Being an aunt is one of my all time favorite jobs and I just got made an aunt for the 8th time!
Welcome to the world Jaxon Wayne (Jax)!
You are so incredibly loved!
So I passed my one year anniversary of moving back to Texas. It passed without even a mental acknowledgement and I guess that’s fine because this is my home.
This is the place I grew up and where I feel most comfortable.
But living in Belgium got me spoiled to one particular thing and I just haven’t been able to get over it as of yet…
I’m not talking about delicious croissants or quaint boucheries… I’m talking about the quality of food. Not having to worry AS much about what is going into my body because it’s not poisoned. Not having the option of a bazillion fast food places enticing me to not cook and just order in. I’ve sadly gained about 15 pounds in the one year I’ve lived here (no excuses, I’ve overindulged)
I mean, have you read this article about 17 Dangerous Foods Americans Eat that Are Banned in Most Countries? It’s enough to have you going on a water only diet, until you read that bottled water can contain four different ingredients!!
So what is my alternative? Insanely over-priced “organic” food that has become it’s own industry.
Since moving back to Texas, our weekly grocery budget has gone up – even after you convert Euros to Dollars (already a 30% difference).
Unfortunately, I can’t afford to eat 100% organic, but I do my best. Everything my kids eat the most of is organic. Sandwich stuff, cheese sticks, fruit. I’m trying to make cookies instead of buying them. I’m trying to cook more and use organic ingredients when I can. It’s a lot more stress than I ever thought it was going to be when we were deciding to move back here!
But alas, these are the cards I’ve been dealt, so I’m making the best! So what if my kids eat Pop Tarts every morning 🙂
This time last year I was sitting on my bed, crying.
I remember it distinctly: New Years Eve-Eve 2013.
I had, in the past few weeks, moved my family (hubby, 3 kids and a dog) back to Texas after over four years in Europe and I was experiencing a nasty case of mover’s remorse. I felt like I was dropped into the middle of the ocean during a storm. Every time I came up for air, another wave crashed over me.
It wasn’t like things were going wrong. Actually our physical/practical transition was super smooth so it was easy to throw myself into what I knew my family needed me to be: Strong. Positive. Stable. I focused on working through the upheaval of getting adjusted back to American culture as I introduced our kids to a place they had really only ever visited.
But what I wasn’t prepared for were for my own emotions to turn on me. For the uncontrollable sobbing to hit me when the kids weren’t watching. For the grief of closing a door on a life that I truly loved and anxiety that we made the wrong decision.
What was normally my most happy time of the year, the holidays became a striking reminder of how my life was NOT normal or familiar. I don’t think I baked one thing other than when I spent Thanksgiving in tears because I messed up my apple pie. Christmas was a blur of trying to keep our traditions going for the kids when all I wanted was to stay in bed all day.
I mean, I had just had to sort through everything I had accumulated in my entire life up to date and was only able pick the essentials to put into ten suitcases to bring with us. Clothes and shoes versus wedding pictures. Pots and pans versus sentimental baby clothes.*
TEN suitcases for FIVE people to start a new life.
When trying to get settled into our new – temporary – home, I kept realizing all the things that I wasn’t able to bring and would have to go out and buy and it was just too much. I didn’t want a new bed, I wanted my old bed. I missed my comfy couch and my big chevron rug. Where were all my baking pans?
My kids kept asking when we were going to go back home. They missed their lives as much as I did. My husband was adjusting to his new job and I was trying to figure out where I re-fit back in with friends and family who had continued on with their lives in our absence.
It was a tough time and I was, to say the least, depressed.
I had finished the first revision of ALLIANCE in September, but in preparing to move, I hadn’t even opened it back up and it would be several more months before I pulled myself out of the muck of my mind to do so.
I was lost.
That’s how I felt in the days leading up to 2014.
But transitions are just that, transitions.
TRANSITION – PASSAGE OR CHANGE FROM ONE POSITION TO ANOTHER
I didn’t feel like it at the time, but I was moving towards balance.
At the end of February I started writing again. Writing is always the first thing that goes when I’m depressed, but it’s also the first thing to come back when I begin to find my footing. I worked on my book and worked freelance jobs so I could still be home with my two year old while the other two were at school.
By the summer I began to feel the ground underneath me. I started working part-time for a company and began querying my book. I got an R&R that resonated so I pulled my book from consideration and began working on it for the next five months.
Although things were getting better for me emotionally, I think one of the best changes we made was to bite the bullet and move to a larger house. It was a hard decision to make because we were living in such a low rent home and it was next-door to my parents, but in the end, the lack of space was taking its toll. We found a great house (with a pool!) and I think that’s when I finally began to settle.
Texas became my home again.
In the end it took me about ten months to lose that mover’s remorse. To stop questioning if we made the right decision. To stop comparing our lives to the one we just left.
The last few weeks I’ve felt inspired.
The kind of feeling that good things are coming my way.
I had to wade through so much in the last year as I grappled with a sense of purpose and worth. It was dark and there are still times I feel my feet slip, but I am tethered now.
Tethered to my life here.
Tethered to my family.
Tethered to my faith.
Would I say I’m “happy” yet? Not really, but regardless of what dreams might come my way, I have hope for this next year.
And that, is a pretty good place to be in.
Today is my ninth wedding anniversary and I can honestly say I am happier and more in love now than I was on the day I married him. Which says a lot because I was so bursting with emotions, I spent my entire wedding ceremony looking like this:
I’m so lucky in love!
Love you Jonathan!
(You can see my lovey slideshow HERE)
Today marks a new season in my life… one that to the outside would seem fairly low on the importance scale, but it’s made me pretty emotional.
I dropped my youngest child off at pre-school this morning where he’ll go every day till 12.
Ya, no biggie right?
But it is a big deal. It means that I’m in a new season and new seasons are fun and exciting, but can also be terrifying and hard.
I’m so looking forward to the chance to write uninterrupted and go to language school in the mornings and work on my freelance projects, but then it also feels selfish and unnecessary since he is still so young.
Well this morning he was all like: