Friday, November 11, 2016

Be the Good

It's been a crazy week, no? If you have been on planet Earth this week you know there was a presidential election in the land of the free. You also know that a lot of feelings were shared in the wake of the election.

I have seen a lot of ugliness on social media since Tuesday. I mean stuff that really makes my heart hurt. Really hurt. I felt sick all day Wednesday because of a post I read that was so shameful and embarrassing for the human race. It's gross how humans can treat other humans.

So you know what I did? I hung out with elementary kids. I went on a field trip with my son, I ate lunch with my daughters, I walked the hallways of their school, worked the book fair. You know what I didn't see? Ugliness. I didn't see the word "fag" spray painted on a sign, I didn't hear the f-word shouted at someone, didn't see rioting or property damage. I heard laughter. I saw smiles. I saw my daughter hug a classmate who hurt her head. I saw a student help another student up after she fell. I heard kids debating which candidate they wanted as president without any vicious words used. Doors were held open for others, "thank you" and "please" were phrases often used. I was right where I needed to be to keep my faith in humanity.

You see, these kids only know goodness right now. They are taught that bullying is bad and will not be tolerated, they are taught to have good manners and be polite. But you know what, they're watching, they're listening. They will mimic adults. So it's up to us to keep their sweet spirits alive. We can't let these kids grow up to be the assholes we have all seen this week. We have to do better, we have to BE better. We have to encourage dialogue that gets the point across without attacking. We have to teach them that differences aren't bad, differing opinions aren't bad. What is bad is being a shit human.

I hope those who are hurting find peace and solace somehow, someway. I would never tell them to get over it or move on, that's just silly, but I do hope they can continue the good fight and keep believing in themselves. And for those who are hurting others, I hope they realize their behavior is ugly and needs to change.

What a week. WHAT A WEEK! I want to rinse this bad taste out of my mouth. I want to smile and laugh and be happy. I want others to smile and laugh and be happy. Let's be the good we wish to see in the world.

On a sidenote, to ALL my people that left me this week, shame, shame, shame!!! How could you do that to me! I had no one to vent to. AGHHH!

So, tell me, what is something GOOD you saw this week? And I swear to God if you put something involving politics I will hope you get a hangnail. Yes, I am resorting to the ugliness I am so against! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Life of a Crier

So I wrote this blog, Emily's Super Soul Thursday, when I was sort of the opposite of happy. I was trying very hard to make myself happy. Overall it worked. Thinking of good things, not bad, obviously will change your mindset. But after weeks it's hard to keep that going, so on Tuesday night I let it all out.

I mean I cried and cried, I cried so much that at 11 pm Marc told me I should really go to bed. HE didn't even know what to do for me and he's been watching me cry for almost ten years. It started when the kids got home from school and I saw a note on Carter's test. During a test she read a multiple choice question and decided, "Yep, that's me and I should make a note of it." She is "filled with happiness" and it just overtook me. The kid is happy. Always has been. She's our angel baby. 


I gained enough composure that I could continue on with my motherly duties and even play volleyball. Volleyball was great, it was a teammate's birthday, we had fun and won. But on the way home I kept thinking about Carter's note. And songs would play that made me cry, and well, that's when the randomly crying started.

I managed to make it inside and sit on the couch though. Not a single thing made me cry. Progress. Then I asked Marc if he wanted to watch a happy show or sad. He said happy.  STILL MADE ME CRY. There's a new show called "Speechless" and it was funny but also sappy. Overall, I handled myself well though. Maybe? You'd have to ask Marc.

After two or three episodes we decided it was time for bed. So as Marc was snuggled up in the bed I was in the bathroom starting my weeping fest. Uh, it was ugly. I had to stifle it so Marc wouldn't hear, then I had to make it to the bed without crying, and then somehow talk without my voice sounding funny. That's when I knew I HAD to watch something sad to get it all out.

That's where "This Is Us" comes in to play. Have you seen it? I cried from minute one of the first episode to the last minute of the second episode. That's when Marc kindly suggested it was time for bed, even though we had one more episode to watch. 

Since August we have had a lot going on. I could go in to all the boring details but they don't much matter. What matters is it's been a lot and I am tired. Really tired. So is Marc. We need a Zack Morris timeout.

The one thing I will jump in to quickly is the thing that has been making me sad for a long time. I don't want it to make me sad anymore, I want to move on, I've tried, but I have failed miserably. Anytime I think I'm doing better something reminds me of it and BOOM! back to sadness. My miscarriage. I don't think I'm supposed to still be sad about it, I mean it happened in February 2015, but it still has a very strong hold on me. What's really crazy is I do not want any more children, so it's not about that, it's about the fact I wanted THAT baby. That bird was supposed to be mine. That bird is supposed to be one right now. On September 10th we should have been celebrating a first birthday. I should be toting around a baby that's just starting to get in to everything. I shouldn't have worked all last year, I should have been with a newborn. I shouldn't be so involved with everything, I should be a mom to four kids and busy with all that comes with that.

But I try to tell myself that I did work last year. I worked and got really close to the three teachers I assisted. And I am grateful for their friendship every single day. And I try to tell myself that I've met so many awesome people because I am so involved with everything. And I am grateful for the new people in my life. 

So with the bad, I try to focus on the good. When sad thoughts pop in to my brain I literally say to myself, "Emily, DON'T DO IT, think of something happy." 

But on Tuesday, October 11th my tear ducts had enough and finally opened up the flood gates. I am happy to report that I watched the third episode of "This Is Us" and I didn't cry. *Pat on the back* *Thank you!*

I guess this is a blog to say that if you know someone who has lost someone, a mother, a baby, hell even a pet, reach out to them every once in awhile to see if they are ok. A lot of grieving people fake it until they make it. When you are hurting you have no idea who to turn to who or to talk to. You feel as though you are burdening them, or you should't talk about it because it's been so long. But pain is pain and they may just need to know someone cares. 

And just tell them that a tv show about a family with Mandy Moore as the mom will really get the tears going.

Jesus Christ almighty I still can't believe I cried so much.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

You've Got A Friend In Me

Last night I led my very first Daisy Scout meeting.  I was nervous. Very nervous. But I did it.

I kind of just agreed to be the level leader without giving it any serious thought. I've found that a lot of my most important decisions go like that. Although I am great at over thinking, over analyzing, taking my brain on crazy think trips, the big decisions come easily.

So when my friend and overall troop leader, Jordan, asked if I wanted to lead the daisies, I said, "Sure." When Jordan said I could keep the troop to just three girls or grow it, I said, "Let's grow it." The number is now up to ten. Again, it started with three!

"Go big or go home" is the troop motto, after all.

But this post isn't necessarily about the daisies. Oh yeah, the meeting went great. The girls are ADORABLE and that's all I really care about. (Not really!) They appear to be thoughtful, kind, caring individuals, and I hope I can foster that. But what this post about is my friend, Jordan.

