I’ve come to realize that even though change is bittersweet, most of the time it’s more sweet than bitter. Because even though life was so different and so good this time last year, it feels even better now.image0

And THAT is what I want this post to be about.

I want to look back on this post…next March when I turn 27, or in 5 years from now when my newborn baby is going to school, or when Harvey is too old to constantly want attention and play frisbee 4 times a day, or when we no longer live in our little yellow fixer upper. I want to remind myself of all of the things I accomplished and experienced at the age of twenty five, and I never want to forget this beautiful chapter and changes that twenty six brought. I want to remind myself that chapters close, even the really good ones. And with time, this really good chapter will close too.

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I’ve been letting go of what was and appreciating what is, and my main focus right now is loving every little present moment and nothing else. And I think everyone should try to do the same, especially at a time like this.

I think with the current events of the world, there will be more appreciation for the small things, more connection to others and ourselves, more creativity, more time in nature, and most of all more love. I don’t think is a time to be fearful or anxious, because fear is the worst and fastest spreading virus of all. Obviously, I think we should be safe and take precautions. But I also think there is so much good that can come from having to stay home and pay attention to the little things that we may have previously taken for granted. Because like I said before, change and unfamiliarity always feels bittersweet, but most of the time it leads to a lot more sweet than bitter. Sometimes, we just have to look a little harder for the sugar.

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I want to remember twenty six as the year not only that the world changed, but the year my personal life changed too. A previous chapter came to an end and life as I once knew it came to a close. But I accepted all of the love, joy, experiences, lessons learned, and letting go that came with it. And because of that, life never felt sweeter.image4 (8)

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Side note: stay educated, stay clean, stay healthy, and stay safe. Much love to you all, and this beautiful planet we are so lucky to call home.

Onto the next adventure, Wren



Mari’s Birth Video- 2.12.2020

Yesterday, we hit the one month milestone with our Mari. It was probably the most bittersweet thing that has happened since bringing her home, and I was emotional about it all day. Somehow everyday is better than the last which makes me so excited for the future, but other days I just want time to stop and for her to stay this little forever. The joys of parenthood, right?


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In between reaching bittersweet milestones, adjusting to parenthood, and life feeling a little crazy at the moment, (and the world?!) I found some time to put together Mari’s birth video. Derek and I briefly talked about hiring a professional to capture these special moments, but eventually decided together that we would do our best to capture it ourselves and keep it an intimate moment between just us (and obviously the hospital staff). I am very happy that we made that decision. Especially after going through having an early baby, only 7 hours of labor, and having to have a C section.

This little video that Derek captured and I put together means more to me than any other video I’ve ever made. It’s not perfect, it’s not all clear, and at times it reminds me of my old home videos on my dad’s 1990 camcorder. But it takes me back to the moment our lives changed and our very first memories with our Mari girl, and I’ll forever be thankful that I have it all captured. I’ve watched it about 50 times now, and still can’t get through it without the water works. 😉

As always, Thanks for watching!

Onto the next adventure, Wren

Maternity Photos- Feb 9, 2020

DSC_0576-1DSC_0631-1These photos were taken about a month ago, just 3 days before Mari arrived! We weren’t planning on taking maternity photos since I took a photo of my bump every week of my pregnancy, but when I won a free photoshoot on instagram, we thought “we might as well take advantage of that, and professionally capture this chapter of our life”.  And like every thing I have captured, I am so glad we did. DSC_0664-1DSC_0692-1DSC_0674-1DSC_0698-1Like most things I look back on, these photos makes me emotional. As much as I love having Mari in the outside world to love on and to hold in my arms, I can’t help but miss having her on the inside and so connected to me. I also didn’t think I would, but I miss my bump and the experience of being pregnant, even though I was uncomfortable for most of it. We didn’t know it at the time, but these beautiful photos capture my full term belly, and also our last weekend of just Derek and I before we became parents. DSC_0656-1DSC_0653-1DSC_0732-1DSC_0725-1DSC_0706-2DSC_0641-1DSC_0584-1DSC_0589-1DSC_0597-1DSC_0611-1DSC_0606-1Life without Mari already feels like a lifetime ago, and it hasn’t even been a month. I know that as more time passes, these photos will only become more precious to us than they already are. We have entered a completely different phase of life. And like all new parents do, have changed our lifestyle, outlooks, and mindsets. Derek and I both feel like completely different people than a month ago, because in a lot of ways we are. I am just glad I got the final days of our previous chapter captured so beautifully. DSC_0629-1DSC_0617-1DSC_0568-1DSC_0711-1DSC_0716-1I love this guy, I love our little girl, and I love this beautiful phase of life we are currently living in, and all of the amazing things that it has brought with it.

