Monday, July 25, 2016

Can you hear the wedding bells?

Soooo...I'm getting married on Saturday!!! We had planned to be married in May 2017 but circumstances changed and we moved it up. 

(Let's get the bad news out so we can focus on the fun stuff.) My fiance's mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer about a month ago. We couldn't possibly imagine getting married without her there so we made the easy decision to move it up. 

So with three weeks to go, we started planning a new, much smaller wedding. Amazingly, everything has come together so quickly and relatively easily. I think it's all meant to be this way. We got permission to be married on the campus where we both work. We found the perfect spot under a Willow tree, next to a stream, with a beautiful wrought iron bridge in the background. We will be surrounded by our closest family and friends and then we have rented out our favorite Mexican restaurant for an intimate linner (not a typo...we'll have it from 2-5pm so somewhere in the middle of lunch and dinner). 

I found my dress several months ago at a place near my mom's (about 4 hours from me) and planned to go back in January for the first fitting but when I called to explain the situation, the woman immediately promised to have it ready in time. I went down two weekends ago for the fitting and my mom will bring it up for me when she comes for the wedding. It's a little nerve wracking to not have a second fitting but I trust the woman. She's amazing at what she does and I have complete faith. 

We were able to secure the same photographer too! I fell in love with the photos from this company and signed contracts with them for May several months ago. I can't believe they had this weekend open, but like I said, it's meant to be! 

My girls planned to come up this summer to do dress shopping but were able to find an amazing dress on Amazon for $20 in the matter of hours!! They are the color I wanted and are an awesome Audrey Hepburn style! 

We had a few issues finding an officiant (everyone is on vacation!) but we finally nailed that down last week. She's a friend of the family and has been so flexible and amazing! 

We went shopping on Monday and found the perfect wedding bands in the matter of a few hours! We'll have to wait for them to be sized until after but that's a small price to pay. 

So really, everything has worked out so wonderfully! The whole reasoning behind this is heartbreaking and excruciating to think about but we are all focusing on the good that is happening and enjoying the time with his mom as much as possible. I'm incredibly excited to marry my best friend sooner than expected! Bud and Babe are excited too! 

So Saturday, July 30 is the day! Can you hear those wedding bells? I can and I'm smiling like a fool!!! 


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Gettin' Hitched!

You guys!!! I’m engaged!!! LC proposed to me AND the kids on Monday and it was the most adorable thing! He started out by asking us to all go into our fancy living room. He then told the kids that he had a question to ask me but that he needed them to say yes too because if we all did then we’d be a family forever. I immediately started crying (happy tears, of course!). He had me unwrap the outer box and open up the ring box so I could see the little picture of us he stuck in there (so cute!). Then he took the box from my hand, got down on his knee and asked if I would marry him. Through my blubbering, I said yes and the kids started jumping around in happiness and we all hugged. LC made sure the kids knew my tears were happy tears and we all hugged again. He slipped the ring on my finger and I had to wipe away the tears to get a good look at it. It’s absolutely perfect! Simple and elegant! I couldn’t have picked out a better one if I tried and the fact that he never asked me a question about my preferences and just knew what would be right makes it a thousand times better!

The kids were both so excited but Bud was left speechless. He just kept smiling and hugging us both and I could tell he was just as excited as we were! It was adorable! He idolizes LC so he was just beside himself with joy. I don’t think Babe fully understood what was happening but our excitement made her excited.

Everything was perfect! Everything is perfect! Life is so, so good!


It's so sparkly!


Monday, February 1, 2016

The Schedule

It's been super duper long since I last posted but after a couple of "Schedule" posts from friends, I felt compelled to save my daily schedule as a reminder of what A Day in the Life looks like right now. So for posterity sake, here's our typical schedule during the week...

On mornings that my ex has the kids, he drops them off to me before he goes to work (he has to be there at 6:00am). The bracketed text is for those days - it rotates every week, either MRF or TW.

