Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer Women

Today, July 24th, in Utah is a state holiday to celebrate our ancestors, the pioneers. There are tons of festivities going on all over the state: parades, carnivals, craft fairs, rodeos, great food, and best of all... firework shows! After hubby and I finish our last day of work, we are excited to go spend some time with family and friends while enjoying some of these things. I absolutely love family and fireworks, it doesn't get much better than that.

As I have been thinking about what Utah is celebrating today, Pioneer Day, I couldn't help but think about what it would have been like to be a pioneer woman.

I, for one, really like being a modern woman. I'm not sure I would have made it to the West, or even to America, if I had to spend months on a boat and then months walking across the plains in harsh conditions with a cart or a wagon. Pioneer women walked across the plains from dawn to dusk, often in the extreme heat or bitter cold. A lot of them carried a child while walking. They went without food, so that their children could have more (however, there wasn't much to begin with). Sometimes someone in their family, in their company, or even they themselves were stuck with severe illness. Frequently those illnesses took lives. I don't know about you, but I don't think anything about being a pioneer woman sounds fun!

I have great admiration for pioneer women, though. I admire their faith and perseverance. I particularly admire my ancestors, who were Mormon pioneers that made the trek West to escape persecution. I admire their strength and good attitudes. I admire them for the sacrifices they made to find something better for their families. I admire them as homemakers, and that they were selfless. As a modern woman it is easy to get caught up in yourself.

There are a lot of people who made great sacrifices to travel West. As a graduate in American Studies, I recognize what an influence the West and the frontier as a whole had on American Culture. Overall, I think celebrating pioneers is a lot of fun. I am grateful I can take the time to reflect on how good I have it as a modern woman.

Do you have ancestors that came West? Can you imagine being a pioneer woman?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Two Weeks Notice

My husband and I put in our two weeks notice last Monday. Now tomorrow is our last day working at our current job. We have an opportunity to intern up in Washington with his dad's company for the month of August. It will be a unique experience we did not want to miss out on. The change of scenery will be refreshing.

I am having mixed feelings about tomorrow being our last day. I am extremely excited, because we have been working here since September and I'm looking forward to a change. Although this has been the perfect job while being a student, I look forward to new opportunities now that I am a college graduate. For this reason, I am celebrating the fact that tomorrow is our last day of work.

On the other hand, I am feeling somewhat sad that tomorrow is our last day. Tomorrow will probably be the last day my husband and I will have the same job, and enjoy the privilege of working together outside of the home. It has been so fun to come to work together, and know all of the same people. I love being able to see my husband all day long. I feel sorry for young married couples who hardly see each other early in their marriage because of work. I am grateful that we have had the opportunity to work together our first several months being married.

I am also feeling a little bit anxious, both in a good and bad way. I'm anxious to move on! Yes I'm anxious about what is next, since I have not figured that out yet. My husband received a phone call this morning and was offered the best/highest paying job on campus. He is really excited for the opportunity, it will be perfect for his schedule and fun. I am feeling less anxious knowing that he has his future plans squared away. However, I don't know what is next for me yet. I know I will be able to figure it out, I always do. I would just be nice to have things planned in advanced like my husband does.

Have you ever worked with your husband? What "two weeks notice" memories do you have?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Newlywed Sociality

When we first got married making friends was difficult. Not because my husband and I aren't outgoing or social, we are. We were just starting from ground zero all over again. We moved to a new apartment complex where we didn't really know anyone. It was something I had done several times in my adult life (move to a new apartment complex where I didn't know anyone). But this time the technique to making new friends was not the same. When you're single you get to know and really bond with other girls often through late nights of pillow talk. Now that I am married, the only person who I share pillow talk with is my adorable husband. The conversation at night is wonderful, but it wasn't necessarily contributing to my bond with others socially.

The first few months of marriage we were really motivated to get to know our neighbors and members of our church, who are also young married couples. We would have people over occasionally, and always showed genuine interest in others. Meanwhile, our busy work and school schedules were hindering our opportunities for social networking and bonding. The occasional hang out just wasn't making the cut. We were forming acquaintances, but there wasn't enough time invested to foster true friendships.