Onto the next adventure, Wren

Feb 9th, 2020 37 weeks and 1 day pregnant

Photos by Kenzi Reynolds Photography—->



Adjusting to our new life with our Mari girl

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Yesterday marked two weeks since our Mari girl surprised yet again and made her grand entrance into the world, 17 days before her due date. Looking back, her surprise arrival should’ve been expected since she was surprising us from the beginning. But at the time, it was definitely not expected.

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I wrote out a whole novel that goes into the details of her birth story and the events leading up to her arrival, so I can look back and remember them, but I want to keep those little details and intimate moments that happened that night between Derek and I.  So even though I plan on sharing all of the little details of her birth with her in the future and to friends and family that ask, I have decided not to post it to the world wide web.

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However, since I have this blog to document the big and small moments of my life and share them to the internet, I feel like I have to document and share at least some of such a big day of my life. So without going into too much detail, here’s a brief summary of events that occurred leading up to one of the best moments of my life.

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DSC_0541That morning started out like any regular Wednesday morning for me. Coffee, Harvey snuggles, getting to the to do lists and chores that needed to be done before Mari’s arrival. Thankfully we had finished our big projects that weekend like our exterior paint, and most of her nursery …just in time! I still want to share both of these projects in separate blog posts, but I’ve been a little preoccupied these last two weeks. 😉

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There were just a few more small things to get done before we were completely “ready” for her to come home. (Quotations because do we ever feel completely ready to become parents and bring home a new baby?) We needed to hang a few more shelves, get her car seat in the car, find a pediatrician…I thought of all of these things that morning, but felt as if I got hit by a train and had no energy to get anything done. I was so exhausted and could not get moving.

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I told myself I still had a couple weeks to get to those to do’s and decided to just rest and snuggle Harvey until about 11AM. Looking back, I am so glad I took these extra hours to spend this time with him. We both didn’t know it would be our last morning of just us, but I am glad we were able to soak it in and enjoy our undivided attention to each other.

(Speaking of Harvey, as you can see in the photo above- he loves his new sissy and has been so good with her!)

The rest of the day was filled with a drive thru smoothie, visiting Shara and Nico, and an afternoon Doctor’s appointment. I picked Derek up on the way to the doctor and told him how “off” and exhausted I was feeling, we both assumed that I was just hitting the “I am so over this” part of pregnancy, and agreed to ask the doctor if this normal.image2 (18)image3 (14)

I saw the doctor at 4PM, and every hour after that felt more unreal, shocking, and surprising than the last. Derek and I left the doctor’s with the information that the baby might be joining us that night, or next week, but to go to the hospital if I felt ANY pain at all, even if it was minor. After updating our family with the news and the details, taking Derek back to work, and getting back  home- I couldn’t help but start to feel anxious. Home alone and having consistent cramping, I thought..What should I do? This needs to still be done…Should I pack our hospital bags? Was last night our last night without a baby?…

I decided to take a shower and wait for Derek to get home and as I let the hot water run down me, I couldn’t help but get emotional thinking this might be the last shower with my big belly, and this might be the last few hours at home with just Harvey, or the last time Derek would come home from work and not have the title “dad”. I tried to take deep breaths and take it all in. I was emotional, but I was also so excited to finally meet the little soul that I loved so much already.

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When Derek got home, my pain got more consistent. After waiting it out for a hour and half, we decided to go into the hospital. I was still walking around just fine and didn’t want to get too excited or get my hopes up in case we got sent back home.

After walking into the hospital, everything happened so fast. Within two hours, we received the good news that I was progressing fast, we weren’t going back home, and that I apparently have a very high pain tolerance. We also learned that baby would be there before midnight and that within the next few hours, we would become parents and finally meet our Mari girl.

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image2 (19)image0 (19)Things were moving right along and seemed almost too good to be true at this point, but right as we said that out loud, we received some not so good news. And the next events all happened within the next hour. We learned that Mari was breeched, head up bum down, which meant that we would have to do a C section. Trying not to feel too disappointed I watched all 12 nurses and doctors come into the room to prep me for surgery and as the drugs hit my blood stream and started to numb me more I had a lot of thoughts go through my head

Derek and I don’t get that extra time that I thought we’d have to soak in the final moments before it was “time to push” and become parents … I won’t be able to do skin to skin right away, I won’t be able to see my daughter take her first breath, Derek won’t be able to cut the cord…. In the next half hour, I will be cut open and I will be awake during the surgery, I will have a scar, I will have a long road to recovery….

