Welcome Home

Well, hello there.  It feels strange to be here.  I haven’t forgotten about this place, not at all in fact, but I feel somewhat a stranger coming back here.  Although these are my words.

My life.

My story.

I feel almost unwelcome here.  That these words are from a place I don’t want to visit…a part of my life, if you will, I want documented but don’t wish to truly remember.

But we never forget, do we?

And it’s important to remember.

No matter our desires, our heads and hearts hold onto those memories…clinging to the feelings, like the talons of a bird cling to its prey, because letting go of them means something dies all over again.

If we don’t cling to the memories, we can no longer re-live the experience searching for clues as to why?  As if we’d missed the answer, hidden in the shadows, from the thousands of preceding mental viewings.

Everywhere I’ve looked today has been today’s date…3/24.  Megyn’s birthday.  Tomorrow is Whitney’s birthday and yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the day we were told our twins had died inside my body.

This year, it’s a difficult 3 days.  I can’t say I’m incredibly sad this year, I’m not joyful, I’m just, melancholy?  Is that the best word?  I found myself worried late last night about their birthday party.  I believe in Heaven and I found myself praying to a God, that I’m still angry with, that someone give them a party.  That they had balloons, cake, candles, that someone sang to them, told them Happy Birthday, that they had a day filled with laughter and celebration.  That someone hugged my girls and told them they were loved.  Wanted.  Some of you may think that sounds absolutely insane, but grief plays itself out so very differently in people.  This was my way of dealing with the grief of losing my two girls this year.  I don’t wish to go on like this…each year has brought dread and sorrow, and truly, I don’t expect that to be the case as time goes on.  As with most other things, time is the great healer.

When I think back to 2 years ago, I don’t really remember it.  I seem to recall a life free from such tragic grief, free from the reality and fears that come with our experience, but I don’t have a clear picture of that life.  I almost don’t recognize myself these days…2 years out.  I CERTAINLY don’t recognize who I am today compared to the person I thought I would be.  I’ve lost weight, I dress differently, I’m a different wife and mother than I’d ever imagined myself to be, my emotions process differently and I carry the weight of the reality that I lost 2 daughters.  None of these things are particularly bad…who wouldn’t want to lose weight?  I feel like I’ve found my own fashion style and it suits me.  I feel better about myself now than I’ve ever felt before.  The way I process emotions may be different, but I have to believe they are more real than ever before.  The weight of reality I carry with me requires me to view life differently.  Life is so much more precious now than ever before, which can be both awesome and so scary at the same time.  My relationship with my husband is both easy and amazing and difficult and mind-boggling.  There are parts that are better than ever and parts that make me feel like we are at square 1.  My personal journey is confusing also.  While I believe I’m meant to serve my family…my children and my husband, I feel there is more I should be doing.  I volunteer, but there’s more.  I don’t know what it is…I’m not even sure when I’d fit more into my schedule, but there’s a piece of me missing.

I was right, a long time ago, when I started writing here.  My story was just beginning.  It’s a journey, that is still very much in the beginning phases.  I’m no closer to knowing how the story ends today than I was 2 years ago and at the same time, I feel like I’ve solved a good chuck of the puzzle just by walking the walk.  Just by getting out of bed each day…especially in the early days.  Just by being willing to say losing the twins was only the beginning, and not the end.

I’d like to come back here more.  I’d like to share more, to catch up and tell you what has happened over the past year, and share with you what my heart desires in the months and years to come.  My avoidance here has been mostly due to time constraints…this year has been busy.  It’s hard enough to find the time to write, even harder to have the peace of mind needed to process my thoughts and emotions and put something here that’s worth reading now and worth remembering years from now.

There’s a part of my that yearns for time here, though.  I’m pulled here, a place to write, to be emotional, to document this life of mine.  A place to chronicle this journey I’m on and a place for people to come that may find some small bit of help here.  Even if only to learn they are not alone in this crazy thing called life.

So I think you’ll see more of me, very soon.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day.  Tomorrow, the Hubs and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We got married young, the summer between our Junior and Senior year in college.  We were both 21.  We felt it fitting to mark our 10 year anniversary with this decision.

The past 10 years have been nothing short of exciting and to say we’ve both grown immensely would be an understatment.  We’ve had opportunities to do some amazing things, we’ve taken some great vacations and we’ve been through some serious rough patches, albeit very recently.  The majority of the past 10 years has been nothing short of amazing.  I don’t really have much to complain about.  But there’s been something missing.  There’s always been something missing.  Tonight, the sun will set on the life we’ve known for the better part of those 10 years.  The sun will go down, for good, on a seemingly predictable and safe future.  The sun will rise tomorrow marking not only a new day, but a whole new life for us.  One that we both believe has been in the works for a very long time, but only began to reveal itself to us over the last 18 months or so.  The Hubs will be resigning his current position which he’s held for close to 4 years.  He’ll be leaving the employer he’s been with for almost 8 years.  It’s a HUGE step.  He has not and will not be accepting a position with another employer.  He will be delving in, full force, going balls to the wall to make his small company a success.  Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new era.  I will continue my role as a stay at home mom, raising our 2 girls until the time is right for me to launch a small business of my own.  We won’t have any income coming in (until he starts making money on his own) and will be living off money that we have saved over the past 3 years.  Money that we couldn’t have saved if it hadn’t been for Dave Ramsey’s class, Financial Peace University, almost 3 years ago which I was firmly against.  I’m so very thankful for my husband’s gentle but firm stance that we needed to attend this class; he was aware of my sensitivity to the subject of money, but never relented.  It has changed the course of our lives.  We didn’t know what we were saving for, we were simply…saving.  There have been several big-ticket items we’ve wanted to purchase recently yet neither of us could pull the trigger.  I’m thankful for gut feelings and discretion and wisdom.  We’ve created and agreed to a budget that will allow this savings to carry us for many months and give him ample time to ramp-up his business.  If, at the end of the agreed upon time, the business is not performing as we desire, he will then seek full-time employment elsewhere.  In the mean-time he’ll be self-employed.

