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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Mom Moments (Part 9)


I thought I'd end the year with some fun Jace moments from recent weeks.

Talking about doing silly things, like Spongebob.
Jace: Spongebob is a boy, like me.
Me: No, Spongebob is a sponge.
Jace: No he's not, Spongebob is a piece of cheese, he has holes.


Looking at my dad's card for the cruise.
Jace: Buh, buh. No, this isn't his card, it doesn't have a B for Bongo.
Me: His real name isn't Bongo baby.
Jace: What??
Next day at the airport, talking to fellow passengers.
Jace: Yep, I call him Bongo, but his name isn't really Bongo, his real first name is Grandpa.




Going to cousin Mary's for Christmas.
Aunt Patty: What did Santa Claus bring you for Christmas?
Jace: Super Mario underpants! Proceeds to drop pants and show the room Super Mario.

I'm in the bath and hear a knock on the door.
Me: Yes, dear?
Jace: I have to go to the bafloom before bed because dad said so.

Driving home in the snow.
Me: Well, apparently this road hasn't been plowed.
Jace: Brendan, apparently this road is a cloud!


Wrapping up 2016

It's the end of the year, which means an excellent time to reflect, to evaluate the year, and see what I learned. I've done these wrap up posts since I began the blog, and I encourage you to do the same!

Was 2016 the best year ever? Nope, not even close. But, it was a year that I did not check out and that I survived.

In January I ended up at Hyland Software, saving my mind from the law office and bringing back some joy and breathing space to my life. It was a great way to start off the year and has proven repeatedly to be the right choice.

In February we found a church, and it was great to be back among a church family, but hard because it wasn't the church family we had created in Kentucky. We'd spent years cultivating relationships, which is so challenging for me. But at least we had a start. It was also around that time that I noticed my depression getting unbearable, and I started to seek help. Much of the spring was a tangle of depression and marital struggles rolled in with Nathan's final surgery. His recovery did not go as planned, and I ended up spending a lot more time at the hospital and driving back to the ER than I hoped to.

But in April, Jace's best friend and my best friend made a trip from Kentucky to see us and celebrate Jace's fourth birthday. It was a glorious breath of fresh air to reunite with some of my people. Warmer weather let me back into my natural element: the outdoors.

In May, fully recovered, Nathan went back to work and Jace started spending 5 days a week at preschool/daycare, giving us routine, a more flexible budget, and helped our family overall. Our summer was a whirlwind of adventures with Jace: putt-putt, weekends at Mimi's house, movie dates, a road trip to Kentucky, a family vacation to Chicago, and lots and lots of s'mores.






Fall settled in, fairly warm, and mostly uneventful. My parents moved to Florida, which was harder on me than I thought, but quickly enough plans were in the works to make a trip to see them. The election left me feeling rattled, and we'll leave it at that. I will be doing my best to keep an eye on politics in 2017 without sacrificing all my energy.


December was crazy, celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary, taking a family vacation to Florida to visit my family, and of course Christmas with a four year old.



When I look at 2016 as a whole, it ended up very good. My marriage, which was in such question, is strong. I look at my family of three and I know that we are doing something right when I look at my 4 year old who talks about his friends at daycare and wants to help me in the kitchen. We were able to travel, and to me there are few things more valuable than new experiences. And I sought the help I needed, and was honest about my struggle with depression. Having depression is not an upside for the year, but figuring out how to manage it and being able to say I've survived it is.

So 2016, thank you for the lessons you taught and the opportunities you afforded.
And 2017, welcome.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Raising a Traveler

Earlier this month was spent enjoying Florida and the Bahamas with my parents, who recently moved to the Ocala area.

I realized while we were there that this was Jace's third trip to see the ocean. Once at Carolina Beach in North Carolina and twice to Florida to different beaches, and this trip even included the Bahamas, which means at age 4, my child has already been out of the country.

I was fortunate growing up, my parents took us on vacations. By the time I was in high school I'd explored a lot of the Caribbean, including having gone through the Panama Canal. So by the time we learned about the building of it in my 7th grade history class, I was able to connect the history with a physical memory of going through the canal. We toured the Mayan Ruins, we learned their history and facts that were never included in my textbook at school.