I was emotional and a little overwhelmed at this point, but the thought that was keeping me calm and getting me through all of it was that in less than a hour, I’d get to meet my Mari. That thought alone made everything else I was feeling go away. She was really coming into the world, and I don’t think it really hit me that I was going to be a mama until that little thought was the only thing that I could hold onto to feel somewhat relaxed. Because I knew the second I saw her, all of the craziness I went through in the last 9 months to get her here would all be worth it.

The next 27 minutes were the longest of my life.

Updating family, getting wheeled down the hall, a temporary kiss goodbye to Derek, a cold bright and chaotic operating room, a blue curtain, nausea, shaking uncontrollably, and the most vulnerable I have ever felt… being reunited with Derek, squeezing his hand, listening to the doctors, my body jolting left and right, a lot of pressure, but no pain, anxiously waiting for a cry.image2 (16)Finally after what seemed like an eternity, I felt a huge relief and I could breathe better than I had in 6 months.  “baby is out” we heard through the curtain, and Derek and I both anxiously waited for her cry. “Do you want to take a look Dad?” Derek stood up and peeked over, and then they lifted her higher to give me a glance.

There she was. My Mari girl. My heart swelled up in a way I’ve never felt and my eyes instantly filled with tears as I laid my head back on the table. And then we heard it…her cry, her breath, her life. That Derek and I created together. It was all so surreal.

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image3 (12)image5 (5)I felt more love in that moment than I ever have in my life. It’s like time stood still. Everything that was ever missing was complete, everything that was ever complicated was simple, and everything that was ever bad in the world was suddenly perfect. I always knew a love like existed, but couldn’t ever fathom how it would feel and that moment changed it all. Life has felt a little brighter since, and everyday seems better than the last.

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image4 (11)Between all of the visits, support, and love from loved ones, adjusting back to our routines, watching Harvey become a “big brother” & Derek become a dad, and soaking in every moment with our Mari girl, I feel like the last two weeks have been a dream and I have to pinch myself to remind me that this is all indeed real life.image3 (13)image5 (7)image1 (19)

Mari has experienced her first family walk, rain storm, photoshoot, car ride, doctors appointment, restaurant, first three baths, and many visits from family and friends. She wasn’t even supposed to be here for another 2-3 days, but we already can’t imagine life without her.

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THANK YOU for all of your kind comments, messages, support, and love at this time in our life. I’ve loved Derek through a lot of different chapters, but I think watching him become a dad has been my absolute favorite. And being this girl’s mama is my most favorite thing I’ve ever been.image1 (17)Cheers to surprises, adventures, new chapters, change, parenthood, and the greatest love we’ve ever known.




Mari Michelle Dursteler

2/22/2020 10:54PM

6 lbs even, 18.5 inches

Onto the next adventure, Wren



Celebrating our Little Babe with an Island Theme Baby Shower



It is finally February! Which means there is a very high chance that it is BABY MONTH. I am due the very last day of this month, so there is a small chance that baby girl might arrive the beginning of March. But no matter what, baby will be arriving within the month since it is already February 7th! EEEKK.IMG_1061We are in the final countdown, and are so happy to be at this point. I’ve never felt more physically ready for something to be over, but I am sure that is how every pregnant mama feels at this point. The anticipation to finally meet our little one gets stronger by the day, and we can’t get over how much we love her already!IMG_1089IMG_1075IMG_1077












IMG_1115I stopped working this month to give my body a break since my sciatica pain has been pretty bad, and to also focus on the last minute things I needed to do to prepare for baby girl’s arrival, including her nursery and baby shower. I just need to finish washing all of her little outfits and hang a few more things on the wall and then the nursery will be finished. But we had our baby shower this last weekend, and it was perfect!IMG_1100IMG_1099A lot of people thought I was crazy when I told them that I wanted to plan and host my own baby shower. But if you know me at all or have been an avid reader, you know I enjoyed every single minute of it. I went with a Dominican Republic Island theme to honor the place that this exciting chapter all began and because who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on the beach in the middle of winter? 😉  Derek and I decided to have a co-ed shower, because I’ve always thought this time of celebration should include the dad just as much as the mom. We also have a lot of guys in our life who love this little girl and we wanted them to have the chance to celebrate with us.IMG_1097


