27 December 2018

2018 (The Highlights)

Now that the chaos of Christmas is over, and with the new year inching closer and closer, holding a huge life changing event in store for my family and I, it's time to reflect and relive the past year.

I look back on some memories and wish I could feel as much fondness in my heart about them as I want to, but the truth is I was depressed and overall just felt unwell for a big chunk of the year. I wasn't taking good care of myself, and it took it's toll on my body and mind.

Nonetheless, I want to document some of this years better moments before another whirlwind of a year begins and these memories are blurs. Natalie had her kindergarten celebration to end the school year and start our summer, which was a big deal since she completed her first year of school ever! The first vacation we took was up to New Jersey for a cousins graduation party, and it is always fun visiting that bunch of family. They're some of the nicest, easiest to get along with people I've ever met, plus they have a swimming pool, so that's a bonus. ;)

After Jersey we headed directly to Maryland to visit my best friend Erin and her husband and son in their time share at Bethany Beach. We stayed there for about 3 days and enjoyed meeting and hanging out with her extended family. We had cook outs and went shopping and soaked up some sun.

In August we visited Kings Dominion amusement park before school started back up and it was so much fun! I am a huge wuss, I don't even like being on the metro when it's up high, so I do not like roller coasters or pretty much anything that isn't bumper cars. Natalie is such a brave girl who loves a challenge and seeks adventure, so she was ready to go on any ride her height allowed. Matt took her and my niece on the rides I wasn't up for and my sister and I found ones that I wasn't too chicken shit to do. We went to their wave pool and lazy river and ended up staying at the park from open to close.

After school started back up and we settled into the swing of things, I was already yearning for another family vacation, so come Columbus day weekend I booked a trip to Massanutten, VA  to enjoy the seclusion of the Blue Ridge mountains. My sister and niece came along and we stayed in an amazing 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with a jacuzzi tub, fireplace and beautiful view. We visited an awesome indoor water park (the main reason for the trip) and had such a good time! As brave as Natalie was at Kings Dominion she sure had a change in attitude when it came to the water slides. It took me so much convincing to get her to try even the smallest slide. She eventually came around and by the time we left she went on even the biggest tube slide (and I mean it was huge and fast, I was scared on it, but I guess that doesn't say much) in the park.

20 December 2018

Holiday Cheer

Just ask my husband and he'll tell you that my attitude is equal to Ebenezer Scrooge's at Christmas time. It's not that I don't appreciate the spirit of the holiday, it's just that it is such a stressful time of year when you have literally 22 people in your family to buy gifts for.

Add in the crowds, the traffic, the headache of figuring out what to get everyone, how stressed Matt is from work every year at this time, and just the all around business of the season, and yeah, you're damn right it wears on me and doesn't make me excited. I don't mean to sound like a total Grinch or imply I want to eliminate presents or toys. Getting someone something perfect I know they'll love makes me very happy. I enjoy coming up with thoughtful, meaningful, sentimental gifts. Year after year, person after person though? Not possible, and it just starts to feel somewhat wasteful to buy buy buy.

If you take out the obligation of needing material gifts for your loved ones there are so many moments of goodness and kindness to focus on. Like watching a woman bring coffee to construction workers outside in the cold. Or hearing stories of volunteers helping the underprivileged or sick. Or your neighbors knocking on your door to give you a treat and say thank you for being good neighbors. Or today, when I went up to lunch at school with Natalie, and the middle school choir came in and sang Christmas carols. Natalie and I sang along and danced in our seats and it was so wonderful watching the innocent faces of the kids light up.

I have so much to be thankful for at Christmas and every day of the year.  I have food on the table and a roof over my head. I love my neighbors, friends, and family and am lucky to have them all. I do enjoy and appreciate the simple, happy pleasures that only December seems to incite. The lights and the singing, the giving and the sharing, the overall warmth and good nature of people at this time.

I hope you have a merry Christmas and that you are surrounded with love like I am so fortunate to be. 

18 December 2018

The Biggest Best Gift

This weekend Matt and I shared some very exciting news with Natalie: SHE'S GOING TO BE A BIG SISTER IN JUNE! I am 14 weeks pregnant, and my due date is in exactly six months from today.

The news for us wasn't hard to keep secret from her for a couple of reason. Number one was because I was (and still am) terrified something will happen and my pregnancy will cease. Number two we were a little hesitant to tell her because we expected her to have some feelings of apprehension, maybe even a little jealousy mixed in. We sure were wrong about how she would take the big news. She is beyond excited!

We decided to tell her on a weekend so she would have time to process her feelings and deal with any negative emotions or concerns that might come up before she had to deal with her daily responsibilities of school. I though it might be anxiety inducing for her if we sat her down with a, "we need to talk," or, "mommy and daddy have something important to tell you," so I tried to keep it casual.

I ordered her a shirt that says big sister on it and selected the best sonogram photo I have and told her we had a special shirt and a special picture to give to her. She just was like, alright, cool, can I see it? So I gave her the picture first and waited. She had no idea what it was (and I don't blame her) and said, "maybe I'm holding it upside down" then flipped it. Matt said, "maybe the shirt has a clue on it." so we gave her the shirt.

