Monday, April 14, 2014

the april 14th challenge

Photo from a few weeks ago. I think we are officially done with snow!

Hello, long lost friends. A confession (the first of many, I'm afraid): I have a hard time writing on the blog when I'm sad. And I was sad a lot this winter. The reasons are multiple, and personal, and don't really matter in this context. The important thing is that I'm feeling much, much better. This weekend was breathtakingly beautiful, with warm weather and a serious embarrassment of flowers everywhere, and I felt light and happy and energized and so, so grateful to be on the other end of that time.

In an attempt to hang onto that energy, I'm setting myself a challenge. You guys know how much I love setting goals and making resolutions, and I was too anxious and sad* to do that this January. So this is like my mid-year new year's resolution list. If that makes sense**.

ANY-way, I'm calling it the April 14th challenge because rather than waiting until the beginning of the next month, I decided to start today. For the next month (until May 14th) I'm going to work on these seven goals:

  1. Write 750 words every day
  2. Drink at least 32 oz. of water every day  
  3. Write a snail mail letter - of love, thanks, or just greeting - every other day
  4. Go to Yoga at least once a week
  5. Run 3 times per week
  6. Write a post for this blog (this one here!) once a week
  7. Write a post for my professional blog every two weeks

I'm excited about this list, and especially about #3. While I was struggling this winter, I spent way too much time thinking about myself (come to think of it, this may be part of why I was sad in the first place). I really want to do a better job of turning my attention outward, of thanking and loving and making time for the people in my life. And nothing makes people happy like an unexpected letter.

That's it! Wish me luck. And happy, happy spring, dear friends.

Love, Haylie

*I don't mean this to feel too heavy! I was sad, for a whole lot of reasons, but I really am worlds better now. So don't worry, dear Reader! I'm doing just fine.
** This brings us to confession #2: I always feel a little (a lot) sappy and self-help-y when I post these things, but as it turns out, I'm suuuuuuper motivated by a list, and even more motivated when that list is public.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2013 in review: august

Hello again, and welcome back to the year in review! Because I suuuucked at blogging this year, I have a bit of backlog, and so I've broken the year up into three sections. This is August.


August was epic. Early in the month, we left DC for a whirlwind, three-week family tour. Our first stop was Colorado, where Ross' sister, Charlotte, and her husband, Jeff, took us on all of the adventures, beginning with a hike up to Sky Pond. 

(Note: I handled the altitude badly and spent the whole week exhausted and out of breath, but you'd never know it from these pictures, and my smiles are genuine. That's how much fun we had) 

A sky pond. Not the sky pond.

(Same hike, different hair)

Siblings and the sky pond.

Before I trip I told Jeff and Charlotte that all I wanted was to see a moose in the wild.

They delivered.

We also saw a bear!!!!!!

We stayed a night in a beautiful lodge just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. This was the view from our cabin, more or less. Yeah, I know. It was ridiculous.


We also took a ride on this exceedingly long, terrifying REALLY FUN terrifying alpine slide (seriously, I thought I was going to die, because I am Un-Fun. But Ross loved it).

We also spent some time in and around Vail, including a spontaneous hike up, up, up onto a mountain above Independence Pass.

One of our last days in Colorado we hiked up a bit into Maroon Bells...

where we marveled at aspen groves...

and pika (pikas?)...

and where I took approximately 1,000 photos of this guy.

Honestly, we've never had such an adventurous, well-fed (did I mention Charlotte is an amazing cook?), fantastic trip. Thanks Charlotte and Jeff. We can't wait for Iceland!!!!

After Colorado, we flew from the mountains to the beach for my family's reunion. My cool aunt Bevan picked us up from the airport and drove us up the coast to the beach house we'd all rented, stopping at the Getty Villa for lunch on the way (obviously! As one does :) 

While we were staying at the coast house my beloved friend Courtney came up to visit! We spent a fabulous day hanging out in Santa Barbara, soaking up the sun, some mission history, and each other's company.

I loooooove this girl (and I can't wait to see her in Boston!).

The rest of the time at the beach house was spent playing games, watching movies, kayaking, and hanging out with my lovely, talented, delightful, crazy family.

After the beach house, we rented a car and drove up the coast to Sacramento to spend some time with my dad and stepmom. We celebrated Ross' birthday with dinner and a kayaking venture on the American River, all of which I completely failed to take pictures of. But here's a dog and a rabbit.

And then, like all good thing, vacation came to an end (a bit quicker for Ross than for me; I stayed with my dad for a while). I came back to some pretty serious stress; my qualifying exam, the first major hurdle towards my PhD.

I passed :)

Stay tuned for the rest of the year, and thanks again to everyone who made August such a month of adventure.