[5:15 - get a text saying they are in the driveway
5:15-5:20ish - go down and take Babe out of his arms while he puts Bud down. Bud walks himself up and I carry Babe up. She can never fall back asleep so I put her movie on for her. Surprisingly, Bud falls back asleep almost every time
5:20ish - crawl back into bed and be super anxious about my alarm going off in 20 minutes]

5:40 - Alarm goes off 

6:05 - finally give in, turn off alarm for the 4th time, get out of bed

6:05-6:25 - shower, dress, prep breakfast and other quick chores (e.g., putting away last night's pots and pans)

6:25 - wake up Bud and send him downstairs with his clothes for the day and his book (currently the 5th book in Rick Riordan's Heros of Olympus series) to put in his back pack

6:27 - wake up babe and carry her and her clothes downstairs

6:30 - after they decide what they want (cereal or waffles), I make it for them and start making their lunches. Get their lunches into the back packs and make sure everything is arranged and ready for them. 

6:45 - 6:55 - force them to take their last bites of breakfast and corral them (literally) into the bathroom to get dressed and brush teeth. 

6:55 - assist the kids getting their winter gear and back packs on. 

7:00-7:15ish - If it's cold out, we wait for the bus inside. This requires me to keep my eyes on the corner that we can just barely see from our front window. (This is because if we aren't outside the driver will often just drive right by. Anxiety is high when it's cold.) As soon as I see the bus I send them running outside. Sometimes we are fooled by the "fake bus" (aka. some random charter bus, probably a senior citizen or disability service) and they come back inside to wait for the real bus. Then we see the real bus coming a couple minutes later and off they go to school. 

7:15ish-7:30 - eat my own breakfast while checking Facebook and Instagram, if I have time I finish up any leftover chores, brush my teeth, and add my extra layer of clothes (it's always cold in my office so I require two layers to avoid frostbite). 

7:30-7:40 - start my car, then go back upstairs to say goodbye to LC (the jerk gets to sleep in. Being a D1 coach has many advantages). Grudgingly, I get back out of bed and head to work.

8:00-4:30 - working hard for my money. This includes using my lunch hour to do homework. (This is my last semester!! CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!)

On nights I have the kids: 
4:30-5:00 - I pick them up from my ex. On Monday's, Babe has dance so I meet them there. The other days I pick them up from his house.

5:00 - Go to the store to buy stuff for dinner, or if a miracle has happened and I prepared in advance, head home to make it. (Rarely have I planned in advance. I know I should but it doesn't happen.)

5:00-5:30 - Make dinner while the kids do their homework and/or play. Minecraft for Bud, dolls for Babe

6:00ish-7:30 - (if I'm on the ball we can eat by 6 but more often it's later than that) Eat dinner, clean up from dinner.

7:15-8:00 - the kids play before I tell them to get in the shower and ready for bed. They mostly shower on their own but I have to rinse the shampoo and conditioner out of Babe's hair. Bud usually likes me to be in the bathroom when he's showering but I usually slip out to finish up the dishes or other chores.

8:00-8:15 - Have the kids call their dad to say goodnight. Then LC and I take the kids upstairs, get their movie playing and set the sleep timer (Yes, I realize this qualifies me for every Bad Mom award but it's the only way they stay in bed. #tryingtosurvive). Hugs and kisses all around and then we head back downstairs.

8:15-10:00 - do homework, watch tv/hang out with LC. Invariably, one or both of the kids comes down and says they can't sleep. Sometimes they get a dose of melatonin to help, other times they are clearly stalling and they get sent back up, reminding them of relaxation techniques to fall asleep. 

10:00-10:30 - get ready for bed, climb in and play on my phone until I can't keep my eyelids open (usually not a long process), toss out my contacts and zonk out.

On nights I don't have the kids:
4:45-6:00 - Arrive home, sometimes start dinner, other times we eat leftovers or go out.

6:00-10:00 - do homework, watch tv/hang out with LC.

