Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In the Spirit of the New Year

I have seen this article pop up in a couple places and today I took a second to read it. Some of the suggestions don't apply as much to me, but several did. It may be a worthwhile read for ya :) Here are my thoughts:

2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
How difficult is that?! I sat here thinking about little problems that I seem to run from and how I could face them. It's downright scary to think about, but I'm sure I'd feel so strong within if I was able to do this.

9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
This one is rough for me, and I know it makes me sound superficial, eek. It's just hard to not purchase new shoes or a new necklace and get that rush of happiness. That rush fades; I guess that's what they mean.

20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.
I find this difficult. I'm a talker, talk talk talk... explain what I was thinking over and over so no one judges me. Sigh. Good one to try!

30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
There is always room to be more grateful.

Enjoy the article. (if you missed it up there- click here!) I even book marked the blog incase I want to go back and check :) Hope you are all enjoying your holiday season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Strength for Today

I found some things today that made me smile and want to be strong, and I'd like to share them :) Enjoy!

“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.”— Sarah Dessen (via kari-shma)

Monday, December 12, 2011


I'm feeling beyond haggard today. The 3 day drive complete with a dog who pants each minute of the car ride, a trailer and boat in tow, and a flat tire along the way is enough to wear someone out. I guess moving your entire life can cause you to feel somewhat lost, confused, and just plain sad. I don't see the light yet here, but of course we've only been her for 3 days or so. I think we will enjoy being closer to some people that we haven't seen in a long time. On the other side though, I don't feel like making new friends. Does that make me sound like a spoiled brat? Ya, I think a bit. I have some really amazing friends and I cherish the time I spend with them. I have entirely too many who are spread out all over the country and I would like to invest time in those friendships. Maybe that makes it less bratty.

We finally took a ridiculously low offer on the condo today. Backstory: I still own the condo Mike and I bought in 2007. I have had it on the market for 10 months or so. The condo market in that area is horrible. We dropped the price a ton and got an offer over 10,000 lower. We worked with the possible buyer and he would only come up to about 7,000 shy of our list price, with 3% of the selling price back (which makes no sense to me. Why not just offer 3% less?) and now he keeps throwing in little things that we need to pay for. A roof assessment that will cost 1,000. A home warranty for a year. I'm sorry sir, would you like me to fill up the fridge for you too???

I just feel completely beaten down. I want to feel happier and I can't seem to find it right now. Hopefully it will come back around!

Friday, December 9, 2011


The longer I go without posting, the more things actually happen and the more I remember there are more things to tell you. Did that just sound like blabble? Because it is.

OK here's a short update, and then from here I will just continue on like you all know what's going on ok? :)

1.) I am now in the relative middle of the US. We moved because, long story short, PCS. He will have a bunch more months and apparently they cannot be finished where we were, so we have moved.

2.) We're living with friends until the middle to end of January. The only apartment we could find that allowed us to have Lily was not available until mid January. Luckily (VERY LUCKILY) we have some great friends with a house who are letting us set up camp at their place until the apartment is available.

3.) We're getting married in 22 days. whoa.

4.) There's Christmas thrown in there somewhere.

I am excited for a new part of our life, being in a new place, but I feel like this move is distracting me from the last month or so of wedding stuff. That may be a good thing, but when I remember we have a wedding coming up, I get so excited. I think that day will be a really fantastic day.

Hope all of you are well! I will be around much more often now, promise.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Here you Me.

I got home from class tonight and I have that distantly familiar feeling in my eyes again. The tired, drowsy, heavy feeling of a night drive home in a cloud of tears.

I don't even know where it came from except that I'm mentally and emotionally exhausted in a way I haven't been before. I'm caught in a world of balancing- no highs, no lows, no extremes- just trying to keep everything in check. I spend my time in my classes loving what I'm learning and wanting to spend all hours of the day doing that. I come home and remember that now that I am a full-time student I must also keep things around here in order, which seems completely normal to most, but I am a slob. Plain and simple. So keeping things in order takes work for me. I'm helping to plan a wedding that is taking me off in to left field, costing too much, but will be no less than breathtaking. An amazing one night that we spend 6 months coordinating. All I wanted to do was get married and now I remember why I wanted that, but was not anywhere near ready to plan a wedding. I quit my job and still somehow can't come up with a schedule to get everything done.

