Now

cp5

It’s a Christmas party at my house, and my husband is putting our daughter to bed. Bryn, in typical Bryn fashion, has been chatting and hamming it up with everybody for the hour and a half prior. I’ve been told more than once this evening that she is definitely my kid. Now she requests that “everybody” come say goodnight to her. One by one my friends pile in, giving Bryn a hug and wishing her sweet dreams.

cp4

It’s one of the many moments that fills my heart this evening.

Later, Lauren and I are speedily walking in place. She and I are in the same MBA cohort, so our shared competitive natures don’t come as a big surprise. A week prior to my party, we had been in a FitBit challenge together. I won by the hair of my chinny chin chin, and I had to log forty (40) miles in five days to do so. So here we are jogging on my floor as our husbands share stories about what it’s like to live with such intense humans. IT’S OBVIOUSLY SO MUCH FUN, by the way.

cp2

And now here I am.

Another grueling semester of grad school down.

I have nearly a month of school freedom, which seems like the most luxurious of Christmas presents. I’ll be using said luxury to read all of the books, drink all of the wine and Netflix binge on all of the Parks and Rec.

Eight months from now, I’ll graduate with my Master’s in Business.

cohort15

There’s mixed feelings that come with that statement. They are mostly happy, but still bittersweet. My cohort, who made up a good amount of this Christmas party, has become a second family. Grad school is a crazy, chaotic ride and to be on that rollercoaster together makes for one hell of a bond. We’re around each other so often that we have grown way beyond the point of niceties. We laugh loudly and argue sarcastically and call each other out on our crap. We send cheesy, feel-good group messages and collaboratively complain about our shared woes and get into major FitBit wars. And all of that feels like home to me.

cohort151

The future is beckoning so sweetly right now. Upon graduation, I’ll have my master’s paired with over four years experience as a social media director. I’m mulling over the possibilities and I am uncertain but so giddy to see where this next part of my life is going to take me. As I ponder what’s next, the world is feeling a lot like my playground.

cohort153

But can I just tell you how much I am going to miss sneaking in an economy sized bottle of  wine and dancing on tables to end a semester? Or group study sessions that turn into late night guffawing and the telling of life stories? Or pre-class happy hours that lead to us rushing and laughing our way to class? Because, yeah. I’m going to miss all of those things a whole lot.

As excited as I am for the next season of my life, I’m not ready for it just yet. For the next eight months, you can find me savoring this place that I belong in right now. It’s a place with lots of dancing, plenty of happy hours, an obnoxious amount of laughter, a bit of competitive jogging and a whole bunch of love.

When Life Sparkles

onioncreek5

“I had the time of my life, fighting dragons with you.”

Long Live, T-Swift (Duh)

This is a season of my life that is sparkling in its goodness.

mbalife

I’ve just finished my second semester of grad school. I survived with the help of my cohort, otherwise known as my academic support system, partners in MBA crime and the best of drinking buddies. I started this program with the main goal of furthering my education, but in the process I’ve gained a second family. Graduation is a year from this August, and I know most of us will be a messy mixture of emotions when that time comes. It will be the most bittersweet of days.

cohort15

With an entire week of freedom before summer classes start again, this is when I greedily binge on books, family moments and Netflix. I’m in the process of watching Mad Men for the first time and everyone can find me crying in a corner when I finish season 7. But I digress. This has also been a week for reflection, and I’m reflecting on the pure magic that has been the month of April.

friends25

Out of town best friends have visited, and the laughter and long talks are still lingering in my mind. There was one evening spent in a hotel room that quickly led to the kind of laughter that makes tears form and stomachs hurt. I’m so grateful to have people in my life that induce the happiest of crying and belly aches.

familyphoto25

We also celebrated Bryn’s second birthday earlier this month. My talented, practicing photographer grandma snapped some family pictures pre-party. (I think I just made a tongue twister.)

famlv

I’m still constantly amazed by this little person that my favorite guy and I created together. Bryn is sassy and goofy and wildly independent and even more extroverted than I am. She’s this fierce little firecracker who sees the wonder in absolutely everything. I’m forever grateful that she calls me mom. And also that she sleeps until 9 every morning. You’re my bae, Brynlee Mae.

amy5

The ‘rents hosted Bryn’s party at their house, and it was a day to remember. My mom made her famous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and my friend Amy drove out to the boondocks of Texas to spend the entire day with us. We drank mimosas and celebrated my cute kid whilst my sweet pal got to know the entire fam. By the end of the day, she was gossiping with my grandparents and trying to trap my brother in a closet. It’s safe to say she’s one of us now.