There is, of course, a certain amount of nervousness to all of this.  I keep telling myself there would be something wrong with the person that WASN’T nervous.  If you say it out loud, what we’re doing, it sounds crazy.  Truthfully though, we’ve looked at this every way possible.  Multiple times.  This is not a decision we’ve come to easily nor has the decision been made light-heartedly.  We have also sought the counsel of many people we respect in our lives.  We recognize the many sacrifices it will require.  If we want to make a go at this, this is how it has to be.  All in.  No questions.  One job and only one job.  He can’t make it work on a part-time basis.  Not with his travel schedule and the demands of his current position.  Not to mention he’s been increasingly unhappy in his current position and while he didn’t do anything wrong (it’s on permanent record with the company that he’s in no way violating company policy) by starting a business on the side, his current manager was less than thrilled when she learned about it.  There are also many signs his current division is in trouble.  All signs point to this being the right call.  While the seed for entrepreneurship was planted long, long ago, we started to see its growth while on vacation last summer, after the twins died.  If it hadn’t been for them dying, I’m about 99% sure we wouldn’t be where we are now.

So this is my last post as the wife of a traveling salesman.  As the stay at home mom while my husband brings home the bacon.  Going forward, it will be a joint effort to make this ship sail.  Granted, he’ll do most of the heavy lifting, but I’m sure I’ll be needed somewhere.  And before too long, I’m hoping to start my own thing that’s been in the works.  I know this isn’t true, but this really feels like my first experience with true faith.  I don’t know what’s on the other side…the unknown has always been scary to me.  But there’s something nudging me forward, something telling me to press on and to stay the course, and amidst all the nervousness, I recognize a peaceful feeling telling me this is the right move.  Although it’s often shrouded in the fear.  I’ve accepted the fact that even though this is the right move, it may not turn out how we want, but that’s not for us to decide.  All we can do is act and work our tails off.  To the life I’d grown too comfortable in yet provided me with so much to be thankful for I’d like to say, “Thanks.  It’s been an awesome ride.  I’ve had ups.  I’ve had downs.  I’ve had more ups than I’ve had downs.  I’ve made lots of mistakes, some of which were fun and I’ve grown into a woman who would be unrecognizable to the young bride I was 10 years ago.  I’m thankful, for it all, but I’m ready to move on.  To see what’s on the other side.  I’m ready to close the curtain and see what happens next.”

I’ll see you all on the other side.

xoxo,

B

 WMFlorida 2009 013

I miss blogging.

And I also know nothing lasts forever, so I’m trying to remember that my new baby is only 6 weeks old and the fact that I can’t nail down tons of time each day to blog is really ok.  But I do miss it.  I miss being able to put my thoughts down, to work out what’s on my mind.  Honestly though, there really hasn’t been any new developments as of late, but I’ve got some great pictures I need to share!

Baby C continues to be a generally happy and easy baby.  I can now see why people think babies are adorable, tiny little packages of squishy fun.  She sleeps pretty well, and has lately been stretching her feedings out to around 4 hour stretches.  When she does eat, it’s usually for about 15-20 minutes.  We’ll have the occasional 45 minute nursing session, but they’re so rare I don’t complain.  She’s SOOOOO different from  A.  I was still a wreck at this point with A and right now I’m sitting in bed on Hubs’ laptop while Baby C kicks around happily talking to herself and me in the pack-n-play next to me.  She makes it seem so easy.  Seriously.

A is taking a very rare after preschool nap right now.  She fell asleep on the way home and I just stuck her in bed; I try not to let her nap this late in the day but she’s staying the night with her grandparents so I don’t have to put her to bed tonight.  Hehe.

My 6 week post-partum check-up is tomorrow which means I’ll (almost) be officially done with this pregnancy.  Aside from an appt. to have my IUD put in and a follow-up from that, I should be in the clear for at least another year.  I’m thrilled.  I’ve had enough of my OB’s office for a while.  Not that I don’t love her and her staff, but between the twins and trying to get C here safely, I’ve spent a crazy amount of time in her office.  It will feel great to be “free” so to speak.  6 weeks post-partum also means I’ll be cleared for exercise, so, I suppose I should come up with something along those lines.  I assume I’ll run.  It’s free, and can fit into my schedule whenever.  We canceled our gym membership long ago since neither of us really used it and now isn’t the time to be taking on additional expenses.  Pregnancy is nice to me…I don’t gain much weight.  Breastfeeding is even nicer to me, as I drop a lot of weight quickly.  In order to keep it off though I either have to give up the booze (NOT HAPPENING) or exercise.  So, exercise it will be.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Probably.  The Hubs is thrilled for my 6 week check-up for, er, other reasons.  Because we have all this spare, alone time these days…

