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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming Real

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day…

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you…

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept… Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

~Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit 

“I think that when I go back to work, I’d like to be a writer,” I said to my husband two years ago on a quiet afternoon.

“Ok,” he said. “Then do it!”

I started blogging in December of 2011 but didn’t tell anyone in “real life”. They discovered it slowly, because as it turns out, the internet is not all that private of a medium.

If I’m ever asked what I do, I still refer to the title Stay At Home Mom. I have never uttered the phrase “I’m a writer.”

I have a friend whose been blogging for a long time, and has a magical way of weaving words. I consider her a writer, though it is still not a term I would extend to myself.

In January of 2013 I was honored to join the writing team at Moonfrye.com and 5minutesformom.com. But that just meant I was lucky.

Then I started to notice requests in my inbox for product reviews and people wanting to guest post. “That’s weird,” I thought. “Why would anyone want to work with me and this small little blog?”

There is a large annual blogging conference called BlogHer coming up in just a few weeks. This year, it will be held in Chicago. I have never ever considered going, because that’s for “real bloggers” and “real writers” and I am definitely not one of those.

Then I received an email from my wonderful content editor at Moonfrye asking who would be attending BlogHer so we could all meet. I won’t be, but isn’t that amazing that I am a part of something like that? Maybe I belong a bit more than I thought I did.

And then an amazing thing happened.

Late one night last week, I was just browsing the internet, as I tend to do when the house is quiet. I found a job posting for a local Richmond business. I wrote a cover letter, made a resume, and submitted my application. Which was strange, because I wasn’t really looking to go back to work, but something about this felt right.

I got an interview, and it just happened to work out that my mom was here to watch my son so I could go. I met with an amazing lady who I adored right from the start and the job opportunity couldn’t have been more of a perfect fit. Isn’t it amazing when things just fall perfectly into place like that?

I am so pleased and honored to announce that I am joining the team of writers on RichmondMom.com, a writing position I have long coveted. I am beyond amazed to think I will be on the same writing team as Alex from Late Enough and Kristin from What She Said, two writers I have always greatly admired. (And Kristin was just selected as a BlogHer Voice of The Year, a huge honor! So proud of her!)

Starting in the fall, I will be able to help with sales and marketing at an adorable Richmond boutique in my very favorite part of town.

I’m still trying to process that this is all real, because I feel like I have the opportunity to step into my absolute dream job and still have flexibility to stay home with my son.

And it just may be, that in the midst of processing that this is real, I am actually becoming a writer after all.

Bit by bit, I may be becoming real.