Back in 2011 we moved in to our current house. When I walked in this house I knew it was perfect for us. I just felt it. I didn't know anyone in the neighborhood or surrounding area, but I didn't care. I was a stay at home mom to two babies with a third on the way. I needed a sanctuary, a place to hide, and this was it.

Not long after moving in Jordan showed up in to my life. I was in a comfy, yet ridiculous, outfit and my babies were running around in just diapers. We were on the Hot Mess Express and Jordan got a glimpse of the train going by. I am sure she was both amused and terrified. She showed up to invite us to her holiday open house. I immediately called my BFF and told her about the situation. She said, "Be careful! Don't agree to get coffee. Keep your distance." Lisa and I may be the most anxious, worried people you have ever met!

But seriously, I should have been careful!!!

You see, Jordan doesn't let you sit on the bench of life. She gets you in the game, on the playing field, giving your all. No bystanders here. She constantly pulls me out of myself and gets me out in the open.

I sent my kids to preschool because of Jordan.

I started working at the preschool because of Jordan.

I started going to PTA meetings because of Jordan.

I continued to stick with the PTA because of Jordan.

I started Carter in Girl Scouts because of Jordan.

I then started leading the Daisy Scouts because of Jordan.

The only thing she hasn't gotten me to do yet is go to church. Hmm, that may be her secret motive behind all of this! I kid. I kid.

In short, this is a thanks to a lady that has introduced me to a lot of new people, new situations, and gets me out of the house. She's even gotten me to go camping. Twice! I have to say though, she's good about knowing when I need to just be and not come out, I am a recluse in reality.

I think it's important to have all kinds of friends. Friends that teach you new traditions and customs, new ways to navigate the world, introduce you to new ways of doing things, those who push you outside of your comfort zone. Jordan has been that for me and in turn, she has introduce me to gaggle of people that do the same.

After living in Roanoke for almost six years I am truly starting to feel like I belong. That I have my people, my community. AND I am even starting to learn how to get places without using a gps app! That's a big one.

Anyhoo, thanks JSH for helping me assimilate. And hopefully I have been hella entertaining to you!

Which friend pushes you outside of your comfort zone? Gets you involved in the game of life?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Emily's Super Soul Thursday

This past weekend I spent time with my parents. Just me. Just my parents. Well, Scott and a friend of his stopped by Saturday night, but for the most part it was just us. I cannot tell you the last time that happened. I am guessing in 2006 before I met Marc and was whisked away in a love story.

Anyhoo, on Sunday we watched a few episodes of Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday". Great show. It led to a lot of discussions on love, sadness, fear, anger, what makes us all tick. It was a great conversation, one that I've been thinking about ever since.

I've been thinking about what makes me happy. What makes others happy. And just how unhappy some people seem. Happiness is the best drug in the world and yet probably the hardest to get. It's almost as if we are afraid of truly being happy, we down play it. Have you ever thought or heard someone comment, "That girl is just WAY too chipper in the morning." I know I have. I am not a morning person and someone being happy at that time is quite strange to me. But to that person, it's completely normal. Or if you come across someone that is naturally happy you think they are actually depressed on the inside or are hiding something. Ok, now that I've typed all that out I am starting to realize maybe I am a pessimist!  My point is, though, that I think some people are naturally happy and some people naturally are not. But no matter what, you can train yourself to be happy. You can seek the drug of happiness. You can convince yourself to get out of a bad mood. Life is all about choices and I have learned to choose happiness. 

So, what makes you happy? Like what makes you take a deep breath in and say, "Awe, that's nice. I am just so happy right now."?

My list:
Eating a really yummy bite of food and dancing in my seat because of it.
Beating a difficult level in a game. So satisfying.
Laughing. I love to laugh and I LOVE to make other people laugh. It's my favorite sound in the world.
Painting my nails. People always try to convince me to go somewhere to get it done, but goodness do I love the act of painting my nails.
Organization. Organizing a mess makes my heart settle and feel true joy.
Praise. When someone tells me I did a good job or I am great at something, man does it make me happy. I have gotten better at not needing it but it's still pretty awesome when it happens.
A follow up to that is doing a good job. If I am going to do something I am going to do it right. It makes me very, very happy to do well.
Now this is one I don't like to share, but hugs make me happy. BUT ONLY FROM MY FAMILY. So you crazy huggers out there don't start attacking me. I'm still picky about interlocking our bodies together.
And for the last item on my list, sharing. I love sharing my stories with others and I love when they share we me. Isn't that what this world is kind of all about? Connecting with one another? I love the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tell me a funny story, an embarrassing story, your love story, how you came up with your dog's name, the time you traveled somewhere and ate good food, doesn't matter, I will listen to your journey and I will love it.

So...share away! What makes you happy, really really happy? 

Monday, August 15, 2016

AHS Volleyball

P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S WE'RE THE PATRIOTS OH YES, AND WE ARE THE BEST....clap clap.

This past weekend I went back to a place that I grew up in, my high school gym. For two years I played basketball between those four walls and for all four I played volleyball. It's amazing the growth that happens between the ages of 14 to 18.

Since high school I've continued to play volleyball, a sport I first found as an eighth grader. We had sand courts in front of my college dorms, right after college I drove to Richmond to play with my oldest brother, I then found rec volleyball in Charlottesville, and I eventually found my sport in Roanoke. Each stop along the way I've met new people, some fantastic, some not so fantastic, I've learned tips on getting better, learned all the new rules, and even became a wife and mother. Something I was DEFINITELY not concerned with in high school!

Well every year my high school has an alumni vs. varsity game and every year I have to miss. I was thrilled I could finally go back! It just so happens it's the 40th anniversary of the AHS program. A couple of the players from the inaugural team were in attendance. Amazing to think how long our program has been going strong. If you want to see the impressive stats visit the team page - http://avb.t83.net/#.

What struck me the most this past Saturday was the quality of the players. And I do not mean just on the court. The girls were lovely. They were nice, welcomed me with open arms, complimented my family, cheered each other on...it's impressive the type of girl Coach Ragland gets to play for AHS. They easily could have dismissed me since they've never met me before, but they didn't. I am pretty sure I was not so gracious at the age of 17.

At one point I was talking to two of the girls and asked when they graduated. Well, they JUST graduated which makes them around 17 or 18 years old. The last time I played in the gym was the Fall of 1997...do the math. Basically, I am old. They didn't make me feel old though. Ok, so yes they did when they COULD NOT grasp the "old school" rules of points only being awarded on a serve and the ball not being allowed to hit the net on a serve. A lot has changed since my days there. Another thing that struck me was how TALL the girls on nowadays. Mommas are growing their babies much bigger than back in 1980! I will say though, my daughters told me I didn't look old out on the court, they told me I looked like the other players. Made me feel good (minus the back pain I was experiencing and the sheer exhaustion. HA!).

I really hope I get to play in future alumni/varsity matches. It felt good to still know what I was doing, sort of, and to see some friendly faces.