Since classes ended last semester--and both my husband and my schedules have lightened up--everything has started to change. We have started to have time to hang out with others more frequently, and the increased exposure to our acquaintances is really beginning to transform them into deeper friendships.

I had 6 bridesmaids at my wedding, and each one was one of my best friends from a certain time in my life: childhood, junior high/early high school, later high school, early college, and later college. I have been looking for the best friend that I would make at this point in my life, early marriage. It is the best feeling in the world to start becoming closer to these new girls. I'm excited to see what these new friendships will turn into as we continue to put time and energy into them. What makes it even better is that my husband and I get to make these friends together. It is so rewarding being able to have friends over, or go over to their place, or go out together and be creating new bonds together. Often times, these friends we are making are going through the same thing we are. Each of us are trying to figure out how we fit into this new identity, "newlywed," and what that means for our social lives.

This is a unique time in our lives. All I can say is, now that we are catching on to "newlywed sociality," I couldn't ask for any more. In the last two weeks we have done so many fun things with our new friends, and it just keeps getting better and better. We have been invited to a BBQ with two couples; had one couple over for dinner; had a campfire in the mountains with several couples; gone to Seven Peaks water park with another couple; had a game night with a few more couples; then were invited over for dinner and games with one couple. The best is that the attendees of many of these events have overlapped, which is what is making our new friendships grow deeper. It is getting to be so fun having more time to cultivate these friendships from this time in our lives.

Do you have different friends from different times of your life? Have you noticed if the way you made those friends changed as your identities did? I'm curious about your experiences.

The Remodel

I was fortunate enough to WIN this beautiful blog design by The Design Girl (TDG). I participated in the giveaway BabyMakinMachin was having last week, and was the lucky winner of a blog remodel! I love it! The new look feel fresh, and makes me feel more at home with my blog. I feel a little inspired, and I can't wait to get this rolling.

Are you proud of your blog design? Would you like a remodel yourself? Lucky for you, TDG is doing a giveaway of her own right now! I recommend you zip on over there and make sure you're entered in it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Follow Friday

Jen from Family Affair has started the Twitter #followfriday trend for bloggers. I think it's a great idea and I am excited to participate!

I decided to spotlight Samantha from MamaNotes. I just started following her and reading recently but so far I am loving what I read. First of all I think her blog design is so cute. We're pretty close in age, and both married (her longer than me) and college graduates. She is a mother -which I am not- to a handsome little boy. But somehow I can still relate to her. Right now she is hosting what is called Body After Baby (#bodyafterbaby for tweeters), which is a group effort for I think over 50 moms and dads trying to get fit by labor day. I haven't had a baby, but I'm motivated by everyone participating. Go check out her blog, of course following and commenting is always encouraged!

Leave a comment here and let me know what you think of her blog!

The Twitter Wedge

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that I love to tweet a little before laying my head on my pillow for the night. I have had the habit of doing something on my phone right before I fall asleep for years. I've just always done that to wind down, and then I fall asleep really fast afterward. I use to play TextTwist on my Palm Treo. The first year that I had the iPhone I got really into Sudoku, or a game of Solitair before catching some zzz's. Recently I have been thinking my little habit is more fit for a single woman, and it needs to be kicked to the curb now that I am married.

The few minutes between when you climb into bed and actually fall asleep are prime time for husband and wife bonding. It's the perfect time to cuddle, to talk, and to just feel connected to one another. Right now we are spoiled because we actually get to see each other a lot. We work together, and don't have any children yet so there isnt' too much coming between us. However, it won't always be like that. Life will get busier and throw more distractions our way that may put a wedge between us as we lose more of those minutes together.

