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!