Ranging Emotions

We are down to just 6 days before we make the big move from Richmond, VA to Athens, GA.

My son and I are busy crossing off our Richmond bucket list and my husband is finishing his last days of residency.

Every morning my son and I are doing activities around Richmond and seeing friends while my husband works, and every afternoon we are all working on packing up the house.

One afternoon my husband came home not talking, and I was sulking. Our son was running around with enthusiasm saying “Yay, it’s almost moving day!”

“What’s up?” I asked my quietly brooding husband. “I’m really stressed,” answered, an honest and vulnerable answer for a man who never gets stressed (or at least never admits to it.)

“And you?” he asked, already knowing my answer. My emotions have always been transparent. “I’m just really sad,” I said, and started to cry, because lately there’s nothing that doesn’t make me cry. The combination of making a big move, leaving the city and friends that I love and being 6 1/2 months pregnant all at the same time has resulted in me crying on a daily basis.

“Mommy, stop crying!” our four year old said as he continued to gallop around the living room. “This is so exciting! I can’t wait to move to GA!”

“Well,” I said, “at least one of us is happy! Daddy is stressed, Mommy is sad, and Noah is excited.”

And there we were in the midst of boxes and transitions and endings and beginnings and all feeling differently about where we were.

In that moment, as in so many moments of my life, I was incredibly thankful for the blind enthusiasm of my son for adding one more dynamic to our little family. A ray of sunshine in our modes of stressed and sad, our little boy is so excited for our new adventure. Maybe it will be ok after all.

excited boy

Home

It’s midnight and I could sit awake for hours in the quiet of this dark and contemplate this house.

front of house

The floors that shine under the light of the lamp illuminating where my son took his first steps and where busy plays and only night brings rest.

livingroom 2

I’ve memorized how the light shines in the living room window; the way it streams in through my son’s window at it’s rise and how it floods in through the downstairs bathroom window at it’s set.

Noah room

downstairs bath

I know this house.

dining room

I’ve loved it since the very first time we walked into it. And oh was there drama to get into it oh has there been drama to get out. But oh how I have loved BEING HERE.

kitchen 3

 

master bedroom 2

 

back yard

We’ve grown here and fallen apart here and loved and laughed and dreamed and danced and learned that our next house must have a walk in shower just like this one, but we need a bigger bath tub.

upstairs bath

 

And that we love the unique features and character of this older home but maybe our next house could have less creaky stairs.

 

nook

 

stairwell

There was always going to be a next time. Forever wasn’t here but that doesn’t mean here didn’t hold a piece of forever.

upstairs hallway

guest room

My son wants to take the seahorse light pull from the downstairs bathroom. “So I can always have a piece of our first house, Mommy.” Yes, of course you can, I told him, and together we cut the string.

He feels the pull here, too; his only home. The only house we’ve ever owned. The longest my husband or I have lived anywhere since we both left our parents homes when we were 18.

playroom office

We’ll take pieces with us too; pictures and memories and 4 years of our lives bound into the pieces of this house that I wonder if I’ll ever stop thinking of as “home.”

outside front

Back to the Present

January, February, and March were lost to sickness and April was lost to stress, then May was lost to arranging our new lives.

I was so terrible about blogging about all of it, but honestly all it would have been would have been post after post of complaints and questions and I’m sure no one wants to read that. I also hope that years later when I look back at these times I will be thankful I did not type out the ramblings of my very-stressed-for-months-mind.

After we finally had a job secured, I began the daunting task of researching EVERYTHING else. Where would my son go to school next year? Where would we live? Who would be my new care provider when I switched doctors in the middle of a pregnancy? What hospital would I deliver at? What are the logistics of this move? How are we moving? What are the details of my husband’s job? What about insurance? We need to set up new utilities, find new family friendly things in our new town, figure out how to change everything about our lives. In the midst of dealing with selling our current home and being pregnant. And, you know, still live our lives here in Richmond in the mean time.

