Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How You Know You Are No Longer 22.

With a new move, comes plenty of new things to remember.
New address.
New neighbor to avoid.
New neighbor I want to get to know better.
New grocery store I can go to in yoga pants so I won't be judged.
New Chinese take out restaurant.
New shoe store.
Basically I'm busy storing all those important things in the back of my brain.

With a fresh start, also came a new phone number.
I cannot remember phone numbers. For some reason my brain refuses to acknowledge them.
Then when the lady at the shoe store asks you for your phone number for some sort of store discount, & you start searching your purse frantically for your cell phone explaining - "I have to look for it on my cell phone. Sorry! I just moved! I don't know it yet!" You feel a little foolish when she rolls her eyes & snaps her gum at you.
Clearly not knowing your phone number became improper etiquette at some point.
So this is something I am now working on remembering.

Since I was little, I would make up little games in my head to remember numbers in sequences.
Somewhere in the middle of my new phone number are the numbers 22 and 31.
I remembered the sequence as - "22 is almost like being 31."
As I explained this sequence to my friend as I gave her my new number recently - she laughed at me for a solid 30 seconds before coming up for air.
"MEGGAN! 31 is nothing like 22! Don't you remember those days?!"

I've been 31 for exactly one month today. So obviously I'm a pro at this now.
But it took some solid research of spending time with every 20 year old I know to realize my friend was right. 31 is simply not listed in the same age box group for a reason.

As I listened to my new 20 something year old temp in my office talk about her labor day weekend plans, I realized just how un-22 I am.

Here's how you know you are longer 22:

  • You no longer spend every weekend of the summer at a friend's wedding. You spend them at baby showers & soccer games.
  •  You spend more time analyzing your child's picture day form instead of what Taylor Swift wore to the VMA's.
    How many school pictures does a person need? Does anyone still give school pictures to their relatives? I suppose my mom would want one. You mean kids still get those tiny pictures to hand out to their friends?! Do kids still do that?! Do kindergarteners do this?! Aren't they too young for that?  There's just so much I don't know!
  • You can admit when you don't know something. Or better yet - when you are wrong.
  • You can actually have your first and last name on social media instead of using a fake name because there isn't any pictures of you at the bar you wouldn't want your boss seeing during random social media checks. It's more like pictures of you & your book club.
  • You hardly want to get out of bed for any job making less than $20 per hour.
  • Seeing a movie in the movie theater is something you do ..... well - never.
  • Your back hurts from shopping. And that's sad.
  • You start counting down how many years are left until you pay off your student loans.
  • Food is selected & eaten by knowing how it will make you feel later on that day.
  • You start seeing celebrities from your childhood appear in anti-aging products.
  • Your life stops looking like an episode of "Friends" where your besties live in tiny apartments right next door & you all meet down at the local coffee shop. By now most of your friends have gigantic houses & live much too far away. And you have to do things like SCHEDULE time just to talk on the telephone.

  • Bathing suit shopping is about as much fun as having your teeth drilled.
  • "Kayne For President" slogans scare you more than they make you laugh.
  • Tennis shoes are worn for things other than jogging.
  • You work smarter - not harder.
  • You see bread & pasta as the enemy.
  • Talking on the phone to your bestie at 22 sounds kind of like:
    "No WAY! Are you going to go out with him again?"
    "Of course. He's totally hot. Should I wear the green dress or the blue one?"
    "I'm not sure. Do you want me to come over & help you get ready?"

    At 31, it sounds more like:
    "What can I cook for my mother-in-law that will make her hate me less?"
    "I would try pot roast - JEFFRY! STOP BITING YOUR BROTHER! - Or you could try a nice chicken salad. Burn those essential oils too for calming..... IF YOU KIDS DON'T STOP FIGHTING I WILL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT! Shoot. I just burned my cookies. Let's talk next week. How's Thursday work? I can squeeze you in when I run to pick Suzie up from dance practice?"
  • You know what jeans fit you in all the right places. You know how to dodge pushy sales people. You've sworn off stores that make you deaf or where you need a flashlight to see what you are buying. You buy quality over quantity. Your high heels are often purchased in the "Comfort Section" of the store. Next to your license, your Costco membership card is the most important item in your wallet. 
  • You spend more money on daycare than you do for your house payment.
  • You now wake up at 4:30 a.m. for work instead of going to bed at 4:30 a.m.
  • You live and die by your day planner.
  • You stop taking "Family Pictures" with your dog. You stop referring to your dog as "your child."