Friday, January 17, 2014

2013 year in review: january through july

Oh, hello! How nice to see you again, blog. You may have noticed that, while 2013 was many things, both good and bad, one thing it definitely was not was my year for blogging. Sorry 'bout that.

And hi, this is Ross, I'm inserting a comment into this dismal showing of a blog tyhing. And I misspelled thing. Blogging is hard by the way. And texting is stupid. That's all I thought I need to share with the world. Goodbye.

This is Haylie again. That happened. This post is all about some other things that happened, too. Because 2013 was such a big year (and because I was such a total blogging fail), I'm going to split my traditional (and trademarked) "Year in Review" blog post into a few posts.

January began well (Januaries usually do, I find), with a visit to see my Dad.

My dad has had some complications in his health this year that have been sad and hard and that have hung over just about all of 2013. But rather than dwell on that, let's all take a moment to appreciate what a badass he is. I fervently hope Ross' and my kids get his red hair.

January also included the Inauguration of the guy I voted for (you're welcome/sorry). Not a fan of the crowds, Ross walked me down the hill but then bailed, and I watched the Inauguration myself.

From reaaaaally far away (which is ironic, since we live reaaaaally close).

Behold, the world's most passive-aggressive inauguration sign. Or is it kind of sweet? I keep changing my mind.

I like this next photo because it conveys how close to the Capitol our apartment is. That's our building on the right, and these are some of the crowds leaving the Inauguration.

Due to a combination of things, we had something of a windfall at the beginning of the year, and used our relative largesse to buy an iPad mini, which has completely changed my life. Mostly I use it for school ("mostly"), but here's the first photo that it took.

Like all Januaries, Jan. 2013 included lots of cuddling with Creature...

citrus juice...

... and marveling at the seats of government in the snow.


February was quiet, with more cuddling with Creature...

the traditional Valentine's Day pot pie...

and time spent with the kids at Prospect Learning Center. Beginning in 2010, I worked (sometimes as a volunteer, sometimes as a paid employee) with these kids and fell head-over-heels in love with them. Their school closed in May 2013 and the kids were all sent to different schools, so you'll be seeing a lot of them in this review.


In March I worried about my dad...

watched the elephants on parade with Ross (and had VERY mixed feelings about it)...

gardened with my kids...

and watched spring begin to creep into the city.

In March I also changed the look of the blog, because apparently I had a lot of time then. Something to look forward to?


April began with the Saga of the Cherry Blossoms (trademark pending)...

and the Cherry Blossom Festival!

These are my friends Kadie and Courtney. They, along with my photographer friend, Linnea (who took the next three photos), came to the parade with me. Kadie and Courtney were Master's students at GW and graduated in May, effectively ripping my heart out. So much for loyalty. 

In April we also celebrated Shakespeare's birthday at the Folger Shakespeare Library...

and Ross and I celebrated some really beautiful weather. 

(Also in April, I wrote this morning mnemonic, which still cracks me up and stresses me out in equal measure).


May deserves a blog post of its own. But in lieu of that, here are a whole bunch of pictures! See, I spent  a week watching my friend's super aggressive, endlessly charming cat in her apartment. Where, you say? Oh, Brooklyn. No big deal HUGE FREAKING DEAL. I've always wanted to live in the city, and here was my chance. It was amazing. I was there on my own for about five days, and then Ross came to play! It was the best.

This owl (painted on a "jousting targe"!!!) was my favorite. Its crest reads: "Though I am hated by all birds, I nevertheless rather enjoy that." HA.

My little medievalist heart loved the heck out of The Cloisters, the architecturally amazing wing of the Met. 


This is Marston. Don't let this photo fool you; he was a total jerk. I really liked him.

More Cloisters!

Just a Brooklynite. No big deal.

Is that a pike in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Brookyln Botanical Gardens.

We went to a movie (Iron Man 3; it was all right!), thus fulfilling my fondest Harriet the Spy dreams (did anyone else read that book and dream about going to a movie, preferably in the back of a delivery bike? No?).

Other things happened in May, too. Creature looked like a doofus.

I gardened with my kids.

And we went to the first of many outdoor films at NOMA!

Also, Ross sent me this hilarious email.


In June I said goodbye to the kids at Kid Power, who also said goodbye to their school and scattered. I really loved working with these kids, and I miss them a lot.

Sigh. In June we also enjoyed the first of many concerts at the Capitol...

visited Ross' family in Chicago...

took the year's first camping trip...

.... and studied studied studied.


In July Ross started his six-month construction rotation...

we celebrated my birthday with homemade poptarts...

and this amazing portrait made by Linnea.

In July we also got to see the corpse flower in full bloom, which was amazing and very Little-Shop-of-Horrors-esque.

I continued studying and stress-ate watermelon...

and continued my summer dog walking gig (this is Rex).

That's it for the first part of the year! Stay tuned for August.