So, in May, we dealt with all of it. Tons of paperwork for the new job. Sleepless nights of research online. More tension and stress. The end of a school year. The end of my job at Richmondmom.com. (Speaking of, want to know how we sold our house in three days? I wrote about it here.) Continuing to negotiate on the sale of our home. Lots of phone calls to a lot of different people about a lot of different things. One more month of night shifts for my husband.

We had one weekend to go house hunting and were actually looking forward to a mini vacation in the midst of everything. We are moving back to the town where we went to college, so we were very excited to show our son all about where Mommy and Daddy went to school and where his new home would be. Have you ever been house hunting with a four year old? Turns out they aren’t all that interested. We toured 10 properties that weekend ranging from rentals to apartments to homes to buy. We had an exhausted and bored little one and it turned out he really didn’t care when we drove through campus and said “Daddy used to take a class in that building!” or “That’s where Mommy used to teach!” or “Mommy and Daddy used to go on dates there!” We got nothing but blank stares and I’m pretty sure the four year old version of an exasperated sigh and an eye roll.

Smile! We're having fun on this house hunt!

Smile! We’re having fun on this house hunt!

In the end, we hated all of the rental houses, found one apartment complex that we liked, and found one house that we LOVED for sale. We left with no definite answer and tried to decide between the house and the apartment. Which also meant deciding between schools and grade levels. Apparently in Athens, there’s one really great elementary school everyone sends their kids to or you do private school. (Or you can live in a county about 20 minutes outside the city.) I am a huge advocate of public education, but getting our son into a school district meant buying a house which we weren’t sure we were ready for in a one weekend house hunt spree. We were also trying to decide between one more year of pre-K or sending my son to Kindergarten. His birthday is September 1st, which is the cut off for school enrollment in GA, so he could either be the VERY OLDEST or the VERY YOUNGEST in his grade. We really hated to spend the money for one more year of pre-school, but Georgia has a lottery funded (free) full day pre-K program that is hard to get into. We had missed the registration by a long shot since it was in February, so we ultimately decided we’d pony up the money for private school if we had to, and go with one more year of pre-K since my son’s birthday is right on the cut off for enrollment.

The day after we got back from our house hunt we found out the gender of baby number two and put together a big gender reveal. My brother said he was more impressed with our ability to put a huge event together right after coming back from out of town than anything else, which made me incredibly happy. I love validation. :)

Lots of talks and number crunching and only a little bit of fighting later, my husband and I decided to sign a lease at the apartment and keep our eye on the house that we loved. Then, with the wonderful resource of Facebook and social networking I found a GA Lottery Pre-K program near the apartments with fantastic reviews that had one spot left! (We snagged it.) Through a lot of research I found a new care provider for my pregnancy and a lead on a new pediatrician. I even found and signed a contract with a newborn photographer. My husband lined up the moving logistics (because honestly I could not handle one. more. thing.) and I scheduled the cancellation of our house utilities and the installation of our apartment utilities. All of this is organized in a very lovely notebook with tabs clearly labeled for each section of life. I love organization. And labels.

At the end of May I tearfully made it through my son’s preschool graduation and then…that was it.

Cutest pre-K graduate ever.

Cutest pre-K graduate ever.

 

Family picture at graduation. So proud of my little one.

Family picture at graduation. So proud of my little one.

We had survived. There was finally a break in the storm and during the last week of May (besides one more day of getting the house spotless for our appraisal and the appraisal itself) I could breathe. My son and I did a whole lot of nothing and actually just lazed about the house which was glorious and necessary all at once.

June came and my son did a summer camp at his preschool. I was teary on his last day as I realized it was the very last time I would ever make the drive from our house to the little school we have loved for three years. And I was sad as I used my last week of mornings alone for coffee dates with friends and my last pre-natal appointment in Richmond. My sweet friends threw a baby sprinkle for me and the newest little one. My son and I enjoyed more house time and there has been lots of packing and more getting organized and set up for our new future. I started a Richmond bucket list and we are slowly crossing through each item in the weeks leading up to the big move.