On Thursday's LC and I play in a volleyball league about 40 minutes away. Nights with the kids I have a babysitter stay with them while we go (my cousin who goes to a local college...I hate that this is her last semester!). We play anywhere between 6:00-9:00 so her responsibilities change depending on our game time. She might need to feed them dinner or just needs to sit in the house and do homework while they sleep.

Currently, I'm LC's guinea pig for his jump training regiment. (To see if his training works for everyone or just him.) This means I do a leg work out every Tuesday and Friday. It only takes about 15 minutes so it's not that intrusive and we do it whenever we can fit it in...sometimes before the kids go to bed, sometimes after. I'm trying to do other stuff too but it usually isn't that consistent. 

Weekends are always crazy, with the kids or without. If we don't have the kids, we spend Sunday afternoon/evening with LC's family and play pick up volleyball from 7:00-9:00. If we do have the kids, LC heads off around 3:00 and me and the kids stay back. LC's hometown is a 1/2 hour away so volleyball until 9:00 with them isn't feasible. We usually have a relaxing afternoon of game playing and enjoying each other's company. After they go to bed I take advantage of the time and get lots of homework done until LC gets back. 

You'll notice that nowhere in this schedule do I include getting laundry done. That's bc my awesome boyfriend gave me the gift of doing the laundry for 33 weeks for my 33rd birthday. Holla! 

So that's what our days look like for now. I'll try to do another one in the warmer weather since that changes the whole game.


Monday, September 28, 2015

My Spartans - 2015

It's been a while since I've felt compelled to post but this weekend my kids were amazing and it deserves to be recorded for posterity! They completed in the first ever Spartan Kids Race. If you aren't familiar with Spartan Races, they are basically races with obstacles. That makes it sound so mild. They are not. They are physically demanding and hella hard! The kids version was certainly toned down but that doesn't mean it was easy. They had to scale and jump all sorts of barriers, flip tires, run through water, throw spears (blunt, of course), carry heavy bags of dirt, you get the idea! 

Bud ran first and put on a show! We couldn't see all the obstacles but every time he disappeared, he reappeared ahead of everyone else! His most impressive feat was the inverted wall. We were waiting at the wall for a while because the course before that point was hidden from view so we had the opportunity to watch other kids try. The majority couldn't do it. They had helpers there to lift the kids up and over when there were struggling and I was very curious how Bud would react to the obstacle. He came sprinting out of the woods, ran up to the wall, and attacked that thing like he owned it! I had to hold back the tears (and I have to do that now as I write) watching him make easy work out of a difficult obstacle. 

Inverted Wall
If you can't view the video above, try this link:

I knew he was running a 4k but I have no concept of distance, especially when it's in kilometers, so he got done with all the obstacles I saw and figured he was done. They had workers guiding the kids where to go and I heard them ask if he had gone once or twice. He said once and they shepherded him through a shoot and back over to the first obstacle. I was so confused until I realized it meant he had to run the course twice! I could only imagine how he felt when he made the realization too. I asked him afterwards and he said, "Yeah, I wasn't expecting that but I just kept telling myself 'you can do this! Keep going' and I did." I was so thankful that I had my sunglasses on so no one saw me get teary eyed again! 

Bud has always been athletic and freakishly strong so I knew he'd kill this race but I wasn't prepared to feel the absolute pride that coursed through me. Every child got a medal and every child got a shirt but seeing him in that "winners circle" was indescribable. He's an amazing kid!

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His second time over the inverted wall

Babe is super competitive so I knew she'd want to do the race just because Bud was. She's athletic and strong too but she's much more timid and doesn't love to push her physical limits as much as Bud. We got there early and they had practice obstacles set up. Bud immediately attacked them but Babe was very uncertain and hesitant. She was scared to do them by herself and wanted me to hold her hand to jump down. Eventually she did start doing it on her own but she was still very timid. I was concerned for the race. 