~ ~ ~ ~
"You're the heaviest weight, when you're not here, that's hung around my neck." -DMB

But it will come through at some point, no matter how much I pile on top of it. I miss him. There are things about him that I will always, always miss. I feel so heavy right now. Naturally I'm drawn to remembering his gift of being optimistically carefree. I could melt right into that with the confidence that nothing bad could ever happen if we were together, my footsteps in his, tumbling through this world together.

~ ~ ~ ~
"What would you think of me now? So lucky. So strong. So proud. I never said thank you for that. No I'll never have the chance." -Jimmy Eat World

Also on my drive I reflected on where I am now. It started because I was thinking that all I wanted was to be in my little condo bathroom with the yellowish light sitting on the floor in a ball with the warm shower running, steam filling the room, me letting it all out. That led to our house now, and really every time I think of our house now I immediately think of how much love I have for it. That somehow led to a string of thoughts on my hardheadedness and my pride in everything I've been through. Even though it may seem strange to those on the other side, it's like showing off my scars because I lived through it. I had no hope of coming up on the other side of this, and I have, and what it's given me I will share.

~ ~ ~ ~
A night I'm feeling quite weighted down. I am so happy with where I am in life, but losing my independence and gaining another half causes some moments of great introspection. But I am thankful for a loving pup, respectful fiancé, and true friends :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Late- Big things are happening

Guys, a few weeks ago very VERY big things were happening. I haven't told you about them yet, maybe because they are happening to people around me, maybe I'm just a little lazy... or busy, but here are some announcements.

One of my very best friends had a baby the day before one of my other very best friends got married. DANG.

I get to go meet Molly, and see Pat and Jenny in a few weeks, so more about her then!

But--- one of the coolest wedding I've been to (and I've been to just a few) was Kim and CJ's. Reasons their wedding was so fantastic:
1. They got married on the beach. ON the beach. Without shoes, right in the sand, in front of the ocean. Isn't that everyones dream wedding??

2. We wore no shoes, and it rocked!
3. As bridesmaids we got to get whatever dress we wanted as long as it was in the right color family. EASY and INEXPENSIVE as a bridesmaid!
4. Kim's family is the best at hosting stuff and it was great to see them all :)
5. The music. The music for the ceremony, for the reception, and apparently also for the favor. They had 2 mixed CDs, some people got CJ's mix and some got Kim's mix. Nick is holding the CD hostage in his truck.

Overall- awesome experience! So happy for the Strausses and can't wait to plan a trip to Boston to visit!

The moment when they walked back up the isle and were married. My favorite part.


I think of things I want to blog about in the most random places. When I have several spare seconds strung together I come up with whole paragraphs of things I should tell you guys that are very important, or make some point, or seem important to me. I keep thinking of several of these ideas and remembering I needed to blog them. But today a better one came along.

Today is the first day I am no longer part-time working. I am only full-time studenting. And I'm thrilled, but nervous. Honestly the money part makes me worried but I know we can do it without the little bits of money I was bringing in. I got many many things done today like studying for one of my midterms, several little wedding chores, paying a few bills, finishing the laundry, taking little Lily on a walk, organizing my office a bit, etc. I also was able to take my time and budget at the grocery store which seems kinda lame but in my minds eye it's my way to make up for the little bit I'm not bringing in.

Later I was at home, cutting up a red bell pepper I believe, and Nick just got home. He was sitting in the chair watching the TV. We were talking about the downstairs TV and how it seems to be on the fritz. I said something like "it's really no big deal. we have the one upstairs so if this one doesn't last we can just move that one down. we don't really need that one up their anyway." And he agreed. And there was nothing special, but I realized it was everything, right there.

I get so caught up (even though I try not to) in the wedding stuff, and family stuff, and money, and my condo, and my school work, and friends, and the house, and Lily... I forget to look at this life.

Our problem at the moment isn't even a problem.

I'm lucky enough to not be spending my life alone, but sharing it with Nick.
I'm lucky enough to have at least 5 texts on my phone saved so that I remember to carry on the conversation with these friends.
I have the best pet anyone could ask for.

(there she is!)

Things are wrong and things are right.
This is life.
It's not perfect but its really pretty great.
And I feel comfortable. Who knows how long it will last, but today I feel comfortable.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's all I can think about now.

Got home tonight and feel like I'm walking around with no purpose except not sitting down for too long. Maybe it's better described as when you have 10x too much caffeine in your body and you sit down, stand up, walk around, and all you want to do are the things you can't sit still long enough to do. I just want to scream- DONT YOU KNOW WHATS COMING?!?!