And now here I am at almost 25 weeks pregnant, surrounded by boxes cluttering my house and finally, FINALLY feeling some sort of peace. Because this is sad. And hard. But things are in place for our next chapter and once we get there it is going to be great. Because it has to be.

 

 

This Too Shall Pass

Life tends to come in waves here. I sometimes find myself bored with the monotony that can occur when your job description is “Mommy,” an all encompassing word that means you do everything and seemingly nothing all at the same time.

But since the fall, the calm of monotony was abruptly disrupted and has been replaced with wave after wave of life. BIG LIFE. Life changing waves that will not stop crashing, leaving me wondering when I will once again be able to take a breathe.

After my miscarriage on my 30th birthday, which, in itself seems a story fit to be written in the pages of a heart wrenching novel, life charged forward with another maybe-kind-of miscarriage in November. We didn’t tell anyone about it. It was a positive pregnancy test one day and bleeding the next. The doctors called it a chemical pregnancy. It may not have even been real.

December came with it’s wave of Christmas cheer and blur of busy as I once again held a lead role in the Broadway style Christmas production at church and we celebrated all of the things that go on with having a 4 year old in Pre-K around the holidays. We traveled to GA to see family and survived more months of nights as my husband continued to trudge through his Anesthesiology Residency.

 

My last GCN performance.

My last GCN performance.

In January, we were met with snow and sickness. Snow that just wouldn’t stop, and my son only attended school for 4 days the entire month. I wanted to be positive about it, but it was completely valid to be going stir crazy with a little one and snow that was too cold and ice-y to even enjoy playing outside in.

january 2013 017

Well, we played a little. :)

 

This too shall pass.

Then I got sick. Very sick. Couldn’t-move-off-the-couch-throwing-up-at-all-hours-of-the-day sick.

A few pregnancy tests later would confirm what I already knew…I was pregnant.

But I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure if it was real and I definitely wasn’t excited since this time it seemed being pregnant meant being dysfunctional.

I gave my husband a positive pregnancy test in a gift bag for Valentine’s Day (and some other stuff too, don’t worry I didn’t just give him a pee stick) and we both were tentatively excited.

At my doctor appointment in late February they confirmed that there was a little baby in there; measuring about 8 weeks. I was given Zofran to try to stop the severe nausea. It helped, but put me in a zombie like state of sleep and no energy. So my choices were throw up all day or lay on the couch like a zombie all day. My son was raised by the TV for about three months and our house was in such a state of disarray that I truly wondered if burning it down and starting over would’ve been an easier solution than somehow figuring out how to clean it up.

This too shall pass.

We told my family and called my husband’s family. “Don’t tell Noah!” My son knew Mommy was sick, but he didn’t know why, and I wanted to make VERY certain that this baby was a sure thing before we told our sweet four year old that he would be a big brother.

My mother-in-law wanted to come up for a visit.

You can, we told her, but the house does not look like it normally does (I never allow company over if my house is not spotless) and you can not wear any perfume or wear anything smelly.

The smell of EVERYTHING made me sick. I couldn’t even stand the smell of our own laundry detergent; we had to re-wash every single article of clothing we owned just so I could get dressed. (All Free and Clear to the rescue!)

“I’m sure the house isn’t that bad,” my mother in law said, until she actually arrived at our house and discovered it was WORSE. “Well,” she said, “it certainly does look different.”

It looked like an episode from Hoarders.

This too shall pass.

My mother-in-law stayed for a week and entertained my TV brainwashed son and did a million loads of laundry and helped with dishes.  She dug us out of a hole I’m not sure I ever would have been able to climb out of.

And then, I started feeling better.

It was the week after my mother in law left that one day, the sun decided to shine.

And my body decided to cooperate.

And for the first time in months, I felt human again.

We even told our sweet little boy that he was going to be a big brother…and he was THRILLED!

Look Whoo's Going to Be A Big Brother!

Look Whoo’s Going to Be A Big Brother!

This too shall pass.