Thank you to my family for coming to watch and to Stacy and Marc for taking pictures!

 I mean, you are kind of a big deal when your picture is hanging on the wall, right? #humblebrag

So the football team isn't so good. But girls are kicking a$$!

 It was quite surprising to see such a large picture on the wall. It's actually kind of creepy!
The funniest part, to me, is how long our shorts were in 1996! Now your butt bascially hangs out of them. HA!

 My cheering section!

 So artistic. 

 Alexis was CRUSHING balls. And she was super sweet!

 It's nice that some moms grew their girls the same height as me!

 I missed a serve during the alumni vs. alumni match. I am still pissed about that. Damn you, Keller!

Uncle Scotty, the fun uncle!


 Only grandmas can handle that much hugging!

 Coach introducing the alumni. If you look closely I am the one slightly taller than the toddler.

 Grandpa DK teaching Gabe some skills. And Gabe sporting my Roanoke volleyball shirt!

Harper, a wild one but adorable!

Throwback pic! We weren't the tallest or the most skilled, but we were scrappy as hell. I think we basically wore out the other teams!

After our loss in States. It was devastating. We were the first team to make it to the state finals and it was so disappointing to lose. 

If you were a part of a high school team and you get a chance to go back I highly recommend it. A fresh pair of eyes on an old place is pretty neat. 

And to this day when I have to spell my high school name, I do our old cheer:
A - L - B - E - M - A - R - L - E say go Patriots!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wake Up Every Day With A Dream

Eight years ago Marc and I threw one hell of a party! There was a formal ceremony first and then an all out good time after. I loved our wedding day, it was perfect!

Since we had a Catholic ceremony we did not write/say our own vows...they were written for us. I'm guessing by Jesus, but I can't be too sure. And to be honest, I don't remember what we said but I am sure it was lovely and magical, and religiousy.

It does have me thinking though, all these years later, of what I would say if Marc and I were getting married today.

I am thinking this is how my vows would sound:

I vow to make dinner once a week. I cannot guarantee any more than that.
Ok, I really cannot even guarantee that much.
I vow to yell "wooooo" with you at concerts.
I vow to clean up all barf if you vow to take care of all ticks.
I vow to get your mom to sew on all of your buttons.
I vow to make you laugh even when you want to be really, really mad.
I vow to cringe only slightly when you say "mooooovie". No, I'll cringe a lot.
I vow to clean the house before holidays, birthdays, and any other time we have guests coming. It's a crapshoot the rest of the year.
I vow to be the best co-pilot ever. By best I mean I will complain, have to pee every hour on the hour, and keep asking "Are we there yet?" But the music will be on point.
I vow to answer texts and emails from your family on your behalf. I know you are busy with whatever you do all day, so I'll gladly respond. But you have really gotten much better at this!
I vow to love you through all the ups and downs we will face. Some days will be sunny and bright while others will be dark and dreary. But we will always be side-by-side through the good and bad.
I vow to always accept your positive outlook on life even when I want to be pessimistic and sad. You always know how to see the good in people and the sunlight through the clouds.
I vow to stop and play when you ask me to instead of getting worked up with what needs to be done.
I vow to love you with every fiber of my being. To cherish you, protect you, support you, and be ok with your need to buy/sell a car every few years.
I vow to call you five hundred times a day when we have men cutting our trees down.

I vow to be the best version of myself for you and for the kids. You are a good, decent, kind man, and I know I picked a good one. You really did change my life the day you walked in to Jaberwoke. You've made me confident, calm (as calm as a Kozuch can be), and you for sure have made me nicer.

When we have little babies that are crying, diapers that need to be changed, tantrums being thrown, babies waking up, I'll look at you and realize we made these beasts together so we might as well do rock/paper/scissors to see who deals with the most current mess.

When we have school orientations I vow to sit next to you, scared and worried about sending our babies off to the next phase, and help make fun of people we see. Let's be honest, that's totally what all parents do.

I vow to take care of scheduling all appointments, taking kids to said appointments, if you promise I never have to set foot in Lowe's or Home Depot. UNLESS I want to spend hundreds of dollars on plants and flowers that I'll just neglect.

And most of all, I vow to be strong when shit hits the fan. I'll have laser focus when our son has a seizure so that you can be strong when I lose our fourth bird. It's the adult version of a seesaw, you are up when I am down and vice versa.

Marc, today is the day we celebrate that awesome day so many years ago. We are still in the "childhood" stage of married life, past the newborn and toddler phases, not quite teenagers yet, and definitely far away from adulthood. Although, we are way too fun to be old adults. At least I tell myself that until it's hard to get off the couch, in to a low car, or simply roll out of bed.

I love you, today, tomorrow, always.

We picked the perfect song for our first dance. And being the awesome wife I am, got an awesome band to cover it. So maybe take a few minutes to listen and remember just how happy you are with me!

https://soundcloud.com/andykeathley/happy-everafter-in-your-eyes-ben-harper

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Home of The Boss

Team P took a road trip!

And it was awesome!

So I must document it.

Back in the spring we decided to take a trip to Marc's sister's house in New Jersey. We haven't been up north for about 3 or 4 years and haven't been to Freehold since right after Carter was born. Basically, it was time. Once the kids found out, there was no turning back. They were EXCITED! Carter even wrote about seeing her cousins at the end of a the year for an assignment. The littles LOVE LOVE LOVE their cousins. Talk about them constantly. It was thrilling for them to know they'd get to see them in person.

The drive is about 8 or so hours and knowing myself very well I knew I couldn't sit in a car that long. I am a HORRIBLE road tripper. So Marc and I chatted and decided a night in DC would be a great way to break up the drive. Talking further we thought it would be great to see a baseball game. When I checked the schedule there was a Sunday day game and it was Bryce Harper jersey giveaway day. The signs were there, we needed to go! Being the anxious nut that I am though, I realized we would need help. So I invited the next best thing to parents, grandparents! My parents love DC, love baseball, and really love CGH. It was the perfect idea...just had to twist their arms to make them come. :)  My parents agreed and met us in DC. From there we took a Metro ride over to the game and found our seats. It was HOT. Thankfully we were in the sun for only twenty minutes before the sun moved and we got relief. The heat was a big worry of mine so the poor kids were forced to drink a lot of water. And my dad kept wetting paper towels for them to put on their heads. My biggest worry was eliminated pretty quickly!  During the 4th inning we decided to leave, with hundreds of other people, and head to the Air and Space Museum. I love that my kids love to learn and see new places. They are much more adventurous than me! Although, I did try to smuggle a swiss army knife in to the museum. I totally forgot it was in my purse but the x-ray machine definitely found it! Which proves their security is much better than the Nats! Then we went back to the hotel room to eat and swim in the roof top pool. Even with it being in the upper 90's, I still thought the pool was cold so it was good we had extra hands to play with the kids. Yes, I am a weirdo.