How can you not acknowledge it every time you talk to me this month?

How can you not read my mind and know when things slow down thats where I end up. That day, over and over and over and over in my mind.

How can you try to plan things for that weekend? Like I can do things that weekend.

What am I supposed to do?! Just tell me what I'm supposed to do.

I just want to scream anything. and everything. and all the time. The screams are running through my blood, making me antsy and anxious. Making me think, and not think. Making me want to cry and not be able to cry. Making me mad. Just plain mad at anything that I can be mad at.

I do not want to do this week again. ever. and it keeps coming back.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dinner- epic Fail.

I make dinner here. I like it. I haven't actually had to cook for more than just me very often so It's fun to be able to try new actual meals. Recently I've really been trying to incorporate more vegetables into what we're eating. I don't love vegetables, but aside from Asparagus, Nick would never eat a vegetable if he could get away with it. Last night I came home from class and asked if he had made any vegetables with the dinner in the crock pot. His response? I had some spinach dip. Um no dear, doesn't count.

Anyway, lets focus. I had a recipe for lemon pepper chicken in the crockpot. Crockpot meals for the day I have classes are fab because Nick can eat and I can eat later when I get home, or whatever. We're not stuck with both of us eating fast food at random times.  From my childhood I had a somewhat severe aversion to lemon flavored chicken. Once, mom made such a dish, and my ever-so-dramatic brother and I were pretty sure she tried to poison us. For months whenever she made chicken we were sure she was putting hidden drops of lemon on the chicken. I thought maybe I'd be a big girl and give it a whirl.

Doesn't it look delicious. Ya, well that picture is not what mine looked like, but that's fine. I'm not in the food biz, I'm just trying to make a yummy, (EASY), healthy dinner for us. 

Here's the recipe:

Lemon Garlic Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

- 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup lemon pepper seasoning
- 4 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tsp lemon zest
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Mix together the lemon pepper seasoning, paprika and salt. Coat the chicken with the spice mixture. Place the coated chicken in the crock pot and cover with the fat free chicken broth, garlic cloves, parsley and onions and lemon zest. Cook on low heat for about 3-4 hours (or until done)

So easy, right? Here's what I did:

1. Plug in and turn on CrockPot
2. Add 8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
3. 10 seems like a lot of garlic cloves, so I'll only add 3 chopped.
4. I don't like onions. I'll only add one.
5. Add 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
6. Shook in about 1/4 cup of lemon pepper seasoning. Seem's like a lot. hmm.
7. I don't have paprika
8. No fresh parsley, but I have some in my spice cabinet. I just sprinkle some in
9. No lemon zest-- substitute lemon juice? sure.
10. Leave for work. Return at 3 pm, stir. Turn to just warm as everything seems cooked.
11. We ate it when I got home at 7:30.
12. OH also, I added a can of whole white potatoes so we had some potatoey thing in the dish. 

Nick dished up our chicken and I nuked some green beans.
We dive in.
I cough. Hmmm I must have had a pepper on that bite!
Nick says he agrees, navigate around the pepper seasoning.
I try a bite of potato and have to find something other than my wine to quench my thirst.
One more bite- it can't be that bad.
I want to vomit.
Nick says, "Want to put in that frozen pizza?"
"ya... scrap this lemon pepper hell."

As I try to drink everything we have in the fridge, Nick makes the pizza.

Bummer. I know I took some liberties, but I usually do and things turn out ok at the very least. I haven't had an epic fail yet. Oh well- no lemon chicken in our future!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Army 10-miler 2010 vs 2011

Last year I set the goal to run the Army 10-Miler with Mike's sister, Amanda. She's had about 5 ACL surgeries and I've never run further than 200 meters so it was a lofty goal but in the spirit of doing things we've never done and honoring Mike's life in a way he would love, we saddled up. I took training seriously as 10 miles is a freaking lot. I started running 1-2 miles in April and it was so difficult for me, but once I got into it, I gradually increased to 4, 5 and even 8 miles before we actually did the race. The last 2 miles of the race were very difficult and all I kept thinking was "Just. Keep. Going." And we finished and I thought- never again will I do this. On the plane ride home I looked at Amanda and thought, ya we could do this again next year. And here we are.