  • The only real friends you still talk to are the ones who've stuck by you through all the crap. And haven't stabbed you in the back or held your busy life against you. They are the ones who text you about good sushi places or let you in when their husbands slept last night on the couch. When you talk to them, it's as if no time has passed. You know them well because through the years as most relationships have faded, theirs is still the bond that you fight for most.
  • A trip to Vegas is more likely to involve a Celine Dion concert & a trip to the wax museum than a wedding chapel & a night club.
  • You've gotten at least one mom haircut or you own at least one pair of spanx.
  • Instead of tanning at the beach, you bring a bottle of SPF 50, a bright umbrella, a good book, and a bag of floating toys. Your goal is to sit as far away from other people as humanly possible.
  • You've watched babies grow up and buried people you loved dearly. You understand that no matter how dark the night, the morning is still coming.  
  • Your boss saying "You can work from home" sounds kind of like "You have won the lottery."
  • You know how to accept loss. And how to celebrate even the smallest victory.
    "Parker buckled his own car seat. VICTORY DANCE!"
  • Tramp Stamps, facial piercings, and that one date you went on with a drummer in that one band are all filed under "Regrets."
  • You take a multi-vitamin.
  • You have retired the Pizza Pizzaz.

    22 is a beautiful age.
    Enjoy your youth [and your metabolism.]
    Because life is worth celebrating at any age.
    Until next time loves. XoXo.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Take Freaking Chances.

I dreaded this a little bit.

Because when you have to update people on your life in the midst of some of the biggest changes you've ever made in your entire life, it kind of feels like drowning when you take it all in at one time.
Taking in big gulps of salty water is not how I like to live life.
Also. Nervous breakdowns tend to give a girl wrinkles.
So I almost prefer not to talk about change with people I haven't seen in awhile.
I like to pretend everyone just naturally knows.
And when people start to ask questions, I tend to side step them & change the subject completely.
So basically this post is a big deal for me.

So put down the brown paper bag.
We can do this.

It all started early this year.
I was feeling completely exhausted with my current job.
Like I just couldn't do it anymore.
I was working harder - not smarter. And that bugged me.
'There has to be a better way to live my life.'
I'm sure we've all had this thought at some point.
I just felt myself giving so much of myself to my job.
And getting so spent from what I was doing.
Having nothing left to give my family or myself.
I didn't like who I was becoming.

During that time, a friend of mine went on vacation to see his family in Florida.
He came back & knew he needed to live there.
"Why am I living in the cold tundra of Minnesota when I long for the warm beaches in Florida?"
Just like that, he put in his notice.
And I was completely inspired.

I put in for a transfer to my Corporate Office.
I was contacted for a few other positions from friends who knew I was looking for a change.
I prayed that doors would shut & open how they needed to.
A few doors slammed in my face. And a few doors were left wide open to me.
I ended up accepting a promotion with the organization I have worked for off & on since 2009.
An incredible opportunity I wasn't sure I even deserved.
My district manager told my new boss "You will thank me for hiring her."
And just like that, I GOT A NEW JOB.

My husband was completely on board.
A fresh start.
It was just what our family needed.
A chance to move forward.
And to put the past in the past.
As my friend Jenny Simmons says - "Because I am learning that whether I bury a friend or a failure, a squirrel or a fish, the act of properly laying something to rest is the first part of letting go. And letting go is a holy summons—an invitation to move forward.”
[P.S. You can read more in Jenny's Book "The Road To Becoming" on pre-sale now.]

So we sold our house. For our full asking price. In under a week.
The buyers wanted a 3 week close date.
Which freaked me out. Because we had no plans.
Apparently before you sell your house YOU SHOULD HAVE A PLAN.
I know this now.
We figured when we listed our house, it would take some time to sell since we lived in a small town in the middle of no where.
We would have time to figure out our next steps & where we would live next.
Turns out, there are people who enjoy the middle of the no where & want to move there as fast as possible.