The next morning we ate and headed to the Natural History Museum.  They are redoing the dino exhibit which was a huge bummer but surprisingly Gabe was just as excited to see everything else. Carter really enjoyed the mummy exhibit. I guess she's like Mom Mom and loves Egyptian things!

And let me just say, on Monday, the day we were walking around DC, the actual temperature was 97 degrees but it felt like 107. It.was.hot!!! And my kids were troopers!  They walked most of the time with only a few piggy back rides, drank water whenever we told them to, and were great sports with all the crowds. They made me so very proud of them!  Carter and Gabe have both learned about Abe Lincoln and love him. So we knew we had to stop by and see the guy. It was noon, hot, crowded, and our last stop. The kids were kind of over the whole experience and kind of said, "Meh" to him. Gabe asked, "Is that it?", Harper wasn't thrilled at all, and Carter was Carter and liked it. Even if it wasn't their favorite part, I am glad we saw him.

After that we started our journey up north. Everything went well and we arrived Monday evening. We stayed there until Friday afternoon. The kids had a great time playing in the pool and hot pool (hot tub), Carter and Gabe learned how to play Angry Birds pop, and their cousins taught them about SnapChat. It was cute seeing them all together! We even got some time on the Jersey Shore and boardwalk. The kids later told my parents that we went to a carnival. I think that is super cute!

I am writing this to basically remember how great of travelers my kids are and how terrible I am. HA! They were rock stars in the car, in DC, in the hotel, at their cousin's house, just everywhere we went. The birds are awesome. So awesome!

And I want to remember that my nieces are really good girls. I always hear complaints about teenagers and how awful they are, and how I should enjoy my kids know because as they get older we won't be as close and blah blah blah... But every night I saw the girls (ages 16 and 15) sit with their parents on the couches and talk. Nothing serious, nothing earth shattering, but they were together. And they hung out with us all week. They could have been off with friends, but they stayed with us. And they played with the kids who are much younger than them. I am not sure I would have been such a trooper at that age. Kids basically drove me crazy when I was 16! It was enjoyable to be around them and see that girls at that age can be relatable and normal. What I hear is not at all what I saw. Gave me great hope for my kids!! Job well done to their parents...I should take notes. :)

It was hard leaving. It's no fun having them so far away but it was a great trip. We had to leave to get back for my nephew's party or we would have stayed longer. We had traffic the whole way back which makes me so very anxious and grouchy. Again, the kids handled it better than me!

We stayed the night with my parents so the kids got even more time with them. I will give it to my kids, family is most important to them. I hope it stays that way!

Our great trip up North went well and we all survived. Even enjoyed it! Gave me confidence that we can keep doing these trips and hopefully my anxiety will lessen with each one.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

They Had Each Other, That Was More Than They Could Dream Of


If you know me you know I love music. I have it playing in my car all the time, most of the time in my house I have it playing, I sing a lot, I will quote lyrics for no good reason, I just really love music.

If you know me you know I love the Dave Matthews Band. It was not always this strong, it has grown over the years, but I heart them big time.

I grew up in Charlottesville (the band's hometown) and in 1994 a co-worker gave my mom Under the Table and Dreaming. I listened to it and I liked it. Not love, just like. But over the years I always bought the next album, except Everyday and Busted Stuff (Lillywhite was WAY better in my opinion). I even bought the non-studio albums. Weekend on the Rocks remains one of my favorites. I even bought Dave's solo album, Some Devil. And I watched the tv show House just to see Dave's episode.

When I was 16 I broke up with a boy and he locked himself in his room and listened to Crash over and over again. His brother called me saying he didn't know what to do. I am happily married, with three kids, and I still feel pain when listening to that album.

Before These Crowded Streets came out when I was a senior in high school. I was instantly hooked and it remains my favorite to this day. I think it's reminiscent of an actual album/record, where you put it on and just let it play. Most albums I skip around just to my favorites, with BTCS I can just let it play. Each song moves nicely in to the next. And my most favorite song of all-time is on that album, that alone makes it the most special recording of all time.

Stand Up came out when I was 25, single, and finally at a comfortable place in my life. I listened to that album non-stop in my car driving to/from anywhere. To be honest, I don't really like those songs all that much now, but when it came out I was hooked.

That's also the same time that my friend Lisa asked me to go to Bonnaroo with her to see Dave and the guys. It was going to be my first time seeing them live. Yes, after being a fan since 1991 I was finally going to see them in 2005! Now I have to admit something, I was a fan, but wasn't a FAN FAN like I am today. I liked them, I bought their music, but I wasn't a diehard. Then I saw Big Dave (that is what Lisa calls it when you are up close to him at a concert) and that was it. I was done. I fell hard.

Then I met a boy. A boy with a fire dancer (DMB reference) tattoo. A boy with BOOKS of DMB live shows and albums. It freaked me out. On our first date he trapped me in my car and made me listen to DMB songs over and over again. UGH. Early in our relationship he made me a "random cd" of DMB love songs. It made me nervous and almost gave me hives. Today, I love and appreciate that mixed cd. When Marc proposed, it was with a DMB lyric.

Marc was at LeRoi Moore's (saxophonist) last concert while I was at my sister-in-law's baby shower. He went with his brother as a sort of bachelor party. That show stands out because Marc left a voicemail screaming, "He's dancing, he's dancing"! And they did a cover of Sledgehammer that made MP VERY happy.

During our first pregnancy we saw Carter Beauford (drummer) in our OB/GYN's office. That's when Marc said our first child should be named Carter. He won that battle (I fought it at first) and I'm glad he did. It's a great name.

A few months after Carter was born Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King was released. I cannot tell you how many hours I danced around with a two-month old baby listening to those songs. It's my second most favorite album and sometimes it jumps up to first for purely sentimental reasons. The song Baby Blue still makes me cry; it's a song about death but I don't hear it that way because I see my blue-eyed baby when I listen.

For my early career as a fan I always went to shows with my friend Lisa. Then I met Marc and he took her spot. That transition makes me sad to think about but happy at the same time. We both met our now husbands around the same time and our life journeys were parallel. Basically, I only go to DMB concerts with people I love most. It's a beautiful time for me and I want to share it with my closest of peoples. Tomorrow we get to journey to Virginia Beach to see the band and I get to spend time with my Alicia. I cannot wait!

And as much as Dave and the boys have been around for good times, they have comforted me in sad times. When I was very down and low last year the song The Space Between came on and though I usually turn it (just not one I ever liked) I decided to listen. I probably shouldn't have because now when I hear it I tear up. The line that gets to me the most is, "Take my hand because we're walking out of here, right out of here is all we need dear." And it makes me cry because through all the difficult times Marc always takes my hand and walks me out of the darkness. And yes, I am tearing up right now. I strongly advise you to really listen to the words of that song though because it's amazing. (Side note, I desperately wanted to use the name Tinsley (violinist's last name) for my fourth bird!)