Except this year is much different. I'm in NC but beside that I'm finding every excuse in the world not to run. I've been doing about 2/3 miles every couple days. I'm so worried the 10 miles will kick my butt so hard! The race is in October and tomorrow is the first day of September. Ummm train for a month?! Not exactly the plan. Nick's doing it this year with me, and a bunch of other friends are running. I need to get my butt in gear.

When you're not motivated to complete a goal that you've set, either physical or otherwise, how do you get yourself going?

(see how I'm blogging and NOT running...)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I have been missing and busy. As I'm catching up on blogs I am remembering how much I missed you all- missed my time to reconnect and be introspective. I need that.

As I said I've been busy. I know it's been a while but jump with me, if you will, to where I am now in this crazy life. I am engaged, getting married on New Year's Eve, in a new house, working about 30 hours a week and going to grad school. It all seems like a lot. The last few weeks I have not been myself. Not the "myself" I like, not comfortable in my shoes. With so much going on there is little time to be introspective- such a 180 degree turn from my previous few years of constant introspection and time spent running around inside my own head.

I told Nick the other day, "I'm not feeling happy. I know we have this new house and a fabulous wedding but I'm not feeling happy and I don't know why." I felt so guilty at the same time. I always feel as if I'm letting someone down. As we talked he pointed out that it may feel different to me because for so long I was independent of anyone else. I didn't let people in. I relied on myself and my dog, that was really it. Now that I'm out in the world, working and living and making friends in this new place, people are relying on me. It's quite a transition. He flat out told me, "I could not have this house without you. I need you to be where I am right now." That's scary, and good, and scary again. It's nice to be needed but hard to realize you're back out there, intermingling with the world, able to have an effect on people.

I think they call that "living."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time, time, time

I apologize for not updating as often as I should. This blog is where I look forward to sharing some of the big things that happen in my life and lately I have been punking out of sharing due to work, and school and mostly more school. Summer I has come to and end and I finished with an A and a B and I am thrilled about that. Summer II is here and I am taking less so I should have little less on my plate.

Ok now the updates. Nick proposed May 28 and the last month has been amped up wedding talk. We chose New Year's Eve to get married, the day we met, and although it will be in chilly, snowy Ohio I look forward to getting married and celebrating the New Year with all of our friends and family!

Now I have a bunch of feeling related stuff that I wanted to share too, but we will save that for a later date.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The New Adventures of Lewis and Clark

Do you guys know Tori and Zac? Ok in case you don't, let's rewind. Zac is one of Mike's best friends from grade school and high school. They played football together- it's kind of a big deal! :) So after Mike was killed, Zac and Tori were amazing friends. They lived nice and close to me so Tori would pop over and get me out of the house, or at least chill with me. We worked out together and then we'd eat at Taco Bell, to balance things out! She and Zac watched Lily a few times for me while I had to go out of town for work. They are really great friends. Zac decided to join the army about a year ago and has finished all his early training and is now part of the 82nd Airborne here at Ft. Bragg. Needless to say Tori and I were ecstatic to realize we'd be in the same place after they were in GA for a year.

Zac and Tori began their move a couple weeks ago and unfortunately some plans they had to sign paperwork to rent a condo fell through. It was a stressful weekend for them because they drove a truck up with about half of their stuff so that they could begin moving stuff in. Since I work in our apartment community, when I talked to them I told them I could get them in a unit by Sunday with no problems. They tossed the idea around and ran the numbers and (YAY!) decided to go for it! So now not only are we in the same area, we are literally next door to each other! Nick and I couldn't be more excited that they are right here! Tori and I have many, MANY more fun adventures together now that we live the closest we've EVER lived to each other!

On a side note, when we all hang out I am so thankful and very retrospective that I've know these 2 amazing people through several stages of the last few years. I met them with Mike, and I remember him telling me all about them before we met. They were there when we found out. Zac helped me with all my finances when I needed him most and could have cared about money the least. Tori had so many late night convos with me about everything and her positive energy always made me feel a little more at peace with life. I just couldn't be happier now that they know and love Nick, are able to celebrate our engagement (yea, I'll update on that in a bit) with us. I just love them very, very much.

(oh, the title of the blog? Zac and Tori's last names- before they were married of course)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Knowing me, I thought about it too much.

"One of my great comforts since Liz's death had been talking about her- I was afraid that if her name went unmentioned or the stories went untold, our memories of her would forever disappear, and so would she." -Matthew Logelin, Two Kisses for Maddy

I somewhat freely talk about my relationship with Nick on here and I have a need today to explore some thoughts. I am about to finish Two Kisses for Maddy and there have been a couple spots where things have jumped out at me. Today it's the quote above, because of recent discussions Nick and I have had. After some poorly thought out statements and hurt feelings on both sides we sunk to the bottom of it all and uncovered the real issue were struggling with.