Her race was a 2k so she ran the course once. At the starting line she stood in the back and timidly made her way to the front as the line moved forward (they staggered the start so it was kind of chaotic). She jumped over the first barrier and took off with the group. The first few obstacles weren't visible (that's where the tire flipping was) but eventually I saw her making her way towards us. She was flat out running and took the obstacle with ease (run up and down a steep hurdle). Next was the balance beam and she took about 3 minutes to get across because she was so nervous about falling off (it was 2 inches off the ground). At this point I was proud of her but I was also really nervous for her. The next few obstacles took her out of sight again and eventually she popped up over the other side of the river and we cheered and waved to her.

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Waving frantically from across the river

She was still running flat out and was waving like crazy to us. Eventually she came back around and it was her turn to do the inverted wall. Her wave was very crowded and it was a younger group so everyone was going slow and there were often delays at the obstacles. She had to wait her turn to climb and she was too short to jump and grab the top but her brains took over and she figured out how to use the middle support beam to climb and reach it. One of the helpers came over at that point and I was a little disappointed because I think she could have done it entirely on her own. But in any event, she cleared it and sprinted to the next one. 

She had to carry a sack of dirt around a track. I was kind of far from her at this point but could still see her. As usual, it was chaotic and all the helpers were assisting other children. I saw her trying to pick up the sacks but they were too heavy. I lost sight of her in the mob, until she finally emerged from the crowd with a sack slung over her shoulder. She staggered with each step. Her legs were wobbly as she tried to carry the sack that was probably half her weight. The sack didn't have a good handle so it kept slipping and she had to readjust but she kept it on her shoulder and just kept moving. Slowly, methodicall, shakily, she made her way around the course. All around her bigger, older kids were dropping their bags and leaving them to continue around the track without their sack. But there was my girl, struggling but sticking with it. Step by step she kept going. She got to the obstacle, put her bag to the side like everyone else, hopped over the barrier, and went back to get her bag. Most of the kids that hadn't dropped their sack earlier just left it at the obstacle. Not my girl. She picked her sack back up, slung it over her shoulder and finished off the track still staggering under it's weight. Her fortitude and perseverance was awe-inspiring! She was AMAZING! I had never been more proud of her! She never gave up, didn't complain, and just got the job done. Her spirit was/is amazing! 

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Sack o' dirt

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Hangin' Tough

They both loved the experience and are ready to do it again next year! Bud was disappointed that there wasn't any mud pits involved but he felt appeased by the water crossings. 

Here's some more pics of the event:

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Easy peasy!

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Hesitant but determined! 

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No sweat!

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On the practice course. She finally got the "hang" of it!

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My Spartans! AROO!!

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He makes it look easy!

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Rolling under!

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Winner's Circle!

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I knew they'd both do well but they both KILLED it! I've never been more proud of them! 

They slept like babies that night but they did so with their medals next to their beds and their bandannas on their heads. They are Spartans! AROO!!!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Obligatory first day of school pics

Time flies. Children grow like weeds. All those things are true. But seriously, how do I have a 1st and 4th grader already?? A beautiful, exuberant, smart 1st grader and a handsome, witty, and smart 4th grader! Mind.Blown.

It's been our tradition to take pictures at their grandparents house on the first day of school. I'm so glad that's still alive and well!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Work Hard and Be Nice

One of the most important things for me as a mother is to teach my children how to be happy, compassionate, understanding, and hard working. I know that I must lead by example and I have made great changes in my life so that I can accomplish exactly that. I believe little bits of inspiration can lead to big changes and I want to expose my children to as much wisdom as I can. One of the ways I like to find wisdom is in quotes. I’m big on quotes. (My Pinterest boards can attest to that.) I love drawing inspiration and wisdom from all kinds and I have begun to use quotes in my decorating.

When I was little my mom had a quote hanging in her kitchen and it always resonated with me. It was, “To know you is to love you and I know you very much.” So simple and yet it has stuck with me all these years. 

My kitchen is my favorite room in the house and it has a style all its own. I knew I wanted a sign to hang above the rafters and a few weeks ago I found the perfect one. It’s everything I want for my children. 

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It's such a simple sign, but it contains so much wisdom. I hope it will rub off subconsciously on both of them and I will also use it as an inspiration in my own life so they can see this thought in action. 