Music is my religion and concerts are my church. It's where I find peace and happiness, it's where I feel the best. Marc and I used to go to as many live shows as possible because they made us so happy.  We are slowly, but surely, getting back to that. We are older now and shows are a bit rougher on our bones, but they are our happy place. We worship at the feet of Dave, Carter, Stefan, Boyd, Jeff, Rashawn, and little Timmy. Praise the Lord and hallelujah!

The only band, for me, that comes close to DMB in importance is The Beatles. What band has meant the most to you?


"It's strange to feel so light, I'm not stoned, I'm hypnotized. Now there's something in my bones, 'cause I won't ever be alone again."

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Is The Last Stop

Today Gabe had what we hope is his last EEG ever. His last appointment with a neurologist. The last appointment where we wonder what is going on with his brain.

On October 12, 2014 Gabe had a grand mal seizure. It was horrific.

But every day since the neurologist told us Gabe has epilepsy my boy has taken his medicine, twice a day, without a fight. He took it easily, he understood why he was taking it, it was just a part of his routine. Grandparents were great about giving him his medicine. Family and friends were well aware of his diagnosis and were ready to react if needed. All very supportive and comforting to worried parents. I will forever be grateful for all of the support we received.

Starting tomorrow we are weaning him off his medicine.

We should be thrilled. We should be excited. We are terrified. That 1 ml, twice a day, was a safety net to Marc P and me. It made us sleep a little better, made us leave town a little easier, it made us not stay on top of him 24/7 watching him to make sure he was not seizing.

Now we have to have blind faith that everything is going to be ok.

This IS in fact a good thing. No one wants their child to have epilepsy. It's a scary, confusing, ever changing diagnosis. No one wants to give their child medicine every day. But there is something so comforting in that medicine.

The funny part is that Gabe "outgrew" his dosage. Basically his body is bigger than the dose we were giving him. So it was kind of just a placebo, I guess. And Gabe's seizure activity was just a "blip" (doctor's word) on the EEG. His first two EEGs lasted around 45 minutes and each time his activity was one second long; 1 second out of 2,700 seconds really isn't very long. No seizure activity was seen this time because the boy never fell asleep and that's when his seizures present. But the doctor has always been conflicted about prescribing medicine to Gabe because the epilepsy was so mild. But with his age and the grand mal we all agreed it was best to give him medicine.

But in the next few weeks there will be none. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Ooofah.

We were prescribed emergency medicine though. If a seizure starts we give him a lozenge that stops the seizure and we call the medics. And if he does have a "breakthrough seizure" the doctor is pretty positive it won't be like what we saw in October 2014. So in theory we still have our safety net, a way to help him. It still worries me to leave him over night, leave him at school all day, and I'll be terrified the first time he gets sick/has a fever.

But I am going to pull some of "Barb's Power of Positive Thinking" (my mother-in-law has positivity oozing out of her and I've been a faithful student for almost ten years learning from the master) and just be set on Gabe being A-OK. I will worry, I won't sleep well the first few weeks of no medicine, but I'll never let him know. He's been through enough and my worry should not be another weight on his shoulders. I mean, his shoulders are REALLY tiny! He can only hold but so much!

So for you praying people, please pray that the path we are on is the right one. And for you positive thinkers, please send your good thoughts our way. And for any Pastafarians I guess wear a colander on your head and eat some spaghetti.

Thanks to everyone that has been on this journey with us. I hope this is the last time EEG, neurologist, and seizure show up on this blog!!

Peace and love,
Team P

It was a beautiful day in Roanoke. And we had just enough time in between his EEG and neurologist appointment to stroll around the city. At one point today Gabe told me he'll always love me and wants to live with me forever. I am 100% on board. 


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Let's Not Forget These Early Days

So here I am, Saturday morning crying about my youngest graduating from preschool. Listening to Peter Gabriel may have helped the tears start.

Ugh.

We started at the preschool in September 2012 when Carter began in the 5 day 3 year old program. Gabe was in the 2 day 2's. Harper was home with me the whole time. Then as Carter moved up to pre-k I started working two days a week, Thursday and Friday. These are the two days that Harper went to school. Gabe went all five days as a three year old. Then when Gabe went to pre-k I started working three days a week, Harper went to the 5 day 3's.

And this past year I worked all five days in pre-k, coming in and out of Harper's class. Every morning I walked in with my baby and every day I walked out with her. This was after 4 years of taking different numbers of children in and out of the preschool and house, but I almost always had Harpie. She was the one by my side the most often. And starting next August it'll just be me. All by my lonesome. All three of my kids will be in the same building for the same amount of time. I'll have a 2nd grader, 1st grader, and kindergartener.

My heart and brain cannot handle this situation. Where did my babies go? How did all those chaotic baby filled days pass by me so quickly? Now they'll all have lunches and ride the bus. Have assemblies and awards. Right before my eyes they are growing up. And its' awesome, that's what you want for your kids, but man is it tough to digest. Our kids are close in age so the milestones rapidly hit us time after time. We pretty much were just putting our first born in the arms of strangers at the elementary school and now we are sending our youngest to a place we love with people that are no longer strangers. I'm more confident about sending Harper, I know the gig now, but I am way more emotional for this transition than I've been for the last two. And let's be honest, I was pretty emotional over them!

The baby is just different. And any parent that says there isn't something special about the baby is lying. They are straight up lying in yo face! The baby will always be your last, always be the youngest, will always get away with more. At least that has been my experience with Harper, my  youngest brother, and my husband who is the youngest. Even if they aren't physically the smallest or shortest, they're still the littlest.

It doesn't help that Harper is a tiny human and she's easy to pick up and hold and do stuff for.

And she has a big ol' smile and laugh that make me smile and laugh.

Plus she is terrifying and scares me so I listen to all her demands. She's the cutest little terrorist you ever did see.

Anyhoo, Harp is no longer a preschooler. She is officially part of the elementary crowd. My birds are flying further and further away from the nest. Sigh.

Some pics I find enjoyable...if you don't, just move along! :)

Harper's Very First Day of Preschool

All my birds circa September 2013

HRP and MJP very first day of Pre-K, 2015
HRP and MJP very last day of Pre-K, 2016

 Harp walking in with a very enthusiastic look!

 Look at those clenched fists!!!

 Tiny, tiny bird

 Our beloved Mrs. Burnett!!

 Those clenched fists again!

Mom Mom and Pop Pop

Harpie being a turd with Aunt Lor

 Grandpa came down for the big event!

My loves!

 My baby bird.

 She's a classy broad and chose the "New McDonalds" for her graduation lunch!!!!

As the kids walk across the stage the Preschool Director reads a list of answers from the kids; Harper's last answer almost sent me right over the edge:
My favorite color is Purple
My favorite thing to do at Preschool is Playing Kitty
When I grow up I want to be like my mommy

I just hope and pray I can live up to her expectations of me!