I talk about Mike often, and in a way, at inappropriate moments. It's not even always about Mike, but rather about making mention of losing my fiance' in Iraq in 2008.

I have grown accustomed to talking about his loss, as since day one I tried out new verbiage (ie: I am engaged but he was killed in Iraq; I was engaged but he lost his life in Iraq; No we weren't married; prefacing the story with a big long sigh and sad face; He passed; he's dead; he was killed; I'm a widow; I'm kind of a widow, etc.) often enough to know what type of reaction I would most likely receive. I do sometimes throw it out at inappropriate moments. Since the beginning my thought on this has been that yes, when I do this it may really impact that person and they may have a few awkward, rough, sad moments. I have had more than a few. In some way it is me shoving some of my pain in their direction. That's not the right thing to do. I also think it will make some people realize what they have, and frankly I'm ok with that. My other feeling is that I am damn proud of where I am right now. If you would have told me that I would be here in my life, having accomplished everything I have, having made several of the most amazing friends I could have, and knowing things that someone my age often does not yet know, I would have threw your words into the metaphysical trash can. So when people take a minute to get over the shock I smile at them, and I hope they realize that YES it was a traumatic event that I deal with every day, but I'm ok. And I'm proud of that.

Also, like the quote above, I have this responsibly to make sure no one ever forgets him and what he has done, even before he was killed. You can tell me it's not my responsibly but I won't believe you. So mentioning him, recounting stories, or the opportunity to bring up what I've been through assures in some small way that he's still a part of this world.

As I understand it, Nick's thoughts are different. He know's I will throw it out there are moments that people wouldn't expect that to be the case. He is prepared for it and has dealt with it on more than one occasion. As he was able to explain to me though, he feels like once I "drop the bomb" it's a conversation stopper. Not only does everyone feel awkward, but they will no longer inquire about me personally, or about us as a couple. He, in his most endearing way, told me that I am so much more than what has happened to me and he want's people to be able to see that. I've started my own business, I've gone back to grad school, I've made many new friends, I've become a runner and now am starting another very difficult workout, I've raised a pup from puphood to be a fully-adjusted functioning member of dog society (ok, I added that one.) But no one will get to know all those things about me, or be able to experience Nick and I as just Nick and I, a couple who met through some friends, when I explain part of our crazy story so early on.

I get what he's saying and I know his concerns are right on target but there are things about the way I handle the situation that he will never fully understand. I know it's different for me now because I am trying to make new friends in a new place and I haven't done that much outside the widowed world since losing Mike so sometimes I do talk about it when I should have waited. We've been able to discuss this continually and both adjust a little what we are thinking, as least enough to remember where the other person is coming from when it may happen. Luckily, we're both extremely aware of our craziness and are willing to adjust them for each other at times as necessary.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's been going on?

Sorry everyone, I've been out of the loop lately. Just getting used to life here. It's a bit of an adjustment for both Nick and I but luckily it has been mostly great fun! Lily loves have 2 people that adore her around all the time and I'm pretty sure she's best friends with Nick now. We've had some little growing pains but nothing huge, which I am very thankful for. I am also getting used to working again. It's a nice, fairly laid back job and one of my co-workers is becoming a great friend so it's definitely worth it! Plus, with all the weddings coming up and needing to travel the little bit of money will help, I hope. I also start school in a few weeks and (I know I've said this before) I cannot wait! I feel like I've been waiting and talking and thinking about this program for ages and FINALLY I get to start some great classes. The first summer semester I am taking Family Therapy on Monday and Wednesday and Crisis Intervention on Tuesday and Thursday. Both classes are taught by my advisor so she was telling me about them before I registered. Thrilled is the best word I can think of to describe how excited I am!

In the last few weeks, we've done a little celebrating and a little relaxing, when time permits! Nick finally started his language classes, so we take advantage of any time he's not studying :)
We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with our friends in the building. I made fresh guacamole and the men grilled the beer/lime chicken.

We took a Sunday walk at the Cape Fear River Trail with Lily. We went about 2 miles and she was one tired pup.

I tried a new recipe suggested by my friend- easy and really delicious. I just steamed some veggies like cabbage, mushrooms, zucchini and then cooked up some turkey sausage with some onions and put that on top of the veggies.