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Perfect Day

Things have been crazy hectic lately. I had to work late for most of last week and it ended up that I didn’t get to see the kids for a whole week! By Friday I was having serious withdrawals and was seriously itching to spend some real good quality time with them! Friday was pretty decent so we got outside a little bit. Saturday we had to run some errands (including buying new shoes because they suddenly have monster feet) but it was cold so we didn't stay out long. But we had to get out there for a short time to try out their new skates!

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But Sunday! Oh Sunday! It was glorious! The weather was warm, the sun was shining, and we couldn’t WAIT to get out there! We spent pretty much the whole day outside and it was everything we needed! We started out at the park next to our old apartment. As we walked by the old place, Bud turned to LC and said excitedly, “Look! That’s where we first met you!” My heart could not get any more full!

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Best Bud's

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This old school jungle gym makes for the best pretend play!

LC is a workout fiend. So for him, all the world is a gym...

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Don't you want to smack him for making this look so effortless?

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Notice how Bud is closely observing and then had to join in! :-)

Ok, so this next picture is by far my favorite thing ever. LC was trying to get out of the jungle gym and decided to go out the top. It was NOT easy. He had to get his legs up through and then flip over. This first picture was him trying to get his legs over.

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This makes me laugh all the laughs!

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Got one leg! It looks like he's breakdancing in the air!

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He made it! LOL!
(I also tried after him and made it, but I was so thankful he didn't pull out the camera!)

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Here he is helping Babe on the teeter totter while getting in some squats! LOL!

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And some tricep presses 
(if I got the exercise wrong, mea culpa)

The rest of the day we spent outside playing on the driveway and in the yard. We have a nice set up! Before dinner Bud pulled out one of his Christmas presents (that was packed shortly after Christmas in anticipation of the move) and we excevated some pretty rocks from a bit of plaster. The kids really had a great time with this!

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We rounded out the evening with some more time on the driveway after dinner. I showed Bud some of my razor scooter skills and Babe followed us around on her skates. It was the perfect end to a perfect day!  


Monday, February 9, 2015

It's my Blog-aversary!

Yesterday marked 4 years since I started blogging! Can’t believe it’s been that long (while at the same time I can’t believe that’s all it has been)! I wish I had kept up the pace all these years, but I’m still happy to have this place waiting for me when I have something to say. It’s been a roller coaster for a while now, but I’m so thankful that I’m on a major upswing these days! Let’s cover a few things, shall we?

The house is coming along nicely! If you recall, I bought this GEM recently.

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I still can’t believe it’s ours! The outside is completely perfect. Sure, we might add a swing set in the summer, maybe do a little planting here and there, but if we left it as is, it would be still be absolutely perfect! 

The inside however…well that leaves a little to be desired! The previous owner liked red. A lot! A lot, a lot! So these last few weeks we've been working to make it NOT red! So far, we are making good progress. For instance, our living room…

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Bye-bye red!

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Different angle (better shot of the color)

It took a lot of hours with all that trim (that had gold and black to cover…yes, she had gold and black painted everywhere to accent the red!) but it was all worth it! I absolutely LOVE the way it came out! And how about those doors?!

We are still working on the master bedroom. Don’t you just love the red pastoral scenes? BARF!
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Different angle...more red! 
(But look at those windows!)

All the paper is off now and we have started priming it. The walls are cement board so it’s going to take several layers of primer to make it look good. When it’s done it’s going to be chocolate and mint! Can’t wait!

The last project before we officially move in is the family room. This is what it looked like at the start of yesterday...

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After scraping away all the red, we found…PINEAPPLES!

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Extreme close up!

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[Insert Sponge Bob jokes here]

Aren’t they nauseating beautiful?! Actually, it’s pretty cool because this paper is VERY old! The seller left behind a folder of history on the house, including some old pictures from around the 1920’s-1940’s. In one of the pictures you can clearly see this wallpaper, so it’s incredibly old! I find that cool! (But also ugly.) We aren’t sure yet if we’ll paint over it or undertake the tedious task of scraping it all off. Neither is going to be easy, so we have to decide soon. Once we are done, this room will be green on top with white below the chair rail. Can’t wait!!