The "SOLD" sign went up.
And naturally I moved into the place where every 30 year old goes when she sells her house too fast - Her Mom's Basement.
People would ask Trevor & I how it went living in the basement at my parent's house.
Trevor would always reply, "Just livin the dream!"

After much debate about whether or not we wanted to live deep into the city, still kind of a jaunt to all of my family, but really close to my new job.
Or nearby family, in a great school district, with a 40 minute commute.
We went back & forth.
Then forth & back.
We stressed. We weighed the options. We argued. I cried. I stressed. I worried. I sought wise council. I prayed.
And we settled on the place that we thought was best for our kids.
I really like our new place & the new neighborhood.
[Yes. I am no longer in the basement. I have officially arrived.]

My new 40 minute commute goes fast. I promise.
I was used to doing the 30 minute commute for the past 5 years.
So adding 10 extra minutes seemed like a small price to pay for the school district we really wanted our kids in.
Instead of passing millions of trees and lakes though, I'm now in wall to wall traffic.
That part takes some getting used to.

I now wake up at 4:30 every morning.
I run into my office by 6:30 a.m. so I can avoid the bulk of rush hour.
I have flexible hours & I even sometimes work from home.
The one down side is being the old lady who goes to bed at 8 something at night.
I feel all adult-like & responsible.
It's very strange.

I will say that I love the friendliness of living in the suburbs.
And working in the big city.
It's kind of a mix of both worlds.
If you follow my Instagram, you see my annoying 5 a.m. city posts.

The novelty still hasn't worn off. Every time I pull into the city & see the tall buildings in the colors of the sunrise, I am so thankful for fresh starts & new opportunities.

The biggest changes for us are still coming.
Addison starts kindergarten in just a few days.
My first child going to school sparks a million different emotions.
Mostly just how proud of her I am & how I know she is ready for this.

The second big change is Trevor heading back to work & Parker starting daycare.
I won't lie. This is probably something as a mother I struggle with most.
One of us has been home with our kids since the day they were born.
We didn't want anyone else with our kids.
We wanted to be the one with them in their most formative of years.
I know that daycare is not the enemy. It's just SO HARD not to be there for every moment.
I cannot even talk about it. I just sob.

So we are going to give it a try.
Parker in preschool & daycare.
And if it doesn't seem like it's going well, we will adjust as we need to.
I have a feeling it will be harder on Parker than we expect.
Parker has some hyperactivity & difficulty focusing.
They aren't ready to diagnosis him with something yet since he's still so young.
But as a mother, you worry that teachers will not help your child overcome his struggles.
I need cheerleaders for Parker - not people who don't understand him & come down too harshly on him.
I want Parker to love & enjoy school.
I want him to be accepted & I want him to find friends.
I am so hopeful for this year & so scared too.
All in all, I can see this being a great move in the right direction for Parker.
I just..... well. We don't know how it's going to go truthfully?
But we will go for it & try. And believe that every minute we have spent with Parker will have prepared him to achieve greatness.

In so many ways this has been so hard to say goodbye to such a bittersweet season.
Goodbye to babies & toddlers.
Goodbye to stay at home parenting.
Goodbye to our old life.

As hard as goodbyes can be, the alternative is being stuck in places you can't bear to be in.
Taking chances is what life is all about.
I'm so excited to be close to my family & a few close friends again.

Trying out new churches.
Making new friends.
Meeting new neighbors.
LOVING my new job.


Turning 31, loaded with all of the wisdom & love I have been given has reminded me how good life can be. I feel like I am getting closer & closer to the person I want to be & the life I want to have.
Thank you to everyone who has helped pack a box, brought us a lunch, given us a place to stay, listened to me laugh & cry through all of these changes, prayed for us, and loved us.

To anyone who feels stuck just like I did - all I can say is take a freaking chance.
Change hardly ever looks like how we think it will look.
Sometimes it's messy & you end up in your mom's basement.
And sometimes you land right on solid ground.
Sometimes it's just about knowing that going back isn't an option.
There's no place left but forward.
Be brave. Be prayerful. MAKE A PLAN. Expect it will be hard. Don't do it alone.