Celebrated some good news

Enjoyed a day off by the pool

We are both really enjoying NC! For me, the weather is such a great benefit- the sun is out all the time. It's quite a change from the gray Cleveland months. Hope everyone has had an enjoyable last few weeks!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Let's just be honest here.

I've had some tension building up. Let's just see if we can get to the bottom of this, shall we?

I've had heartburn for about 2 weeks off and on. The last 3 days have been absolute murder. When I eat I have a hard time swallowing. My headaches, the ones that I thought we figured out were from my clenched jaw through the 8ish hours I sleep a night, are back. Still wearing the night guard so I know it isn't the jaw. At the end of the day I'm pretty sure Nick is tired of trying to figure out how to cure my headaches and lack of sleep due to the heartburn. He's getting a little fed up. Well sure I could go to the doctor but that leads me to another small issues... in order for me to continue my current health insurance I will now be paying somewhere around $486 a month. Um yea, that's not going to happen. So I'm on the search for health insurance. We will see in 7-10 days if I have a new plan.

Mike's annual golf tournament is June 11. It's a great time to catch up with a lot of his friends that are spread throughout the country. Although I've moved and hardly helped coordinate anything this year, I was absolutely planning to be there. How would I not? I was caught off guard to get an email about the tournament when I hadn't talked to anyone about the preliminary stuff, but I know that his friends enjoy planning a lot of that so I don't need to step in. I moved, so I guess it's harder for me to help much anyway. Did I mention my younger brother graduates from college in Cincinnati on June 11? Oh ya, that's happening. My little brother, who single-handedly kept me alive some of those bad days after losing Mike, is graduating from college. He sat through my graduation in 2006, but that's kind of irrelevant, because I would feel absolutely horrible if I wasn't there for him. That aside, my mom would pretty much disown me if I didn't go. I've already had enough crazy parent stuff, I'm not trying to throw more pain on that one. I've been avoiding this overlapping schedule. Just avoiding dealing with it. I think it's a big source of anxiety for me. And I think I'm straight up upset that I care that people will be wondering where I am. I hate that I will be at Matt's graduation thinking about the golf outing. I just hate the whole thing.

I have a lot of weddings this summer, much like last summer. That's exciting. Since most of my weddings are not in NC I have to take the whole weekend off of my new job to attend. I don't mind but I hate the idea of asking for time off. I've always felt nervous and guilty when I take time off of work, no matter how important the job actually is. It makes me feel horrible, like I'm inconveniencing my boss and the other people who work with me, since there aren't that many. But I have to be at my friend's weddings.

Nick is deathly afraid of being "lame" as we get older. I am deathly afraid of being the one who makes us "lame." (Well, maybe not deathly). So every time I decide I don't want to do something for some valid reason to me, I feel like he is secretly thinking that we're being lame.

I hate worrying about money, but I guess that one is just par for the course, seeing as I didn't work for a year. Being that the condo still hasn't sold I feel the money just slowly dripping out of me. However, I'm pretty sure almost everyone worries about money no matter what anyway.

Well I guess that's the big stuff that is floating to the top of my brain right now. Maybe typing through and sorting it all out will help me relax. I appreciate you all letting me vent and I know some of these things are total non-issues, but thanks for your support!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grab your boat shoes

After a day of storms and tornados that led to no electricity for us, we decided to try to have some fun on Sunday. Some friends of ours live in a development with a lake and luckily one of them has a boat. We spent part of the day Sunday catching some sunshine and relaxing on the boat. We missed Beth and little AJ and l'm looking forward to this weekend when AJ has a life jacket so we can all have some fun!

We were able to cook some breakfast on the neighbor's fire: grease-filled eggs and bacon :)

Then we headed out.

The boys had some fun.

I had some sun!

And then things went south... We decided after some drifting and chatting that it was time to go back and Dan could change places with Beth and she could have some boat fun. The boat decided it had different plans. It refused to start.

Mike tried to fix it.

I didn't stress.

We got a tow back...

and hitched up the boat for the day.

When we took the boat back to Mike's, Nick found a second new toy he'd like.

Before I ended up with a house on the lake, a boat and a new motorcycle, I decided to act quickly. I turned the conversation back to resuming Taco Night back at the homefront. We headed to our friend's place and celebrated Dan and Nick both being "Selected!"