Our shower was completed with yummy food, “mom” osas, island decorations, island music, way too many gifts, and a couple of games including “guess who- mom or dad?” and baby photos of Derek and I to “guess the age of mommy and daddy”.IMG_1098

IMG_1090IMG_1059But like most celebrations, my favorite part of all was the people who filled the room. We missed my mom, Jake and Hattie, Whitney and Tyler,  and a few friends who couldn’t make it, but by the end of the day I was feeling so much love and a little emotional because of it. I can’t believe how much love surrounds this little girl of ours, and I can’t wait to see the impact she makes on this world and all of the people that care about her so much already.

































IMG_1080We also got to see three of our sweet little babes that have joined our lives this year- Maysa, Calum, and Nico. It was so fun to have them all in the same room. It made us so excited to think about our own little one joining her little best friends in such a short amount of time.IMG_1073











image0 (10)Having our baby shower was one more thing to check off the (never ending) to do list, and once our nursery is a little bit more finished, we will be completely “ready” for her arrival! (Side note- I put ready in quotations because does anyone ever feel completely ready to become parents?) Until then, I will just be soaking in the rest of the time I have with good sleep, a quiet house, and spending one on one time with my Harvey.

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So with that, happiest February friends! I have been anxiously waiting for this month to arrive for the last 9 months, but I have been looking forward to this certain chapter of my life for as long as I can remember. I can not wait to be a mama and watch the same boy I fell in love with 10 years ago become a dad.

Onto the next adventure, Wren


Since there were so people who helped us with our shower here is some credit:

Signs & Cookies- Shara

House, tables, and chairs- Buddy and Kallista

Decorating help- Ali, Maddy, Michele, Randy, Leslie, Kallista

Food prep- The greatest husband to ever exist, Derek





2019 Highlights-Video

Like most, the beginning of a new year always leaves me feeling sentimental and reflective of the year that I just experienced. As a sensitive empath, I can’t help but feel emotional looking back on all of the adventures, memories, and growth that I conquered in just a year’s time and to be reflective of all of the changes that have happened since just this time last year.

2019 was all about “just figuring it out”. It brought so many new beautiful beginnings, and in turn, taught me to let go of certain little moments, connections, and chapters that I so badly never wanted to end. This year brought some of my hardest days, and so many of my brightest ones.

It forced me to be less selfish, more patient, and most of all trusting in the timing of things. I took a risk and lost my dream job position, but fulfilled my dream of being a beach bum and living by the ocean. I connected more deeply to myself than I ever have, but at times felt more distant from others and the most lonely I’ve ever been. Derek and I both took every opportunity that was handed to us just for the hell of it and often thought, “wait..what are we doing?”Together, we experienced so many life changing lessons and adventures including creating another beautiful life together, when we weren’t planning on having babies for another year or so.

My body and my mindset have gone through more changes this year than any other year I can remember, but I am happy to say that through all of the emotional and physical roller coasters I’ve been on, I completed my one goal that I made for myself a year ago, and I’ve continued to choose self love through each stage- even the most difficult ones.

As much as my nostalgic self hates to see another year pass, I can’t wait to see what the next one brings. Here’s to 2020! Bigger changes, greater adventures, more growth, continued deep genuine connections, and as always, self love.

Onto the next adventure,

the next year, the next decade, and the next chapter of this beautiful life I am living,



Welcoming a new year, and a a little life update!

image9 (1)Welcome 2020! It’s been just over a week into the new year, and I already know it’s  going to be an exciting one. Last year was filled with so many life changes, and I am so ready to take on this new year and the next chapter that is coming with it.

I’ve been working on my “end of year post” along with my 2019 video for a couple weeks now, and I promise I’ll post it soon. But, before I share my final farewell to 2019, here’s a little update of the last few weeks, because boy have they been exciting and eventful.

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image5 (3)Like I mentioned in my previous post, last month Derek and I joined Ali and Josh in a road trip to Tuscon to visit mom and Adam for an “in between holidays” weekend. I was going to write a separate post about our time in Tucson, but I’ll spare us all an extra novel, and share those photos here. 😉

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image8 (1)Even though it was 70 degrees, and felt far from Christmas time, we enjoyed exploring the city of Tucson. My favorite thing about mom’s new city was the tall cactus’s and all of the street art!image4 (5)image4 (6)image5 (4)








We also indulged in way too much yummy food, spent a lot of time in the sun, and enjoyed each other’s company. I know growing up sometimes means distance and less time with family, but I am glad that between all of our crazy lives, we were able to visit and spend time with Mom, Adam, and of course Luna and Texie.image11.jpegUnfortunately Texie went to doggy heaven since we visited. She was such a sweet old soul and I am so glad we had a few days with her (and I took this photo) before that heartbreaking day.