fam3

Speaking of ‘us’, a family girl’s trip to a gorgeous resort in the Texas Hill Country was another April gem. This trip wouldn’t have been complete without the usual Cirotto shenanigans. My cousin and I both suffered burn wounds from our attempts to light the outdoor fire pit. It attacked us, really. I lost some arm hair but heartfelt conversations around said fire made it more than worth it.

familyjackie

There was a hot tub and late night jumps into icy cold pool water, because my fam knows Tina simply can’t turn down a dare. There was also a lovely winery and tasty three course dinners, and stunning sunsets with the loveliest of company. And trying to teach Jackie how to take a selfie. And prank calling other members of our family at all hours of the night, because isn’t that what mature adults do at family gatherings? Let me not forget the last night at the resort, when my aunt, cousin and I attempted to scare my poor grandma in the next room. I thought I might die of laughter-stifling when Jackie started army crawling across the floor towards her mom’s- my grandma’s- bed. My cousin and I followed not-so-stealthily behind until we were discovered and yelled at to go to bed. More manic laughter ensued.

family25

famselfie

So much of who I am today is a result of all the ladies I grew up with. Woman power runs strong in my clan, y’all. I got really lucky, being born into this crazy, beautiful family of mine.

checkinresort

I can already tell that this is a time of my life that I’ll be wishing I could have back one day. While it’s here, I’m just doing the best I can to treasure every precious moment.

Alive

HI!

I’m alive.

Just so very busy.

coffee

You know that Taylor Swift song about being twenty-two (which, by the way, I swear I was just like five and a half days ago) that talks about being happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time? I completely understand the clashing of all the feelings. Grad school is engulfing and mesmerizing and terrible and terrific at the same time.

I had a study session with a few of my fellow students at our regular coffee spot on Friday. Jake called me an ass for snatching an econ paper before he was done reading it and we all laughed and then I devoured a banana chocolate chip muffin. It was all very Friends goes to grad school.

fam

In other news, my little redhead will be two in April and my husband turned thirty-three this month. This time stuff, y’all. It seems like days ago Bryn was just a bean in my stomach. I clearly remember when Robby was just a youthful lad of twenty-five. Except, at the time, I thought he was SO incredibly old. I turn twenty-seven next month and it’s a little scary knowing exactly how ancient nineteen-year-olds think I am. I find comfort in the fact that Robby is currently thirty-three and SO incredibly old.

Also, I bought a bike.

boudreauxbikes

I feel young and old and sleepy and inspired and lucky and alive, at the same time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling (almost) twenty-seven.

Christmas Trees and Those Things

Two nights ago we, in typical Boudreaux fashion, did some super last minute Christmas tree shopping.

treefam

My little fam and I found our perfect little tree and struck a pose. Bryn promptly took our directions to smile, but decided to aim that sweet grin at me instead of the camera. I love that it gives a perfect view of those crazy red curls.

We’re celebrating three Christmases this week, one with each side of my family and a Cajun Christmas with the Boudreauxs. Maybe it’s having a big family paired with my tendency to be easily thrilled by things like shiny lights, but I have always loved this time of year. Having a little person to share the joy with makes it all the more magical.

This whole month, and really year, has been one full of such magic.

wine

The above picture was taken at a lovely winery in Florence, Texas this past weekend. I look slightly like a twelve year old boy from the back, but I love it anyway.

The month has been one of wineries, and festivities and shiny lights and people that I love. The year has been full of self growth and progress. Baby steps and big steps too. You know those cheesy movies where they play an upbeat, motivational song in the background? And the protagonist, through mixed moments of frustration and happiness and laughter and tears and screaming at her computer (or is that one just me?) eventually realizes what they’re capable of and shit? It has been that kind of year for me.

winery

I’ll save the full annual review for later, but y’all, 2015 has been such a monumental point in my life. Speaking of monumental things, grades recently came back from my first semester of grad school. The verdict? A 4.0. I was practically walking on air when I found that one out. I felt confident about Critical Thinking, but my main goal was to just pass Quantitative Methods and Stats.

When I started my MBA, I feared failure. Many of the classes are math intensive, and I have told myself for years that I am no good at math. And you know what? I was lying to myself. And I was underestimating myself. I’m not doing those things anymore.

That feels like the best Christmas present I could possibly ask for this year.