We look forward to the year ahead!! XoXo.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fast Forward.

Totally unable to sleep tonight.
It's kind of a mix of scary lightening mixed with caffeinated beverages, & a mosh of thoughts about the whirlwind that is totally my life right now.

Here's what you missed:

I really needed a change. I was burned out. And I was sensing that my soul was ready for something, anything really to change. Sometimes you just know when a chapter is closing.
So I started knocking on some doors to see what was going to open.

I did a number of interviews. [I also ate Altoids.]

Was offered a few jobs. Was denied a few jobs I thought I was perfect for. Turned down a few jobs that other people told me I should take. It was all very chaotic & messy. Filled with all the details no one really cares about. In the end, I accepted an amazing job that was best for my family & brought me to a better place emotionally & spiritually.

In the midst of job changes, there was so much else keeping me busy.
Being a mom. Which I tell you, gets more complicated by the year. My kids who normally get along like best friends have suddenly started fighting like cats & dogs. [Don't let the picture fool you.]

Part of me now understands how my brother & I drove my mom so bonkers on a consistent basis.

Sorry about that Mom,
But if it's any consolation, that whole "I hope you have children who act just like you!" wish really did come true.
Thankfully they still have their sweet moments though:)
And of course I soak all of that up.

We celebrated my nephew turning one year old!

The next weekend we celebrated my niece turning one!

My sister graduated nursing school. So the next weekend we got together [AGAIN. Good thing I love my family & a good reason to party down.] and we toasted my sister, who killed herself in school to become the awesome nurse she is. I'm so proud of Mikayla for working so hard to accomplish her goals while working full time & having a baby. AH. MAY. ZING.

Not to be out done by her Auntie, Addison graduated preschool.

Trevor & I celebrated NINE YEARS of marriage this year. Holy Smokes. I still cannot believe that.

People keep asking me if we've figured out what we will do to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. I keep imagining a big cruise ship & a fruity cocktail in my hand. It's tough to plan a trip right now. If there's anything I have learned these past few years, it's how much life can change in only a few months! I keep telling myself it's okay not to have all the answers. Heck, I'd feel better if I knew where I put my keys half the time.
Either way. 9 years together. Is something I truly am really proud of. I love this man.
And I love that on our exact anniversary day Trevor agrees to let me get the camera out & snap away. Looking back on these May 20th days is slightly humorous, terrifying, and humbling.
Thanks for marrying me Trev. You hold this whole thing together. I'm so grateful for all you give to us.

Needless to say, I was partied out. [Not true.]
I needed a vacation. Enter a week with my bestie.

Krista brought me to my first drive in movie [it was on my bucket list] and it was a great week of pedicures, pool time, and desperately needed girl talk. It was the peace in the midst of all the chaos that I needed. Thank you friends. I miss you already.
On the trip home from vacation, an offer came in on our home for nearly our full asking price. Our realtor had been preparing us that houses in small towns typically sit on the market for a while. So we were blown away by the quick offer and that they wanted to close in a few weeks time.
Forget the fact my husband had no solid job leads, we had no where to live, and I was starting a new job while working my old job & packing a house all at the same time.
You idiot.
To make it worse, I was in complete denial. I couldn't pack a single box. It just didn't feel real.
From the moment I signed the seller's agreement, I went numb.
And distracted myself with life. Which believe me is easy to do.

First there was my bestie's birthday & a weekend at the lake :)
Priorities people!
I was not going to miss this!

We celebrated my Parker's 4th birthday!

Before I even knew what was happening, my Great Uncle Warren passed away. Attending his wake with my family, I was reminded to keep focused on the important things in life.
Later that night at dinner with my Aunties, as they sat across the table from me asking me questions about my new job & selling my home, I realized talking about our future plans just how many holes still needed to be filled.
My Mom & my Aunts reminded me that night of how the Lord is good & faithful.
I'm glad I have a Mom & Aunties who love & serve Jesus.