Residency is over in June. So, no matter what, we are starting a new chapter in our lives this summer. My husband began his job search in December, and much to our dismay by March we still had no job. In the midst of my severe sickness my husband finally started getting interviews and was out of town in between weeks of nights. Despite my strong desire to stay in Richmond, there were no available jobs. My husband has always wanted to go back to GA (where we grew up) so most of his interviews were focused there.

We knew we couldn’t stay in Richmond without a job, so we worked diligently to get our house ready to put on the market. Somehow in between severe morning sickness, a traveling and working nights husband, and juggling the care of a 4 year old, our house became not just clean, but also market ready. Surely we would have a job by April, we assumed, and we went about hiring a handy man and a yard crew, renting a POD, and packing and loading and cleaning and meeting with our real estate agent.

April came and we did not have a job. But we had a schedule, and a deadline to get the house on the market if we wanted to really attract the buyers coming in for spring, and a hope that a job offer would come in before our house went under contract. Putting your house on the market doesn’t mean selling it, right?

Our beautiful home.

Our beautiful home.

This too shall pass.

Except it did sell. In three days. We put our house on the market on Friday, April 11th. We had 5 showings, two offers and were under contract by Monday, April 14th at noon. Whose house sells in three days??

But it was not without some drama. Our first offer came in Saturday night, after only one day on the market, for just under full listing price. “You won’t get a better deal than this,” our real estate agent told us. She really wanted us to take it. The bottom line was that it was all just moving too quickly. I didn’t want to sell our house, or leave Richmond, and we did not have a plan of where we were going next. It’s hard to jump when you don’t know where you are landing.

We told our agent we wouldn’t sign anything until Monday and then a second offer came in Sunday night. For more money and a later closing date. It was obviously a better offer for us, but the agents felt we should have gone with the first offer and there was some talk about us being under a “verbal agreement” and making an “ethical decision.” I was guilt ridden and felt pressured and didn’t want to sell our cute little house in the first place. And my husband certainly got the brunt of that emotional meltdown from me.

We did wind up taking the second offer and were under contract by Monday. And that was it. Our home was under contract. We had no job. We were on track to be jobless and homeless at the end of June with two kids. I don’t know the dates, but I do know that there was a day when my husband and I got into a HUGE fight in front of our son. The tension level at our house was so indescribably high and the great unknowns of our future were so looming that it was almost unbearable.

This too shall pass.

A job offer would FINALLY come in on April 22nd. We were elated. It was an AMAZING offer in Atlanta, GA. We finally could feel at peace with what was coming next, even though I was still holding so tightly onto where we are now.

Then, the week where our life status changed every day happened.

On Monday, April 28th, the Atlanta job rescinded the offer. We were back to being on track for jobless and homeless at the end of June. I was a complete disaster. And, as we have come to find out, rescinded job offers? NEVER happen in the field of medicine. We were at a complete loss. On Tuesday, a job in Athens, GA offered a possible part time opportunity. We didn’t know if we could make it work financially, but we were considering it. On Wednesday, April 30th, the Athens job said they may be able to make a full time offer. On Thursday, May 1st, the Athens job officially extended a full time offer in writing and we took it. Because at this point, we simply needed a plan. Shortly after, the Atlanta job called and said there was still a possibility my husband could get that job if he would just wait….I am so proud of him for interrupting and saying that he was no longer interested.

By Friday, May 2nd, we had started paperwork for the Athens, GA job and finally, FINALLY felt that all of the pieces were coming together.

This too shall pass.

As it turns out, juggling a pregnancy, a four year old, church obligations, a new job, selling a house, trying to find a new house, finding a new school for my son, researching a new care provider to switch to in the middle of a pregnancy, doing an opera (yes, I added an opera in there), keeping up with freelance writing, my job for Richmondmom.com and real life (damn you laundry!) is simply insane. I do not think it is wise to change EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT YOUR LIFE ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

This too shall pass. There will soon be a time of calm. There has to be.

But now, right at this moment, we are still stuck in the midst of the waves, just trying not to drown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Missing Wallet on Richmondmom

I have been a mess lately.