A few weeks ago Marc and I saw DMB in Charlottesville (yes, Susan, our lives REALLY DO revolve around Dave and the guys) and they performed a brand spanking new song, Samurai Cop. I couldn't really understand what Dave was singing at the time but I liked the music. The next day I got to read the lyrics while listening to the song, and well, tears.

Samurai Cop
The day you came
naked, afraid
your mother screaming, pushes you
the day you came

Oh, joy begin
lay little thing
more precious there'll be nothing, no
oh, joy begin

[CHORUS]
Let's not forget these early days
remember we begin the same
we lose our way, oh fear and pain
oh, joy begin

First, just one step
one word and then
with laughter sing, oh, life begin
first, just one step

[CHORUS]

Innocent kiss
black magic bliss
first broken bone, sudden and swift
oh, innocence

[CHORUS]
oh, joy begin
oh, joy begin



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

You'll Sing A Song and I'll Sing A Song

I've been on the verge of tears all day. Which is not really shocking if you know me, but today there were reasons. Not big ones. Maybe not justifiable ones. But there were reasons.

Part of my job at the preschool is to take kids from their cars down to their classrooms. It's actually my favorite part because I get to meet so many of the preschool families. But today was special, it was "Muffins With Mom" day for the younger kids (2 and 3 year olds). And let me tell you, little kids love nothing more than having their moms stay with them at school. They get to show them their art work, their classrooms, introduce their friends, and get to love on them just a little bit longer. It's so sweet. And the kids were SO EXCITED! It seriously did make my eyes tear up.

Later in the morning I was hanging art work in the pre-k hallway because our Muffins With Mom is tomorrow morning and I want the hallway to be bright and cheery. Well...it was a music day. So I was outside the music room listening to the music teacher and kiddos sing. I'm a sucker for a choir of kids singing. And I am a TOTAL sucker for the music teacher's voice. Ms. Emily sounds like an angel and I am not exaggerating. Her voice is beautiful. And as I listened to those angelic voices and hung artwork done by the kids I've watched grow all year long I teared up.

It just so happens that Ms. Emily is about six weeks away from having her first child. My youngest child is about to head to kindergarten. That sharp contrast was not lost on me. To think back to my first born coming through the preschool and now my last is leaving it...woah. It was too much.

It IS too much. I cannot handle all the feelings that I am feeling.

My last Muffins With Mom is tomorrow. My last preschool gift made by tiny hands will be given to me. I already know what they are since I work there but I know that I will still cry when they are presented to me. As a choir of children sing to us moms and show us around the room I will tear up. I am in Harper's room every single day but it will still feel special.

Mother's Day is right around the corner and I've been all in my head about it for a few weeks now. Being a mom is the best thing that I've ever done. Nothing makes me happier. Nothing makes me feel more confident and satisfied.

This is the first Muffins With Mom gift Harper made me. It was two years ago. Could you not just pass out from the cuteness of her face?!


Anyhoo, I have no idea why I am writing this other than to let the world know I am a cry baby and today is my day. I'm sure after I tuck my little babes in to bed tonight I will sit on the couch and cry real tears. I'll finally let it all out.

And I will have the song "You'll Sing A Song and I'll Sing A Song" stuck in my head until I finally close my eyes.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Pack

For some reason I have had the same thought about my life for a couple weeks now. I've decided that I am an animal that needs a pack.

I am familiar in a pack. I am comfortable in a pack. I need my pack.

And my pack has sort of been the same for years now. Ok, decades! I met my best friends when I was in college and never let them leave me. In the past few years I've grown and added people to the pack and I am very proud of myself for this. You see, I am shy. No one believes me when I tell them this but it's true. I get very nervous meeting new people and I get VERY nervous in new situations. On the first day of work at the preschool I thought I was going to vomit the whole drive there. Thank GOD Susan made me laugh and calmed me down. Even if she did make me think I was the worst preschool assistant ever and was going to be fired! Good times.

Anyhoo, the day I drove to meet Marc for our first date I called my mom and told her how nervous I was. I thought he was really cute and I wanted it to go well. But he was someone new and opening up and trusting someone was tough for me.

I took the leap of faith and it worked.  Whew!

Then I did something I thought I would NEVER do....I moved away from Charlottesville. My hometown, my familiar space, the place I wanted to live forever. But don't you worry, we picked Roanoke because I had visited there before and Marc's family lived there. So it wasn't totally a new place. That would just be ridiculous.

But this made me have to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people. Argh. Not fun for me, Mrs. Pack Animal that likes to keep the pride the same. So over time I met new people. And some of those people have entered the pack, the herd, the litter, the flock. Call it what you will but I have my people.

These are the people I care about, check in on, do things for and with, the ones I call on for help. The ones I know will be there for Team P no matter what. It's family, it's friend, it's my pack. I know the word "tribe" has been used a lot and that's cool. But a pack seems more instinctual, more primal, more protective. Picture a cackle of hyenas and that's how I feel about my C.O.T. (Circle Of Trust).

If Google can be trusted then this is awesome:
Socially, the spotted hyena lives in a matriarchal society quite rare in the world of mammals. Females are larger, more muscular and definitely more aggressive. The highest ranking male in the clan is generally subordinate to the lowest ranking female. These spotted hyena clans are rude, boisterous, highly social groups that spend a lot of time pushing and shoving but will ultimately spend the afternoon siesta snuggled in a huge shaggy pile.

Basically the women I know are badasses that will give you hugs at the end of the day. They take no shit. I love a powerful woman. And I have noticed that most of the husbands are quiet and "let" their women be crazy, protective, and fierce. They hang out in the back while the women cackle and just nod their heads. Seriously, I am friends with some loud ladies now that I think about it. And the men just go along with our antics.  It's pretty awesome.

So to my pack, I thank you. I thank you for being in my pack and letting me be in yours. I know I am a better, stronger, more confident person because of you. And it's pretty awesome that my children have a group of fantastic people looking out for them!



 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

They Are My Sunshine

I am a big believer that people are put in to your life for very specific reasons. That you can learn something from everyone you meet. Sometimes people teach you who not to be, how not to act, and some teach you compassion, strength, kindness...the list goes on and on.

Well lately I've been thinking about two people who were definitely sent to me to teach me positivity. I'm naturally a happy person. I love to laugh, dance, sing, be goofy, but I have a really dark brain that takes me to bad places. Some days I have to convince myself to put on a smile and be kind.

Last month was one of those months. I didn't feel like myself, I was depressed, and just not feeling joy. BUT two women really did make it better. When I think back to February I think back to Kristen and Christy and how they were just naturally positive.