The Hubs celebrated his 31st birthday this weekend.  He wanted to spend the day in College Station as the football team was having their annual, open-to-the-public scrimmage.  I thought it sounded crazy, but agreed and we had a great time.  Both girls were great, A had a wonderful time at the game and running on the field afterwards and C was a super baby.  We also decided, for sure, that Hubs is quitting his job to try his side business on a full-time basis.  Right now, for insurance purposes, we’re planning for him to turn in his resignation on June 1, which also happens to be our 10 year anniversary.  Happy anniversary to us.  This whole decision is a huge step of faith (think the Indiana Jones movie where he steps out over the cliff only to set foot on a bridge that wasn’t visible) but I think think it’s the right one.  Please, oh please, let there be a bridge.  Just having him home, not traveling, will be awesome.  And I’m so proud of him and so glad that we have the opportunity for him to try this.  I’m really hoping we’re headed down the road we’re supposed to be on.  In order to stretch our savings as far as it will go, it will mean a change in life style (not that we currently live a super glamorous life or anything) for a temporary period, which has me a little wigged out, but oh well.  I’m really hoping it proves to be worth the sacrifice.

I promise to try to blog more regularly.  And I promise to be back soon with some new pictures to share!

Here’s a conversation I never thought I’d have…

First, a pregnancy update.  I had my 36 week check-up yesterday (even though I won’t technically be 36 weeks until tomorrow) and I’m very thankful that my doc was able to confirm Baby C is finally head down.  It looks as though I’m able to table my concerns about a scheduled c-section due to a breech baby.  Weekly internal exams started yesterday and I’ve made basically no progress and Baby C is still riding high…which I kind of knew based on the butt and occasional foot in my ribcage.  I go back again next Friday, which is the same appointment with A I learned I was already 3 cm dilated.  We’ll see what happens over the next 10 days.  While I’d like for Baby C to bake as long as she needs to, I’ll be thrilled with some amount of progress at my next appointment.

The Hubs’ travel schedule has been INSANE.  Even he says so.  He was home Monday and Tuesday though and he came home from work Monday night with flowers for me and A.  He got A a potted Hyacinth plant that smells wonderful.  It’s in her room now, but we’ll put it in the ground eventually and I’ll do my best to keep it alive.  For me, he layed a dozen dark pink/light pink roses in my lap.  I was lounging in bed when he got home…no big surprise there.  After a few minutes he said, “My only request is that you take 2 of the roses and…” then he gestured to the top of our chest of drawers where the urn containing the twins’ ashes sits amongst our wedding photos.  I was speechless for a few minutes.  And I was surprised…which is almost impossible to do.  The fact that he even had to think about getting flowers for the twins is heartbreaking, yet, at the same time, why wouldn’t he think to get ALL his girls flowers on Valentine’s Day?  The whole conversation caught me off guard and made me equally sad and proud at the same time.  On one hand, there’s the realization there is no ending to the twins’ story.  There will always be Christmas, Valentine’s Day, their birthday…days that are special and meaningful to us where we want to honor their memory and the part they’ve played (and will continue to play) in our lives.  And I was immensely proud to be married to a man who is so very thoughtful and unafraid to show his love and devotion to ALL his children, even those that didn’t join our family in the way we had intended.  It made my heart swell; one of those “I think I just fell in love with you all over again” moments.  And if that wasn’t enough emotion for one evening, A pipes up and says, “I sure wish Baby C had a flower.”  Oh, the logic and the love of a 3-year-old.  And so, of my 12 roses, 2 are in a vase in our bedroom for Megyn and Whitney, 1 is in a vase for Baby C in her room and the remaining 9 are in a vase on the kitchen table.  And I’m okay with that.

twins' flowers

Megyn and Whitney's roses

c's flower

Baby C's rose, waiting for her in her room.

a's flowers

A's flowers

24 Weeks

Ahhh, home sweet home.  There really just isn’t anything quite like coming home.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling.  To nice places.  With my husband…sometimes my kiddo.  Traveling to someplace that caters to me, makes my bed every day, picks up my messes and basically demands I do nothing but relax and enjoy.  I think we all know holiday travel meets none of the former criteria.

