The Glovers

When we told our family we were moving to Arizona, my Aunt asked me if I was sure about leaving my friends.

She told me that leaving behind the Village I had in Georgia was going to be hard.  Those friends weren't easily replaceable.

And I knew that.  

My Village was pieced together over 14 very formative years.  These women had all walked into my life and clicked right at the moments I needed them to.  Andrew and I had many acquaintances around Atlanta.  Heck, there were times I felt like Andrew knew everyone.  But there were a handful of women that were mine.

They knew me.  All of me.

They watched me date and break up with Andrew 25 times before a whirlwind two week engagement that ended with a courthouse wedding.  They listened to me long for a baby for years when it just wouldn't happen, then celebrated with me on the day Josie came home by joining us at Walmart at 9 PM while we tried to figure out what an 8 month old needed.

Church changes, family changes, foster care trials, and heart surgeries.

They helped me pack up a UHaul to follow a dream and flew to my side when my brother died. 

These girls were my net.

And even though I knew that when they were living right up the street, I didn't get what my Aunt was so concerned about until recently.

The first few months of living here were so surreal that I didn't notice.

The next six months were so full of heartbreak that I needed to recoil into myself.  My Mom the only person I wanted close.

And now here we are, about to celebrate being one year residents of my favorite place on the planet.

And it's good.

My marriage is thriving, my kids are settled and about to start school, I have a job that I wake up excited about every morning.  We are financially better than we've ever been and life is easy.

But I miss my Village.

I miss the actual girls that made it up, but I knew that losing that was just a reality of moving.

What I miscalculated was how difficult it would be to make new friend.

Because I'm no good at casual friendship.  No good at all.  I want immediate Know Everything About Me kind of friends.  I want spontaneous drop bys and cookouts and dang it if I don't want a girls night that ends with us roaming Target for hours.

I've made a friend or two and am getting closer to them, which is nice.  But it's not that familiar feeling I'm desperately missing.

So when Andrew started arranging for his Atlanta friend to fly out for a weekend, one that happens to be the husband of my very first Village Member, I started scheming ways to make it a joint deal.  Tiffany was planting the same seeds in Jason's ears and before I knew it, we had a full on Guys Weekend, Girls Weekend planned.

And it did my heart so good.

I met Tiffany the first month I lived in Georgia.  When I was fresh out of treatment and had zero friends.  She's been a friend ever since.  It hasn't been a smooth, zero conflict type of friendship which is exactly why she's one of my favorite friends.  Because we kept coming back to each other.  And that means a lot to me.

This weekend was great.  The guys did guy stuff, we did girl stuff, then we came together at night for some pretty amazing date nights.

Someday I'll have a net here, but until then, I'm so thankful that we have gotten to have friends fly out to visit.


Hoarders - 8 Year Old Edition

As a bonafide Throw It All Away-er it pains me to admit this, but I'm raising an Everything Is Treasure-er.

Receipts, rocks, every tiny nicknack she finds on the street.  It all has value to her.  Everything is either A) beautiful or B) able to be made beautiful as part of a craft.  Which is a pretty awesome way to look at the world, but lends itself to a bit of a clutter problem.

It's a clash of the titans type situation.

Think I'm kidding?

This was her room last week:

bear bed crafted from 700 paper bags and 8 blankets

vacuum box that became a robot, construction paper "tv" for when
screen time is over, box behind robot for her stuffed animal daycare

I struggle to find the sweet spot between her need to collect and create and my need for order and blank spaces.

My current solution was to find more storage options so she could keep a good portion of her treasures, but they could have homes.  Our rooms here aren't small, but they aren't large either.  And since Josie is in love with her Princess Sized Full Bed (what she calls it), there is limited room for containment.  

I searched for months for a dresser.  

Did you know these puppies are expensive?  

Goodwill to the rescue.  

$20 for the dresser, $18 for the paint, 2 years off my life for sanding and painting in 115 degree weather.

Worth it...

Would you believe that after adding a ton of shelves to her closet, that there are now empty drawer?  We should take bets on how long they stay empty.

And once I started I just couldn't stop.

So her entire room got a Almost Tweenie Bopper redo.  And I love it.

Disclaimer: Josie has been on vacation all week and hasn't set foot in this room yet.  It will probably never be this clean again, but I will always have these pictures to look back on and that's good enough for me.


We Almost Weren't

Andrew and I never went on a honeymoon.

Our wedding, the entire thing, cost us under $300.  We were young college kids living off our parent's generosity.  Convinced we were ready to take on The World, not really knowing what The World even was.

I loved our wedding.

The little tea dress I wore, the homemade cake where I ran out of frosting so the back was just barely covered.  The dinner at an all you can eat fried chicken joint and backyard reception with just our family.

I was never jealous of the elaborate weddings that so many of our friends had, but the honeymoons?  I was a little jealous of that.  It was always on our To Do List.

We'll go after graduation.

We'll go on our 5 year anniversary.

Let's for sure go at 10 years.

This past year has, without question, been the most difficult of our 15 years together.  

The blazing fires we walked through, separately and together, almost did us in.  We had conversations that I never imagined us having.  We felt emotions I didn't know existed.  And after tearing down this whole thing, this entire life we had built, we walked out the other side hand in hand with a brand new relationship that is honest and true.  We know it all.  Nothing is off limits.  There's no keeping quiet to avoid conflict and no pretending something doesn't bother us when it really, really does.

It's a weird feeling to look at someone you've slept next to for 13 (ok, 14) years and feel like they are brand new.  To know that you almost weren't.

But we are.

And we finally got around to taking that honeymoon.

We spent a week in San Diego.

Eating and laughing and lounging in cabanas where they brought us every fruity drink with an umbrella.  I wish I had words to say how great it was other than saying it was perfect, but that's the only word I'm coming up with.

Andrew planned every detail.  He said over and over that he wanted me to feel loved.  And I did.  So loved.  So well taken care of.  He planned the things he knew I would like, even if they weren't his favorites.  And we learned that we have switched places in our vacation style.  He is now the lounger and I am the "let's go out try something new!".

Marriage is hard guys.

Two people growing up and changing and life throwing you nasty curveballs.  You have to stay on your toes and keep at it.  Even with the hard parts, I loved nearly every minute of our first 13 years of marriage.

And I'm really looking forward to the next 13.

We ended our trip by driving back to Arizona and staying at a resort close to home so that these party animals could come celebrate with us.

I look at these little people with new eyes now.

We didn't stay together for the kids.  In fact, we were both very adamant from the start that if that was our only reason, we wouldn't.  During all those 3 AM conversations, we discovered that there were 4 million other reasons.

But they were on the list.

The thought of this picture only having one of us in it breaks my heart.  I'm thankful.

Really, really thankful.