I play volleyball with Kristen, I've known her for a couple of years through that but just this year I've been able to really talk with her. And she's awesome. This week we played a team that consists of young men (high school I think) trying to put a travel team together and let's just say, they aren't good. And their coach was jerky. But Kristen, sweet Kristen, kept praising them throughout the games, and was so nice to them. Afterwards she went up to a few of them to tell them good job. And she really meant it. Wasn't saying any of it superficially just to make them feel better. It's in her soul to make people happy and feel good about themselves. After my miscarriage last year one of the biggest hugs I got was from Kristen. It wasn't even awkward for me! That's a good hugger right there!!  I've learned a lot from being around her. When I get to dark places I think, "What would Kristen say to me right now?" and it helps to reset my brain. She's awesome.

Christy is one of the teachers in pre-k (I am the assistant for three teachers). And talk about a freaking ray of sunshine. My god, light just sparkles out of her. She's always smiling, always putting a positive spin on situations, and super supportive. She's never hesitated to help me with stuff, even though I'm the assistant, she brings in hot chocolate for me, brownies, dresses up in spirit wear for special days. She's like a cheerleader without the annoying parts like yelling loud. HA! Christy is amazing with the kids and gets excited when they master different skills, listens intently to their stories, and is an all around great teacher. She never lets others' bad moods or behaviors change hers. She stays positive and happy, not much gets her down. If I could be anyone when I grow up, it'd be Christy.

If I'm coming across as a fangirl with a crush, you are accurately reading this blog! I love Kristen and Christy and I really feel as though they were sent to me to make me a more positive, uplifting person. They are who I think I am (happy, joyous, fun) but probably don't actually live up to the hype. They are the real deals. I'm so lucky to have them in my space.

Who do you look up to? What do you learn from them?

Friday, February 26, 2016

In Between Dreams

Today is a sad day. This whole month has been a sad month. Today is exactly one year since my D&C. Blah. Stupid, stupid day. Bad, bad memories.

But I'm not going to write about how sad I am (very), I'm not going to write about how much I dislike February (a lot), I am going to write about happy things. My last few posts have been heavy enough.

Happy things:

Gabe and Carter each got to put a tooth under their pillow last Friday night. They woke up bright and early, busted in to our room to show us their money, and Gabe shouted, "I got a George Washington!!!"

Marc brought home brisket for me last night. And loaded fries. Every single bite was delicious.

Today at preschool I asked each kid what they were thinking (for a project) and most of them cracked me up with their randomness. Harper said, "I love you and Cora (her bff) and I love everyone in the whole wide world." She can be sweet! Sometimes.

Last night I watched an episode of "The People's Couch" and it had me laughing the whole time. I am not sure if it really was funny or I just really needed to laugh.

Yesterday I listened to Jack Johnson's "In Between Dreams" album. By far his best work.  I could use a quote from each song to express how I'm feeling. It's one of my favorite albums of all time.

I've been on a group text with my biffles Lisa and Alicia the past couple of days and my gosh those bitches are hilarious. Everyone should have a Lisa and Alicia in their lives.

At volleyball the other night my teammate/friend Kristen gave me a present. It was a "thinking of you" present and it was a gorgeous bracelet. Harper likes that it's sparkly. Kristen is really good at restoring my faith in humanity.

Christy brought in Starbucks today, Jordan washed spatulas for me, and Susan, well Susan is one of the funniest people I know. That lady can always make me laugh out loud. I absolutely love my co-workers. I kind of feel lucky to be around them each day.

Today is Friday. Which means I can sleep in tomorrow. Which is basically my favorite hobby of all time.

I asked on Facebook today for people to post pictures of someone/thing that makes them happy. Every now and again you have to appreciate the things around you that make you smile. And in turn you can make others smile. That's exactly what my friends did, so thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Now keep those happy things coming!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Life, the Saucy Little Minx

Life is hilarious, right? It's the only way to describe it so you don't explode with feelings. 

You see, Gabe had to be put under to get some dental work done. This had to be done at a hospital. It happened to be done at the hospital where my D&C was performed. Where it was performed almost exactly one year to the date. His procedure actually happened exactly one year to the date of my first scheduled D&C which was cancelled and rescheduled. A big, messy ordeal. 

So when I walked up to the nurses' station at 5:45 am my heart sank in to my stomach. A year's worth of pain sat in my throat in the form of choked back tears. 

Then after surgery prep and meeting with doctors and nurses we had to walk Gabe back. And that's where everything looked eerily familiar. The sadness I felt, the fear I was gripping on to, the nerves wrestling inside me where doubled. I held my only son's hand, who was about to be put under, and didn't want to let go. I didn't want to lose him. A year before I didn't want to lose my baby, but that was already a done deal. 

So we left Gabe with the trusty doctors and we waited in the waiting room. The one next to the maternity ward. The one where a family was waiting for Miles to be born. They got the text while we were sitting and waiting. He was cute. With long finger nails. They were busting at the seams to meet him. 

I was busting at the seams to not cry. 

But life, she's a minx. Naughty and devious. She always keeps you on your toes. 

Gabe came through and everything went fine. But I held on to him tight the rest of the day and in to the night. The thought of losing him never escaped my thoughts. 

But I woke up today and felt a lot better. Gabe looked like himself. I could breathe again. The weight was off. I didn't realize just how much the procedure was weighing me down until it was over. 

Team P went to see "Seussical" today at a local middle school. A co-worker/friend's daughter was in the show and she's been talking about it so I thought we should check it out. It was AMAZING! For a middle school show it was very well done. The set was awesome, the costumes, and the singing. Whoa!! I was blown away. All of us loved it. 

But of course in true Emily fashion I had to bite my lip so I didn't cry. At the end the egg Horton has been sitting on finally hatches. It's an elephant with wings. He's nervous about raising something with wings because he only knows the Earth. Gertrude tells him, "...you teach him Earth, and I will teach him sky." And I almost completely lost it at a middle school play. Because isn't that life? Isn't that parenthood? You help each other out, you teach each other things, you support each other. It's such a beautiful sentiment that I'm crying all over again. 

So so much has happened in the past year, the last six months, the last few weeks.  It would probably take a novel to talk about all the pain that's been present around us. But all I can do is hope for a brighter tomorrow, a new beginning, and for someone to teach me the sky. 

And tonight I plan on watching the movie "Parenthood" so I can feel all my feelings. I've learned fighting them is useless. I do believe my feelings and the minx, Life, are in cahoots. They're testing me to see how many tears one human can produce. Well I have news for them, one human can produce A LOT! It'll look like the scene from "Alice in Wonderland" where she ends up floating in her own tears! Ain't no shame in my game!

How do you plan to spend your Saturday night?? Will it involve feeling feelings?!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

We All Shine On

You know what's funny about grief and pain? You never know when it will hit you. Or how long it will last. Or just how strong it will be. Sometimes you handle grief and pain graciously. Other times you are a model of what NOT to do.

And it's amazing when you come out on the other side how light and free you feel. How the world looks different to you. People look different. Sometimes it's a positive change in outlook, sometimes not so much. People you thought would be there, weren't, and people you didn't know even cared show up in unexpected ways.