All in all it wasn't a bad weekend. We were all very lucky to escape any damage because there have been a lot of people who were displaced by the tornados, or have even worse things to worry about. Sunday on the lake was a nice retreat!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just as I promised, the inside :)

Here are some pictures of the new place- visitor's welcome!

Down the hall you see our front door. You walk in past a closet and our washer and dryer and into our dining room.

A better view of the dining area, and turning left you go into the kitchen. Our kitchen has all black appliance and granite countertops. Quite a step up from my white tile countertop in the condo. Granite makes me very happy!

This is the view from the dining room into the living area. You can also see the sunroom from here. It's hard to get a great picture of the living area but our sectional is against the far wall.

The master bedroom gets a lot of light and the furniture just fits. We had to put one dresser in the closet, but we made it work. (Lily's in her spot)

The master bathroom has a corner stand-up shower, a garden tub with a shower and a ton of space!

The sunroom with the ginormous green couch and chair are Lily's favorite spot when we're gone. She sits on the arm of the couch and watches out the window. One side of the sunroom has our only bookshelf but the overflow of books shows how much we need another. The other side has Lily's bed and her 2 blankets.

Not pictured are the guest bedroom and the second bathroom, but this gives you an overall feel for the new place. I love that it's new and we are the first to live in our unit. I think we can enjoy it here for a year :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The new place and new job

This week has been long-ish. After not working for... oh you know... a little over a year, working again is fun, and makes me feel like I can contribute financially and have an immediate purpose each day. Because of the circumstances of the last week or so I have worked for about 9 days in a row now. I know, I know, it's not a long time, but it feels like a long time without a day off in between. I'm not really complaining because again it adds to that financially contributing thing, but mainly I am very surprised at how tired I am at the end of the day! I mean it's 8 and I'm exhausted- ridiculous! It's not like I'm doing anything physically taxing at work- just showing apartments, keeping things in order, paperwork and answering the phone. Despite the silly tiredness it is so nice to have a little work bubble of my own and a few new friends :)

Now a few pictures of our new place! I have to take some of the inside once I get it all clean and picture ready :) Until then, here are some outside views.

Outside of the brand new buildings here! The whole area is really gorgeous.

The playground and veranda outside.

Our Pool area is beautiful and has a small jacuzzi as well. Great for the NC weather because we'll be using it a ton I'm sure!

The inside of our clubhouse- also where I spend my working hours. The desk I sit at is right by the front door in this big room.

Nick napping with Lily. He is not laying this way because I'm taking a picture, he actually likes to sleep with pillows on top of his head.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I enjoy the running habit I have grown into in the last year or so because it has gotten me somewhere I never imagined I'd be. I was not a runner as a child or as a teenager. It was not my thing, and that is putting it mildly. I "ran" track in high school mostly because everyone else did and it was some scheduled hang-out time with my friends. My two events were the high jump and the long jump. I loved the high jump- it was so fun! (Side note: it has been said that my dad was watching the high jumpers of the 1984 olympics in the minutes of my birth as he waited in the waiting room while my mom was having an emergency c-section. I was destined to high jump.) Coach Craig eventually made all of us participate in one of the running events and since the 200 Meter dash was close to the end of the meet, that was usually what we'd all have to run. Anyway- too far off track- I was not a runner. To have run a 10 mile race at a pretty solid average pace in my 25th year of life is quite an accomplishment. One I am very proud of- one I wish Mike could know he was the inspiration for.

Although I am proud of my running and intend to continue running to keep myself (in particular, my heart) in shape, the novelty is wearing off. Somewhere in the back of my mind keeps floating the thought of my rusty, but one-time ideal yoga practice.

About 4 months before Mike was killed we spent a lot of time talking about our future, what we would be like together in our future life, how our family would run, etc. We decided we would have a healthy family, and do as much as possible to control our own health and that of our future children. To do this we thought it was necessary to begin all the healthy habits we could immediately so that it was easy to pass them on. We called it the "Healthy Family Plan." He had a lot more down time and he was working out a lot, and I promised I would try some different workouts and find something that I really enjoyed. I had toyed with the idea of yoga before. The deep breathing, the stretching and building of long, lean muscles all appealed to me, but in that sort of "hip, hollywood" way. After some research I found a class at the Westlake Rec Center and went 3 times a week. I feel in love. What I mean is that the teacher was amazing and presented the practice in a way that constantly appealed to me. I looked forward to going, and on long work days when I wanted to skip the night class I would realize on my drive home that it was so very worth it for me to go. It completely changed my state of mind for the day. It was like a reset button for me. I told Mike how much I was enjoying it, how I had found the workout that not only was making me stronger but that I wanted to do. This concept was so foreign to me.