We’ve made it home safe and sound after a whirl-wind trip to College Station for Thanksgiving and for the football game.  We had a fine time, I especially enjoyed Wednesday.  Hubs was nice enough to run me by the local camera shop and I was able to purchase a brand new 50mm/f1.8 lens to use while we were gone.  I had originally intended to purchase the 50mm/f1.4 but I HADN’T originally intended to drop my camera forcing me into replacing my kit lens.  So, I opted for the lens that was still a major improvement but about $300 cheaper than my original intention.  My next purchase will be made soon, I just don’t know when.  Also, I’ll be replacing my camera body when (WARNING:  Following words may be offensive to some) I can budget (AHHHH!) and save-up (GASP!) for the pricey piece of equipment.  Anyways, we finally headed out-of-town around noon (our goal was 10ish…eye roll) and once we made it into town, had a ball.  Purchased some new Aggie swag (because we can never have enough), took a little tour around campus, watched little A run and have the time of her life around said campus and she was a trooper and even stuck it out for Yell Practice.  She even got to pet Reveille.  I got it on video; she doesn’t realize it now, but that’s a very special thing.  I ended up sleeping with A while Hubs slept in the twin bed in another room.  I hate, hate, hate finally being in the same city as my husband and not sharing a bed with him.  BUT, I felt awful asking A to spend the night alone in a strange place.  I knew she’d be scared.  I slept ok until about 4am when she started squirming around.  Thanksgiving Day proved to be the chaotic and frantic day I predicted it would be…lots of stories I will share with you shortly.  I’m sure you all have stories of your own.  Thursday night was a late one for Hubs and I and when the 2 of us finally crawled into bed with A, we were absolutely beat.  Needless to say, 3 people in a double bed didn’t work very well.  I finally kicked Hubs out around 3am so at least he could get some zzzzzz’s.  I don’t think it happened thanks to his grandmother that insists on rising at 4am and the neighbors roosters, but I digress…Around 3am my child woke up crying and BEGGING to go home.  Cue heartbreak.  She was awake, and so was I, for a few hours.  We hauled butt out of there as soon as we could this morning.  Pulled into our driveway about 1pm, had A in bed for a nap around 1:30 and Hubs and I also crashed for a few hours.  I actually JUST NOW took that shower I’ve been needing since last night.  The Christmas decorations we were going to get started on today are waiting until tomorrow.  I’m absolutely beat, and my body aches thanks to the massive amounts of walking I’ve done over the past few days.  Also, I wanted to take A to a parade tonight but I just couldn’t muster the energy…and the other 2 members of my family seemed more than ok with it but I’m still slightly bummed to have missed it.  So, all in all, a good time was had, but I am so very thankful to be home.  The dogs are happy to be home too.  They stayed with the vet and all 3 of them are absolutely passed out right now.  In fact, I don’t even know where Maggie is, I haven’t seen her since she got home.  They always come home tired…I don’t think they sleep well away from home either.

In other news, today is 24 weeks, which means that if Earl(ette) had to be delivered, she has a chance of survival outside the womb.  Things look much more promising in terms of her survival each week that passes, but there is a slight, and I mean very slight comfort in knowing that she has a chance.  24 weeks also means I have a self-imposed ban on travel until after her safe arrival.  We’re lucky enough to live in an area with several Level 3 NICU’s and I don’t plan to be more than about 10 minutes away from one until after she’s born.  I’m sure that gets me a few eye rolls but, eh, I don’t really care.

So, I promise to be back to play out the hilarious and unbelievable details of our Thanksgiving holiday.  In the meantime, I’m going to plant myself on the couch and watch some mindless tv.  A good night’s sleep is in order for all the decorating that has to take place tomorrow and Sunday.  I’ll leave you with my 24-week self-portrait taken yesterday.  I’m not actually as large as I appear in this photo, but I thought it was cute none-the-less.

24 week belly shot

Holiday Travel

Ugh. The Hubs just hit the road for a last-minute trip out of town. I’ve tried not to complain too much about his travel since it’s an integral part of his job, but this trip has really rubbed me the wrong way. The past 2 jobs he’s had, have, for the most part, had the days around the Holidays blacked-out for vacation. It really sucks that we’ve never, and I mean never, since we’ve been married, been able to have a week off work at Thanksgiving or extended time off around Christmas. It just hasn’t worked out and that’s something I hope will change as life goes on. Instead of allowing a bunch of vacation, his boss requested that Hubs and his other counterparts from around the country fly to Minnesota tonight for an in-person pow wow tomorrow; and return home late tomorrow evening. It’s absurd. The meeting agenda that was presented when she requested they all leave their families during a holiday week has now drastically changed. What Hubs was originally viewing as a good opportunity for discussion before the beginning of the year (albeit bad timing) has now turned into a seemingly complete waste of time and soooooooo not worth his time away from home. Had this trip been scheduled for actual work, it still would have bummed me out, but since it’s turned into an opportunity for management to do a little more micro-managing, I’m left going…W.T.F. I mean, really, if it’s so important to not allow vacation during this time of the year, why in the world is it appropriate to drag your entire sales force to Minnesota…taking them completely out of commission for a day and half, bumping up against a holiday? It has just REALLY rubbed me the wrong way. I think it shows a major flaw in his management team and it shows a complete disregard for the work/life balance of a traveling sales team. I realize they didn’t ask my opinion, and I’m sure they have really good reasons for doing it RIGHT NOW but it really sucks for those of us left on the home front reading facebook and twitter updates about everyone else enjoying time with their friends and family. I guess the good news is that when he finally gets home tomorrow night, he’s off Wednesday and Friday. I say “I guess” because we’re traveling (with the little one, and all her stuff), staying with family (SHUDDER), I’m told I have a birthday in there somewhere (that will be completely over-shadowed and treated as an afterthought), and I don’t think those 3 days are going to be particularly enjoyable…but that’s another post for another day.

PS: I’m doing a very poor job of “managing” this household right now; and I’m reminded of it constantly.

PPS: I’ve lost all control.  3 dogs for sale.  Or, better yet, 3 dogs – take them and I’ll pay you; I’ll pay you well.

PPPS: Pretty sure my agenda for the remainder of the day, tonight and tomorrow will include shopping, movie watching and maybe some cooking making.  Oh yeah, and laundry, packing, house-cleaning…all those pesky little details.  Damn, I’d almost forgotten I still have to prepare for the trip out of town.  Le sigh.