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On a more positive note, Shara and Axel welcomed sweet baby Nico into the world on January 4th, making Derek and I aunt and uncle to our first nephew! Even though the countdown to him getting here felt long, I have been in complete awe since meeting him. It is such a surreal feeling that he is finally here and that our baby girl will be joining her cousin in just 7 and a half weeks! Transitioning  into parent and grandparent hood has already made this year so exciting for our Dursteler side of the family.

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Speaking of baby girl, my pregnancy is cruising right along and baby and I are doing great. After getting Christmas all put away, my nesting has kicked in more than ever, and we’ve been busy getting her nursery together. It has been so fun preparing and decorating the space that she will soon call her home.

I will post nursery photos in the future, but for now enjoy these cute framed photos of Harvey that my grandma water colored and gave to us for Christmas. Mr. handsome is very proud. 😉

image10.jpegA couple pregnancy updates for anyone who cares, but mostly my future self:

  1. Today, I am 32 weeks and 6 days.
  2. My symptoms are now mild compared to what they once were, other than  experiencing sciatica pain that gets worse at night. (She’s not even here yet, but she’s already on my nerve and keeping me up at night. 😉 )
  3. Baby girl is super active and I already know that I am going to miss feeling her movements in my belly.
  4. I am still working part time serving tables at the resort, but have definitely felt myself slow down with each week that passes.
  5. We have a name, and most of our family and friends know it, but I won’t share it until she’s here and it’s official.

Other than that, I have just been enjoying planning the baby shower and soaking up these last final weeks with her in my belly. Parenthood feels closer and more real every time we check something off our to do list, but Derek and I are feeling more excited than ever before.

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image2 (11)Between the house projects, and welcoming our nephew into the world, Derek and I still celebrated New Years. Is it even a holiday if I don’t get a chance to celebrate? 😉 Our friends were snowboarding in Brian Head for the day and rented a condo up there, so we went up New Years Eve to welcome in the new year with them.

image7 (1)Even though I couldn’t indulge in celebratory drinks, enjoy the hot tub in the snow, or spend time on the slopes this year, we still had a fun night! Derek and I dressed up in 1920’s attire, danced the night away and enjoyed a perfect last “holiday celebration” we had with our friends before we become “mom and dad”. It was the perfect welcome to a new year and this next chapter that is going to come with it.image0 (11)Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving always make me so thankful for family, New years left me feeling extremely grateful for our friends. We’ve spent the holidays with most of the same people for the last 5+ years. Some even going on 10! Between weddings, graduations, careers, moving away, traveling, and now babies…our lives are all constantly changing, but somehow it still always feels the same when we’re all together. image5 (2)

image1 (15)image6 (2)We spent time with so many loved ones in the last couple of months, and even though I didn’t capture each moment, or get photos with every person, I can’t help but feel extremely lucky. I know it’s uncommon to have a large amount of friends in your mid 20’s, but this time of year always make me realize just how lucky Derek and I are to have such a big support system and so many people who fill our heart.  Baby girl is so loved already by family and friends, and I am so happy to be welcoming in a new decade and a new chapter with a lot of the same people who were apart of the last one.image8Other than New Years, welcoming our precious nephew into the world, visiting mom and Adam, losing Texie, and preparing for baby girl, Derek also started his last semester of school this week! I am so proud of him for accomplishing something that is going to bring him closer to fulfilling his dreams. In the next few months, he will graduate and hopefully find a career all on top of becoming parents, and to no surprise, our lives are going to drastically change again.


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But that is okay. Since this time last year, life has been full of constant change and I’ve learned to accept it. I’ve learned to go with the flow, and I’ve learned to trust the timing of things more than ever before.  (More about that on my farewell to 2019 post coming soon!)image1 (16)And even though it always makes me sentimental and emotional saying goodbye to another year, I have never felt more ready for the next chapter- this new year, the last half of my 20’s, this new decade, and all of the adventures, change and growth that are going to come with it. Hello 2020, and goodbye to life as I once knew it. I am so ready for you!

Onto the next adventure, Wren