That's what I want for Jace. He's not always going to have designer clothes (or new ones, I'm a big fan of secondhand and thrift shopping). He's not going to live a silver spoon life because being born middle class means he'll be growing up middle class. But what I want for him, more than anything, is the opportunity to learn that traveling gives. I want him to know things that can be learned firsthand. I want him to know what the ocean looks like from swimming in it and snorkeling. I want him to see the differences in culture and customs by experiencing them.

Traveling helped me see what fascinated me and what brought joy to me. Seeing the movie Flipper (which I watched repeatedly) was nothing compared to the experience of being in the ocean with bottle nosed dolphins. And for Jace, watching the Paw Patrol have a water rescue paled in comparison to seeing the blue water of Nassau, and burying everyone in the sand. He was so fascinated watching the birds hunt for crabs, and we caught little mussels and watched them open their shells and dig themselves into the sand beneath the waves.

And as he gets older, I can't wait to hear where my little explorer wants to go and where we can travel to.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hocking Hills Weekend



I cannot strongly enough recommend Hocking Hills. For our anniversary weekend, Nathan and I were just two people out in the woods, enjoying a cabin and not being sucked into social media or the vastness of the internet.

Friday night we arrived at our little cabin in the woods, lit the fireplace, cooked chicken alfredo pizza for dinner, and had a Harry Potter movie marathon. It was the perfect cozy evening.



I love to hike, I adore being outside, and I'm in my best mood when I get to spend time in the fresh air, no matter the season. So Saturday morning we were up,  moving, and went to Old Man's Cave to do some hiking.

The trails are well maintained, well mapped, and beautiful even in winter. All during our exploration Nathan and I kept commenting on how much fun it would be to come back as a family in the summer.


We explored, we had picnic lunches, a gourmet 7 course dinner at Glenlaurel, and I spent time on the front porch swing and in the hot tub reading a book just for fun.

If I had to sum our trip up in one word, it would be rejuvenating. By the time we drove back home we both felt relaxed and ready to get back to work and regular life (I mean, we also would have been happy to stay, but upon returning to work I felt like I'd had a real break!).




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Things I'm Loving {December}

This is the last "Things I'm Loving post for 2016," it's hard to believe it's going to be 2017 in a couple weeks (and I will continue to write 2016  on everything for at least a month).


1.) The Moana soundtrack.

I'm obsessed guys. I listen to it once a day. At least. I cannot wait until it come to DVD because I'm totally buying it to watch repeatedly because it was just such a fantastic movie.

2.) Christmas Decorations (everywhere!)

At work I'm part of the Information Services team, but my pod is technically over with Accounting/Finance. And they did a Christmas decorating contest. That spiraled and became bigger than anyone anticipated. So now, sitting at my desk, I overlook a winter wonderland.

3.) Lauren Graham's new book Talking As Fast As I Can

The library is the best and got this to me right before I was leaving for vacation. I couldn't help but dig in as soon as I got it and I love that it sounds just like Lorelei (so far!)


4.) Being Outside 

The first weekend in December was spent hiking in Hocking Hills, the second weekend involved my first experience with snow shoes, and this weekend is being spent in Florida (and the Bahamas). Being outdoors is always good for my soul, and now I get to experience the fun of fall, winter, and summer all in the same month!

5.) "If it brings you joy you keep it, if it doesn't, out it goes." 

One of my favorite lines from the Gilmore Girls revival. I'm definitely not picking up every item I own and trashing it if it doesn't, but it's been a fun little mantra for me, especially when shopping or otherwise planning.

6.) 'Tis better to give than to receive.

I have had so much fun crafting, purchasing, and hunting down Christmas gifts this year. Planning out presents and surprises and even just bringing in Christmas cards to work for my coworkers has been much  more fulfilling to me than the idea of getting gifts.

What are you currently loving/obsessing over? What's bringing you joy this December? Please link up below and share your happy thoughts!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Five Year Anniversary

Transparency is important to me on this blog. If I'm going to write, I need to be able to do so honestly, which is why this blog has seen my reactions to some of the most challenging moments in my life.

I've used this avenue to share the loss of my babies and remember them, to share my struggles with depression, and to write very honestly about my life. On this blog, I don't pretend to be someone I'm not, and so this anniversary, I need to be honest.