A Teaching Moment

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
– Albert Einstein

One should never stop learning.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much education you have obtained, there is always something new to be learned.  It can be something as simple as following a recipe and creating a dish you’ve never before tried, or it can be a highly complicated lesson in life.

Hubs spent the majority of this past week in San Antonio.  Not only was he gone, but he was busy for about 12 hours each day and unavailable to communicate except the occasional text.  It sucked.  But we made it through and we’re quite enjoying a nice weekend right now.  My mom will often visit when Hubs is out of town; To keep me company and to visit A.  She’ll make her way to my house after work putting her here around 6:30, play with A until she goes to bed, my mom and I will have a wine-induced conversation that always revolves around the same topics, we’ll go to bed and she’ll leave the house around 6:30 the following morning…making it a very early day around here.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my mom’s efforts, especially to visit A, but the visit this week left my head spinning.

My mom was born and raised in backwoods Michigan.  Her family is, well, different.  They’re not bad people, just have really different views about life and what is socially acceptable.  My mom in one of 6 siblings and joined the Air Force when she turned 18 just to get the hell outta dodge.  I’m thankful everyday for that decision.  Had she not left, she wouldn’t have met my father and I wouldn’t be here…or at the very least wouldn’t be the person I am today.  My mom made it a point to keep my sister and I away from her family for the most part.  When we were younger, we would visit my grandparents, aunts and uncles once a year, but it was always obvious my sister and I lived a VERY different life than our aunts, uncles and cousins.  I would say we lived a terribly sheltered childhood…but the values and morals we were raised with were much different from those of my relatives up North.  My grandmother passed away when I was in college, on July 4th none the less.  I was with friends drinking beer and shooting off fireworks.  I didn’t go to her funeral.  My grandfather lives several more years, but was ill.  He developed Alzheimer’s and it was especially difficult for my mom.  She was always closer to her dad.  He passed away after I had graduated, and I did attend his funeral.  I haven’t been back since.  While I was there, my mom, sister and I visited my grandparents house and gathered a few mementos to take home with us.  My grandmother sewed, I have a few instructional sewing books that I took from her house…someday I’ll teach myself to sew.  My grandfather was a Veteran, from him I have a shell casing from the 21-gun salute from his funeral.

That’s a very short and rough overview.  But it leads me to this: Growing up, it was always, always, always expected that my sister and I would attend college, graduate, and make more of ourselves than my mother did.  It was her life’s mission to ensure her kids had a better life.  After all, she’s gone through a lot to get us in a different place geographically, made herself the black sheep of the family by living with different morals and values and she married into a family that didn’t immediately love her right away.  For me, it never seemed like an option.  I was to graduate high-school, graduate from college (not just attend) get a job and support myself.  It was never a conversation that was had…it was just understood.  My sister, apparently, didn’t come to the same conclusions I did, but more on that later.
I wanted to attend Texas A&M for as long as I can remember.  I wasn’t an especially great student, mostly because I did just fine on my own and I don’t think my parents pushed me hard enough.  So when it came time to apply, no big shock that I wasn’t accepted.  I managed to convince my parents to let me move to College Station anyways so I could attend the junior college there.  I did great, busted my butt (no easy feat when the professors at the junior college are the same ones at the big university down the street) and got myself into A&M.  I had taken a Psychology class at Blinn and loved it.  I loved everything about it, so when it came time to choose a major, I chose Psychology.  It fascinated me, I understood it and I never wanted to miss a class.  Most of my classes were lectures and I found myself hanging on every word said.  I did really well in all my Psyc classes…except Statistics, but who cares.  I graduated with a BS in Psychology…my diploma still (and ALWAYS) proudly displayed in our home.  The problem with a BS in Psychology is there is very little you can do with it.  Aside from continuing your education and getting a Masters and possibly Phd, you may as well have a degree in General Studies.  Hubs and I graduated in 2003, the job market wasn’t exactly stellar.  I worked the whole time I was in school on a part-time basis but that doesn’t really go over so well once you have this magical piece of paper that’s supposed to land you the job of your dreams.  I had trouble finding a job and ended up in Human Resources for a local Pawn Shop company.  It wasn’t a bad job, but it was full of “difficult to work with” people.  It was a learning experience.  I was miserable and for a short time decided my calling was to sell real estate.  I quit the HR job (after receiving a promotion) and well, didn’t do the real estate thing.  Looking back, I don’t know what the hell we were thinking, we couldn’t survive on Hubs’ income alone at that point.  I wasn’t yet a Dave Ramsey convert.  So I went searching for another job and this time, ended up as an Admin for a staffing agency.  After I few years, I was promoted to Lead Admin and that was the last job I held.

aggie rings

Our Aggie rings...very proud of these babies.