My yoga classes were on Tuesday and Thursday nights- and Saturdays. Thursday, September 24, 2008 I was in yoga class. I remember what I wore- a navy blue tank top and gray yoga pants. I remember where I sat in the class, on the right side sort of in the middle. I came home after, and wrote Mike an email saying that I was glad I went to class tonight, it had calmed my nerves from a stupid fight I had with my mom earlier in the day. Then I said to him something like, "Baby, I'm really done with this. I want you home. I want this to be over. I don't know how much longer I can do this. I just want to have our wedding, and you back, now." He was already gone. He never received that message. I had no idea.

I know many women who knew something was different in the moments after their husband's death, before they were notified. Because of the time difference and circumstances, it takes a little while for the news to travel. I had no idea. I felt no different, except for my need to be near him, which was not a new feeling in the 11 months we were apart. I wasn't even worried. I say that in the way that those of you who have experienced deployed spouses will understand. I was in a constant state of worry being that he was deployed to a war zone, but at that point I was accustomed to living with that feeling and although I had that constant worry, I was more impatient with the time we still had left. I was more consumed with the thoughts of how amazing our wedding would be if we could only get there. I never, for a second, thought he was dead until I talked to my father, and then his father, the next morning.

So in the moments when he was scared, nervous, in pain, worried about all of us back here, telling his commander to tell me he loved me, in all those moments I was peacefully breathing through some pose with no idea what was happening.

These thoughts have kept me from yoga. When I began to be ready to workout again, I knew that I could not get back into that. I have tip-toed and toyed with the idea for more than 2 years now. I have bought a couple DVDs that I've done zero times. I dusted off an old DVD that I've done once. I downloaded an app that I did for about a week. I researched and found classes around Westlake, and even at the bally's I was a member of, but I can't take that final step to actually do it.

I looked in my current location and found a couple studios that looked inviting and do-able. Nick found a groupon to one of those studios and when he sent it to me I decided it was meant for me to being again. I bought it. For 2 weeks now I've intended to use it. I've looked at their website about 20 times. I've planned out a schedule that will allow me to try several classes. I was going to go 2 days ago. Then I was going to go yesterday. Then I was going to go today. I haven't gone yet. It's difficult, but surely I've done more difficult things. Thinking about those minutes before he passed are one of the things that still hangs in the hollows of my inner caves of grief. I shut the doors and hope they will clear out, but until I face it, move past it, realize it may be more beneficial than harmful, I don't think it will go away.

Here's to hoping I get my butt back to yoga...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Richmond Military Society 5K to support the AWP

Last weekend I was able to go to Richmond and visit with a bunch of my AWP friends and run a 5K that raised money for the AWP. I considered it my opportunity to not only benefit from the work the AWP does, but also help support that continued work. There were flags that lined the race route that were purchased to honor fallen service members- Nick and I bought 3, one for Mike, and two for his fallen friends. I ran the race, which was beneficial for me in several ways. Again I participated in the event for the AWP (since I don't golf and opt out of the golf outing") and since I am really trying to maintain this running habit I've created, it gave me something to train for. The actual race was chilly, and hilly, but hey- whatever! I ran it and I finished and it was a good workout and a great cause.

The other major benefit of this race was the opportunity to meet a few widows that I hadn't met before, namely Beth and Laura, who I have been talking to for quite some time but without meeting in person. Laura I actually met online while Mike was deployed through a military spouse message board. When Mike was killed she reached out to let me know she lost her boyfriend in Iraq and that she would love to talk about anything and everything I needed. She was the very first person I knew who had gone through something like this and it was wonderful to finally meet her. Beth and I have been talking through email and on the phone for a while as well. She is one of my few fiance friends and she is so down to earth I love it. I am glad we got the opportunity to share a room in VA so that we could talk and get to know each other even better. I love her perspective and the way she looks at everything. She definitely makes me feel less crazy :) She has also been a big encouragement in the running I have taken on. She is a runner and she helped me get through my 3/4 mile rut when I was training for the 10 miler, and she sent me some encouraging music to keep me going! Thank God for my amazing friends :)

Beth and Me

I run with my men- Mike's on the Left. Nick's on the Right.

One of my favorites from the race day!