The house has been consuming most of our time lately, but we haven’t let that stop us from having a good time in other areas as well. For instance, my dad and I took Bud to his first NY Rangers game last weekend! OMG you guys!! I’m not sure who was more excited!! He kept saying “I can’t believe I’m really here! I can’t believe I’m one of thousands that gets to come!” (At first he said “hundreds” and I had to tell him it was WAY more than hundreds…that made him in awe even more!) It was such a great night (helped by the fact that they spanked the Hurricanes!) and one I will never forget!! I don’t think he will either!!

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You have to have a soft pretzel when you go! He thoroughly enjoyed this tradition!

Babe is a bit too young for a Rangers game (attention span, interest, etc.) so my mom spoiled her at a kid’s spa for the evening! Talk about exciting! This place was amazing! It couldn't have been more perfect for her!! She had her nails and toes done and a blue hair extension put in! She was in her glory! 

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She just belongs in a place like this!

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She never misses an opportunity to ham it up!

So yes, we've been busy these last few weeks but enjoying every second! Here’s to another year!


Friday, January 9, 2015

Next Week

You guys! See that house! That's going to be MY week!! Holy Good God I'm so excited!! I cannot wait to become a homeowner again! This will be the 3rd home that I've owned, so I know it's not all sunshine and roses, but I am SO SICK of renting and dealing with landlords and having my kids shoved into one bedroom! This is a four bedroom house on a half acre of land! Yes please!!! 

I really feel like this is my new beginning. I've been in a suspended state of transition for so long and I am SO READY to be settled! This will be my 7th move in 10 years. So very ready to settle! 

Talking to my family and friends, I try to put into words how happy I am with where I am in life and how happy I am in my relationship with LC. It's not easy to express the level of happiness I feel. I appreciate him more than words can express. It is true that my point of view is slightly altered because of what I dealt with for so long, but it doesn't change how wonderful he is, all it does is make me more appreciative of what I have now. As one friend commented, "Welcome to a healthy relationship." I think that sums it up perfectly. I feel so relieved to be appreciated and respected and valued. Those are really no-brainers in a relationship, I know, but I didn't have that for almost a decade. The shift is indescribable! Did I mention I'm happy?

As I get closer to closing on the house, my excitement level is increasing exponentially! I can't wait to paint and arrange and decorate and all the other stuff that goes along with it! We have decided to delay our move-in so that we can get all the painting done before our stuff is in there. We have a LOT of painting to do. The previous owner liked red...a lot!!! Everything is red! Even the molding has red stripes! It's going to be oh-so-fun to cover but YAY for good primer! We'll make all. the. red. ancient history!

Speaking of ancient history...the house was built in 1837!! How cool is that?! It's the second oldest home still standing in the town! It's one of the few homes that escaped the great fire of the town in the 1860's. As you can see, it's brick, which I love! I grew up in a brick house so there's a lot of sentimental attachment for me. The previous owner bought it in disrepair but spent the last 11 years fixing it up and restoring it. I am hugely benefiting from her hard work! The brick was all repointed and everything is in tip-top shape! 

My Pinterest boards are blowing up with new ideas and fun ways to decorate and make it my own. One of the things I'm most appreciative about is the full support that LC gives me with this whole thing. As a typical guy, he doesn't particularly care about the color we choose or the style we go with, but he indulges me and goes with me to pick things out and is fully invested when we do. He doesn't put down my choices or make me feel like I don't know what I'm doing. He has great ideas and is great at making decisions and he supports my decisions, not just in words, but in his actions. He backs up his words with the way he treats me and responds to me and works with me. Again, welcome to a healthy relationship! It's a breath of fresh air and it makes me truly excited about this whole process. I know I won't have the stress I used to have in these situations. I know he's in it with me and that means everything. And it makes everything so much more exciting!