Here’s what I thought happened…I went to high school, never got into trouble.  Went to college, busted my butt to get into the school I wanted to be at.  Picked a major that interested me and graduated…ON TIME.  Got married, found a job, bought a house, got promoted at my job.  Left said job since I was miserable, realized we needed additional income and found another job.  Found said job, did well and got a promotion at THAT job.  All the while we traveled, saved, did fun stuff, participated in life and decided to have a baby.  Once A was here, I was able to quit my job because we had planned for it and now I’m a full time stay-at-home-mom with a husband that travels a good chunk of the time.  We still travel, participate in life, are able to pay all our bills, save, lived to tell the tale about the twins, and decided to have ANOTHER baby.  While I don’t go through life thinking I’m all that, I think I’ve done pretty well.  I’m grateful everyday for my parents’ ability and willingness to pay for my college, but I’ve never asked them for much money-wise.  Hubs and I have been solely self-sufficient for quite sometime.  And we’ve made a nice little life for ourselves and we’re happy.  As happy as we can be with all the challenges we’ve faced.

So here’s the lesson I learned.  My mom started with this statement; “If you would have told me 10 years ago this is what our life would look like…”
She bagan to tell me that she didn’t think Hubs and I would ever have kids.  This is a fair statement…I never wanted kids.  She then proceeded to tell me she thought I would have pursued higher education, gotten my Masters and maybe Phd and would be practicing somewhere…kidless.  She didn’t say this, but the insinuation was “and not just be a stay-at-home-mom”.  She went on to say she thought my sister would have been a vet specializing in equine opthamology (WHAT THE EFF?!?!) and would have met someone at school and would be married by now.  My poor sister.  She wouldn’t have pictured herself leaving her job here and starting all over in a career at 50.  In my head I was like, well, that was your choice to move, but whatevs.

My head was spinning.  My mom has never told me she’s proud of my ability to stay home, she makes comments about how I’m a good mom and such, but she’s never given me the pat-on-the-back about being at home with A and (hopefully) Earl.  “How can she not be proud of me?” is all I could think.  The truth is, my mom was home with us until my sister was 4.  My dad lost his job and she had to go back to work.  She’s always had the guilt that goes along with leaving your kids and I don’t think she’s ever gotten over it.  Maybe she’s worried someday I may face the same issue and she doesn’t want that for me.  The truth is, I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out.  She would be HORRIFIED and DEVASTATED if she knew how I interpreted the conversation.  The thing is, I learned a VERY important lesson on Tuesday night.  It is okay to have expectations of your children.  It is not okay, however, to have very specific expectations of your children.  To have such specific expectations sets your kids up for failure…no matter what they do with their life.  I haven’t quite figured out what I want for A and for Earl, but I learned, very clearly, that my expectations need to be broad.  I’m not mad and I’m not even all that upset about the conversation.  More than anything, I’m thankful for the early lesson…thankful to learn something so profound while my kiddos are still young enough for me to make a change in the way I parent them.

I want the sweet, sweet life…living by the salty sea

We’ve made it back from our family weekend at Sea World. It was an interesting trip that I’ll have to tell you about, but I have a few other things to put out there first. I’ve often been a believer in the fact that one should always possess dreams, visions and goals for themselves. I’ve also heard, and believe, that these should be written down somewhere. A tangible reminder of the things you want and need to do. The Hubs is really good about this. He’s always got a notepad or notebook that he’s making notes in. When we decided to change how we managed our finances a few years ago, we sat down together and wrote down what we wanted. We need to update our list, but for now, we’ve succeeded in our goals.

One of the things the Hubs and I have going for us is that we basically grew up together. We met our sophomore year of high school. During the truly formative years, where one is forming values and morals; the years where for the first time, you’re responsible for making decisions that will affect the rest of your life, we were together. We talked a lot. About everything. And I really think that our foundation as a couple is so strong because of those early years together. We’ve been through so much together. Including, most recently, the tragic loss of children. We chose to allow that experience to deepen our relationship and not come between us. Because of that foundation, and the fact it was just the 2 of us for so long before we made our decision to have A, we have a really hard time letting go of dreams and goals we have. I feel that so often, parents give up on their desires and dreams for the sake of their children. Now, I’m no stranger to giving up something for the sake of my child, but I don’t necessarily think it has to be a way of life. I’ve noticed that things seem to take longer to happen the older I get. Instead of a race car going from 0-60 in under 4 seconds, changes are more like a freight train. They take a while to get going but once they’re moving, almost nothing can stop them. Except the engineer operating the train. I’m not entirely sure when this train started to move. I figure someday, if I think about it hard enough, I can figure it out. So many things have changed since we lost the twins. I have a different perspective; on life, on stuff, on the little things life throws at us. I find myself more fearful of tragedy. I worry about my husband, I worry about my child and I worry about my unborn child. I fear that someday my husband won’t make it home from a business trip. I fear that something terrible will happen to my daughter and I will be powerless to stop it. I fear that this little baby wriggling around inside of me will suddenly die and once again, I will have to deliver a dead baby. Good things have happened too. I’m more committed to my family. I’m more committed to my husband. I’m more committed than ever to delete the unnecessary drama from my life. I’ve started writing. People close to me, especially my dad, have been on my case to write for years. He would be so very proud of all this blogging…perhaps I’ll share it with him someday. The loss of the twins triggered our out-of-the-blue, decided in the hospital room trip to Antigua. That trip was awesome. Looking back though, the most amazing thing about that trip is the story I’m about to tell you. I’m about to write down our dream and our goal that we are currently working towards.