Not in any sort of good way.

In the I’m-sick-my-husband’s-out-of-town-I-don’t-even-have-clean-pants way. You would die if you saw my laundry pile.

And then, I lost my wallet.

Please join me at Richmondmom.com where I let you in on the behind-the-scenes of my current life and make you smile with a story of a good deed.

See you there! 

About Marriage

“When I was younger, I wanted to be married so badly. I wanted the companionship, the family, the love. I wanted lazy Sundays in bed and long walks. I wanted gazing into each other’s eyes and secret smiles and laughter.

I wanted a movie scene.

The problem is that movie scene portrayals of relationships are NOT REAL. Who knew?

My husband and I got married when we were both 23, a retrospectively young age to commit to be with another person for the rest of your life. We had an amazing dream wedding, an equally magnificent honeymoon, and then we returned home for real life.

We were terrible at it…..”

Today, I am sharing some tough stuff about my marriage and letting you in on a little secret….marriage is HARD WORK.

I am honored to have a guest post on Kludgy Mom sharing a post: My Marriage Is Not My Masterpiece…And Why That’s OK. 

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Click here to read the rest of the post. I can’t wait to read your comments with your own marriage experiences.

See you there! xo

Redecorating with Wall Art from Minted.com

Yesterday, the weather was gorgeous. My son and I actually got to spend some time outside and take a neighborhood walk, which was such a welcome reprieve from the cold snowy winter we’ve had.

And then, today, it snowed. Again. This time, starting early in the morning and it hasn’t stopped!

Stuck inside again all day, I’ve started to mentally redecorate this house. I love our home, usually, when it’s clean and we are free to come and go and not stuck in it every single second of every single day. But lately, I’ve just felt like the walls are closing in om me and I’m just so tired of the same old look we have going on in this house.

Since I’m quickly growing tired of my scenery, I was thrilled when Minted.com reached out and asked if I’d like to do a post about their new wall art. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I am a HUGE fan of Minted, especially their stationery and party decor. And now they have just introduced the most adorable collection of wall art.

How cute would this vintage inspired print be in a kitchen?

I love the modern print and black and white contrast of this print.

And how sweet would this be for a patriotic themed little boy’s room or nursery?

I also kind of love this playful chair print for a powder room.

The best part is, Minted’s limited collection of art prints starts at only $25, making it affordable for anyone’s price range.

You can order the prints with or without frames. I personally would go with the frame, so you have a ready to hang piece of art delivered directly to your door. Who wouldn’t be over the moon excited about that?

These prints would be perfect for personal redecorating or would make great gifts.

With styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, there is sure to be a print from Minted that you will fall in love with.

I would love to know; what Minted print will you chose for your home?

*I was offered a Minted credit in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. And I am totally going to use it to redecorate this house.*

 

 

All The Things

Confession: I have been terrible about blogging lately.

Not that this comes as a surprise to those of you that are sweet enough to read this little blog of mine.

But don’t worry, I have been busy other places.

On Richmondmom.com I have an article about a humbling experience I had that reminds us all to be thankful for everything we have. And I LOVE this guest post by my sweet friend.

I have a lot of reviews up on 5MinutesForMom.com. They are doing some great Christmas giveaways so head over and enter some!

I am the new calendar editor at Richmondmom.com and have been trying to keep up with all of the events which is super exciting and hard because my goodness does Richmond, VA know how to host a lot of events.

And my husband has been working 30 hour shifts, hasn’t had a day off since October, and the little one has been sick. You do not even want to see how messy my house is right now.

BUT…in the midst of all of the rest of life I have been honored to be a part of a big Christmas show again this year after I got my performance legs back last year.

We open tonight (actually in just 3 hours…eek!) I just wrote an article about it on Richmondmom.com that you should go read. (I’m the one in that red dress in the top picture.)

And of course, if you are in Richmond, you should come see. I would love to meet you!

Hopefully more writing will come later, but for now, I’m off to a show!