A few more days went by when I got the call that my Grandpa Doug had also passed away.
I didn't even know what to think by this point. The moving truck was coming in just a few days. Head spinning how I was going to make this all work.
Knowing I needed to figure it out & be there for my step-mom.
Nothing else really mattered at that point.
My step-mom posted the obituary that her Dad had requested she write the following day in their local newspaper. None of us could have expected the national response it would get.
With great humor & a humble heart, my Grandpa's obituary went viral. Being posted on national news like USA Today, The Huffington Post, and Good Morning America.
Celebrating his life at the memorial service, I remembered to keep a sense of humor about everything. Most importantly, to laugh at myself.
Oh Grandpa Doug, I will miss you terribly.
Addison made the 6 hour trip with me to the service while Trevor & Parker stayed behind to pack more boxes.
It felt surreal to be saying goodbye to so much.
My Step-Mom Janet couldn't believe we had come with everything going on with the move.
I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
We headed home later that night.
The moving truck & our moving crew pulled into our driveway at 8 a.m. the next morning.
I couldn't believe we got it all in that truck! It literally almost did not fit. Trevor blamed all of my shoes. He can hate a lot of things. Just not the shoes honey!
The fact that my family spent their 4th of July helping me move in the humid 90 degree weather & drove in all that crazy lake traffic, just makes me so thankful for all of their support. I'm pretty sure I owe them all a steak dinner & a donated kidney if they ever need one.
We did take a few breaks to be festive - fireworks, a BBQ, & a parade is required.
All work & no play makes for crabby movers.
The moving truck pulled away with everything I own inside it. Headed to a storage unit since I still am completely clueless where exactly we will end up. [Though we have a few ideas....]
The next few days we spent sleeping on air mattresses, cooking with the microwave, as I had a final few days left at my old job. We said goodbye to our neighbors [who we love like family] our friends, and my grandparents who still live in the area. [That was the hardest goodbye.....]
We said goodbye to our beach, our park, the trail Cooper & I walked on every day, and the house we made so many good memories in.
I said goodbye to my old job.
And goodbye to 7 inches of hair.
As I firmly believe in my own personal motto:
Change your life.
Change your hair.
As we drove out of our small town, I didn't shed a single tear.
Which is probably one way to know that it was time to say goodbye.
As normally moments like this draw out tears & emotions I didn't even realize I had.
But this move was so different. No tears. No fear of what's coming next.
Sometimes I still feel completely numb.
Other days I mostly just get excited.

We still have so much to figure out & when I start thinking about it, I get to be a cranky pants.
As a whole, it's just a lot.
Where to live. Where to send the kids to school. Where Trevor will work.
I'm trying to take it one day, one decision at a time.
Knowing that as long as my family is healthy & together, we will make it.
I was so relieved to finally sign our closing documents.
Looking back we were just starting our family when we bought that house......

Selling it was enormously satisfying & a chapter of my life I was ready to say goodbye to.
WHAT A COMPLETE TORNADO these past 2 months have been!
Putting it all together right now, makes me understand why I feel such a deep exhaustion in my bones.
As I started to make plans with Trevor about places we needed to go check out this week, we got another life changing phone call.
The "C" word.
Grandpa said it so plainly, I almost didn't believe him when he said it.
Cancer. My Grandpa - who I love dearly & am very close to - has cancer.
Finding out the biopsy results after I had moved.
Almost as if he planned it that way.
Sneaky little devil.
He knows I never would have moved if I would have known he had cancer.
But he insisted I go & do the right thing for my family.
I don't know what to think.
It's hard not to be there with him.
Holding his hand.
I should be there. Why am I not there?!
I'm wrestling between confusion & guilt.
Trying to adjust to what this new reality will mean for my Grandpa.

I cannot decide which way is up or down.
Or where my head is at.
Trying to figure out so much change & major life decisions.
Well. I don't know.
It's all pretty overwhelming. Bittersweet. Sadly happy.
If I could ask you to pray for anything, pray for Grandpa.
Pray for my Grams.
Pray for my kids as they continue to adjust.
Pray for guidance for my husband & doors to open.
Though life seems to be moving as fast as I have ever felt it move, a strange peace surrounds it all.
It's knowing that my God is good. And faithful.
And that I am His.
No matter where I am.

Thanks for reading faithful Internet friends.
I've missed you all!