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where have you been?

If you read that in Molly Weasley’s voice, well – 10 points for Gryffindor!

But in all seriousness, where HAVE I been? It’s been a rough year for me, but things are finally mellowing out. There are just some lingering thoughts that I need a place to release to. This is that place. Care to listen? Pour yourself a cup – coffee, tea, Jack and sit a spell. Or move right along.

Since Gram’s funeral, we’ve had such a ride. Ending 2018 in an all time high, we had just celebrated our first holidays with a baby, I had lost all my baby weight plus extra, we were waiting on a new job opportunity and things were looking up.

As mellow as that sounds, it wasn’t. I had loaded up on extra helpings of unnecessary pressure – losing more weight, baking more, making extravagant food ALL THE TIME, doing project after project and still juggling all my normal activities – couponing, cleaning, shopping, fashion and the most importantly, momming. We had so many extra places to go and things to do because of the holidays – or so I made myself believe.

By the end of 2018, I had no appetite, I was getting barely 4 hours of sleep a night and my stress levels peaked. I chalked it up to holiday stress. I thought after New Years things would calm down and normalize. Man, oh, man did life laugh at me.

Disclosure: I am about to sum up 2019 in a couple short points and I hope you’ll understand that with some of these things, I can’t go into lengthy detail because of one of three reasons: it’s not my liberty to tell, I’m still not ready to or because there is simply too much to be able to condense.

  1. We decided to start trying for a baby around Thanksgiving 2018.
  2. I started binge eating.
  3. I struggled maintaining a steady mood.
  4. Our first child, Elias, turned one – so we had lots of “firsts” fun!
  5. We went to see a fertility specialist.
  6. My sister separated from her husband – although this is not an “us” thing, it’s been a rocky separation and we’ve been very involved helping her through it.
  7. We vacationed in OBX in the late spring and then in Canaan Valley in the fall.
  8. My husband got his job so we’ve started making some plans, like moving.

We had some highs, but I also struggled with some shattering lows. Although, I started to write a bit more on some of these issues, it’s still a lot for me to process and I’m finding it difficult to wrestle my thoughts and get them down on virtual paper right now.

I’ll sum up the happy points in a little more detail and talk about the others in different posts when I feel I’m ready.

We had our first “real” family holidays in 2018 – Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Yes, we count Halloween as a family holiday.) For Halloween, we went as Aladdin, Jasmine and Abu. And no, I did not go as “I Dream of Genie”. Jasmine Jafar outfit. Google it. 😉 At Thanksgiving, I made the ultimate Thanksgiving piecaken and Elias sported this gem. And at Christmas, I took our Christmas card photos. Never. Again. Unless I’m not in picture. Haha.

I ended 2018 with an all time high. We had a new baby, we were trying for another one, I was happy with how my body was changing, we were talking about all the fun things that would be happening with my husbands’ new job. But after the holidays ended, I found myself with nothing to do and feeling very low. Between New Years and spring I had a small bout of depression and really picked up with the bingeing. But we’ll leave that for another post.

April 2019 was a good month for me – spring brightened up my spirits and Easter was fantastic. I took Elias’ Easter photos, he hated the texture of the grass (would not even walk in it with his shoes on) and he had the cutest outfits for seeing the Easter bunny and for Easter Sunday. We were finally able to get him to cooperate enough to hunt eggs.

Elias turned one in May 2019 and as he’s closing in on two now, it is just unreal. His birthday party was such a huge event – I did a “little gentleman” theme and the entire thing came together so well. We did all the decorations – full length tablecloths and chair covers, floral arrangements, backdrops, balloons, mustache lollipop favors – you name it, we did it. We had a big projector that showed pictures of him throughout his first year all evening, we did a 2036 time capsule letter box for him to open on his 18th birthday, we did all the food and cupcakes (he was not thrilled about his smash cake experience) and even had a chocolate fountain, which I believe was everyone’s favorite part.

(If anyone is interested in a more in depth birthday post, I’d be happy to get one up. 🙂 )

By the time the beach trip rolled around, I was feeling really great. I had dropped most of the weight I had gained back and I was looking forward to our first beach trip with a toddler. Of course, Elias was not walking by this point so I was in lala land expecting our trip to be all fun. Halfway through our trip, he started waking up at 3am every night and talking to us from his pack and play. He. Would. Not. Go. Back. To. Sleep. As you can imagine, having a cranky toddler whose schedule is totally out of whack did not make for a super fun time. We hardly got to the beach, we were terrified to take him to restaurants and he was in a stage where his attention span was about that of a squirrel. But it was all fine. After my initial reaction of frustration faded, I was able to find the joy in having a truly no strings attached, no pressure of a doing everything vacation. We made a job out of ordering delivery and most nights Elias was out by 7:30 so we got a lot of time to hang out, drink wine and play games with my mom and stepdad, my siblings and my aunt and uncle. All in all, it turned out perfect.

In October, we spent a week in Canaan Valley in West Virginia. (Fun fact: as soon as we arrived at our rental house, Elias just got up started walking – he was not walking when we left the house that morning. I guess he just decided it was time.) We ended up going to the Leaf Peepers Festival and the Mountain State Forest Festival and doing a bit of hiking. But mostly binge watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Carnival Row. This was intended to be our do nothing but chill vacation and it absolutely was because there is very little to do in Canaan. We may have overestimated our capacity of doing nothing because we left one night early because we just did not want to spend another night there. That and the fact that we sort of spooked ourselves. Dark house to yourselves + no one in any of the other rentals around you + motion light coming on at night + sleep deprivation from a toddler who decided to wake up in the middle of the night for HOURS (it’s a theme we have on vacation) + a husband who tells you that he’s freaked out and just checked the entire house while you were laying with your toddler (when this is totally not his personality AT ALL) = deciding on the last night that you would really like to go home this evening but it’s too late to pack everything and get in the car. “We can do this all really fast,” he says. XD

Fast forward a bit to the holidays. In 2018, we lost my grandmother. Ever since, the holidays have felt really odd to me. It’s not just the fact she’s physically missing, it’s like she took all the magic and warmth of the season with her too. Every year, it was a given: festivities were at Grandma’s house at 2pm and everyone brings the same dish every year. Since she passed, it’s been a burden – switching from house to house (last year to a community center and this year to a garage – do you hear the distaste?), people don’t come and thus their dishes get assigned to other people and how are we working set up? It’s a mess.

So this year we did Thanksgiving with pretty much everyone, but it just wasn’t the same. There was also a certain drama that was plopped on everyone at Thanksgiving dinner, but I won’t go into detail. Christmas was small and frustrating, running here and there with a napless toddler and it was the first Christmas I’ve ever had that really didn’t feel like Christmas. I guess these things change as you get older, but I never thought it would happen to me.

New Years was a time for me to reevaluate my life and wouldn’t you know it took me all of five minutes to write my resolutions? Because I already knew what I needed to do. I just needed to do it and what better time than New Years’ Eve?

All in all, it’s been nice having a year long break. It’s allowed me to breathe again and recognize that I can’t do everything and that’s okay.  Like I said earlier, I’ll be posting on some of these issues as I feel comfortable with doing so. I’ve got some changes I’d like to make to the blog as well, so check back later this week for some updates!

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