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Thanksgiving Scrabble

When I was growing up, my Mom had a Thanksgiving tradition of a game involving Scrabble letters. We would pass the velvet bag around the table and draw out one or two letters. Then you had to go around and say something you were thankful for that started with that letter. Literary concepts and thankfulness? My mom nailed it.

scrabble bag

Except I hated it. I had the dramatic teenage girl thing down (for years) and was quick to dismiss and roll my eyes. (Thank goodness I did not have to parent myself.) I thought it was cheesy. It’s a miracle my Mom kept me around.

Now that I have a family of my own, that is my very favorite Thanksgiving tradition.

My husband and I have been married for 6 years, but we’ve only spent two of them together. He has had to work every Thanksgiving since he started residency, so this is the fourth year in a row we are not spending Thanksgiving together.  I am not brave enough to embark on Thanksgiving travel alone with a toddler (even though I am totally supermom when it comes to traveling alone with a toddler) so for the past four years my son and I have had hod-podge Thanksgivings and one year we spent it completely alone, just me and a then one year old.

Still, I pull out my favorite memories from childhood on Thanksgiving. My mom’s amazing cranberry relish (no, really, it’s so good!), a turkey from Honey Baked Hams (because it’s so much easier and that’s what we always had growing up) and the Scrabble game.

My son loves picking out the letters, and even though we are still working on his letter sounds, he thinks it is a great game and associates the velvet Scrabble bag with Thanksgiving.

Even though my Thanksgivings as an adult haven’t turned out to be the family events I once hoped for, I am so thankful to pass down my favorite Thanksgiving traditions to my son. And I have so very much to be thankful for.

thankful letters

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

 

About Being Honest

The thing about being honest and vulnerable is, you don’t know where it will take you.

It took a lot of courage and time for me to summon up the strength to write about what happened on my 30th birthday. After I told the story, even the hard parts, I felt a sense of relief.

And then, the next morning, I felt immediate dread and a bit of regret for publishing one of my most intimate moments on the internet.

This little blog of mine is not so private anymore. Since I’ve started freelance writing my bio with links to my blog has become public, and I have blurred the lines between writing for just my small community of blogging friends and myself to writing to an audience that is very public and not at all intimate. My blog no longer became my safe space, because anything I write here could be read by anyone in my life, including people that in real life I would never share such details with. And that, is a scary thought.

But I didn’t start this blog to write about only the good things in my life or to paint a pretty picture about motherhood. I started this blog to tell the tough stuff. I started this blog to be honest.

And the truth is, I was finding it more and more impossible NOT to tell the story. I couldn’t come to my blog and posts pictures of Halloween (which I will do, though, because we went all out and it was awesome :) ) and pretend that nothing had happened because a major thing had happened. And it was the only story weighing on my mind.

Not very many people commented on that post, but I have received countless emails and private Facebook messages. I have received phone calls from people in real life who didn’t know. And it is both terrifying and amazing to see what happens when you are honest with your story, even in a terrifyingly public way.

There were people who had gone through the same thing and never told anyone, carrying around a small secret of pain on their own because it’s too hard and too personal to let it out.

And there were people who have never been through a miscarriage, who don’t know what to say, but want you to know that it’s ok to talk about it and to reach out and tell you how much they care about you. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

There’s a fine line between regretting the blunt honesty of letting you into the most intimate details of my life and then feeling the rush of relief that comes with telling a story that had been weighing on me. And if I had never told my story, I never would have gotten to share in the beautiful and comforting email exchanges and phone calls in which you told me yours.

For me, it was never even really just my story. It happened to me, but if I never told anyone about it, it would be like that baby never existed. And it did. If even for a very short time. I don’t want that baby’s story to have never been written just because it ended so early.

So I want to thank you for letting me tell my story and for those of you that shared pieces of yours, I am incredibly honored.

That’s the thing about being honest. It takes you to beautiful places. You may never know who you are touching with your words and who needs to read them, but you must believe that the events in your life, even the hard ones, are worth telling.

(image credit: www.leahfruthblog.com)