We spent 3 nights in Antigua. Not long enough, but at the time I didn’t think I’d want to be away any longer. We had planned to land in Miami, drive to the Florida Keys for dinner and to look around (we’d never been) and spend the night in Miami before boarding the plane back to DFW the next morning. It took us much longer to get out of Antigua than we had planned and by the time we landed in Miami, it was getting dark. We were both in the mood for some fried shrimp and almost, almost, gave up on heading to the Keys. You cannot appreciate how close I was to calling the whole thing off. Instead, we hopped in the rental and headed out of Miami as the sun was setting. The islands of the Keys stretch from Key Largo down to Key West. Key Largo is about an hour from Miami where Key West is closer to 3 or 3.5. So we used the iPhone to find some fried shrimp in Key Largo and headed off. It was a creepy experience to be heading through the Everglades in the dark. I felt scared. Not sure what I was afraid of, but if we’d had car trouble there was no way I was getting out of the car. Once you pass the Everglades, you’re surrounded by water, but since it was dark we couldn’t see it. We found the restaurant with no problem and headed into a neat little establishment with great service. The food was really good and I just had a good feeling about the place. It doesn’t take me long to decide if I like a place or not. I only need a few moments, my first impression always, always, always lasts. I had a good feeling about the Keys. The restaurant sits on the bay so after dinner, even though it was dark, we decided to take a look at the dock. The dock was an L-shape jutting out over the water and had no hand rails. Just a wooden dock, open on both sides. I refused to walk out on it. I’m a scaredy-cat and particularly fearful of being eaten by a shark. Looking back, I think the fear was supernatural…but that’s a whole different discussion. Just as I think so many things about that couple of hours was supernatural. But the Hubs ventured out, down the dock and around the corner of the L-shape. After a few minutes he yelled to me, “B, you’ve gotta come see this.” My heart was racing, I was convinced I was going to go through the wooden slats or fall off the side, but I went to him. When I got there, it took my breath away. The bay of the Florida Keys is still water. And clear as day. The restaurant had flood lights mounted under the dock so you could see into the water at night. It was like watching a live aquarium. Fish, plant life, coral, rocks, shells, you could see it all. It was beautiful in so many ways. And it was beyond amazing to watch. It hit me almost immediately as I stood there in amazement on the dock that just moments ago I was certain would be the death of me. “I want to live here,” I said to Hubs. “Right here, I want to be able to look at this every night.” And I meant it. Every word. Never in my life have I felt so drawn, connected, to a place (that’s not true, I felt the same way about Texas A&M…and I found a way to make that happen). It was like there was a small candle lit inside of me and in that moment, someone poured a whole bottle of lighter fluid on the flame. It was a roaring fire. It was like finally being home; I could breathe. In those precious moments I spent standing on a dock in the Florida Keys I had affirmation that I knew where I was supposed to be. Months later the Hubs would admit he saw it in me too. He told me he hadn’t seen that kind of passion in me for quite some time. Said it was something in my voice. The truth is, both of us have been drawn to the water for years. No idea why, neither of us spent an extraordinary amount of time near the water as kids. We love the beach, the ocean, the lifestyle. The conversation we had this weekend was about how amazing it is that God put the 2 of us together and gave us the same.exact.vision. If we could each draw a picture of the life we wanted to live, it would be the same. And it would include sand, the ocean, lots of hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. It includes evenings on the patio with sangrias and margaritas and good friends. It would have lots of palm trees and the sound of lapping waves. It also includes a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to get there because we don’t just want to go, we want to GO.

The other major positive change that has happened is the Hubs’ desire to own his own company. It’s something he’s always wanted to do, and I mean always. Think lemonade stand as a kid always. After going through the loss of the twins, you’re reminded life is too short and you’re more willing to take (calculated) risks. If it doesn’t work…big deal. Chances are, it will work, determination is on your side. After years of me shooting down every idea he’s come up with, I think we’ve finally landed on an idea that’s perfect. It suits him, allows him to operate in his strengths, and can start small and grow completely dependent on how much he wants to put into it. In order for us to make this move, he has to be his own boss. And we’re both willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices to get there. Hubs is still ironing out some details, but I suspect he’ll give this new thing a go within the next couple of months. I foresee it going very well.

So, wow, those are 2 major things we want to accomplish. We want Hubs to own his own business. And we want to move to the beach. And I don’t want to be 50 before it happens. I’m not in a huge hurry to pick our family up and move while A and hopefully Earl are still so young and dependent, but I don’t want to retire at the beach…I want to LIVE at the beach. Like I said, it’s a freight train. It takes a while to get going. But once it starts moving, the only thing that can stop it is the person operating the train. Our train is moving, and we’re picking up steam, and the only thing standing in the way of our dreams, is us.

Lazy Weekends

I apologize for my recent absence. To be honest, the morning sickness is currently kicking my butt. I just left the house for the first time in several days (well, voluntarily anyways) to run a quick errand and I swear it almost killed me. Anyways, I’m not complaining, just offering an excuse of sorts. Forgive me? Good. Let’s move on.