I am creating an unnecessary "Twitter Wedge," that keeps us from being connected and winding down together right before we fall asleep. My husband brought it to my attention. At first I was annoyed, but now that I think about it I know it is true. I should be taking advantage or this time that we have to wind down together. I should be creating good habits with my husband, so that it will already be a habit for us later when we really don't have that many minutes together. Of course I won't stop tweeting. I'll just make better decisions as to when I will tweet. I don't ever want my husband to think he is second to something like Twitter or a game.

Do you have any habits that fill your pockets of time, and keep you from connecting with the important people in your life?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Commenters and Followers :)

I've been getting lots of random hits on this blog, and occasionally a new follower too...but RARELY comments! If you have commented before, thank you so much! I LOVE to hear from you :) So if you are peeking in and seeing what this little blog is all about, leave a little comment and let me know you dropped by!

I look forward to bouncing my thoughts around with you in the future! :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Space Issues

Sometimes I just feel a little bit crowded. It's not personal. It's not even that I don't want to be around people, because I do! It's just during the summer especially when it is too hot, or I am too tired, or I don't feel well because of my womanly hormones (or whatever it is)...sometimes I just need a little bit more space in my immediate proximity.

I love to cuddle, I love to lean in close. I love you. But for some reason lately I just want to be able to have room to spread my legs out, to sit without being leaned on, and have lots of fresh air in front of my face.

I know I am saying "feeling claustrophobic" a lot lately. But I promise it isn't out of habit. I'm sorry it's getting annoying. I wish I could explain it better. I'm just a woman, and can't always explain how my body is feeling.

Does anyone else every feel like this randomly? I'm worried my weird space issues that have recently developed are starting to be taken personally.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Too Serious, Too Fast

Friday night my husband and I went to see the cute Disney movie, Enchanted, on an outdoor screen up on campus for free. It was a great date! We love Enchanted because it made us laugh a lot the first time we saw it together. For weeks after seeing it the first time we would sing the songs, or quote lines and laugh with each other. Upon seeing it again this past Friday, my husband started singing along to the song like we would have done together if watching it at home. But since there were other people around us trying to enjoy the movie I told him to be quieter (even though tons of others started singing too, haha). Needless to say, he was hurt and told me that I "never let [him] be [himself] anymore." I felt horrible after he said that. I apologized, and we were able to continue enjoying the rest of the night. We actually had a really great weekend, and did lots of fun things.

However, his comment stuck with me the rest of this weekend. As we went to other places and did other things throughout the weekend, and my husband would start singing along to West Side Story or make a silly joke. Instead of telling him to not sing, or giving him a funny look like his joke wasn't that funny; I just enjoyed his personality and appreciated who he is. I had so much more fun just loving his outgoing, happy, social personality than critiquing him when it would be unnecessary. I fell in love with him for who he is in the first place, why would I say or do things that would make him feel he can't be himself!?

I think at times I get too serious about life too fast. I think a lot of people get that way. Even if things aren't particularly stressful, somehow we still forget to just relax and have fun sometimes. I have felt this many times as a newlywed. I'll get too serious then I'll have to be reminded to be more playful. I'm glad that my husband likes to have fun and express his personality. I hope that I will be able to be a companion that makes him feel like he can always be himself.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Night Date Night

It is Friday! Typically we plan on going out to dinner together on Friday night, but we went Wednesday this week to celebrate being married 8 months on the 8th of the month. :) I know we're silly, but it was a fun excuse to go out on a weekday.

We always try to plan something together for Friday Night Date Night. However, we are postponing our date night this week until Saturday night because we are going to go to West Side Story at the Scera Outdoor Shell! I love going to musicals there! My husband and I went to Beauty and the Beast at the Scera Shell in May. We brought tons of blankets to lay down and keep us warm. Then we snuggled up and enjoyed the show under the stars. It was seriously romantic, and so fun. I always enjoy weekends that we have something extra fun (a little more than just dinner out) planned.

If you're married, do you try to plan a date night every week? What is one of your favorite dates? I'd love to hear your ideas.