Thankfully the house is really in move-in condition. All the changes we are going to make are style choices (I choose not old lady style). I will be taking lots of pictures as we transform the house into our home. I hope to detail it here, but let's be real, it will probably be one post with a massive photo dump...but who doesn't love a photo dump?!



Friday, November 21, 2014


There have been some changes in my life over the course of the last year or so (#understatement). One of the biggest changes has been my ability to be a mother to my children. Trying to define what being a “bad mom” means isn’t easy and is highly subjective. My kids have always been loved and cared for, but when I was still married I wasn’t winning any Mom of the Year awards. I knew it, my ex made sure I knew it, and that only made things worse. The feelings of inadequacy, knowing that you are being judged by your spouse, the stress and anxiety of dealing with a bad marriage, it all combined to make me less than present for my children. I knew I wasn’t doing the best I could, but I also couldn’t bring myself to fix it. I hid from it, from them. Everything had me on edge and I couldn’t handle the little things. I know now that a very big part of it was that I wasn’t allowed to have “me” time. I was made to feel guilty about liking different things or wanting to do something that didn’t involve them. I knew in my heart it was ok to want to take care of me, but that didn’t help the guilt (I was raised Catholic after all!) when I was constantly told I must not love them if I didn’t want to be with them at all times. That’s all pieces of why I ended my marriage. I couldn’t be the person/mother/wife I knew I could be. I wasn’t allowed to be the person/mother/wife I knew I could be. I felt like I was always gasping for air.

I am a new person. Or, rather, I’m finally the person I knew I could be. Happiness is a powerful state of being. Not only can I BE THERE for my children, I WANT to be there for them. I can actually enjoy them and revel in those “their only small once” moments. I am able to step back in those stressful moments and smile and joke and ease the tension. I can show my kids how to deal with stress and how to love each other whole-heartedly. They are learning to love by example and it’s because I’m present now to show them.

A lot of my happiness stems from being with a person who respects me, appreciates me, and encourages me to be myself, with all my faults...and he loves me anyway. He does not ask me, nor expects me, to define myself in relation to him. It’s such a simple thing, but it has completely changed my life.

I finally feel like I am acceptable the way I am, I can mother the way I know is best for me and my kids, I can explore new avenues of myself without fear of judgment or backlash, and I am becoming a role model for my kids. That one is the most important to me. I can show my kids that happiness is the norm, acceptance is good, narrow-mindedness is not a virtue, and finding yourself is the most important thing you can do.

There is one more change that is coming down the pipe. I am finally going to be settled in a way I haven’t been for over 14 years. I’m finally going to have a home that I will live in for a very long time! I don’t want to say anything about the house specifically because things are still in the beginning stages, but I need to comment on the significance of this next step.

Shortly after my sister died we moved to a new house, and very shortly after that (two weeks) I went away to college. Looking back, I can see I have never felt settled from that point on. I’ve owned two homes and rented numerous places in the last 14 years, but none of them have felt like home. I was never fully invested in any of those places. I never fully unpacked in any of them. One place in particular, I never even hung a single thing on the walls and boxes remained in almost every room. I couldn’t bring myself to invest in furniture or d├ęcor or do anything to make it feel like something other than temporary. I got close in my last house. We renovated it from top to bottom, and there were a few stamps of ownership there, but it was still lacking something. It was lacking happiness.

I haven’t even closed on this new house yet, but I already feel settled. I feel ready to let go of all the things I’ve schlepped from one place to the next, always hanging on because I didn’t know if I’d need it in the next place. Nothing has happened yet but I already feel lighter. I know this will be where I live and where I raise my children to be well-adjusted, happy adults. This is the last step to pass into the next chapter in my life. I can close the door on the transient lifestyle I somehow found myself in. I can put down roots, finish the things I’ve wanted to accomplish, and really invest in my future.

I am so excited for this next chapter, to close the door on the transition phase and finally live in the present. It’s so simple, yet has been such a long journey. It’s been quite the journey, but I’ve made the right changes to get onto the path that’s meant for me. **Deep exhale** 

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