Last weekend was glorious. For the first time in something like 30 or 40 days, the temperature stayed under 100 degrees. My A/C was crying from thankfulness. In addition to cooler temps, we got RAIN on Saturday! I almost didn’t recognize the wet substance falling from the sky. It was the good rain too. The kind that started at some point early in the morning and continued a slow fall well into the afternoon. Our grass, trees and flowers were in heaven.  You can water all you want, but there’s nothing like the cleansing and deep watering the earth gets from actual rain. Of course, the temps only lasted a few days and now we’re back to 100+ temps. Oh well. We took the weekend super easy. Seriously. I can’t remember the last time we had a weekend like that. We had no plans and totally lounged around. A got up late (thanks to the cloudy skies) and wanted to play outside. How could we refuse her? So we spent Saturday morning playing outside in the rain. It was awesome. She was loving playing in the wet sand and the mud. She’s certainly not the girly-girl I am. Hubs and I got a date night Saturday night which was glorious. We were able to conjure up one of those really deep and thought-provoking conversations. We talked a lot about our future, talked about our dreams and goals and I think we were able to fan our little flame of dreams and desires a bit. I’ll be discussing those things here, soon, but for the first time in a loooooong time I feel like I’m able to start looking ahead. To keep dreaming big and to work hard towards our goals.

In other news, Hubs has decided to run a half-marathon in October. He’s been training religiously and I’m really proud of the progress he’s made. It’s important to have goals in life. To have something you’re working towards. It doesn’t have to be anything ginormous, something as simple as training for and running a race gives you a goal. And meeting goals is a good thing. You should always, always, always have goals. Big, medium and small goals.

I spent Sunday on the couch. Again, the morning sickness is kicking my butt. But the good news is that I was able to finish A Games of Thrones. I picked up the 2nd book on Saturday night and can’t wait to get into it. I never thought of myself as one that would enjoy that type of book, but I couldn’t put the first one down. So, all in all, a super lazy, much-needed weekend. Which is perfect timing because that was it for a while. We literally have something going on every weekend from now until Thanksgiving. And the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas will fill up very soon. I’m getting ready to do another post right away about a really scary 24 hours we just had, but for now, here are a few pics from our Saturday morning.

WM A in Rain

WM A feet in rain

Who doesn't love little feet?

PDA

Facebook and I are not friends right now.  I took the app off my phone weeks ago and really haven’t missed being able to access it about a gazillion times a day.  I do, however, still visit FB 2-3 times a day via the iPad and iMac, and continue to find something (or several things) that piss me off.  I need to break up with FB completely, at least for a while.  But that’s a different topic.

I came across a post yesterday morning that got me thinking.  You see, the wife of a man I used to babysit posted a pic of her husband in khakis and a sleeveless undershirt with the caption, “Mmmm…”.  I went to hit the “like” button but stopped myself.  “That would be a little creepy, B.”  Then I started rationalizing with myself.  So here’s the deal:  What I liked about her post wasn’t the pic of her man.  What I liked was the raw emotion, the feeling of attraction to her husband that she wasn’t ashamed to share with several hundred of her closest friends.  Now, maybe you’re thinking, “oh, they’re young, that stuff ends when life starts happening.”  Well, you may be interested to know they have a son about the same age as A and she just gave birth (like, less than 2 weeks ago) to a new baby girl.  So one could assume she’s not exactly feeling her absolute best.

It got me thinking, because, we don’t see this often enough in today’s society.  I myself am terribly guilty of not expressing my physical attraction to my husband.  There seems to be a major hesitation to express your physical attraction once you’ve been married for more than a minute.  I guess when you see a husband and wife together you just assume they’re physically attracted to each other?  I mean, why else would they have gotten married?  How do we know for sure without a little hard evidence?  I’m not talking about acting like teenagers in the back of the movie theater, or publicly groping each other in a restaurant.  I’m talking about being willing to express your feelings for each other to a greater extent than a peck on the cheek.  How about a lingering kiss?  On the lips even!  You know, the one where you inhale just enough of each others scent to feel slightly dizzy?  You end the kiss desperately trying to remember what you were doing beforehand?  It’s the kind of kiss that takes place at a wedding.  Why should that be the last time your friends and family see your expression of love and desire for each other?  There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of touching in public.  The kind of touching that is just slightly inappropriate for someone else to do.  It’s one thing to slap someone’s leg, it’s another for a husband to rest his hand on his wife’s thigh.  It’s one thing to touch someone’s arm or elbow.  It’s another for a wife to intertwine her arm with her husband’s.  I just think there has been such an emphasis placed on NOT displaying this kind of affection that we’ve (I’ve) taken it too far.  Time to make a conscious effort to be more affectionate with my husband, both in public and at home.  Similar to the FB post, I want to scream from the rooftops how attracted I am to the Hubs.  I want everyone to know.  I’m not embarrassed.  I’m married to God’s gift to me and I regularly take pleasure and joy in that gift.

I recently mentioned my sister has a new, very serious boyfriend.  And by very serious, I expect them to be engaged before the end of the year.  My sister still lives at home, so my mom and I regularly converse, er, discuss, er, gossip about her.  It was interesting to hear my mom say that it does her heart good to see their physical attraction for each other.  He’s not shy about touching her, kissing her and cuddling with her on the couch even though my parents are in the same room.  I’ve always assumed as a parent it would give you a slightly icky feeling to see your children participating in a physical relationship of some kind, but the truth is, when you are a participant in a healthy relationship (i.e. my parents) you desire that for your own children.  So it makes my mom happy to see both her daughters in healthy relationships where there is also a strong physical attraction.  It wasn’t what I expected her to say at all, but I’m glad to know her feelings.  Gives me a different perspective to mull over.

And for what it’s worth, our main goal is to embarrass the heck out of our kid(s) as they get older.  We practice regularly with the sister-in-law.