When we got married, as part of my wedding gift to my husband I gave him the book "How to Date Your Wife" by Stan Cronin. I'm not going to lie, I have read this book more than he has. But it has some great ideas in it! He breaks down his dating ideas into categories: daily, weekly, quarterly, yearly, and 5-year. Breaking it down like this helped us understand the importance of planning ahead and making certain occasions more special. He recommended planning your quarterly dates 3 months in advanced, so that you get to spend the 3 months working up to it getting excited about the anticipation. The same goes for yearly dates (or anniversary dates), and that starting to plan a year out helps make the occasion more special.

There is one idea in particular that I want to share with you. I loved this idea so much, that I took time to read it with my husband. Cronin has this great idea about saving up for a special 5-year date. I mean really special, like Europe or Hawaii trip special. When I first told my husband that was something I wanted to plan on, he got that anxious "how in the world would be afford that as a young and poor couple" look. BUT when you break it down to setting aside $15-$20/week a big celebratory trip is totally do-able.

Since we've hit 8 months and don't have anything planned for 1 year yet, I've been trying to come up with some smaller ideas (compared to Hawaii) that we could look forward to... any suggestions?

Where have you gone on cool trips to celebrate special occasions?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lifestyle Bloggers

A few years ago I started learning more about internet marketing through this wonderful thing called, "The Thirty Day Challenge." That is where I learned all about using Twitter, Digg, Technorati, and other useful tools to generate attention. I learned about this years ago, but never really started using Twitter actively until recently. The concept of internet marketing and lifestyle blogging really appeals to me. I love reading lifestyle blogs, and if I had a great product I would totally use internet marketing. I have been tempted to be more involved in such tools lately.

Recently, I have been reading my friend Jennifer's blog BabyMakinMachine. I know her in real life, which makes her blog fun to read. She isn't making any babies yet, haha. Her blog is mostly about her life experience pre-baby, and the things she is doing to prepare. It's fun to get a taste of her humor. But also, it has been fun to watch her utilize all of these types of tools to generate more followers and give her blog more attention. Watching her has motivated me to be more proactive with this blog, because that is really why I created it.

I started this blog, Newlyidentified, because when I first got married and other major life changes were approaching I was uneasy. I wanted to have a place to talk about things I was going through, and challenges I was facing. I wanted to have a place to bounce ideas off of other people, and hear of others who were experiencing or had experienced similar things. To me, this blog is all about the phases in life that you go through that force you to re-identify your role. Right now, I am trying to redefine my role as a new wife, a future mother, a potential career woman, and the same loyal friend I have always been. I'm seeking to find other blog readers and writers who are also in a similar phase in their life...or those who are just interested in reading and commenting. Is anyone out there...?

Dear Newlyidentified Blog,

I have not advertised you, so not many have found you. Right now it is still quiet in here. I am contemplating going full force, so that you will get more attention. But, I have not determined how honest I will be as I write in you. I want a place to share my experiences. Still, I don't really want to blend my personal blog with my lifestyle blog too much. (Is there a way to keep both blogs public but not have them connect to each other through my profile?) I'm not sure where to take you yet. I think that you have potential... We will see.

Ana Lee

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Rut

My husband and I have been married for 8 months today, yay! I feel like I am really catching on to this whole "newlywed" thing. We are genuinely in love, and respect each other a great deal. We have lots of fun together, and have been helping each other grow through the last few months. Ultimately, being a newlywed has been really great lately.

So where did the title, "The Rut," come from you ask? I feel like I am in a rut as a recent graduate. I am working at the same job I have had all year, that was perfect while I was a student. I wanted to keep this job through the summer because it is flexible, pays decently, and I get to work with my husband. However, every now and then I just feel like I need to change. The change scared me though! I'm not ready for only 2 weeks vacation a year, and the inflexibility. I'm nervous about trying to find something I will enjoy being dedicated to. Even worse, I am nervous about finding a post-graduation job in a good location.

There are so many things that need to be planned and prepared for. I don't really know how to get started. I'm not sure what exactly I am looking for. It is tricky trying to transition into a new identity. Anyone else going through the same thing?