February 3 was a hard date for me. And for weeks before I could feel the pressure on my chest. It was weighing me down. It was hurting. And I didn't know what to do. I would breathe through it, talk myself out of pain, list out all the things that were good in my life.

It worked for awhile.

But the weekend before the anniversary of a very sad day, the elephant was placed squarely on my chest and wouldn't get off. I was an exposed nerve walking around, on the verge of tears with every passing moment.  I couldn't look at pregnant women, didn't want to see baby clothes, didn't want the memories to come flooding back.

So I distracted myself. Hung out with my family, walked around the mall, spent too much money on clothes trying to fill a void, trying to make my family smile so that it would rub off on me.

Then Sunday came. Team Patrouch went to Golden Corral. The kids thought it was the best place they had ever been. Each bird was excited about all the food options, all the dessert options, the whole atmosphere made them drunk with excitement. It left me gasping for air and fighting back tears. I watched as my husband ushered kids around, filling their requests, and I was overwhelmed with love for him. Watching him be a dad is my favorite past time and I was crushed I wasn't able to give him one more bird to be a dad to.

Soul crushing.

But I sucked back the tears, took deep breaths, and gorged on carbs.

I made it through another day. But THE day was still looming. It was so close.

On Monday I had a very mild panic attack. My breath was all wrong and my hands were shaking. Felt dizzy. I talked myself through it. I lamazed my way through it. Thank God no one was around for that fun episode.

Each day leading up to the third I had to tell myself to get out of bed. Tell myself it was good to work, good to play volleyball, good to take care of the children I do have.

I kept telling myself I was being dramatic. Just get over it. It was a year ago, let it go.

But I couldn't. I couldn't talk my way out of this grief. I had to feel it. I had to try it on and wear it for awhile.  It's like a wave in the ocean: do you jump it, go under it, or blast right through it? I tried them all. Nothing was working.

And then, and then I found solace. A sorority sister texted me, out of the blue, and got me to open up. It was magical. There it was, the light in the darkness I needed. Sweet Ashley was my light. An unexpected person that cared. She even asked for my baby's name. Not many people do that when you miscarry. Especially when it happens so early. But Ashely made him or her (I swear it was a he) real. She gave me permission to grieve a real life human being. I'll forever be grateful.

And a very special person, who has always been there for me, texted me almost daily to check in on me. My brother Michael has always been my protector. And in this time of need he stepped up to the plate. I love that guy. A lot. And he has been dealing with A LOT the past few months, so the fact he still cared enough to check on me is huge. Another light.

But what I've noticed since February 3 has passed is that I feel a lot better. I let go of some of the guilt of the miscarriage, some of the weight, and I feel better. I don't think I'll ever get over it or deal with it properly, but I know I can handle it now. And honestly, I don't want to be a person that gets over the death of a baby. It should hurt. It should be tough. I didn't always let myself feel that way. But I finally did and it helped.

My husband was also amazingly supportive during my rough moments. He kept telling me it was ok to feel my feelings. I didn't have to fight them. The flowers, cupcake, and mini pie helped a lot too! And he's never once blamed me for losing our baby. He's never made me feel guilty. Just love. I've only felt love from that guy. He's an amazing human being. I'm glad to call him mine.

Anyhoo, it's a new dawn, it's a new day, and I'm feeling good. And to all the lights in the world, thanks. Keep on shining!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pep Talks

Lately I've had a jumbled brain. Lots of complaints, worries, anxieties, judgements, etc., scribbled throughout my gray matter. Not a good way to spend your energy. But there I was this morning, standing in the shower, feeling like a mess. (Why is the shower the best thinking spot?)

Anyhoo, that's when I decided to tell myself all the good things going on in my life. Tell myself all the good things about me. All the good things I've seen in life. I really gave myself a pep talk. 

And let me tell you, I had the most peaceful afternoon and evening. The first one in quite awhile. And after I put my kids to bed, I sat on my recliner with my Girl Scout cookies, heated blanket, hot tea, and Mob Wives. I felt so at peace. And content. Joyous even. 

Now I have some insomnia going on but that's ok because we have a two hour delay tomorrow for school. Looking at the positive. 

When your brain is full of scribbles instead of nice lines, how do you help yourself straighten them out? What tricks do you use to ease anxiety? 

And does your shower have magical water that helps you think clearer?! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hope

Ten years ago I was a sad, lonely, single, 26 year-old, ready for a change. One day it occurred to me that I had an amazing job that I loved, a house that was all my own, a dog who was more like a child, and incredible friends and family. Why should I be sad that I didn't have a life partner? Who cared if I was the only singlet at family events? Who cared if I didn't have a date to a wedding? I had me. And I was coming in to my own and feeling good. I was starting to feel confident and A-OK with my life.

And that's the year that everything changed. Granted it didn't happen until October, it was a great year for me. I came to realize that I was enough. I was good. I was set. Life was pretty awesome.

Then a jerk of a candidate changed my life.

I tell Marc all the time that if he had met early 2006 Emily he wouldn't have liked her very much. I was sour, bitter, and down right bitchy. When he met October Emily she was confident, happy, and at peace.  (Not to mention super blonde and super skinny! And my skin was beautiful without acne or wrinkles. I was a catch! HA!)

Here we are, together, almost ten years later with a beautiful life.

I think it's natural to set expectations for yourself, envision your future plans and imagine what your life will look like. But let me tell you, when you do that, you miss out on what's really going on all around you. All I could see was a future with a man in it and when that didn't happen I felt as though I failed. But I didn't. I had accomplished a lot by 26. And let me just add, 26 is SO YOUNG! I had the whole world in front of me, only I was holding myself back.

When I let go of what I thought life should be, real life happened. I let fate deal the cards and I played my hand. I didn't force a thing.

I was also more open to saying "yes". Yes, I'll come visit you. Yes, I'll travel to this place. Yes, I'll take on this new job for awhile. Yes, yes, yes. I even said "yes" to a guy that I thought was cute but too nice. And I kept saying yes to him, all the way to the altar.

My hope for this year is that I continue to feel confident and happy with myself. And I hope that my friends and family feel the same. I hope that everyone can find strength in their struggles, joy throughout the year, and dare I say it, I hope that I hug more. People seem to really like hugs.

Last year was a doozy, a lot of sad stuff happened. And as the pain lingers almost a year a later, I am happy with the blessings I have, with the life Marc and I have created for ourselves, and what the future holds for us. I don't know what's gonna happen but I'm open to whatever comes our way!

And I cannot forget to address the importance of friends and family. Last year, with my own family and with friends, I saw what true love means. What it means to be there for others when the chips are down. What it means to let others in during your most difficult times. And what it means to share in the good, happy times as well. I don't think we give enough credit to the laughter others bring. The joy, the smiles, the simple, beautiful times we share with others.

I love life and I hope you do, too.  Tell me, what are your hopes for 2016?!

A scene I love from one of my favorite movies. I even used a line for my senior quote in high school..."hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."