The first thing she noticed about the shirt was the reindeer on it, so she pointed that out. We told her to read what it said. She said, "big sister" and then nothing else. For a split second I was thinking she was upset and trying to ignore the news. She then just looked at me. Not upset, not excited, not confused, she just calmly looked and waited for me to elaborate. 

I finally said, "I'm going to have a baby!" and she almost jumped out of her skin! She was so happy, so excited, erupting with joy! We talked about the baby and she kept telling me how excited she was and how she couldn't believe it.

She had a moment when she realized the gravity of it all and said, "what if you and daddy don't give me attention anymore because of the baby?" then started to cry. That broke my heart but I promised her we would always make time for her and no matter what she is SO important to us, a baby wouldn't ever change that. My answer sufficed and we carried on celebrating!

We told my parent's, siblings and nieces later that day (I already swore Matt's parents and brother to secrecy before we revealed it to Natalie) and Natalie and my niece Bridget started coming up with baby names and constantly hugging and kissing my belly.

I am so thrilled with Natalie's reaction and her enthusiasm has been very infectious! She is already the best daughter, I know she is going to be the best sister ever.

04 December 2018


Wow, Natalie is seven years old today and that sounds so much older than six for some reason.

This past Saturday we let Natalie pick a friend to accompany her to lunch and the trampoline park, then we hosted a slumber party with four of her best friends. The slumber party was a bit of a disaster with the mixture of different personalities clashing, plus tired, sugar laced kids, but what can ya do? In the big picture it wasn't about who was bickering with who, or what drama arose, but about coming together to celebrate our sweet daughter and friend!

Each year we usually have a small family get together at my mother in laws house with my side of the family and Matt's side, but this year I just couldn't bring myself to plan the party with her friends and a separate one with family. My mother in law wanted to be able to give her her presents and partake in some celebrating, so on Sunday she baked some cupcakes and we showed up, along with my father in law and brother in law, plus his two boys. It was super low key, relaxed and I didn't have to do a damn thing in regards to planning.

 Last year we had a party at a M Gym and invited Natalie's whole class (not everyone came)  and then we had a family party afterwards and it was just draining.  The family parties aren't ever extravagant and don't require a whole lot of effort, but I think I am really leaning towards just focusing on throwing her a nice little bash with her friends each year instead.

Today I brought her a happy meal for lunch at school. She was wearing a special birthday crown from her teacher and received lots of happy birthday wishes from the staff. One boy in her class got up twice to come say happy birthday and give her a hug, it was so sweet.

I want to do a little "interview" with her later to share, but for now here is a bit about her personality and likes these days: She is very athletic, and really enjoys gymnastics. She loves challenges and competition and pretends everything is an obstacle course. She loves watching talent shows, and American Ninja Warrior. She likes to be a performer and sing and dance and put on presentations for us. She is really good and sweet with her younger cousins. She likes to be a leader and a helper. Since the day she was born she has had a hard time with sleep, and that hasn't changed in seven years. She is a deep sleeper once she goes down, but she just has trouble getting there. It isn't anything I've considered calling a doctor about, I just think some people get spurts of energy at night and she's one of them.

Happy birthday again, dear Natalie! There is no doubt that you are such a loved and cared for (even spoiled) girl. Your family, friends, neighbors, classmates and teachers adore you. You are so so lucky to have the life that you do, and I only hope one day you look back on all the love you are showered with and feel your heart bursting with gratitude

13 November 2018


In the few years that I fell off the face of the blog earth, lots has happened. Family weddings and babies, and lots of celebrations and happy moments. There have been some sad and upsetting moments in between all of life's joy too, as is natural.

The biggest thing in my daily life that has changed is that Natalie is in elementary school! She started last September and is now a 1st grader! That was a huge lifestyle change for all three of us, as she was home with me for 5, almost 6 years. I remember before she started school she was talking about it and said, crying, "I'm a little nervous to start school because I've been with you my whole kentire (entire) life." It broke my heart.

Well once school came she made that adjustment with ease and adapted very quickly to her new day to day life. So far we have only had positive feedback on her behavior and school work from her teachers. Matt and I had our parent teacher conference last week and her teacher said Natalie is an absolute delight to have in the classroom. She is kind and respectful, a hard worker, and helps motivate her classmates. She received two awards. one was a merit award for scoring all 3 and 4's (she actually got all 4's) on her progress report and the other was a citizenship award! She is reading at a level "I" which is above grade level right now.

I miss her dearly during the day, but  I am fortunate enough that my schedule allows me to be super involved at her school. I get to volunteer, come to lunch with her, or just attend any school programs/events. Try not to balk at this next line, but I'm actually a "room parent" for her class and planned and hosted a class craft party the other week, and I didn't fuck it up!

Socially she is still more on the reserved side, but she seems very well liked by her peers and has made lots of new friends. One day last year in kindergarten, probably in the 3rd week or so, when I went to pick her up from school I had several of her classmates run up to me and beg for a play date with her. This was all as new to me as it was to Natalie since the only socialization we really did was with her cousins or my friend's kid's. We happily accepted all invites and have loved getting to know all her peers and their parent's.

For us so far school has been a really great experience. I know there will be times of frustration with schoolwork, or bullies, or just plain ole getting burnt out, but for now I really enjoy this chapter in life and have loved seeing my little girl flourish.