In October 2015, when we moved away from Kentucky, we were very seriously considering separation. I was overwhelmed and felt as though I didn't have a husband, I had an additional responsibility while I did it all. Those feelings of resentment and anger drove a deep wedge into our relationship.

I sought counsel in trusted friends and in our pastors, and after moving away from home, we began weekly marriage counseling.

It was hard. There were many, many moments of thinking it would be easier for all of us for me to leave. There were many tears, many hurtful words, and a lot of moments spent wondering why we got married to begin with.

Change came very slowly, almost painfully. We each had to reflect on our own issues, and even once the changes started to come about, then came the challenge of finding out if there were feelings left for each other underneath the rubble of the last year.

There were. Nathan had not faltered in telling me that he loved me, he loved me even when he hated me. And as we worked together, I found the feelings that brought us together to begin with. I loved him, and as we celebrate five years of marriage, I wanted to share some of the lessons I've learned.

1.) Use Perspective in Arguments.

We were hit with a game changing perspective earlier this year. Nathan has Primary Scholarosing Cholangitis, which means that eventually his liver will fail. Right now, he's having no symptoms and is unaffected, but the reality of this disease is that it will end with him needing a liver transplant. As morbid as it may be, I sometimes need to remind myself that my time with him is limited, and if in 20 years in the hospital I'm not going to care about the clothes that have yet again not made it to the hamper, then it's worth mentioning, but not worth a fight.

2.) Have Friends to Tell the Good (not just the bad).

I've always had two people that I call when things went wrong. When I was frustrated, or when we fought, or when I felt disrespected and unappreciated. Two people knew the details of my struggles in marriage. But when it finally started, a little bit at a time, to improve, I had to remember to tell my friends when things were going well. I had to make an effort to praise him to my friends, and after months of sharing nothing but negative details, they were still my cheerleaders. I needed their encouragement to persevere, and I know the outcome would have been starkly different without the friends that supported me in marriage counseling.

3,) Communicate

I had to learn that saying I was mad he didn't unload the dishwasher wasn't saying what the issue really was. To him, unloading the dishwasher is a tiny thing, and not anything to have such a fight about. But what I was really saying was that not doing what I asked was feeling like disrespect to me. It wasn't solely about the dishes, it was about me feeling that what I said and asked for wasn't being heard or treated with any importance. I had to explain that to him, I had to communicate and explain why the dishwasher isn't really the dishwasher. There were several little things like this, where it was simply miscommunication.


4.) Remember your Connections

Nathan and I bonded over a love of musicals and theater, over fandoms like Harry Potter, over a strong yearning to travel. Remembering that as we went to see Phantom of the Opera for the second time, and Finding Neverland for the first, brought back a lot of those feelings that showed up in the early nights of watching Finding Nemo in my dorm before our first kiss. I remembered that when I experience a new city, I want him to be beside me exploring it too. I need him in my life to be able to quote from Disney, Harry Potter, and Gilmore Girls and have him understand me. I love that he gets me, that my dancing around the kitchen to the soundtrack from Moana is endearing to him.


5.) Be in Love

I've noticed before that I have about an equal number of divorced friends and married friends. I have friends on their second marriage, or third relationship post-divorce. I hear the stories about how after years, he cheated, or she just left, so don't think it's going to be forever. Be prepared to be on your own.
But that doesn’t help. Spending each day thinking about how the debts and vehicles would get split up and what custody would look like doesn't allow you to be in love with the person you'd be sharing custody with. While in the back of my mind, I have preparations, I have to focus on being with Nathan. I have to focus on him holding my hand when we drive to dinner, on imagining us being middle aged exploring Cairo, and thinking about the future.


Five years of marriage, and seven total years together. On the 5th wedding anniversary we're officially no longer considered newlyweds, and I'd have to agree. I'm a lucky woman to be loved by a man who has never faltered in his love for me, who kept fighting when the easiest option would have been to simply quit, and who I have shared and will continue to have so many adventures with. Nathan has supported me in grief and financial hardship, he has loved me when I felt utterly unlovable in depression. He is my other half, and I look forward to what our next five years will hold.


Happy Anniversary my love