Sipping Wine Out Of Styrofoam Cups

We had taken an empty classroom and turned it into our last minute study break room.

And we’re sipping wine out of Styrofoam cups.

cohort15

The atmosphere was light and celebratory. I brought the bottle of vino as a “prop” for my group’s regression analysis. We had chosen wine scores and prices as our topic. Weeks ago I had jokingly asked the professor if this would be an appropriate research topic for stats. Turns out, it was.

When our stats prof walked into our study room to find us all mingling, I asked her if she’d like a glass of wine. Our cohort was in chuckles as she politely and amusedly declined.

Tuesday night I completed my first semester of grad school.

I was sick and miserably attempting not to cough up an entire lung throughout presentations and four hours of class.

And yet, I’m still smiling with memories of the evening.

It may have been presentation night, but we kind of made it into our own little party.

Sam shared cookies from the cafeteria, offering them up in that delightful English accent of his.

In the 45 minutes we had to spare between classes, part of the crew made a fast food run. Jake delivered vanilla milkshakes to Tracy and I upon his return.

Much of the evening was spent in laughter. And cohort inside jokes. And impromptu second presentations filled with more laughter. Did I mention wine and vanilla milkshakes?

Finals are over and now I’m getting a month long break from how and with whom I’ll be spending roughly the next 1.75 years of my life.

I’m giddy looking at the stack of non-school related books I’ll finally get to binge read and thinking about the family-filled holiday memories that I’ll be able to completely devote myself to making.

Still, I’m already just a bit sad for the day I’ll graduate with my MBA.

Because I know I’ll be looking back, thinking of nights like this. When we sat around laughing, drinking wine out of Styrofoam cups.

Goals, Changes and L-o-v-e

sup

I recently took myself on a stand up paddleboard date. It was an ideal moment to reflect and to bask in the sunlight, my thoughts and the peacefulness of the lake. I noted feeling so content and joyful for the place I was at, both in that moment and in life in general. It was the perfect time to take a step back from the new hustle and bustle of my world.

  Being busy is no new thing for me. I’m a mom who works full-time and blogs for money, food or fun on the side. I try my best to keep up with my hobbies, volunteering and social life too. I didn’t have much free time before, and I like it that way. I’m sort of like a puppy or a five-year-old, so too much unstructured free time makes me antsy. Still, I now look at my old self with just a smidge of envy for the bit of free time I once had the chance to waste. But that time I don’t have to waste now? I’m using it in ways that make me the happiest. Though I did have to bargain with myself to write this blog post. If I can get to page five of my rough draft, THEN I can have the privilege of writing a blog.

ctxmba

I started my MBA program in August, y’all. That’s still a little surreal to type, and it still makes me giddy too.

I realized all at once about a year ago that I missed academically learning, that I missed the feel of sitting in a classroom with fellow students, that I wanted to further my education and that I was missing my alma mater and the beautiful campus on which it resides.

The fact that I’ve started taking on social media clients and that I could thus benefit from deepening my knowledge of the business world only pushed me more to apply for my MBA at Concordia.

And here I am.

smartthinking

Sitting in a classroom for four hours every Tuesday evening. Sitting with a glass of wine and homework for hours most nights. Having a love hate relationship with stats. Finding things like covariance and the standard deviation of a probability, something that would have sounded like a foreign language to me three months ago and now only sounds like someone trying to speak English to me underwater. I’m getting there. Writing a research paper for Critical Thinking. Cracking jokes and planning happy hours with my already beloved cohort, or as our advisor would put it, “Your family for the next two years.” And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Six years ago I had serious doubts about ever getting my bachelor’s degree. So it feels really, really great to be here right now.

Know what else happened six years ago?

I got hitched to my favorite guy in the world.

wedding

I look at this picture and my first inclination is to say that not much has changed. But that wouldn’t be true.

So much has changed since that picture was taken six years ago.

 We have a home. We’ve made a family. We both have careers that we love. We’ve traveled the world together. I’m a college grad working on my master’s. I know who I am now and I’m beginning to understand what I want too. Robby is the best daddy to our little redhead, and coming home to those two makes my heart overflow with the purest kind of glee. We’ve grown up, we’ve grown older and we’ve done it together. Hand in hand, we’ve built a beautiful life that we can call ours. We’ve worked really hard at it, and every year our love has grown stronger and deeper because of it.

sixyears

But what hasn’t changed one bit?

He still makes me laugh, every single day.